Seven wrestlers from Connecticut won medals and two state wrestlers finished first at the 2023 Brian Keck Memorial Preseason National tournament Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Xavier’s Raekwon Shabazz (113 pounds) and North Haven’s Joey Iamunno (150) each went 6-0 to win championships in the grades 11-12 division.
Shabazz, who trains with Mayo Quanchi Judo and Wrestling out of Coventry, R.I., was the only wrestler in the boys 11-12 tournament to win in consecutive years. Shabazz won at 106 pounds a year ago.
Shabazz had three pins in under 1:22 and a technical fall to earn a spot in the semifinals. He dominated Cole Welte of MWC Wrestling Academy in Nebraska in the semifinals, 13-1, before winning the championship with a 15-4 decision over Mycah Beckett of Askren Wrestling Academy in Wisconsin.
Iamunno, who wrestles at Greens Farms Academy in Westport, had two pins in the tournament and three tough victories to win the championship. He had a 5-0 win over Wisconsin’s Joseph Lohmar in the quarters before outlasting Nebraska’s Logan Glynn in the semifinals, 6-3 thanks to a key reversal with 20 seconds left in the second period.
In the final, he beat Oklahoma’s Trae Rios, 6-0 to win the tournament. Iamunno also trains with South Side Wrestling Club in Bridgeport.
Xavier’s Max Morse (175) finished sixth in the 11-12 tournament with Stratford’s Lindsey Rywolt (113) finishing sixth in the girls grades 9-12 division. Norwalk’s Ryan Schneider (165) was eighth in the grades 9-10 division with Plainville’s Jaxsen Bailey (92) taking sixth in the grades 7-8 division. Plainville’s Logan Bailey (74) was fifth in the grades 5-6 division.
Gabe Garibaldi (275), who lives in White Plains, New York, and trains with South Side Wrestling Club finished first at 285 pounds in the grades 11-12 division, going 3-0 with a pin and a 7-1 win over Zack Chalmon of Alabama in the championship match.
Morse, who lives in Uncasville, went 4-3 in the tournament with one pin. Morse won his first four matches at 175 before falling in the semifinals to Georgia’s Kriecg Roe, 4-1. Morse dropped 3-1 and 3-0 decisions in the consolation round to finish sixth.
Rywolt went 5-3 with three pins in the girls tournament at 125 pounds. She won four straight bouts in the consolation round, including three by pin, to earn a spot in the medal round.
Schneider went 3-3 in the tournament with victories in three of his first four matches.
Jaxsen Bailey won his first three matches to advance to the semifinals before he dropped a 6-0 decision. In the consolation, he dropped a 4-1 decision in OT and a 7-0 decision to finish sixth. Logan Bailey also won his first three matches to advance to the semifinals. Logan Bailey went 4-2 with two pins to finish fifth with a 5-0 win over Iowa’s Logan Gass.
The tournament is named in the memory of Brian Keck., who tragically passed away at the age 48 during a trip to Mexico in November 2019.
Keck worked with USA Wrestling to found the Preseason Nationals in 2008, a major early season national folkstyle wrestling event for athletes of all ages. The first event was held in Des Moines, then spent nine years in Cedar Falls, Iowa, before returning to Des Moines in 2018. During its 12 years with Keck’s involvement, the competition grew in size and prestige.