Preston's victory leads Ridgefield at FCIAC wrestling
Led by a division title from senior Simon Preston, the Ridgefield High wrestling team finished sixth at the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship on Saturday in New Canaan.
Ridgefield had 91 points to edge Westhill, which was seventh with 90 points.
Danbury, as usual, finished first with 242 points, 40 more than runner-up Fairfield Warde. It was the eighth straight conference title and 31st in 32 years for the Hatters.
Preston, the second seed at 160 provided, the signature moment for Ridgefield. Following a first-round bye, Preston pinned Jarrett Chase of Westhill in 53 seconds and Jonathan Davila of McMahon in 52 seconds.
Those quick wins sent Preston into the championship finals against unbeaten top-seed Izaake Zukerman of Fairfield Warde. Zukerman had handed Preston his only two losses earlier in the season and looked headed for another triumph when he opened a 4-0 lead late in the second period.
But Preston wasn't about to cave.
"When I was down 4-0, I knew I needed to stay composed and couldn't break mentally," said Preston. "I was sure I would see an opening, and I capitalized off of it when it came."
With one skilled move, Preston was able to flip Zukerman and pin him at the 3:58 mark of the match.
"I have been doing this move, the lat drop, for a few years now and it is always a great move to have in my back pocket," said Preston.
Also reaching the title match for the Tigers was senior Peter Murray, the third seed at 145 pounds. Murray used a first-round bye and two decisions — 9-3 over Trumbull's William Holmes and 10-8 over second-seed Nate Sibbett of New Canaan — to advance to the championship finals, where he lost a close 11-9 decision against top-seed Garey Mendez of Stamford.
Two other Ridgefield wrestlers, junior Ben Smart and senior Jesse Walker won consolation finals to finish third in their respective weight classes.
After losing a 5-2 decision to second-seed Chase Parrott of Westhill in the semifinals, Smart (the third seed) won a 4-2 decision and then pinned Norwalk's Sam White in 2:21 to place third at 120 pounds.
Seeded third at 132 pounds, Walker was edged by second-seed Alex Steele, 7-6, in the semifinals but recovered to win a 5-2 decision before beating New Canaan's Luigi DeRubeis, 9-0, in the third-place match.
Spencer Carlson (106 pounds), Riley Courtney (113), and Sam Klotz (220) had one victory apiece for the Tigers before losing two straight matches and bowing out of the tournament.
Jesse Chelednik (126), Chris Colucci (138), Liam Keppler (170), and Jackson Trotter (182) all lost in the first round for Ridgefield.
The Tigers did not have wrestlers at 152, 195, or 285 pounds.
Notes: For complete results of each weight class, click here.