The Simsbury High wrestling team has gotten off to a strong start by winning the first two tournaments they competed in.
The Trojans, who were ranked No. 6 in the first state coaches poll of the season, captured the Skip Arden Invitational in Manchester for the second straight year and the 13th time in the last 30 years.
A week later, Simsbury (1-0) won their own Frank Chaves Invitational for the second straight year with a nine-point victory over No. 9 Trumbull, 229-220. It was the closest tournament since 2008 when Middletown won by 2½ points.
“Many of our guys worked hard in the off-season, and it is paying off,” Simsbury coach Ernie Goodwin said. “Although we are not senior heavy, we are experienced in match situations and wrestle more as a veteran team. Practices have been focused and our hard work is yielding results right now.”
Simsbury won’t be getting any breaks from its opposition any time soon. Simsbury travels to the Fairfield Warde Invitational on Saturday and the host Mustangs were the No. 4 ranked team in the state. And next week, Simsbury hosts Southington (0-0) on Wednesday, Jan. 8 in a tough CCC West contest at 6 p.m. Two days later, Simsbury will travel to No. 5 Ledyard for a meet that includes New England champion Timberlane, N.H.
The Blue Knights are trying to regroup after a late start to their season. Nearly half of their team missed all of the preseason workouts because they were part of the Southington High football team that recently won the Class LL state championship.
The Trojans were impressive at the Skip Arden Invitational with 11 wrestlers in the finals and eight coming home with individual championships – Josh Kowalski (106), Vinny Palermo (113), Keith Penney (126), Keith Fernandes (138), Tucker Salls (170), James DeMaio (182), Jake Feldman (195) and John Daguerre-Bradford (220).
Fernandes was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler. Simsbury scored 331½ points, the highest known score in the tournament’s history. West Springfield, Mass., was a distant second with 180 points.
The competition was better at the 27th annual Frank Chaves Invitational. Keith Penney (126) and Fernandes (138) each won titles while Palermo (106), Kowalski (113), Mike Ryan (160), Salls (170), DeMaio (182), Feldman (195) and Jasper Stone (285) each finished second. Trumbull looked sharp along with Newington and Southington, which didn’t have a full squad. Defending State Open champion Zach Maxwell of Southington, who played linebacker for the football team, got his wrestling season off to a good start with a 6-4 decision over Simsbury’s Jake Feldman in the finals at 195 pounds. DeMaio also lost to a defending State Open champion in the finals at 182 pounds, getting pinned by Suffield’s Khamri Thomas in 4:48.
Canton had three individual champions at the recent Derby Invitational.
Dylan Houle (170) pinned Derby’s Charlie Sampson in 4:15 to win an individual championship, Devin Glasson (195) pinned Jason Ranciato of Hamden Hall in 1:46 in the final at 195 pounds and Skylar Lang (220) beat Alex Rasmus of Branford, who had retire due to an injury.
Patrick Lawler (160) made the finals but lost to Gilbert sophomore Logan Smith, 20-4.
Canton (2-3, 2-0 NCCC) finished fourth with its best showing at the tournament since finishing third nearly a decade ago in 2004. Dakota Carey (182) and Brock Steinfeldt (285) were each third while Joe Joslin (138) finished fourth.
Canton is off to a 2-0 start in the league with a 51-24 win over East Windsor and a 45-21 decision over Enfield.
Houle, Carey, Glasson, Glenn Korner (220) and Mike Schomburg (126) had pins for Canton in the win over East Windsor. Against Enield, Brian Barger (120) and Houle had pins for the Warriors, who took advantage of five Enfield forfeits.
Facing bigger schools for more competition, the Warriors dropped three matches last Saturday to E.O. Smith, 69-9, New Britain, 66-15, and East Hartford, 54-27.
Canton will be hosting a pair of home meets next week. They’ll be hosting SMSA/University on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. at the high school. Two days later, they’ll host Montville, Gilbert and Weston in a four-team match beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11.