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Copyright 2002, Collinsville Publishing Company
2002 State Open championships
Stories & results
2002 State Open wrestling championships
At Glastonbury
Team results: 1. Danbury 94, 2. RHAM 92, 3. Fitch 76, 4. Killingly 74, 5. 4. Bethel 73, 6. Fairfield, Greenwich 72,  8. Bridgeport Central 57, 9. Southington 55, 10. NFA 52, 11. Platt 49, 12. Hand 47.5, 13. Guilford 39, 14. Derby 37.5, 15. Stratford 34.5, 16. Waterford 33, 16. Avon 28, 18. New Milford, Plainville 27, 20. Amity and New Fairfield 26, 22. New London, Windham 25, 24. Canton, Gilbert 23.5, 27. Berlin, East Haven, East Windsor 22, 29. Bunnell, Wilton 21, 30. New Canaan 20, 32. Bulkeley, St. Bernard 19, 34. Simsbury 18, 35. Weaver 17.5, 36. Stamford 16.5, 37. Brien McMahon, Pomperaug 16, 39. East Hartford , Harding 12, 41. Darien, Morgan 11, 43. Northwestern Regional, Woodstock Academy 10, 45. Glastonbury, Ridgefield 7, 47. Ledyard, South Windsor 6, 49. Bacon Academy, Branford, East Lyme, Fermi, Rockville, Rocky Hill 5, 55. Hartford Public, Holy Cross, Staples 4, 58. Bristol Central, Cheshire, Montville, Seymour, Tolland 3, 63. Hall, Lyman Memorial, Stafford 2, 66. Nonnewaug 1

1. Jesse Cavallaro (Plainville) dec. Jason Vermes (East Windsor), 12-0
3. Nick Weyer (Danbury) dec. Josh Turjillo (Bridgeport Central), 5-3
5. Jason Squillace (Darien) dec. Nick Miraqliuolo (Woodstock Academy), 5-4

1. Trevor Brown (RHAM) pin Ian Kessler (New Fairfield), 4:20
3. Chris Malarkey (Killingly) dec. Luis Espinoza (Harding), 4-2
5. Joel Webster (Northwestern) dec. Shawn Howey (East Hartford), 11-6

1. Luis Murillo (Platt) dec. James Therrian (Killingly), 4-2
3. Greg Pace (Bethel) dec. Josh Feldman (Pomperaug), 3-0
5. Pat Newkirk (NFA) dec. Ryan Murphy (New London), 18-7

1. Jeff Oldham (Bethel) dec. Mark McCauley (Guilford), 7-1
3. Chris Coppolo (Fitch) dec. Brandon Stavola (Amity), 6-5
5. Favio Delabrena (Fairfield) dec. Chris Kaplanis (Danbury), 5-1

1. Anthony Hayes (Danbury) pin Clayton Torres (Platt), 4:17
3. Dana Cleveland (Weaver) dec. J.P. Gilbert (Fitch), 5-1
5. Brock Littlefield (RHAM) dec. Bill St. Pierre (Southington), 5-1

1. Lee Mannion (Fairfield) dec. Miguel Figueroa (Bulkeley), 10-3
3. Justin Gilbert (Killingly) dec. Ramel Murphy (New London), 9-6
5. Trevor Howe (Danbury) dec. Doug Milburn (Bethel), 5-3

1. Anthony Corvino (Stratford) dec. Louis Grano (RHAM), 10-3
3. Sean Caselli (New Milford) pin Josh Kaplan (Canton), 3:52
5. Chris Lee (Southington) pin Rob French (Derby), 2:42

1. Jason Pagan (NFA) dec. Greg Dussol (RHAM), 3-1
3. Dave Stec (Derby) dec. Paul Cicarella (East Haven), 4-2
5. Bill Aust (Berlin) dec. Matt Florian (Southington), 9-4

1. Dennis Stone (Danbury) dec. Bryan Hawes (Windham), 14-1
3. Devin Schibi (Gilbert) dec. Alex Ohrn (New Canaan), 14-3
5. Curt Sheppard (Amity) dec. Anthony Defala (Derby), 19-7

1. Larry Liseo (Southington) dec. Dan Taylor (Greenwich), 5-0
3. Will Deveau (Fitch) pin Steve Hoffis (Simsbury), 2:08
5. Kevin Davis (RHAM) pin Tony Lillo (East Haven), 2:42

1. Brett Scholnick (Hand) dec. Carl Higbie (Greenwich), 12-3
3. Joe Bavolacco (Bunnell) dec. Gavin Sidebottom (Fairfield), 3-1, OT
5. Conor Manley (Wilton) dec. Zack Desmond (NFA), 9-2

1.Adam Karasevicz (Waterford) dec. Max Pazdan (Fairfield), 9-1
3. Jay Leckey (Guilford) forfeit Tim Donnelly (Stamford)
5. Andre Williams (Stratford) forfeit Bill McCollum (St. Bernard)

1. Andy Palmermo (Bethel) pin Wigbero Diaz (Bridgeport Central), 2:38
3. Mike LaBeef (Killingly) forfeit Will Ross (Fitch)
5. Aaron Cramer (Morgan) forfeit Amir Kearney (New Milford)

1. John Sullivan (Greenwich) dec. Brian Dubiel (Avon), 7-2
3. Dave Paniccia (Bridgeport Central) dec. Jerrid Ballard (Brien McMahon), 6-5
5. L.J. Spinnato (Hand) pin Dan Puccini (Ridgefield), 0:52

Outstanding wrestler: Luis Murillo, Platt
Fast fall: Chris Lee (Southington), 4 pins in 12:43

A scoring error at the State Open cost RHAM two points and possible share of the State Open championship with Danbury. Unfortunately for RHAM, the error wasn't caught until the Tuesday after the meet. National Federation guidelines call for scoring errors to be corrected within 48 hours of the event. Danbury nipped RHAM, 94-92 to win the Open championship. (Hartford Courant, 3/7)

Danbury News-Times, Feb. 24: Stone clinches Open title for Danbury

Norwich Bulletin, Feb. 24: Pagan claims a title for NFA

Connecticut Post, Feb. 24: Fairfield's Mannion (45-0) wins at State Open; Stratford's Corvino backs up his claims

New Britain Herald, Feb. 24: Southington's Liseo, Plainville's Cavallaro earn State Open titles

Connecticut Wrestling Online, Feb. 24: Schibi, Feldman qualify for New England Tournament

More on the State Open
Norwich Bulletin, Feb. 27: NFA's Open champion Pagan honored as Athlete of the Week

New Haven Register, Feb. 25: Bill may force CIAC to align leagues by enrollment

New Britain Herald, Feb. 22:
Wrestling's premier showcase, the State Open, begins Friday

Norwich Bulletin: Feb. 21: Fitch's Chris Coppolo named Athlete of the Week

New Britain Herald, Feb. 20 :
Southington questions its performance, has second chance at Open
Connecticut Wrestling Online
GLASTONBURY, Feb. 23, 2002 -- For the RHAM High wrestling team, the big prize was just a few inches away from their fingers. A State Open championship and a big win over six-time Class LL champion Danbury was literally one victory away from the Sachems.

After Trevor Brown (112 pounds) won the first State Open title in RHAM's history with a 4:20 pin over New Fairfield's Ian Kessler, the Sachems had an eight-point lead over Danbury. Both teams had two wrestlers remaining.

But it was the Hatters that received two wins from Dennis Stone (152) and Anthony Hayes (125) to slip past RHAM, 94-92 and win its second straight State Open championship.

RHAM's Louie Grano (140) dropped a 10-3 decision to Stratford's Anthony Corvino while NFA's Jason Pagan (145) beat RHAM's Greg Dussol, 3-1 with a takedown with 11 seconds left in regulation.

Pagan's win left the door open for Stone to clinch the match with his 14-1 victory over Windham High's Bryan Hawes.

"We were close," RHAM coach Kevin Kanaitis said. "But there was nothing to complain about. We had the first State Open champion in our school's history and two other finalists."

It was the closest finish in State Open history, eclipsing Staples' 6.5 point win over Conard in 1973.

The tournament was so close because Danbury had two wrestlers ejected from the tournament, costing them a total of 10 points. Carlos Valenzuela (140) and Matt Tricarico (145) were each ejected, costing the Hatters two points and all the points they had earned to that point.

Tricario was ejected for taking a swing at RHAM's Greg Dussol in a 9-5 quarterfinal loss while Valenzuela was tossed for biting Southington's Chris Lee as Valenzuela was being pinned in a consolation round match.

"We wrestle in a lot of out-of-state tournaments similar to this and that are tough," Danbury coach Ricky Shook said. "We got through this. It wasn't easy but we did it."

Shook brought his team together after the two ejections and urged them to focus on the work at hand.

"We knew we were in trouble," Stone said. "(Shook) told us that we had to go. No more fooling around. It inspired us and we just went for it."

Hayes,  a junior, remained undefeated on the season (40-0) with a dominating win at 130 pounds over Platt's Clayton Torres, the fourth place finisher in Class M. Hayes pinned Torres in 4:17.

Nick Weyer (103) finished third with a 5-3 win over Bridgeport Central's Josh Turjilo while Trevor Howe (135) finished fifth.

103: Plainville sophomore Jesse Cavallaro (103) became the first Plainville High wrestler to take an Open title since 1993 when Shawn Curtis (145) won a championship. Cavallaro beat East Windsor's Jason Vermes, 12-0 in a dominating performance. It avenged a one-point loss (7-6) to Vermes at the Eagle Classic.

"He is one of the hardest workers on the team," Plainville coach Sean Kelly said. "He is real good on his feet. That is one of his strengths. He doesn't back down and he's very coachable."

Cavallaro (41-4) used a move that Kelly showed him earlier during the day in his 5-1 semifinal win over Danbury's Nick Weyer.

112: RHAM's Trevor Brown (112) beat New Fairfield's Ian Kessler for the third time this season to win an Open championship with a pin in 4:20. Brown also won at the New Fairfield Duals and a week earlier in the Class M championships (pin 1:36). Kessler was the defending Open champion at 103.

119: Platt's Luis Murillo earned tournament MVP with a pair of last-second victories that lifted him to a State Open title. In the semifinals, Murillo beat Pomperaug's Josh Feldman with a takedown with no time left in overtime, 5-3. Trailing 2-0 in the finals to Killingly sophomore James Therrian, Murillo reversed Therrian with 31.3 seconds remaining in the third period to tie the score. Ten seconds later, he turned Therrian to his back to secure a 4-2 victory.

A week earlier, Murillo had beaten Therrian in the Class M finals, 3-0.

125: Bethel's Jeff Oldham, second in Class M to Plainville's Vito Barbagallo in overtime, won the title with a dominating 7-1 win over Guilford's Matt McCauley, who beat Barbagallo in the quarterfinals. Oldham improved to 40-1.

130: Danbury's Anthony Hayes remained undefeated at 40-0 with the win. Platt's Clayton Torres had a dramatic semifinal win. Southington's Bill St. Pierre got a near fall with 20 seconds left in the third period to take a 8-7 lead but he relaxed, allowing Torres to reverse him with nine seconds left to take a one point lead. Torres pinned the stunned St. Pierre in 5:57 to move to the finals. St. Pierre ended up sixth.

135:  Fairfield's Lee Mannion improved to 43-0 with a 10-3 win over Bulkeley's Miguel Figueroa in a rematch of last week's Class LL final. Mannion won 9-2 at the Class LL meet.

140: Stratford's Anthony Corvino was in control during his 10-3 win over RHAM's Louis Grano, who finished third in Class M a week ago. Grano prevailed in double overtime in his semifinal win over New Milford's Sean Caselli, not allowing the Green Wave wrestler to escape in the 30-second second OT period. Corvino improved to 52-1 with the win, one win shy of the single-season state record of 53 set by Jason Lanoue of Ledyard in 1991.

145: NFA's Jason Pagan and RHAM sophomore Greg Dussol did little wrestling for nearly 5:30 but the action heated up in the final seconds. Tied at 1-1, Dussol tripped taking a step backwards and Pagan pounced on him for the takedown and a 3-1 lead with 11 seconds left in regulation. Pagan contained Dussol's furious attempts to escape to secure the win. Dussol made the finals with a 7-5 overtime win over defending Open champion Dave Stec of Derby.

152: Danbury's Dennis Stone clinched the team title for Danbury with the victory. Stone (39-1) handed Gilbert's Devin Schibi his first loss of the year in the semifinals, pinning the Yellowjacket grappler in 4:11. Schibi (39-1) finished third for the second straight year. He took third at 160 a year ago.

160: A week ago, Southington's Larry Liseo (160) gave up his first takedown of the season in the Class LL championship match in a 16-6 loss to Greenwich's Dan Taylor. Liseo didn't waste his second chance. Liseo's takedown with 22.3 seconds left in the third period clinched a 5-0 victory over Taylor to become the second wrestler in school history to claim an Open championship. Bill Lee won at 152 pounds in 1999.

"After losing for the first time this season, I wanted to come out and make the biggest statement possible," said Liseo, who is now 39-1. "I was a lot better prepared. Last week, I was too lightly prepared." Taylor used leg moves to dominate in the Class LL finals but Liseo learned to counter them this past week in practice.

171: Hand's Brett Scholnick won his second straight Open championship with a dominating 12-3 win over Greenwich senior Carl Higbie. Scholnick improved to 45-0.

189: After losing in the final a year ago, Waterford's Adam Karasevicz won his first State Open championship with a 9-1 win over Fairfield's Max Pazdan. Karasevicz, now 47-0, gave up only one point in his final three bouts of the day.

215: Bethel's Andy Palermo handed Bridgeport Central's Wigbergo Diaz his first loss of the season by winning the final with a pin in 2:38. Diaz slips to 46-1 while Palmero improved to 44-1.

275: Greenwich's John Sullivan won his second straight State Open championship with a 7-2 win over Avon's Brian Dubiel.

AROUND THE MAT: Wrestlers from Class M and Class LL dominated in the finals. Six titles were won by Class M wrestlers while Class LL wrestlers won the remaining eight. The top four finishers in each weight class earned berths in next week's New England championships at Roger Williams College in Bristol, R.I.

Simsbury's Steve Hoffsis (160) was fifth in the Class LL tournament a week ago and got an entry to the tournament when the third place finisher did not enter the tournament. Hoffsis nearly made it to the finals. He led 5-0 and 9-6 in the semifinals before losing to Greenwich's Dan Taylor by pin. Hoffsis ended up fourth and earned a bid to the New England Tournament.

Shook was not pleased with the multiple ejections of his wrestlers. "That's not the way we like to do things. It doesn't make the program look good when things like this occur," he said. Shook said Tricario was ejected for making a hard cross face while Valenzuela couldn't breathe while Lee held him in a headlock.

Danbury holds off upset bid by RHAM
This page was last updated on August 20, 2002