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This page was last updated on: October 24, 2007
Copyright 2006, Collinsville Publishing Company
By GERRY deSIMAS, JR.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
BRISTOL, Jan. 6 – No. 3 Ledyard had six champions and seven finalists as the Colonels won the Bristol Central Invitational for the third time in the last four years. Ledyard scored 257 points and easily outdistanced Bristol Eastern with 201½ points to win the 25th annual tournament.
“I’m real happy with our performance,” Ledyard coach Steve Bilheimer said. “We didn’t perform well in our first tournament (Waterford Invitational in December). We seemed happy to be there. Today, it was focus. They came in here with the goal to win.”
Taylor Gunnels (103), Shane Sullivan (130), T.J. Hepburn (140), Mike Baker (145), Julian Hightower (189) and Nick Morales (215) each won for the Colonels. Hepburn was the tournament’s fast fall award with 4 pins in 5:47, including a pin of Waterford’s Anthony Cioci in the finals in 1:19.
David Bellaflores (160) was second while C.J. Satti (119) and John Gabordi (285) took third. Zack Davis (112) was fourth as 10 of Ledyard’s 14 wrestlers won medals.
Bristol Eastern didn’t defend its tournament championship but Lancer coach Jason Krueger was pleased with the performance of his team. C.J. Chaika (171) and Ryan Carbone (215) each finished second while four other wrestlers finished third -- Max Saglimbeni (135), Nick Marozzi (140), Todd Krolikowski (145) and Dimitri Orlando (152).
It enabled Eastern to hold off Middletown (184 points), Bristol Central (173) and Farmington (154½), who will all wrestle in the upcoming Class L championships. Ledyard will compete in Class M.
“We wrestled back tough,” Krueger said. “We were outstanding and the kids really fed off each other. We may have turned a corner here today.”
Avon’s Younglin Lim prevailed in a bizarre championship bout at 112 pounds against top-seeded Casey Lesile of Middletown. The two wrestlers hit each other in the head in the first period when Lim tried to shoot a double leg takedown. Lesile sprawled so quickly that the two wrestlers hit each other in the head.
Still, the match went on and Lesile built a 5-0 lead into the third period. Lim choose neutral to start the period and when he tried to shoot a double leg takedown, Lesile again quickly sprawled the two wrestlers hit each other in the head.
But this time, Lesile was woozy and after the expiration of injury time, Lim won the match by injury default.
Avon’s Este Lara (119) was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler after his 8-6 victory over previously undefeated Kyle Viticonte of Cranston East in Rhode Island. Viticone upset top-seeded Chris Lombardi of Bristol Central in the semifinals with a 6-4 victory, getting a two-point reversal in the final 10 seconds to advance.
Lara led 4-3 after two periods in the final and let Viticonte go to begin the third period and tie the match at 4-4. Lara sank a takedown with 1:34 left to take a 6-4 lead but Viticonte escaped with 15 seconds to cut the lead to one.
Lara got another takedown with 50 seconds left and was able to control Viticonte for another 30 seconds before he escaped and cut the lead to two, 8-6. But Viticonte couldn’t sink a takedown in the final 20 seconds and Lara prevailed.
In the 125 pound final, Bristol Central’s Chris Malenfant (15-1) hit a reversal with 40 seconds left to secure a 6-3 victory over previously undefeated Mike Brignano (16-1) of Farmington. At 130, the 10th seed, Ledyard’s Shane Sullivan beat No. 9 seed Julian Gizinski of Terryville by technical fall. Sullivan had an impressive 3-2 win over No. 2 seed Anthony Valenti of Gloucester Catholic in New Jersey in the quarterfinals.
At 145, Ledyard’s top-seeded Mike Baker hit a reversal with 1:00 left in the third period to take a 6-4 lead over Middletown’s Ryan Thiel and Baker held on for a 6-5 victory.