By GERRY deSIMAS, JR.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
PLYMOUTH, Feb. 3, 2001 -- After the semifinals were completed, it was a dead heat for the lead of the 19th annual Berkshire League wrestling tournament at Terryville High.
Gilbert, which had clinched the BL dual meet championship earlier in the week, had eight wrestlers in the finals while Nonnewaug had seven wrestlers set to compete in the finals. Both teams had 125½ points.
But this tournament was decided in the consolation bracket. Nonnewaug had four wrestlers finish third and outscored Gilbert by 27 points in the consolation rounds.
With a 27-point lead going into the finals and four individual champions, Nonnewaug earned its fifth straight BL Tournament championship with a 198½ to 179½ win over the Yellowjackets. It earned Nonnewaug a measure of revenge over Gilbert, which beat the Chiefs by one point, 39-38, in January in the deciding match for the BL title.
"We came together," Nonnewaug's first-year coach David Green said. "The key was the kids that took third and fifth place. Those were the key victories. Every kids did what they had to do. Even when they lost a match, they came back to win in the consolations."
Pat McCurdy (103), Kevin Cook (125) and Kostas Hatzikostas (130) and Joe Budris (215) won individual titles for the Chiefs. But Grayson Glover (140), Greg Suchin (152), Ray Smith (160) and Eric DiLaurenzio (275) each rallied to finish third. Glover won his consolation final in
"They did it as a team," Green said.
"We wanted to be aggressive and go after our opponents," said Cook, who won his second BL title in three years with a 5-2 win over Gilbert's top-seeded Brian Colvacecchio. "We wanted to come back and show that we are the better team."
Steve Dombrowski (140), Steve Romano (145), Devin Schibi (160) and Ryan Wheeler (171) each won for the Yellowjackets, who had only one wrestler finish third Jon Berger (112).
"This was a perfect example of the character of our team," Gilbert coach Jim Rollins said. "We dug deep so many times. Sometimes we came up short. But most of the time, we achieved a level above our ability.
"We may not have won but we were at our best and that's what it's all about."
Terryville finished a strong third with 140 points. Seven Kangaroo wrestlers finished third. Jim Galvin (112) and freshman Joe Kuscia (160) each finished second.
Wolcott Tech, under first-year coach Craig Schroeder, had perhaps its most impressive performance ever in the BL tournament. The Wildcats, fourth with 124 points, placed four wrestlers in the finals and three won tournament MVP
Justin Tucker (135), Jeff Dew (189) and Matt Ellis (275).
Tucker flattened Housatonic's Wayne Godfrey with a pin in 2:31. Earlier in the week, his dual meet match with Godfrey had gone to overtime before Tucker won.
"He's a real technician," Schroeder said. "He's not the strongest person out there but it's the technique (that carries him)."
Dew (17-1) won his third straight BL title by forfeit after Nonnewaug's Aaron Levy injured his elbow in his semifinal victory over Gilbert's Chad Dubois. Ellis earned a 7-1 decision over Gilbert's Matt Gillette.
Northwestern Regional's four wrestlers, who train with
Gilbert, had an outstanding tournament. Mike Sinclair (112) and Mike Welcome (119) won the first BL titles for the Highlanders. James O'Brien (130) finished second.
Sinclair beat Terryville's Jim Galvin, 13-4 while Welcome outlasted Nonnewaug's Jim Ciricello, 6-2, in a tough, physical battle.
"He won with detail," Rollins said of Welcome, a four-year veteran. "He kept himself in better position that his opponent. "
One of the most exciting matches in the finals was at 152 pounds where Thomason High freshman Alex Rice reversed Gilbert's Matt Dalton and turned him to his back with five seconds left in regulation to earn a 14-11 win.
Rice had trailed 8-4 in the second period. He tied the match at 9-9 with a takedown with 34 seconds left but Dalton retook the lead 11 seconds later with a reversal.
"He showed a lot of heart and composure," said Terryville coach Peter Veleas. Rice trains with the Kangaroos.
"I was so tired," said Rice, who was wrestling with sore ribs. "I had a last surge of energy. I was just trying to get a switch."
Rice had been banged up in Wednesday's match with Seymour.
MAT DUST -- Cook earned the tournament fast fall award with two pins in 1:08 ... Tucker, who lives in Torrington, is the second OWTS wrestler to earn MVP honors in the BL Tournament. Mike DeAngelis (152) won the honor in 1999. McCurdy (103) and Dombrowski (140) won BL titles for the second straight year. ... Godfrey, Benton Mahoney (140) and Dan Hafford (145) each second finished for Housatonic, which is down to only four healthy wrestlers. ... Wolcott Tech (124) and Northwestern (65) each set school records for most points scored in the tournament.