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Bergin earns All-American honors at NHSCA nationals; Houle falls one win shy

Freshman Samuel Bergin, center, earned All-American honors at the NHSCA nationals on Sunday in Virginia Beach. (Photo courtesy T.J. Silva)

Two local youngsters did well at the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) national wrestling championships in Virginia Beach, Virginia over the weekend.

Simsbury freshman Samuel Bergin (160 pounds) finished fifth to earn All-American honors in the Freshman Nationals tournament with a 7-2 record and six pins. He was one of seven Simsbury wrestlers in the tournament.

A Canton youngster came one victory away from earning All-American honors in the Middle School Division. Colby Houle, an 11-year-old student in sixth grade at Canton Intermediate School, went 5-2 at 75 pounds.

Bergin was one of seven Simsbury High wrestlers competing at the tournament and he went the deepest, becoming the first Simsbury wrestler to earn All-American honors at a NHSCA tournament.

The tournament got off to a rough start for Bergin, who was pinned in his first match. But then, he ripped off six straight wins to earn All-American status. In five of those six wins, Bergin won by pin.

He was pinned by Braeden Welch of Ohio in the consolation round semifinals but he rebounded to beat Virginia’s Nathaniel Fly in 1:05 to finish fifth.

Sophomore Ty Finn (120) went 4-2 in the tournament with one pin while freshman Carter Sirois (145) went 3-2 with three straight consolation round victories, including two pins. Freshman John Mairano (126) and sophomore Saul Pera (132) each went 2-2 in the tournament.

Canton’s Colby Houle won five matches at the NHSCA Middle School Nationals, falling one win shy of All-American honors. (Photo courtesy Houle family)

Houle has been wrestling for six years and this was his first appearance at a national tournament. He dropped an 8-0 decision to Chase Van Hoven of Virginia in the round of 32 but rebounded with four straight wins in the consolation bracket with three pins in the run.

His fourth win was a 4-3 decision over Brodie Christmas of Alabama. Houle took a 4-2 lead in the second period thanks to a three-point near fall and a point for a penalty on Christmas. Jacob Bond eliminated Houle with an 11-0 victory to get into the medal round (top eight) and earn All-American honors.

Houle works out with the FishEye wrestling club in Windsor. He participated in the New England tournament earlier in March and finished fifth in the Novice Division at 75 pounds. In the past year, he has competed in tournaments in Nevada (Las Vegas), West Virginia, Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

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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