Danbury tasted defeat for the first time since last January in a dual meet, as the Hatters’ trip to New Hampshire ended with a loss to New England power Timberlane as part of a quad meet with Nashoba (N.H.) and Xavier.
A Hatters squad that was not at full strength lost to Timberlane 49-14 in what’s the final test before the postseason begins; several Hatters were under the weather with the flu and standout Ryan Jack didn’t wrestle.
“It was what we expected, but we didn’t expect to get beat that bad,” said Shook, whose team toppled Timberlane at the SWAT tournament earlier this season. “We didn’t have a full team with two starters out, and a (few guys) were sick. I knew going in it would be tough; we didn’t win the toss and it was what it was”
Montez Osbey, DJ Donovan, Tyler Johnson and Kai O’Dell picked up wins for the Hatters (11-1) against Timberlane. Danbury toppled Xavier and Nashoba before the tense showdown against Timberlane; several of the host fans were ejected for coming onto the mat to argue a decision.
The page was turned quickly after the defeat. A loss before the postseason is a positive motivator, Shook said; he added his squad are still battling illness, but he was hopeful they would be ready to go for next weekend’s FCIAC championships.
“There’s nothing better than losing for me at least as a coach,” Shook said. “It gets my guys ready to go for the postseason and that’s why I schedule these. I never worry about records; we worry about competition. Our seeds won’t be great but we’ll be (seasoned).”
Xavier came out of the same meet with optimism after testing the Hatters in a 37-28 defeat. For just a moment the Falcons were thinking upset after a forfeit pulled them to within 28-27 with two matches remaining. Ben LeBlanc (152) earned a decision and Tyrell Jones (160) won by pin to seal win for Danbury.
“We’re hoping we peak at the right time,” said Falcons coach Mike Cunningham. “Hopefully we’ve been battle tested; I set up a pretty hard schedule. For most part we had good matchups (against Danbury); the kids wrestled well. We took it to the last match, and I think they were happy as a team.”
Like most teams atop the CTWrestling.com Top 10 Poll, the Falcons boast several athletes who are set to compete for individual state titles. Michael Rapuano finished fourth in Class L last year while James Lunt was third. Dylan Sousa lost a 3-2 decision at 182 last season and is hungry to claim that title, Cunningham said.
“(Sousa) has been a varsity starter for four years; he knows the ropes,” Cunningham said. “He helps the younger kids and shows them how things work around here. He’s expecting to finish out his senior year well and to be there at the end in L and the State Open.”
A full lineup was displayed against Danbury and that will be required ahead of a big week to close the season. The Falcons visit Mount Anthony Saturday before hosting SCC rival Foran. The conference championships follow.
“It will be our senior night, so I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing,” Cunningham joked. “We should have a pretty good crowd there; it’s been a good rivalry past few years. Foran has been tough since I can remember.”
— Simsbury Wrestling (@SimsburyWrest) February 1, 2019
No. 6 Simsbury picked up a big win Thursday on the road, utilizing a pin in the final match to upend No. 3 Southington 38-31.
Sam Bergin earned a pin a 160 to win the matchup for the Trojans, who improved to 10-1 this winter. Ty Finn(120), John Mairano (126) and Saul Pera (132) earned wins for Simsbury.
Billy Carr (170), Matt Jacobson (182), Caleb Chesanow (195) and Jacob Vecchio (220) won matches for Southington to stake a huge lead before Simsbury roared back with their light weights. Southington dropped to 9-2 with the defeat.
MEETS TO WATCH
Foran Duals, Saturday, 9 a.m. at Foran: The hosts hope to bounce back from Tuesday’s defeat when they welcome Amity, Greenwich and Killingly, among others.
New Fairfield Duals, Saturday, 9 a.m. at New Fairfield: Bristol Eastern and Simsbury will see each other once again after last week’s Connecticut Challenge.
Foran at Xavier, Wednesday, 7 p.m.: The co-favorites to win the SCC square off on the eve of the tournament. The winner of this matchup has gone on to win the conference the last three years.