Following a solid, 10-5 regular season, the Greenwich wrestling team’s second season commences on Friday — the all-important postseason.
The Cardinals’ grapplers will test their skills at the FCIAC Wrestling Championships, which takes place Friday and Saturday at New Canaan High School.
“We would like to see some guys finish first, second, third — get some podium finishes,” GHS coach Jere Petersen said. “Our team has some young wrestlers, who are in their first year wrestling on the varsity level. This will give them valuable experience going forward.”
Junior Carlos DeWinter is one of the Cardinals with plenty of experience. DeWinter, a mainstay on the squad since he was a freshman, has flourished while competing in the 126-pound division. He placed second last season in the FCIAC championships in the 113-pound bracket and has registered a record of 27-6 so far this winter.
“If Carlos continues to wrestle the way he has been wrestling he has a good shot at getting to the finals at the FCIAC tournament,” Petersen said. “We have high hopes for him.”
One of the Cards’ captains, DeWinter has posted several signature victories this season and is one of the team’s most consistent competitors. His latest victory came in Greenwich’s 66-18 win over Norwalk, as he won by pinfall.
“As a captain, he leads by example, as far as getting after it and he is the best conditioned kid on the team,” Petersen said of DeWinter. “He’s had some really good wins against wrestlers from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and he won his matches against Staples and Danbury.”
Senior Emanuel Lai, also a captain, is seeking to make his mark at the FCIAC tournament in the 138-pound class. Lai has a 22-8 mark on the season and won his latest match against Norwalk by pinfall in 3:30.
“He has wrestled in some tight matches this season and has really improved throughout the season,” Petersen said of Lau. “He’s also provided a lot of leadership to the younger guys.”
Sophomore Louis Ceci has emerged as one of the Cardinals’ most dependable wrestlers. He sports a record of 22-10 and won his 152-pound matchup against Norwalk by pinfall in 1:10.
“Louis Ceci has been terrific, he missed all of last season with an injury, but he has come back and has been the biggest surprise of the season,” Petersen said. “This is his first full year of wrestling and he gets better every time he steps on the mat. He worked really hard in the weight room during the offseason and he is really getting after it — being aggressive and physical.”
Sophomore Garrett O’Dell, junior Will Grimes and junior Anthony Febles are each in the midst of successful seasons in their respective weight classes, but they are also currently nursing injuries. Grimes has been sidelined for two weeks with a neck injury, while O’Dell and Febles each sustained knee injuries during the team’s match against Danbury.
Febles and Grimes may be able to return to action soon for some of the championship meets. Freshman Archer Manning (106) has produced a successful first season on the squad, while sophomore Javier Serra has pulled out significant victories in his 113-pound matches. He pinned his Norwalk opponent in 3:47 in the Cards’ final dual match of the season.
Senior Cristobal Isaacs (170-pound), junior James Schmidt (182), sophomore Charles Beney (195), junior Kacper Grabowski (145) and senior Glen Rivas (285) are also among some of the squad’s wrestlers who have displayed significant improvement.
“Isaacs will surprise some people, he has wrestled against some of the top guys in Class LL,” Petersen said. “He has quality losses and he pins people, who knows how to execute pins. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.
Manning, Schimidt, Beney — I want those guys to gain experience at FCIACs. I hope everyone goes out, competes their hardest and wrestles their best. If they do that, the wins will come.”