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Burrell and Sarah Henckel win national prep school titles; GFA finishes fifth

Steven Burrell of Greens Farms Academy won a national title at the Prep School nationals on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of GFA wrestling)

Steven Burrell, Jr., of Westport’s Greens Farms Academy went 5-0 with 3 pins to win a national championship Saturday at 215 pounds at the 87th annual Prep School national championships in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Burrell beat Carter Neves of Blair Academy, 5-2, to become the second Dragon wrestler to win a prep school national title and the first since Stratford’s Nico Provo won in 2021. Burrell used a takedown with 1:17 remaining in the match to turn a one-point lead into a three-point advantage.

Burrell, who lives in New Rochelle, N.Y., was one of five All-American wrestlers for Greens Farms Academy, which finished fifth with 177½ points. Blair Academy won the tournament with 333 points followed by Lake Highland Prep from Orlando, Florida with 286½ points.

Newtown’s Nate Taylor earned All-American honors for the third straight year for GFA. Taylor finished second at 190 pounds, dropping a 4-0 decision to Jude Correa of Wyoming Seminar in the championship match. Taylor was 4-1 in the tournament with three pins.

Xavier Giles also finished second for GFA at 165 pounds, dropping a 3-1 decision to Blair Academy’s Peter Snyder in overtime. Snyder got a takedown with 21 seconds left in the extra period to win the national title.

Giles, who lives in the Bronx, N.Y., had three takedowns to beat No. 1 seed Nolan O’Boyle from Norfolk Academy in the semifinals.

Guilford’s Chris Murphy finished third at 285 for the Dragons with a 13-1 win over Aden Rie of Kiski in the consolation final. Murphy went 5-1 in the tournament.

North Haven’s Giuseppe Iamunno finished fourth at 138 pounds for GFA. Seeded eight, Iamunno went 3-1 in the consolation bracket to finish with a medal. He was 5-2 overall in the tournament.

Southbury’s William Henckel was the top seed at 152 for Blair Academy but he was upset in the semifinals in overtime by Claudio Torres of Lake Highland Prep, 3-1. Torres got a takedown with 16 seconds in OT to advance to the finals.

Henckel won his next two matches to finish third. He beat Christopher Crawford of Wyoming Seminary, 3-2 in triple OT with the ultimate tiebreaker.

Pearson Hill of Choate Rosemary Hall earned All-American honors for the third time in his scholastic career with an eighth place finish at 175 pounds. Choate Rosemary Hall’s Manuel Beigel, a Michigan football recruit, came one win shy of All-American honors with a loss in the blood round at 285 pounds.

Brunswick School from Greenwich didn’t have any All-Americans but Carlo Tucci came close. Tucci, a freshman who finishes with a 28-8 record and 17 pins, also fell one win short of All-American honors falling in the blood round. He won three matches in the tournament.

In the girls tournament, Southbury’s Sarah Henkel of Blair Academy won a national championship at 152 pounds with a 2-0 win over Tayla Tidsley of Phillips Andover. An escape and a penalty point provided the winning margin. Henckel went 4-0 in the tournament with three pins, two in the first period.

Greens Farms Academy’s April Torres finished second at 165 pounds, falling in the final to Alex Alli of Wyoming Seminary by pin.

The Choate Rosemary Hall girls team finished fifth sparked by All-Americans Sachi Mehra (114), Leanne La (132) and Elsa Holmes (138), who each finished fourth in their respective weight classes.

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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