WINDHAM, Feb. 18 – A week ago in the North Central Connecticut Conference tournament, sophomore Brian Connolly picked up a world of confidence erasing a five-point deficit in the final 58 seconds of his championship bout at 120 pounds and win a NCCC title.
Connolly continued that strong wrestling Saturday at the Class S championships in Windham, taking fourth to lead Canton to a 12th place finish – its best performance since taking 10th in 2014. Connolly’s fourth place finish earns him a spot at next week’s State Open championships.
Five Canton wrestlers had two victories in the tournament – Donovan Macklin (113), Chayce Lucca (132), Jack Szczepanski (160), Braydon Fluckiger (182) and Jerry LeFave (285). Lucca, Szczepanski, Fluckiger and LeFave each had two pins.
Ledyard in their first-ever Class S appearance extended their state championship record with a 24½ point win over host Windham, 203 to 188½. The Colonels have won a record 23 state championships including five in Class L and 14 in Class M. Prior to 1975, Ledyard also won three State Open titles before the Class LL, L, M and S tournaments were held for the first time.
Connolly (19-10) was the No. 9 seed in his weight class and began the tournament by pinning Portland’s Richard Lawson in 5:46 before losing to eventual state champion Bo Nguyen of Ledyard, getting pinned in 46 seconds.
But Connolly won three straight bouts in the consolation round to earn a spot in the consolation final. He had a pair of third period reversals in a 6-2 win over Rockville’s Anthony Reynoso to earn a spot in the State Open for the first time.
“He wasn’t really a No. 9 seed,” Canton coach Josh Bristol said. “He wrestled a lot of tough kids this season. There was something inside of him (in this tournament). He wanted it. In the last two matches, he dug really deep. He just kept going.”
Bristol was referring to the win over Reynoso and an 8-5 win over Jacob Castillo of Notre Dame Field. Connolly had a reversal and two-point near fall with 54 seconds remaining in the match to take the lead for good.
In the consolation final, Windham’s Kevin Fantoli had an escape and takedown in the third period to turn a one-point lead into a 5-1 advantage.
“He hit a certain stride, maturity wise,” Bristol said. “He wrestled in a different way. He wasn’t making (young) mistakes.”
Three Avon wrestlers pick up wins
GUILFORD, Feb. 18 – Three Avon wrestlers had a pair of wins on the day as the Falcons finished 22nd at the Class M wrestling championships on Saturday.
Abhi Bahabad (106), Grant Corbett (138) and Blake Edwards (170) each went 2-2 on the day. Edwards did advance to the quarterfinals before losing on a technical fall.
Avon went 10-12 this season and 1-5 in the CCC North. It is Avon’s lowest finish ever in the Class M tournament and lowest finish since taking 15th at the 1999 Class S tournament.
With four individual champions, Ellis Tech in Danielson became the first technical school to ever capture a state championship with a 30-point win over defending champion Foran-Milford, 213½ to 183½.
Class S championships
Team results — 1. Ledyard 203½; 2. Windham 188; 3. Montville 185½; 4. Haddam-Killingworth 168; 5. Terryville 116; 6. Northwestern 104; 7. Somers 95; 8. Granby Memorial 87; 9. Morgan 85; 10. Notre Dame-Fairfield 82; 11. Oxford 74; 12. Canton 71; 13. East Windsor 69; 14. Derby 65½; 15. Gilbert 61; 15. Rocky Hill 61; 17. Nonnewaug 51; 18. East Catholic 45½; 19. Griswold 41; 19. St. Paul Catholic 41; 21. Portland 36; 22. Stafford 34; 23. Rockville 28; 24. Bloomfield 16; 24. Coventry 16; 26. Thomaston/Litchfield/Holy Cross 11; 27. Housatonic 7; 27. Valley Regional 7; 29. East Hampton 6; 30. Goodwin Tech 5; 31. Stonington 4; 32. Seymour 1; 33. Westbrook 0
106: Final — Cayleb Leclerc (Terryville) pin Jacob Marselli (East Catholic), 1:08; 3. Joseph Millbach (Ledyard) dec. Daniel Mow (Gilbert), 2-1; 5. Michael Dalessio (Somers) dec. Elijah Vertefeuille (Windham), 6-4
113: Final — Alejandro Garcia (Windham) dec. Jack Pelley (East Windsor), 8-3; 3. Angelo Folino (Northwestern) dec. Devin Matthews (Gilbert), 16-4; 5. Tyler Miller (Ledyard) dec. Trevor Follo (Morgan), 7-2
120: Final — Bo Nguyen (Ledyard) pin Jordan Stefancin (Derby), 1:52; 3. Kevin Fantoli (Windham) dec. Brian Connolly (Canton), 5-1; 5. Anthony Reynoso (Rockville) pin Richard Lawton (Portland), 2:43
126: Final — Noah Caskey (Montville) tech fall Sebastien Stultz (Windham), 18-2 3:47; 3. Steven Muller (Granby) dec. David Dabkowski (Nonnewaug), 2-1; 5. Patrick Sutherland (East Windsor) dec. Jake Borda (Terryville), 9-5
132: Final — Joel Morth (Montville) dec. Matthew Jenkins (Haddam-Killingworth), 16-5; 3. Chantz Stultz (Windham) dec. Jarrod Ashe (Terryville), 2-1, 2 OT; 5. Diego Claudio (East Catholic) dec. Kacper Proczek (Coventry), 5-2
138: Final — Jake Frith (Haddam-Killingworth) dec. Tavon Simpson (Notre Dame-Fairfield), 9-1; 3. Nathan Tardiff (East Windsor) dec. Ian Anderson (Montville), 7-3; 5. Jonathan Alvarez (Rockville) dec. Andrew Fortuna (Morgan), 5-3
145: Final — Samuel Kury (Montville) dec. Cooper Fleming (Granby), 5-4; 3. Aidan Korper (Haddam-Killingworth) dec. Liam Smith (Northwestern), 9-7, OT; 5. Gavin Williamson (Ledyard) pin Anthony Cimino (Morgan), 2:57
152: Final — Jeffrey Suschana (Somers) dec. Luis Torres (Windham), 3-2; 3. Joshua Schwartz (Northwestern) dec. Rodric Grant (Portland), 6-3; 5. Daniel Herold (Oxford) dec. Jakari Walker (Notre Dame-Fairfield), 7-3
160: Final — Grayson Adler (Haddam-Killingworth) pin Jacob Millbach (Ledyard), 1:30; 3. Michael Maloney (Somers) dec. Victor Garcia-moreno (Windham), 2-1; 5. Brandon Pastula (Rocky Hill) pin Griffin Downs (Oxford), 2:35
170: Final — Benjamin Kibby (Granby) dec. Collin Crader (Ledyard), 9-3; 3. Flori Cenkolli (Nonnewaug) dec. Connor Mcdonnell (Oxford), 6-1; 5. Angel Otero (Windham) medical forfeit over Austin Rambarose (Portland)
182: Final — Michael Sullivan (Ledyard) dec. David Wyzykowski (Haddam-Killingworth), 11-3; 3. Emanuel Diaz (Montville) dec. Damon Lonero (Rocky Hill), 3-1, OT; 5. Ivan Villanueva (Morgan) dec. Michael Szwaja (Derby), 1-0
195: Final — Jackson Rheault (Somers) dec. Gabriel Schwartz (Northwestern), 12-6; 3. Josh Wright (Terryville) dec. Dane Concascia (Montville), 11-4; 5. Cody Desilets (Stafford) forfeit over Xavier Torres-Viera (Windham)
220: Final — Klyde Auba (Notre Dame-Fairfield) dec. Daniel Contino (Ledyard), 2-0, OT; 3. Nick Tibbetts (Montville) dec. Nicolas Kennedy (Bloomfield), 4-0; 5. Matthew Gray (St. Paul Catholic) pin Johnny Falco (Griswold), 2:43
285: Final — Jason Hume (Terryville) dec. Austin Daley (Morgan), 2-1, 3 OT; 3. Jaden Malave (Windham) pin Anthony Slowik (Derby), 1:19; 5. Dan Geriak (Notre Dame-Fairfield) dec. Richard Mullaney (Ledyard), 3-1
Outstanding wrestler: Klyde Auba (220), Notre Dame-Fairfield