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SCC moves league tournament up one week; teams close in on league titles

No. 6 Staples dropped their first match of the season on Wednesday to Trumbull. (Photo courtesy Leigh Busby)

As the wrestling season moves toward the post-season, the durable COVID-19 pandemic continues to force changes to tradition.

The Southern Connecticut Conference (SCC) will be holding their championship meet this weekend on Saturday at Xavier in Middletown due to the pandemic. Conferences across the state have been hosting their championship tournaments the week before the state tournament for years.

By holding the meet this weekend, SCC officials are hoping that in the case a wrestler or team got sidelined with COVID, they would have additional time to recover and be eligible to compete in the respective CIAC state championship meets.

“In the end, we just wanted to make sure we gave our wrestlers a chance to compete for a league title after not having a season a year ago,” SCC Commissioner Al Carbone said. The CIAC state tournaments will be held Friday, Feb. 18 and Saturday, Feb. 20 in Trumbull (Class LL), Wilton (Class L), East Haven (Class M) and Killingly (Class S).

The SCC championship meet begins at 11 a.m. at Xavier and a streaming link will be provided to watch the championship finals online. Spectators will be allowed but are required to wear a mask inside the building.

No. 1 Xavier (9-1) has won the last four SCC championships and nine of the last 10. No. 8 Branford (23-1) and No. 10 Foran (16-5) are expected to challenge the Falcons.

On Wednesday, Fairfield Prep (11-6, 6-0 SCC Div. II) won the Division II title with a 51-24 victory over Morgan. Xavier can claim the Division I title with a win over Hand on Wednesday.

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The Eastern Connecticut Conference (ECC) tournament will be Friday, Feb. 11 and Saturday, Feb 12 at Killingly High. Wrestling begins Friday at 4:30 p.m. On Saturday, action resumes at 10 a.m. with the championship semifinals.

The ECC Tournament finals will begin at 3 p.m. and will be streamed live by the New London Day. The winner of the tournament takes the league championship and Killingly (14-2, 3-0 ECC Div. II) has won the last three ECC titles.

The FCIAC Tournament will be a two-day event at New Canaan. Wrestling also begins Friday at 4:30 p.m. and resumes Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with the championship semifinals. The finals are set to begin at 4 p.m. No. 2 Danbury (10-1) has won the last 10 FCIAC tournament titles.

The Southwest Conference championship meet will be held at New Milford High on Saturday. Host New Milford has won four of the last five SWC championships. The winner of the league championship meet brings home the league championship.

The Berkshire Valley championship meet will be Saturday, Feb. 12 at Gilbert in Winsted with teams from the Berkshire League and Naugatuck Valley League while the North Central Connecticut Conference (NCCC) championship meet will be Rockville High in Vernon beginning at 10 a.m.

The NCCC meet looks interesting with no undefeated team in the league this year. Teams in the NCCC earn one point for each dual meet win and one point for each team they beat at the league championship meet.

With a week to go in the regular season, Stafford (7-4, 4-1 NCCC) leads the league with Canton (10-9, 3-2) and Portland (8-12, 3-1 NCCC) in the hunt for the league title.

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On Thursday night, Berlin (11-1, 5-0 CCC South) moved into position to win their first league championship since 2009 with a dominating 62-15 win over previously undefeated Bristol Central. The Redcoats used eight pins to earn the win.

Berlin can win their first CCC South championship with a win over Middletown on Wednesday. The Redcoats last league pennant came in 2009 in the final year of the Northwest Conference.

Bristol Eastern (8-4, 4-1 CCC South) had won nine of the last 10 CCC South titles and the last four in a row. Central (6-1, 4-1 CCC South) look to be wrestling for second place in their annual cross-town battle to close out the regular season next week.

Simsbury (8-2, 5-0) can win their third straight CCC West championship with a win over Farmington on Wednesday.

No. 5 East Hartford (14-0, 4-0) can bring home their first CCC North championship since 2018 with a win over Manchester next week. RHAM (15-1, 3-0) can capture their third straight CCC East crown with a win over Rocky Hill next Wednesday.

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Earlier this season, Mt. Anthony of Bennington, Vt., lose out on the opportunity to face No. 2 Danbury in their annual match on Martin Luther King Day due to snow. The Patriots will still be facing some top-notch Connecticut talent next week. Mt. Anthony is visiting No. 1 Xavier on Tuesday beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Notre Dame-West Haven closed out the dual meet portion of their schedule with a 54-22 win over Jonathan Law. Notre Dame finishes 12-6. … Cheshire beat Shelton, 40-34 for their second win of the season and ended a long losing streak at the hands of Shelton. Five pins from Jacob Tierney (132), Bryan Hart (138), Rome Smith (170), Eric Scoffone (182) and Matt Smith (195) helped the Rams prevail.

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On Wednesday night, Trumbull handed No. 6 Staples their first loss of the season in a 42-33 decision. The Wreckers dominated in the lower weights with five wins and four pins from 106 to 132 pounds. But from 138, Trumbull (9-3) had pins in seven of the next weight classes to take command of the bout. Staples slips to 13-1.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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