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BRISTOL, Feb. 18 – Pins helped Fairfield Warde capture its first state championship with a seven-point victory over Bristol Central, 173-166 at the CIAC Class L wrestling tournament at Bristol Eastern. Conard was third with 150 points in its best performance since taking second in 1986.
“We won more matches but they had more pins,” Bristol Central coach Brian Archibald said. “The first night (Friday), I think they pinned every match. They had a 10-point lead after the first night.”
Warde didn’t have an individual champion but the Mustangs had eight wrestlers win medals. Jason Wojnarski (103) finished second after being pinned by Ridgefield’s Alexander Blank in 3:50. "We won this tournament because we won a lot of wrestleback matches and won third- and fourth-place matches," Warde coach Jason Shaughnessy told The Connecticut Post.
John Abbey (130), J.J. Casagrande (189) took third for Warde while Jesse Black (135), Silas Shelley (152) and Omar Graudiel (160) finished fourth. Ian Potts (275) took fifth while Pete Massee (171) finished sixth.
Warde was a very distant second to Danbury in Class LL a year ago and had finished second in 2002 as Fairfield High, which has since been split into two schools.
For Bristol Central, it was their best finish since taking second in 1999. “We peaked as a team,” Archibald said. “We did our best wrestling as a group.”
Central’s Chris Lombardi (112) won his second straight Class L championship with a thrilling 4-3 victory over cross-town rival Vinny Spinelli of Bristol Eastern. Trailing the entire match, Lombardi got a reversal with 15 seconds left.
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Top-seeded Nelson Gonzalez (125) of Platt outlasted Conard’s Brett Kalbacher, 6-0 and remain undefeated at 41-0. Gonzalez is just the third Platt wrestler to win a state title and the first since Luis Murillo in 2002. Peter Thompson won an Open title for Platt at 103 in 1967.
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At 135, the magic ended for No. 10 Christopher Foster of Maloney in a 6-4 loss to Simsbury’s William MacDonald in the final. Leading 2-1 in the third period, Foster was penalized one point for an illegal hold with 39 seconds left. Foster took a 4-2 lead with a takedown but the top-seeded MacDonald quickly escaped and got a takedown of his own with seven seconds left to win the title. Foster earned a spot in the finals with a 6-4 win over No. 3 seed David Mack of Pomperaug.
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Maloney’s Willie Brown (275) won his second straight Class L crown by pinning Masuk’s Paul Fenaroli in 3:26. It was Brown’s fourth pin of the tournament. He has been forced into the third period only three times all year.
“He’s very technically oriented. As good an athlete as he is, he’s always wants to get technically better,” Maloney coach Steve Makein told the Meriden Record Journal. “I used to kill him (wrestling in practice). I can’t beat him anymore. He’s so strong and he’s gotten so strong technically.”
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Ridgefield’s Corey Paulish was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler. Paulish (119) won his first Class L championship with a pin of Fitch’s Kyle Kelly in 2:50. … Ridgefield teammate Alex Blank (103) also won a title to give the Tigers two state champions in the same year for the first time. ... Paulish is the first Ridgefield wrestler to win an Outstanding Wrestler award at a CIAC meet.
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At 130, Bunnell’s Dennis Bogusky blanked No. 6 Patrick Toole of Staples, 4-0. …Masuk’s Sam Molina (152) topped Guilford’s Joe Spaziano in the final, 8-4. "Work and friends have helped me to get where I am today. If I ever got too cocky they were the ones to get me to stay focused," Molina told the Connecticut Post. … Tied at 3-3 in the third period, Bristol Eastern’s Nick Tenan (140) blocked the takedown attempt of Bristol Central’s Andrew Cyr and got the deciding takedown in the final 30 seconds to earn a 5-3 win and a state championship. … Fermi’s John Ragno (189) pinned Bristol Central’s Matt Dabrowski in 1:36 to win his second straight Class L title.
Reports from the Connecticut Post and Meriden Record Journal also used to compile this report.
Championship: Alexander Blank (Ridgfield ) pin Jason Wojnarowski (Fairfield Warde), 3:50; 3rd – Nick Gottier (Rockville) dec. Nathan Nadeau (E.O. Smith), 1-0; 5th – Zachary Schreiner (Bristol Central) win by default over Justin Beers (Fitch)
Championship: Chris Lombardi (Bristol Central) dec. Vinny Spinelli (Bristol Eastern), 4-3; 3rd – Matt Mazzacarro (Platt) dec. Eric Bergeron (Maloney), 11-2; 5th – Paul Mazarella (Wethersfield) dec. Evan Bailey (Farmington), 12-2
Championship: Corey Paulish (Ridgefield) pin Kyle Kelly (Fitch), 2:50; 3rd – Jose Negron (Rockville) dec. Ryan Garrity (Fermi), 6-3; 5th – Mike Brignano (Farmington) pin Ryan Clarke (East Lyme), 2:16
Championship: Nelson Gonzalez (Platt) dec. Brett Kalbacher (Conard), 6-0; 3rd – Ray Marci (Farmington) dec. Gregory Labbe (Bristol Central), 5-4; 5th – Peter Menchaca (Staples) dec. Steven Brant (Simsbury), 5-4
Championship: Dennis Bogusky (Bunnell) dec. Patrick Toole III (Staples), 4-0; 3rd – Jonathan Abbey (Fairfield Warde) dec. Micah Flashman (Masuk), 14-7; 5th – Max Saglimbeni (Bristol Eastern) dec. Dylan Waite (Conard), 14-1
Championship: William MacDonald (Simsbury) dec. Christopher Foster (Maloney), 6-4; 3rd – Daniel Makowicki (Bunnell) dec. Jesse Black (Fairfield Warde), 5-2; 5th – James Hespeler (Fitch) dec. David Mack (Pomperaug), 5-2
Championship: Nick Tenan (Bristol Eastern) dec. Andrew Cyr (Bristol Central), 5-3; 3rd – Jeff Kalbacher (Conard) dec. Chase Verzillo (Pomperaug), 9-4; 5th – Yuri Avila (Bunnell) pin Michael Turcio (Guilford), 0:39
Championship: Andrew Frazer (Conard) dec. Peter Morano (New Canaan), 17-5; 3rd – Brandon Sundwall (Guilford) dec. John Steele (Simsbury), 5-2; 5th – David Blackwell (Bunnell) win by default over Peter Massee (Fairfield Warde)
Championship: John Ragno (Fermi) pin Matt Dabrowski (Bristol Central), 1:36; 3rd -- J.J. Casagrande (Fairfield Warde) dec. James Coyle (Farmington), 15-2; 5th – Kyle Mahder (Wethersfield) dec. Bill Ryan (Masuk), 9-7
Championship: Gonzalo Pereira (New Canaan) dec. Evan James (Staples), 5-4; 3rd – Keith Kaynar (Conard) pin Andrew Drummond (Wilton), 3:34; 5th – Kia Gholampour (Farmington) pin John Maljevic (Bristol Central), 4:48
Championship: Willie Brown (Maloney) dec. Paul Fenaroili (Masuk), 3:26; 3rd – Scott Hiller (Ridgefield) dec. Chris Richichi (New Canaan), 3-2; 5th – Ian Potts (Fairfield Warde) pin Kevin Potter (Platt), 0:24