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Three Granby wrestlers win Class S state championships

Sophomore Hunter Fleming battles Windham’s Sebastien Stultz in the Class S finals at 126 pounds Saturday night in Windham. Fleming won, 5-2.

WINDHAM, Feb. 17 – Granby High wrestling coach Nick Watson was all smiles Saturday night at the Class S championships at Windham High. His Bears squad had three wrestlers in the finals – and all three came home as champions.

Junior Ben Kibby (31-1) won his second straight Class S championship with a 7-0 shutout win over Montville’s Dane Concasia at 182 pounds. Senior Cooper Fleming (152) remained undefeated with a 14-2 victory over Suffield’s John Nieroda to win his second state title in three years.

And sophomore Hunter Fleming won his first state championship with a hard-fought 5-2 win over Windham’s top-seeded Sebastien Stultz at 126 pounds.

They helped Granby finish seventh in Class S with 120 pounds – the fourth straight top 10 finish for the Bears and the best finish since taking seventh in 2015. Windham won their fourth Class S title in the last five years and their 14th overall state championship by beating Gilbert, 190-155½.

“They wrestled great (Friday) and they wrestled great (Saturday),” Watson said. “Honestly, I didn’t have any doubts about any of them. I had confidence all the way. I thought all three would do it.”

Granby came home with more champions than any other school in the tournament.

“They all work hard in the room,” he said. “They push each other a lot. Hunter will sometimes go and wrestle the 170 pound wrestlers.”

Granby’s Ben Kibby battles Montville’s Dane Concascia in Saturday’s Class S final at 182 pounds.

A week ago, Kibby won the NCCC championship at 195 pounds. He was back at 182 for the tournament and had three pins to get to the finals. Against Concasia, Kibby had a first period takedown to take a 2-0 lead. He extended the lead to 5-0 after two periods with an escape and a second takedown. Kibby added a third takedown in the third period.

Cooper Fleming earned a spot in the final for the fourth straight year. He was second at 126 as a freshman and won a title at 138 as a sophomore earning Outstanding Wrestler honors. A year ago, he was second at 145 in a close 5-4 loss.

This year, Cooper Fleming (39-0) had three pins – all in the first period – to earn his berth in the final at 152 pounds. For the second week in a row, he faced Suffield’s John Nieroda. Cooper beat Nieroda, 9-1 at the NCCC championships. This time, he had a dominating 14-2 victory.

Cooper Fleming had a takedown and a pair of three-point near falls in the first period to take an early 8-0 lead. In voting for Outstanding Wrestler by the coaches, he finished second, one vote behind Montville’s Noah Caskey (132).

Granby’s Cooper Fleming, right, battles with Suffield’s John Nieroda in the Class S final at 152 pounds. Fleming won, 14-2 for his second Class S title in three years.

Hunter Fleming (126) also had three pins to earn a spot in the championship match against Stultz. Hunter Fleming (36-4) took a 2-0 lead with a first period takedown with 33 seconds left in the period.

Stultz cut the lead to one with a second period escape. But in the third period, Hunter Fleming escaped 10 seconds into the period and got a takedown 30 seconds later with 1:20 remaining. Hunter Fleming rode out nearly the remainder of the match to win the title.

The three wrestlers were not the only Granby wrestlers to win a medal. At 170 pounds, Tyler Perez finished fifth with a takedown in overtime to beat Windsor Lock’s Xavier Gonzalez, 4-2. It was his second overtime win of the tournament.

All four wrestlers will compete in the State Open beginning Friday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center at Hillhouse High. The top six finishers in Class LL, L, M and S qualified for the State Open.

PHOTOS: Connecticut Wrestling in 2018

2018 Class S championships
At Windham
Team results — 1. Windham 190; 2. Gilbert 155½; 3. Haddam-Killingworth 149; 4. Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech 143; 5. Montville 131; 6. Morgan 130½; 7. Granby 120; 8. Northwestern 108½; 9. Griswold 98½; 10. Ledyard 93; 11. Nonnewaug 90; 12. Suffield 79½; 13. East Catholic 57; 14. Canton 56; 15. Derby 54½; 16. Rocky Hill 52; 17. Plainville 50; 18. Somers 47; 19. Portland 37½; 20. Notre Dame-Fairfield 33½; 21. Coventry 29; 21. Terryville 29; 23. Oxford 28; 24. Stafford 27½; 25. Immaculate 20; 26. Goodwin Tech 15; 26. Thomaston/Litchfield/Holy Cross 15; 26. Valley Regional 15; 29. Windsor Locks 14; 30. East Windsor 12½; 31. Stonington 7; 32. Career 6; 33. St. Paul 5; 34. Cromwell 4; 35. SMSA 1

Individual results
106: Final — Jacob Marselli (East Catholic) dec. Elijah Vertefeuille (Windham), 6-3; 3. Josue Bobe (Portland) dec. Cameron Hines (Haddam-Killingworth), 10-4; 5. Matthew Webb (Canton) pin Tyler Arsenault (Griswold), 1:49

113: Final — Alejandro Garcia (Windham) dec. Louis Bradley (Morgan), 6-2; 3. Tristan Julian (Stafford) dec. Michael Dalessio (Somers), 12-1; 5. Thomas Verdiglione (Nonnewaug) pin Dominic Pedrolini (Plainville), 2:50

120: Final — Angelo Folino (Northwestern) dec. Devin Matthews (Gilbert), 7-4; 3. Kevin Fantoli (Windham) dec. Cayleb Leclerc (Terryville), 6-4, OT; 5. Javier Mercado (Portland) dec. Jayden Colon (Montville), 7-3

126: Final — Hunter Fleming (Granby Memorial) dec. Sebastien Stultz (Windham), 5-2; 3. Trevor Follo (Morgan) dec. Cole Dirico (Ledyard), 7-2; 5. Malakai Maher (Haddam-Killingworth) forfeit over Sebastian Soli (Plainville)

132: Final — Noah Caskey (Montville) tech fall Anthony Cimino (Morgan), 16-1, 4:25; 3. Luis Rodriguez (Windham) dec. Kacper Proczek (Coventry), 7-1; 5. Vashil Patel (Griswold) dec. Brian Connolly (Canton), 7-6

138: Final — Jared Swett (Lym Mem/Wind Tch) dec. Matthew Jenkins (Haddam-Killingworth), 6-4; 3. Daniel Castro (Windham) dec. Zachary McLellan (Gilbert), 4-2, OT; 5. Gabriel Ortiz (Immaculate) pin Noah Vail (East Catholic), 3:37

145: Final — Hunter Adams (Suffield) dec. Jason Jacaruso (Griswold), 4-0; 3. Marcos Rodriguez Rivera (Windham) dec. Dennis Charles (Ledyard), 9-4; 5. Connor Blay (Gilbert) forfeit over Jake Frith (Haddam-Killingworth)

152: Final — Cooper Fleming (Granby Memorial) dec. John Nieroda (Suffield), 14-2; 3. Andrew Fortuna (Morgan) dec. Ryan Powers (Lym Mem/Wind Tch), 10-2; 5. Benjamin Mow (Gilbert) forfeit over James Guion (Northwestern)

160: Final — Jeffrey Suschana (Somers) dec. Joshua Schwartz (Northwestern), 5-1; 3. Jack Cronin (Nonnewaug) pin Justin Popp (Haddam-Killingworth), 1:22; 5. Tavon Simpson (Notre Dame-Fairfield) dec. Kyle Matthews (Gilbert), 5-1

170: Final — Mason Laflam (Lym Mem/Wind Tch) pin Alex Smith (Gilbert), 3:13; 3. Flori Cenkolli (Nonnewaug) dec. Liam Smith (Northwestern), 5-3; 5. Tyler Perez (Granby Memorial) dec. Xavier Gonzalez (Windsor Locks), 4-2

182: Final — Benjamin Kibby (Granby Memorial) dec. Dane Concascia (Montville), 7-0; 3. Steve Grudzien (Nonnewaug) pin Caleb Boucher (Northwestern), 2:50; 5. Prosper john Vignone (Coventry) dec. Kevin Sullivan (Gilbert), 4-3

195: Final — Andrey Zhovkly (Gilbert) pin Johnny Falco (Griswold), 1:50; 3. Joseph Reihl (Lym Mem/Wind Tch) pin Braydon Fluckiger (Canton), 4:12; 5. Jadian Mackenzie (Ledyard) dec. Eduardo Morales (Goodwin Tech), 5-4, 3 OT

220: Final — Nick Tibbetts (Montville) dec. Matthew Oliwa (Derby), 7-4; 3. Dan Geriak (Notre Dame-Fairfield) dec. Trevor Hines (Haddam-Killingworth), 3-0; 5. Thomas Dimatteo (Rocky Hill) pin Ben Falivene (Valley Regional), 1:53

285: Final — Richard Mullaney (Ledyard) dec. Austin Daley (Morgan), 5-3; 3. Jaden Malave (Windham) dec. Michael O’Connell (Lym Mem/Wind Tch), 1-0; 5. Aiden Maher (Haddam-Killingworth) pin Anthony Slowik (Derby), 4:10

Outstanding wrestler: Noah Caskey (132), Montville

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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