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Xavier remains No. 1 in top 10 poll; Milestone wins for Bowen, Fitch

Killingly’s Rich Bowen, left, and RHAM’s Ryan Fitch, right, had milestone wins on Saturday. Bowen won his 700th career match while Fitch won his 300th.

In the land of steady habits, voters in the Connecticut Wrestling Online top 10 poll remain consistent with the teams they feel belong in the top 10. No new teams joined the poll in week five and four teams exchanged spots in the top 10. Only 11 teams have been in the top 10 this winter.

Xavier (10-2) remains the unanimous selection for the No. 1 team in Connecticut for the second consecutive week. Newtown (12-0) is the unanimous selection for the No. 2 team in the state by all 17 voters.

East Hartford and Danbury swapped spots in this week’s poll. East Hartford (12-0) moved up one spot to No. 3. Just six points ahead of Danbury (12-0). Fairfield Warde (17-2) remains No. 5 with New Milford (9-1) at No. 6.

Undefeated Killingly (29-0) moved up one spot to No. 7 with Simsbury (11-3) sliding down one spot to No. 8., just three points behind Killingly. Trumbull (24-2) and Ridgefield (12-2) rounded out the top 10.

Results: Saturday, January 27, 2024
Results: Sunday, January 28, 2024

Xavier won a championship trophy for the third consecutive weekend by taking the Methuen (Mass.) Invitational with a 74-point win over Salem, N.H. A week ago, the Falcons won their own Colter Abely tournament and two weeks ago, Xavier won the War on the Shore tournament against top teams from Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Raekwon Shabazz, Kyle Levesque, Anthony Basile and Charles Weidman each won individual titles for the second straight year at the Methuen Invitational. Xavier had four champions and seven finalists.

No. 1 Xavier won the Meuthen Invitational for the second straight year on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Mike Cunningham)

Newtown (14-0) won their fourth tournament of the season with a strong performance at the Gary Tiger Ridgefield Challenge on Saturday. Newtown won the tournament for the first time with five individual champions and nine finalists.

The Nighthawks broke the tournament record for most points with 282, eclipsing the previous record set by Monroe, N.Y., in 2015 of 277½ points.

Host Ridgefield finished second, beating No. 6 New Milford by three points, 197½ to 194½. It was the best finish ever for the Tigers at the event.

Jake Maddox (150), Marc Maurath (157), Fisher Stites (165), Charles Dunn (190) and Jon DaSilva (285) won for Newtown with Tommy Milligan (106) dropping a 1-0 decision in the final and Anthonio Arguello (144) dropping a 3-0 decision in the final to tournament MVP Victor Petkov.

No. 3 East Hartford (12-0) won their own TFC Kevin Miller Duals on Saturday for the first time since 2018 with a close 38-36 win over No. 5 Fairfield Warde in the championship bout. With four straight wins, the visiting Mustangs took a 36-32 lead thanks to a pin from Anthony Albanese (285), a three-point decision by Jude Grammatico (106) over Chris Montovani, 6-3, a pin from Andres Bernal Mendoza (113) and a 9-1 victory from Zach Brzoska at 120.

But in the final match of the tournament, it was East Hartford’s Isaac Quiles (126) with a pin over Owen Sheiman to win it all for the Hornets, who have won 14 straight since last season.

Results: Saturday, January 27, 2024
Results: Sunday, January 28, 2024

No. 4 Danbury (12-0) remained undefeated with some solid victories. The Hatters beat Westhill, 67-9 on Wednesday before sweeping a quad meet on Saturday with victories over Haverhill, Mass., 43-35, Timberland Regional from Plaistow, N.H., 44-22 and No. 8 Simsbury, 34-22. Haverhill is ranked No. 2 in the most recent rankings from the MassWrasslin Instragram page.

No. 5 Fairfield Warde (17-2) beat Branford on Wednesday, 62-18 and advanced to the finals of the TFC Kevin Millar Duals in East Hartford with victories over NFA, 51-22, Stratford, 63-13 and a team of junior varsity wrestlers, 78-0. Sometimes in dual meet tournament teams when there is an odd number of teams, a collection of junior varsity wrestlers is put together for an eighth team to ensure that each team has an opportunity to wrestle at least three varsity matches.

No. 6 New Milford (9-1) beat Bunnell, 69-6 on Wednesday and finished third at the Gary Tiger Ridgefield Challenge.

Killingly won their sixth tournament of the season at the Class M/S Duals in Milford. (Photo courtesy Killingly athletics)

No. 7 Killingly (29-0) continues to achieve milestones every weekend. With four victories at the Class M/S Duals at Foran, Killingly extended their school record winning streak to 56 matches, the fourth longest winning streak in state history according to the Connecticut High School Wrestling Record Book. The state record is 96 by Danbury but the next rung on the ladder is 61 in a row set by Manchester (1994-97) and New Milford (2009-12).

Killingly beat Branford, 60-24, and Avon, 51-16, in pool play before advancing to the championship pool where KHS beat Foran, 49-24 and RHAM, 47-29. Four wrestlers were named to the All-Tournament team – Max Richardson, Brady Zadora, Aiden Mantia and Soren Reif.

The victories also gave long-time Killingly coach Rich Bowen his 700th career victory – the first man in state history to earn 700 wins. Bowen, who has been coaching at Killingly since December 1986, has a career record of 700-183-2.

Only two wrestling coaches in state history have exceeded 600 career wins. Buster Jadach of Derby/Oxford/Holy Cross is the only other coach to have topped 600 wins. The next closest coach is Windham’s Patrick Risley who has 555 career victories.

Results: Saturday, January 27, 2024
Results: Sunday, January 28, 2024

No. 8 Simsbury (11-3) had a challenging weekend. After beating Newington, 72-6 on Wednesday, the Trojans lost three in a row to No. 4 Danbury, 34-22, Haverhill, Mass., 46-30, and Timberlane Regional, 46-29.

No. 9 Trumbull (24-2) beat Norwalk, 48-30 on Wednesday and finished tied for second place, four points behind North Providence, R.I., 136-132, at the Connecticut Challenge tournament in Southington. The Eagles finished tied with Enfield for second place.

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There was another coaching milestone win on Saturday. RHAM coach Ryan Fitch earned his 300th career win as the Raptors (15-3) finished second behind Killingly at the Class M/S Duals at Foran in Milford. Killingly beat RHAM, 47-29 but the Raptors took second with a 45-27 victory over host Foran. RHAM beat Berlin, 45-30 and New Fairfield, 51-24 in pool play.

Fitch is the tenth active coach in the state with more than 300 career victories. He coached RHAM for one year in 2000 and has been behind the Raptor bench since 2008.

* * * *
Notre Dame-West Haven won four matches including a 61-18 win over Maloney to win the Richard Hastings Duals in Newington for the first time. … Longmeadow, Mass., won the Doc Meyers Brawl on the Hill at Rocky Hill for the first time with a 221-179 win over Cheshire. It was the best-ever finish for the Rams in the tournament. … Platt won the Highlander Invitational in Portland for the first time with a 200-157½ win over Plainville. … Fairfield Warde’s Owen Sheiman earned his 100th career win over the weekend.

With two individual champions, Platt won the second annual Queen of the Mat tournament at Foran in Milford on Sunday. There were 144 girls in the girls-only tournament competing in 11 weight classes. More than 177 girls registered to compete but some couldn’t get there due to snowy conditions on Sunday, according to tournament organizer Dave Nowakowski.

Platt’s Daylianete Sanchez-Cardona (100) and Foran’s Kelly Aspras (152) were the only athletes to win individual titles for a second consecutive year.

Stratford’s Lindsey Rywolt, who beat Haddam-Killingworth’s Amelia Peterson in the final at 126 pounds by an 8-1 margin, was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler.

Results: Saturday, January 27, 2024
Results: Sunday, January 28, 2024

State top 10 poll

Connecticut Wrestling Online’s top 10 high school wrestling poll for the 2022-23 season. First-place votes in parentheses, record through Saturday, points tabulated on a 30-28-26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7 basis, and last week’s poll ranking.

Tuesday. January 30, 2024 Week 5

Team Rec. TW Pts LW Class
1. Xavier (17) 10-2 4 510 1 L
2. Newtown 14-0 4 476 2 L
3. East Hartford 8-0 4 422 4 LL
4. Danbury 8-0 1 416 3 LL
5. Fairfield Warde 17-2 2 374 5 LL
6. New Milford 9-1 3 318 6 L
7. Killingly 29-0 6 297 8 S
8. Simsbury 11-3 1 294 7 L
9. Trumbull 24-2 2 216 9 LL
10. Ridgefield 12-2 1 198 nr LL
Also receiving votes: RHAM (15-3) 138, Platt (21-4) 81, Foran (25-7) 66, Southington (8-2) 63, Fairfield Ludlowe (8-2) 34, NFA (20-5) 31, Notre Dame-West Haven (20-8) 27, Bristol Eastern (13-2) 23, Berlin (13-7) 17, Glastonbury 10, Enfield 9
TW: Wins in dual meet or individual tournaments as a team
Voting this week: Charlie Anderson, Trumbull; Matt Boissonneault, Bristol Central; Mike Cunningham, Xavier; Gerry deSimas, Jr., Connecticut Wrestling Online; Derek Dion, Southington; Chris Gamble, Waterford; David Green, Nonnewaug; Tim Jensen, Patch Media; Chris Piel, New Milford; Patrick Risley, Windham High; Matt Schoonmaker, Jonathan Law-Milford; Jason Shaughnessy, Fairfield Warde; T.J. Silva, Simsbury; David Stewart,, Jimmy Zanor, Norwich Bulletin; Paul Musso, New Fairfield

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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