Breaking down the 2022 CIAC wrestling championships

CLASS LL

Where: Trumbull High School

When: Friday, 3 p.m. & Saturday, 10 a.m. (finals scheduled for 3:30 p.m.)

2020 champion: Danbury

Contenders: Danbury, Warde, East Hartford, Staples, Trumbull

Wrestlers to watch:

Alex Blaha, Sr., Ridgefield (120): The 2020 Class LL 106-pound runner-up as a sophomore, Blaha is looking to add his first individual state title as the No. 2 seed in the 120-pound division behind Warde’s Ben Zuckerman. Nate Blaha, Sr., Ridgefield (126): The second half of the Ridgefield twin duo, Nate is the No. 1 seed at 126 pounds after a third-place finish at 113 in the 2020 Class LL meet. He will also be looking for revenge after a second-place finish at the FCIACs. Kai O’Dell, Sr., Danbury (138): This year’s FCIAC tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler is the No. 1 seed in 138 coming off his Class LL first-place finish at 113 over Warde’s Lucas Coleman. Lucas Coleman, Jr., Fairfield Warde (152): After finishing 2nd overall at 113 in the 2020 Class LL meet, Coleman is back for gold in the 152-pound bracket as the top seed. Coleman was the first of two Warde winners in the FCIAC meet, defeating Ridgefield’s Lucas Ferreira by decision 8-6. William Ebert, Sr., Fairfield Warde (170): Ebert is the defending Class LL 145 pound champion, and enters Friday as the No. 1 seed in the 170 pound bracket following his FCIAC pin in just 1:17 during the 170 pound final.

Most intriguing potential matchup: Lukas Cylwik (Trumbull) and Nicholas Augeri (Staples), 220 pounds: Augeri is the No. 1 seed at 220, and was the 195 pound champion in 2020. But he lost in this year’s FCIAC championship to Cylwik, who is the fourth seed going into Friday, setting up a potential meeting in the semifinal round.

CLASS L

Where: Wilton High School

When: Friday, 3 p.m. & Saturday, 10 a.m. (finals scheduled for 3:30 p.m.)

2020 champion: Xavier

Contenders: Xavier, Simsbury, New Milford, Newtown

Wrestlers to watch:

William Hamilton, Sr., Bristol Central (120): Hamilton was the third-place finisher in 2020 at 106 pounds and returns this year as the top seed in the 120 pound division. Evan Lindner, Sr., New Milford (126): Linder captured his first individual SWC title last week while also earning the award for most outstanding career. He was the 106-pound Class L champion in 2020 and has not lost a match this season. Kyle and Dylan Levesque, Xavier: Kyle (a sophmore) and Dylan (senior) were both SCC champions for Xavier, with Kyle taking gold at 126 pounds and Dylan at 138. The brothers will look to add to the family mantle on Saturday. John Mairano, Sr., Simsbury (145): Was the 2020 runner-up at 138 pounds in the Class L meet, losing to New Milford’s Khalil Bourjelli. Mairano is coming off a CCC championship run at 145 pounds and will look for his first state title. Matt Weiner, Sr., Shelton (285): In 2020, Weiner won the SCC and Class LL titles at 285 pounds while finishing 2nd at the State Open. He repeated as SCC champion and was awarded Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.

Most intriguing potential matchup: John Mairano (Simsbury) and Max Piel (New Milford), 145 pounds: The No. 1 seed and 2020 Class L runner up at 138 pounds lost to a New Milford competitor, and currently sits opposite No. 2 Max Piel of New Milford. Piel is undefeated this year and was the SWC 145 pound champion.

CLASS M

Where: East Haven High School

When: Friday, 3 p.m. & Saturday, 10 a.m. (finals scheduled for 3:30 p.m.)

2020 champion: Suffield/Windsor Locks

Contenders: Berlin, RHAM, Branford, Avon, Notre Dame-West Haven, Foran

Wrestlers to watch:

Antonio Madero, Jr., Foran (120): Madero was the fourth place finisher at 113 pounds in the 2020 Class M championship and is looking for more as the top seed at 120 pounds this year. Matty Carrozza, Sr., Brookfield (126): Carrozza was the one who defeated Madero for third place in 2020. Now as the top seed at 126 pounds, Carrozza is looking to avenge his SWC finals loss and get a state championship medal once again. Zackary Kanaitis, Sr., RHAM (138): The Class M 2020 champion at 120 pounds, Kanaitis is the favorite again, this time at 138 pounds. Mason Concascia, Sr., Waterford (152): Concascia was the runner-up at 120 pounds in the 2020 tournament, losing in the finals to Kanaitis. The pair will not compete this year, as Concascia is the top seed at 152 pounds. Josh Nieroda, Sr., Suffield/Windsor Locks (160): Nieroda was the Class M champion at 113 pounds, having outdone both Madero and Carrozza. Now all three are in different weight divisions with Nieroda bumping up to 160 as the top seed.

Most intriguing potential matchup: Jeremy Devine (RHAM) and Joshua Nieroda (Suffield/Windsor Locks), 160 pounds: Nieroda is the No. 1 seed at 160 pounds and won at 113 pounds in 2020, while Devine is the No. 2 seed at 160 and was the fourth place finisher at 126 pounds in 2020.

CLASS S

Where: Killingly High School

When: Friday, 3 p.m. & Saturday, 10 a.m. (finals scheduled for 3:30 p.m.)

2020 champion: Killingly

Contenders: Killingly, Haddam-Killingworth, New Fairfield

Wrestlers to watch:

Joe Mahoney, Fr., New Fairfield (106): The freshman was the SWC champion at 106 and makes his state tournament debut as the top seeded wrestler in the 106-pound division. Ethan Titus, Sr., Canton (120): Titus is the top seed at 120 pounds and was the runner-up at 106 pounds in 2020, when he lost by decision to Kaden Ware of Killingly. Kaden Ware, Sr., Killingly (126): Ware was the Class S champion at 106 pounds in 2020, and is the No. 1 seed this year at 126 pounds. Connor Doran, Sr., Ledyard (132): Doran was the 2020 Class S champion at 113 pounds and is the favorite to take the 132-pound division.

Most intriguing potential matchup: Connor Doran (Ledyard) and Amani Samuel (Killingly), 132: This will be a matchup between the 2020 Class S 113-pound division champion in Doran and third place finisher in Samuel. Both competitors have moved up in weight in the two years since medaling together, with the two set to potentially meet in the quarter final round.