It was a busy weekend for all of the state’s top squads, who thrived participating in competitive invitationals across the region.
No. 1 Danbury took home the biggest title by winning the Sanford (Maine) Invitational last Saturday more than four hours from home. Unable to participate in the tournament last year due to bad weather, Danbury led a field of several outstanding programs the Hatters will be battling for New England supremacy later in the season.
The Hatters gained early bragging rights by scoring 243 points, 26.5 more than Timberlane (N.H.). Cumberland (Rhode Island) finished third with 169 while Xavier finished fourth with 152. The Falcons had a pair of champions in standout sophomore Michael Rapuano (106) and junior James Lunt (145).
Danbury — which finished third in New England last year — placed seven finalists in the competitive field, coming home with a pair of champions in Tyler Johnson (120) and Ryan Jack (126). Each scored quick pins in their final matches. The tournament starts a grueling second-half schedule for the Hatters, which includes trips to Trumbull, Mount Anthony (Vermont) and another showdown against Timberlane.
The Bristol Central invitational featured 24 teams and was taken down by Bristol Eastern, who edged Southington for the team title. The Lancers scored 207 points, just ahead of the Knights’ 199. Avon, Ledyard and Wethersfield rounded out the top five.
Eastern’s big guns — Trent Thompson (106), Dylan Garcia (182) and Trinidad Gonzalez (220) took down their weight classes.
Southington had just one individual champion — Caleb Chesanow at 195 — but had 10 others notch top-five finishes to accumulate points. Caleb Brick (120), Dawsen Welch (138) and Jacob Cardozo (145) reached the final round. Cardozo fell in a tight 4-2 decision to Berlin’s Daniel Veleas, who has won Class M titles in each of the past two years in different classes.
Fairfield Warde’s only blemish so far this season is a defeat to Danbury in a dual meet, and that continued as the Mustangs won the Warde Invite last Saturday. Will Ebert (126), Cole Shaughnessy (145), Noah Zuckerman (152), Hunter Rasmussen (170) and Joe Gjinaj (195) all won their brackets. Montville — which is 14-2 in meets this winter — was second in the competition as Blake Chapman won at 106.
The Lawless Invite at Nonnewaug was captured by Guilford, which is off to an 8-3 start this season. Canton was second while the hosts finished third. New Canaan’s Tyler Sung (145) and Christian Sibbett (160) captured wins to send the Rams to a fourth-place finish.
Canton (9-2) finished just 10.5 points off the top spot with three champions: Ethan Titus (106), Brian Connolly (138) and Austin Kilduff (170).
STILL ON TOP
Danbury is still the undisputed No. 1 team in the state in the second edition of the ctwrestling.com Top 10 Poll with fellow undefeated Bristol Eastern right behind. Warde moved up to third while Trumbull stayed in the No. 5 spot, leaving three FCIAC and two CCC teams in top five.
MEETS TO WATCH
John Gorman Invite, Saturday at Cumberland, Rhode Island: Bristol Eastern, Newtown and New Milford head across the border to challenge the hosts. The Lancers won the title with 221 points last season.
Greater Hartford Invite. Saturday at Hall High School: Southington leads a field that also includes Killingly and Greenwich.
Danbury at Trumbull, Wednesday, 6 p.m.: A matchup between two top-five squads in the state; the Hatters haven’t lost a dual meet against an FCIAC squad since 1986.
New Canaan at Warde, Wednesday, 6 p.m.: Mustangs coming off a commanding performance in their own invitational.