FARMINGTON – A year ago, Simsbury and Farmington battled in an epic match for the CCC West championship in the final match of the regular season. Both were undefeated. There were no pins. Two matches were decided in triple overtime. Farmington won the match by one point.
The two teams met again Wednesday night. A share of the CCC West title was on the line and it was a competitive match. But No. 6 Simsbury left little doubt this evening on who was taking home the championship.
The visiting Trojans had three pins, including one in a match that was tied 4-4, and won nine of 14 matches to win its first CCC West championship since 2001 with a 43-22 decision over Farmington.
Winning league championships had been a steady habit at Simsbury, which won 11 in 13 years through 2001. It’s been a long time.
“All season we have talked about battling and wrestling our match,” Simsbury coach Ernie Goodwin said. “Farmington threw everything they could at us. They’re a good squad that never lays down. It was a real nice win.”
Simsbury finishes the season with a 15-3 record and 6-0 in the CCC West. Farmington (24-3, 4-2 CCC West) could have won a share of the championship with a victory.
“Simsbury came at us hard,” Farmington coach Eric Misko said. “They pulled out some close matches which was key. They have a solid lineup from top to bottom. There is really nowhere to find holes to pick them apart.”
The Indians took a 3-0 lead to begin the match when Joe Miano (106 pounds) beat Josh Kowalski, 8-6 in overtime thanks to a two-point takedown in OT. Simsbury took a 4-3 lead on Vincent Palmero’s 9-0 win over Ryan Dopp.
At 120, Simsbury’s Rob Misericordia and Farmington’s Chris Neil were locked in a 4-4 battle in the third period when Misericordia caught Neil and pinned him.
“We’ve said from day one that pins win matches,” Goodwin said.
Simsbury extended its lead to 10 points, 13-3, when sophomore Keith Penney (126) beat Farmington’s Dom Santos, 7-0.
Misko knew that the chances of catching Simsbury would be tough at this point but the Indians made a run by winning four of the next six matches. Drew Dahlberg (132) and Harry Pacheco (160) had pins while Ryan Rigney (145) and Dovy Simanskis (170) earned hard-fought decisions.
Pacheco had six takedowns and led 15-3 before he pinned Mike Ryan and Simanskis had a strong win over Tucker Salls to cut the Simsbury lead to three, 25-22 with four matches remaining.
Simsbury finished strong. James DeMaio (182) won by pin in 31 seconds to extend the lead to nine. A Farmington forfeit at 195 pounds clinched the bout for Simsbury. John Daguerre-Bradford (220) beat Farmington’s Jeff Fuller, 4-2 with a two-point reversal in the third period and Brad Helmkamp (285) outlasted Farmington’s Vinny Stevens, 2-1 in triple OT.
“I just wanted our guys to wrestle their best,” Goodwin said. “If it is not good enough, then so be it.”
Was it good enough?
“It’s hard to be a little better than that,” he said with a smile.
Ironically, it was Goodwin that stopped Simsbury’s long championship streak in 2002. He was coaching Glastonbury High at the time and it was the Tomahawks that grabbed the championship. “We stopped the streak then and now we’re beginning another,” he said.
Simsbury is solid. They had just four seniors in their starting lineup and three of them lost. The Trojans had five juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen among the starting 14.
It was a little bittersweet for Goodwin. His 90-year-old grandmother, Emily Keeton, passed away earlier in the day. She and her late husband had followed his wrestling career for years from his days in high school and college, continuing with his coaching career.
The two teams will compete Saturday at the CCC West tournament in Farmington and will compete in the CIAC tournaments the following week. Simsbury will compete in Class LL with Farmington in Class L.
Simsbury 43, Farmington 22
106: Joe Miano (F) dec. Josh Kowalski (S) 8-6, OT; 113: Vincent Palermo (S) dec. Ryan Dopp (F) 9-0; 120: Rob Misericordia (S) pin Chris Neil (F) 5:33; 126: Keith Penney (S) dec. Dom Santos (F) 7-0; 132: Drew Dahlberg (F) pin Matthew Parker (S) 1:27; 138: Keith Fernandes (S) pin Peter Bowser (F) 5:05; 145: Ryan Rigney (F) dec. Lee Doyle (S) 8-0; 152: Sean Penney (S) pin Alan Mashkovich (F) 3:56; 160: Harry Pacheco (F) pin Mike Ryan (S) 5:25; 170: Dovy Simanskis (F) dec. Tucker Salls (S) 6-0; 182: James DeMaio (S) pin Jake Mezzanotte (F) 0:31; 195: Jacob Feldman (S) forfeit; 220: John Daguerre-Bradford (S) dec. Jeff Fuller (F) 4-2; 285: Brad Helmkamp (S) dec. Vinny Stevens (F) 2-1, 3 OT
Records: Simsbury 15-3, 6-0 CCC West; Farmington 24-3, 4-2 CCC West