By GERRY deSIMAS, JR.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
SIMSBURY, Jan. 2 -- Only days after a tough 33-25 loss to Ledyard, the No. 5 Glastonbury High wrestling team looked sharp in capturing the Farmington Valley Tournament for the second straight year. The Tomahawks had five champions and seven finalists as they outlasted host Simsbury for the title, 206½ to 146.
Ledyard had won the final three bouts at 275, 103 and 112 to beat Glastonbury on Dec. 27.
"It was real refreshing," Glastonbury coach Ernie Goodwin said of its performance in Simsbury. "They came in with a great attitude. They were having a good time and were wrestling hard. We gave up only one pin all day."
John Morelli (103), Chad Brooks (130), Jeff Paragone (135), Doug Paragone (145) and Ross Massey (215) each captured championships at the tournament. Ben Bolt (160) and Andrew Holden (152) each finished second. Holden lost, 16-5 to Fitch's Billy Leischner, who was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler.
Glastonbury (4-1) has 12 senior wrestlers on the squad and nine start. They captured NFA's Wildcat Invitational in December. "We just try to win our next match," Goodwin said. "If they continue to wrestle hard, it could be fun the rest of the season. It's a special group of kids who have put their hearts into wrestling."
TIGERS WIN MIDDLEBURY: Ridgefield placed 13 of 15 wrestlers in the top six of their respective weight classes as the Tigers edged Granville, N.Y. to capture the Middlebury (Vt.) Invitational Saturday [Dec. 27], 195-190. Bristol Central was a distant third with 137 points.
Corey Paulish (98) won his second straight tournament with a victory over Bristol Central's Chris Lombardi in the finals while senior captain Andrew Murphy took first at 160. Luke Raithel (119), Haig Dodakian (145) and Leo Cherepov (152) each placed third for Ridgefield.
Bristol Central's Mike Fiorni (130) won a championship and also took home the tournament's fast fall award with three pins in 3:02. Kyle Dess (119) and Nick Brutcher (275) each finished second. Ridgefield and BC were the only state teams in the 16-team tournament that included 13 teams from Vermont.
VIDEO OF STATE MATCHES ON WEB: Two Internet Web sites are broadcasting taped high school wrestling matches. USA Wrestling Connecticut and Pin to Win.com are making selected dual meets available for viewing.
USA Wrestling Connecticut already has three matches up on its site Ledyard vs. Waterford; Mt. Anthony, Vt., vs. Danbury and Berlin vs. Killingly. Other matches will be posted weekly to USA Wrestling Connecticut [http://www.usawct.org/].
"We are here to support the entire wrestling community in Connecticut and are happy to find our sport thriving and reaching new levels of accomplishment," said Mike Quibble, state chairman of USA Wrestling Connecticut.
Future bouts with Glastonbury, Windham High, Plainville, Fermi, Danbury and Fairfield are planned to be Webcast.
Pin to Win.com has selected Killingly High matches available on its site, including the Dec. 23 dual meet against Killingly. Find Pin to Win at http://www.pintowin.com and follow the video link.
HOW ABOUT THOSE HIGHLANDERS: After losing its first four dual meets, Thomaston won its first match by handing Northwestern Regional its first defeat Tuesday, 45-33. Thomaston had hoped to challenge for the Berkshire League championship this year but were burned by little mistakes in a 57-17 loss to six-time defending BL champion Nonnewaug earlier in the year.
Northwestern came into the match at 7-0 before falling to Thomaston. The Highlanders, only in its third season, can force a three-way for the BL title if they can win the remaining of its BL matches including a Jan.14 date against Nonnewaug. The most impressive win for Northwestern (8-1, 2-1 BL) came over Derby on Dec. 27.
Junior Joel Webster, a Class S champion and third in the State Open last year, is 12-0 but he isn't alone. Junior Matt Brett is 11-0 at 112 while junior Chris Marks is 12-1 at 152, junior Mike Coleman is 11-1 at 215 and sophomore Tim Mandel is 11-1 at 103.
It has been hard for opponents to build up momentum against the Highlanders during dual meets because experienced wrestlers are scattered throughout the lineup. There are younger wrestlers on the mat for Northwestern but they are frequently surrounded on both sides by more experienced teammates.
RECORD BOOK RELEASED: The third edition of the Connecticut High School wrestling record book is available online at Connecticut Wrestling Online or the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance Web sites.
Berlin's John Russo set a new single-season state record last season with 38 pins wrestling at 275 pounds while Stafford also set a new state record with 13 pins in a single match in a 78-6 win over Somers last January. East Hartford coach Steve Konopka became the second state coach to earn more than 400 career wins last season.
New submissions and updates are always welcome and will be considered for next year's edition of the record book. E-mail submissions to Ctwrestling7@yahoo.com or mail them to record book editor Gerry deSimas, Jr., 272 Burnham Road, Avon, CT, 06001.
AROUND THE STATE: No. 2 Windham erased an early 12-7 deficit to beat Fitch on Wednesday, 52-18. Sophomore Bran Crudden beat Fitch's Billy Leischner, 7-3 in a key matchup at 152. Windham won the final six matches to secure the win. ... Plainville (6-0) won four of the last five bouts to snap a tight one-point contest and earn a 43-30 victory over Conard in the finals of the 2nd annual Bristol Eastern Duals. ... For the sixth straight year, Southington and Simsbury met in the finals of the Fermi Duals and Southington won its sixth straight title with a 44-35 win. ... Conard's Chris Gotay (130) pin in seven seconds over Plainville's Jason Davis in the BE Duals championship was the second fastest in state history at 130 . Granby beat Avon for the first time ever, 40-35 in the NCCC. ...No. 1 Danbury had 12 finalists and nine champions as they won their own Holiday Classic in Danbury.