Danbury brings elusive New England title back to Connecticut
By GERRY deSIMAS, Jr.
Connecticut Wrestling Online
PROVIDENCE, R.I., March 4 – The Danbury High wrestling program has been chasing a New England championship for a long, long time. The Hatters were the first state team to win a New England title in 1990.
But in the last 27 years, the title has been elusive. Twice, the Hatters had four placewinners in 2004 and 2005 but they finished third each time. In 2014, Danbury had five medalwinners including Kevin Jack winning a New England title but the Hatters were 13 points behind Mt. Anthony, Vt.
It finally came together for Danbury Saturday.
The Hatters brought eight wrestlers to the New England tournament and all eight won at least one match. Two went to the final, five won medals for finishing in the top six and junior Jakob Camacho won a New England title at 120 pounds as Danbury became the first Connecticut team to win a New England title since 1992 with a dominating performance.
Danbury won the championship with 114 points with neighboring Newtown finishing second for the third straight year with 67 points. It was the largest margin of victory since 2011 when Timberlane, N.H., won by a record 57 points.
The last Connecticut team to bring home a New England title was Windham in 1992. Teams from Connecticut have finished second for five of the last six years. Connecticut had four teams in the top 10.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Danbury coach Ricky Shook said. “We had five medalists but we haven’t had so many guys win matches. All eight guys contributed. It was a good team effort.”
Camacho (120 pounds) was dominant in winning his first New England championship. He scored at least 19 points in his first three victories and he won his title with a pin to earn Outstanding Wrestler honors.
Freshman Ryan Jack finished second 106 while freshman A.J. Kovacs was third at 138. Michael Garboardi took fourth at 285 while Gino Baratta, who was fifth at the State Open, finished sixth.
Kyle Fields (126), Jake Constantine (182) and Andrew Marquis (220) each won at least one match.
“This is even better than winning the individual title,” Camacho said. “We’re a family. We work hard every day. It’s amazing. It’s a great accomplishment for us.”
Once again, it was a great day for Connecticut wrestling at the New England championships. A year ago, Connecticut had a record nine individual champions.
While the state didn’t match that record, Connecticut still had 12 wrestlers in 10 championship finals – two were all-Connecticut finals – and six state wrestlers brought home New England championships. Ellis Tech’s Jo Jo Gonzalez won his second straight New England championship at 132.
Foran-Milford had a pair of New England champions. In a rematch of last week’s State Open final, Foran’s Ryan Luth (145) beat Newtown’s Ed Lovely for the second straight week, 6-4. At 152, Foran’s Michael Ross beat Ryan Montiero of Minnechaug, Mass., 5-0.
At 160, Southington’s Paul Calo met Xavier’s Ryan Devivo for the third straight week in the finals. Devivo won the Class LL title and State Open title with overtime wins. This year, Calo got a reversal and near fall in the final 15 seconds for a 5-1 victory.
At 170, Newtown’s Joe Accousti continued his dominant senior season with a 5-3 win over Robert Heatherman of Mt. Ararat/Brunswick to win a title.
The New England Council also introduced two new members of the New England Wrestling Hall of Fame – Shook and Robert Rudolph, a coach from Massachusetts.
A quick look at every weight class.
Cody Craig of Skowhegan, Maine never lost a match to other wrestlers from Maine. He won four straight Class A titles in Maine and won Maine’s version of the State Open – their qualifying tournament for the New England tournament – four times.
He added his first New England championship with a 3-1 win over Danbury’s Ryan Jack. Craig took a 2-0 lead with a takedown with four seconds left in the first period. He extended the lead with an escape with 52 seconds left in the second period.
Craig was a bit emotional afterward. “This has been my dream since I started wrestling,” he said. “(Jack) is really fast and I didn’t tie up with him as much so I could try and score on my feet. I am better on my feet.”
Jack beat Massachusetts champion Hunter Adrian of Melrose in the semifinals, 4-1.
Bristol Central’s Chris Trelli finished fourth after a 7-2 loss to Andrew Fallon of LaSalle, R.I. in the consolation final while Fitch’s Jarod Kosman finished fifth with a 10-0 win over Adrian. Kosman won four straight consolation round bouts to earn a medal.
2016 New England championships
At Providence RI
Team results – 1. Danbury 114, 2. Newtown 67, 3. Mt. Anthony, VT 62½, 4. Timberlane Regional-Plastow, NH 57, 5. Bishop Hendricken RI 56, 6. Foran-Milford 52, 7. Lincoln Sudbury (MA) 51, 8. Ellis Tech 50, 9. Minnechaug MA 48, 10. Cumberland RI 44, 11. Southington and Skowhegan ME 43, 13. Coventry RI 37, 14. Billerica MA 35, 15. Concord NH and Milton MA 34; 17. Melrose MA 33, 18. Ellsworth ME 32, 19. Trumbull 31, 20. Marshwood ME 30, 21. Xavier-Middletown and New Milford 28, 23. Mt. Ararat/Brunswick ME 27½, 24. Oxford Hills ME 27, Nashoba Regional-Bolton MA and St. John’s Prep-Danvers, MA 26, 27. Simsbury, Shawsheen Valley Tech-Billerica, MA and Winslow ME 25; 29. New Canaan, Hand, Burlington MA 24, 34. Vergennes Union, VT 23; 35. Chelmsford MA and Somers 22; 37. Fairfield Warde 21½; 38. Putnam MA 21, 39. Methuen MA 20½, 40. Bethel, Chariho RI and Windham High NH 20, 43. Bedford MA 19, 44. Brockton MA, Bristol Central, Montville, New Fairfield, Springfield (MA) Central, Danvers MA, Masconomet Regional-Boxford MA 18; 51. North Andover MA and Fitch 17½, 53. LaSalle RI 17, 54. Manchester (NH) Central, Bristol Eastern and East Hartford 16; 57. Berlin 15½, 58. Natick MA, Ponaganset-Scituate RI 15, 60. Pomperaug 14½, 61. Central Catholic-Lawrence, MA and Platt High 14; 63. Salem NH 13; 64. Foxboro MA 12½, 65. Noble ME 11½, 66. Kingswood Regional-Wolfeboro NH and Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech 11; 68. Lawrence MA and Cony High-Augusta ME 10; 70. Essex VT, Bedford MA, Pinkerton NH 9, 73. E.O. Smith, North Kingstown RI, Conard 8; 76. Ridgefield 7 ½, 77. Goffstown NH, Granby, Ludlow MA, Massabesic High-Waterville ME, Scarborough ME, ConVal Regional-Peterborough NH 7, 83. Catholic Memorial-Boston, Dirigo-Dixfield ME , Greater Lowell (MA), Haddam-Killingworth, Lincoln RI, Londonderry NH, Marshfield MA, Mountain Valley, Quabbin, South Windsor, St. Johnsbury, Tolland, Tri-County Regional, Wells ME 6
Final -- Cody Craig (Skowhegan) dec. Ryan Jack (Danbury), 3-1; 3. Andrew Fallon (LaSalle) dec. Christopher Trelli (Bristol Central), 7-2; 5. Jarod Kosman (Fitch) dec. Hunter Adrian (Melrose), 10-0
Final -- Jake Ferri (Shawsheen) dec. Ryan Garlitz (St. Johns Prep), 6-0; 3. Sean Johnson (Ellis Tech) dec. Jack Darling (Masconomet), 2-0, 2 OT; 5. Nick Arborio (Berlin) tech fall Noah Call (Mt. Anthony), 16-0 3:26
Final -- Jakob Camacho (Danbury) pin Andy Richard (Lincoln-Sudbury), 5:08; 3. Christopher Derosa (Billerica) dec. Cole Wyman (Brockton), 3-2, 2 OT; 5. Joseph Valentino (North Andover) dec. Keenan Taylor (Mt. Anthony), 8-5
Final -- Connor Mcgonagle (Timberlane) pin Tyler Sung (New Canaan), 3:46; 3. Mel Ortiz (New Milford) dec. Tristan Haviland (Trumbull), 3-1; 5. Ramazan Attasauov (Wayland) dec. Sean Caltagairone (Coventry), 9-0
Final -- Baltazar Gonzalez (Ellis Tech) pin Josh Lee (Burlington), 3:43; 3. Seth Brown (Coventry) pin Samson Sirois (Skowhegan), 2:55; 5. Joel Morth (Montville) dec. Aj Pagliarulo (Bedford), 3-1, OT
Final -- Brady Beaulieu (Marshwood) dec. Timmy Kane (Fairfield Warde), 5-2; 3. Alan Kovacs (Danbury) dec. Devin Rivet (Bishop Hendricken), 11-2; 5. Brian Lindsay (Kingswood) dec. Evan Goodall (Chelmsford), 2-1
Final -- Ryan Luth (Foran) dec. Edward Lovely (Newtown), 6-4; 3. Avery Shay (New Fairfield) dec. Michael Mirmina (Trumbull), 9-3; 5. Tristen Cabinta (Salem) dec. Austin Shorey (Noble), 6-4
Final -- Michael Ross (Foran) dec. Ryan Monteiro (Minnechaug), 5-0; 3. Lucas Cordio (Nashoba Regional) dec. Peyton Cole (Ellsworth), 7-4; 5. Mathew Pangle (Pomperaug) dec. Tyler Burgess (Mt. Anthony), 3-1
Final -- Paul Calo (Southington) dec. Ryan Devivo (Xavier), 5-1; 3. Michael Barrett (Bristol Eastern) dec. Dawson Stevens (Oxford Hills), 7-1; 5. Ahmad Sharif (Putnam) dec. Gino Baratta (Danbury), 7-3
Final -- Joe Accousti (Newtown) dec. Robert Heatherman (Mt. Ararat/Brunswick), 5-3; 3. Trent Goodman (Ellsworth) dec. Dylan Tremblay (Timberlane), 5-2; 5. John Hayes (Cumberland) M win by forfeit over Ibragim Arsakhanov (Manchester Central)
Final -- George Tarwo (Concord) dec. Ryan Fredette (Winslow), 8-6; 3. Brandon Cousino (Vergennes) pin Tom Wrzesien (Chariho), 2:00; 5. Fransisco Jiminian (East Hartford) medical forfeit over Darius Franklin (Methuen)
Final -- Andrew Marshall (Lincoln-Sudbury) dec. Michael Tanguay (Windham.), 2-1, 2 OT; 3. Jackson Rheault (Somers) dec. Antonio Difronzo (Melrose), 9-3; 5. David Verizzi (Lyman/Windham) dec. Henri Behaeghel (Billerica), 4-0
Final -- Nick Johnson (Milton) pin Benton Whitley (Minnechaug), 1:49; 3. Dan Greaney (Bedford-Minuteman) dec. Thomas Long (Newtown), 6-1; 5. Nicholas Cote (Bethel) win by medical forfeit over Sebastain Rocher (Mt. Anthony)
Final -- Nicholas Martino (Bishop Hendricken) dec. Jasper Stone (Simsbury), 1-0; 3. Michael Burchell (Daniel Hand) pin Michael Gaboardi (Danbury), 1:30; 5. Nicholas Martone (Platt) dec. Aaron Wilcox (Cumberland), 2-0
Outstanding wrestler: Jakob Camacho (120), Danbury
Best final – 182 pounds: Tarwo vs. Fredette
Ellis Tech’s Sean Johnson finished third with a takedown in the second overtime period to beat Jack Darling of Masconomet, Massachusetts. Johnson reached the semifinals with a pair of victories including a win over New Hampshire champion J. Austin White.
Berlin’s Nick Arborio finished fifth with a technical fall over Mt. Anthony’s Noah Call, the Vermont state champion. Arborio is just the second Berlin wrestler to place twice at the New England championships. Arborio, who finishes with a 155-31 career record, was fifth at year ago at 113. Anthony Reynolds (1998, 1999) is the only other Berlin wrestler to earn two New England medals.
Danbury’s Jakob Camacho completed an outstanding season with a dominating performance to win his first New England championship. Camacho had a 14-3 lead on Massachusetts’ Andy Richard of Lincoln-Sudbury High before winning by pin in 5:08. In his previous three bouts, Camacho won by scores of 25-10, 19-4 and 19-6 over Massachusetts state champion Cole Wyman of Brockton in the semifinals.
“It was amazing,” Camacho said. “I loved the atmosphere. I loved the competition. It was great to wrestle to my capabilities and put on a show for the fans.”
New Canaan freshman Tyler Sung (34-5) won two close matches to get to the championship final but fell to New Hampshire state champion Connor McGonagle of Timberlane Regional by pin in 3:46. Sung built a four-point lead and was able to withstand a late takedown to beat Rhode Island champion Sean Caltagairone of Coventry, 7-5 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinal, Sung built up a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 3-2 victory over Massachusetts Ryan Attasauuuov of Wayland.
McGonagle, a two-time Division I champion in New Hampshire, gave up just three points in four victories to win his first New England title. He is just a sophomore.
In the consolation final, New Milford’s Mel Ortiz beat Trumbull’s Tristian Haviland, 3-1 to take third place.
Ellis Tech senior Jo Jo Gonzalez became just the 13th wrestler in state history to win multiple New England championships by pinning Massachusetts champion Josh Lee of Burlington, Mass., in 3:43. “It’s like a dream,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez used his quickness to race out to an 8-2 lead after one period. “My objective is to take it to him and get off the mat as fast as I can,” he said.
Gonzalez tried to enjoy the experience as best as he could. “I told myself to have fun and go all out,” he said. “I won’t be here again.”
Montville’s Joel Morth finished fifth with a 3-1 win in overtime over A.J. Pagliarulo of Bedford, N.H.
Brady Beaulieu of Marshwood, Maine, had accomplished nearly everything he could in high school on the mat. But he had yet to win a New England championship. Beaulieu (53-0) won his first title on Saturday night with a hard-fought 5-2 win over defending New England champion Tim Kane of Fairfield Warde.
Beaulieu took a 2-0 lead midway through the second period with a takedown. He took command early in the third period, getting his legs and quickly exposing Kane’s back to the mat for a three point near fall and a 5-0 lead.
“This was mostly sticking to my stuff,” Beaulieu said. “I wanted to get to my offense quickly. I didn’t want to wait and let Tim get into a groove. He can put you away quickly.”
Beaulieu ends his career with the most wins in Maine history with 241 victories. He will be wrestling at Old Dominion next winter.
Kane wrestled well to make it to the finals. He beat Massachusetts champion Pablo Ogata of Framingham, 10-6, in the quarterfinals thanks to four takedowns. Kane had a pair of takedowns in the third period to take command of the bout.
In the semifinals, Lane beat Rhode Island champon Devin Rivet of Bishop Hendricken, 7-5 in overtime. Kane escaped with 31 seconds left in the third period to force OT. Kane got the takedown with 24 seconds remaining in OT to earn his spot in the finals.
Danbury freshman A.J. Kovacs finished third with an 11-2 decision over Rivet in the consolation final. Kovacs gave Beaulieu one for his tougher matches on Friday evening, dropping a 3-1 decision.
For the second week, Foran’s Ryan Luth and Newtown’s Ed Lovely battled to the final seconds. A week ago at the State Open, Luth had a takedown with 35 seconds remaining and a near fall with two seconds left to earn a 7-3 semifinal win. This week, the two meet again in the New England championship final.
Luth built a 2-1 lead after two periods. He extended the lead to two with an early escape and got a takedown with 50 seconds left to stretch the lead to 5-1. Lovely escaped and got a takedown with six seconds left but it wasn’t enough in a 6-4 defeat.
Luth earned his spot in the final with three wins including a 5-3 win over Maine champion Austin Shorey of Noble, getting a takedown with two seconds remaining to secure the bout. Luth beat Trumbull’s Michael Mirmina in the semifinals, 9-2.
Lovely, who finished third at the State Open, won four bouts to get to the final, including a 5-3 win over overtime over New Fairfield’s Avery Shay in the semifinals. Shay tied the match at 3-3 with an escape with 1:43 left in the third period. In overtime, Lovely got the winning takedown with three seconds left on the clock.
Shay finished third with a 9-3 victory over Mirmina. Shay went 4-1 on the day including a 7-3 quarterfinal victory over New Hampshire champion Tristen Cabinta of Salem.
Foran’s Michael Ross completed an undefeated season (44-0) with a 5-0 win over Ryan Monteiro of Minnechaug, Mass., to win a New England title. For Foran, it was their second New England championship in the matter of minutes.
“It is pretty amazing,” Foran coach David Esposito said. “There are the first two New England champions in school history. Five or six years ago, we were struggling to field a team. We had just five or six kids. Now, we’re the only school with multiple New England champions.
“These two kids worked for ten years for this dream of theirs,” Esposito said. “They are partners with each other and they (Ryan Luth and Ross) have pushed each other. This comes with a lot of hard work.”
Ross won his first match with a pin in 1:35 and had a 7-4 quarterfinal win over Lucas Cordio of Nashoba Regional from Massachusetts. In the semifinals, he flattened Maine state champion Peyton Cole in 24 seconds.
The final was tied 0-0 after two periods before Ross escaped two seconds into the third period and got a takedown within 10 seconds for a 3-0 lead. He added a two-point near fall with 1:10 remaining in the bout for a commanding 5-0 lead.
Pomperaug’s Matthew Pangle won four straight bouts in the consolation round and finished fifth with a 3-1 win over Vermont state champion Tyler Burgess of Mt. Anthony.
Southington’s Paul Calo made the most of another chance to wrestle on Saturday at the New England wrestling championships.
Calo, who lost the CIAC Class LL and State Open titles in overtime over the past two weeks to Xavier’s Ryan Devivo, got a reversal with 15 seconds remaining to secure a 5-1 victory over Devivo and become the second wrestler in school history to win a New England championship.
Calo suffered a pair of overtime losses to Devivo, one of his off-season training partners with the KT Kidz club. This time, Calo was able to get the upper hand. Devivo led 1-0 thanks to a second period escape and was controlling Calo late in the third period.
But Calo (39-4) was able to scramble and get a two-point reversal with 15 seconds remaining and put Devivo on this back for three near fall points and the New England championship.
“I stayed calm and worked my moves,” Calo said of his third period comeback. “I worked extra hard in practice (this week). I knew what he does well. I knew I had to counter his moves better.”
Southington coach Derek Dion said, “Paul is a great scrambler. (The previous two matches) had been so stagnant. He finally stirred the pot and got it going. I’m so happy for him.”
Calo joins Zach Murillo in 2015 as the only Southington wrestlers to win New England championships. Calo is just the third Knight wrestler to make the finals.
Bristol Eastern’s Michael Barrett also made a second chance pay off. After winning his first match, Barrett lost to Massachusetts state champion Ahmad Sharif of Putnam, 7-3. But Barrett refused to buckle and won five straight matches in the consolation round to finish third. One of those victories was a 6-2 victory over Sharif in the consolation semifinals.
Danbury’s Gino Baratta finished sixth. But he won his first three matches including a 4-3 win over Maine champion Sam Anderson of Sanford thanks to a takedown with 1:07 left in the third period.
Newtown’s Joe Accousti completed an undefeated season (40-0) with a 5-3 win over Robert Heatherman of Mt. Ararat/Brunswick, the state champion from Maine. Accousti had a pair of takedowns in the first period to take command of the bout.
East Hartford’s Fransisco Jiminian gave up a takedown with four seconds remaining to drop his opening round contest to Toru Goto of Cambridge Ridge and Latin from outside Boston, 6-4. But Jiminian won four of his next five matches in the consolation round to finish fifth. The Hornet wrestler had two pins.
One of those pins came against State Open champion Jake Constantine of Danbury in the consolation bracket in 4:36. Constantine beat Jiminian, 9-5 last week at the Open.
Somers’ Jackson Rheault dropped his first match in nearly two years in an overtime loss to eventual New England champion Andrew Marshall of Lincoln Sudbury in the semifinals. But Rheault won two in a row in the consolation bracket to finish third with a 9-3 decision over Antonio Difronzo of Melrose, Mass.
Rheault (38-1) got two takedowns in the third period, including one with 16 seconds remaining, to force overtime. But in the first OT session, Marshall got the match-winning takedown with 33 seconds left.
David Verizzi of Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech finished fifth with a 4-0 win over Massachusetts champion Henri Behaeghel of Billerica, 4-0.
After dropping his first match of the tournament to Dyland Schenk of Mt. Ararat/Brunswick, Maine on a third period escape, 3-2, Newtown’s Thomas Long won five straight in the consolation bracket. But Long fell in the consolation final to Dan Greaney of Bedford, Mass., 6-1 to finish fourth. Bethel’s Nicholas Cote finished fifth. Cote dropped his opener and won four straight consolation round bouts.
It was the first time all season that Simsbury senior Jasper Stone felt good about his knee. Stone had surgery on his knee in December following the football season and had missed several weeks. He finished second in Class L and fifth at the State Open, dropping a triple OT decision in the quarterfinals to Platt’s Nicholas Martone and a one-point decision to Hand’s Michael Burchell.
But with Connecticut getting five berths at the New England tournament, he got another chance to wrestle.
Stone (32-4) won four straight bouts beating the state champions from Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut before falling to Rhode Island champion Nicholas Martino of Bishop Henricken, 1-0. Martino made a second period escape stand up in the victory and rode out Stone in the third period.
“He dominates on top typically,” Bishop Hendricken coach Kevin Hennessey said. “He wrestled a little timid and reserved but that was fine. It is all about getting the win. Once you get someone broken down on the mat, you want to secure them, hold them down and let the clock run a bit.”
“I thought there was a truck on my back,” Stone said.
Stone beat Massachusetts champion Carlos Cabrera of Central Catholic in triple OT, 3-2 and topped Vermont champion Hunter Ladd of St. Johnsbury, 3-1 with a takedown in OT. Stone beat Connecticut champion Michael Gaboardi of Danbury, 4-0 in the semifinals.
Connecticut four wrestlers in the top five. Hand’s Michael Burchell beat Gaboardi for third place while Martone finished fifth with a 2-0 win over Aaron Wilcox of Cumberland, R.I.