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New Milford outlasts Newtown at SWC tourney; Historic win for Warde

Fairfield Warde won their second straight FCIAC title on Saturday, the first team, other than Danbury, to achieve that feat since 1985. (Photo courtesy Steve Fulco)

No. 2 Newtown had seven individual champions, eight finalists and 11 wrestlers that finished in the top four of their respective weight classes at Saturday’s Southwest Conference championship tournament.

It still wasn’t enough.

No. 6 New Milford had five individual champions, eight finalists and 13 wrestlers that finished in the top four as the Green Wave won the SWC Tournament for the fourth straight time with a tournament-record 278½ points. New Milford broke the record of 267 they set a year ago.

Newtown had the most points ever for a second-place team with 249½ points. New Fairfield was a distant third with 123 points.

Five New Milford wrestlers had three or more pins in the tournament. Danilo Scalizitti, who was fourth at 165, had four pins while Adam O’Berc (175), Anthonio Arguello (144), Chris Reiss (215) and Ryder Langlois (150) each had three pins and finished third. Those extra bonus points for pins can add up.

New Milford’s Joe Mahoney (126) and Newtown’s Fisher Stites (165) each captured their third straight SWC championship.

Results: Saturday, February 10, 2024

In New Canaan, No. 5 Fairfield Warde won their second straight FCIAC championship with a 258½ to 215 win over Danbury. The last time a team other than Danbury won consecutive league championships was nearly 40 years ago when Norwalk won two in a row in 1984 and 1985.

Warde have six individual champions and eight finalists. The Mustangs also had two wrestlers in the 99 pound weight class, an exhibition class that didn’t count in the team scoring.

“The team did well in the winner’s brackets with eight finalists (ten if you include 99) and six champions (seven if you include 99), “ said Warde coach Jason Shaughnessy. “We had 13 of 14 wrestlers place. It was a full team effort.

“In the semifinal round, we won eight of nine matches and went 4-for-4 in blood round matches. That round was really huge and set us up nicely to win,” he said. The blood round is the term used by wrestlers to describe matches in the consolation round where the winner advances to win a medal and the losing wrestler is eliminated with no medal chances.

“It was a strong field with Danbury and Ridgefield pushing us the whole way,” Shaughnessy said. “Ridgefield had a nice semifinal round and Danbury had a strong (effort) in the wrestlebacks (consolation round) to finish second.”

Ridgefield had their best performance in the FCIAC tournament since finishing third in 2005.

Ridgefield’s Dominic Barrella (120) and Fairfield Ludlowe’s Dylan Sherman (144) each won their third straight FCIAC championship while Ludlowe’s Donyell Young (157) and Danbury’s Jesse Defonce (165) each won for the second consecutive year.

Results: Saturday, February 10, 2024

At the Eastern Connecticut Conference championships, No. 8 Killingly won their fifth title in the six events with a 223 to 197½ win over NFA. Killingly had three individual champions, seven finalists and 10 wrestlers in the top four in their respective weight classes.

NFA, which has finished second the last three years, had three individual champions and eight wrestlers in the top four.

Killingly’s Brady Zadora (182) and Windham’s Malachi Fowler (215) won their third straight ECC titles. Fowler outlasted Killingly’s Soren Rief, 3-1 in the final. Griswold/Wheeler’s Seth Christie (113), Montville’s James Linder (144) and East Lyme/Norwich Tech’s Lincoln Carlson (175) and Brayden Soleau (190) each picked up their second consecutive ECC championship.

Linder, who was 3-0 with three pins, was named the tournament‘s outstanding wrestler.

Ledyard’s Tatianna Irizarry, looking to become the first girl to win an individual ECC title, fell in the finals for the second straight year. She was shutout by Killingly’s Bradey Jonasch, 7-0, in the final at 106 pounds.

Results: Saturday, February 10, 2024

No. 1 Xavier had 10 individual champions and 11 finalists as the Falcons won the Southern Connecticut Conference championship with a dominating 281½ to 141 victory over Foran-Milford. Xavier has won seven straight SCC titles and 11 of the last 12.

It was a tournament record 281½ points for Xavier, exceeding the record 264 that they set in 2022, and the second-largest winning margin (131) in tournament history.

Xavier’s Raekwon Shabazz (113), Anthony Basile (138) and Kyle Levesque (144) won their third straight SCC championships while teammates Braylon Gonzalez (126), Kevin Kasperowski (132), Zach Fong (165) and Charles Weidman (215) each won the SCC tournament for the second year in a row.

Foran had their best finish in the tournament since 2016 when they won it. Notre Dame-West Haven finished fourth for their best finish ever in the event.

Results: Saturday, February 10, 2024

A victory by Rockville’s Malakye Pinckney over Canton’s Thomas Johnson in the championship match at 285 pounds helped the Rams win their first-ever NCCC Tournament on Saturday with a two-point win over Stafford, 164-162.

Rockville also got some key victories in the finals from Miles Tolman (138), who pinned Canton’s George Redford and Sam Montgomery (157), who picked some bonus points with a 12-0 major decision over Stafford’s Tyler Wolf.

Rockville had four finalists and picked up three wins to win the tournament. Stafford had eight wrestlers in the finals and just one win. It was the closest margin of victory in tournament history, eclipsing the six-point win by East Windsor in 1998.

But the Bulldogs still went home happy. Their second place finish in the tournament clinched their first league championship since 2003. Teams earn one point for every team they beat in the dual meet portion of the season and a half-point for every team they beat at the league tournament.

Stafford went undefeated (6-0) during the dual meet portion of the season while Rockville (5-1) had one loss to the Bulldogs. Stafford finished with 8½ points while Rockville finished with eight points and second in the league.

Canton’s Reese Titus (132) and Portland’s Tyler Quinn (175) each picked up their third consecutive NCCC titles. Suffield/Windsor Locks’s Peter Annis (106) and Naser Saleh (150), Somers’ Harrison Accorsi (126) and Stafford’s Kaleb Arccouette (215) each won their second straight league title.

Results: Saturday, February 10, 2024

With six individual champions and seven finalists, Gilbert/Torrington outlasted Nonnewaug, 178-176 to win the Berkshire League tournament.

Gilbert/Torrington, a first-year co-op program, came up big in two head-to-head battles with Nonnewaug in the finals. Gilbert/Torrington’s Evan Schibi (150) won by pin over Nonnewaug’s Collin Wilmot before Hosam Abdullah outlasted Nonnewaug’s Jeff Bernardi, 6-3.

At 190 pounds, Gilbert/Torrington’s Andy Rodriguez came up with a huge pin in the finals over Derby co-op’s Savion Gaywood to pick up crucial bonus points for the Yellowjackets.

Even though the Yellowjackets took home the tournament trophy, Nonnewaug still won the Berkshire League championship. Teams earn two points for every win in the league and one point for every team they beat at the BL tournament. Nonnewaug, which was undefeated in the league this year, finished with 14 points while Gilbert/Torrington had 11.

Gilbert/Torrington’s Madison Arthur (106) became the first girl to win a BL Tournament title since Housatonic’s Juliet Lyon in 1997. She is the fourth girl to win a conference championship, according to the Connecticut High School Record Book. The most recent winner was Somers’ Taylor McCormack (113) in 2022.

This was the first Berkshire League tournament since 2014. In 2015, the Berkshire Valley tournament began with teams from the BL and Naugatuck Valley League competing. This season, those teams with Naugatuck Valley League wrestlers were admitted to the BL as associate members in wrestling.

Results: Saturday, February 10, 2024

Greens Farms Academy won their fourth straight Western New England Prep School tournament championship with a dominating performance in their own gym in Westport.

With 11 individual champions and 12 finalists, the Dragons rolled up 374 points with Greenwich’s Brunswick School finishing second with 235 points. Trinity Pawling was third with 190 ½ while New Haven‘s Hopkins School was fourth with 146 points.

Brady Kaupp (126), Nate Taylor (190) and Ronnie Christolin (150) won their third straight Western New England title for the Dragons while GFA’s Ben Zuckerman (132), J.T. Schneider (138) and Xavier Giles (165) won their second straight Western New England title.

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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