GUILFORD — Suffield/Windsor Locks will raise the Class M banner after working its way past three contenders to capture the Class M wrestling title at Guilford High on Saturday.
For coach Matt Mangelli’s Wildcats, who scored 187 points, it was their first state title. It came one week after they took the Central Connecticut Conference championship
Foran (181.5) was second, RHAM (166) third and Branford (163) fourth.
— Bill Bloxsom (@blox354) February 23, 2020
“We competed with 10 wrestlers today and I’m proud of each of them. They all played a part in this,” said Suffield/Windsor Locks coach Matt Mangelli. “The kids had a common goal and each of them wanted to get to that (finish) line. We made a good chase at the end of the season.”
Josh Nieroda (113), Zachary Johns (126) and Dylan Washburn (145) won finals.
Matt Raine, a senior captain for the Wildcats, who wrestled back to earn third at 152 pound, said: “There was a lot of excitement the last two weeks,” said s. “Putting a state banner up for the first time is great. I love the one on one of wrestling. I love how difficult it is. I love that feeling you get when you win as an individual or as a team. You can’t replicate it.”
For the Foran Lions, it was the second consecutive season they were M runners-up, and the eighth straight season they have placed in the top three. They were without a finalist, but had eight wrestling back to place in the top six.
Foran coach Dave Esposito said, “The most gratifying thing for me is to see our guys go out there and let it loose. It is such a mental grind. The experience of the last seven years (two titles, 4 seconds, 1 third) comes into the mix today. They know that every (team) point counts, a pin, a major decision. We had a lot of guys overachieve.”
With the title vacated when Killingly dropped to Class S, it was a wide-open battle for first, in the team score and in individual weight classes. Only two champions returned — Joel Barlow’s Carson LiCastro and Avon’s Christopher Gen. Each added another title.
— Bill Bloxsom (@blox354) February 22, 2020
DiVITO’S CASH IN
East Haven’s Alec DiVito (132 pounds) and Tanner (DiVito (138 pounds) won titles. Matt DiVito (126 pounds) was runner-up.
Alec DiVito said: “I wanted to be at the top of the line. The team has done so well today. To win like that, and then have Tanner get his title and his 100th win is amazing.”
Tanner DiVito said: “Its a dream come true, who can believe you would win your 100th and a state championship in the same match. It means so much to me. I broke my thumb missed football and had surgery. Every morning I would work out with one thought, win a state title.”
— Bill Bloxsom (@blox354) February 23, 2020
LiCASTRI WINS FOURTH
Barlow senior Carson LiCastri battled through a knee injury to defeat New London’s Jackson Harshberger, by 2:37 second fall in the 195 pound final and earn his fourth-straight Class M championship Saturday.
“It feels great to know that all the hard work I’ve done this year, and the last four years has paid off,” said LiCastri, who suffered a torn meniscus and missed three weeks and the SCC tournament. “I thank my coaches, they are a huge part of this. The anticipation was the worst part…waiting to hear from my surgeons (to see) if I could be back in this time frame.”
LiCastri won by decision over Justin Osler of Branford 8-4 at 182 pounds in 2019.
In 2018 he won by decision over Killingly’s Derek Turner 7-3 at 170 pounds. And as a freshman in 2017 representing Immaculate/Barlow at 145, he decisioned Eli Perry of Hall 7-2.
— Bill Bloxsom (@blox354) February 23, 2020
“You always have to be wary when you haven’t wrestled someone,” Christopher Gens from Avon said after pinning Adam Frame from Brookfield in 3:51 to win the 220-pound title. “I was very excited, all my matches went very well. The kid (Frame) was really tough, you can see the cuts on my face. Senior year has gone very well (36-0).”
The Most Outstanding Wrestler in Class M will receive the award at the State Open.
BARLOW WINS FOUR
Jason Brault, Alex Klein Wassink and Frankie McNeary joined Carson LiCastri as state champions for coach Paul Chaves.
“We had three get to finals last year, and this time it is four,” said Chaves, whose Falcons placed sixth. “This group has overcome so much adversity with illness and injuries, They came to battle every day. This was a great state meet for us.”
Brault, the top seed and returning finalist at 106 pounds with a 32-0 record, posted an impressive 14-2 major decision over Suffield/Windsor Lock’s third-seeded Dylan Taggart ((29-6).
Klein Wassink (24-3) was seeded first at 152 pounds, considered the toughest weight class. He defeated Breon Phifer (24-1) in the title bout, 9-3.
McNeary (27-3) was seeded third at 170 pounds. He defeated top-seeded Colman Doucette (31-3) from New Fairfield in a rousing 5-3 match.
TOPPING THE CHARTS
RHAM’s second-seeded Zackary Kanaitis (33-5) rallied from 4-0 down in the third period against top seed Mason Concascia ((33-5) with a reversal and match closing pin at 120 pounds.
Brookfield’s Zahir Mclean-Felix ((29-3) scored an 11-5 decision over Watertown’s Xavier Powell to win at 160 pounds.
Branford’s Justin Osler made the jump from runner-up to champion at 182 pounds. Seeded first, Osler (31-0) pinned No. 2 seed Jackson Harshberger (32-4) from Waterford in 1:24.
Top-seeded Luke Fuerstenberg from Platt (42-1) responded to chants from Panther faithful with an 8-1 decision over No. 2 seed Minsok Lee (42-4) from Branford.
Lee has been accepted at, and will attend, West Point.
Team Scores: 1. Suffield/Windsor Locks 187; 2. Foran 181.5; 3. RHAM 166; 4. Branford 163; 5. East Haven 145; 6. Joel Barlow 138; 7. Platt 120.5; 8. Avon 120; 9. Brookfield 116; 10. New London 104; 11. Guilford 84.5; 12. Berlin 83.5; 13. New Fairfield 81.5; 14. Waterford 80; 15. Weston 75.5; 16. Ellis Tech 62; 17. Stratford 51; 18. Bethel 47.5; 19. Masuk 44; 20. Notre Dame-West Haven 39; 21. Jonathan Law 29; 22. Watertown 25; 23. Rockville 9; 24. Torrington 6; 25. St. Joseph 3
106: 1st Josh Brault (Joel Barlow) MD Daniel Taggart (Suffield/Windsor Locks), 14-2; 3rd Dominic Milano (East Haven) MD Aidan Baghdassarian (Avon), 12-2; 5th Mohammad Halabi (Guilford) F Jerry Hill (Bethel), 0:59
113: 1st Josh Nieroda (Suffield/Windsor Locks) DEC Jonah Weber (Avon), 6-0; 3rd Matthew Carrozza (Brookfield) F Antonio Madero (Foran), 2:42; 5th Tristen jaxon Robledo-Thompson (New London) MD John Fernandes (Guilford), 10-2
120: 1st Zackary Kanaitis (RHAM) F Mason Concascia (Waterford), 5:39; 3rd Thomas Bock (New Fairfield) F Nicholas Koops (Berlin), 4:06; 5th Jace Korab (Branford) DEC Luke Plano (Suffield/Windsor Locks), 4-2
126: 1st Zachary Johns (Suffield/Windsor Locks) MD Matt DiVito (East Haven), 9-0; 3rd Tanish Joshi (Foran) F Jeremy Devine (RHAM), 2:53; 5th Zachery Colman (Avon) DEC Dylan Benedetti (Jonathan Law), 8-4
132: 1st Alec DiVito (East Haven) DEC James Rondini (Platt), 3-2; 3rd Kyle Pokornowski (Foran) DEC Ghassen Saleh (Suffield/Windsor Locks), 6-2; 5th Patrick Zdunek (Branford) MD Devin Hanelius (RHAM), 12-4
138: 1st Tanner DiVito (East Haven) DEC Devin Anderson (New Fairfield), 8-4; 3rd Logan Kanaitis (RHAM) F Michael Vanchot (Foran), 2:03; 5th Tyler Barber (Berlin) DEC Tristyn-Myles D’Aniello (Platt), 10-9
145: 1st Dylan Washburn (Suffield/Windsor Locks) F Louis Stabile (Brookfield), 1:11; 3rd Jared Butler (Avon) F Caleb Ferland (Ellis Tech), 0:42; 5th Noah Boozer (New London) F Hugo Ortiz (East Haven), 4:24
152: 1st Alex Klein Wassink (Joel Barlow) DEC Breon Phifer (Weston), 9-3; 3rd Matthew Raine (Suffield/Windsor Locks) DEC Ethan Edmondson (Foran), 4-1; 5th Ryan Maleryn (RHAM) wins by forfeit over Mathew Merrigan (Platt).
160: 1st Zahir Mclean-Felix (Brookfield) DEC Xavier Powell (Watertown), 11-5; 3rd Andrew Robinson (Branford) F Gavin White (Ellis Tech), 4:25; 5th Brent Strand (Guilford) MD Fabricio Bugatti (East Haven), 10-0
170: 1st Frankie McNeary (Joel Barlow) DEC Colman Doucette (New Fairfield), 5-3; 3rd Cristian Calero (Platt) DEC Genaro Anselmo (RHAM), 5-1; 5th Aidan O’Connor (Berlin) MD SamPoffenberger (Foran), 8-0
182: 1st Justin Osler (Branford) F Jackson Harshberger (Waterford), 1:24; 3rd James Duhancik (Stratford) MD Evean Oquendo (Platt), 16-8; 5th Andrew Keene (RHAM) wins by forfeit over Alex Barbour (Notre Dame-West Haven)
195: 1st Carson Licastri (Joel Barlow) F Jadian Mackenzie (New London), 2:37; 3rd Colton Deleo (Masuk) F Joseph McGuire (Weston), 2:03; 5th Cody McHenry (Branford) DEC Morgan Haskett (Bethel), 2-1
220: 1st Christopher Gens (Avon) F Adam Frame (Brookfield), 3:51; 3rd Will Robb (Suffield/Windsor Locks) F Austin Pompa (Masuk), 0:39; 5th Teshua Williams (New London) F Jacob Madarang (Foran), 3:34
285: 1st Luke Fuerstenberg (Platt) DEC Minsok Lee (Branford), 8-1; 3rd Patrick Rescsanski (Foran) F Keeano Javon Gonzalez (New London), 1:26; 5th Tyler Kruse (East Haven) wins by forfeit over Zachary Ralsky (Joel Barlow).