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Feb. 14, 2001 -- For the first time since 1975, team scoring will be used at the CIAC State Open on Feb. 23 and 24 at Glastonbury High School.

The CIAC stopped team scoring at the State Open in 1976 after full-fledged divisional championships were instituted with competition in Class LL, L, M and S.

Approval was received from the CIAC Board of Control in late January. The Connecticut High School Coaches Association Executive Board also approved the proposal late in 2000.

After a positive vote from state coaches to the CIAC wrestling committee's proposal, Bristol Central wrestling coach Pat Parente and Dennis Siegmann, principal at Central, presented the case for Open scoring to the CIAC Board of Control.

"It should make the State Open help to really determine a true No. 1 tournament team in Connecticut," said Sigemann, who coached at Bristol Central from 1972-98. "There is still the question of what team would be the best dual meet team in the state. However this rule goes along way to support who the true state champion team will be."

Team scoring was conducted at the State Open from 1968-75. Ledyard won three times including 1972, 1974 and 1975. Staples (1970, 1973) and Greenwich (1969, 1971) each won twice while Conard-West Hartford won in 1968.

SELECT CLUB: The victory by Berlin's Mike Laroche (160) in the finals of the Northwest Conference Tournament Saturday earned him in an exclusive club.
Laroche beat Middletown's Damian Mierny, 11-4, to win his fourth straight NWC title. Only three other wrestlers have achieved that feat in the 26 years that the NWC Tournament has been held.

Farmington's Glenn Campagna won four in a row from 1981-84 along with Berlin's Kris Aurigemma (1992-95) and
Berlin's Anthony Reynolds (1996-99). Aurigemma actually won it three years because the 1994 tournament was snowed out but he earned All-NWC honors in '94.

Laroche won NWC titles at 130 pounds, 135, 145 and 160.
East Catholic's Lincoln Lefebvre won his third straight NWC title with a victory at 119 pounds. He is the first Eagle wrestler to claim three straight NWC crowns.

COLLECTING HARDWARE: Not only did East Catholic's Chris Scheinberg win his second straight NWC title Saturday with a 14-3 decision over Berlin's Derek Aivano but he won the outstanding wrestler award in the tournament for the second straight year. Scheinberg also took home the best technician award as well.

SCORING RETURNS AT NWC TOURNAMENT: Team scoring returned at the Northwest Conference meet this year for the first time since 1983. Berlin with a record 272 points ahead of Plainville (156), Middletown (137½), East Catholic (96) and Farmington (46½).

From 1994-2000, there was no team scoring. Only individual results were kept. From 1974-83, Avon High won each NWC tournament title. Avon had the old tournament scoring record of 208½ in 1976. Berlin came in second three times in 1977, 1979 and 1983.

FOILED: Canton's Zack Gurski was looking to become the first Canton wrestler to ever win four straight conference titles and the third wrestler in NCCC history to accomplish that task. But Gurski (275) lost in the finals to Avon's Brian Dubiel by a pin in 1:33.

The two wrestlers to win four straight NCCC titles are Avon's Bill Bianchi (1986-89) and Somer's Brendan Harris (1995-98).

FIFTH SEED ROLLS TO TITLE: Fifth-seeded Jeremy Kauffman of Enfield pinned top-seeded Dave Niek of Avon in the semifinals and pinned No. 3 seed Mike Futter of Stafford in the finals in 30 seconds to win the 140-pound weight class at the NCCC championships.

RAMS FINISH STRONG: After Bristol Central dropped its second match to Southington in the span of 10 days, its chances for the CCC South championship were basically over.

But the Rams, currently ranked 12th in the state coaches poll, didn't brood. They went to work.

Bristol Central won its final 10 in a row including five matches and the first place trophy at the Jonathan Law Duals.

"We've started to wrestle with more intensity, more than we had at the beginning of the year," said Central co-captain Corey Kozuch (145 pounds). "We're trying harder and working harder."

Bristol Central finished with a school-record 23 wins. The Rams went 23-3, eclipsing the 22 wins they achieved in 1999 when they were 22-1-1.

MAT DUST -- Avon won the NCCC Tournament for the first time since 1994. ... Seymour finished 15-9 in its second varsity season. They also finished second in their first tournament ever at the Pomperaug Invitational in December. Junior Gary Vasas set a new school record with 21 wins and is seeded third at 152 in Class M with a 21-3 record. Senior teammate Jason Fraser is seeded 6th with a 20-5 mark at 171.

State wrestling notebook
Team scoring returns to State Open tournament