Xavier captures second straight Class L wrestling crown

WILTON — Two years ago, when the CIAC last held its postseason wrestling tournaments, Xavier defeated Simsbury by a two-and-a-half point margin, coming from behind in the finals to claim the Class L crown.

The Falcons repeated as Class L champions on Saturday, but this time, it wasn’t quite so heart-pounding.

Xavier had five individual champions among its nine finalists while racking up 318.5 points and winning the crown by 84 points at the Nicholas Zeoli Field House in Wilton. Simsbury was second with 234.5 points, with Newtown (173.5), New Milford (159) and Guilford (142) in the top five.

The 318.5 points breaks the old state tournament record of 311.5, set by Danbury in Class LL in 2005, according to the 2021 Connecticut High School Wrestling Record Book. The record book lists Ledyard’s 269 points in 1999 as the previous high in Class L.

“They earned this,” Xavier coach Mike Cunningham said. “They come in every day, they work hard and they don’t complain. I’m proud of them. We had a great quarterfinal (Friday) night to get into the semis, so we had 11 in the semis and that helps. It gives you more opportunities.”

“The biggest part of this is that we’re always pushing each other to be better,” senior Dylan Levesque said. “It really helps having a good partner in practice to push you.”

Levesque was the No. 1 seed at 138 pounds and defeated No. 2 Marc Maurath of Newtown in an 18-6 major decision.

At 220, No. 2 Thomas Lunt, another Xavier senior, defeated top-seeded James Duhancik of Stratford 9-6.

The Falcons won the first three matches of the finals, with sophomore Raekwon Shabazz pinning New Milford’s Alex Oberc in 1:27 at 106 pounds, and freshman Max Morse winning a 9-1 major decision against Simsbury’s Griffin DeVivo at 113.

In the 120-pound final, Falcons’ freshman Jackson Heslin, the No. 6 seed, turned the tables on top-seeded William Hamilton of Bristol Central, scoring a takedown and a nearfall in the final seconds for an 8-5 victory.

“I just didn’t think,” Heslin said. “That’s my go-to move and it was just I know what I’m doing, I know what I’m hitting, I’m going after him. Hopefully I’ll see him again next weekend. He’s a great wrestler.”

“I think the kids definitely fed off of that (win),” Cunningham said. “They’re a team and that was really exciting for them.”

With nine finalists in Class L, and 10 champions in the SCC, the tournament’s have taken on a feel of Xavier against the world.

“When we have that many finalists it sometimes feels like everybody is rooting against you,” Levesque said. “Coach Cunningham always says you have to ignore the outside noise. We try to focus on one moment and one match at a time, which really helps.”

HEAVYWEIGHT PERFORMANCE

Shelton’s 6-foot-3, 315-pound senior Matt Weiner certainly wasn’t wasting any time while winning the Class L heavyweight crown.

The No. 1 seed, Weiner won all four of his matches via pinfall in less than a minute, spending just 1:47 of mat time in the tournament. He was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

“I felt really loose,” Weiner said. “I used to get a little nervous before big matches, but I didn’t feel that today, which is a good thing. I think that’s why I did so well.”

Weiner won his title bout against Xavier’s Vincent Scileppi in 30 seconds, getting a quick two points on a takedown before ending the match.

He needed just 14 seconds to win his first match against Harding’s Terrance Carter on Friday, and pinned Guilford’s Logan Murphy in 16 seconds in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, he defeated Simsbury’s Begench Benny Kulyyev in 47 seconds.

“During the regular season, usually I’ll let them up, take them down and get some work in,” Weiner said. “But when postseason comes, you’ve got to pin them when you can. Take that first opportunity.”

GUILFORD GOES 3-FOR-3

The Grizzlies were perfect in the title bouts, with senior tri-captains Ed Barlage, Brent Strand and Chris Murphy winning championships.

After missing out on a high school season last year, Guilford coach Craig Vedrani was even happier to see his seniors finish in the winner’s circle.

“It makes it even sweeter,” Vedrani said. “You’ve had one less chance to win it. All three of these guys would’ve had great shots to win it last year. So not to have it last year and still come back and have all three of them win this year is really special.”

At 160, Barlage defeated Alexander Marshall of Bristol Eastern 3-2; at182, Strand shut out Shane Hurley of Farmington 6-0; and at 195, Murphy pinned Devon Schmidt, also of Farmington, in 1:03.

SIMSBURY TAKES TWO

Simsbury had a pair of individual champions, with John Mairano defeating Max Piel of New Milford 17-2 at 145, and Zach Johns defeating Colin Loria of Xavier 9-1.

At 126 pounds, New Milford’s Eva Lindner was a 9-2 winner over Kyle Levasque of Xavier; at 132, Luca Manfredi of Newtown came from behind to defeat Anthony Basile of Xavier 10-9; and at 170, Middletown’s Jesse Baldwin defeated Daniel Hand’s John Portley 3-0.

david.stewart@hearstmediact.com; @dstewartsports

CLASS L AT WILTON

Team Scores: 1. Xavier 318.5; 2. Simsbury 234.5; 3. Newtown 173.5; 4. New Milford 159; 5. Guilford 142; 6. Stratford 139; 7. Farmington 106; 8. Pomperaug 102.5; 9. Bristol Eastern 91; 10. Daniel Hand 84; 11. Bristol Central 72; 12. South Windsor 66.5; 13. New Canaan 64; 14. Fitch 59; 14. Shelton 59; 16. Maloney 58; 17. Wethersfield 44; 18. Middletown 39; 19. Windsor 38; 20. Wilton 37; 21. Newington 31; 22. Darien 24.5; 23. Harding 23; 24. Cheshire 15

106 LBS

1st Raekwon Shabazz (Xavier) F Alex Oberc (New Milford), 1:27

3rd Tommy Milligan (Newtown) DEC Coleman Finn (Simsbury), 9-2

5th Emin Ismaili (Pomperaug) TF Lilliana Fraize (South Windsor), 17-2 4:35

113 LBS

1st Maximus Morse (Xavier) MD Griffin Devivo (Simsbury), 9-1

3rd John Fernandes (Guilford) DEC Graham Ziperstein (Shelton), 12-6

5th Kenna Gioffre (Newtown) DEC Luca Ursini (Fitch), 7-1

120 LBS

1st Jackson Heslin (Xavier) DEC William Hamilton (Bristol Central), 8-5

3rd Ben Plaue (Newtown) DEC Jason Guglietta (Farmington), 3-2

5th Onil Carrion (Maloney) DEC Jacob Gordon (South Windsor), 6-1

126 LBS

1st Evan Lindner (New Milford) DEC Kyle Levesque (Xavier), 9-2

3rd Joseph Mastroianni (Pomperaug) MD John Granger (Simsbury), 11-2

5th Gabe White (Bristol Eastern) F Jack Wiesbrock (Daniel Hand), 2:20

132 LBS

1st Luca Manfredi (Newtown) DEC Anthony Basile (Xavier), 10-9

3rd Cael Finn (Simsbury) MD Tynan Lim (New Milford), 16-2

5th Nathaniel Nagel (Stratford) DEC Julianna Morris (Pomperaug), 5-2

138 LBS

1st Dylan Levesque (Xavier) MD Marc Maurath (Newtown), 18-6

3rd Rj Decamillo (New Canaan) DEC Braden Olmstead (New Milford), 4-0

5th Tom Krystopa (Wethersfield) F James Devivo (Simsbury), 3:36

145 LBS

1st John Mairano (Simsbury) TF Maximus Piel (New Milford), 17-2 5:13

3rd Matthew Ferrucci (Xavier) DEC Brendan Mcanaspie (Newtown), 11-5

5th Joshua Kydes (Stratford) DEC Aiden Adams (Farmington), 9-3

152 LBS

1st Zach Johns (Simsbury) MD Colin Loria (Xavier), 9-1

3rd Michael Carpenter (Pomperaug) DEC Eliano Cruz (Newington), 6-2

5th Cameron Chieppo (Daniel Hand) F Umar Malick (Bristol Central), 3:55

160 LBS

1st Edward Barlage (Guilford) DEC Alexander Marshall (Bristol Eastern), 3-2

3rd Charles Weidman (Xavier) DEC Chad Mairano (Simsbury), 6-5

5th Fisher Stites (Newtown) FOR Melakai Maddox (Fitch), 0-0

170 LBS

1st Jesse Baldwin (Middletown) DEC John Portley (Daniel Hand), 3-0

3rd Zachary Hartman (Pomperaug) MD Angelo Fernandez (New Milford), 11-3

5th Justin Duhancik (Stratford) F Alejandro Coldberg (Guilford), 3:54

182 LBS

1st Brent Strand (Guilford) DEC Shane Hurley (Farmington), 6-0

3rd Jake Kszywanos (Stratford) DEC Ronan Moynihan (Xavier), 11-8

5th Dylan Piazza (Bristol Eastern) F Joseph Della ripa (South Windsor), 1:44

195 LBS

1st Christopher Murphy (Guilford) F Devon Schmidt (Farmington), 1:03

3rd Chris Jeudy (Stratford) F Dayanch Kulyyev (Simsbury), 2:28

5th Acea Shaham (Newtown) F Daejon Nixon (Maloney), 3:37

220 LBS

1st Thomas Lunt (Xavier) DEC James Duhancik (Stratford), 9-6

3rd Michael Reddick (Maloney) F Gilbert Clay (New Canaan), 0:34

5th Chefren Spodnik (Harding) DEF Cal Muese (Fitch)

285 LBS

1st Matt Weiner (Shelton) F Vincent Scileppi (Xavier), 0:30

3rd Tyler Burgos (Wethersfield) F Begench benny Kulyyev (Simsbury), 1:39

5th Dominic Cassarino (Farmington) DEC Ty Ambroise (Fitch), 3-0