Trumbull wrestlers return to celebrate program

The Trumbull High School wrestling program and its Takedown Club booster group received an enthusiastic response from more than 20 former wrestlers and managers, who turned out for the Fifth annual Alumni Reunion that was held in conjunction with the Trumbull Duals in early January.

Returning alumni included 1980-2013 graduates, wrestlers Joe Aloi (2011), David Barbar (2011), Joe Belfiore (1983), David Briganti (1985), David Briganti, Jr. (2013), Diego Carrillo (2011), Zipporah Drozdowicz (2011), Mike Fedorko (1980), Brandon Fulco (2013), Zachary Goldberg (2009), Brian Greco (2012), Dylan Haviland (2013), Brandon Liscinsky (2013), Ed Lovely (1984), Erik Mercado (2013), Erik Neumann (2008), Jalaam Robinson (2013) and Sean Sloat (2003), as well as managers Jozie Berardi (2012), Kylie Moser (2013), Kyle Osborne (2012), Samantha Vreeland (2013) and Katelyn Wallace (2013).

They were joined in the celebration by former coach Ray Faustich, who was the 1988 Connecticut High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year, along with retiring THS athletic director and former wrestling coach Mike Herbst.

Faustich said, “It was so good to be with so many former Eagle wrestlers and share such wonderful memories. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen some of them in over twenty years.”

Wrestling coach at THS from 1977-98, Faustich was twice honored as the Connecticut High School Coach of the Year, in 1988 by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association and in 1996 by the National Federation of High Schools.

Dave Briganti, Jr. said, “It was great being able to get together as one and seeing all the wrestlers, coaches and managers from the times past. It really gives an idea of how long the great Trumbull High wrestling tradition has been going on and how great it is.”

On a more personal note, Sean Sloat, whose parents Geri and Tom founded the Trumbull Youth Wrestling program in 2002, said:

“The reunion was a great experience and a nice reminder of how close wrestling brings people together, even across generations. It’s about so much more than just winning matches; it has made me such a better person, and wrestlers share a special bond because of that.”

The alumni were treated to an outstanding day of wrestling, as coach Niko Filippakis’ team handily defeated Foran, Glastonbury and Masuk before falling 36-33 in the extremely intense championship match to Newtown. In the most recent state rankings, the 8-1 Nighthawks are 5th, while the 21-3 Eagles are 9th.

Takedown Club President Claudia Haviland was thrilled with the event.

“We’re so pleased that so many turned out as we wanted to highlight the rich history associated with Trumbull High wrestling,” she said.

Alumni interested in participating in next season’s sixth annual gathering should contact Alumni Coordinator Dave Briganti at, Claudia Haviland at, or visit the Takedown Club’s website at for more information.