By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Blue Knight wrestling team remained undefeated in conference meets with their eighth win of the season. Southington continued to show the CCC who is boss with a 49-21 home victory over Platt on Wednesday, Jan. 11 before heading out to New York for an all-star wrestling tournament on the weekend.
“It was a good win for us,” said Southington coach Derek Dion. “We obviously have to work on our cardiovascular shape. I think we were bringing it a little too hard. We have to work on our technique and individual technique for the kids, just trying to get better every week.”
Rich Rivera (220), Jacob Cardozo (113), Shaun Wagner (132), Tagan Welch (138), and Cole Brock (182) all landed pins in the match. Cardozo scored the fastest pin at 1:43 into his bout. Billy Carr (160) clinched the win for the Knights with a 7-4 decision over his opponent.
Southington improved to 8-1 overall.
“Every single one of those kids is tough,” said Dion. “They don’t have a kid that’s not going to give you an effort out there. They make every single guy wrestle. I’ve been looking to this match all year, and this is the best we’ve seen thus far in the weekday dual meets.”
The Panthers moved their 160-pound wrestler, Ben Stratton, up to wrestle at 170. Dion chased and moved Calo up to wrestle Stratton at 170.
“I really wanted that matchup,” the coach said. “I know that Stratton is a really good wrestler, and it’s good for both of them and everyone that came. They both wrestled tough and got better. Carr is a varsity wrestler now anyway, so basically my plan for the year is to bump Calo up to a tougher kid if I can.”
Eastern States Classic
JAN. 14—A few days later, the Knights traveled to the SUNY Sullivan Community College in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y., where they broke the top 100 at the Eastern States Classic. The all-star tournament pits top high school contenders in a 156-team bracket.
Austin Abacherli (145), Caleb Brick (99), Jacob Cardozo (113), Paul Calo (152), Richie Rivera (220), and Welch (132) represented Southington.
Abacherli, Calo, and Welch were the only Knights to advance past the first round of their weight classes in the championship bracket. Rivera advanced to the first round of eight in the consolation bracket. Abacherli and Calo advanced to the second round of 16 in the consolation bracket.
New York teams swept the top three spots with Long Beach (134 points) eclipsing Hilton (100) and Mattituck (96.5) for the overall title.
The Knights will look to stay strong this week when they host Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 18 and travel to Plaistow, N.H. to wrestle in the Timberlane Tournament in Plaistow, NH on Saturday, Jan. 21.