By GERRY deSIMAS. Jr.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
EAST HARTFORD, Jan. 9, 2004 -- East Hartford High wrestling coach Steve Konopka has seen some great wrestlers in the greater Hartford area. He is organizing a tournament to make sure he sees some more.
Konopka is planning the first Greater Hartford Wrestling Tournament a two-day event to be held Friday, Jan. 16 and Saturday, Jan. 17 at East Hartford High.
"The whole idea is to showcase wrestling in the greater Hartford area," he said.
There are 28 schools in Hartford County and 16 have already agreed to participate including No. 8 Plainville, Southington, No. 12 Simsbury, Conard, Hall, No. 4 Glastonbury, East Hartford, Manchester, Granby, Avon and New Britain.
The tournament will be run in similar style as the CIAC tournaments. It will be a two-day affair on Friday and Saturday with wrestlers required to weigh in on both days. The tournament will be seeded like the state tournaments are seeded.
"I want my kids to understand how it goes so it won't be such a shock to them," he said.
Konopka also plans to honor some older coaches by naming trophies after them. He wants to name the championship trophy after his high school coach George Beaudry of Conard, the runner-up trophy after former Hall coach Frank Robinson and the third place trophy after former Ledyard coach Rod Leyland.
"This is something I am really looking forward to," he said. "To me, this is more important that 400 wins."
Konopka, who has been coaching in East Hartford for 28 years, earned his 400th career win last February.
BIG MATCH IN BL: A big match in the Berkshire League will be Nonnewaug at Northwestern Regional next Wednesday [Jan. 14] at 5 p.m. in Barkhamsted. Nonnewaug has won six of the last seven BL championships and could put themselves in a commanding position with a victory over the Highlanders.
But a win by Northwestern, which won 11 of its first 12 dual meets, would probably set up the first three-way tie in league history. With a win by Northwestern, the Highlanders, Nonnewaug and Thomaston would likely each finish with 5-1 records.
WATCHING: Killingly's James Therrien is spending this season on the sideline after tearing ligaments in his knee during a Halloween game against Griswold. Therrien won his first State Open and Class M championship a year ago along with his third straight Eastern Connecticut Conference crown. He played linebacker and fullback for the Redmen.
He still attends practice and is lifting weights to keep his upper body in shape.
"Even when he was a freshman, he was a leader," Killingly coach Rich Bowen told the Norwich Bulletin. "Practices went so much better (with him around)."
DANBURY SURGES TO WIN: No. 1 Danbury used its strength down low to beat No. 4 Fairfield, 41-22. The Hatters won five of seven matches from 103 to 140 pounds. Mike Silvestri (103), Rich Zschoche (112), Frank Cammisa (125), Nick Weyer (130) and Kyle Rodgers (135) each won by pin for Danbury. "I'm never disappointed with being the best team in the FCIAC. But that is a great team over there (Fairfield)," Danbury coach Ricky Shook told the Danbury News Times. The Hatters have won 156 straight matches in the state, dating back to 1996.
Danbury finished second in the Redskin Invitational in Sanford, Maine, behind Timberlane, N.H. Cammisa (125) and Matt Tricarico (171) each won titles for the Hatters while Weyer (130), Jeff Marra (145) and Tim Ferreira (275) took second.
HIGH STANDARDS FOR COLONIALS: No. 3 Ledyard earned a rare road win at Killingly with a 46-27 but the Colonials wanted to wrestle better. "We didn't wrestle well," Ledyard's senior captain Luke Gabordi told the New London Day. "If we want to be one of the best teams in the state, we have to perform better than this."
Ledyard's third-year coach Steve Bilheimer told the Norwich Bulletin, "We made a lot of fundamental mistakes and it resulted in two pins which made the match a lot closer. We have to get ourselves together and become more dominant in that sense."
Ledyard (6-0) still has matches remaining with No. 1 Danbury (Jan. 31 at NFA) and No. 2 Windham (Feb. 7, home) along with the always-tough Art Powers Duals on Jan. 17 in Berlin.
Ledyard had four wrestlers in the finals and three won championships as the Colonials won their first Bristol Central Invitational, beating fellow ECC rival Waterford, 226½-169½.
AROUND THE STATE: A young, aggressive Greenwich squad impoved to 10-1 with a 57-20 win over Bridgeport Central. ... Strong wrestling in the third period helped Berlin (8-2) hand Farmington its first loss of the season, 47-14. Several Berlin wrestlers surged in the third period and prevailed. "With our schedule, if you don't wrestle for six minutes, you don't survive," Berlin coach Jim Day told the New Britain Herald. ... Windsor improved to 7-1 with a 48-34 win over Hall in the Warriors' CCC West opener. ... Windham outlasted Glastonbury, 42-24, to capture the Glastonbury Duals. Fairfield finished third. ... Rockville remained undefeated with a 45-16 win over East Hartford. ... Southington rallied from a 28-6 deficit to beat Platt in a CCC South bout, 42-40. With his team trailing by four, Southington's Chris Lee (140) pinned Platt's Mike Fieffer in the final match to give the Knights its 33rd straight league victory. Southington hasn't lost a CCC South in over four years since Bristol Central handed the Knights a 31-24 defeat during the 1998-99 campaign.