The FCIAC boasts many of the top wrestlers in the New England region and this weekend, they’ll battle for the conference championship as New Canaan High School hosts the annual Joe Sikorski FCIAC wrestling tournament.
The HAN Network will carry all 15 weight class finals live beginning at 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13, on live.HAN.Network, TrumbullTimes.com, FCIAC.net and all the HAN Network affiliates. HAN’s Rob Adams will lead the call.
The Danbury Hatters are the dominant force in the FCIAC, having 28 of the last 29 conference championships, a dynasty interrupted only in 2010, when Fairfield-Warde took the crown. Since then, the Hatters have won five straight titles.
Danbury enters this year’s tournament as the prohibitive favorite. The Hatters are ranked No. 1 in the state coaches poll as compiled by the Norwich Bulletin and, last week, they beat No. 2 New Milford, 43-16.
Several teams could challenge Danbury and contend for a top spot, including Warde and Trumbull, who are ranked No. 6 and 7, respectively, and the Ludlowe Falcons.
A large number of returning weight class champions and finalists will be back on the mats this season.
The 106-pound class is built for young wrestlers. Three of the best are Danbury’s Ben LeBlanc , Warde’s Noah Zuckerman and Trumbull’s Matt Ryan.
The 113-pound weight class is stacked, with Danbury’s Jakob Camacho and Trumbull’s Tristan Haviland the favorites to reach the final. Those two met in last year’s 106-pound final, with Camacho winning via pinfall in 1:16. With one more win, Haviland will teach 100 for his career. He is a junior.
Kyle Fields of Danbury highlights the 120-pound weight class.
The 126-pound class includes several contenders, with Warde’s Alex Steele, Ludlowe’s Austin Sherman, and Danbury’s Joey Hulse leading that group.
Danbury will also feature Jeremy Fields at 138 pounds, moving up two weight classes after taking the 120-pound title last year. His prime opposition includes Westhill’s Matt Conte, Trumbull’s Dante Montanaro, Warde’s Jack Price, and Ridgefield’s Colin Storm.
Warde’s Kane brothers — Tim and Charlie — are contenders to win their second straight championships, with Tim at 132 pounds and Charlie at 145. Their top challengers appear to be Danbury’s Peterson Sousa at 132, and Danbury’s Justin Peterson and Ludlowe’s Bobby Clark at 145.
The 152-pound class is highlighted by Ludlowe’s Marcus Sherrod and Danbury’s Jarek LaPlant.
Chase Lind, who recently became Ludlowe’s all-time winningest wrestler, will be battling for the 160-pound FCIAC championship after winning at 152 last winter. He’ll likely receive a strong challenge from Trumbull’s Joey Ryan, last year’s 170-pound champ, with Greenwich’s Mike Ceci in the hunt as well.
The heavier weight classes are wide open, but Ludlowe’s Lee Stenlid-Johansen and Warde’s Jon Ocana stand out at 195; Danbury’s Andrew Marquis is the headliner at 220; and Trumbull’s Desmond Washington and Danbury’s Michael Gaboardi are the leaders at heavyweight.
The tournament will begin at 4:30 p.m., Friday, and will continue into the evening. Saturday’s matches will start at 10 a.m., with the weight class finals capping the day at 4 p.m.