FAIRFIELD — The emotion came flooding out of Anthony Zarlenga.

The Warde senior had just heard the slap on the mat from the referee signaling a pin, and an electric victory, and the 145-pounder leapt up, tore off his headgear and threw it across the mat in celebration. On paper, it was supposed to be a match that Zarlenga would have a difficult time winning, especially when his opponent was perhaps the best wrestler on the other side, but when Warde and Ludlowe get together, that stuff gets thrown out the window.

Zarlenga pinned Zach Taylor at the 3:53 mark of the match to lock down a fifth straight weight class win for the Mustangs, en route to 10 victories and a 50-22 decision over the Falcons Wednesday night at the Ludlowe gym.

“He (Taylor) was supposed to go against Noah Zuckerman (at 138 pounds) and they bumped him up to me thinking it would be an easy match but once I saw that (move), I got into the right mental state and I knew I had to bring it … I’m so happy about it.”

Normally, Taylor wrestles at 138 but Ludlowe coach Nick Garoffolo replaced Taylor with Skyler Kwok at 138 against Zuckerman - who pinned Kwok in 3:31 - and put Taylor against Zarlenga, only to see the Mustangs senior post an emotional win.

“I was trying to work at things that I know how to do best,” Zarlenga said. “Double leg takedowns, getting on top, I needed to ride him hard and I caught him in a position that I’m really familiar with and it all went well.”

Overall, Warde won six matches by pin, one by forfeit and three by decision en route to the victory. Ludlowe won three matches by pin and one by major decision, battling the cross-town rival hard right to the very end.

“I thought my team battled very well,” Garoffolo said. “We competed very well. I was very happy with the way we wrestled.”

Ludlowe’s Justin Hathaway, wrestling at 170 pounds, pinned Warde’s Noah Kane at 3:55 in the meet’s second match to even the score at 6-6 after the Mustangs’ 160-pounder, Izakke Zuckerman, opened with a pin of Thomas Murray at 3:56. And when Ludlowe’s Stan Goldlewski posted a 16-6 major decision over John Summers, the Falcons led 10-6.

But Warde responded in a big way, winning the next four matches, Joe Gjinaj (197) pinning Michael Graney at 1:38, Dan Mundle (222) winning by forfeit, Alec Nardone (285) winning by pin over Jesse Barber in four seconds … that’s right, four seconds, and Dylan Cruvinel (106) with a 7-4 decision over Luis Zambrano.

Jacob Pressler’s pin of Reber Shukri at 1:13 inched Ludlowe within 27-16 but the Mustangs won the next five matches - Cole Shaughnessy (113) by 6-0 decision over Everett Nash, Nathan Cuoco (120) by 12-5 decision over Antonio Nichols, Alex Steele (132) by pin at 3:48 over Adam Arnaout, Zuckerman over Kwok and Zarlenga over Taylor before Ludlowe’s Eric Emmendorfer ended things with a pin over Matt Sullivan at 4:57.

“We’re always bringing kids in and training kids and are always pushing kids to do better,” Izaake Zuckerman said. “Not just in-season but over the off-season when it matters most. We have a good culture here and we have a really good team. Everyone trains hard in the room.”

For the Falcons, who’s lineup included seven juniors and three sophomores, it was another step in the building process heading toward the postseason.

“We made some young mistakes, that’s all,” Garoffolo said. “They’re a better team than us. We just worked to make it close and I thought we wrestled pretty well.”


160 - Izakke Zuckerman (W) pin Thomas Murray (L) 3:56; 170 - Justin Hathaway (L) pin Noah Kane (W) 3:55; 182 - Stan Goldlewski (L) major decision 16-6 John Summers (W); 197 - Joe Gjinaj (W) pin Michael Graney (L) 1:38; 222 - Dan Mundle (W) by forfeit; 285 - Alec Nardone (W) pin Jesse Barber 0:04; 106 - Dylan Cruvinel (W) 7-4 decision Luis Zambrano (L); 113 - Jacob Pressler (L) pin Reber Shukri (W) 1:13; 120 - Cole Shaughnessy (W) 6-0 decision Everett Nash (L); 126 - Nathan Cuoco (W) 12-5 decision Antonio Nicholas (L); 132 - Alex Steele (W) pin Adam Arnaout (L) 3:48; 138 - Noah Zuckerman (W) pin Skyler Kwok (L) 3:31; 145 - Anthony Zarlenga (W) pin Zach Taylor (L) 3:53; 152 - Eric Emmendorfer (L) pin Matt Sullivan (W) 4:57.