CANTON, February 11 – There was no opportunity to grab a share of the conference championship so the Canton High wrestling team did the only they could do on Saturday.
The Warriors put eight wrestlers in seven championship finals, brought home four individual conference championships and won the NCCC Tournament crown for the first time in 20 years with a 53-point victory over East Windsor.
Seniors Sam Beadle (220) and Jerry LeFave (285) won NCCC titles along with sophomores Brian Connolly (120) and Braydon Fluckiger (182). Senior Joe Bowman (195) and sophomores Donovan Macklin (113), Chayce Lucca (152) and James Pelehach (182) each finished second for head coach Josh Bristol.
Canton scored 166 points for its first NCCC Tournament championship since 1997. East Windsor nipped league champion Granby for second place, 113½ to 112½. It was East Windsor’s best finish in the tournament since winning it back in 1999.
The Bears won the NCCC championship for the second straight year, going undefeated in the league this year with a 6-0 record, including a 41-33 decision over the Warriors in January. Canton was second in the league with a 5-1 mark.
“I’m totally floored by how well the kids wrestled today,” Bristol said. “Almost everyone stepped up and wrestled to the top of their ability. We didn’t have a single wrestler that finished below their starting seed and several finished above their seed.”
Granby was led by three-time NCCC champion Cooper Fleming, who was selected by the league coaches as the outstanding wrestler in the tournament. Fleming looked particularly sharp as he dominated his weight class with a pair of wins, giving up just five points. Teammates Steven Muller (126) and Ben Kibby (170) won NCCC titles for the second straight year while William Hauser and (152) and Tyler Perez (160) each finished second.
The Bears just didn’t have wrestlers in the tournament to earn points. Granby filled just six of the 14 weight classes but five of them advanced to the finals.
Somers’ Jeff Suschana (152) also won a NCCC championship for the third straight year by pinning Hauser in 1:59. East Windsor was led by Jack Pelly (113), who won a NCCC title for the second straight season. The Panthers had four finalists.
It was an exciting day for Connolly, who was seeded third at 120. He pinned No. 2 seed Charlie Church of East Windsor in the semifinals in 2:35. In the finals, he faced top-seeded Matt Raine of Suffield, who beat Connolly last week by three points, 12-9.
Connolly tied the match with 1:18 left in the third period with a takedown but lost his balance and was placed to his back to give Raine a 14-9 lead with 58 seconds left. The two rolled out of bounds and on the restart, Connolly escaped quickly to cut the lead to four, 14-10.
Connolly wasted little time and caught Raine in a headlock and threw the Suffield wrestler to his back for a two-point takedown. Raine struggled and nearly escaped but Connolly was able to hold him on his back for the final 40 seconds of the match for a thrilling 15-14 victory.
Beadle won a title at 220 with a 7-4 win over Coventry’s John Vignone while LeFave pinned East Windsor’s Donivan Bruno in 20 seconds to win his NCCC championship. Braydon Fluckiger pinned teammate James Pelehach to win the title at 182.
Macklin had a 37 second pin in the semifinals before getting pinned by Pelly in the championship bout at 113. Bowman also had a 37-second pin the semifinals to earn a spot in the finals against Somers’ Jackson Rheault at 195. Rheault won by a pin in 1:59.
Canton freshman Jack Freedenberg (106), senior Brian Barger (138) and freshman Charlie Coroso (285) each finished third. Freedenberg went 3-1 in the tournament with three pins. Barger had a 13-second pin in the consolation final.
MAT DUST: It was the fourth NCCC Tournament title for the Warriors – the most of any current league member. Canton won three NCCC Tournament crowns in a row from 1995-97. Avon won 21 NCCC Tournament championships from 1985 through 2015. … Granby has won the three NCCC championships (2004, 2016, 2017) but has yet to win the NCCC Tournament. The closest they have come was a year ago when they finished a half-point behind Somers.
For years, the league champion was determined by a combination of points earned through dual meet victories (one point) and teams beaten at the league tournament (a half point).
But that policy was changed before the season began in a vote by the league’s athletic directors. The vote mandated using just dual meet records to determine the league champion to be more consistent with other sports in the league.
Using the old point system, Canton would have shared the league championship with Granby. It would have been the first time that a wrestling team earned a share of the league title with their performance at the NCCC Tournament.
Team results – 1. Canton 166, 2. East Windsor 113½, 3. Granby 112½, 4. Suffield 105, 5. Somers 86, 6. Coventry 58, 7. Stafford 47, 8. Bolton 42, 9. Canton B 13, 10. Suffield B 9
106 – Mike Dalessio, Suffield pin Louis Mikulski, Stafford, 3:15; 3. Jack Freeenberg, Canton pin John McConnell, East Windsor, 2:43
113 – Jack Pelly, East Windsor pin Donovan Macklin, Canton, 1:09; 3. Dylan Washburn, Suffield pin Brendan Kelly, Canton, 1:00
120 – Brian Connolly, Canton dec. Matt Raine, Suffield, 15-14; 3. Charlie Church, East Windsor dec. Alex Hunleth, Suffield, 16-2
126 – Steven Muller, Granby pin Patrick Sutherland, East Windsor, 5:59; 3. Joe Nieroda, Suffield dec. Addison Brazee, Stafford, 5-2
132 – Kasper Proczek, Coventry pin Chayce Lucca, Canton, 1:59; 3. Terrence Cotsonas, Granby pin J.T. Titus, East Windsor, 2:56
138 – Hunter Adams, Suffield pin Nate Tardif, East Windsor, 0:44; 3. Brian Barger, Canton pin Jake Hevner, East Windsor, 0:13
145 – Cooper Fleming, Granby tech fall Franklin Falcon, Bolton, 18-3; 3. John Nieroda, Suffield pin Cote Boivin, East Windsor, 2:53
152 – Jeff Suschana, Somers pin William Hauser, Granby, 1:59; 3. Henry Mayne, Suffield pin Colin Beahn, East Windsor, 1:32
160 – -Mike Maloney, Somers dec. Tyler Perez, Granby, 7-3; 3. Joe Tellier, Suffield pin Jack Szczpanski, Canton, 4:59
170 – Ben Kibby, Granby dec. Jayden Falcon, Bolton, 8-1; 3. Nathan Lawson, Stafford pin Nicholas Grimaldi, Coventry, 0:56
182 – Brayon Fluckiger, Canton pin James Pelehach, Canton, 3:57
195 – Jackson Rheault, Somers pin Joe Bowman, Canton, 1:59; 3. Cody DeSilets, Stafford
220 – Sam Beadle, Canton dec. John Vignone, Coventry, 7-4; 3. Dominic Urso, Stafford pin David Cannamela, East Windsor, 1:24
285 – Jerry LeFave, Canton pin Donivan Bruno, East Windsor, 0:20; 3. Charlie Coroso, Canton
Outstanding wrestler: Cooper Fleming (145), Granby
Most pins in least amount of time: Nathan Lawson (170), Stafford, 3 pins in 3:23
2017 NCCC standings
x-won league championship
y-won league tournament