Smart leads Ridgefield wrestlers at State Open
With two wrestlers placing in the top six, the Ridgefield High wrestling team finished 28th at the State Open meet Saturday in New Haven.
Ridgefield had 31.5 points to nestle between Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech (27th with 32 points) and East Hartford and Middletown (tied for 29th place with 31 points).
Danbury was first with 212.5 points, well ahead of runner-up Newtown (90 points) and third-place Fairfield Warde (86.5 points). Six Danbury wrestlers won weight-class titles.
Ridgefield's best finish came from sophomore Ben Smart, who finished fourth at 106 points and qualified for the upcoming New England championships (top-five finishers in each weight class).
After losing a 13-4 major decision to eventual finalist Chris Trelli of Bristol Central, Smart won four straight matches in the consolation bracket. The last of those triumphs, a 7-3 decision over Wilton's Travis Longo, sent Smart into the match for third place, which he lost to top-seed Jared Kosman of Fitch, 4-0.
Also placing for the Tigers was junior Jesse Walker, who finished sixth at 126 pounds. Walker won his opening two matches (by pin and technical fall) to reach the quarterfinals, where he lost a 12-10 decision to top-seed Mel Ortiz of New Milford.
In the consolation bracket, Walker won two matches (a 4-2 decision and a 10-4 decision) before dropping an 11-3 major decision to Trumbull's Tristan Haviland. Walker then lost a 15-6 major decision to Montville's Noah Caskey in the match for fifth place.
Notes: Simon Preston (145 pounds), Liam Courtney (152), Brian Showstead (160), and Chris D'Entrone (195) also competed for Ridgefield at the State Open. Preston went 2-2, reaching the final eight in the consolation bracket, while Courtney, Showstead and D'Entrone all went 0-2.
In total, the FCIAC had seven individual champions and nine finalists. In the finals, conference wrestlers were 7-2, with both losses coming in head-to-head match-ups of FCIAC opponents.