2008 CIAC Class LL championships
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Danbury News Times, Feb. 17: All 14 Hatters finish in the top 5

Connecticut Wrestling Online
TRUMBULL, Feb. 16 – Danbury High continues to push the envelope with their performance on the mat. The Hatters won their state record 12th consecutive Class LL championship with a 137-point victory over second-place Amity, 296-159.

But all 14 Danbury wrestlers finished among the top five in their respective weight classes. Four actually won titles. "You always want more guys in the finals, but you can't ask for a much better day,” Danbury coach Ricky Shook told the Danbury News Times. Eleven of those 14 finished in the top four to qualify for the State Open.

"This is what we focus on all year," Danbury's Charlie Constanzo (119) told the News Times. "These four weeks are what we prepare for all season. We are all peaking at the right time." Constanzo nipped Shelton’s Robert Ferrante, 4-3, to win his first state championship.

Danbury’s Tucker Schaefer (140) earned his 100th career win and won a state title by pinning Amity’s Mike Vernik. Humphrey Swift (285) picked up a key takedown with 32 seconds left in the match against Shelton’s Rich Wigglesworth to snap a 2-2 tie and earn a 4-3 victory.

Undefeated Dean Smith (152) won his second straight Class LL title with a 8-0 win over Ridgefield’s Jordan Tiger.

* * * *
Ridgefield’s Alexander Blank (125) earned his third straight state championship with a quick pin of Glastonbury’s Tyler Vallario in 1:32. Blank won at 103 a year in Class LL and at 103 in Class L in 2006.

"Alex did a great job," Ridgefield coach Gary Tiger told the Danbury News Times. "He has worked incredibly hard to get to this point."  Blank earned the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler award after the win.

* * * *
It was a historic day for the Cheshire High wrestling program. The Rams crowned their first state champion in the program’s 20-year history when senior Mike Briskin beat Glastonbury’s Blake Summers, 7-5 in the 112 pound match.

Briskin (38-4) leaped out to a quick 6-1 lead and held off Summers’ late rally. He is just the third Cheshire to make it to the finals. Briskin lost in the finals a year ago at 103 but before that it was Deanne Wilson (135) in 1998 and Dave Coughlin (160) in 1991.

“It’s huge,” Cheshire coach Don Miller said. “We’ve been trying to get to this point for a long time. It’s a great thing for the program and it’s even bigger for Mike.”

It’s been a steady progression for the senior at the Class LL tournament. He was third at 103 as a sophomore and second a year ago at 103.

“Mike is more of a leader by example than a vocal leader,” Miller said. “He is probably the hardest worker in the room. He is always going at 100 miles per hour and working the hardest. Now, the kids have something to look up to and shoot for.”

Briskin had a tough 4-1 victory over Danbury’s John Damici in the semifinals, a wrestler who whipped Briskin in the finals of the Danbury Holiday Tournament, 11-3. This time, Briskin was more careful in the way he attacked Damici.

“It was his best match of the day,” beamed Miller. “Mike got in for a double leg takedown, which he rarely throws and took him down to the mat. It was a thing of beauty.” That takedown gave Briskin the lead and control of the match.

Briskin and teammates Jed Cervero (103), Kyle Copes (145) and Rob Tomlinson (160) qualified for the State Open along with the top four placewinners from each weight class.

Copes, a sophomore, lost his quarterfinal match to Amity’s Doug Robinson, 8-2. But Copes rallied to win four straight matches in the consolation bracket including a 9-6 win over Robinson to finish third.

“Kyle likes to capitalize on people’s mistakes,” Miller said. “In the first match (with Robinson), he sat back and waited for mistakes that never came. In the second match, he went after him.”
* * *
Simsbury finished third with 149½ points with a pair of state champions. Lawton Arnold won at 189 pounds while Marcus Furze-White won at 215 pounds.

“This is a team that always fights and always works hard,” Simsbury coach Ernie Goodwin told The Hartford Courant. “I’ve never had any of my kids beat Danbury before. It’s a great feeling. The kids worked hard for this.”

Furze-White earned his 100th career win with an 11-4 victory over Danbury’s Joe Laduce in the championship bout. Arnold pinned Shelton’s Patrick Gillen in 1:56 to win his weight class.

2008 Class LL
At Trumbull
Team results – 1. Danbury 296, 2. Amity 159, 3. Simsbury 149½, 4. Xavier 129, 5. Glastonbury 118, 6. South Windsor 114½, 7. Southington 102, 8. Greenwich 101½, 9. Shelton and Ridgefield 99, 11. Stamford 96, 12. Cheshire 90½, 13. Trumbull 81½, 14. Platt Tech/West Haven 60, 15. Westhill 54½, 16. Newington 54, 17. Manchester 50, 18. NFA 49½, 19. Newtown 44, 20. Staples 41, 21. New Britain 24, 22. Bridgeport 22, 23. Fairfield Prep 18, 24. East Hartford 17, 25. Norwalk 12, 26. New Haven 3
COMPLETE Class LL brackets

Individual results
1 Doug Fontaine, Southington, Pin  3:54
2 Steve Matson, Amity, None
3 Brian Jennings, Danbury, Decision 10-2
4 Jed Cervero, Cheshire, None
5 Zachery Goldberg, Trumbull, Decision 7-6
6 Benjamin Sharon, Glastonbury, None
1 Michael Briskin, Cheshire, Decision 7-5
2 Blake Summers, Glastonbury, None
3 John Damici, Danbury, Decision 11-1
4 Spencer Ciancola, Amity, None
5 Colin Paulish, Ridgefield, Decision 5-1
6 Gregory Hovey, Simsbury, None
1 Charles Constanzo, Danbury, Decision 4-3
2 Robert Ferrante, Shelton, None
3 Dana Van Burskirk, Newtown, Decision 4-0
4 Nick Healy, South Windsor, None
5 Joseph Cala, Amity, Decision 7-2
6 Dan Maxwell, Greenwich, None
1 Alexander Blank, Ridgefield, Pin  1:32
2 Tyler Vallario, Glastonbury, None
3 Jake Odell, South Windsor, Decision 3-1
4 George Madkour, Danbury, None
5 Chris Barnes, Platt Tech/W.Haven, Default
6 John Gouveia, Newtown, None
1 Thomas Abbate, Xavier, Decision 4-2
2 Mike Battinelli, Stamford, None
3 Steven Brant, Simsbury, Decision 10-6
4 Nick Gialluca, New Britain, None
5 Kyle Cole, Danbury, Decision 4-2
6 Joel Foster, Manchester, None
1 Stephen Krohley, Amity, Decision 7-6
2 Joseph Sargenti, South Windsor, None
3 John Smith, Danbury, Pin  2:46
4 Charlie O'Brien, Trumbull, None
5 Casey McKnight, Ridgefield, Decision 12-2
6 Alex Camacho, Stamford, None
1 Tucker Schaefer, Danbury, Pin  2:25
2 Michael Vernik, Amity, None
3 Alex Gonzalez, Xavier, Pin  2:15
4 Derek Magnan, Simsbury, None
5 Manish Pati, Glastonbury, Pin  0:39
6 Justin Summers, Trumbull, None
1 E Pierre Saint, Stamford, Decision 7-3
2 Kyle Muenzer, NFA, None
3 Kyle Copes, Cheshire, Decision 9-6
4 Douglas Robinson, Amity, None
5 Jonathan Goncalves, Danbury, Decision 5-3
6 Chris Emanuelson, Xavier, None
1 Dean Smith, Danbury, Decision 8-0
2 Jordan Tiger, Ridgefield, None
3 Jamison Cherilus, Trumbull, Decision 6-4
4 Matt Hansen, Greenwich, None
5 Grant Osborne, Simsbury, Pin  0:44
6 David Turner, Xavier, None
1 Ronald Thompson, Westhill, Decision 4-2
2 Trevor Ritchie, Southington, None
3 CJ Ceci, Greenwich, Decision 4-3
4 Robert Tomlinson, Cheshire, None
5 Nick Wood, Danbury, Pin  1:29
6 Danny Nieves, Platt Tech/W.Haven, None
1 Patrick Sawyer, NFA, Decision 7-5
2 Joe DuPuis, Southington, None
3 Timothy Dark, Manchester, Decision 7-0
4 Kyle Kennedy, Danbury, None
5 Spencer Cohen, Staples, Pin  4:24
6 Rob Rusnak, Platt Tech/W.Haven, None
1 Lawton Arnold, Simsbury, Pin  1:57
2 Patrick Gillen, Shelton, None
3 Jaccob Colapietro, Glastonbury, Dec. 8-2
4 Dylan Hancock, Danbury, None
5 Andrew Pugliese, Amity, Default
6 Ryan Kogstad, Staples, None
1 Marcus Furze-White, Simsbury, Dec. 11-4
2 Joseph Laduca, Danbury, None
3 Mark McGuire, Greenwich, Decision 3-2
4 Devan Dwyer, Xavier, None
5 Dan Molina, Westhill, Decision 3-1
6 Lawrence Puchalsky, Glastonbury, None
1 Humphrey Swift, Danbury, Decision 4-3
2 Rich Wigglesworth, Shelton, None
3 Seth Rothberg, South Windsor, Pin  0:56
4 Julian Bosch, Stamford, None
5 Hattery Wilson, Bridgeport Co-op, Dec. 9-2
6 Brian Didden, Glastonbury, None

--- Fastest Fall Winner ---
Seth Rothberg from South Windsor
285 lbs, 4 pins,  5:04
Outstanding wrestler: Alexander Blank, Ridgefield
Another statement victory for Danbury