Fairfield Warde’s wrestling team was runner-up to Danbury in the Class LL state championships, at Trumbull High, on Feb. 20. The Mustangs scored 202 points as a team, Danbury had 268.5. Newtown, with 174, Trumbull with 165 and Southington, which scored 147.5, rounded out the top five.
Fairfield Prep placed 13th with 56 points, and Staples of Westport was 16th with 42 points. There were 25 teams in the event.
The Warde Mustangs were led by Charles Kane, who captured the 145 pound division title with a 5-1 decision over Newtown’s Ed Lovely in the pinnacle match.
“It feels good to win as a senior,” Kane said of his triumph, adding that the Mustangs did well on the whole. “There were a lot of good kids here.”
Of course, many of the standout grapplers belonged to Warde.
Tim Kane was the state champion in the 132-pound weight class with a major decision over Austin Abacherli in the finals. John Ocana was second at 220. Tim Kane won three bouts via fall on his way to the finals. Ocana won a major decision and a pair of regular decisions to advance to the pinnacle match.
Noah Zuckerman placed third at 106, Alex Lobsenz was third in the 285 bracket, Alex Steele placed fourth in the 126 division, Jack Price was fifth at 138, Joseph Gjinaj was fourth at 160 and David Abrahams placed sixth at 195.
All nine top-six finishers advance to the state open.
“This tournament is all about wrestling back and our kids did a good job of wrestling back,” Warde Coach Jason Shaughnessey said.
All of the third- through sixth-place grapplers punch their state open ticket with bounce back performances in the wrestle-backs.
The second-place result was particularly pleasing for the Mustangs for a couple of reasons. Warde competed in Class L last year.
“It’s a tougher tournament,” Shaughnessey said of the LL bracket. “And we’re pleased to step up and win second. I’m pleased because we’re a fairly young team and we’re sending nine to opens.
“Double Ls is a challenging tournament. How you perform in double Ls and where you place dictates your seeding in the open. Winning this gives you a good seed and a good draw in the open,” the coach added.
What’s more, the Mustangs were coming off a third-place finish in the FCIAC tourney, placing behind first-place Danbury and runner-up Trumbull. Leapfrogging Trumbull, in the next tourney, was a nice accomplishment for Warde.
“We had a great weekend,” Shaughnessey said.
Also competing from Warde were Luke Bender at 113, Brandon Moutinho at 120, Chris Gjinaj at 152, Matheus Ribeiro at 170 and Matt Cuocco at 182.
The tourney also featured grapplers from Fairfield Prep and Staples of Westport.
Prep’s Evan Titus came in third at 170 as he scored an 11-1 major decision victory over Southington’s Logan LaRosa in his final match.
Prep’s Kasim Khan placed fifth in the 113 bracket, capping his day with a 10-0 major decision over Greenwich’s Dylan Ehret.
Staples grappler Colin Hunter was sixth in the 182 division.
Dylan Marone of Staples competed in the 106 division. Prep’s Michael Shea and Staples grappler Daniel Boccardo competed at 120. Prep’s Kevin Zentner competed in the 126 division. Prep’s Orlando Sanchez was in the 132 bracket. Prep’s Grant Ballesteros and Staples’ Dominic Arciola competed at 138. Prep’s Patrick Grasso competed at 145. Prep’s William Dougherty and Staples’ Kieran Clarke competed at 152. Staples’ Ryan Mahoney was in the 160 bracket. Staples wrestler Jonathan Maragos competed at 170. Prep’s Matthew Jakab competed at 182.