MADISON – If this is getting out the kinks, there’s a lot to look forward to this winter for the Hand wrestling team.
The Tigers took advantage of five forfeits by Branford, but still won most of the matches contested on the mat in a 55-16 Southern Connecticut Conference victory Tuesday night at the Polson Gymnasium.
“Our lineup is still not full yet,” Hand coach Mike Docker said. “We’re still working out some kinks.”
Yet, Hand won five of the eight matches that were contested with three of them coming via the pinfall route.
“It’s always nice at the end of the day when you win more of the matches you wrestle,” Docker said. “Get rid of the five forfeits and, in the other eight, we wrestled well.”
Branford coach Chris Bonaguiso sat a few varsity wrestlers Tuesday night for breaking team rules.
“As a head coach, sometimes you have to make some difficult decisions and we had to take a few varsity guys out of our lineup tonight,” Bonaguiso said. “We needed to have a little more discipline and send a message to our wrestlers.”
Despite the lopsided loss, Bonaguiso said he hopes his team can turn the tables on the Tigers come the end of the season when they are at full strength.
“Hand perennially a powerhouse in our league so we know they’ll be tough,” Bonaguiso said. “We hope to give them a run in the league tournament.
Dylan Brochard (113 pounds), Jared Puricelli (132 pounds) and Mitch Kuperstein (170 pounds) won by pinfalls for Hand in their match, while Will Sobran (126 pounds) and Matt Dube each grabbed decisions.
Kyle Zalewski grabbed a pinfall victory at 220 pounds for Branford, while Noah Pantani won a tight 6-4 match over Mark Hartmann for the Hornets at 120 pounds.
One of Branford’s top wrestlers, Jackson Seward, closed out the match for Branford with a 12-0 decision over Van Docker at 195 pounds. It was Seward’s first match of the year as he spent the first few weeks of the wrestling season on the sidelines with injuries suffered during football season.
Hand improved to 4-0 in the SCC and is 6-1 overall.
“We look forward to the rest of our January schedule where we have a lot tougher competition, starting with Branford,” Docker said. “We have Foran, Guilford, Shelton and Xavier. The toughest teams are ahead of us yet.”
Branford fell to 2-2 in the SCC and is 5-7 overall.
HAND 55, BRANFORD 16
106 pounds: Kyle Davern (H) won by forfeit; 113 pounds: Dylan Brochard (H) pinned Brendan Shamas, 0:48; 120 pounds: Noah Pantani (B) defeated Mark Hartmann, 6-4; 126 pounds: Will Sobran (H) defeated Stella Kelly, 11-3; 132 pounds: Jared Puricelli (H) pinned Chris Delise, 0:21; 138 pounds: Charlie Jensen (H) won by forfeit; 145 pounds: Sam Wilson (H) won by forfeit; 152 pounds: Zak Santoemma (H) won by forfeit; 160 pounds: Giancarlo Giannini (B) defeated Max Liu, 5-2; 170 pounds: Mitch Kuperstein (H) pinned Minsok Lee, 2:51; 182 pounds Matt Dube (H) defeated Brandon Perez, 6-2; 195 pounds: Jackson Seward (B) defeated Van Docker, 12-0; 220 pounds: Kyle Zalewski (B) pinned Christian Westphal, 5:40; 285 pounds: Mike Burchell (H) won by forfeit.
Records: Hand, 4-0 (SCC) 6-1 overall; Branford, 2-2 (SCC), 5-7 overall.