SHELTON >> Xavier built a commanding lead during the early rounds and unofficially clinched the Southern Connecticut Conference wrestling championship before the title bouts commenced.
But that didn’t slow down the Falcons.
Xavier dominated the championship round Saturday at Shelton High. Eleven Xavier wrestlers reached the finals and seven won titles, including senior Will Chowanec, who captured his second league championship.
The Falcons easily won their third straight SCC title. Xavier won in 2011 and 2012 before last year’s meet was canceled due to inclement weather.
Despite not having an individual winner, Hand finished second. Led by 113-pound champion Jake Pouliot, Foran was third, Shelton finished fourth, paced by wins from Kyle McGinnis (120) and Liam Cummings (170). Amity took fifth.
“This feels good,” Chowanec said. “That was one of our goals for the entire wrestling team, to win SCCs.”
Chowanec defeated Hand’s Ashton Gyenizs by decision (5-2) to capture the title at 138. Chowanec won the SCC title at 113 in 2012.
“It’s a good title to win,” Chowanec said. “Definitely strength is a big key (when moving up in weight). I have the speed from being a lightweight, I just had to get in the weight room more and lift to deal with the bigger kids.”
Patrick Moynihan (106), Quinn Marino (145), Brendan Butler (160), Colin Cunningham (182), Noah Cruz (195) and Chidi Broderick (220) also won for Xavier. Broderick defeated Gabe Stiles, who was bidding to become just the second New Haven wrestler to win an SCC title.
“I think there were a lot of matches that we won that were close,” Xavier coach Mike Cunningham said. “I’m happy with that. I think it’s good preparation for next week (the Class LL championship).”
Camilo Vanegas became the first wrestler from Notre Dame-West Haven to win an SCC title. Vanegas, who wrestles with East Haven, pinned Fairfield Prep’s Nick Crowle, the top seed, at heavyweight.
“It feels great,” Vanegas said. “I love representing my school. It was a good upset, I am happy with it. I just went in wanting to give it my all — I wasn’t going to quit — and I was going to fight until the end.”
Shelton’s Liam Cummings avenged his only loss this season when he defeated Xavier’s Steve Burgos by a 4-0 decision. Cummings, who is 44-1 this year, lost to Burgos at the Connecticut Challenge in Southington three weeks ago.
“It’s awesome, it was a blood match,” Cummings said. “First time I saw him, I beat him. It was a close match. Second time I saw him, I lost in overtime. I looked back and I was just tired. It was a long match, and I lost. I was real angry, but it helped me in the work room. That’s what I was thinking about when I was doing the conditioning the last couple of weeks.
“And now I got back and got him today and it was really awesome.”
Team scores: 1. Xavier, 224; 2. Hand, 103.5; 3. Foran, 85; 4. Shelton, 84.5; 5. Amity, 84; 6. Guilford, 80.5; 7. Branford, 52.5; 8. Fairfield Prep, 46; 9. East Haven, 38.5; 10. New Haven, 32; 11. Cheshire, 28; 12. Notre Dame-West Haven, 21; 13. Law, 10; 14. Lyman Hall, 9.
106: 1. Patrick Moynihan (X) def. Connor Sakmar (Hand), 8-0; 3. Gino Esposito (For) def. Noah Pantani (Br), 7-5; 113: 1. Jake Pouliot (For) def. Jake Cala (Am), 5-4; 3. Nico DiStasio (Shel) pinned Francis Regala (Hand), 4:40; 120: 1. Kyle McGinnis (Shel) def. Patrick Precourt (X), 6-0; 3. Austin MacDonald (Am) def. Andrew Ignoto (Guil), 6-2; 126: 1. Colin Rook (Guil) def. Jesse Cala (Am), 6-2; 3. Liam Sullivan (Hand) def. Nick Kelsey (Br), 4-1; 132: 1. Anthony Milano (EH) def. Tom Fredericks (X), 13-2; 3. Kevin Mallon (Hand) pinned Michael Cala (Am), 1:28; 138: 1. Will Chowanec (X) def. Ashton Gyenizs (Hand), 5-2; 3. Joe Martone (Br) def. Jake Cervero (Ches), 4-0; 145: 1. Quinn Marino (X) def. Nick Pogacsas (Shel), 16-11; 3. Nick Temple (Br) def. Kenny Agosto (NH), 4-2; 152: 1. Jake Lundberg (Guil) pinned Tyler Kenney (X), 5:59; 3. Jack Bosken (Prep) def. Ricky Kratzer (For), 17-1; 160: 1. Brendan Butler (X) def. Ben Onofrio (Hand), 12-4; 3. David Buono (Am) pinned Alex Freeman (Br), :34; 170: 1. Liam Cummings (Shel) def. Steve Burgos (X), 4-0; 3. Gabe Vega (Ches) def. Chris Anthony (Guil), 5-1; 182: 1. Colin Cunningham (X) def. Mike DeMarco (EH), 8-5; 3. Colin Scarfo (Guil) def. Cristian Woodford (For), 5-4; 195: 1. Noah Cruz (X) def. Zach Hubler (For), 7-2; Justin Dwyer (Hand) def. Clayton Ahern (LH), 5-1; 220: 1. Chidi Broderick (X) def. Gabe Stiles (NH), 6-2; 3. David Martens (Prep) pinned Ben Croll (For), 3:37; 285: 1. Camilo Vanegas (ND) pinned Nick Crowle (Prep), 1:22; 3. Nick Photos (Am) def. Paul Martorelli (X), 3-1.