GREENWICH — Winning the first three matches, Ridgefield made an impressive opening statement in its duel meet against FCIAC rival Greenwich, but the Cardinals had the final say.
Registering eight pinfall victories, Greenwich continued its resurgent season, downing another conference foe.
After suffering its first loss of the season last week, Greenwich got right back on the winning track, posting a hard-fought 48-31 victory over visiting Ridgefield.
The win upped Greenwich’s record to 6-1. Besides wrestling Ridgefield on Wednesday, the Cardinals locked up with visiting Brien McMahon in a match that began just before 7 p.m.
Seeing the Tigers take the first three matches on Wednesday prompted GHS first-year coach Jere Petersen to give his team a quick pep talk.
“We were really flat to begin with,” Petersen said. “It’s exam week, so it’s a tough week and we had a couple of guys who couldn’t wrestle because of midterms. But they did wake up and we wrestled well against a good team.”
The match began with Ridgefield sophomore Connor Brown pinning Cardinals senior Christian Stanback in 2:52 in the 152-pound matchup. Brown executed his pin with the score tied at 2-2.
Senior Lazar Agoev followed for the Tigers by winning his match against junior Joey Calderon in 1:20 in the 160-pound bout.
The visitors took a 16-0 lead in the match when Liam Keppler used three take downs and a near fall to post a 12-2 win against Greenwich’s Vincent Ceci at 170.
“We conveniently started out the match at 152 and at 152, 160 and 170, we have three really consistent wrestlers,” said Ridgefield coach Travis Tiger, who was a standout wrestler during his Ridgefield High School days. “We knew we would be strong in those matches and at 106. Those are our top-four wrestlers, who we fully expect to be on the podium in FCIACs and (Class) LLs.”
Greenwich’s first win of the evening came at 182, where senior Andrew Nanai continued his highly successful season. Nanai, who won his weight class title at the Greater Hartford Open last weekend, pinned sophomore Jackson Trotter in 40 seconds.
Isai Chay, a Cardinals senior, held a 14-5 lead on Tigers freshman Sam Bazarian before pinning him at the 5:09 mark. Senior Jackson Blanchard (215) and junior Glen Rivas (285) won their matches in 3:00 and 3:53, respectively for the Cards.
Freshman Nathan Blaha (106) pinned his foe in 45 seconds for Ridgefield, then GHS won the 113-pound match by forfeit and sophomore Carlos DeWinter gave the squad a pinfall victory in 3:42 at 120.
DeWinter scored on a near fall and a takedown for a five-point first period and added three more points in the second, before pinning freshman Lucas Ferreira.
“I try to get fired up for every match, cheer on my teammates and just go out there and get as any team points as possible,” said DeWinter, who has a record of 11-3 on the season, while competing at 113, 120 and 126. It’s been a fun season for our team so far.”
In one of the most competitive matches of the day, Tigers sophomore Spencer Carlson battled back from a 9-1 deficit to edge Cards sophomore William Grimes, 11-9. Three points off a near fall gave Carlson the match.
“We are a young team with a lot of freshman and sophomores, so we are a little bit inexperienced,” Tiger said. “If we can get that locked down, we’ll be fine. We still have three more weeks before the postseason.”
Senior Mitchell Grimes, William’s brother, won by pinfall in his 132-pound match against Cooper Rivera in 1:57, giving GHS a 42-25 lead in the match.
“I was really fired up after seeing my brother lose his match,” Mitchell Grimes said. “I tried to get a quick take down and work him as much as I could on top until I could pin him.”
Said Petersen: “I thought Mitchell Grimes wrestled the best match for us. He went out, was focused and did what he needed to do. Nanai and Blanchard are always steady, as they were today.”
Juniors Emanuel Lai (138) and Delvin Gustamar (145) each won their matches by pinfall in 3:30 and 1:13, respectively for Greenwich.
The Cardinals and Ridgefield will see each other again at Saturday’s Brunswick Invitational at Brunswick School.
“We’re not doing the Town Crown this year (Greenwich-Brunswick’s annual match against each other) so we are looking forward to how we match up with Brunswick at the tournament,” Mitchell Grimes said.
Added DeWinter: “I am looking to seeing the Brunswick guys and some prep school guys that we wouldn’t otherwise wrestle.”
GREENWICH 48, RIDGEFIELD 31
152 — Connor Brown (R) pinned Christian Stanback 2:58; 160 — Lazar Agoev (R) pinne Joey Calderon 1:20; Liam Keppler (R) dec. Vincent Ceci 12-2; Andrew Nanai (G) pinned Jackson Trotter :40; 195 — Isai Chay (G) pin. Sam Bazarian 4:09; 215 — Jackson Blanchard (G) pinned Sam Klotz 3:00; 285 — Glen Rivas (G) pinned James Knightingdale 3:53; 106 — Nathan Blaha (R) pin. Javier Cerra :45; 113 — Isaac Akrongold (G) won by forfeit; 120 — Carlos DeWinter (G) pinned. Lucas Ferreira 2:42; 126 — Spencer Carlson (R) decision William Grimes 11-9; 132 — Mitchell Grimes (G) pinned Cooper Rivera 1:57; 138 — Emanuel Lai (G) pinned Eddie Saad 3:30; 145 — Delvin Gustamar (G) pinned Donny Williams 1:13