KILLINGLY — Matt Charron had signed his boys up with Killingly Youth Wrestling when they were 8, and now here they were in the Guilford High gym a decade later on his 41st birthday.
“At first we didn’t like wrestling,” Mike Charron said. “We thought it was weird, but my dad wanted us to stay with it. We started getting good and we’re like, ‘Dang, this is pretty fun.’ ”
Last Saturday at the Class M state championships, wrestling for the Charron family would be more than pretty fun or even really fun. It would be unprecedented.
“As soon as we made it to the finals I knew it was a big accomplishment for three brothers, but after we all won it, I thought to myself, ‘We just made history,’ ” Mike said. “We all cried after the last brother won. It was awesome.”
According to Gerry deSimas of Connecticut Wrestling Online, dating to Kevin and Barry Makarewicz of Nonnewaug in 1979, a handful of brothers have won state titles on the same day. Charlie and Tim Kane of Fairfield Warde won the New England title in 2016. On Saturday, Michael and Travis Longo of Trumbull won at the Class LL championship.
Never had three brothers won until Danny (106), his fraternal twin Mike (113) and younger sibling David (126) did it with the kind of flourish that brought out the Killingly fire truck and a pep rally. Add in Derek Turner, who won at 170, and Killingly had its first state title since 2009.
“Our semifinal matches were big,” Danny said. “They were all against one of the top seeds. We dominated that round and that was big for our team and for us. We pretty much did what we said what we would do — get to the finals.”
So here they were at Killingly High on Thursday, one day before the start of the State Open at Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven, recounting their joy of five days earlier. Thursday was the senior twins’ 18th birthday. David, a junior, was home with flu-like symptoms. The brothers are convinced David will be back for the State Open.
“It stinks, but he should be OK,” Danny said. “He’s a battler.”
Brother Mike Charron follows up with a win of his own at 113 – even closer to the title! Oh by the way, it’s their dads birthday today!@CT_Sports_Now @ciacsports @GameTimeCT @jzanorNB @lkelleyNB pic.twitter.com/rAIT3CabnY
— Killingly Athletics (@kevinmarcoux9) February 16, 2019
Before Danny’s 106 final against Josh Brault of Joel Barlow, Mike was warming up. He could sense his twin was a tad nervous. He went over to talk. “’ You got this kid,’ ” Mike said. “ ‘Just wrestle your match. Do your moves.’ He gave (the) kid his first loss (5-1).”
That’s one title.
“We’re all there watching each other,” Danny said. “Mike had a really tough match (against Logan Smith of Waterford at 113). When he beat the kid, I was on top of the world. I thought he was going to get Outstanding Wrestler.”
Mike Charron had faced Smith a week earlier in the ECC tournament and it hadn’t ended well. Smith beat him, 12-7.
“It was definitely a source of motivation,” Mike said. “I knew I had to work harder, run more miles. I’m thinking if I could beat him I could be the best in the state, this could be huge. Going through it, my heart was racing. I was in the zone. Afterward, I felt like it was the match of my career.”
Mike Charron and Smith wrestle together in the offseason. They are good friends. Sometimes, however, family has to come first. Mike escaped Smith, who had been the two-time Class M 106 champion, with 1:55 remaining in the third period. He scored a takedown with 40 seconds left to win, 5-4.
That’s two titles.
“All I’m thinking is we’ve got to do it for my dad on his birthday, for my brothers, for our team,” Danny said. “It’s more nerve-wracking to watch than being out there. When you’re wrestling you’re so motivated and focused the nerves go away.”
The twins watched as David defeated Hunter Chin of New Fairfield, 8-0. David didn’t allow a single point in four victories. In the semifinals, he had some revenge of his own. Jackson Archer of Lyman/Windham Tech had beaten David, 5-3 in overtime of the ECC finals and afterward pointed to his conditioning in the Norwich Bulletin as the difference. Judging by a later quote in the Bulletin, David was a little irked and clearly motivated. He beat Archer, 7-0, in the Class M semis.
That’s a grappling trifecta.
The wrestling program under Rich Bowen, only the second state coach with 600 victories, the football program under Chad Neal and the golf program under athletic director Kevin Marcoux have all grabbed state titles in recent years. Success is in the air in Killingly. The twins said the team returned to the Charron house in Brooklyn on Saturday night to celebrate Dad’s 41st birthday and the Redmen’s fourth state wrestling title.
“My joy is what we did Saturday,” Danny said. “That brings joy to our world. Doing it on my dad’s birthday was insane. I love wrestling from the bottom of my heart. Traveling to matches, being there with your team, your brothers, your buddies, winning, it’s just awesome.”
Mike was born 25 minutes before Danny on Feb. 21, 2001, at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam. Mike said he doesn’t lord this over his twin.
“No, I dog him because everybody says he looks older than me,” Mike said.
The twins certainly have their own look. Danny has a natural flow. Mike has a fresh cut.
“I’m a natural-type guy,” Danny said. “I don’t do stuff with my hair. I just let it flow.”
“One day I combed it back and I liked it,” Mike said. “I hate it when my hair is over my ears. It bothers me.”
While we’re splitting hairs, it’s amusing to hear the twins discuss whether they’re 5-5 or 5-6 and whether David is 5-8 or 5-9. Finally, they turn. “Yeah, David’s got some length,” Danny said. Mike nods.
Wrestling is an unforgiving sport. Competitors have to cut weight while trying to keep their edge. They must remain sharp and ferocious through demanding conference and state meets. They are two-day affairs. Mike wrestled at 120 pounds last year, is naturally 130 and gets down to 115 (there’s a two-pound weight allowance) to compete. Danny is naturally around 120. On Thursday they were preparing for a demanding practice — a 4-pounder, they called it — to make sure the scale produces the requisite number.
A hunk of birthday cake would not be a good idea.
“Going to the states for the final time,” Danny said, “is emotional and exciting for us.”
There, it is possible that Danny Charron, seeded No. 1 at 106, could meet Michael Longo, seeded No. 4. There, it is possible that Travis Longo, who beat Danny in the 2018 State Open 106 semis and is seeded No. 2 at 113, could meet third-seeded Mike Charron.
Brothers. They are looking to make more state wrestling history.