By MAX SCHWARTZ
Special to Connecticut Wrestling Online
With the bulk of the dual meet season behind us, the postseason tournaments are getting underway across New England.
In Connecticut, the conference tournaments go full throttle this weekend while in Massachusetts, the sectional tournaments begin. In Vermont, the dual meet state championships will occur and in Maine, the Class A and Class B tournaments are set for this weekend.
There is just one new No. 1 wrestler in this week’s New England public school rankings. Nate Blanchette of Central Catholic in Lawrence, Mass., moved up one spot at 182 pounds after his win over Spencer Fine of Bishop Hendricken in Rhode Island at the 2023 Capital City Classic in Concord, N.H.
With so much talent in the region, the rankings have been expanded to the top 12 wrestlers in each weight class along with a top 20 ranking for teams at the New England tournament in March.
There will be two more editions of the New England top 10 rankings this season on Feb. 23, prior to New England qualifying tournaments around the region and one week later on Thursday, Feb. 2, just prior to the New England championships.
There are a few changes at 106 in this week’s rankings. Brady Oulette (Noble, ME) joining the top 10 rankings for the second time this season at No. 4. He won the 2023 Timberlane tournament in Plaistow, N.H., beating No. 6 Mike Morris (Haverhill, MA), 10-6 and pinning No. 5 Emmet Logan (Lowell, MA).
Thanks to a dominant season in Vermont, No. 10 Coy Lyford (Spaulding, VT) is back in the rankings. He recently avenged a loss to Oulette from earlier in the season. No. 7 Charlie Lussier (Whitman-Hanson, MA) is also new to the rankings. He has been a force in Massachusetts and has a past win over Glynn from 2021 at the Spartan Championships.
|8||Cole Glynn||MA||Central Catholic||So.||6|
|9||William Soe||RI||North Providence||Sr.||7|
|11||Alex Oberc||CT||New Milford||Jr.||8|
|12||Jack Gedeney||CT||Lewis Mills||Fr.||9|
There are no changes at 113 in the top seven spots. No. 8 Braylon Gonzalez (Xavier, CT) debuts at No. 8. He recently beat No. 10 Domenic Gangi (Methuen, MA), 10-4 in the finals of the Methuen Invitational. Gangi also beat No. 11 Shea Morris (Haverhill, MA) 6-2 in the semifinals of the Methuen tournament.
No. 9 Aiden Baum (Milford, MA) is back in the rankings thanks to an outstanding sophomore season. Baum made the New England Tournament last year at 106 and won a match.
|2||Alex Schaeublin||MA||St. John’s Prep||Sr.||2|
|7||Ryan Conlan||RI||La Salle Academy||Sr.||7|
While Peyton Ellis of Coventry, R.I., is firmly in the No. 1 spot, there is a bit of shakeup in the top 10. No. 5 Martim Moniz (East Providence, RI) moved into the top 10 after using three pins to win Connecticut Challenge in Southington that included a 3-2 win over then-No. 3 Cameron Davis (Cranston West, RI) in that tournament. Davis drops out of the top 10 due to Rhode Island qualifying only three wrestlers per weight class. However, it looks like there are not one, not two, not three, but four possible hammers coming out of RI in this weight class, gunning for a spot on the New England podium.
In other action around the region, Peyton Ellis (Coventry, RI) won the Gary Tiger Ridgefield Challenge and had a pin over No. 10 Jerry Hill (Bethel, CT). Hill won the New Milford tournament the week prior. No. 8 Issac Quilles (East Hartford, CT) had three pins and won the Central Connecticut Conference Tournament.
|4||Brayton Carbone||MA||Shawsheen Tech||So.||5|
|5||Martim Moniz||RI||East Providence||Sr.||NR|
|6||Miles Darling||MA||Essex Tech/Masconomet||Jr.||6|
|7||Joe Mahoney||CT||New Fairfield||So.||7|
|8||Isaac Quilles||CT||East Hartford||So.||8|
The top 10 remained the same. With the expansion to the top 12 wrestlers, No. 11 Jared Managifico (Southington, CT) and No. 12 Alex Perez (Mount Anthony Union, VT) joined the group.
No. 3 Phoenix Gardella (Norwalk, CT) won the New Milford tournament, and No. 8 Dominick Spadaro (Fairfield Warde, CT) won the Gary Tiger Ridgefield Challenge. The two should square off for a rematch this weekend in the FCIAC championship tournament. No. 6 Jack Callahan (Tewksbury, MA) beat No. 10 Nathan Sayers (Xavieran, MA), 13-1
|2||Julian Henderson||ME||Camden Hills||Sr.||2|
|4||Dylan Kadish||MA||Newton South||Jr.||4|
|7||Andrew McCarthy||RI||Mount Hope||So.||7|
|8||Dominick Spadaro||CT||Fairfield Warde||So.||8|
|9||Michael Boulaunger Jr.||MA||Milford||So.||9|
|12||Alex Perez||VT||Mount Anthony||So.||NR|
Jonah Paulino (Monty Tech, MA) beating James Tildsley (Shawsheen Tech) 14-2 caused a significant change in this weight class. No. 7 Colton Thorpe (Southington, CT) had a dominate performance winning both the Connecticut Challenge and the CCC tournament to come in and earn a spot in the rankings.
|2||Jonah Paulino||MA||Monty Tech||Jr.||5|
|3||James Tildsley||MA||Shawsheen Tech||Fr.||2|
|6||Connor Swaim||RI||North Kingston||Sr.||7|
The big mover here is No. 3 Jackez Mendez (East Hartford, CT) up five spots from No. 8 in the most recent rankings. Mendez beat No. 9 Josh Howard (Southington, CT) in the finals of the Connecticut Challenge. Mende also beat No. 4 Anthony Basile (Xavier, CT) to win the Colter Abbey Mid-Season Classic. Basile, meanwhile, bested No. 5 Cam Ice (Minnechaug, MA) in double-overtime to win the Methuen Invitational.
No. 12 Jesse DeFonce of Danbury is now up at 138 for the postseason. A loss in last year’s FCIAC finals puts No. 11 Nick Fatone (Norwalk, CT) ahead of him in the rankings. We should hopefully see a rematch come Saturday.
|1||Sidney Tildsley||MA||Shawsheen Tech||So.||1|
|2||Tyler Kadish||MA||Newton South||Sr.||2|
|3||Jackez Mendez||CT||East Hartford||So.||8|
|6||Caleb Whitney||VT||Otter Valley||Sr.||5|
|9||Josh Howard||CT||Southington||Jr.||9 @ 145|
|10||Jaydin D’Ambrosio||MA||St. John’s Prep||Jr.||9|
Just a few changes here at 145 pounds. No. 5 Yaxier Rivera (East Hartford, CT) makes his rankings debut after beating then-No. 2 Jonah Weber (Avon, CT) 10-4 in the Central Connecticut Conference finals.
No. 10 Teghan McConnell (Bedford, NH) jumps into the rankings following a pin over No. 11 James Bohenko (Central Catholic, MA) to win the Capital City Classic in Concord. Bohenko beat No. 12 Colby Vital (Bishop Hendricken, RI) in the semifinals in Concord.
|3||Thomas Bock||CT||New Fairfield||Sr.||4|
|4||Luke Connolly||MA||Northeast Metro Tech||Jr.||7|
|5||Yaxier Rivera||CT||East Hartford||So.||NR|
|8||William Smith||CT||Fairfield Prep||Jr.||6|
|11||James Bohenko||MA||Central Catholic||Sr.||NR|
|12||Colby Vital||RI||Bishop Hendricken||Fr.||8|
The top 4 doesn’t change at 152 pounds. The Methuen Invitational featured a bunch of the top talent in New England at this weight. No. 5 Luke Montefusco (Cranston West, RI) climbs into the rankings after beating No. 6 David Pento Jr. (Londonderry, NH), 5-4 to win the tournament. He also defeated No. 8 Brock DesMarias (Tyngsborough/Dracut, MA) 10-5 in the semis. DesMarias, however, pinned both No. 9 Matthew Ferruci (Xavier, CT) in the quarterfinals and No. 11 Michael Anniballi (Natick, MA) for third place.
|5||Luke Montefuso||RI||Cranston West||Sr.||NR|
|6||David Pento Jr.||NH||Londonderry||So.||6|
|7||Donnell Young||CT||Fairfield Ludlowe||Jr.||7|
|8||Brock DesMarias||MA||Tyngsborough/Dracut||Sr.||8 @ 160|
This weight class is chock full of talent. No. 1 Rawson Iwanicki (St. John’s Prep, MA) leads the pack, but the four wrestlers following him are all very talented and hunting for that top spot. The newest of these is No. 5 Drayvn Roberts (East Hartford, CT). The sophomore beat No. 6 Jack Walsh (Chelmsford, MA) 6-4 to win the Colter Abbey Mid-Season Classic.
No. 9 Connor Winfield (Narraganset, RI) jumps into the rankings after dropping down a weight class. He has had a great season in Rhode Island. No. 11 Matteo Mustapa (Salem, NH) makes his first appearance in the rankings after going 4-0 with four pins to win the Capital City Classic.
|1||Rawson Iwanicki||MA||St. John’s Prep||Sr.||1|
|4||Khalil Bourjeli||CT||New Milford||Sr.||4|
|5||Dravyn Roberts||CT||East Hartford||So.||NR|
|10||Braden Campbell||RI||Bishop Hendricken||So.||9|
|12||Jack Arpey||VT||Mt. Mansfield||Sr.||10|
No changes here in the top 10 of this class. No. 11 Amon Khalil (Brockton, MA) joins the rankings with No. 12 Matthew Cleary (Plymouth, NH), who won the Capital City Classic.
|3||Oliver Parker||RI||Central Falls/Blackstone||Sr.||3|
|6||Aaron Johnson||VT||Mount Anthony Union||Sr.||6|
|10||Shea Ferrell||ME||Mt. Arat-Brunswick||Sr.||10|
The finals of the Capital City Classic 182-pound division featured the top two wrestlers in New England. New No. 1 Nate Blanchette (Central Catholic, MA) beat No. 2 Spencer Fine (Bishop Hendricken, RI) 10-5 to win the individual championship.
Other action includes No. 8 Charles Weidman (Xavier, CT) pinning No. 9 Anthony Fernandez (Nashua South, NH). Fernandez was up 9-6 at the time of the pin. We also have No. 7 Brayden Soleau (East Lyme/Norwich Tech, CT) making his rankings debut as he beat Weidman 7-2 in the semifinals of the Colter Abbey Mid-Season Classic. Soleau went on to lose to Fine via pin in the finals.
|1||Nate Blanchette||MA||Central Catholic||Jr.||2|
|2||Spencer Fine||RI||Bishop Hendricken||Jr.||1|
|7||Brayden Soleau||CT||East Lyme/Norwich Tech||So.||NR|
|9||Anthony Fernandez||NH||Nashua South||Sr.||6|
|11||Joshua Nieroda||CT||Suffield/Windsor Locks||Sr.||10|
No changes here in the top 10 except for the additions of No. 11 Michael Toppan (Gloucester, MA) and No. 12 Canton Hill (Sanford, ME).
|6||Sammy Montovani||CT||East Hartford||Jr.||6|
Movement here is subtle as one through seven remain the same. No. 9 Nehemias Petteway enters the rankings for the second time this season after pinning No. 10 Mike Gianetti. (Trumbull, CT) No. 12 Charlie Turner (Portsmouth, NH) also enters the rankings for the first time. Petteway, Gianetti, and No. 11 Jhonneyel Ramierez (Danbury, CT) are all contenders to take the FCIAC tournament title this weekend.
|6||Logan Reiner||RI||South Kingstown||Sr.||6|
|8||Kaden Cyr||ME||Bonny Eagle||Jr.||9|
|9||Nehemias Petteway||CT||Fairfield Warde||Sr.||NR|
A few interesting changes at heavyweight. No. 3 Malaki Colon (Timberlane, NH) moves up after beating No. 4 Nuh Adjunski (Danbury, CT) in a dual meet. No. 7 Alex Bajores (St. John’s Prep, MA) enters the rankings for SJP instead of 2022 New England qualifier Charlie Smith. Bajores has had a great season thus far.
Other action includes No. 1 Thomas Brown (Chelmsford, MA) beating No. 10 Joseph Church (Bishop Hendricken, RI) in the finals of the Colter Abbey Mid-Season Classic and the debut of No. 11 Lucas Cylwick (Trumbull, CT), who won the Connecticut Challenge, and No. 12 Justin Sokol (Hopkinton, MA).
|5||Doug Traynor||CT||New Fairfield||Sr.||4|
|7||Alex Bajores||MA||St. John’s Prep||So.||NR|
|8||Don Shivas||CT||Derby/Oxford/Holy Cross||Sr.||8|
|10||Joseph Church||RI||Bishop Hendricken||Sr.||10|
No. 1 Ponaganset (Glocester, RI), who is ranked No. 49 in the country, still holds a very firm lead as the top team in New England. These ratings are based on the number of wrestlers ranked in the top 12 of the individual weight classes.
No. 2 Xavier, (Middletown, CT) jumps up after winning the Colter Abbey Mid-Season Classic. No. 3 Danbury (CT) went 3-1 in duals, most notably losing to Timberlane (Plasitow, NH). Danbury and Xavier were scheduled to face off in a dual meet last Friday, however, the Hatters canceled due to injuries in the lineup.
No. 4 Coventry (RI) came in second at the Gary Tiger Ridgefield Challenge, No. 6 Shawsheen Tech (Billerica, MA) won the Massachusetts Vocational School state tournament, and No. 7 Norwalk (CT) came in second at the New Milford tournament.
No. 11 East Hartford (CT) is the biggest riser, jumping from unranked all the way to 11. The Hornets won the Central Connecticut Conference tournament beating No. 14 Avon (CT) in the process.
|Rank||School||State||Points||Ranked Wrestlers||Last Rank|
|5||St. Johns Prep||MA||46||4||5|
Max Schwartz has published multiple pieces with wrestling giant Flowrestling.com, including pre-covid New England rankings, as well as with up-and-coming Division I wrestling news site Fancowrestling.com. Max grew up in Norwalk, Conn., where he wrestled for Norwalk High. This is his second year doing New England rankings for Connecticut Wrestling Online. You can reach Max at [email protected].