For the fifth time in its six-year history, the Fairfield Warde wrestling team captured the team title Saturday night at the Warde Invitational in the Mustangs' gym. Led by winners in three weight classes, Warde earned 220 team points and defeated runner-up Simsbury (181), which won last year's invitational, by 39 points.
Mustangs' freshman Tim Kane won the 115-pound division and earned Most Outstanding Wrestler honors as voted by the coaches. Teammate Dan Ebert, a junior, won the competition at 128 pounds, and junior Ahmed Hourani was victorious in the heavyweight division for wrestlers weighing 287 pounds or more.
Mustangs' senior captain Dylan Bender was runner-up to Montville's Jacob Caskey at 140 pounds. Senior Anthony Rotz won the consolation final at 154 pounds for Warde and placed third, as did senior Alex Mayer at 197 pounds, defeating Nathan Nelson, of Fairfield Ludlowe. Junior Phil Neamonitis lost the consolation finals for Warde at 147 pounds and finished in fourth place, as did junior Mike Sheets at 172 pounds and Mustangs' junior Jordi Proskintopoulos at 222 pounds. Warde senior Colin Ventura finished fifth at 162 pounds, and Warde senior Ustav Shrestha won the 101-pound division, which was an exhibition weight class and did not figure in the team standings.
Mahopac, N.Y., just outside Brewster, N.Y., finished third as a team with 163 points, followed by Montville (138Â½) and Fairfield Ludlowe (138) in fifth place. The field included 13 teams, with Warde and Mahopac each entering a second team. Competition began at 9:30 a.m.
Warde coach Jason Shaughnessy said losing to Simsbury last January provided motivation for the Mustangs to reclaim the team title. "This is our gym, these are our mats, we did not want to lose again," Shaughnessy said. "We wrestled fairly well. Right now I'm thinking about where we can continue to do better. There were a bunch of matches we lost that we could've won.
"Simsbury's fifth in the latest (state) poll (Warde fourth) and we won by 40 points. There are a lot of good teams here -- Montville and Mahopac and Ludlowe is an improving team," Shaughnessy said.
"We've got to learn how to win the close matches and how to wrestle back. The ability to wrestle after you lose is a key in this sport."
Kane's goal was to win the tournament, following his brother Charlie Kane, who won here last year. Charlie Kane is recovering from a back injury and did not compete. His return to the Mustangs is unknown. Tim Kane is 9-0 on the season and his goal, he said, is to try to stay undefeated.
He received a bye into the third round where he pinned Owen Brown, of Cheshire. Kane defeated Joe Morth in the semifinals by 5-0, then won the weight class with a first-period pin over Ludlowe's Eric Kirchgasser. Kirchgasser was one of seven Falcons to reach the team-scoring finals from where the top six placers in each weight class were determined.
Ludlowe, which finished third in 2012, was led by sophomore Chase Lind's victory over Chris Mazur, of Westhill, at 147 pounds. In addition to Kirchgasser, two other Falcons were runners-up -- junior George Wales at 106 pounds and senior Ben Batulanon (122). Sophomore Marcus Sherrod was third at 128 pounds for Ludlowe, as was sophomore Bobby Clark (134). Nelson lost his 197-pound semifinal before losing to Mayer in the consolation final.
"I'm tickled pink," Falcons' coach Nick Garoffolo said of his team's performance. "Where we finished was very good. Technically, we wrestled at a high level. We won every match we probably could have won or more. I thought Chase had an outstanding performance."
Of the 14 weight classes, Ludlowe had been able to enter wrestlers in 11 thus far this season. The Warde Invitational marked the return from injury of senior Jacob Jessen at 222 pounds. Jessen's availability now gives the Falcons 12 wrestlers.
Ebert's first match was a second-round pin over Jason Martinez, of McMahon. He advanced to the finals at 128 pounds by pinning Joe Frezza, of Mahopac, in the semifinals. Ebert won a 4-0 decision over Tommy Wynosky, of Montville, to win the weight class. Hourani pinned Jasper Stone, of Simsbury, in the semifinals before pinning Joseph Fraccaroli, of Wilton, in the second period of the final.
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Fairfield Warde Invitational
Team scores: 1. Warde 220, 2. Simsbury 181, 3. Mahopac, N.Y., 163, 4. Montville 138Â½, 5. Ludlowe 138, 6. Maloney 110, 7. Westhill 103Â½; 8. New Fairfield 81, 9. Wilton 66, 10. McMahon 64, 11. RHAM 41, 12. Unattached wrestlers, 38, 13. Cheshire 34, 14. Warde "B" 18, 15. Stamford 0, 16. Mahopac "B" 0.
Championship match results: 108 pounds: Ryan Pantalena (Maloney) dec. George Wales (Ludlowe) 6-4; 115: Tim Kane (Warde) pinned Eric Kirchgasser (Ludlowe) 1:38; 122: Keith Penney (Simsbury) dec. Ben Batulanon (Ludlowe) 3-2; 128: Dan Ebert (Warde) dec. Tommy Wynosky (Montville) 4-0; 134: Chris Cornell (Mahopac) dec. James Turgeon (RHAM) 6-2; 140: Jacob Caskey (Montville) dec. Dylan Bender (Warde) 7-6; 147: Chase Lind (Ludlowe) dec. Chris Mazur (Westhill) 11-6; 154: Jophy Nieves (Maloney) dec. Andrew Sakamoto (Wilton) 9-3; 162: Andrew D'Amico (New Fairfield) dec. Danny Ortiz (Maloney) 5-4; 172: Martin Chobanyan (Westhill) dec. Gabe Vega (Cheshire) 3-2; 184: James DeMaio (Simsbury) pinned Danny Holland (Wilton) 1:16; 197: Clayton Ahearn (Lyman Hall/Unattached) dec. Jake Feldman (Simsbury) 3-1; 222: Ryan Delahanty (Mahopac) dec. Justin Lewis (McMahon) 18-3; Heavyweight (287): Ahmed Hourani (Warde) pinned Joseph Fraccaroli (Wilton) 3:12. Most outstanding wrestler: Tim Kane, Fairfield Warde, 115.