SIMSBURY, March 25 — Simsbury High wrestling T.J. Silva has lofty expectations for his Trojan program. Not only does he hope to get his Trojan team to contend for conference championships and state titles in the near future but he hopes they can contend for State Open and New England championships, too.
Part of that preparation is to test his wrestlers against some the best competition they can find. Six Simsbury High wrestlers spent the weekend in Virginia Beach, Virginia competing in the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) national championship tournaments.
The NHSCA hosts five tournaments for seniors, juniors, sophomores, freshmen and middle school students.
Two Connecticut wrestlers won national championships. Fitch’s Jarod Kosman (113) got a two-point takedown as time expired to become the first Connecticut wrestler to win a Senior National title while New Canaan’s Justin Mastroianni (132) won a Freshman National championship with a 1-0 win.
Freshman Ty Finn (106) had the most successful tournament among the Simsbury contingent, winning three of five matches. Freshman Saul Pera (120) won one match while junior Elijah Eckert (145), sophomores Matthew Putnam (120), Noah Pryzbek (132) and Brett Araniti (160) each went 0-2 in the tournament.
But they all got a first-hand look at what it takes to be successful in wrestling at a high level.
Finn (53-8, 3-2 NHSCA) opened up the tournament with a pair of victories in a weight class that featured more than 128 wrestlers. He beat New York’s Jake Murphy in the first round, 12-2 before beating Wyoming’s Jeric Igo, 8-0. Finn was pinned by Pennsylvania’s Dylan Chappell in 1:03 in the round of 32.
Finn won his first consolation round bout with a 3-2 victory over Virginia’s Luke Hart before being eliminate with an 8-1 loss to Virginia’s Mason Barnett.
Finn won the CCC and Class LL title in February, finished second at the State Open and was fourth in New England.
Pera dropped his opening round bout to Florida’s William Kennedy, 9-4 in the round of 64 but won his first consolation round bout with a 47 second of West Virginia’s Thomas Harkey. Pera was eliminated by Pennsylvania’s Tyler Schaller, 1-0 on a one-point escape with five seconds left in the second period.
Eckert and Putnam each had one-point losses in their first matches of the tournament.
Kosman (57-0, 5-0 NHSCA) and Mastroianni join a select group of just four Connecticut wrestlers to win NHSCA national titles. Newtown’s Anthony Falbo is the most recent national champion from Connecticut, winning a Junior National title in 2015.
Seven state wrestlers earned All-American honors by finishing in the top eight of their respective weight classes. New Milford senior Mel Ortiz (126) and Foran senior Ryan Luth (152) earned All-American honors along with sophomores A.J. Kovacs (145) of Danbury, Ryan Jack (120) of Danbury and Tyler Sung (138) of New Canaan.
Luth earned NHSCHA All-American honors for the third time while Kosman, Kovacs, Jack, Sung and Ortiz each earned All-American honors for the second time.
Read more on Connecticut wrestlers at the national tournament from Connecticut Wrestling Online.