GREENWICH — After placing second at its own tournament last year, the Brunswick School wrestling team was back to being second to none at its own competition.
Placing six of its wrestlers in the finals, the Bruins won their 44th annual Brunswick Invitational Tournament in impressive fashion on Saturday, topping 14 other teams.
Coached by Tim Ostrye, Brunswick finished with a team total of 209 points, followed by runner-up Northfield Mount Hermon (173.5) and Ridgefield (151). Trinity-Pawling School was fourth in the team standings (122) and Greenwich High School, making its first appearance at the Brunswick Invitational, placed fifth (94) in the 15-team competition.
The victory marked the 20th time Brunswick captured its own tournament title. The Bruins, placed second behind Northfield Mount Hermon at last season’s tourney.
While six Brunswick wrestlers advanced to the finals of their respective weight class, five Ridgefield grapplers advanced and three Greenwich High School competitors moved on to the final round. Highlighting the day for the Bruins was Timothy Saunders, who won the 195-pound weight class title and in the process, earned his 100th career victory.
Fittingly, Saunders’ 100th career win came in the finals, where he won by decision against Greenwich’s Jackson Blanchard, 10-4.
“I’m happy to get my 100th win at our tournament,” said Saunders, a senior, who placed second in the 182-pound class at the tournament last winter. “Looking at our schedule at the beginning of the season, I had a feeling that I had a chance to do it at this tournament. It was a pretty tough bracket and a good match in the finals against Greenwich.”
Saunders had his hands full following the tournament, as he held the championship bracket and his winner’s trophy. Seeded first, Saunders, won by pinfall against Ridgefield’s Sam Bazarian in the first round. He pinned Hyunho Kim’s shoulders to the mat (Northfield Mount Hermon) in 36 seconds, then pinned Yaro Mikhalylov (Noble and Greenough) in 1:00.
Blanchard moved on with a 4-1 win against Ben Meyers of Hotchkiss in the semifinals. He also beat Glay Yang (Episcopal Academy) in the quarterfinals in 1:20.
Kevin Pagnani of Brunswick and Alex Baha from Ridgefield met in the championship match of the 101-pound bracket. Seeded fourth, Pagnani received a first-round bye, then pinned Amaan Bhojwani of Noble and Greenough School in the quarterfinals. He defeated top-seeded Roman Minotti of Hamden Hall in the semifinals by pinfall in 3:02.
Blaha, seeded second, beat Michael Accetta of Brunswick in the second round by pinfall in 1:41 and pinned Greenwich’s Javier Serra in 1:43 in the semifinals of the 101-pound division. Baha beat Pagnani by pinfall in 59 seconds to claim the 101-pound title.
In the 106-pound class Ridgefield’s Nathan Baha faced Rohan Meier of Noble and Greenough School in the final. Baha pinned Brunswick’s William MacGillivray in the semifinal-round (1:15). In the final, Baha took control from the start and won by the match, and the title, with a 12-1 decision.
Greenwich’s Carlos DeWinter, seeded first, pinned his first two opponents, after receiving an opening-round bye in the 113-pound class. DeWinter beat Jackson Wolfram from Brunswick in the semifinals (pin. 3:02) and went up against Sam Rivera of Hopkins School in the finals.
In the championship match, DeWinter wrapped Rivera up in a cradle and pinned him in 26 seconds to capture the 113-pound title. DeWinter continued his dominant season for the Cardinals with the win.
“It was really nice, it was my first tournament win for high school, so it was a good experience and a lot of fun,” said DeWinter, a sophomore. “It kind of relieves some of the pressure for future tournaments. I had one of the smaller brackets in the tournament, so there wasn’t as much depth. The Brunswick kid in the semis gave me a good match to halfway through the second period. It was nice to see prep guys we wouldn’t see otherwise.”
At 126, second-seeded Ben Smart of Ridgefield made his way to the finals, where he faced Northfield Mount Hermon’s Noah Burstein. Smart pinned three opponents en route to making it to the championship match, then lost to Burstein by injury default.
Brunswick’s Chris Perry, the top seed in the 132-pound division, earned a berth in the championship match by overtaking Trinity-Pawling School’s Kyle Hamel in the semifinals by an 8-2 decision. Perry pinned Ridefield’s Tiger Delfranco in the first round in 1:23, then got Nicholas Adams’ (Hotchkiss) shoulders to the mat in 3:03. Perry faced Northfield Mount Hermon’s Owen Finn in the 132-pound finals.
Perry was victorious against Finn in the final, 7-0, utilizing several take downs to claim the 132-pound title. He was the tournament’s 113-pounder winner a year ago. For his efforts, Perry was voted as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
“I knew Northfield Mount Hermon would be there and he’s good, so it was good to get a win in this tournament,” said Perry, a sophomore. “Our team as a whole did great. We won the tournament in our wrestle backs, to say the least. Everyone who lost came back and won team points.”
Top-seeded junior Luca Errico of the Bruins won his first two matches in the 138-pound class in 56 and 22 seconds respectively, then won by major decision against Alex Bendinelli of Episcopal Academy, 20-7. He wrestled against Trinity-Pawling’s David Bancroft in the finals.
Using several take downs and a near fall, Errico won by decision against Bancroft, 12-3, to garner the first-place trophy.
Errico’s older brother Jon, a 2016 Brunswick graduate, was an All-American wrestler.
“This is the first time an Errico wrestled in the finals at this tournament,” Luca Errico said. “While my brother was here, it got snowed out twice (2015, 2016) and last year I was hurt and did not compete in the tournament, so it was exciting to be here and the support we received was amazing.
Nick Bell (seeded second at 145) won by technical fall in his second-round match then took a 7-3 decision against Hunter Hockensmith of Northfield Mount Hermon in the semifinals. He tested his skills against Connor Massey (145) in the finals.
In a back-and-forth battle, Bell won his weight-class championship with a 4-3 decision against Massey of Hamden Hall. Bell was second in the tournament’s 132-pound division.
Connor Brown from Ridgefield wrestled Charlie McLaughlin of Northfield Mount Hermon in the 152-pound finals, while Lazar Agoev, also of Ridgefield made it to the 160-pound finals, where he faced Aidan Hanning (Northfield Mount Hermon). McLaughlin registered a 20-6 decision for the first-place trophy.
Greenwich senior Andrew Nanai, the No. 1-seed in the 182-pound weight class, won by pin against Daniel Mallory (Long Island Lutheran) in the opening round, then pinned Scott Lewis (Hotchkiss School) in the second round in 1:48. The third round saw Nanai top Amir Mujahid (Episcopal Academy) by pinfall in 1:41.
Nanai dueled third-seed Klyde Auba of Hamden Hall in the championship match. Taking the lead in the first period, Auba defeated Nanai for the first-place trophy, 8-3. Aube pinned his first three opponents in the tourney.
Brunswick senior Nick Villis, seeded second, matched skills with Yaraslau Slavikouski (Northfield Mount Hermon) in the championship match of the 220-pound bracket. Villis pinned Sam Klotz from Ridgefield in the semifinals in a time of 1:27. He also defeated Kyle Jampole of Greenwich in 1:35. Slavikouski topped Villis by pinfall in the final in 35 seconds for his weight class title.
Serra of Greenwich tied Hamden Hall’s Roman Minotti for third place in the 101-pound division, while MacGillivray took third in the 106-pound division. Wolfram (113) was third, as were teammate Kaden Saad (120) and Howard Powell (285).
Ridgefield received third-place finishes from Lucas Ferreira (120) and Liam Keppler (170), while Glen Rivas (285) was third for the Cardinals.
Brunswick 209; Northfield Mount Hermon 173.5; Ridgefield 151; Trinity-Pawling 122; Greenwich 94; Hamden Hall 90.5; Noble and Greenough 75.5; Hopkins 72; Episcopal Academy 44; Hotchkiss 41; Choate Rosemary Hall 13.5; Chase Collegiate 4; Hyde School 4