WESTPORT — Brunswick School junior Luca Errico entered the opening round of the New England Independent School Wrestling Association Championships Friday undefeated and he exited the competition Saturday with his perfect record intact.
Once again, Errico couldn’t be beaten on the mat, as he captured his weight class title at the ultra-competitive NEISWA Championships at Greens Farms Academy.
The Bruins’ standout wrestler raised his record on the season to an astounding 44-0 with a 5-4 victory in the title match of the 138-pound bracket — a performance that highlighted the tournament for Brunswick, which placed fifth in the team standings.
Greens Farms Academy, the host team, gave its home crowd plenty to cheer about. Boasting three champions and four finalists, the Dragons finished an impressive third in the team standings, totaling 162.5 team points. Belmont Hill School and Northfield Mount Hermon, both of which hail from Massachusetts, ended the 40-plus team tournament in a first-place tie with 198.5 team points.
Errico garnered the first-place medal in the 138-pound division by edging Dominic Rosetti of Loomis Chaffee School, 5-4, in the finals.
“I have been waiting for this match for a year and a half, since I got hurt last year at Tabor, I have been waiting for this kid for a while,” Errico said. We were going to have to wrestle here no matter what.”
A strong opening period sparked Errico to victory against Rosetti.
“First period I knew he was going to try to lock down my left side, so I couldn’t duck under, so I knew I had to switch off to my single leg,” Errico said. “I knew he was going to be pushing the pace. I just tried to keep my composure, push the pace and win a state title.”
Errico injured his knee last year, causing him to miss most of the season, now he’s undefeated, a champion and heading to next week’s National Prep School Championships at Lehigh University.
“It feels great to keep it going,” Errico said of his season-long winning streak. “I just have to continue to stay very focused.”
On his way to the finals, Errico took a 9-8 decision from Zach Spencer of Phillips Exeter Academy in the semifinal-round.
“He’s had an outstanding season,” Brunswick coach Tim Ostrye said. “He beat really good kids in the semifinals and finals and he just stayed after it, each match.”
Greens Farms’ champions were Nico Pravo (113), Peter Kane (132) and Griffin Seyfried (126).
Provo was a 4-3 winner in his title match against Kelvin Griffith from Brooks School.
“Going in I knew it was going to be a good match and I was ready for a fight,” Provo said. “I got my first take down and felt really good, then got an escape. Tied at 2-2 in the third, I decided to cut him and got a take down.”
The semifinals saw Provo (4-0 in the tournament) pin Belmont Hill’s Alexander Gavronsky in 24 seconds.
Seyfried defeated Brunswick’s Chris Perry in the championship match at 126, 8-6, in a back-and-forth battle in which both grapplers had their moments The Greens Farms wrestler enjoyed competing before the home crowd.
“Wrestling in the tournament this year was completely different than last year, when it was at a different gym,” Seyfried said. “This year, I had a home crowd watching me. In the middle of the match, I would look up and see some of my friends and it was definitely motivating. It went into overtime and it being a home match encouraged me to keep on fighting.”
In the semifinals, Seyfried won by major decision against Tyler Morris (Phillips Exeter Academy).
Perry, a sophomore, went 3-1 in the tournament for the Bruins. His semifinal match resulted in a 9-1 major decision over Noah Burstein of Northfield Mount Hermon.
“A great tournament both for me and the team,” Perry said. “The finals match was great, he (Seyfried) obviously, came to wrestle. He is a strong, good athlete. As a team we did really well, we had four finalists, so that’s good.”
Sophomore Nick Bell gave the Bruins a second-place finish. Bell was pinned by his Pomfret foe in 4:35. He also won three of his four matches in the tourney in the 145 division. Scoring a 5-0 decision over Hunter Hockensmith earned Perry a berth in the 145 final.
“I wrestled him last week at states, I knew he was a good kid, so I tried hanging in there,” Bell said of his match against Pomfret in the finals. “In the semifinals, I wrestled an opponent that I faced in the Brunswick Tournament and it was another tough match, but I was happy that I pulled it out.”
Bell has registered more than 30 victories on the season, while losing just four matches.
Senior captain Tim Saunders was 3-1 for the Bruins, his loss coming against Henry Lagasse from Phillips Exeter Academy, 9-5, in the title match of the 195-pound bracket. Lagasse jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the opening period.
“A five-point move in the first period gave him (Lagasse) the lead, but other than that, it was an even match,” Brunswick coach Tim Ostrye said of Saunders’ match. “He wrestled a great match and our whole team did a really good job today. We had seven place winners and six wrestlers qualified for prep nationals, so it was a good tournament for us.”
Saunders pinned Shane Rockett of Belmont Hill in the 195-pound semifinals in 1:09. Kane, a GFA freshman, earned the first-place medal in the 132-pound division by battling his way to a 2-0 decision against Owen Finn (Northfield Mount Hermon).
“There wasn’t really pressure put on me, because we were wrestling as the home team,” Kane said. “We’re not going to have New Englands here for a while, so this was a special tournament for us. It was great to wrestle in front of our home fans.”
In the semifinals, Kane won by pinfall against AJ Caba (Hotchkiss) in 1:37. Trinity-Pawling placed fourth in the tournament with a team score of 148.5 points, while Hamden Hall Country Day School was seventh (95.5) and Hotchkiss finished 12th (57).
Brunswick junior Nadji Ngbokoli placed fourth in his weight class and qualified for the National Prep School Tournament (top-six finishers advanced) and Bruins freshman Jackson Wolfram (126) finished sixth to earn a trip to nationals, along with Saunders, Perry, Bell and Errico.