- Where: Floyd Little Athletic Center, Hillhouse High School
- When: Friday, Feb. 22-Saturday, Feb. 23 (Finals scheduled for 4:30 p.m.)
- Defending champion: Danbury
- Contenders: Danbury, Bristol Eastern, Simsbury, Xavier, Trumbull, Killingly
- SCHEDULES AND SEEDS
- WATCH LIVE — NFHS Network (subscription required)
What to watch
The Hatters will be going for a third straight State Open and fifth in the last seven years. Last season’s Open featured a three-way tie between Bristol Eastern, Killingly and Warde, and a host of squads will be chasing down the Hatters this year. The Lancers and Simsbury finished within .5 points of one another during last weekend’s Class L championship. Xavier wasn’t far behind and could have won the title on another day, and FCIAC powers Warde and Trumbull will be in the mix thanks to likely individual champions. Class S champion Gilbert qualified nine for the Open and will hope to crack the top group.
Danbury will be tough to knock off, though. The Hatters placed 10 of their wrestlers in the top six at Class LL, including three champions in Ryan Jack, Kyle Fields and Tyler Johnson. Four of last year’s six Open place-winners are back too.
Wrestlers to watch
Danny (106) David (126), Mike Charron (113), Killingly: The trio of brothers all won Class M titles last week, capping a remarkable event for the Redmen. All will be top seeds in their respective classes. Michael Rapuano, Xavier, So., 106: Earned a hard-fought win at Class L, Rapuano will be tested in a difficult class by several opponents. Travis Longo, Trumbull, Sr., 113: Out to win back-to-back Open titles in different weight classes at different schools. Longo won Class LL last week. Ryan Jack, Danbury, Jr,. 126: Out for his third straight Open title; wants to win all four years to best his brother Kevin, a former standout at North Carolina State. Chase Parrot, Westhill, Sr. 132: Has run into a pair of stellar grapplers in Jack and Kyle Fields from Danbury the past three seasons. Hoping to finish his career with an Open title. Justin Marshall, Bristol Eastern, Sr., 152: Remained undefeated on the season by dominating en route to the Class L title. Michael Angers, Tolland., Sr., 160: Older brother Ryan was named most outstanding wrestler at last year’s Open, Michael was a runner-up at the event too. Dylan Sousa, Xavier, Sr., 170: Won the Class L title and almost helped the Falcons to the team title, finishing just 10.5 points off the top spot in third place. Joe Gjinaj, Warde, Sr., 195: On track to win his second straight Open title in the same weight class. Earned his 100th career win earlier this winter. Trinidad Gonzalez, Bristol Eastern, Sr., 220: Earned the decisive win for the Lancers at the Class L championships; Bristol Eastern won by just 0.5 points over Simsbury. Gonzalez was a finalist at 195 last season. Joe Zeller, Newtown, Sr., 285: A grueling season is paying off now despite seven defeats for the SWC and Class LL champion.
Intriguing potential matchups
Sean Johnson (Ellis Tech) vs. Justin Mastroianni (New Canaan), 138: Two of the top wrestlers in the state reside in this class. Johnson has won four straight Class titles while Mastroianni is coming off his first Class L championship. Johnson finished second while Mastroianni took third at last year’s State Open at 126. Mastroianni won a 12-5 decision at last year’s New England semifinals.
Carson LiCastri (Barlow) vs. Jacob Commander (New London), 182: The pair swept conference and Class titles and will have to fend off Greenwich’s Andrew Nanai to meet in a potential final. Both are still undefeated on the season.
Henry Schrecengost (Avon) vs Joe Zeller (Newtown), 285: Schrecengost earned a win over Zeller during the regular season; the Class M champion has lost just once so far this winter. Zeller took fifth at last year’s State Open.
Kyle Fields (Danbury) vs. Chase Parrot (Westhill), 132: The final in both the FCIAC and Class LL brackets could happen again as the pair are on opposite sides of the bracket. Fields won a close 4-2 decision last weekend.