Connolly takes second at Highlander Invitational as Warriors prepare for Suffield

Canton’s Chayce Lucca works for the pin in Saturday’s Highlander Invitational in Portland. Lucca did pin Toby Linder of Oxford in 1:49. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

PORTLAND, Jan. 28 – Canton High sophomore Brian Connolly had three pins and finished second at 120 pounds at the Highlander Invitational wrestling tournament on Saturday. Connolly helped the Warriors finish seventh in the tournament.

With four individual champions and five finalists, Haddam-Killingworth won their third tournament of the season with a tournament-record 214½ points. Gilbert was a distant second with 142½ points – its best finish in a tournament since taking third at the Derby Invitational in 2010.

Connolly had three pins as he earned a spot in the final. He pinned Danbury’s Nick Savo in the semifinals in 3:13. In the final, Connolly trailed Trumbull’s Jon Kosak by one, 4-3, after one period but Kosak turned Connolly to his back twice in the second period to take command in a 16-4 decision.

Canton teammate Joe Bowman (195) finished third with a 4-1 record. Bowman began the tournament with a pair of pins in less than a minute before losing to eventual champion Colin Hunter of Staples in the semifinals.

Bowman got another pin in his consolation semifinal victory. He took third with a forfeit. His opponent, Aiden Maher of Haddam-Killingworth, had already wrestled five matches. CIAC regulations limit wrestlers to just five matches in one day.

Canton’s Donovan Macklin (113) and Sam Beadle (220) each finished fourth. Both wrestlers had two pins before losing in the semifinals. And both wrestlers won their initial bout in the consolation round.

Canton’s Joe Bowman (195) works to pin Gilbert’s Alex Smith in Saturday’s Highlander Invitational in Portland. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

In the 99 pound exhibition weight class, Avon’s Ryan Baghdassarian pinned Canton freshman Jack Freedenberg in the finals in 1:52. Freedenberg won twice to earn a spot in the final including a 5-4 win over Danbury’s Kevin Pina in the semifinals. Freedenberg had a takedown with 10 seconds remaining to beat Pina.

Canton (10-5, 4-1 NCCC) has a big NCCC match at home on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. The Warriors will be hosting Suffield in the final regular season home match of the season.

A win will keep Canton in contention for their first NCCC championship since 2002. Teams earn one point for a dual meet victory and an additional ½ point for each team they beat at the league championship tournament on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Canton.

Going into Wednesday’s bout, defending league champion Granby has completed the regular season with a 6-0 record while Canton is 4-1. East Windsor and Suffield are each 3-2. With a win, Canton can finish second in the regular season and be in position to contend for the NCCC title at the upcoming league championship meet if Granby falters. 

Canton had five pins and took advantage of six forfeits to earn a 66-17 win over Stafford last Wednesday. For more wrestling news from across the state, go to Connecticut Wrestling Online

Canton’s James Pelehach (182) works to turn his opponent to his back in Saturday’s Highlander Invitational in Portland. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Highlander Invitational
At Portland
Team results – 1. Haddam Killingworth 214½. 2. Gilbert 142½, 3. Pomperaug 139, 4. Staples 115½, 5. Griswold 95½, 6. East Catholic 92½, 7. Canton 90½, 8. Danbury B 87½, 9. Portland 85, 10. Oxford 75, 11. Smith Tech 61, 12. Trumbull 54, 13. Avon 33, 14. Coventry 31, 15. Darien 29, 16. Brookfield 27, 17. Bolton 12, 18. Watertown 11½, 19. East Hampton 8, 20. Torrington 0
Individual results
106: Final — Jacob Marselli (East Catholic) dec. Daniel Mow (Gilbert), 10-0; 3. Tyler Johnson (Danbury) pin Wyatt Wright (Haddam/Killingw), 2:09
113: Final — Noah Vail (East Catholic) dec. Malakai Maher (Haddam/Killingw), 3-2, 2 OT; 3. Devin Mathews (Gilbert) dec. Donovan Mackin (Canton), 4-0
120: Final — Jonathan Kosak (Trumbull) dec. Brian Connolly (Canton), 16-4; 3. Nick Savo (Danbury) default over Dylan Marone (Staples), 5-match rule
126: Final — Dalton Modhen (Haddam/Killingw) dec. Riley Arthur (Gilbert), 3-1, OT; 3. Johnny Estevez (Danbury) default over Vashil Patel (Griswold), 5-match rule
132: Final — Kyle Sheehan (Pomperaug) dec. Matt Jenkins (Haddam/Killingw), 4-0; 3. David Castaldo (Trumbull) dec. Nick Violissi (Portland), 3-1
138: Final — Dan Germain (Pomperaug) dec. Nick Barber (Gilbert), 9-4; 3. Dylan Kasperzyk (Haddam/Killingw) dec. Luke Molina (Staples), 12-8
145: Final — Aidan Korper (Haddam/Killingw) dec. Dakota Gardner (Griswold), 8-3; 3. Mark Manson (Pomperaug) default over Zack McLellan (Gilbert), 5-match rule
152: Final — Matt Pangle (Pomperaug) pin Rodric Grant (Portland), 1:47; 3. Jon Degale (Griswold) default over Doug Brown (Haddam/Killingw), 5-match rule
160: Final — Grayson Adler (Haddam/Killingw) pin Koby Oumitee (Smith Tech), 1:52; 3. Tim Cocchiola (Pomperaug) dec. Griffin Downs (Oxford), 11-4
170: Final — Austin Rambarose (Portland) pin Justin Flores (Smith Tech), 1:28; 3. Kieran Clarke (Staples) dec. Blake Edwards (Avon), 4-0
182: Final — David Wyzykowski (Haddam/Killingw) pin Kevin Sullivan (Gilbert), 3:56; 3. Kyle Pfeffer (East Catholic) pin Christian Goncalves (Pomperaug), 1:13
195: Final — Colin Hunter (Staples) pin Angelo Martino (Oxford), 5:00; 3. Joe Bowman (Canton) default over Aiden Maher (Haddam/Killingw), 5-match rule
220: Final — Granit Hoti (Darien) dec. Solomon James (Danbury), 3-1, OT; 3. Stone Mitchell (Smith Tech) pin Sam Beadle (Canton), 2:12
285: Final — George Harrington (Staples) pin Dane Taylor (Griswold), 1:21; 3. Wyatt Smiley (Brookfield) pin Vinny Bonalumi (Avon), 2:46
Exhibition
99: Final — Ryan Baghdassarian (Avon) pin Jack Freedenberg (Canton), 1:52; 3. Kevin Pina (Danbury) dec. Sam Espinal (Danbury), 5-4

BRACKETS: 2017 Highlander Invitational

Canton 66 Stafford 17
At Canton
106 Jack Freedenberg (C) Forfeit 113: Donovan Mackin (C) pin Louis Mikulski 5:05 120: Brian Connolly (C) pin Tanner Lancaster 1:36 126: Addison Brazee (S) tech fall Brendan Kelly 16-0, 4:58 132: Chayce Lucca (C) Forfeit 138: Brian Barger (C) Forfeit 145: Hayden Dimaio (C) pin Adam Carter 1:30 152: Aiden Pass (C) Forfeit 160: Jack Szczpanski(C) Forfeit 170: Nathan Lawson (S) pin Austin Kilduff 3:16 182: James Pelehach (C) Forfeit 195: Cody Desilets (S) pin Joe Bowman 1:40 220:Sam Beadle (C) pin Dominic Urso 1:31 285: Jerry LeFave (C) pin Zack Kondracki 1:06
Records: Canton 10-5, 4-1 NCCC; Stafford 2-8, 0-5 NCCC

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