By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Blue Knights (11-3) finished the week with three wins out of four matches, while battling through injuries and weaving through growing pains along the way.
Southington competed at the Jerry Watkins Colonel Duals at Waterford High School on Saturday, Feb. 6 and came away with two team victories out of three matches, defeating Berlin and Waterford, but falling to No. 3 Windham.
The Knights muscled their largest win of the day in a 19-point win over Waterford, 47-28.
Tagan Welch (113), Jason Brault (120), Shaun Wagner (126), Austin Abacherli (138), Jason Calvi-Rogers (170), Richard Rivera (220), and Andrew Szymanski (285) all landed pins in the match. Abacherli recorded the fastest pin at 0:31 seconds, with Brault not far behind with a pin of 0:50 seconds. Paul Calo (132) won his bout with a technical fall of 16-0.
The Knights forfeited two bouts and the Lancers had one pin and a major decision.
Southington also had a sizeable win over Berlin, 45-27.
Calo recorded the only pin for the Knights in the match, pinning Moses Marino at 1:11. The Knights forfeited two bouts, while the Redcoats forfeited five bouts and had two pins.
Southington suffered its only defeat of the day to Windham, 56-20. Windham is currently ranked third in the state.
Rivera secured the only pin of the match for the Knights, pinning Nathaniel Oaks at 3:35. Oaks was the No.1-seed at the Greater Hartford Invite. The Knights forfeited three bouts in the match. The Whippets had five pins and one technical fall.
The Knights were without Logan LaRosa, Cole Brock, Ethan Greig, Josh Gravel, Jimmy Starr, and James Ringrose due to injury.
“We had a few kids that really stepped up and did well. They came through for us,” said Southington coach Derek Dion. “With all those starters out of the lineup, it was tough to keep things together, but the kids that were there ended up coming through really well. If our lineup was all there in the right weight classes, we would have had a really good chance to beat them [Windham].”
Southington scored better than the Windham at the Greater Hartford Invite earlier in the season, as they went on to win the tournament title.
Earlier in the week, the Knights defeated Conard, 46-30, in West Hartford on Wednesday to improve their divisional record to 5-0.
Wagner, Calo, Abacherli, and Gravel all had pins in the match. Calo came up with the fastest pin at 0:35. Welch and Greig both won their bouts with technical falls at 15-0.
Southington forfeited one bout. The Chieftains also forfeited one bout and had three pins.
The Knights will host New Britain in their final home dual meet of the regular season on Wednesday, Feb. 10 as they prepare for the Class LL state tournament, which is set to take place at Trumbull High School on Friday, Feb. 19.
“We still have a lot to work on,” said Dion. “We’re a pretty young team with two seniors. This whole year has kind of been a learning process. We have a really strong lineup down low, but we have a little less experience in our heavier weights. There are quite a few kids through the middle and towards the uppers that are starting to come into their own and turn that corner though.”
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