Eagles display top 10 prowess at FCIACs
Seven Trumbull High wrestlers took to the mat looking to win individual titles at the Joe Sikorsky FCIAC Wrestling Tournament at New Canaan High on Feb. 15.
As much as those grapplers — each wearing the military singlets designed for Army’s of one — impacted the score, it took a team effort for coach Niko Filippakis’ No. 8 Eagles to place third behind team champion Danbury High and runner-up Fairfield Warde.
“I am extremely proud of each and every member of the team this year, not just the starters, but everyone,” Filippakis said.
“This weekend we placed third behind (in stat) number one Danbury and number six Warde.
“Out of the twelve wrestlers entered, nine placed, including seven finalists, and five first-place finishes, with an additional two fifth places.
“This was, in every way shape and form, a collaborative effort from each and every member on the team. We work hard in practice throughout the season and help each other when we get the opportunity. We won some matches big and lost a very close one together as a team.”
All season long everyone contributed to helping their teammates get better. This weekend was no different.
“I am eager and excited for the LL tournament at our place this weekend, and can’t wait to see how the young men do.”
Trumbull will host the Class LL Championships on Friday night and all day Saturday.
Trumbull’s Joe Raverta at 182 pounds proved to be the biggest surprise of the weather-induced compacted day-long competition.
Raverta, who was the longest of long shots as the sixth seed, had trouble filling out his finalist form after earning a berth in the title bout. After all, the junior is a first-year varsity wrestler and could only note that he broke his leg in six places while playing football as a freshmen.
Actually, Raverta brought a 17-13 record into his match with top-seeded Vasili Nikiflorides from Brien McMahon of Norwalk. Raverta, with a bandage covering a forehead gash suffered in he semifinals, wrestled his way to a 15-11 victory.
Cross Cannone (126 pounds), Stephen Briganti (152 pounds), Raverta (182 pounds), Connor Sollenberger (195 pounds) and Andrew Marino (220 pounds) all brought home FCIAC titles.
Kevin Cecio (132 pounds) and Joey Ryan (160 pounds) were runners-up, and Tristan Haviland (106 pounds and Dante Montanaro (120 pounds) wrestled back to place fifth.
Trumbull didn’t contend or earn team points at 145 pounds or in the heavyweight division.
106 pounds: Haviland was seeded fifth with a 26-6 record. Knocked into wrestlebacks after a 3-1 loss to fourth-seeded Brandon Aguda from Greenwich, Haviland won a 17-3 major decision before losing to third-place finisher Jack Price from Warde in the consolation semifinals. In the match for fifth place, Haviland defeated Norwalk’s sixth-seeded Jonathan Albrecht 3-1.
113 pounds: Mike Mirmina was seeded seventh with a 13-11 record and defeated sixth-seeded George Gallagher from McMahon in the first round. Eventual runner-up Jeremy Fields (17-2) from Danbury pinned Mirmina into the consolation round, where he met Gallagher again and this time lost by fall.
120 pounds: Montanaro’s 24-9 record earned him the fifth seed and a bout with Luke Montgomery from Staples in the first round. His 51-second win by fall matched him up with fourth-seeded Matt Conte (30-6) from Westhill, and the Viking advanced with a 4-3 decision. In wrestlebacks, Montanaro won a 5-4 decision before losing 7-2 to third-seeded Colin Storm from Ridgefield. Montanaro defeated Conte in a rematch, 5-2, to take fifth.
126 pounds: Cannone (30-2) was seeded second and wrestled the way the bracket called for to earn a berth opposite top-seeded Dan Ebert (25-0) from Warde.
In a match meant for the wrestling handbook, the rivals stayed on the mat and showed off every move they had throughout.
Cannone snuck out the back door for a 2-0 lead with 36 seconds remaining when Ebert was caught too high looking for a first-period takedown.
Cannone deferred his choice until the third period, and Ebert chose the bottom looking for a switch that could tie things at 2. After two stalemates, Ebert rolled his way into an escape with 51 seconds on the clock. The second stanza ended with both wrestlers looking for control.
On bottom for the third period, Cannone used wrist control and kept an ankle wrapped to deny Ebert’s attempts to earn back points and won the 2-1 decision.
Cannone had advanced with a 4-1 and 6-0 decision.
132 pounds: Cecio (23-2) faced a tough challenge, as the third seed met top-seeded Kevin Jack (18-0) from Danbury. Jack showed his prowess with a quick ankle pick for a takedown. Cecio three times fought off his back before the Hatter scored a second-period pin. Cecio had made it to the title bout with a 10-0 major decision and an exciting 8-6 semifinal victory over third-seeded Kevin Side (25-3) from Ridgefield.
138 pounds: Mike Greco (12-15), who can wrestle at 138 or 145, was sent out at 138 by Filippakis as the ninth seed to meet eighth-seeded Justin Ludel (14-8) from Staples. Ludel got a takedown, but Greco turned the tables while fighting off a stack try. Ludel scored a late reversal and two back points to take a 6-2 lead. The duo traded reversals in the second stanza, before the Wrecker worked a pin with 18 seconds remaining. Because of the weather, those suffering a first-round setback were done for the day.
152 pounds: Briganti got a loud ovation from the Trumbull faithful after the junior earned his first FCIAC title with a dominating performance.
Seeded first with a 24-3 mark, Briganti lived up to his billing with a first-round pin (1:59), followed by 7-0 shutouts of Warde’s Anthony Rotz in the semifinals and Wilton’s Andrew Sakamoto in the title match.
160 pounds: Ryan competed in the most compelling match of the finals. Seeded second with a 25-7 record, Ryan advanced with a 4:31 fall and a 9-5 decision and faced top-seeded Colin Ventura (22-6) from Warde for the title.
After a physical first period ended with no points scored, Ryan worked his way free from the bottom for a 1-0 lead with 1:36 on the clock in the second.
On top for the final frame, Ryan looked to add to his lead, but Ventura kept is elbows in tight and Ryan was forced to ride with his legs in.
After a stalemate reset the wrestlers with 35 seconds on the clock, Ventura used a modified granby roll for a two-point reversal and then rode out the win.
170 pounds: Mohammed Othman (17-11) was seeded seventh and won an 8-3 decision before being sent to wrestlebacks by second-seeded Martin Chobanyan (30-2) from Wilton. Othman was edged out 2-0 by eventual fifth-place finisher Xavier Bass from Harding
195 pounds: Sollenberger was seeded first with a 30-2 record and won by injury default in the first round and pinned fourth-seeded Chase Stumpf from McMahon at 2:42 of their semifinal. Marcus Joyner, the second seed from Danbury, was waiting in the final. Sollenberger tripped the Hatter for a takedown midway through the first period and upped his advantage to 7-0 in the second before getting the pin call at 5:15.
220 pounds: Marino’s 28-3 record in the weight class earned the senior the top seed. He made short work of his first two opponents, pinning in 47 and then 20 seconds. In the final, Marino met second-seeded Triston Jakobson (19-1) of Danbury. Leading 2-0 in the third period, Marino escaped to lock up his championship.