Wrestlers grapple for tournament medals; Murillo claims 2 tournament titles; Southington athletes go 9-0 in the medal rounds

By John Goralski
Sports Writer
The scramble has already begun to overcome a late start, but Southington wrestlers have already shown a hint of what’s in store.
The Blue Knights only sent eight wrestlers to the annual Lancer Tournament in Waterford as they continue to play catch-up following football’s run to a Class LL title. The Knights weren’t at full strength when they took on opponents at the Frank Chaves Invitational in Simsbury on Saturday, Dec. 28, but the Knights are already proving themselves in tournament competition.
In two tournaments, Zach Murillo has already claimed a pair of tournament titles. Southington wrestlers have already amassed a 9-0 record in medal round competition.
The Knights still have a long way to go to overcome their late start, but early indications show that Southington is up for the challenge.

Lancer Touranment
Zach Bylykbashi (126) scrambled for a pin and two decisions to claim his tournament title. Zach Murillo earned a pin and a 3-1 decision to earn the 106 pound championship.
On Saturday, Dec. 21, the Knights sent just eight wrestlers to the annual Lancer Tournament in Waterford, but the team came away with four tournament medals.
Austin Abacherli (113)  bounced back from an early loss in his varsity debut with a pair of wins to place third overall. With a pin in the second period of the consolation finals, Abacherli scored his first varsity medal.
Alex Martin bounced back from an early loss in the 160 pound division to come away with a third place medal with a 7-0 decision in the consolation finals.
Waterford scored 124 points to claim the team title. East Providence Rhode Island (108.5) edged Killingly (99.5) for second place. Southington battled for 83 points and finished ninth overall despite six holes in their lineup.

Frank Chaves Invite
On Saturday, Dec. 28, Murillo finished undefeated for the second straight tournament as he led the Knights to sixth place at the Frank Chaves Invitational Meet in Simsbury. With a 6-3 decision in his final bout, Murillo came away with the 106 pound title.
Once again, Southington stayed undefeated in medal round bouts. For the second time in as many chances, Abacherli (113) scored a win in his final match of the day, earning his first tournament title with a 10-4 decision in the finals.
Zach Maxwell made his winter debut with an undefeated march through the 195 pound division. Maxwell capped his first senior tournament with a 6-4 decision. It was his first varsity contest since the football championship game.
Tyler Hyde also got off to a fast start with just one loss in his first tournament since football. Hyde scored a 7-2 decision in the consolation finals to earn third place in the 170 pound weight class.
Alex Martin scored a 9-0 major decision in his consolation final to claim the third place medal in the 152 pound division.
Southington will open their dual meet season on Thursday, Jan. 2 with a conference rivalry at Hall in West Hartford. Then, the Knights will throw themselves into the season with the annual SHS duals on Saturday, Jan. 4.
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@ southingtonobserver.com.

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