Final - Ross Spencer, East Lyme pin Robert Lonergan, Jonathan Law, 2:54; 3. Tyler Keane, Glastonbury dec. Dylan Bryant, Danbury, 8-0; 5. Steve Matson, Amity dec. Jack McKeever, Brookfield, 10-3.
Final - Brian Jennings, Danbury dec. Jed Cervero, Cheshire, 6-4, OT; 3. Victor Ekpenyong, Middletown dec. Doug Fontaine, Southington, 6-3; 5. Josh Dess, Bristol Eastern dec. Ricky Jorge, Xavier, 12-2.
Final - Charlie Costanzo, Danbury dec. Eric Orrell, Farmington, 7-1; 3. Tyler Tilbe, Nonnewaug pin Marshall Simpson, Conard, 1:14; 5. Ed Carroll, Hand, dec. Nick Healy, South Windsor, 7-5.
Final - Rob Ferrante, Shelton dec. Brandon Thuotte, Killingly, 3-2; 3. Nestor Rivera, Newington dec. J.D. Damici, Danbury, 9-4; 5. Diego Perez, Wethersfield won by default over Ian McAllister, Fairfield Warde.
Final - Andrew Lischke, Bethel dec. Tom Ayala, East Haven, 6-4, OT; 3. Nick Cyr, Bristol Central dec. Gavin Buckley, Immaculate, 4-1; 5. Bobby Rigiliano, Fairfield Warde won by default over Eliot Lopez, South Windsor.
Final - Joe Sargenti, South Windsor dec. Kevin Moss, Berlin, 11-5; 3. Curtis Watkins, Fairfield Warde, dec. Michael Daly, St. Bernard, 9-2; 5. Brandon Mals, Bristol Eastern, dec. Kyle Nunez, Newington, 7-2.
Final - Tom Abbate, Xavier, dec. Jesse Broderick, New Fairfield, 10-4; 3. Ryan Clarke, East Lyme dec. Alex Hidalgo, Hall, 8-2; 5. Nick Giuletti, Sheehan, dec. Zack Cooke, Killingly, 5-2.
Final - Tucker Schaefer, Danbury dec. Caleb Morth, Ledyard, 8-0; 3. Justin Scalise, Hall, dec. Ryan Scott, Xavier, 8-2; 5. Sean Fields, McMahon dec. Fran Gelada, Thomaston, 4-3.
Final - Andrew Ford, Bethel dec. Brian Onofrio, Hand, 7-2; 3. Devin Carrillo, Middletown pin Alex Carpenter, Amity, 1:45; 5. Dustin Wilcox, Montville, dec. Damien Winters, Danbury, 7-4.
Final - Kyle Lundberg, Guilford dec. Mike Monson, Southington, 4-3; 3. Shane Sullivan, Ledyard dec. Samuel Schwartz, Housatonic, 9-2; 5. Oleg Mironchenko, Woodstock Academy, won by default over John Smith, Danbury.
Final - Tim Vollaro, Somers dec. Patrick Sawyer, NFA, 11-3; 3. Sean O'Connell, Farmington dec. Brad Visconti, Housatonic, 13-6; 5. Shane Duplice, Waterford, dec. Zach Fleming, Windham, 5-2.
Final - Lucas Bowman, St. Bernard dec. Dillon Ritchie, Southington, 7-5; 3. Nick Murillo, Platt, dec. Tito Slaughter, New Haven, 5-4; 5. Mike Ingalls, South Windsor, won by default over Henri Fatigate, Fairfield Ludlowe.
Final - Lawton Arnold, Simsbury tech fall. P.J. Gillen, Shelton, 16-0, 3:16; 3. Travis Koch, Windham pin Luke Wiggins, Waterford, 8:03; 5. Ken Vollaro, Somers dec. Dylan Lindahl, Hand, 2-1.
Final - Seth Rothberg, South Windsor dec. Tim Chambers, Bristol Central, 3-1; 3. Pat Plumb, Seymour pin Lloyd Brown, East Hartford, 1:10; 5. Mohamed Chater, Xavier won by default over Humphrey Swift, Danbury.
Most Outstanding Wrestler: Ross Spencer, East Lyme
Fast fall: Lloyd Brown from East Hartford
285 lbs, 4 pins, 10:18
By GERRY deSIMAS, JR.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
NEW HAVEN, Feb. 28 – A runner won a state championship Saturday night at the CIAC State Open wrestling championships at the New Haven Athletic Center.
Less than three months ago, Danbury’s Tucker Schaefer became the first runner in school history to win the state championship in cross country. On Saturday, he became the first athlete in state history to win a State Open crown in wrestling and cross country to help Danbury win its ninth straight State Open championship.
Junior teammate Charlie Costanzo (119) won his second straight Open title while Brian Jennings (112) won his first.
Danbury had three champions and eight medalists to earn 131 points, well ahead of second place South Windsor with 82½ points for its best-ever showing in the tournament. Xavier had its best finish in the tournament by taking third with 68 points. Southington (55½) and Bethel (51½) rounded out the top five.
Schaefer, a senior captain, actually won the Class LL title in cross country as well in October but he was disqualified for wearing a uniform that didn’t match his teammates. He got another chance to run when Danbury qualified for the State Open as a team. Schaefer seriously considered quitting wrestling to run indoor track as a junior.
“I’m more of a runner,” he said. “I didn’t want to wrestle at all. My parents and my coach talked me into it.”
For an athlete that really didn’t want to wrestle, he has done OK. He added a State Open championship to his back-to-back Class LL titles. With a dominating 8-0 win over Ledyard’s Caleb Morth in the final, Schaefer improved to 40-4 and 143-26 on his career. He also had three pins in the tournament.
“He wrestled real well,” Danbury coach Ricky Shook said of Schaefer. “He is just a bear on top and if he gets his takedowns in, you are in trouble.”
Danbury will be sending five wrestlers to the New England tournament – Schaefer, Costanzo (119) and Jennings (112) along with Dylan Bryant (103) and J.D. Damici (125) with a pair of fourth place finishes. The Hatters had one wrestler finish fifth and two take sixth.
One Danbury wrestler finished fifth and two finished sixth. “We should have done a little better but we’ll have five wrestling next week,” Shook said.
South Windsor had five medalists. The Bobcats had a pair of champions in Joe Sargenti (135) and Seth Rothberg (285). Nick Healy (119) and Elliot Lopez (130) each finished sixth while Mike Ingalls (189) took fifth.
Six Class LL champions won Open championships along with one Class L champion and two each from Class M and Class S. Rob Ferrante (2nd Class LL) won the 125 pound title while Bethel’s Andrew Rischke (3rd Class M) won at 130 pounds.
Some highlights from the respective weight classes.
Undefeated junior Ross Spencer of East Lyme won his first State Open championship with a dominating pin of Robert Lonergan of Jonathan Law in 2:54. It earned Spencer (41-0) the tournament’s outstanding wrestler award.
Spencer gave up few points in the tournament. His semifinal victory was a tech fall over Class LL champion Steve Matson of Amity. “He's worked at it,” Ed Lyme coach Ed Lorah told the New London Day. “He's wrestled for a year straight. He's put his time in and put his dues in. He's got some confidence now, and when that happens, it changes for you. Wrestling is so mental.”
Glastonbury’s Tyler Keane won four straight consolation matches to finish third.
Penalized for stalling in a close loss in the semifinals of the SCC Tournament, Cheshire sophomore Jed Cervero hasn’t wasted many opportunities since. “He has remained on the offensive, no matter what,” Cheshire coach Don Miller said. A week ago, he advanced to the Class LL finals only to fall to Danbury’s Brian Jennings by a 6-1 score.
Cervero earned another shot at Jennings on Saturday, rallying from a six-point deficit to win his semifinal bout and become the first Cheshire High wrestler to advance to a State Open final. This time, it was much closer but Jennings still prevailed with a 6-4 victory in overtime.
Jennings (32-7) got a takedown in the first 10 seconds of the match but Cervero continued to work and tied the match with a reversal with eight seconds left in the period.
With another takedown, Jennings took a 4-3 lead eight seconds into the third period but he couldn’t turn Cervero so he gave up a point and let him go with 1:12 left to try for another takedown. But neither could score and the match went to OT.
Cervero (34-7) was just as tough in an 11-10 win over Class L champion Victor Ekpenyong of Middletown in the semifinals. Ekpenyong took a 6-0 lead in the first period when he caught Cervero in a bear hug and flattened him.
Despite the deficit, Cervero kept fighting and trailed 9-8 in the third period. Cervero scored three points for an 11-10 lead with 40 seconds left when he converted a two-point reversal and gained another point when Ekpenyong was penalized for locking his hands. “He kept getting closer and closer,” Miller said. “He just kept fighting.”
Danbury takes another title
Schaefer wins 2nd State Open title in second sport
n East Lyme's Ross Spencer wins the Outstanding Wrestler award after his pin of Robert Lonergan of Jonathan Law in the State Open finals at 103 pounds
State Open final (103)
Danbury’s Charlie Costanzo beat a Farmington wrestler for the second year in a row to win his second State Open championship. This year, he had three takedowns in a dominating 7-1 win over Farmington’s Eric Orrell. Costanzo (34-3) had a tough 3-1 decision over Conard’s Marshall Simpson in the semifinals.
Orell (45-2) had a tough semifinal as well. He beat Hand’s Ed Carroll, 7-6 in double overtime. Orrell took a two-point lead in the second OT with a reversal and held on for the win. “He stayed solid and focused,” Farmington coach Eric Misko said. “Eric wrestled well in the tournament. He stayed in spots where he could be successful.”
With his three wins this weekend, Orrell becomes the all-time leader in wins in Farmington wrestling history. He is 123-15 in four years. Orrell won the Class L title a week ago.
Nonnewaug’s Tyler Tilbe (119) finished third with five straight wins in the consolation bracket. Tilbe lost his opening match to Hand’s Ed Carroll on Friday, 7-1, forcing him to adjust. “What (Tilbe) found out was that he needed to be ready to go right from the beginning. He was a little more intense and focused and it paid off,” Nonnewaug coach David Green said. Tilbe beat Carroll in the consolation semifinals, 3-2 and became the first Nonnewaug wrestler to qualify for the New England tournament since 1997.
Shelton senior Rob Ferrante beat Killingly senior Brandon Thuotte, 3-2 to become the first Shelton wrestler to win a State Open championship. Leading by one, Ferrante chose the bottom position and Thuotte couldn’t turn him over. Thuotte did get Ferrante into a cradle but couldn’t tilt him enough to score any near fall points.
Ferrante, a two-time SCC champion and second in Class LL a week ago, won his semifinal over Class L champion Ian McAllister of Fairfield Warde by tech fall, 18-0. His closest match came in a 6-4 win over Wethersfield’s Diego Perez, who upset Class M champion Billy Lynn of RHAM in the first round, 8-6.
“I came in with the mentality that I was just going to have fun,” Ferrante told the New Haven Register. “That’s why I wrestle. I wrestle because I enjoy it. Win or lose, I was going to have a good time. I put it all out for this one.”
Class M champion Tom Ayala of East Haven got a takedown at the buzzer to force overtime. But when he tried to throw Bethel’s Andrew Lischke, Ayala slipped and fell to his back enabling Lischke to pounce and win an Open championship, 6-4 in overtime.
Lischke, who finished third in Class M a week ago, shutout Class L champion Nick Cyr of Bristol Central, 5-0 and beat Class LL champion Eliot Lopez of South Windsor by injury default in the semifinals. Ayala was the Class M champion.
"I came in as the 11th seed with no pressure. I just wrestled my matches and listened to my coaches," Lischke told the Danbury News Times. Lischke, a senior, improved to 18-2 on the year and 111-41 for his career.
Berlin’s Kevin Moss (37-2) was hoping for some revenge against South Windsor’s Joe Sargenti, who beat him in the finals of the Eagle Classic in January. But Sargenti led 6-2 after one period and never gave up the lead in an 11-5 victory to win his first State Open championship. Sargenti had three takedowns in the first two periods.
Sargenti was dominant throughout the tournament. He won his opener over Bristol Eastern’s Brandon Mals, 12-4 and beat Killingly’s Eddie Loomis by tech fall, 17-1. He had to battle in the semifinals against Class L champion Curtis Watkins of Fairfield Warde but prevailed, 3-1.
Moss outlasted St. Bernard’s Michael Daly in the semifinals with a 4-2 victory. “The mental focus has helped me feel more prepared,” Moss said. He drew more confidence from his victory over Ethan Moss of Guilford in the championship match. “The win was a confidence booster. I should be here. You’re not second-guessing yourself. There is no self doubt.”
Two-time Class LL champion Tom Abbate of Xavier won his first State Open championship with a 10-4 win over Class M champion Jesse Broderick of New Fairfield. With a throw, Abbate scored five quick points at the end of the first period to take command of the match. An early second period reversal extended his lead to 7-2.
Abbate improved to 42-2 on the year and 110-23 for his career. He didn’t begin wrestling until he was a freshman and didn’t make the varsity until he was a sophomore. “He does most of his work in the off-season,” Xavier coach Mike Cunningham said. “He wrestles with the freestyle national team and trains all year.”
Broderick earned his spot in the final with an overtime pin of Class L champion Ryan Clarke of East Lyme. Broderick’s reversal with 30 seconds left tied the match at 4-4. In overtime, he threw Clarke to his back and pinned him. Clarke rallied with a pair of decisions in the consolation bracket to finish third.
Danbury’s Tucker Schaefer dominated Ledyard’s Caleb Morth in an 8-0 decision. Schaefer (40-4, 143-26 career) had a takedown and near fall in the first period and another reversal in the second period. Schaefer, a two-time Class LL champion, had three pins to get into the championship round.
With the memory of last year’s 1-0 loss in the finals etched into his memory, Bethel junior Andrew Ford was determined to win a championship. Ford swooped in for a double leg takedown in overtime to beat Amity’s Alex Carpenter in the semifinals, 7-5. In the championship match, Ford squared off with Hand’s Brian Onofrio for the second time this year.
Ford (42-0) took a 5-0 lead after two periods with a pair of takedowns and an escape to earn a 7-2 victory. Ford beat Onofrio at the Ridgefield Challenge earlier this year.
“He’s been good,” Bethel assistant coach Jeremy Hodza said. “He just goes out and takes care of business.”
Guilford’s Kyle Lundberg handed Southington’s Mike Monson his first loss in a 4-3 decision. Monson took an early lead in his championship match with Lundberg with an early takedown and led 2-1 after two periods. Lundberg tied the match at 2-2 with an escape early in the third period and took a 4-2 lead with 1:28 remaining.
Monson (36-1) took the shot but Lunberg was able to pressure Monson, flatten him and spin behind for the takedown and the lead. Lundberg (47-2) was called for stalling with 37 seconds left but Monson couldn’t score any more points.
Monson advanced to the finals with three decisions, including a 4-2 decision over Ledyard’s Shane Sullivan in the semifinals thanks to a two-point reversal with 57 seconds remaining.
n Danbury's Brian Jennings win an Open title with a win over Cheshire's Jed Cervero in overtime, 6-4.
State Open final (112)
n Bethel's Andrew Ford beats Hand's Brian Onofrio, 7-2 to win a State Open championship.
State Open final (152)
n Guilford's Kyle Lundberg gets a takedown in the final period to beat Southington's Mike Monson, 4-3.
State Open final (160)
n Somers' Tim Vollaro wins his second straight State Open championship with an 11-3 win over Patrick Sawyer of NFA.
State Open final (171)
n East Lyme's Ross Spencer wins the Outstanding Wrestler award after his pin of Robert Lonergan of Jonathan Law in the State Open finals at 103 pounds
State Open final (140)
n Bethel's Andrew Lischke beats East Haven's Tom Ayala in overtime, 6-4 to win the State Open championship.
State Open final (130)
n Shelton's Rob Ferrante beats Killingly's Brandon Thuotte, 3-2 to win the State Open championship at 125 pounds.
State Open final (125)
n St. Bernard's Lucas Bowman outlasts Southington's Dillon Ritchie, 7-5 to win the State Open championship.
Somers’ Tim Vollaro won his second straight State Open championship with an 11-3 victory over NFA’s Patrick Sawyer, the two-time Class LL champion. Sawyer earned a spot in the final with a tight 7-5 win over ECC rival Zach Fleming of Windham, 7-5.
Southington’s Dillon Ritchie (189) couldn’t catch St. Bernard’s Lucas Bowman in a 7-5 loss. Bowman, who won the Class S title a week ago, didn’t make the finals at the ECC Tournament. Bowman used three pins to get to the finals.
With two takedowns, Bowman led 4-3 after two periods. Ritchie let him escape to begin the third period and extend the lead to 5-3. Bowman got his third takedown with 1:10 remaining to extend the lead to four points. Ritchie got a late reversal but couldn’t get any closer.
Ritchie (34-4) upset Class M champion Shane Battista of Waterford, 4-3 in the quarterfinals and pinned Class LL champion Henri Fatigate of Fairfield Ludlowe in the semifinals.
Simsbury’s Lawton Arnold was barely challenged on his way to his first State Open championship. Arnold (41-0) won his semifinal and championship matches by technical fall. He beat Hand’s Dylan Lindahl 15-0 in 2:25 in the semifinals and the final, it took him 3:22 to score 16 points on Shelton sophomore P.J. Gillen in a rematch of last week’s Class LL final.
Bristol Central’s Tim Chambers (275) lost his first match of the year in the final as South Windsor’s Seth Rothberg got a takedown with six seconds left to earn a 3-1 victory. With the match tied at 1-1 late in the third period, Chambers tried for the takedown put Rothberg sprawled putting his weight on Chambers.
Chambers foot slipped and his shoulder dipped enough for Rothberg to scramble behind for the takedown and the stunning victory. Chambers came into the match at 37-0 and had seldom been challenged all year.
“He’s happy to have some strong competition,” Bristol Central coach Brian Archibald said before the finals. “He is excited to have some kids to face that can wrestle.”
Throughout the year, Chambers received forfeits from teams that didn’t want to challenge him. He even received a forfeit in the quarterfinals of last week’s Class L tournament.
Chambers had a challenging semifinal match with Danbury’s Humphrey Swift. Chambers took a 2-0 lead with 15 seconds left in the first period on a quick takedown. He extended his lead to 3-1 with an escape with 1:38 left in the match.
In the final against Rothberg, it was 1-1 on the third period with both wrestlers getting one escape each. Chambers tried to force the action with time running out in the third period. “I thought I was going to have him, I just slipped,” Chambers told the Bristol Press.
And Archibald was frustrated that it was Chambers initiating most of the action. “When you’re forced to be the aggressor the entire match, you get in a position where something like that can happen,” Archibald told the Bristol Press.
Rothberg admitted he was waiting for Chambers to shoot on him. “I wasn’t looking to shoot,” he said. “I’m not strong enough.”
South Windsor coach Jude Kelly was smiling ear to ear afterward. He recalled how far that Rothberg had progressed as an athlete. “His first year there wasn’t a whole lot of athleticism, a whole lot of strength, a whole lot of speed. There were a lot of pins,” he said. “Seth has worked hard. He's come as far as any kid I've ever had.”
Rothberg said he won just once as a freshman. Today, he is a champion.
Seymour’s Patrick Plumb finished third and became the first wrestler in his school’s history to win a medal in the Open. He was pinned in the semifinals by Rothberg but rallied with two victories in the consolation round including a pin of East Hartford’s Lloyd Brown in 1:10 to take third.
Material from the New London Day, Danbury News Times, Bristol Press and New Haven Register included in this report.