New Milford defends SWC wrestling title, captures 13th championship in 15 years

NEW MILFORD — For the second time this week, a New Milford program has defended its SWC title in the comfort of its home gym.

On Saturday, the New Milford wrestling team claimed its second straight SWC title and its 13th title in 15 years.

New Milford’s 181.50 points edged out second-place Newtown (171 points) in a repeat of the 2020 SWC championship.

In the regular season, New Milford went 6-1 in state meets with its lone loss coming to Newtown. But on the big stage, the Green Wave, led by Evan Lindner and Max Piel, were victorious.

New Milford had eight wrestlers medal with Lindner (126) earning his first SWC individual title and Piel (145) earning his second.

“It feels good. I am happier for the team win than me,” Piel said. “I have always felt like we could do it this year, and we achieved our goal. Next is states.”

It took until his senior season, but Lindner can finally add an SWC gold medal to his decorated resume after finals losses as a freshman and sophomore.

“I have had a lot of heartbreak SWC finals, one overtime loss, one last- second reversal freshman and sophomore year and last year no season,” Lindner said. “It felt good to finally get a win, and one against a really good opponent.”

Lindner was also named the Most Outstanding Career in the SWC award following the tournament.

“Every year we get together as coaches and we vote on a senior who had a career that is thought of as exceptional as a wrestler and a class act on and off the mat,” New Milford coach Chris Piel said. “Evan fits the build for that.”

“It means a lot, and it means consistency,” Lindner said. “I really like to be consistent. Anybody can have one good performance, but to do it for four years, it feels great and shows the hard work I have put in.”

While Lindner and Max Piel led the way, strong third-place performances made the difference for New Milford to get past Newtown, which had six wrestlers in the finals.

Tynan Lim and Xavier Marchena both medaled with second-place finishes for New Milford.

“The kids really wrestled well and some of our big guys came to play today,” Chris Piel said. “Ricky Fernandez and Chris Reiss got key pins in the wrestle-backs along with Alex Oberg. I told the kids at the beginning that this would be won in the wrestle-backs, and sure enough it was.”

Fernandez, Reiss and Oberg each battled back from losses to finish third in their respective weight classes, highlighted by Reiss defeating Newtown’s Chris Rice in the 220 bracket.

Newtown finished second for the second season in a row, with three first-place finishers and seven total induvial medalists.

“I could not be more proud of this team,” Newtown coach Tom Maurath said. “We certainly have a good and healthy rivalry with New Milford, there is a lot of mutual respect between the programs from youth to high school, and that helps both programs get stronger.”

Ben Plaue (120), Luca Manfredi (132) and Fisher Stites (170) were the three Nighthawks winners.

“Ben and Luca are both juniors and captains, they really do a great job of motivating the team and they lead by example,” Maurath said. “Fisher is a sophomore, and we actually asked him to bump up from 160 to 170 today to help us with team points. He is one of those wrestlers who will always put team first. I look forward to him at his regular weight going hard at states.”

Pomperaug finished third as a team with 140 points, boasting two winners and three third-place finishers, including SWC MVP Michael Carpenter.

Carpenter claimed his second SWC individual title after winning as a sophomore two years ago. This year he won the 152-pound division, pinning all four of his opponents on the day.

“It feels great, I came in wanting to dominate every match,” Carpenter said. “I wrestled as hard as I could. I have been envisioning this for two years, I wish I got it three times but after the year off it feels so sweet.”

With the first leg of the postseason complete, New Milford will look to continue its success in Class L and the State Open.

“This definitely builds momentum and confidence going forward,” Max Piel said. “We are just going to get our guys ready and see what happens next.”

SWC Wrestling Championships

Final Team Results: 1. New Milford, 181.5; 2. Newtown, 171; 3 Pomperaug, 140; 4. Stratford, 137; 5. New Fairfield, 109.5; 6. Bunnell, 100; 7. Weston, 84; 8. Brookfield, 58.5; 9. Bethel, 39; 10. Joel Barlow, 37; 11. Masuk, 20.

Most Outstanding Wrestler: Michael Carpenter (Pomperaug), 152 lbs.

Championship Matches

106 — Joe Mahoney (New Fairfield) technical fall Tommy Milligan (Newtown), 17-0

113 — Jerry Hill (Bethel) dec. Kenna Gioffre (Newtown), 9-7 OT

120 — Ben Plaue (Newtown) dec. Tynan Lim (New Milford), 8-2

126 — Evan Lindner (New Milford) dec. Matty Carrozza (Brookfield), 3-0

132 — Luca Manfredi (Newtown) pin Scott Romano (Barlow), 3.23

138 — Tom Bock (New Fairfield) pin Marc Maurath (Newtown), 1:32

145 — Max Piel (New Milford) pin Tyler Peterson (New Fairfield), 1:30

152 — Michael Carpenter (Pomperaug) pin Xavier Marchena (New Milford), 3:30

160 — Aidan Gilchrist (Pomperaug) pin Dante Bouchard (Brookfield), 5:24

170 — Fisher Stites (Newtown) dec Ryan McLaughlin (Bunnell), 11-6

182 — Jake Kszywanos (Stratford) dec Kieran McGuire (Weston), 8-1

195 — Nick DeManche (Bunnell) pin Chris Jeudy (Stratford), 0:43

220 — James Duhancik (Stratford) major dec. Brandon Toscano (Bunnell), 9-1

285 — Doug Traynor (New Fairfield) pin Jadon Lafontant (Stratford), 2:46