Host Tigers third at Ridgefield Challenge

Ben Smart (top, shown in a match earlier this season) won the 126-pound division at the Ridgefield Challenge. — Andy Hutchison photo
Ben Smart (top, shown in a match earlier this season) won the 126-pound division at the Ridgefield Challenge. — Andy Hutchison photo

Led by Ben Smart’s victory at 126 pounds, the host Ridgefield High wrestling team finished third at the annual Ridgefield Challenge tournament on Saturday.

The Tigers had 121 points to place third in the 14-team field. St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) was first with 208 points, and Coventry finished second with 133.5 points.

Seeded second, Smart got a first-round bye before winning three straight matches to claim the title at 126 pounds. Smart pinned Jacob Remolina of Coventry in 3:38 in the quarterfinals and followed with a 5-2 decision over Robbie Accomando of Trinity-Pawling (N.Y.) in the semifinals.

Smart then earned a 4-0 decision over top-seed Chris Cook of John Jay (Cross River, N.Y.) in the championship match.

Three other Ridgefield wrestlers also reached the finals but placed second in their respective weight classes. At 160 pounds, top-seed Lazar Agoev, a senior, received a bye and then pinned two opponents before getting pinned by second-seed Tyler Podolsky of St. Anthony’s in 5:47 in the championship match.

Ridgefield sophomore Liam Keppler (the second seed) won three matches — a 14-6 major decision; a pin in 2:58; and an 11-5 decision — to make the finals at 170 pounds before losing on injury default to top-seed Andrew Seaton of Amity.

And at 99 pounds, freshman Alex Blaha won a 6-2 decision to reach the finals, where he lost on a 21-6 technical fall to St. Anthony’s Jordan Wellinton.

Also placing for Ridgefield with top-four finishes were sophomores Connor Brown and Jackson Trotter and senior Sam Klotz. Trotter won an 8-6 decision over Bethel’s Morgan Haskett to place third at 182 pounds, while Brown and Klotz lost their third-place matches and finished fourth at 152 and 220 pounds, respectively.

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