Championship: Spencer Hill, Windham dec. Chris Young, Rocky Hill, 2-1; Third: Alex Mardis, Oxford dec. Marcus Slivinski, Plainville, 5-1; Fifth: Fjoralb Cekici, Nonnewaug pin Ethan Pace, Stafford, 4:00
Championship: Kyle Foster, Somers dec. Xavier Kernozek, Windham, 9-0; Third: Chris Samboy, Classical dec. Tim West, Plainville, 1-0; Fifth: Chris Mutch, Canton dec. Andrew Temple, Oxford, Injury default
Championship: Nick Poulin, Windham pin Skylar Lang, Canton, 0:37; Third: Adam Patsun, Somers pin Jermaine Frazer, Griswold, 4:46; Fifth: Hunter Aiona, Morgan pin Mike Kampartas, Gilbert, 1:20
Championship: Wolfg Fiasconaro, Windham pin Ryan Murtha, Montville, 2:30; Third: Dan Carbonaro, Oxford pin Broden Wells, Haddam Killingworth, 0:50; Fifth: Josh Zitnay, Nonnewaug dec. Luke Hart, Hale Ray, Default
Outstanding wrestler: Kyle Fosters, Somers (195)
Fast fall: Mike Ruffino (113), Windham, 4 pins in 5:50
Dominant Windham wins first Class S title
By GERRY deSIMAS, JR.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
HIGGNAUM, Feb. 16 – There hasn’t been this kind of domination by one team in the Class S tournament in over a quarter century. Windham High, which was second in Class M a year ago, made their debut in the Class S tournament in smashing style.
The Whippets brought 14 wrestlers to the tournament and everyone won at least one match. Eight wrestlers finished among the top six to qualify for next week’s State Open wrestling championships and seven earned spots in the finals. Six Whippets won, three by pin.
It helped Windham win their 10th state championship banner with a 100-point win over host Haddam Killingworth,238½ to 135½. It’s the second largest margin of victory in Class S history. Only a 117½ win by Pulaski High of New Britain in 1976 was larger.
The Whippets previously won five Class L and four Class M championships. It’s most recent title came seven years ago in 2006.
“The one thing we pride ourselves on is our conditioning,” Windham coach Patrick Risley said. “We may not be the most technical team but we will wear you down. That is our signature – constant pressure. We constantly keep coming at you. That is how we got some our pins (in the finals).
Senior Mike Ruffino (113) won his third straight state title with a 53 second pin of Nonnewaug freshman Kieran Duggan. Ruffino got the initial takedown and a two-point near fall but Duggan was able to fight off his back and get a reversal of his own.
But he had little time to enjoy that. Ruffino kept the pressure on, got a reversal and finished the match within a minute.
At 220, Nick Poulin got Canton’s Skylar Lang on his back early and never let him breathe with a 37-second in. At 285, Windham’s Wolfgang Fiasconaro won his second straight state title with a pin over Montville’s Ryan Murtha.
Windham’s Sebby Ruffino (106), Devyn Pesta (160) and Spencer Hill (170) also won titles for the Whippets. Hill wrestled with a broken foot he suffered late in the high school football season.
With the finals beginning at 160 pounds, Risley and Windham had wrestlers in seven straight weight classes. The only loss in the run was Xavier Kernozek’s 9-0 loss to two-time Class S champion Kyle Fosters of Somers at 189 pounds. Foster was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler.
“To be sitting in that chair for seven straight matches was something special,” Risley said. “The kids worked hard to get here.”
It will be an adjustment for the Whippets in Class S. “This is where we will be for the next few years,” Risley said. “My kids are competitors. They would rather be in Class M to compete with Ledyard and only because it’s Ledyard.”
Windham’s only loss this season was a three-point loss to the Class M champion Colonels. And he isn’t keeping his team’s expectations on just a Class S title.
“I wanted to see our expectations higher than a Class S championship this year,” he said. “We always battle and wrestle tough.”
For the rest of Class S, it will be a time to adjust or get left behind.
“This is what we should aspire to be,” Terryville coach Peter Veleas said. “It’s good to have them here. It’s good to see what a real good team is like up close and personal. Kids and teams can see what it is like to wrestle with a team that can contend at the State Open.”
“Windham is consistent. They’re aggressive and they’re a very efficient team,” Nonnewaug coach David Green said. “They’re solid from top to bottom and their kids wrestle hard.”
It was the biggest win in the tournament since Avon won by 73 points over Berlin in 1987.
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Oxford’s Steve Persson (152) is the only wrestler in his team’s brief history to win a state championship. The junior won his second straight on Saturday with a 7-0 win over Thomaston’s Rigon Gilani.
Gilani had beaten Persson (33-3) with a last-second victory, 10-9 earlier this year.
In the final, Persson took command immediately with a quick 4-0 lead with a takedown and a near fall. He never let Gilani (24-3) back into the match.
“He was really ready to perform today,” Oxford High coach Ben Blue said. “It was a simple, basic type of domination. He is very determined.”
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Persson was one of six Class S champions to win multiple state titles. Windham’s Mike Ruffino added a Class S title to a pair of Class M titles in won in the previous two seasons. Poulin and Fiasconaro won their second straight titles along with Somer’s Kyle Foster.
Old Saybrook/Westbrook’s David Colburn (38-2, 138) had go to into double overtime to secure his second straight Class S title. Colburn was facing Terryville’s senior Avery Ellegard and led 3-2 after two periods.
But Ellegard battled and got an escape with 11 seconds left in regulation to tie the bout and send it into overtime. After a scoreless first OT session, Colburn took a 5-3 lead with a reversal in the second OT. After a second reversal and a penalty point, Colburn had a commanding 8-3 lead.
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For the first time ever, Portland High had two individual champions with Mason Rambarose beating Somers’ Nick Zachary, 2-1 at 126 pounds and Josh Fernandez outlasting Holy Cross’ Bryan Burnette, 6-4 in the final at 132 pounds.
Portland has had just two previous state champions and the most recent state titlist was Nick Nicholson, who won the second of two Class S titles in 1996.
Rambarose, a sophomore and a New York State sectional placewinner a year ago, was the third seed and is now 36-2 on the year. Fernandez got a key takedown with 1:19 left in the match to secure the win. Fernandez was second at 132 a year ago.
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Windham is just the second school since 1976 to win state titles in three divisions. Berlin was the first team to win a Class S, M and L championship. … The second place finish was the best-ever finish for H-K, which fielded its first team seven years ago in 2006. …