Costanzo is now recognized as a
New England champ
LOWELL, Mass., Aug. 29 – Kenny Anderson of Billerica, Mass., has been stripped of the New England championship that he won at 119 pounds last March at the 2008 New England Wrestling Tournament. Anderson had been suspended by Billerica High School the day before the tournament. But he received a temporary restraining order from Middlesex Superior Court allowing him to compete. Anderson, a three-time Massachusetts champion, finished the season 45-0 after beating Danbury sophomore Charlie Costanzo in the championship match, 6-5 with a last-minute escape.
Costanzo is now recognized as the New England champion. Anderson failed to show up for his court appearance on the temporary restraining order. According to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) rules, if an athlete doesn’t appear in court for a decision on the validity of the temporary restraining order, he forfeits his eligibility for the event.
“He never went back to court to see if his injunction would be upheld,” said Bill Savage, executive director of the New England Council, which hosts the New England Tournament. With Anderson ruled ineligible by the MIAA, the next five finishers each moved up one spot. Costanzo is listed as the 119 champion with a win by disqualification.
The 18-person New England Council voted not to change the team scores because eliminating the points that Anderson earned wouldn’t have changed the top three finishers in the tournament, Savage said.
In March, the Lowell Sun reported that Anderson had been suspended by the administration at Billerica High for being found “in the vicinity, but not in possession of” a tin of chewing tobacco in the school locker room on Thursday the day before the tournament.
Thanks to donation, Seymour program survives for now
SEYMOUR, Sept. 16 – Wrestling at Seymour High is alive at least for one more year. The wrestling program has been reinstated after a gift of $7,500 to the Board of Education, primarily from parents of the wrestlers. School board member Fred Stanek, who is chairman of the board’s athletics committee told the New Haven Register, “I think it’s admirable that parents are willing to come forward with the money.” However, the future may be dim for the program, which had just 15 wrestlers a year ago and expect 12 this year. With the opening of the new Oxford High, Seymour High will shrink to 700 students. Without tuition from the Oxford students, Seymour Superintendent MaryAnne Mascolo said, “It’s going to be very difficult to fund the breadth of programs that we have now."
Parents offer to fund Seymour squad
SEYMOUR, Aug. 5 – For the second straight year, the Seymour High wrestling team has been eliminated by the Board of Education. This year, it may stick. To eliminate more than $640,000 from its $29.1 million budget, the Seymour BOE cut $7,500 for a wrestling coach and $40,000 for all freshman sports. The board recently voted not to reinstate funding for wrestling and freshman sports. Parents met with the BOE asking if they could fund the team themselves. School superintendent MaryAnne Mascolo said she would check with the town attorney to see if parents can fund the program. BOE chairman Bruce Baker made no promises. “If it turns out it’s legal, and doesn’t violate any laws, we can look into it,” Baker said.
Four earn All-America honors at NHSCA Open
SALISBURY, Md., June 29 – Four Connecticut wrestlers earned All-American honors at the recent National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) National Open tournament. New Milford’s Conor Kirkegard (80 pounds) won a national title in the middle school division (grades 7-9) while Stamford’s Joey Battinelli earned All-American honors for the third time for finishing fifth at 95 pounds in the middle school division with a 2-2 record.
In the high school division (grades 9-12), Colchester’s Aren Norman (189) finished fourth. Norman, who wrestles for Bacon Academy and trains at Northeast Elite in the offseason, dropped a pair of one-point decisions in the consolation round. Michael McKeever (215), who wrestles at Immaculate and lives in Brookfield, finished sixth. Over 1,000 wrestlers from 28 states competed in the event.
Three wrestlers compete at trials
LAS VEGAS, June 13 – Three wrestlers with Connecticut connections competed at the U.S. Olympic team trials in Las Vegas. Yale graduate Patricia Miranda, the 2004 bronze medal winner at Athens, was upset in the best-of-3 finals at 105.5 pounds (48 kg) when Clarissa Chun swept a pair of wins. It was the rematch of the 2004 Olympic finals. Former Sacred Heart University wrestler Steve Forrest (163 pounds) and former Waterford High wrestler Stefenie Shaw (138) also competed but did not qualify. The Olympics are scheduled for Aug. 12-21 in Beijing, China.
Former Yale wrestler
aims for gold in Beijing
Former Yale wrestler Patricia Miranda and her husband is profiled in a recent edition of the New York Times. Miranda won the bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and it was her husband who convinced her to come out of retirement to try for a medal in Beijing.
Bilheimer resigns from Ledyard
LEDYARD, May 16 – Ledyard High coach Steve Bilheimer has resigned to spend more time with his family. In seven years, Bilheimer (133-29) led Ledyard to four state titles, five ECC championships and four ECC Tournament titles. The Colonels won a school-record 26 matches in 2006 (26-2) and earned 20 wins the past two seasons. Bilheimer, who has a 4-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son, plans to coach in the middle school. He was named Coach of the Year by the New London Day in 2007 and 2008.
Ten state girls earn
Lebanon's Lohbusch wins national title
LIVONIA, Mich., March 29 – Ten girls from Connecticut earned All-American honors at the 11th annual U.S. Girls Wrestling Association national championship tournament. Middletown’s Stephanie Marino (128) and Windsor’s Amelia Munson (98) earned All-American honors with Marino finishing sixth and Munson taking fifth in the high school division. Both earned All-American honors at the recent USA Wrestling girls folkstyle national tournament in Oklahoma earlier in the month. Montville’s Jessica Bennett (103) finished 10th.
In the elementary division. Breana Lohbusch (66) of Lebanon won a national championship with a victory over teammate Siarra Harrington. New London’s Olivia Satti (63) finished second. Ledyard’s Emme Cronin (61), Salem’s Kailey MarcAurele (67) and Avon’s Kaely Quijano (59) each finished third. Quijano’s twin sister Kiely (63) finished fifth.
Griswold's Banks finishes eighth
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., March 30 – Griswold’s Tyler Banks reached the quarterfinals of the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) senior national tournament with three straight wins and won a consolation round match on a tiebreaker to earn All-American status. Banks beat Cody Forbes of New Jersey, 2-1 on a tiebreaker to earn a spot in the consolation round quarterfinals. But he dropped a 3-0 decision to Derek Valenti of New Jersey and finished eighth after a 7-0 loss to Luke Grassi of New Jersey. The top eight wrestlers in each class earn All-American honors.
Banks (4-3) was the only Connecticut wrestler to place and one of two New England wrestlers to win a medal. A Maine wrestler finished sixth at 103 pounds. Banks was one of 18 state wrestlers in the tournament that attracted 635 wrestlers including 74 at 130 pounds.
Only 18 Connecticut wrestlers have earned All-American honors at the Senior Nationals.
Ledyard’s C.J Satti (140) and Hand’s Derek Fish (145) were the only other state wrestlers to win two matches. Satti and Fish both finished 2-2. Danbury’s George Madkour (125), Windham’s Nick Marouski (130), Ledyard’s Julian Hightower (189), Middletown’s Richard Perry (215) and Stamford’s Erialy Pierre-Saint (145) each won a bout. Connecticut was 33rd in the tournament.
Gillen finishes third at freshman tournament
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., March 29 – Freshman Pat Gillen of Shelton won a pair of matches Saturday to finish third at 189 pounds in the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) freshman national tournament. After losing in the semifinals by three to Pennsylvania’s David Quackenbos, Gillen pinned Thomas Hall of New York in 1:26 and slipped past Harrison Honeycutt of North Carolina, 1-0 to finish third and earn All-American honors. The top eight wrestlers in each weight class earn All-American honors. Gillen (48-5) also was recognized as a national Academic All-American.
Shelton's Gillen earns All-American honors at NHSCA
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., March 28 – Shelton freshman Patrick Gillen (189) has earned All-American honors at the National High School Coaches Association’s national championship tournaments. Gillen won a pair of matches to advance into the semifinals before losing to Pennsylvania’s David Quackenbos, 9-6. Gillen will wrestle next in the consolation semifinals. The only other Connecticut freshman to win more than one match was Bacon Academy’s Nick Dodge, who was 2-2 at 103 pounds.
In the sophomore nationals, Danbury’s Charlie Costanzo (119) won four straight bouts in the consolation round but fell one win shy of All-American honors finishing with a 4-2 record. Waterford’s Zac Deer (135) and Shane Battista (189) were the only other state wrestlers to win more than one match. Each went 2-2.
At the junior national tournament, Bristol Central’s Tim Chambers (285) dropped a one-point decision in his opening match of the tournament but rallied to win four in a row in the consolation round, including a 4-2 win over Danbury’s Humphrey Swift. But Chambers also finished one win shy of All-American honors. Danbury’s Tucker Schaefer (140) and East Lyme’s Lucas Bowman (215) were each 2-2.
The senior national tournament begins on Friday with 16 Connecticut wrestlers registered.
50 state wrestlers signed up for nationals
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., March 24 – Fifty Connecticut wrestlers will be competing this week in the National High School Coaches Association’s national championship wrestling tournaments beginning Wednesday and running through Sunday, March 30. Sixteen Connecticut seniors will be competing in 10 different weight classes in the 19th annual Senior National tournament. There are 10 wrestlers from Connecticut in the Junior National and Sophomore National tournament with 13 Nutmeg athletes in the freshman tournament.
The Senior Nationals are open to any senior who has been a state tournament finalist while the remaining three tournaments are open events.
LaBeef to wrestle at Pomfret
WOODSTOCK, March 24 – Freshman R.J. LaBeef (103) who won a State Open championship at Woodstock Academy will wrestle at Pomfret School next fall where his father, Ron, is an assistant coach with the Griffins. LaBeef won also won the ECC and Class L title.
Three girls earn
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, March 16 – Three Connecticut wrestlers earned All-American honors at the first-ever USA Wrestling girls folkstyle national championship tournament. Windsor’s Amelia Munson (95 pounds) finished second while Middletown’s Stephanie Marino (130) finished seventh. Breana Lohbusch (66 pounds) finished second in the elementary division (grades 1-5). Over 184 athletes from 30 states competed in the meet.
Munson, who wrestled for Windsor High this winter, dropped an 11-0 decision to New York’s Carlene Sluberski in the championship match. Marino, who wrestled for Class L champion Middletown, pinned Jody Martinez of Texas in 1:09 to take seventh. The next major event for girls in the U.S. Girls Wrestling Association’s 10th annual national championship tournament is Saturday, March 29 in Livonia, Michigan.
Fish named state wrestler of the year
SOUTHINGTON, March 16 – Hand-Madison senior Derek Fish (145) was named the wrestler of the year at the Connecticut High School Coaches Association’s 2008 All-State banquet Sunday in Southington. Fish (32-1) became the first Hand wrestler in 16 years to win a New England championship. He also captured the State Open and won his second straight Class L title.
Bacon Academy’s Michael Voiland, who led the Bobcats to a school-record 32 wins and a ECC Small Division championship, was named the state coach of the year. Windham High’s Rafael Calixto was named as the state assistant coach of the year. Marc Allard of the Norwich Bulletin was honored as sportswriter of the year while tournament organizer Dave Nowakowski, who ran the State Open and Class S tournament, won the Special Appreciation award.
Wrestlers who won Class LL, L, M, S and State Open championships were honored with All-State recognition. Academic All-State awards were also presented to wrestlers who finished in the top six of the Class LL, L, M and S tournaments while meeting academic requirements.
Shook is named coach of the year
DANBURY, March 13 – Danbury High wrestling coach Ricky Shook as been named as the Doc McInerney Male Coach of the Year by the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance. Shook will be honored at the 67th Gold Key dinner at the Aqua Turf in Southington on April 27. He is just the second wrestling coach to be honored with the Coach of the Year award. Ledyard’s Rod Leyland won in 1978.
Since taking over the Danbury program in 2000, Shook has posted a record of 187-7, the highest winning percentage in state history, and his Hatters have won nine straight Class LL and State Open wrestling titles. Danbury was 22-0 this year. Tickets are $75 each for the 4:30 p.m. event For ticket information or questions about the event please contact Alliance secretary Bob Ehalt at (203) 929-6584 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Alliance President John Silver at 1-800-237-3606, Ext. 317 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Hightower, Fish win New England titles
LOWELL, Mass., March 1 – Two state wrestlers brought home New England championships on Saturday night at Lowell High School. Ledyard’s Julian Hightower (189) won a New England championship with a 5-4 win in OT over Massachusetts champion Mike Leavitt of Central Catholic while Hand’s Derek Fish (145) outlasted Maine’s Jon Smith of Dirigo, 6-3. Five other Connecticut wrestlers made the finals but lost.
Griswold’s Tyler Banks (130) lost for the first time this season with a 2-1 loss to Massachusetts champion John Sughrue of Methuen while Wolverine teammate Brock Coutu was pinned in 2:36 in the finals by Massachusetts champion Tim Rich of Chelmsford. Coutu had advanced to the finals with three pins. Middletown’s Richard Perry (215) fell to Massachusetts champion Brett Wyman of Bridgewater-Raynham, 4-2 and Westhill’s Ron Thompson (160) was shut out in the finals by Kote Aldus of Belfast, Maine, 6-0.
Danbury sophomore Charlie Costanzo (119) came close to handing three-time Massachusetts champion Kenny Anderson of Billerica his first loss of the season but Anderson (45-0) prevailed with a 6-5 decision. Anderson led 5-0 and was controlling the match before Costanzo hit a reversal and put Anderson to his back for a three-point near fall. But Anderson escaped to win.
Timberlane outlasted Mt. Anthony for its third New England title in the last four years and its record-tying sixth overall. Only Mt. Anthony has won six New England titles.
New England medals won by each state and complete brackets
Danbury wins Open
NEW HAVEN, Feb. 24 – Seven Eastern Connecticut Conference wrestlers won State Open titles Sunday as Danbury won the tournament for the eighth straight year with a 10-point win over Ledyard – their smallest margin of victory since 2002.
Two state wrestlers
in NJCAA finals
ROCHESTER, Minn., Feb. 23 – Two former Connecticut high school stars were in the finals at the National Junior College Athletic Association’s national championship meet on Saturday. Greenwich’s Brandon Williamson (285), now wrestling for Nassau (N.Y.) Community College, won a national championship with a 6-4 decision over John Bates of Clackamas, Oregon. Former Ledyard star T.J. Hepburn (149), representing Colby (Kansas) Community College, lost to Albert White of North Iowa Area Community College in the finals, 3-2. Nassau was fifth overall while Colby was eighth.
Three repeat champions in state
Ledyard, Danbury and Middletown successfully defended their respective CIAC state championships on Saturday. The only newcomer was Killingly, which outlasted Montville in Class S.
Connecticut Wrestling Online's coverage of each tournament.
Complete brackets from each tournament