DARIEN -- Sometimes bigger is better. And that was precisely the case when the Greenwich wrestling team traveled to Darien Wednesday with four times as many competitors than the Blue Wave.
The numbers game combined with some dominant individual performances from the Cardinals proved too much for the home team as GHS walked off with an impressive 66-16 win.
After giving the Cardinals (7-3) four victories via forfeit the Blue Wave got their first win when David Ziga won a 14-6 decision over Mark Chien at 113 pounds. But from there GHS went on to win three straight matches as Jack Benenson (120), Scott Sutton (126), and Ben Jones (132) notched first period pinfall victories. According to GHS coach George Albano this win was a team effort.
"This was definitely a complete team victory and in a league like the FCIAC it takes that type of collective effort to be successful," Albano said. "Those early first-period pins really set the tone for us today. We're just trying to hit our stride right now and today was certainly a step in the right direction."
The Darien boys showed great resolve in the middle weights as Patrick Daigle (138) and Colten Appleby (145) scored second period pinfall wins over Jack Freiheit and Dan Gutman, respectively. It was a good showing from the middle of his lineup, but for Darien (1-20) head coach Joe Vano the meet was an uphill battle before his squad ever stepped foot on the mat.
"Greenwich has a much bigger team than we do and have the ability to fill all weight classes which we don't," Vano said. "To forfeit those weight classes really puts you behind the eight ball early, but I am happy with how we fought, especially in those middleweight classes."
After dropping those two matches the Cardinals went on a roll starting with Eric Tack pinning Tyler Hill just over a minute into the first period to win the 152-pound class. GHS then put together impressive back-to-back performances when senior co-captain Mike Gestal (160) and Justin Montier (170) garnered pinfall victories in under 17 seconds.
"We're not a very technical team but we wrestle tough," Gestal said. "Even though we were expected to win this meet the definition of a good team is beating the opponents you're supposed to. We did that today and hopefully we can keep that momentum rolling as we head toward the end of January."
The Cardinals wrapped up the win with a hard fought victory by 195-pound junior Hunter Stoever, who pinned Darien's Steve Laver 39 seconds into the third period in the meet's final match. And even with the impressive showing Albano knows there is still work to be done.
"We're not where I want them to be just yet," Albano said. "While I'm pleased with the victory I know there are still plenty of tougher matches that await us down the road. But with a month to train before those tough tests I'm confident that we'll continue on the right track."
A sentiment echoed by his co-captain.
"We had goals before this season started to be a top three team in the FCIAC and a top eight team in the state," Gestal said. "I think we are starting to peak at the right time now and I believe those goals we set for ourselves are well within our reach."
The next test for Greenwich is Saturday when they travel to Ludlowe for the Fairfield Ludlowe Duals which is set to start a 9 a.m. while Darien has a 10 a.m. Saturday start at Oxford.
Greenwich 66, Darien 16
Records: G 7-3; D 1-20
220 -- Erik Menchaca (G) by forfeit; 285 -- Chris Fisher (G) by forfeit; 106 -- Mickey Russell (G) by forfeit; 113 -- David Ziga (D) dec. Mark Chien 14-6; 120 -- Jack Benenson (G) pin Will Crane :52; 126 -- Scott Sutton (G) pin Jonas Von Schmidt 1:39; 132 -- Ben Jones (G) pin Jonny Eng 1:49; 138 -- Patrick Daigle (D) pin Jack Freiheit 3:22; 145 -- Colten Appleby (D) pin Daniel Gutman 3:08; 152 -- Eric Tack (G) pin Tyler Hill 1:21; 160 -- Michael Gestal (G) pin Chris Bolger :12; 170 -- Justin Montier (G) pin Dominic Wood :16; 182 -- Grant Cucchissi (G) by forfeit; 195 -- Hunter Stoever (G) pin Stephen Laver 4:39