Championship: Josh Hoxie, Gilbert pin. James Hicks, Classical/Cap, 1:53; 3rd Place: Nick Zachary, Somers pin Jacob Bixby, Griswold, pin 2:52; 5th Place: Andrew Nocera, Holy Cross dec. Robert Daly, St Bernard, 10-1
Championship: Dom Ghi, Housatonic dec. Dustin Falco, Griswold, 6-2; 3rd Place: Robert Pedraza, Goodwin Tech dec. Eric Manuel, Old Say/Westbrook, 5-3; 5th Place: Daryn Russo, Terryville dec. Xavier Vidal, Seymour, 13-7
Championship: Tyler Tilbe, Nonnewaug dec. Matt White, Canton, 10-0; 3rd Place: David Monserrate, Classical/Cap dec. David Colvin, Old Say/Westbrook, 3-1; 5th Place: Andrew Smith, Portland dec. Roshawn Rehman, Stafford, 6-4
Championship: Nate Getler, Canton pin Austin Hodges, Nonnewaug, 2:33; 3rd Place: Jeff Desautels, Thomaston dec. Kyle Russell, Derby, 13-6; 5th Place: Josh Fontanez, Portland pin. Luis Santana, Classical/Cap, pin 2:17
Championship: Brandon Walsh, Griswold dec. Michael Avena, Old Say/Westbrook, 14-0; 3rd Place: Alek Smith, Gilbert dec. Bill Novack, Seymour, 9-4; 5th Place: Brian Fitzpatrick, Canton dec. Tim Neilan, St Bernard, 5-3
Championship: Dalton Ahern, Old Say/Westbrook dec. Seth Miller, East Windsor, 5-1; 3rd Place: Mark Gonzalez, East Catholic dec. William Durant, Holy Cross, 4-1; 5th Place: Drew Blais, Killingly dec. Steve Persson, Oxford, 3-2
Championship: Scott Lamarre, Terryville pin Zachary Cooke, Killingly, 1:34; 3rd Place: Taylor Jacobs, Haddam-Killingworth pin Christopher Brown, Granby, 4:48; 5th Place: Nick Boots, Griswold pin Jacob Piazza, Derby, 2:01
Championship: Alan Sanford, Thomaston dec. Brandon Mcneil, Griswold, 5-2; 3rd Place: Dominic Folino, Terryville pin Ilya Whittemore, Killingly, 4:48; 5th Place: Benjamin Blue, Oxford dec. Brian Dobek, Derby, Default
Championship: Dillon Carter, Hale Ray dec. Stephen German, Coventry, 3-1; 3rd Place: Matthew Janiga, Ellington dec. Elton Purvis, Old Say/Westbrook, 11-0; 5th Place: Sam Law, Portland pin Will Denslow, Oxford, 1:28
Championship: Dane Pallotto, Old Say/Westbrook dec. Aaron Wing, Griswold, 7-3; 3rd Place: Tucker Fontanella, Stafford dec. Jacob Whitehead, Killingly, 3-1; 5th Place: Alexander Mardis, Oxford pin. Kenny Prigodich, University SMSA, 1:32
Championship: Mark Dilley, Thomaston pin Carmine Magnoli, Weston, 0:29; 3rd Place: Kyle Foster, Somers pin Brandon Mcdowell, Morgan, 2:44; 5th Place: Tucker Bachand, St Paul pin Tyler Shea, Seymour, 4:48
Championship: Kenneth Vollaro, Somers pin. Joseph Carbonaro, Oxford, 2:44; 3rd Place: Sal Longo, Nonnewaug pin Bryan Monserrate, Classical/Cap, 2:04; 5th Place: Mike Kampartas, Gilbert pin. Ryan Silas, Haddam-Killingworth, 2:28
Every point counts for Griswold, which wins third Class S title
By GERRY deSIMAS, JR.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
HARTFORD, Feb. 19 – Griswold High wrestling coach Dana Cooke hasn’t forgotten what happened one February afternoon in 2005 when Northwestern Regional beat his Wolverines by a mere two points for the Class S championship – the closest finish ever in this tournament.
“We’re not a team with (many) kids in the top seeds,” he said. “We have to wrestle. We have to get those extra points. We’re always looking for that extra point.”
Competing in the Eastern Connecticut Conference can be a benefit with wrestlers being exposed to some tremendous competition and it can be a curse when wrestlers pick up losses and drop in state tournament seeds.
Griswold had two wrestlers upset No. 1 seeds, placed five men in the finals and came home with two championships to outlast pesky newcomer Old Saybrook/Westbrook, 175-167 to win their third state championship and their first since 2007.
Old Saybrook/Westbrook is in third varsity season. But they had three finalists and had two wrestlers win state titles for the first time. Nonnewaug was third with 152.5 points. Another team in its third year, Oxford, finished fifth.
When the Rams program began in 2009, they had 16 kids including 12 freshmen, who are now juniors on the squad. “Last year, our goal was to win it and we weren’t far behind,” Old Saybrook coach Eric Manuel said. “This year, it was the same thing. We wanted to be state champions.”
Griswold’s Dylan Martel (103) and Dustin Falco (119) both upset No. 1 seeds in the semifinals. Martel beat Haddam-Killingworth’s Nate Fair in the final, 6-3. Falco fell to Housatonic’s Dom Ghi, 6-2 in the championship bout.
Brandon Walsh (135) won his second straight title for Griswold while teammates Brandon McNeil (152) and Aaron Wing (171) each finished second. Jacob Bixby (112) was fourth for the Wolverines while Nick Boots (145) was fifth.
For Old Saybrook, top-seeded Dalton Ahern (140) beat No. 2 seed Seth Miller of East Windsor, 5-1 for the first state champion in school history. A few minutes later, undefeated Dane Pallotto (30-0) joined the championship club with a 7-3 win over Griswold’s Aaron Wing.
Michael Avena finished second at 135 pounds in a 14-0 loss to Walsh. Old Saybrook’s title hopes were hurt by the Rams going 0-for-4 in the consolation finals.
Two wrestlers won their third straight Class S titles -- Nonnewaug’s Tyler Tilbe (125) and Thomaston’s Alan Sanford (152). Sanford scored five points in the final 20 seconds to earn a 5-2 victory.
Thomaston’s Mark Dilley (171), Somers' Ken Vollaro (215) and Gilbert’s Josh Hoxie (112) each won their second straight titles.
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Nonnewaug finished in the top five for the fourth straight year and sixth time in the last 10 years. Tilbe (36-0) didn't allow a point in four matches and easily won his third straight Class S title at 125 while Austin Hodges (130) finished second. Alex Paparazzo (103) and Sal Longo (215) finished third while Steve Aleandri (285) took fifth.
The Chiefs’ hopes were hurt when Brian Reilly (135) hurt his elbow in a quarterfinal loss to Old Saybrook’s Michael Avena and couldn’t wrestle again. He had earned a medal the previous year.
“For us to contend, everything would have had to broken right for us,” Nonnewaug coach David Green. “I’m pleased with the way the kids wrestled. The teams that were ahead of us deserved to be there.”
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Thomaston had also hoped to contend for a championship. But their hopes were dashed when No. 2 seed Tyler Margison (30-3, 285) underwent emergency appendectomy surgery in the days leading up to the tournament. He had beaten top seeded Tim Zeitler of Northwestern in the Berkshire League final.
Still, the Bears finished fourth with Alan Sanford (152) winning a third straight Class S title and Mark Dilley (171) winning his second in a row. Teammate Jeff Desautels (130) was third and Cliff Aquino (103) took fourth.
Sanford may have the only two-time defending champion with a chip on his shoulder. He came into the tournament with a 30-1 record. But he didn’t feel the respect from his peers despite his two previous state championships at 103 pounds as a sophomore and 119 as a junior.
With two pins and a technical fall, Sanford earned a berth in his third straight final against an old foe, No. 2 seed Brandon McNeil of Griswold. The two split two previous meetings this year with Sanford winning 3-2 in the final of the Griswold Mid-Season Invitational and McNeil winning in a dual meet two weeks later.
In the Class S final, the two struggled in a scoreless duel into the third period when McNeil exposed Sanford’s back for a two-point near fall with 25 seconds left in the match.
That energized Sanford, who got a two-point reversal and three-point near fall (with a cradle) to win. “I kicked in the boosters,” Sanford said. “This is my title and I didn’t want to lose it. I don’t even know what move I used (to get the reversal). And I haven’t used a cradle all year.
“It was all up here, mental toughness,” Sanford said, pointing to his head. “This feels the best because I wanted to beat him so bad. He brings 150 percent to the mat. I knew I had to bring all I had.”
At the end, Griswold was penalized one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct when McNeil hit Sanford (34-1) in the head with an elbow after the final buzzer.
Thomaston coach Shaun Canney called Sanford’s performance amazing. “He knows what he has to do to win,” he said. “He is always pushing in practice. This week he had a determined mindset.”
Dilley (30-0) didn’t take too much time to win his state title. He pinned No. 2 seed Carmine Magnoli of Weston in 29 seconds. Dilley had four pins in the tournament, winning his other three matches by pin in 38 seconds, 22 seconds and 3:08.
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Housatonic senior Dom Ghi (119 pounds) is no stranger to wrestling. His father, Phil, was a medalist in the Class S (second place) and State Open (third place) tournaments in 1980 for the Mountaineers.
Dom wanted to end this year’s Class S tournament with a state championship. For three straight years, he had finished third. As a sophomore, he won four straight consolation round bouts to take third. As a junior, he won five in a row after being upset in the second round.
Finishing strong has never been an issue. It’s getting going. To change things up, Dom wore his father’s wrestling shoes that he wore during his 1980 run throughout the tournament. “I look up to my Dad,” Dom said. “He did well in these shoes.”
Dom won his first match in 27 seconds and moved through the quarterfinals with a challenging 4-0 win over Old Saybrook/Westbrook’s Eric Avena. In the semifinals, Dom had a 2-0 lead after one period with a two-point reversal and a two-point near fall at the end of the second period, he had a command lead on the way to a 6-1 win over Robert Pedraza of Goodwin Tech.
In the finals against Griswold’s Dustin Falco, Dom again took a 2-0 lead with a first period takedown. Just as in the semifinals, he extended it to 6-0 with a reversal and near fall. Dom prevailed, 6-2.
“He just got better and better as the tournament went on,” first-year Housatonic coach Tom Medonis said.
“I just start to wrestle better as the day progresses,” Dom said. “My senses get better and I wrestle stronger.”
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A week after finishing fourth in the Berkshire League tournament at 119 pounds, Gilbert’s Josh Hoxie (112) had four straight pins to win his second straight Class S championship. At the BL Tournament, Hoxie dropped a four-point decision to eventual Class S champion Dom Ghi of Housatonic and a match to Terryville’s Daryn Russo. But it didn’t rattle Hoxie’s confidence. “I came in with my head high,” Hoxie said. “It’s my senior year. I wanted this.”
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Led by Scott LaMarre, the outstanding wrestler at the Class S tournament, Terryville finished eighth for its best finish in the event in 18 years when the Kangaroos were fourth in 1993.
The Kangaroos had four medalists including Dom Folino, who finished third at 152 pounds, and Josh Rivard (103) and Daryn Russo (119), who each finished fifth.
LaMarre (145) pinned two-time defending champion Zach Cooke of Killingly in the championship match in just 1:34. LaMarre (29-2) rallied to win his semifinal bout with Griswold’s Nick Boots. Tied at 6-6 in the third period, LaMarre got a two-point takedown with 30 seconds remaining and turned Boots to his back for an 11-6 victory. Cooke and Boots each won medals a year ago by finishing in the top six at the 2010 State Open.
The roots of LaMarre’s victory were planted a year earlier after LaMarre was eliminated from the Class S tournament after four bouts. “He went home and he was hungry,” Terryville coach Peter Veleas said. “He came back (this year) ready to wrestle. He is a hard worker and he pushes himself all the time. He is always working to get better.”
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Northwestern’s Tim Zeitler (285) was very close to his first state championship. But Immaculate’s Justin Waltzer wouldn’t let himself get pinned. In the first period, Zeitler had Waltzer on his back. But Waltzer was able to shift his weight and roll Zeitler to his back to win by pin in 1:38. Waltzer got the first takedown for a 2-0 lead but he was riding too high and when Zeitler bucked up, Waltzer rolled over him and onto his back. But Zeitler couldn’t finish him off.
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MAT DUST: Canton’s Nate Getler (135), who is still dealing with injuries from a season-ending knee injury as a sophomore, became the first Canton wrestler to win a state title since 2004 with a pin of Nonnewaug’s Austin Hodges. … At 160 pounds Hale-Ray’s Dillon Carter (12-1) beat top-seeded Coventry’s Stephen German, 3-1 in a battle of wrestlers who compete as one-man teams. Carter, who was seeded seventh, wrestled for Xavier as a junior and was fifth in Class LL and State Open a year ago. German slips to 25-2.