Spencer wins national freestyle title at 105
FARGO, N.D., July 25 – Niantic’s Ross Spencer, who graduated from East Lyme High last month, won a national title Sunday at the USA Wrestling Junior freestyle national championship with a 1-1, 3-1 victory over defending national champion Ruben Navejas of Washington State. A last-second takedown at the end of the first period gave Spencer a key win in the opening period. Wrestlers who win two of three periods win the match.
After giving up a takedown early in the second period, Spencer, 18, hit a three-point move, getting the takedown and throwing Navejas to his back to seize control of the bout.
Spencer was a two-time Class L champion at East Lyme and won the State Open at 103 as a junior. He was second in the Open this year at 112 and sixth in New England. Navejas won the Washington state title as a sophomore at 103 and was second at 103 this past winter.
Spencer is the first Connecticut boy to win a USA Wrestling national title since South Windsor’s Anthony Valles (98 pounds) won back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. Click on the following link to watch the match.
Spencer, Malone earn All-American honors at nationals in Fargo
FARGO, N.D., July 24 – Two Connecticut wrestlers earned All-American honors at the 2010 USA Wrestling Cadet and Junior freestyle national wrestling championships. Granby’s Dom Malone (112) finished third in the Cadet freestyle tournament (ages 15-16) with a record of 8-1. East Lyme’s Ross Spencer (105) earned a spot in the Junior freestyle tournament by winning his first six matches. He’ll face Ruben Navejas of Washington in the championship bout.
In the Cadet tournament, incoming Stamford High freshman Walker Dempsey (119) went 5-2. At the junior tournament, Salisbury’s Robert Ruiz (125) went 4-2 while Bristol Eastern’s Andrew Chase (105) finished 3-2.
Around the mat
Four Connecticut wrestlers earn All-American honors at NHSCHA's U.S. Open tournament in Salisbury, MD on July 4. Bacon's Aren Norman (189) and Stamford's Walker Dempsey (119) finish second. Stamford's Joe Battinelli (112, 4th) and East Haven's Julius Feniola (285, 7th) also earned All-American honors.
Stafford High coach Shirzad Ahmadi won his 2nd straight USA Wrestling Veterans freestyle championship at 152 pounds (69kg) in Division E (ages 56 and up) in May. In August 2009, he won his fifth Veterans World Championship at 138 pounds (63kg). He’s won 15 medals at the Veterans World Championships (5 gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze). He lives in Coventry.
Branford's Cheyenne Carden was named to TheMat.com/ASICS girls high school All-American wrestling team. Carden, who won the 2010 U.S. Girls Wrestling Association national title at 128 pounds in April, was named to the third team.
Fairfield Warde coach Jason Shaughnessy recently named FCIAC coach of the year at the league's annual banquet for all sports, not just wrestling. Shaughnessy's Mustangs became the first team to win an FCIAC wrestling tournament in 23 years by beating Danbury. Warde went 21-2 on the year.
Timberlane [N.H.] coach Barry Chooljian was recently named national wrestling coach of the year by the National High School Coaches Association. The Owls won a record 8th New England championship in March and have won more matches than any team in New England history. More here Kris Morton, one of just 10 wrestlers in state history, to win four CIAC state titles, died on Wednesday, June 9 at the age of 41. Morton wrestled for Waterford High School and won three State Open, two Class M and two Class S titles from 1983-86. Wrestling USA magazine named him an All-American in 1986. Obituary
After two years away, Steve Bilheimer is returning to the head coaching job at Ledyard High, replacing Jason Lanoue who coached the past two years. Lanoue resigned in April for personal reasons. Bilheimer (135-28, 5 ECC titles, 4 Class M titles) coached the Ledyard Middle School program the past two years.
U.S. GIrls Wrestling Association
Branford's Carden wins national title
YPSILANTI, MI., April 4 – Branford junior Cheyenne Carden stunned defending national champion Kerstin Harmon in the finals at 128 pounds to win her first U.S. Girls Wrestling Association (USGWA) national championship Sunday at Eastern Michigan University. Carden won three matches including a thrilling 6-4 win over Harmon, who was ranked 12th in the nation and had just won her third straight Ohio state title.
Carden earned All-American honors for the second straight year. Three other high school wrestlers and three middle school wrestlers earned All-American honors by finishing in the top eight of their respective weight classes.
Manchester’s Taylor Zboray (103, 4th), Trumbull’s Zipporah Drozdowicz (128, 5th) and Oxford's Kimberly Pearce (155, 5th) earned medals. In the middle school division, Lebanon’s Breana Lohbush (95, 2nd) and the Avon twins Kiely Quijano (75, 2nd) and Kaely Quijano (70, 3rd) were named All-American.
Seven Connecticut wrestlers earn
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., March 28 – Seven Connecticut wrestlers earned All-American honors in the four National High School Coaches Association national wrestling tournaments this weekend and another three wrestlers were just one win shy of finishing in the top eight of their weight class and earning All-American honors.
Connecticut had two All-Americans in the junior national tournament. Shelton’s Patrick Gillen (215) and Bristol Eastern’s Andrew Chase (103). In the sophomore nationals, Griswold's Brandon Walsh (135) and Hand's Joe DeMichele (285) earned All-American honors.
In the freshman national tournament, Connecticut had two All-Americans in one class, 130 pounds. Bristol Eastern’s Craig Sassu finished fourth while Windham’s Miguel Calixto took fifth. At 152 pounds, Fairfield Warde’s Tom Anania finished eighth. Click here for more details.
For 2nd time, Costanzo is wrestler of the year
SOUTHINGTON, March 21 -- Danbury's Charlie Costanzo is the first two-time winner of the Wrestler of the Year award from the CT High School Coaches Association. Costanzo won the award at the 16th annual year-end wrestling banquet in Southington. New Milford's Chris Piel was named coach of the year.
Saturday, March 6
Costanzo, Gillen win New England titles
Danbury’s Charlie Costanzo (119) won his first New England championship and Shelton's Patrick Gillen (215) won a New England title without giving up a point in the tournament. Timberlane, N.H., won its record third straight New England tournament and its eighth overall, also a tournament record.
New England Tournament
South Windsor 4th after two rounds complete
NEW HAVEN, March 5 -- Wrestling has been completed in the first two rounds of the New England wrestling tournament in New Haven. Quarterfinal action begins Saturday at 1 p.m. Semifinals begin at 3 p.m. Through two rounds, South Windsor has three wrestlers alive in the championship bracket and the Bobcats are fourth with 15.5 points.
Tuesday, March 2
Danbury voted No. 1 in state coaches poll
For the 14th straight year, Danbury was voted as the No. 1 team in the state coaches poll. With wins in the Class LL and State Open, the Hatters moved up from No. 3. Fairfield Warde, which won the Class L title, remained at No. 2 while New Milford slipped to No. 3. South Windsor moved into the top 10 at No. 4.
Monday, March 1
Brackets available for
New England Tournament
NEW HAVEN -- The brackets for the 2010 New England wrestling championships can be found by clicking on the link below. The tournament is Friday and Saturday at the New Haven Athletic Center.
Sunday, February 28
Danbury rallies to win 10th straight Open title
NEW HAVEN, Feb. 28 -- Danbury won seven of its last 10 bouts to erase a 14-point deficit to beat South Windsor, 98½ -84 to win its 10th straight State Open championship. The Hatters had six wrestlers medal while the Bobcats had three wrestlers win medals. Danbury’s Charlie Costanzo (119) became the 13th wrestler in state history to win three Open titles. Bethel’s Andrew Ford (152) and South Windsor’s Joe Sargenti (135) won their second straight titles. Seven of the 14 finals were decided in overtime.
Saturday, February 27
South Windsor leads Danbury at State Open
NEW HAVEN, Feb. 27 -- There could be a new State Open champion crowned today. After completion of the semifinals and consolation quarterfinals, South Windsor holds a 14.5 point lead over Danbury, 80 to 65.5. New Milford is a distant third with 51.5 points. The only remaining rounds of wrestling left are the championship bouts, consolation semifinals, third place and fifth place bouts. Wrestling begins today at 12:30 p.m. The third place bouts are at 2 p.m. The finals will begin at 4 p.m. South Windsor has three wrestlers in the finals while Danbury has one.
Danbury's Charlie Costanzo (119) is seeking his third straight State Open title while South Windsor's Joe Sargenti (135), East Lyme's Ross Spencer (112) and Bethel's Andrew Ford (152) are looking to win their second straight.
Tuesday, February 23
Monday, February 22
Final poll will be next week
There is no coaches poll this week. The final coaches poll of the season will be conducted after the State Open. … Outstanding wrestlers from the respective CIAC tournaments are Shelton’s Pat Gillen (Class LL), Hand’s Brian Onofrio (Class L), Bethel’s Andrew Ford (Class M) and Nonnewaug’s Tyler Tilbe (Class S). … Ford won his third straight Class M title and Onofrio won his third straight Class L crown on Saturday. Danbury’s Charlie Costanzo also won a third straight state title. … Former Brookfield wrestler Mike Volpe released his top 10 individuals rankings list following the four CIAC championship tournaments.
Saturday, February 20
Thursday, February 18
Will 103 be eliminated next season?
The National Federation of State High Schools Associations (NFHS) is considering making some changes to the 14 weight classes for wrestling at its upcoming spring meeting. NFHS is considering three proposals. Click on this link for the rationale behind each of the three proposals. A fourth proposal is to leave the weight classes are they are currently structured. The current 14 weight classes have been in place since 1995 and were developed thanks to a survey that the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee in 1994-95.
Monday, February 15
New Milford moves to No. 1 in poll, Warde ranked 2nd
Not only did New Milford regain the top spot in the final regular season poll of the state high school wrestling coaches poll but Danbury slipped to No. 3 after its loss to Fairfield Warde in the FCIAC Tournament on Saturday. New Milford moved into the No. 1 spot for the fourth week this season, receiving 10 first place votes. Fairfield Warde received two votes and moved into the No. 2 spot, 30 points ahead of Danbury, which still received a first place vote. The final poll will be released after the State Open. For the fifth straight week, the top 10 teams remained the same but there was some shuffling. ECC champion Bacon Academy moved up one spot to No. 4 and SCC champion Hand moved up two spots to No. 5.
Volpe's state rankings released
Former Brookfield All-American wrestler Matt Volpe posted his own individual state rankings for week 9 at his own Connecticut Wrestling Examiner web site with the top six in each weight class.
For 2nd straight year, site is finalist in journalism competition
NEW HAVEN, May 27 -- For the second year in a row, Connecticut Wrestling Online was a finalist in the journalist excellence competition hosted by the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Connecticut Wrestling Online was competing in the General Excellence, Independent website category. The site won first place in the 2009 contest. This year, the committee honored three outstanding news websites WestportNow.com, Valley Independent Sentinel and the New Haven Independent with awards.
Williamson finishes one win shy of
OMAHA, Neb., March 19 -- West Virginia's Brandon Williamson, the Greenwich High graduate, finishes one win shy of All-American status at NCAA Division I tournament. Williamson went 2-2, in the tournament at heavyweight before being eliminated in OT.
Hepburn, Ward earn All-American honors at NCAA tournaments
Two former state wrestler earned All-American honors at their respective NCAA championship tournaments. Former Ledyard star T.J. Hepburn (149) finished third for the University of Nebraska-Kearney at the NCAA Division II tournament in Omaha, Neb. Former Waterford wrestler Brennan Ward (184) finished second for Johnson & Wales at the NCAA Division III tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Hepburn led No. 9 Nebraska-Kearney to a third place finish in the NCAA Division II tournament. Hepburn, a sophomore, won five straight bouts in the consolation round to take third after losing his opening match of the tournament. He outlasted No. 2 Mitch Smith of West Liberty (W.V.), 7-6 in the consolation quarterfinals and slipped past Derek Bomstead of Minnesota State-Moorhead, 3-2 in the consolation semifinals. In the third place bout, Hepburn (44-9) beat No. 5 Nate Herda of Augustana, 5-3.
At the NCAA Division III tournament, Ward dropped a 7-4 decision to Phil Moenkedick of Concordia in the finals. But Ward pinned No. 4 seed Gabe Youel of North Central College in the semifinals and upset the No. 1 seed Tyler Burkle of Coe College in the quarterfinals. Ward won the New England Wrestling Association tournament to qualify for the nationals.
Williamson qualifies for NCAA Div. I tournament
MORGANSTOWN, W.Va., March 13 -- Former Greenwich High wrestler Brandon Williamson of West Virginia University has qualified to participate in the NCAA Division I tournament in Omaha, Nebraska. Williamson finished second in the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) tournament, getting pinned in the heavyweight final by Pittsburgh’s Ryan Tomei. Williamson (18-7) is a junior transfer from Nassau Community College where he was a 2008 junior college national champion and two-time All-American. At Greenwich, he won the Class LL and State Open title at 189 pounds in 2006.
Dave Schultz award
DANBURY, April 14 – Danbury senior Charlie Costanzo has been named as Connecticut’s winner of the Dave Schultz Excellence Award by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. It is awarded each year to the top senior wrestler based on wrestling excellence, scholastic achievement, citizenship and community service. Costanzo, a 4-time FCIAC champion, won State Open and Class LL titles three times. He is a two-time New England champion and a two-time state wrestler of the year. He will attend West Point next fall.
Hundreds participate in Battle of the Valley
FARMINGTON, May 30 – Hundreds of wrestlers participated in the third annual Battle in the Valley folkstyle wrestling tournament at Farmington High School. Sponsored by the Farmington Wrestling Club and Bristol Boys and Girls Club, elementary, middle school, high school and open wrestlers from Connecticut and the region participated. "The numbers were up from last year's tournament and yet we ran smoothly and finished up early," tournament organizer Eric Misko said. "We're trying to grow this tournament (to 500 wrestlers) so we prepared with six mats. We look forward to running this for years to come."