Team results -- 1. Xavier 132; 2. Daniel Hand 121½; 3. Danbury 118½; 4. New Milford 78; 5. Glastonbury 70; 6. Ledyard 69; 7. Bacon Academy 68; 8. South Windsor 64; 9. Middletown 55; 10. Griswold 52; 11. Newington 50; 12. Fairfield Warde 50; 13. Conard 48; 14. East Lyme 44; 15. Farmington 42; 16. Windham and Bristol Eastern 42; 18. Westbrook/Old Saybrook 41; 19. Southington 39; 20. Hartford co-op 37; 21. E.O. Smith 34½; 22. Bristol Central 33; 23. Westhill 32; 24. Brookfield 32; 25. Shelton and Avon 30; 27. Norwalk 29½; 28. New Britain 29; 29. Masuk and Haddam-Killingworth 28; 31. New Fairfield and Stamford 26; 33. Terryville 24½; 34. Trumbull 24; 35. Montville 23; 36. Somers 22; 37. Thomaston 21; 38. Norwich Free Academy and Fairfield Prep 20; 40. Simsbury 19, Staples and Derby 19; 43. Berlin 18; 44. Housatonic and Foran 17; 46. Platt High and Windsor Locks 16; 48. Ridgefield, Greenwich, Oxford and Newtown 14; 52. Nonnewaug and Maloney 12; 54. Jonathan Law, Pomperaug, Fairfield Ludlowe and Manchester 11; 58. Branford, Gilbert, SMSA/University 10; 61. RHAM 9½; 62. Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech and Killingly 9; 64. New Canaan, Wethersfield and Notre Dame-WH 8; 67. Stafford 7; 68. Cheshire and Canton 6; 70. Fermi, Fitch, Amity, Seymour and Portland 5; 75. Waterford, Wolcott Tech, Wilton, Plainfield and Immaculate/Joel Barlow 4; 80. Suffield 3½; 81. Plainville, Granby, Career Magnet, East Catholic 3; 85. Vinal Tech 2; 86. Goodwin Tech, Guilford, Platt Tech/WH 1; 89. Woodstock Academy, Rocky Hill, Old Lyme, Holy Cross, New Haven, Darien and Morgan 0
Championship: Kevin Jack, Danbury dec. Pascal Medor, Westhill 6-1, OT; Third Place: Kareem Small, East Lyme dec. Matthew Elias, Daniel Hand 13-3; Fifth Place: Mark Failla, Shelton dec. Thomas Wynosky, Montville 5-1
Championship: Conor Kirkegard, New Milford dec. Brian Amato, Newington 4-3; Third Place: Matt McAllister, Bacon Academy dec. Will Chowanek, Xavier 3-1; Fifth Place: Benjamin Durst, Simsbury dec. Conor Caffrey, South Windsor 3-0
Championship: Tyler Keane, Glastonbury dec. William Crisco, Daniel Hand 3-1, OT; Third Place: Chris Elrod, Bacon Academy dec. Andrew Carignan, Middletown 11-3; Fifth Place: Matthew Philbin, Ridgefield injury default over Matthew Trelli, Bristol Central
Championship: Geovanni Medina, New Britain pin Cody Keane, Glastonbury 3:07; Third Place: Sean Kellett, Shelton dec. Carl Luth, Foran 4-2; Fifth Place: Howard Kilpatrick, Bacon Academy dec. Jacob Quirk, E.O. Smith 7-2
Championship: Miguel Calixto, Windham dec. Ben Pierre Saint, Stamford 6-3; Third Place: Pharoah Eaton, Fairfield Warde dec. David Colvin, Westbrook/Old Saybrook 9-2; Fifth Place: Justin Elias, Daniel Hand dec. Austin Hodges, Nonnewaug 8-2
Championship: Brandon Walsh, Griswold dec. Benjamin Anderson, Trumbull 9-2; Third Place: Ian Curtis, New Milford dec. Daniel Hecker, Glastonbury 6-1; Fifth Place: Craig Sassu, Bristol Eastern Dec Tucker MacGregor, Daniel Hand 11-4
Championship: Sam Odell, South Windsor dec. Jake Savoca, Daniel Hand 4-2, OT; Third Place: Anthony Terlizzi, New Milford dec. Johnny Bello, Conard 2-1; Fifth Place: Jesse Lusa, E.O. Smith Forfeit Ryan Butler, Xavier
Championship: Jack McKeever, Brookfield dec. Lucas Muntz, Conard 4-2, OT; Third Place: Dalton Ahern, Westbrook/Old Saybrook dec. Casey Mitchell, South Windsor 1-0; Fifth Place: Mikey Amorando, New Fairfield Pin Randy Boyne, Bristol Central 0:57
Championship: Tyler Cunningham, Xavier dec. Alexander Manwaring, Ledyard 7-2; Third Place: Khamri Thomas, Windsor Locks Dec Scott LaMarre, Terryville 9-3; Fifth Place: Wesley Spears, Danbury dec. Randy Hale, Middletown 3-2
Championship: Christopher Chorzepa, Newington dec. Joe Murphy, Avon 12-7; Third Place: Elliot Antler, Xavier MajDec Alex Cusano, East Lyme 13-2; Fifth Place: David Gary, Hartford dec. Ryan Whittle, Greenwich 9-5
Championship: Devon Carrillo, Middletown dec. Sheldon Rhoden, Weaver/Hartford 7-2; Third Place: Steven Wingard, Housatonic dec. William Jack, Danbury 12-4; Fifth Place: Aaron Wing, Griswold pin Ricky Cotton, Conard 1:59
Championship: Brandon Riggins, Norwalk MajDec Kyle Foster, Somers 17-9; Third Place: Mikell Washington, Staples dec. Michael Cassin, Bristol Eastern 13-6; Fifth Place: Luis Casco, Derby Dec Zachary Maxwell, Southington 7-5
Championship: Sean Marinan, Xavier dec. Eric Tucker, Masuk 3-2, 3 OT; Third Place: Joshua Lawrence, Ledyard dec. Patrick Sawicki, Bacon Academy 2-1; Fifth Place: Oswaldo Eddie Garcia, Danbury pin Ian Jones, Pomperaug 2:06
Championship: Joseph Demichele, Daniel Hand pin Tyler Margison, Thomaston 1:22; Third Place: Mike Money, Fairfield Warde pin Gregory Murray, Haddam-Killingworth 1:39; Fifth Place: Travis Daly, Southington pin Jevon Pegues, Danbury 0:26
Outstanding wrestler: Jack McKeever, Brookfield (152)
Hard working Xavier holds off Hand to claim first Open title
By GERRY deSIMAS, JR.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
NEW HAVEN, Feb. 25 – The semifinal round was complete and Xavier High wrestling coach Mike Cunningham thought his team’s chances to win a State Open championship had disappeared.
His Falcons sent seven wrestlers into the semifinals. Only three survived. “We had an awful round,” Cunningham said. “I thought it was over.”
But it wasn’t. For a moment, it may have looked bleak but the Falcons did what they do best. They went back to work. Two of Xavier’s three finalists brought home State Open championships and three others earned medals to lift the Falcons to their first State Open title Saturday night at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse High.
Xavier outlasted Southern Connecticut Conference rival Hand, 132-121½ to capture the championship. Danbury was third with 118½ points with New Milford (78) and Glastonbury (70) rounding out the top five.
“It’s surreal in a sense,” a smiling Cunningham said in the waning minutes of the tournament. “They just kept plugging along and good things happened. There was a lot of hard work by the kids and coaches.”
Cunningham saw his son, Tyler, win his first State Open title at 160 pounds while Sean Marinian (220) clinched the championship for the Falcons with a 3-2, three overtime win over Masuk’s Eric Tucker.
Elliot Antler (170) finished third, Will Chowanek (113) was fourth and Ryan Butler (145) was fifth. And there were close decisions along the way. Chowanek slipped past Griswold’s Dylan Martel, 4-2 in an elimination bout. In another elimination bout, Butler outdueled Danbury’s Anthony Cote, 2-1.
What is the significance? The wins gave Chowanek and Butler the opportunity to wrestle at least two more bouts. Each picked up another win, worth a combined 10 points for the Falcons.
Ten of Xavier’s 11 wrestlers in the tournament won at least two matches. Xavier wrestlers won 34 matches.
It completes a three-week stretch of success for Xavier, which won six of eight matches in the SCC Tournament to beat Hand by 8½ points and rallied again to beat Danbury a week ago by winning five individual weight classes for their second straight Class LL championship.
Class L champion Hand had nine wrestlers in the tournament and nearly grabbed the Open title. Hand’s Joe Demichele (285) won his second straight Open championship and five teammates won medals.
William Crisco (120) and Jake Savoca (145) lost in the finals while Matt Elias (160) took fourth, Justin Elias (132) finished fifth and Tucker MacGregor (138) was sixth. Crisco lost 3-1 in overtime to Glastonbury’s Tyler Keane while Savoca dropped a 4-2 decision in OT to South Windsor’s Sam Odell.
Hand, which won 27 matches in the tournament, finished second for the second year in a row.
“We wrestled the best we possibly could,” Hand co-coach Eric Delehanty said. “I’m proud of the guys and the heart they showed this year.”
Danbury just didn’t have enough to return to the top spot in the podium. They were without Dylan Bryant (31-2), the top seed in the Class LL tournament at 126 pounds, who missed the LL tournament because he was ill and didn’t qualify for Open. And Tyler Hancock, who was seeded third in Class LL, didn’t qualify for the Open after getting ill at the Class LL meet.
“Take away my best kid and that is 20 points,” Danbury coach Ricky Shook. “But I can’t complain. This (injuries, illness) has never happened to us before and this year, it did. It’s just one of those years. We had a great dual meet season. We went 20-0. We beat Mt. Anthony. We beat everyone when we were healthy.”
Danbury sophomore Kevin Jack (103) won his first Open title with a 3-1 overtime decision over Westhill’s Pascal Medor while teammates William Jack (182) finished fourth, Wesley Spears (160) and Oswaldo Eddie Garcia (220) took fifth and Jevon Pegues (285) finished sixth.
Danbury’s 11 wrestlers won 33 matches, forcing Xavier and Hand to wrestle their best and beat the Hatters.
Five wrestlers won their second straight State Open title. New Milford’s Conor Kirkegard (113), Glastonbury’s Tyler Keane (120), Griswold’s Brandon Walsh (138), Middletown’s Devon Carillo (182) and Hand’s Joe Demichele (285) each won their second Open title. The top four finishers in each weight class qualify for the New England championships in Providence.
Here is a rundown of much of the action in each weight class.
For the third time in three weeks, Danbury sophomore Kevin Jack and Westhill-Stamford’s senior Pascal Medor met in the final of a championship tournament. And for the third time, it was Jack with a hard-fought 6-1 overtime decision over Medor.
A week ago, Jack (42-0) beat Medor (36-5) in the Class LL final, 8-6. Two weeks ago, he prevailed over Medor in the FCIAC Tournament final by a 3-1 score.
At the Open, Medor took a 1-0 lead on a second period escape. Jack tied it with an escape of his own 10 seconds into the third period. Jack had a good chance at takedown midway through the third period but Medor used some excellent defense to ward off the attempt.
In overtime, neither wrestler left anything in the locker room. Jack finally prevailed with a takedown and near fall with eight seconds left to secure the championship.
New Milford’s Conor Kirkegard doesn’t get rattled when he gets behind in a match – not that has happened much this season. “If you start panicking, you open yourself up to moves (from your opponent),” he said. “You have six minutes to wrestle. It’s not all determined in the first 30 seconds.”
Kirkegard, who hasn’t lost a match in New England in two seasons, won his second straight State Open championship with a 4-3 decision over Newington junior Brian Amato. He is 42-0 this season and was 46-0 a year ago after winning the New England championship.
It was Amato who got the first takedown of the match in the first period and held a 2-0 lead until Kirkegard got on the board with a reversal with 24 seconds left in the second period. Kirkegard exposed Amato’s back with 11 seconds left for a 4-2 lead.
In the third period, Kirkegard controlled Amato for most of the period but Amato escaped with seven seconds left to cut the lead to one. He desperately drove at Kirkegard for a takedown and looked like he might have a cradle and a takedown but time ran out.
The match was a rematch of last week’s Class L final when Kirkegard prevailed, 4-0. “He was more familiar with my moves,” Kirkegard said. “I couldn’t use my legs as much but you have to have more than one move.”
New Milford coach Chris Piel said that the bout was Kirkegard’s 600th match since he began wrestling in the second grade. “When you’ve wrestled that many matches, you’ve been in a lot of situations and you can recover quicker,” he said.
Defending New England champion Tyler Keane of Glastonbury had to go to overtime to win his second straight Open title with a 3-1 OT decision over Hand sophomore William Crisco, who has wrestled in two Open finals in his first two varsity seasons.
With the match tied at 1-1, Keane (46-0, 179-8 career) looked sharp in grabbing a two-point takedown with 23 seconds left in overtime for the win. He made a good shot and spun behind for the takedown.
New Britain junior Geovanni Medina is just the third wrestler from New Britain and second from New Britain High to win a State Open championship. The last Hurricane to win an Open title was Randy Reyes in 1995 at 160 pounds.
Medina (34-0) beat Glastonbury senior Cody Keane for the second straight week, pinning him in 3:06. A week ago, he beat Keane in the Class LL final with a pin in overtime.
“The key was being aggressive and following the game plan from our coaches. It worked,” Medina said. New Britain coach Charles Ferguson wanted Medina to be a bit more aggressive in the tournament and it showed as it went on.
Medina survived a 6-4 decision over Hand’s Brian Flanagan in the second round before beating Montville’s Jacob Caskey, 8-0 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Medina pinned Class L champion Sean Kellett of Shelton in 1:01.
Keane (41-4, 151-26 career) survived a tough semifinal bout. He took a 5-1 lead over Class M champion Carl Luth of Foran-Milford only to see the lead shrink to one point but Keane was able to earn three near fall points with seven seconds remaining to secure an 8-4 victory.
Windham’s Miguel Calixto (44-0, 143-7 career) won his first State Open championship with a hard-fought 6-3 victory over Stamford’s Ben Pierre-Saint. Calixto led 3-1 after two periods but Pierre-Saint got a takedown with 1:29 remaining in the match to tie it at 3-3. But Calixto escaped with 53 seconds left to take a 4-3 lead and clinched the bout with a takedown at the buzzer.
Pierre-Saint had to survive an exciting semifinal match to earn a shot at the title, beating Fairfield Warde’s Pharoah Eaton, 10-8 in OT. Leading 5-3, Eaton had a potential takedown at the end of the second period waved off because he was out of bounds. In the third period, Pierre Saint had a pair of takedowns and had a 8-7 lead with 30 seconds remaining. But he was penalized a point for stalling with 12 seconds left to tie the bout at 8-8. A potential match-winning takedown by Pierre Saint was waved off at the buzzer, forcing the bout in OT.
Griswold’s Brandon Walsh (45-0) won his second straight Open championship with a 9-2 decision over Class LL champion Trumbull’s Ben Trumbull (37-2, 129-14 career). “Brandon keeps himself in good position,” Griswold coach Dana Cooke said. “He knows what is coming before it happens.”
Walsh gave up just two points in the tournament – to Anderson in the final. Walsh pinned Platt’s Youssef Saez in the second round, shutout Danbury’s Shane Jennings, 7-0 in the quarterfinals and beat New Milford’s Ian Curtis in the semifinals, 4-0. “He is much more relaxed this year,” Cooke said. “He has that calmness about him.”
Nothing came easy for South Windsor junior Sam Odell, who beat Hand’s Jake Savoca with a takedown in overtime for a 4-2 victory in the finals. To get to the the championship match, Odell (40-0, 108-11 career) won by two points in the second round and had a pair of one-point victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
Against Savoca. Odell took a 1-0 lead with a second period escape. In the third period, Savoca’s reversal put him front 2-1 and left him in control. But Odell escaped with 17 seconds left in regulation to send the bout into overtime. In the OT session, both wrestlers were scambling when Odell drove into Savoca and knocked him down near the edge of the circle. Odell got control and kept his toes in bounds to get the winning takedown.
In the semifinals, Odell got the match-winning takedown with 24 seconds left to beat New Milford’s Anthony Terlizzi, 5-4. In the quarterfinals, Odell survived with a 2-1 decision over Jesse Lusa of E.O. Smith.
In the other semifinal, Savoca’s takedown with 47 seconds left gave him a 9-8 decision over Conard’s Johnny Bello, who was wrestling with a separated shoulder. Bello eventually finished fourth, dropping a 2-1 decision to Terlizzi in the consolation final.
Brookfield senior Jack McKeever wasn’t fazed trailing defending State Open champion Lucas Muntz of Conard in the final. "I knew if I could push the pace the whole match and get him to overtime, I was going to get him," McKeever told the Danbury News Times."I've been working hard all year, and I wasn't going to let my last chance slip through my fingers. I just gave it all I had."
McKeever (44-0, 168-22 career) handed Muntz his first loss of the season with a 4-2 victory to win his first Open championship.
Muntz, who won the Class LL championship a week ago, took a 2-0 lead with a first period takedown. McKeever cut the lead to one when Muntz was penalized for locking hands with 1:30 remaining. McKeever tied the match at 2-2 with an escape with 1:12 left.
In overtime, Muntz shot in for a takedown but McKeever sprawled, pressed on Muntz’s shoulder and was able to slip behind him for the win. McKeever was voted by the coaches as the meet’s outstanding wrestler.
“He is a humble kid who works so hard,” Brookfield coach Mario Bonito said. “He takes nothing for granted and is always trying to help kids. We practicing this week at Nonnewaug to get ready for this meet and I look over and he is helping teach some moves to some other wrestler.” McKeever earned a spot in the finals with a 3-1 win over Casey Mitchell of South Windsor, the Class LL runnerup.
McKeever earned a spot in the finals with a 3-1 win over Casey Mitchell of South Windsor, the Class LL runnerup.
Xavier’s Tyler Cunningham had a pair of takedowns and a near fall to pull away from Class M champion Alexander Manwaring of Ledyard in a 7-2 win in the final. Cunningham (44-0, 155-24 career) led 5-2 in the third period before clinching the bout with his second takedown.
Cunningham survived a tough 2-1 semifinal win over Windsor Locks freshman Khamri Thomas. Tied at 1-1, Thomas was penalized one point for stalling with about a minute remaining and that was the difference. In Manwaring’s semifinal bout, he gave up an escape with 16 seconds left in regulation to Terryville’s Scott LaMarre to tie the match at 4-4.
In the second overtime session, LaMarre let Manwaring escape to try for a match-winning takedown but he couldn’t convert.
The road to the State Open championship began for Newington’s Chris Chorzepa the day after he lost to Avon’s Joey Murphy in January. It was his only loss in the regular season. “I was sloppy so I started to push myself in practice,” Chorzepa said. “That is where this match was won.”
An aggressive Chorzepa used an early lead to hold off Murphy and win his first Open championship, 12-7. “He was much aggressive and smarter than the first time around,” Newington coach Marco Tirillo said. “We didn’t set up our shots last time. He put in a great effort.”
Effort was the key against Murphy, who has worn down many opponents this season. Chorzepa (41-1) took a 4-0 lead after one period with a takedown and a near fall from a cradle. He extended the lead to 5-0 with an early second period escape and 7-0 with a takedown.
But Murphy wouldn’t quit. He got a reversal with 38 seconds left in the period and nearly pinned Chorzepa with a cradle of his own. After two periods, Chorzepa led 8-4. Murphy escaped to begin the third period, cutting the lead to 8-5 but Chorzepa was able to get a takedown with 37 seconds left to ice the match.
Middletown’s Devon Carrillo gave up the first takedown in his championship match with Class LL champion Sheldon Rhoden of Hartford but nothing after that in a 7-2 victory to win his second straight State Open championship. Carrillo (38-0) gave up just four points in the tournament, two escapes and a takedown to Rhoden.
Norwalk’s Brandon Riggins had seven takedowns in a 17-9 victory over Class S champion Kyle Foster of Somers in the final at 195 pounds. Riggins improves to 41-0 and 126-17 on his career. It was the first loss of the season for Foster, 41-1. “It was pretty satisfying to win here after taking third last year,” Norwalk coach Job Fernandez said. “He has been very consistent all year. He has incredible balance, great hips and is very good all around. His lower body strength is great.”
A pair of last-minute victories propelled Xavier’s Sean Marinan to the Open championship. In his semifinal match with Pomperaug’s Ian Jones, the bout was tied 3-3 after Jones was penalized for stalling with 13 seconds left in the third period. Jones tried to throw Marinan but he fell to his back, Marinan adjusted and got the takedown and near fall in the final five seconds for a 7-4 decision.
In the final, Marinan (38-0, 97-17 career) topped Masuk’s Eric Tucker, 3-2 in triple OT to clinch the tournament for Xavier. Marinan took a 1-0 lead with an escape in the second period only to see Tucker tie it up with an escape of his own with 1:34 left in the third period.
The match went to a third 30-second OT period. If the wrestler on top can control for 30 seconds, he wins. If the wrestler on the bottom scores, he wins. Marinan chose bottom and escaped in seven seconds for the win.
The scouting report was accurate and Daniel Hand senior Joseph Demichele took advantage. He knew that Thomaston’s Tyler Margison like to get his two arms in under an opponent’s arms and then throw him to the mat. In the championship match at 285 pounds, Margison tried to throw Demichele to the mat. He got both of his arms under Demichele’s arms and fell backward, hoping to use him momentum to throw Demichele to his back.
Demichele (35-1) kept his weight back and flattened Margison, pinning him in 1:22 to win his second consecutive State Open championship.“I watched him before and that was all he was throwing,” Demichele said. “I knew it was coming so I kept my weight back.”
It was a sour ending to a tremendous tournament by Margison (40-1), who lost for the first time this season. Margison won his opening round match 9-3 and won his quarterfinal and semifinal matches by pin. He became the first Thomaston wrestler to compete in a State Open final.
Thomaston coach Shaun Canney wasn’t surprised to see Margison try to throw Demichele. “That has been his go-to move,” Canney said. “He has lived and died with that this season. Up to now, it has all been living.”