By John Goralski
Southington wrestlers scrambled for five pins and a pair of forfeits against Hall’s varsity lineup. Two others battled for hard-fought decisions. Three rookies battled off their backs before finally getting pinned.
On Thursday, Jan. 3, Southington entered the match with a number of questions, illnesses, and holes in the lineup. They answered it with a lopsided, 48-27 win.
“We got hit by a stomach flu this week, and we were kind of hurting,” said Blue Knight wrestling coach Derek Dion. “Some of the guys in there were just coming back, so it was pretty much touch and go.”
You wouldn’t have known it by watching. Nate Solomon (132) tied the match, 6-6, with a pin, and Hall bumped their next wrestler to force a match-up against Shawn Devin (145), but Devin battled for two periods before securing a pin in the final two minutes.
Alex Martin (160) won a 2-0 decision. Austin Sullivan (182), Zach Maxwell (195), and Zach Murillo (106) secured fast pins. Zach Bylykbashi (120) battled for a 7-2 decision, and the Knights turned to their rookies to fill the gaps.
Logan LaRosa (152) and Austin DeGumbia (285) stepped in to fill holes in the lineup. They each lost by pin, but Dion said he was pleased with the effort. Freshman Trevor Godston (220) fought off his back twice in the early match before getting caught underneath.
“I thought he was going to win at that point,” Dion said about Godston’s comeback, “but that guy was pretty tough. He’s young. He leaned the wrong way and just got caught underneath him. This was a good team win all around. We had a lot of close matches that ended up going our way, and it was a good job for the whole team.”
With the victory, Southington improved to 8-1 in dual meets.
West Side Duals
On Saturday, the Knights traveled to Massachusetts to face an elite field of powerhouse teams. The West Side Duals welcomed four of Massachusetts’ top 11 teams, a top 10 Connecticut team, and a number of top programs from Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York.
Southington went 2-2 against four Massachusetts teams with wins over Durfee (51-24) and Springfield Central (36-33) and losses to Lincoln-Sudbury (43-28) and Franklin (41-24).
Maxwell paced the Knights with a perfect 4-0 record, including two pins and a major decision. Solomon (3-0) finished undefeated. Murrillo and Travis Daly went 3-1 with a trio of pins. Bylykbashi and Alex Martin finished with three wins, while Tyler Hyde and Austin Sullivan finished 2-2.
The Knights finished the week with a 10-3 record and held onto their No. 9 ranking in the latest coaches poll.