TORRINGTON >> Wolcott Tech’s wrestling team edged Oxford 39-36 Wednesday night in a match featuring quality over quantity for both schools.
Oxford (4-5), a Class S school, joined the NVL after years of domination by larger schools in the SouthWest Conference (SWC).
The Wolverines have more luck finding similar-sized opponents in the NVL. Nevertheless, the league has no formal wrestling program.
“We struggle a little to find opponents,” seven-year coach Joe DiMartino said. “My AD does a great job.
“This is actually the second time we’ve wrestled Wolcott Tech. We beat them the first time,” DiMartino grinned.
Wolcott Tech (5-6) qualifies as a Class M school in wrestling. Still, for all except large schools, it’s difficult to fill 14 weight categories, much less find the necessary intangibles.
“It takes heart and drive,” said senior co-captain Jake Thulin, in his fourth year of wrestling.
“I got destroyed by bigger kids every meet when I first started,” Thulin said. “It’s a big commitment.”
Now, wrestling at 195 pounds, Thulin is a Wildcat veteran capable of keeping things even.
“We’re having a good year for what we have,” said third-year coach Chris Marks, a State Open champion in his days at Northwestern. “It’s just a matter of keeping everyone focused.”
The Wolverines came to Wolcott Tech Wednesday with 15 wrestlers on their roster; The Wildcats have nine.
“We actually match up pretty well,” Marks said.
The wonder is getting six matches out of the combination.
In high school wrestling’s random start process, Oxford’s Mitchel Wright pinned Wildcat Juan Sameuel-Constanzo in the first period at 170.
Following the first forfeit, Thulin made quick work of sophomore Kyle Sharron.
Six forfeits and one double forfeit followed.
The stage was set for four straight matches to win the meet.
A forfeit counts six points, same as a pin. When Tech junior Gage Coon and Wolverine sophomore Connor McDonnell took the mat at 138 pounds, Oxford led 34-24.
McDonnell led 6-3 through two periods. Coon turned in a dramatic pin early in the third.
“I had an arm,” Coon said.
What does he like about wrestling?
“Everything – just getting out on the mat.”
Coon’s work tied the score at 30-30; Oxford senior Zach Latke took the lead back with a pin over sophomore Hunter Noel.
Wildcat junior Anton Dziedzic made it close with a 6-1 decision over sophomore Dan Herold, 36-33, Oxford.
Tech’s Adam Green, a junior, led senior James Winger through the final match at 160, then put him away with a pin, with 15 seconds left in the final period, for the win.
Dziedzic is undefeated this year. Thulin has just one loss.
For those who can summon the heart and drive, a six-match meet is enough to summarize what to like about the sport.
In Coon’s word: “Everything.”
Wolcott Tech 39, Oxford 36
At Wolcott Tech High School
170: Mitchell Wright (O) pinned Juan Samuel-Constanzo (WT), 1:30. 182: Eugene Tanucci (O) by forfeit. 195: Jake Thulin (WT) pinned Kyle Sharron (O), 1:40. 220: Adam Duke (O) by forfeit. 285: double forfeit. 106: Brandon Ives (O) by forfeit. 113: Ryan Dexter (O) by forfeit. 120: Jacob Bushey (WT) by forfeit. 126: Misha Stenman (WT) by forfeit. 132: Eric LaCava (WT) by forfeit. 138: Gage Coon (WT) pinned Connor McDonnell (O), 4:24. 145: Zach Latka (O) pinned Hunter Noel (WT), 4:09. 152: Anton Dzeidzic (WT) dec. Dan Herold (O), 6-1. 160: Adam Green (WT) pinned James Winger (O), 5:45.
Records: Oxford 4-5; Wolcott Tech 5-6.