Nonnewaug wrestling wins Berkshire-Valley Postseason Invitational

WINSTED — Nonnewaug won the Berkshire-Valley Postseason Invitational in an 11-team wrestling tournament Saturday at The Gilbert School that, in many ways, was like the re-invention of the sport.

After a year off thanks to the COVID pandemic, the Chiefs had a shaky pre-tournament numbers advantage with 12 wrestlers Saturday, but it was hard to rely on numbers in a year in which many veterans graduated and nobody else wrestled.

Three-time defending champion Gilbert, with just five kids on its team this year, finished second.

Shepaug Valley, with three wrestlers attached to Nonnewaug for training, finished fourth, all three of the Spartans finishing as champions.

“We had only one returning wrestler,” said Yellowjacket coach Derek Schibi. “It was like rebuilding from when I came to Gilbert eight years ago.”

“We have juniors, sophomores and freshmen who have never been there before,” said Nonnewaug coach Dave Green. “This is our first tournament all year.

“Last year, when we got the okay, we did workouts,” Green said. “It was awesome. The kids just wanted to be there. Our workouts told them we were willing to fight for them.”

In a sport in which experience can be crucial, that attitude was part of the winning equation Saturday, for Shepaug’s wrestlers as well as Nonnewaug’s.

“It’s like we’re almost part of the team,” said Shepaug’s Kip Faison, a sophomore who won at 138 pounds just before his brother Lane, a senior, took the 145 crown and Spartan senior Brendan Kelly won at 152.

“The only bad part was I knew I would have to wrestle Nonnewaug people,” Kip said.

Ironically, the Faison brothers each won against a Nonnewaug opponent.

On a day in which just six of the 11 schools could field the required four or more wrestlers for official team status, the experience vs. inexperience factor rang loudest when Derby/Oxford/Holy Cross’s George Suazo, Nonnewaug’s Jack Wendel and Seymour’s Anthony Deicicchi each pinned his final opponent in less than a minute.

Elias Sturdevant, the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler took a 15-4 major decision.

Lack of numbers showed up in round robin formats for many of the weight classes vs. traditional ladders.

Derby/Oxford/Holy Cross brothers Don and Anthony Shivas were the only wrestlers at 285.

Still, the effort was more than worthwhile.

“It’s a confidence builder,” said Gilbert’s Coach Schibi, as the meet’s wrestlers look forward to the two-day state class tournaments beginning next Friday.

That, too, will be a re-invention for many of them.

“You don’t know who you’re wrestling — especially the sophomores,” said Nonnewaug’s Wendel, 24-0 this season as a junior.

“It’s always nervous,” Wendel said. “The trick is to train to the point of getting better, but not to the point of exhaustion.

“I can’t wait,” he grinned.

Berkshire-Valley Postseason Invitational

At The Gilbert School

Team Scores: 1. Nonnewaug 104; 2. Gilbert 84; 3. Terryville/Thomaston 71; 4. Shepaug Valley 56; 5. Derby/Oxford/Holy Cross 55; 6. St. Paul Catholic 38; 7. Seymour 27; 8. Northwestern 20; 9. Woodland 19; 10. Watertown 18; 11. Torrington 16.

Individual Championships

106: Ryan Lewandoski, Terryville/Thomaston pinned Madison Arthur, Gilbert, 3:57.

113: Stephen Kovaleski, Watertown pinned Todd Green, 5:13.

120: Sam Gonsalves, Gilbert pinned Trevor Llewellyn, Torrington, 2:25.

126: Hasam Abdullah, Gilbert dec. Chris Stager, Terryville/Thomaston, 7-2.

132: Elias Sturdevant, Woodland major dec. Jonathan Eagan, Gilbert, 15-4.

138: Kip Faison, Shepaug pinned Jeff Bernardi, Nonnewaug, 3:11.

145: Lane Faison, Shepaug pinned R.J. Barksdale, Nonnewaug, 3:53.

152: Brendan Kelly, Shepaug pinned Carlos Rivas, Gilbert, 3:58.

160: George Suazo, Derby/Oxford/Holy Cross pinned Keegan Hill, St. Paul, :40.

170: Jack Wendel, Nonnewaug pinned Dylan Bird, St. Paul, :27.

182: Anthony Deicicchi, Seymour pinned Bryan Ambros, St. Paul, :36.

195: Jacob Marques, Nonnewaug pinned Vincent Ockenfels, Terryville/Thomaston, 5:35.

220: Peyton Cocchiola, Nonnewaug pinned Benjamin Iannantuoni, Derby/Oxford/Holy Cross, 2:33.

285: Don Shivas, Derby/Oxford/Holy Cross, dec. Anthony Shivas, Derby/Oxford/Holy Cross, 10-7.

Outstanding Tournament Wrestler: Elias Sturdevant, Woodland