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Team effort lifts Canton wrestlers to second straight NCCC Tournament crown

For the second straight year, Canton won the NCCC Tournament beating league champion Granby.

COVENTRY, Feb. 10 – A league championship was out of the picture Saturday for the Canton High wrestling team at the North Central Connecticut Conference (NCCC)’s annual wrestling tournament. Granby went undefeated (7-0) during the regular season to win the league championship for the second straight year.

There was no championship trophy to capture and bring home. League officials couldn’t order one in time for the tournament.

Still, the Warriors walked out of the gym Saturday as champions. For the second consecutive year, Canton won the NCCC Tournament championship putting eight wrestlers in the finals and having 12 wrestlers finish in the top three of their respective weight classes.

Canton (12-9, 6-1 NCCC) beat Granby, 167½-151. The Bears had four individual champions including Outstanding Wrestler Cooper Fleming (152), who became just the fifth wrestler in league history to win four straight individual championships. But the Bears just didn’t have the depth to win the tournament.

“Winning the tournament this year was a true team effort,” Canton coach Josh Bristol said. “We bumped (our wrestlers) around a little bit to fill all 14 weight classes and everyone did their part to pick up points wherever they could.

“Twelve of our 14 wrestlers medaled and everyone scored points for the team,” he said. “The depth of our lineup carried us through.”

Canton’s Braydon Fluckiger won his second straight NCCC title on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Canton’s Braydon Fluckiger (220), who won an NCCC title for the second straight year, and Matt Jones (106) won league championships for the Warriors. Webb pinned Granby’s Matthew Ginz in the finals in a minute while Fluckiger pinned Granby’s Kyle Courtney in 2:28 in the final to win his title.

Jack Freedenberg (113), Brendan Kelley (120), Donovan Mackin (138), Chayce Lucca (145), Nate Biega (182) and James Pelehach (190) each finished second.

Pelehach was pinned in the final by Granby’s Ben Kibby, who won his third straight NCCC championship. Coventry’s John Vignone (182) upset Biega, the top seed, in the final with a 7-4 victory. Stafford’s Tanner Lancaster outlasted Kelley in the final at 120 while Stafford’s Addison Brazee beat Mackin in the final, 8-2.

Canton’s Matt Webb (106) won his first NCCC title Saturday. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Canton’s Brian Connolly (132), Andy Thibodeau (126), Austin Kilduff (160) and Jack Whitney (285) each finished third.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to repeat (as tournament champions) even after graduating five seniors last year,” Bristol said.

Granby (12-6, 7-0 NCCC) received wins from Cooper Fleming (145), who was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler for the second straight year, Hunter Fleming at 126, Kibby at 220 and Tyler Perez at 170. Perez won a league title with a tight 4-2 victory over Windsor Locks’ Xavier Gonzalez. The Bears had six finalists.

Cooper Fleming is the first wrestler from Granby to win four NCCC titles and the first wrestler in the league to do it since Somers’ Troy Zachary did it from 2007-10. Coventry’s Kacper Proczak (132) and Suffield’s Hunter Adams (145) each won their second NCCC titles.

Canton and Granby will compete this weekend at the upcoming CIAC Class S championships at Windham High. The deciding match in the league race came in December when the Bears beat Canton, 47-33 on December 20.

2018 NCCC Championships
At Coventry
Team results – 1. Canton 167½, 2. Granby 151, 3. Suffield 132, 4. Stafford 91, 5. Somers 47, 6. Coventry 41, 7. Windsor Locks 29, 8. East Windsor 26, 9. Rockville 25, 10. Ellington 13, 11. Bolton 12½, 12. Suffield B 8, 13. Canton B 6
Individual results
106: Matt Webb, Canton pin Matthew Ginz, Granby, 1:00; 3. Landen Holcomb, Granby
113: Tristan Julian, Stafford pin Jack Freedenberg, Canton, 3:50; 3. Michael Dalessio, Somers pin Samantha Bull, Granby, 0:54
120: Tanner Lancaster, Stafford dec. Brendan Kelley, Canton, 8-3; 3. Adam Mahato, Suffield pin Elizabeth Traunbak, Granby, 0:28
126: Hunter Fleming, Granby pin Dylan Washburn, Stafford, 3:00; 3. Andy Thibodeau, Canton dec. Mike Sedor, Suffield, 7-2
132: Kacper Proczak, Coventry pin Matt Raine, Suffield, 5:22; 3. Brian Connolly, Canton dec. David Ives, Stafford, 16-0
138: Addison Brazee, Stafford dec. Donovan Mackin, Canton, 8-2; 3. Joe Nieroda, Suffield dec. Owen Bogli, Granby, 6-2
145: Hunter Adams, Suffield pin Chayce Luca, Canton, 3:22; 3. Kalab Carlson, Bolton dec. Jon Alvarez, Rockville, 7-3
152: Cooper Fleming, Granby dec. John Nieroda, Suffield, 9-1; 3. Kyler MacKinnon, Rockville dec. John Alicia, Canton, 15-5
160: Jeffrey Suschana, Somers pin Collin Beahne, East Windsor, 3:53; 3. Austin Kilduff, Canton pin Ethan Grous, Ellington, 0:50
170: Tyler Perez, Granby dec. Xavier Gonzalez, Windsor Locks, 4-2; 3. Henry Mayne, Suffield pin Connor Clement, Canton, 1:53
182: John Vignone, Coventry dec. Nate Biega, Canton, 7-4; 3. Tim O’Connor, Granby
190: Ben Kibby, Granby pin James Pelehach, Canton, 0:34; 3. Justin Donahue, East Windsor pin Julian Leon, Coventry, 4:40
220: Braydon Fluckiger, Canton pin Kyle Courtney, Granby, 2:28; 3. Hunter Ogren, Rockville pin Quasim Anwar, Coventry, 4:03
285: Domonic Zuccalo, Somers dec. Devin Flagg, Granby, 7-1; 3. Jack Whitney, Canton
Outstanding wrestler: Cooper Fleming, Granby (152)

2018 NCCC standings

NCCC Overall
x-Granby 7-0 12-6
y-Canton 6-1 12-9
Suffield 5-2 7-3
Somers 4-3 4-9
Stafford 3-4 5-7
Coventry 2-5 4-16
East Windsor 1-6 4-10
Rockville 0-7 0-20
x-won league championship
y-won league tournament

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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