Timberlane wins 8th New England title
Costanzo, Gillen bring home New England titles
By GERRY deSIMAS, JR.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
NEW HAVEN, March 5 – Danbury’s Charlie Costanzo once had a New England championship trophy. He sent it back.
As a sophomore, Costanzo lost in the finals at 112 pounds by a point to Kenny Anderson of Billerica, Mass. But when an in-school suspension was upheld, Anderson was deemed ineligible to participate and Costanzo was named the champion. “It didn’t feel right. He won it fair and square, I sent it back to him,” Costanzo said.
A year ago, he lost to Miguel Guzman of Greater Lawrence, Mass., 5-1 in the championship match at 119 pounds.
On Saturday night, Costanzo received a New England championship trophy and it’s not going anywhere. After winning his semifinal bout in an overtime thriller, Costanzo used a pair of late takedowns to beat defending New England champion Corey Melo of New Bedford, Mass., 5-1 and win his first New England title.
“This is what I wanted,” a jubilant Costanzo said afterwards. “I wanted my own. That (Anderson disqualification) pushed me more. I worked so hard in the offseason.
Costanzo was the first of two New England champions from Connecticut. Shelton junior Patrick Gillen (215) didn’t give up a single point in the tournament to win with a 7-0 victory over James Collins of Reading, Mass.
Bristol Eastern’s Andrew Chase (103) was looking to become just the second wrestler from Bristol to win a New England championship but he dropped an 18-5 decision to two-time New Hampshire state champion Zach Bridson.
Massachusetts dominated the tournament with 20 of the 28 finalists but it was Timberlane, N.H., becoming the first team to ever win three straight New England titles with a 14½ -point win over Burlington, Mass. It was a record eighth New England title for the Owls, who had four of its eight wrestlers win medals. They brought eight wrestlers to the tournament and left two at home for violating school rules. One was the top seed in his weight class.
“My team showed tremendous character today,” Timberlane coach Barry Chooljian said. “This was a very difficult tournament for everyone.”
The Owls won the tournament with the performance of their wrestlers in the consolation bracket – a tired and lonely place to be competing. “It’s a grind,” Chooljian said. “It’s a physical and mental grind. You really have to battle.”
Ben Tammany’s 2-1 victory to finish third at 285 thanks to five straight wins in the consolation bracket and Nick Lawrence’s 8-0 win to take third at 160 pounds with four straight consolation bracket wins were key.
“My team is very tight and they were hurt emotionally (by the suspensions),” Chooljian said. “But we focused on the guys that were here. I told them it would be a lot tougher and there would be pressure. But they stepped up. I’m very proud.”
Danbury was the top team from Connecticut in sixth place with 50½ points. Middletown was the second state team tied for 14th place with 36 points.
Here is a rundown of the championship bouts and top performances from Connecticut wrestlers.
Bristol Eastern junior Andrew Chase (43-4) won his first three bouts and earned a spot in the championship match by getting the first takedown in all three matches. He became the first wrestler in school history to make the New England finals.
“He has a great tournament with real smart tournament wrestling,” Eastern coach Bryant Lishness said. “He didn’t force anything and he took advantage of opportunities when they were there. He was very composed.”
The key was getting the first takedown in a 5-2 quarterfinal win over Nick Eddy of Colchester, Vt., and in a 2-0 semifinal victory over Mike Murphy of North Providence, R.I. “He’s been real focused on that,” Lishness said. “It gives him the opportunity to not force the issue. The other kids have to chase him a bit.”
But in the final against Timberlane sophomore Zach Bridson (46-1), it was Bridson with the takedowns. He had five takedowns in the match and led 9-1 after one period.
Chase, who won the State Open championship a week ago with a overtime win over New Milford’s Conor Kirkegard, is the second Eastern wrestler to win a medal at the New England tournament. Lucius Ulett (135) was sixth in 1995.
New Milford’s Conor Kirkegard won three straight decisions in the consolation round to earn a spot in the consolation final but he dropped a 6-4 decision in overtime to Andrew Gauthier of Lowell, Mass. Kirkegard took a 4-3 lead with a takedown with 44 seconds left in the third period near the edge of the mat. Gauthier managed to escape with seven seconds remaining and get the winning takedown in OT.
Middletown’s Victor Ekpenyong dropped a 6-5 quarterfinal decision to Ryan O’Boyle of Central Catholic, Mass., but rebounded with three straight wins to earn a spot in the consolation final, beating East Lyme’s Ross Spencer for the fourth time this year in the consolation semifinals.
In the consolation final against defending New England champion Shaidai Lariviere of Cumberland, R.I., Ekpenyong led 2-1 after one period. But Lariviere got a takedown and near fall late in the second period to take a commanding 6-1 lead. He gave up another escape to beat Ekpenyong, 6-2.
“I have to give (Ekpenyong) a lot of credit,” Middletown coach Mark Fong said. “He came here to win the tournament. But he came back and placed. He wrestled a lot of kids he has wrestled before and did well. That was a tough weight class.”
Spencer, who lost in the semifinals to Sam Shames of Newtown North, finished sixth after getting pinned by Ryan O’Boyle of Central Catholic in Massachusetts. Spencer had a pair of victories to get to the semifinals including a technical fall and a 9-4 decision over Paul Sughrue of Meuthen, Mass.
In the championship match, Sam Shames (50-1) of Newton North, Mass., rallied with a four-point move in the final five seconds to earn a 7-4 victory over Brad Myers of Lowell, Mass. Myers led 4-3 after his reversal with 1:03 left in the third period. But he was riding too high and Shames eventually was able to pull him over for a reversal and two-point near fall to win the title.
Costanzo had to go to overtime to earn his shot at the championship. During the match against Shoneil Lariviere of Cumberland, R.I., he was thrown to the mat and hit his head hard. “I was a little dazed,” Costanzo admitted. And he had not eaten much so he found himself a bit weak midway through the match.
Tied at 4-4, Costanzo came up with the key takedown in overtime. “It was all here,” Costanzo said, pointing to his chest. “It was all heart. It wasn’t me being a better wrestler. In overtime, everything you get is pulling it up from your toes. Who wants it more?”
In the championship final, Costanzo (43-1) found that Melo was able to deflect his takedown attempts. But it didn’t deter him. Costanzo took a 2-1 lead completing a takedown with four seconds left in the second period. A third period escape extended his lead to 3-1. A takedown with 12 seconds left clinched the match.
“A lot of wrestlers get content near the out-of-bounds line,” Costanzo said. “I continued to wrestle. My game plan was to go hard, six minutes of wrestling. I never stopped. If my opponent hesitated, I was there to take advantage.” Melo, the Massachusetts champion, finished 48-1.
Windham High freshman Miguel Calixto lost his opening round match on Friday night to John Coukos of Framingham, Mass., 8-3. Calixto was so disappointed that Whippet coach Pat Risley was afraid that Calixto might come out mentally give up on the tournament and get eliminated.
But Calixto, who was second in the State Open and won the Class M title, rallied with six straight wins in the consolation bracket to finish an impressive third place. He beat Jaron Parent of Cumberland, R.I., 7-1 to take third and finish his freshman season with an astounding record of 50-4.
“His head was down last night,” Risley said. “But last night’s win helped and he battled through it. It gave him some motivation. Today, he built leads instead of trying to hang on.” There were no easy victories, either. All six matches went the distance – five minutes in each match. His closest decision was a 6-2 decision over Jeff Cole of Oyster River, N.H. in the consolation quarterfinals.
In the championship match, Mike Meyers of Warwick, R.I. won his second New England title with a 9-1 win over Jake Sherman of Burlington, Mass. The win clinched the title for Timberlane.
In the championship match, Nick Flannery of Framingham, Mass., snapped a 3-3 tie in the second period with a takedown and never trailed again in an 8-3 victory over Everett Desilets of Cranston West, R.I. A week ago, Flannery became just the eighth wrestler in Massachusetts history to win three All-State championships. He recently signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Division I Cleveland State.
In the championship match, Matt Sherman of Burlington, Mass., earned a 2-1 victory when Devin Visconti of Malden Catholic, Mass., was penalized one point for stalling with five seconds left in regulation. Sherman was trying to stand and get away from Visconti at the time.
It was the second straight week that the two wrestlers met in the championship match. A week ago, Sherman won the Massachusetts title with a 2-1 decision thanks to a first period takedown.
Sheehan senior Nick Giulietti won a one-point decision. But he also lost two heartbreaking decisions. After not giving up a point in a 5-0 second round win and a 3-0 quarterfinal victory over Eric Columbe of Monmouth, ME, Giulietti lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Jordan Michelson of Needham, Mass., 3-2.Giulietti spent the entire third period trying to turn Michelson and score some points but there were none to find.
Giulietti prevailed in a tight 3-2 decision in the consolation semifinals over Jimmy Coutoumas but lost in the consolation final to Dave Pinto of Milford, Mass., 3-1, thanks to a second period escape and takedown.
In the championship match, Jordan Michelson of Needham, Mass., outlasted Collin Crowell of Pinkerton Academy, N.H., winning by pin in 5:34. But it was a close match. Crowell led 4-3 after two periods and took a 5-3 lead early in the third period with an escape. But Michelson got a takedown with 38 seconds remaining to tie the match and simply held Crowell as the clock ticked. Michelson would have received another three near fall points but he ended up with a pin.
Jake O’Dell of South Windsor came close but couldn’t come up with the big win. O’Dell fell to Pat Clafin of Penbroke, Mass., 4-2 in the quarterfinals. In the consolation round, O’Dell had three significant wins by nine, six and nine points, respectively. But in the third place bout, Pat Claffin of Pembroke, Mass., got a key takedown with 10 seconds left in regulation for a 6-3 victory. O’Dell only managed three escapes but he trailed by one with 20 seconds remaining but he couldn’t secure a takedown.
In the championship match, top-seeded Dan Telhada of Franklin, Mass., earned a dominant 7-4 win over Kevin Barucci of Burlington, Mass. This was a rematch of last week’s Massachusetts All-State final where Telhada came away with a hard-fought 2-1 victory.
In the championship match, Matt Dehney of Dracut, Mass., prevailed in a 5-3 victory over Massachusetts champion Matt Donohoe of Tyngsboro. Dehney snapped a 2-2 tie with an early third period escape and extended the lead to three with a sharp takedown with 1:10 remaining. Donohoe was able to escape with 47 seconds left but couldn’t get a match-tying takedown.
In another rematch of a Massachusetts All-State final, Donohoe was the winner a week ago thanks to an escape with nine seconds left in an 9-8 victory.
In the championship match, Derek Golner of Tyngsboro, Mass., had to go to overtime to beat Steve Rich of Spauling, Vt., 3-1. Golner took a 1-0 lead with a first period escape but Rich tied it up with an escape with 1:55 left in the third period. In overtime, Golner was aggressive and took advantage of a mistake when Rich turned the wrong way and gave up a takedown with 22 seconds left.
This championship final was a battle of two defending New England champions. With three takedowns, Isaiah Williams (48-0) of Haverhill, Mass., won his second straight New England championship with a 7-2 win over Mike Wrin of Algonquin, Mass. Williams beat Wrin for the third straight week. He also won at the Massachusetts All-State tournament, 7-2, and the Massachusetts’ Division I tournament.
Middletown sophomore Devon Carrillo won a pair of matches to advance to the semifinals and then won another bout in the consolation bracket as he finished a strong fourth. Carrillo dropped a 5-2 decision to Stephen Martin of Bonny Eagle, Maine in the consolation final. A Martin takedown with a minute left in the match gave him a commanding 5-1 lead.
But Carrillo did finish the day with pins in all three of his matches. He lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Williams, 12-4 “It was his first trip to the New Englands and he finished one win away from the finals,” Middletown coach Mark Fong said. “He had a lot of good performances.”
Waterford’s Shane Battista went 4-2 to finish fifth. Battista beat Aren Norman of Bacon Academy, 3-1. Battista beat Norman twice in the tournament, both by 3-1 scores. Norman won four straight in the consolation round, including a victory in triple OT. But Norman lost in the consolation final in a 3-2 decision to Tyler Russell of Morse, Maine again in triple OT.
In the final, Alex Najjar of Shawsheen, Mass., kept alive his perfect season with a 4-3 win over Greg Kelley of Winchester, Mass. His takedown with six seconds left in the third period was the difference in the match.
Too bad many coaches at the New England championships had already turned in their most outstanding wrestler ballots and left because Shelton’s Patrick Gillen (49-0, 150-12 career) had a worthy performance. Gillen shutout James Collins of Reading, Mass., 9-0 but the amazing part is that Gillen didn’t allow a single point in the tournament.
He pinned Riley Simoneau of North Country, Vt., in 35 seconds, outlasted Andrew Companeschi of Shawsheen, Mass, 5-0 in the quarterfinals and blanked Steven Dwight of Manchester, N.H., in the semifinals, 9-0. Gillen beat the top three wrestlers in Massachusetts’ recent All-State tournament.
“I executed everything I set out to do,” Gillen said. “I went out and wrestled as hard as I could. I tried to wrestle my match and not let them have an opportunities.”
Gillen won the State Open title a week ago after twice finishing second in the event. That victory lifted a huge amount of pressure off his shoulders. “Winning the Open was the monkey off his back,” Shelton coach Bill Gillen said. “You could see the release of the pressure. There wasn’t as much pressure on him today."
In the final match of the tournament, Terrence Jean Jacques of Haverhill, Mass., beat Danny Murphy of Weymouth, Mass., 2-1 in double overtime. Jacques escaped with 18 seconds left in the second OT. Jean Jacquest won the Massachusetts All-State title a week ago.
MAT DUST: Next year’s New England tournament will be held in Providence, R.I., in the city’s new athletic center near Providence Central High School. The facility hosted the Rhode Island state tournament this year. …. There were seven finals that featured two Massachusetts wrestlers. … Of the 28 finalists, there were 20 from Massachusetts, three from Connecticut, two from Rhode Island and New Hampshire and one finalist from Vermont. Ten from Massachusetts won titles with two from Connecticut and one each from New Hampshire and Rhode Island. … The outstanding wrestler was Mike Meyers (125) of Warwick, R.I., who won his second straight New England title. … The most outstanding final was 140 pounds.
2010 New England championships
At New Haven
Team results (top 50 and CT scores) -- 1. Timberlane Regional-Plaistow (NH) 89, 2. Burlington (MA) 75½, 3. Cumberland (RI) 69, 4. Pinkerton Academy-Derry (NH) 58½, 5. Haverhill (MA) 57, 6. Danbury 50½, 7. Tyngsboro (MA) 57, 8. Central Catholic-Lawrence (MA) 43, 9. Framingham (MA) 42, 10. Shawsheen Valley Tech-Billerica (MA) 41½, 11. Lowell (MA) 39½, 12. Malden Catholic (MA) 39, 13. New Bedford (MA) 38, 14. Cranston West (RI), Middletown (CT), Weymouth (MA), Winchester (MA) 36; 18. Warwick (RI) 35, 19. Franklin (MA) 30, 20. Needham (MA) 29½, 21. Shelton 27, 22. Newton North (MA), Longmeadow (MA), Pembroke (MA) 26; 25. Waltham (MA), Dracut (MA) 25, 27. New Milford 24, 28. Algonquin Regional- Northborough (MA), Spaulding (VT) 23; 30. Bristol Eastern, Mt. Anthony (VT) 21½; 32. Reading (MA) 21; 34. Camden (ME), Cony-Augusta (ME), Greater Lawrence Regional-Andover (MA) 20; 37. Lisbon (ME), Milford (MA) 19; 39. Bonny Eagle-Standish (ME), New Fairfield 18; 41. East Providence (RI), Manchester Memorial (NH) 17; 43. Amity, Bethel, Conard, Windham High, York (ME) 16; 48. Bacon Academy, Waterford 15; 50. Lincoln (RI), Morse High-Bath (ME), Sheehan High, St. John’s Prep-Shrewsbury 14.
Other Connecticut schools
54. Glastonbury, Nonnewaug 13; 56. Ledyard 12, 68. East Lyme 10½, 69. Montville 10, 76, Jonathan Law 8, 81. Farmington 7, 88. Hand 6, 96. Fairfield Warde, New Haven, Pomperaug 5, 103. Stamford 4, 115. Cheshire 3, 120. Maloney 2
Final: Zach Bridson (Timberlane, NH) dec. Andrew Chase (Bristol Eastern), 18-5; 3. Andrew Gauthier (Lowell, MA) dec. Conor Kirkegard (New Milford), 6-4 OT; 5. Michael Murphy (North Providence, RI) dec. Christian Hienber (North Kingstown, RI), 3-0
Final: Sam Shames (Newtown North, MA) dec. Brad Myers (Lowell, MA), 7-4; 3. Shaidai Lariviere (Cumberland, RI) dec. Victor Ekpenyong (Middletown, CT), 6-3; 5. Ryan O’Boyle (Central Catholic, MA) pin Ross Spencer (East Lyme), 4:36
Final: Charlie Costanzo (Danbury) dec. Cory Melo (New Bedford, MA), 5-1; 3. Matt Buco (Greater Lawrence, MA) dec. Kyle Visconti (Malden Catholic), 5-3; 5. Shoneil Lariviere (Cumberland RI) dec. Anthony Meyers (Warwick RI), 14-1
Final: Michael Meyers (Warwick RI) dec. Jake Sherman (Burlington, MA), 9-1; 3. Miguel Calixto (Windham High) dec. Jaron Parent (Cumberland, RI), 7-1; 5. John Coukos (Framingham, MA) dec. Matt Libby (Bridgewater-Raynham Regional, MA), 5-0
Final: Nick Flannery (Framington, MA) dec. Everett Desilets (Cranston West, RI), 8-3; 3. David Owens (Pinkerton Academy, NH) pin Zack Fields (Camden, ME), 4:07; 5. Josh Gerry (Quincy, MA) dec. Matt Morris (Timberlane, NH), 5-3
Final: Matt Sherman (Burlington, MA) dec. Devin Visconti (Malden Catholic, MA), 2-1; 3. Ricondo Cole (Cranston West, RI) dec. Billy Gauthier (York, ME), 7-3; 5. Eric Harrison (Weymouth, MA) dec. T.J. Crabtree (St. John’s Prep, MA), 4-0
Final: Jordan Michelson (Needham, MA) pin Collin Crowell (Pinkerton Academy), 5:34; 3. Dave Pinto (Milford, MA) dec. Nicholas Giulietti (Sheehan High), 3-1; 5. Jimmy Coutoumas (Waltham, MA) dec. Patrick Conley (South Kingston, RI), 10-0
Final: Dan Telhada (Franklin, MA) dec. Kevin Barucci (Burlington, MA) 7-4; 3. Pat Claflin (Pembroke, MA) dec. Jake O’Dell (South Windsor), 6-3; 5. Marcus Bubar (Lisbon, ME) dec. Jared Burrows (East Providence, RI), 11-5
Final: Matt Dehney (Dracut, MA) dec. Matt Donohoe (Tyngsboro, MA), 5-3; 3. Dmitriy Donskoy (Longmeadow, MA) dec. Jesse Broderick (New Fairfield), 5-2; 5. Alex Freilich (St. John’s Prep, MA) def. Andrew Ford (Bethel), medical forfeit
Final: Derek Golner (Tyngsboro, MA) dec. Steven Rich (Spaulding, VT), 3-1 OT; 3. Nick Lawrence (Timberlane, NH) dec. Alex Carpenter (Amity), 8-0; 5. Tom Lacroix (Central Catholic, MA) def. Dustin Wilcox (Montville), medical forfeit
Final: Isaiah Williams (Haverhill, MA) dec. Mike Wrin (Algonquin, MA), 7-2; 3. Stephen Martin (Bonny Eagle, ME) dec. Devon Carrillo (Middletown, CT), 5-2; 5. Kyle Gaffney (St. Thomas Aquinas-Dover, NH) dec. Jonathan Upton (Melrose, MA), 7-0
Final: Alex Najjar (Shawsheen Regional, MA) dec. Gregg Kelley (Winchester, MA), 4-3; 3. T.J. Valle (Cony-Augusta ME) pin Tyler Russell (Morse, ME), 3:15; 5. Shane Battista (Waterford) dec. Aren Norman (Bacon Academy), 3-1
Final: Patrick Gillen (Shelton) dec. James Collins (Reading, MA), 7-0; 3. Steven Dwight (Manchester Memorial, NH) dec. Andrew Companeschi (Shawsheen, MA), 4-3; 5. Brendan Battles-Santo (Nauset, MA) def. Zach Lattrell (Central Catholic, MA), medical forfeit
Final: Terrence Jean-Jacques (Haverhill, MA) dec. Danny Murphy (Weymouth, MA), 2-1, 2 OT; 3. Ben Tammany (Timberlane, NH) dec. Anthony Joyce (Lincoln, RI), 2-1; 5. Dennis Costa (New Bedford, MA) dec. Dan Amato (North Quincy, MA), 5-2
Outstanding wrestler: Michael Meyers, Warwick, RI, 125 pounds
Best final (as voted by the coaches): 140 pounds
Fast fall award: none