Depth leads Trumbull to Class LL wrestling championship, first state title

TRUMBULL - For the first time, Trumbull wrestling is a state champion.

With eight wrestlers reaching the podium, led by two runner-up finishes, Trumbull collected 181 points and edged East Hartford by three-and-a half-points for the 2023 CIAC Class LL crown Saturday in Trumbull.

It wasn’t exactly out of the blue, the Eagles were fourth at the FCIAC and have been ranked in the state’s top 10 several times this season. But in a class which features last year’s co-champions East Hartford and Danbury, not to mention FCIAC champion Warde, the road was imposing.

“We wrestled over our heads and everybody contributed,” Trumbull coach Charlie Anderson said. “We got points from every single person on the team and that’s what you’ve got to do to win this.”

Trumbull was a state runner-up at the Open in 2019 and in Class LL in 2013.

It’s also the first state title for Anderson, who has more than 350 career wins.

It was a wild tournament, with 11 teams scoring over 100 points and just 31 separating fifth place from first. East Hartford scored 177.5 points, Danbury took third place with 172.5, followed by fourth-place Warde (158.5) and fifth-place Southington (150).

The Eagles didn’t have a weight class winner, but received a pair of runner-up finishes from Sam Lapham at 152 pounds, and Mike Gianetti at 220, and third-place finishes from Warren Little (170), Aethan Munden (195) and Lukas Cylwik (285).

“Everyone has worked so hard and every though we only had two finalists, we had more in the FCIACs, everyone was fighting in the (consolations) to get the points we needed to win,” Lapham said. “It was a huge team victory and effort even with no first-place winners.”

“I think they’re better than they know,” Anderson said. “All year long we’ve been right on the outside on that top 10, and then we have a good weekend but somebody else has a better one. But I think everybody now is going to realize we’re not that and, and our kids are going to start to realize it.”

A trio of champs for East Hartford

East Hartford, which tied Danbury in last year’s final, came into the tournament’s second day trailing by fewer than eight points and stayed hot on Trumbull’s trail the rest of the way.

The Hornets had five finalists and three weight class champions.

“The tournament was fantastic,” East Hartford coach Todd Albert said. “I give a lot of credit to Trumbull. They snuck up on us (Friday) night a little bit and they wrestled well. We had five guys in the finals, a couple of matches don’t go your way and unfortunately we didn’t have anything in the (consolations) this year and that was hard. But overall we did well, so I’m proud of my guys.”

East Hartford’s Jaeckez Mendez, Drayvn Roberts and Isaac Quiles all winning championships. For Roberts and Quiles, it was their second state titles.

Mendez won at 138 pounds, scoring the final six points for an 8-4 decision over Southington’s Josh Howard.

At 160, Roberts edged Lincoln Carlson of East Lyme/Norwich Tech 4-2; and at 120, Quiles pinned Dominic Barella of Ridgefield in 3:38.

With all three wrestles just sophomores, the Hornets have a great foundation for the next few years.

“It changes the dynamic in the room,” Albert said. “They’re such young kids and they kind of help lead the way. We have one senior graduating and a couple of juniors, but having those sophomores is huge. They’re going to be around for a few years and they’re going to continue to be leaders in the room and show the ropes to the other kids who are coming up and haven’t been there before.”

Quite a sight

Brien McMahon’s Zavier Hernandez won a Class LL championship on Saturday.

He didn’t exactly see it, though. At least not clearly.

“I lost both my contacts in the first period so I was squinting towards the time, squinting towards my coaches,” Hernandez said with a smile.

With or without contacts, however, Hernandez has been picture perfect this postseason.

After winning an FCIAC title last week, the senior was seeded fourth at 145 pounds, and worked his way through four victories and knocked top-seeded William Smith of Fairfield Prep into the consolations with a 5-2 semifinal win.

During his match against No. 2 Yaxier Rivera of East Hartford in the final, Hernandez said he was hit with a crossface in the first period and both contacts fell to the mat at the same time.

That first frame ended scoreless, and the two wrestlers were 2-2 in the second period. In the third, Hernandez scored two points on a reversal with 1:07 remaining and was able to ride it out for the title.

While he couldn’t see the time clearly, Hernandez knew he was close when he looked towards the crowd.

“I had it once I saw my dad jumping up and down,” Hernandez said. “'He was saying ‘you’re good, you’re good!’ It was awesome.”

So far this postseason, Hernandez is 7-0 boosting his season record to 25-1.

“Going into the states, I was wrestling in practice and I hurt my knee, so I was pretty bummed out and my confidence went down,” Hernandez said. “But it’s my last year, I’m a senior and I might as well give it all I have and it’s paid off.

Round three

Warde’s Dominick Spadaro and Norwalk’s Phoenix Gardella are making overtime a habit.

For the third time this season, the two seniors needed overtime to determine a winner as Spadaro scored a two-point takedown to win the Class LL 126-pound championship.

It was a turnabout from their last meeting a week earlier, when it was Gardella scoring the takedown in overtime to win an FCIAC title 6-4.

When he won, Spadaro, the No. 2 seed, raised his arms to the crowd in an emotional moment after beating the No. 1-seeded Gardella.

“It feels amazing,” Spadaro said. “I faced him twice this year and I lost two tough ones in overtime. But I’ve been training every day, fixing things up and I just knew I was ready to win.”

Spadaro had a 2-0 lead after two periods before Gardella hit a takedown for two points and a tied match.

In the overtime, Spadaro had one thought: “I’ve just got to get to the legs. I’m a better scrambler so if I got to the legs, I was going to score.”

Spadaro's title was one of three for the Mustangs. Nehemias Pettway, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler, pinned Gianetti in 4:44 at 220 pounds, and Owen Sheiman edged New Britain’s Cameron Cardona 4-2 at 113 pounds.

Danbury also had three weight class champs, with heavyweight Nuh Ajdinoski defeating Fairfield Prep’s 3-2 in 4 OTs; Cristian Pote defeating Staples’ Jack Francis 6-0 at 106 pounds; and Dominic Iaquinto defeated Brayden Soleau 5-4 at 182 pounds.

Southington’s Colton Thorpe pinned Ludlowe’s Dylan Sherman at 3:38 for the 132-pound title; and Ludlowe’s Donnell Young pinned Lapham in 4:29 at 152 pounds.

Norwalk senior brothers Ryan and Brendan Gilchrist added state championships to their FCIAC titles in Saturday, both out of No. 1 seeds. Ryan scored a pinfall victory over Manchester’s Tai Phillipe Harris at 3:39 in the 170-pound weight class.

At 195, Brendan won his second straight state championship with an 11-4 decision over East Hartford’s Sammy Montovani. Both wrestlers came into the match undefeated this season and could meet again in next week’s State Open.; @dstewartsports

CIAC Class LL Wrestling Tournament

At Trumbull

Team scores: 1 Trumbull 181, 2 East Hartford 177.5, 3 Danbury 172.5, 4 Warde 158.5, 5 Southington 150, 6 Ludlowe 135, 7 Fairfield Prep 128, 8 Norwalk 127, 9 Ridgefield 107, 10 Hall 106, 11 NFA 102, 12 Glastonbury 89, 13 East Lyme/Norwich Tech, 14 (tie) Enfield and New Britain 73, 16 Staples 72, 17 Manchester 67, 18 Brien McMahon 47.5, 19 Greenwich 45, 20 Stamford 28, 21 Conard 22, 22 Darien 20, 23 New Haven 19, 24 Westhill 16.

Weight class finals

106 LBS

1st: Cristian Pote (Danbury) dec. Jack Francis (Staples), 6-0

3rd: Michael Ortiz (Hall) dec. Joseph Garofalo (Southington), 4-2

5th: Oscar Rodriquez (Trumbull) dec. Samantha Yap (Stamford), 5-0

113 LBS

1st: Owen Sheiman (Fairfield Warde) dec. Cameron Cardona (New Britain), 4-2

3rd: Ryan Laing (Norwalk) dec. Calli Gilchrist (Brien McMahon), 4-2 SV

5th: Ryan Ouelette (Glastonbury) pinned Armen Arakelian (Conard), 2:37

120 LBS

1st: Isaac Quiles (East Hartford) pinned Dominic Barrella (Ridgefield), 4:31

3rd: Jaiden James (Norwich Free Academy) dec. Sebastian Rodriguez (Fairfield Prep), 2-0

5th: Victor Velez (Danbury) dec. Shane Ryan (Trumbull), 6-1

126 LBS

1st: Dominick Spadaro (Fairfield Warde) dec. Phoenix Gardella (Norwalk), 4-2 SV

3rd: Jared Mangiafico (Southington) dec. Ethan Buonanducci (Enfield), 7-0

5th: Antonio Ortiz West (Hall) dec. John Carrozza (Ridgefield), 3-2

132 LBS

1st: Colton Thorpe (Southington) [pnned Dylan Sherman (Fairfield Ludlowe), 3:38

3rd: Jack Dean (Fairfield Warde) dec. Laitham Arias (Hall), 5-0

5th: Leo Moore (Ridgefield) dec. Ioannis Rountos (Danbury), 4-0

138 LBS

1st: Jaeckez Mendez (East Hartford) dec. Josh Howard (Southington), 8-4

3rd: Nick Fatone (Norwalk) dec. Victor Petkov (Ridgefield), 4-2

5th: Andrew De la rosa (Glastonbury) major dec. Dugan Marsh (Norwich Free Academy), 11-0

145 LBS

1st: Zavier Hernandez (Brien McMahon) dec. Yaxier Rivera (East Hartford), 4-2

3rd: William Smith  (Fairfield Prep) major dec. Joseph Morse (East Lyme/Norwich Tech), 13-4

5th: Kyle Amirault (Glastonbury) won by forfeit Luviss Offarill (New Britain)

152 LBS

1st: Donell Young (Fairfield Ludlowe) pinned Sam Lapham (Trumbull), 4:29

3rd: Thomas Brunelli (Norwich Free Academy) pinned Ryan Zydanowicz (Hall), 3:22

5th: Elijah Asberry (Manchester) pinned K'dyn Mcbride (Enfield), 4:33

160 LBS

1st: Drayvn Roberts (East Hartford) dec. Lincoln Carlson (East Lyme/Norwich Tech), 4-2

3rd: Lucas Rosen (Staples) dec. Noah Colon (Manchester), 7-4

5th: Jeffrey Hutzelmann (Fairfield Ludlowe) dec. Alex Sparks-Bakota (Trumbull), 2-0

170 LBS

1st: Ryan Gilchrist (Norwalk) pinned Tai Phillippe Harris (Manchester), 3:39

3rd: Warren Little (Trumbull) pinned Luke Raisanen (Fairfield Ludlowe), 0:38

5th: Tyler Smith (Fairfield Prep) pinned Patrick Jensen (Hall), 1:00

182 LBS

1st: Dominic Iaquinto (Danbury) dec. Brayden Soleau (East Lyme/Norwich Tech), 5-4

3rd: Andrey Kosygin (Ridgefield) pinned Zaire Wallace (Norwich Free Academy), 4:16

5th: Troy Giaccone (Glastonbury) pinned Louis Soracco (Fairfield Warde), 2:33

195 LBS

1st: Brendan Gilchrist (Norwalk) dec. Sammy Montovani (East Hartford), 11-4

3rd: Aethan Munden (Trumbull) dec. Daniel Craig (Danbury), 3-1 SV

5th: Brian Seiler (Fairfield Ludlowe) dec. Benjamin Virgulak (Fairfield Prep), 6-2

220 LBS

1st: Nehemias Pettway (Fairfield Warde) pinned Mike Gianetti (Trumbull), 4:44

3rd: Jhonnyel Ramirez (Danbury) dec. Aaron Mysatyukow (Southington), 4-2

5th: David Kamladze (Fairfield Ludlowe) dec. Michael Zapor (New Britain), 3-0

285 LBS

1st: Nuh Ajdinoski (Danbury) dec. Malachi Mercer-Robinson (Fairfield Prep), 3-2 UTB

3rd: Lukas Cylwik (Trumbull) dec. Keonta Crawford (Enfield), 8-1

5th: Andrew Falla (Greenwich) major dec. Justin Bonilla (New Haven), 13-4