GREENWICH — Wednesday’s showdown between FCIAC wrestling rivals Greenwich and Brien McMahon saw the Cardinals win six of the first seven matchups, but the Senators made their move, storming back to take a three-point advantage.
Yet in a back-and-forth dual meet, it was the Cardinals that had the final say on their Senior Day.
And Carlos DeWinter made sure Senior Day was a success for Greenwich.
DeWinter, a junior, won his 120-pound match for Greenwich by a 16-7 major decision and the Cardinals edged visiting McMahon, 37-33.
The Cardinals upped their record to 7-6 with the win, which saw McMahon rally to take a 33-30 advantage, after trailing 30-3.
“That was an exciting win,” GHS coach Jere Petersen said. “We had a big run and they had a big run, it was back-and-forth throughout. These type of matches are a lot of fun to be a part of.”
In the final match of the day at 120 pounds, DeWinter used eight take downs to compile his 16 points in a victory against Senators freshman Zavier Hernandez. Hernandez posted a reverse, a take down and three escapes.
“Last time it came down to my match two years ago, my freshman year versus Shelton,” DeWinter said. “I ended up losing that match, so this is the only other time in my three years as a high school wrestler that I had an opportunity to win it for the team like that in that fashion. So I was hoping to pull it off this time and I went out there amped up.”
Trailing 33-30, Greenwich tied the match when sophomore Javier Serra scored a hard-fought 7-4 triumph against Senators senior Solomon Wyclif. Serra was paced by two take downs and a pair of escapes.
“I kind of knew it was all relying on that match and I just went out there, knowing I had to step up big,” Serra said. “Brien McMahon is known for their arm throws, so I wanted to keep my distance and control the tie.”
Serra has made significant strides for the Cards this season.
“Last year was my first year, so this offseason I lifted a lot and it’s really paying off,” Serra said.
McMahon took a 33-30 edge when freshman Luke Haskell pinned GHS freshman Archer Manning in 1:26. The match began with Greenwich junior Justin Villalta (126) winning by pinfall against McMahon sophomore Grant Sattler in 1:37. Senior Emanuel Lai gave Greenwich a pinfall victory in his 132-pound match against freshman Jonathan Jean in 2:28. Lai was ahead, 9-0, prior to his pin, using a pair of take downs and a near fall.
“It’s really relieving one to come out with this win,” said Lai, one of the Cardinals’ senior captains. “This was one of the last home matches I was going to get, so I’m really happy to get the win.”
Lai is 17-7 on the season.
“This season has really shown how much I have progressed,” Lai said. I am satisfied with the win, it was a little close, but I’m really proud of our team effort. We had a lot of guys step up in an important match tonight.”
At 138, sophomore Garrett O’Dell posted a 6-0 win for Greenwich, executing three take downs. Junior Kacper Grabowski (152) followed with a 5-0 decision (two take downs, one escape) against Adrian Coello, giving the home team an 18-0 lead. Sophomore Luis Ceci (152) then pinned his McMahon foe in 1:12, after taking a 2-0 lead, making it 24-0. He was up in his matchup, 2-0 when he executed his pin.
The visitors’ first victory came at 160, with junior Artie Cocchia taking a 10-6 decision against Anthony Febles. Cocchia registered five take downs in the triumph
“I didn’t really do what I had to do out there, I should have pinned him,” Cocchia said. “But I got the win. The season has been going pretty well for us, we’ve been winning close matches. Our team has pretty good fight in each of us.”
McMahon also received victories from sophomore Benjamin Van Steen (182, pinfall against James Schmidt, 5:09), senior Jeff Cocchia (220, pinfall, 1:09 against Andrew Falla) and senior Luis Tejada (285, pinfall, 2:26 vs. Glen Rivas).
“I just went with whatever he gave me and I gave it my all,” Tejada said. “It was an important match and I gave 100 percent against a good opponent. We’ve had pretty competitive matches all season.”
Added Jeff Cocchia: “I knew we needed a pin, so I just tried to wrestle quick, fast and smart. I knew from the beginning it was going to be a tough match, so I had to wrestle extra smart. I’m glad I was able to help the team out.”
The Senators are 6-3 on the season and like Greenwich is improving heading into the postseason.
“I was on the edge of my seat the whole time in this match,” Lai said. “For FCIACs and LLs, we are going to be prepared for the competition that we are going to face.”
Added DeWinter: “Overall, I’m happy with how we did. We especially a good job of fighting off our backs.”