By BRIAN JENNINGS
Zack Murillo shined for the Southington Blue Knights wrestling team at the 2015 Class LL Championships at Trumbull High School on Saturday, Feb. 21. The tournament started on Friday evening, with the finals pushed up to Saturday afternoon instead of at night, due to the snow.
Murrillo was one of three Southington wrestlers to battle into the championship round. Last year, Murillo finished second. With a 3-2 decision in the 103 pound final, Murillo scored Southington’s only Class LL title.
The Knights (113.0) finished seventh overall behind NFA (121.0), Trumbull (183.0), Xavier (189.0), Simsbury (189.0), Danbury (231.0), and Newtown (282.5).
“As a team, we were looking to place between five and seven and we only ended up pushing three through,” said Southington coach Derek Dion. “So it was a little disappointing. There were a lot of close matches in there, but the three that pushed through did really well and we’re trying to get them back on the podium this week.”
Newtown finished with seven wrestlers in the finals and had four individual champions, including outstanding wrestler Anthony Falbo (170). Newtown outmuscled wrestlers and dominated the tournament by beating runner-up Danbury by more than 50 points, winning their sixth tournament of the season.
Murillo finished with a perfect, 5-0 record in the lightweight division. As the top seed, he earned a bye in the first round and advanced by forfeit into the quarterfinals. Murillo scored 31 second pin to advance into the semifinal round. He scored a lopsided, 10-3 decision to advance into the finals, and scored a tight win over Danbury’s Jacob Camacho to earn the title.
“[Camacho]’s really technical and I knew I needed to dictate the pace because he’s only a freshman,” said Murillo. “He’s not used to type of level yet. So I really needed to get out there and push myself.”
The two are projected as potential finalists for this weekend’s state open tournament.
“I just have to watch out for the funky stuff,” said Murillo. “He’s really good at getting to peculiar positions that most people don’t know how to get into, like rolling and stuff like that.”
Southington scored two other medalists at the meet, and all three will advance to the state open this weekend.
Zach Bylykbashi (132) finished runner-up to Trumbull’s Cross Cannone. Bylykbashi scored four straight wins before losing a 10-0 major decision in the championship bout. Austin Abacherli (120) rebounded from a loss in his third bout to cap a third place finish with an 11-2 major decision over Norwalk’s Luke Schwartz.
Shawn Devin (152) made it to the semifinals, but had sustained an injury during his quarterfinal bout. Unfortunately, he was injury-defaulted out of the tournament.
“He (Shawn Devin) would have at least taken third or fourth,” said Dion. “If he didn’t sustain the injury in that match, he might have won the next match too. He probably would have made it to the finals and might have won. So it was unfortunate for him and was tough to see him go out that way, as hard as he’s worked.”
The Knights will be wrestling to bring home some hardware in the state open championships this weekend. The State Open begins on Friday at Hillhouse High School in New Haven.
The medal rounds are scheduled to start on Saturday at 12:30. The parade of champions is slated for 5:15 p.m. with the State Open finals beginning at 5:30 p.m.