By GERRY deSIMAS, JR.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
GLASTONBURY, March 2001 -- For the past four seasons, the Danbury High wrestling team has finished the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the state in the state coaches poll.
This year, the Hatters earned their No. 1 spot.
Danbury had seven medalwinners including two champions Scott Fay (189) and Steve Scott (145) to win the CIAC State Open championship Saturday night at Glastonbury High with a 127-96 win over neighboring Bethel.
Southington, which had four wrestlers in the finals, finished third with 90½ points while Berlin was fourth with 70 points. It was the first year of team scoring at the Open since 1975.
"We wrestled great. It was a team effort," Danbury coach Ricky Shook said. "We won it the wrestlebacks (consolation round). Bethel wrestled great, too. They had a great quarterfinal and semifinal round. I'm glad to see they did well."
Trevor Howe (125) and Dennis Stone (140) each finished third for Danbury, the reigning five-time Class LL champions while Phil Young (103) finished fourth. Chris Kaplanis (112) and Scott Brisson (171) each finished sixth.
While Shook was pleased to see the reintroduction of team scoring, he would like to see the wrestlers seeded in the future.
"There were a lot better matchups in the quarterfinals and semifinals," he said. "I think they should be seeded."
Ledyard's Allyn Quibble won his second straight Open championship and was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler. Young earned the fast fall award with four pins in 8:20.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class qualify for next weekend's New England championships at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H.
Here is a brief rundown of what happened in each championship bout.
Sophomore Ian Kessler outscored freshman James Therrien of Killingly, 4-1 in the third period to win his first State Open title with a 7-3 victory at 103 pounds.
Bethel's Greg Pace (112) won his second straight State Open championship with a tight 4-3 win over Berlin's C.J. McCormack. A first-period takedown and second-period reversal were enough for the junior to hold off McCormack, who scored on a pair of escapes and a stalling call on Pace in the third period.
It wasn't an easy afternoon for Pace, who advanced to the finals with a 1-0 double overtime win on criteria over Bulkeley's Nate Russell in the semifinals.
Tall and lanky Glastonbury Kevin Egolf never led until he quickly dropped to the mat and scooped up the leg of Bethel's Jeff Oldman for a takedown with 38 seconds left in the match to earn a 4-2 victory and the Open title at 119.
It gave Egolf his second straight Open championship. He won his first at 112 pounds in 2000. Egolf earned a spot in the final with a 6-4 overtime win over Platt's Luis Murillo in the semifinals, thanks to a takedown with 14 seconds left in overtime.
Newington's Tim Faucher (125) won the first State Open title in school history with a thrilling 6-4 victory over East Catholic's Chris Scheinberg.
With the match tied 3-3, he tripped Scheinberg with 56 seconds left in the second period to get a takedown and a 5-3 lead. Scheinberg escaped with 13 seconds left to cut the lead to one.
Faucher's third period escape with 1:45 to go gave him a two-point lead.
He spent the rest of the match countering attacks from Scheinberg. Both wrestlers were outstanding, blocking attacks with countermoves, speed and strength in one of the most entertaining matches of the finals.
"He's experienced, intelligent and knows what he is doing out there," Newington coach Matt Rossi said.
Faucher's tournament almost came to an end in the semifinals when he got caught in a headlock and flipped to his back in the second period against NFA's Brett Piscitello. The move cut a seven-point lead to two, 7-5.
But Faucher, Newington's first two-time Class LL champion, prevailed, 8-5.
"It was a wakeup call for me," said Faucher, now 37-0. "It told me I still had to keep wrestling 100 percent all the time. It helped calm me down and get me to focus on what I had to do."
It was a disappointing loss for Scheinberg, the East Catholic wrestler, who lost for the first time this season (40-1).
Derby's Dave Stec won his second straight Open title with a 4-2 victory over Southington's Doug O'Leary at 130 pounds. It was 2-2 after two periods but Stec escaped with 1:24 left in the third period and added another point on a penalty point.
O'Leary finished second in the State Open for the second straight year. A year ago, he lost to Berlin's Joe Cleary, 7-0.
"Last year, it was more disappointing because it was a mental mistake. This time I made a physical mistake and I can live with that," O'Leary said. "(Stec) outwrestled me tonight. He tied me up in every way possible."
Stec, the Class S champion, improved to 38-0. Both Stec and O'Leary advanced to the finals with 8-6 wins in overtime. Stec beat Fairfield's Lee Mannion while O'Leary beat Glastonbury's Mike Beers.
Windham High's Ben Davis-Oscar added an Open championship to his resume with a 6-3 victory over Stratford's Anthony Corvino. Davis-Oscar, a two-time Class M champion, gained confidence in his 7-4 loss to Ledyard's Allyn Quibble in last year's State Open.
At 140, Ledyard's Allyn Quibble improved to 39-0 with a dominating 17-6 victory over Platt's Matt Cattel. For Quibble, it was his second straight State Open championship. "It went the way I wanted it to go," said Quibble, who has given up only two takedowns this season. "I wrestled on my feet where I'm best."
Quibble was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler.
Danbury's Steve Scott earned his 40th victory of the season with a 13-5 decision at 145 pounds over Fitch's Will Deveau. Scott (40-2), the Class LL champion, slipped past Class S champion Adam Russell of East Windsor in a close semifinal match, 8-6.
At 152 pounds, both wrestlers earned back points but Guilford's Jeff Sullivan was stronger, outscoring NFA's Adam Chenette 6-2 in the final period to earn a 15-9 decision and the State Open championship.
Sullivan, the Class L champion, remained undefeated with a 40-0 record.
"He comes from a long line of wrestlers in his family," Guilford coach Pete Anderson said. "He is very sound. He doesn't do anything special but he is aggressive and he has earned it."
Sullivan's brother, J.P., was a Class L champion in 1994 and finished third in the Open at 135 pounds that season.
Bethel senior Matt Palermo controlled Southington junior Larry Liseo to win the 160-pound class with a 5-0 victory. Palermo (31-1) took control with takedowns midway through the second and third periods.
Palermo had a close 5-3 victory over defending Open champion Mike Laroche of Berlin in the semifinals while Liseo slipped past Newtown's Steve Selezan, 8-7 in his semifinal bout with a takedown with 18 seconds left in the third period.
Selezan, who stunned Laroche with a pin in the Class L finals, hurt his knee in the loss and forfeited his remaining consolation round matches to finish sixth.
Brett Scholnick of Hand, the Class M champion scored eight of the last nine points of the match to beat Southington's Colin Sepko at 171 pounds. Scholnick improved to 41-0 on the season. Sepko (28-3) took down Scholnick early with a headlock but couldn't hold on long enough to get any back points
At 189, Danbury's Scott Fay improved to 41-1 with a 10-2 win over junior Adam Karasevicz of Waterford.
Warren Harding's Greg Robertson, the Class L champion, spoiled the upset bid of Windham High's Andrea Diaz in the 215-pound final with a 4-1 victory. Diaz, who finished third in Class M, upset Class LL champion Wigberto Diaz of Bridgeport Central in the quarterfinals by pin (3:07) and got past Bristol Eastern's Eric Carbone (4th Class L) in the semifinals, 10-5 to earn a shot at the title.
Sophomore John Sullivan of Greenwich won the Open title at 275 pounds with a 6-2 win over Southington's Matt Vose (25-3). Sullivan, now 37-1, pinned each opponent in his first three matches.
Defending Open champion Aaron Trusty of Berlin lost a 3-2 overtime decision to Anthony Capirichino of Bethel in the quarterfinals but rebounded to finish third with a 1-0 decision over Hand's L.J. Spinnato.