By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington wrestling finished second to Bristol Eastern at last Saturday’s Bristol Central Invitational. The Blue Knights finished with 199 points, eight shy of the Lancers, who had 207. Eastern won the invitational for the fourth straight year and for a record 10th time overall.
“We didn’t really wrestle our best today,” Southington coach Derek Dion said. “Whether it’s a hangover after the holidays or whatever it was, we did expose a lot of technique things that we need to work on. We’ll get in the room on Monday and get back to work, see if we can get better.”
Caleb Chesanow claimed Southington’s lone gold medal at 195 pounds. Chesanow went 4-0 on the day, and that included three wins by fall. The other win came by way of injury default. Chesanow pinned Wethersfield’s Nick Thompson in 45 seconds to win the 195 final.
“He’s starting to come around,” said Dion. “He’s a very good wrestler, and he hasn’t been wrestling up to his potential a lot of the year. I think he’s turning the corner, and he’s starting to work a little harder. I think he can be excellent going forward.”
Caleb Brick (120), Dawsen Welch (138), Jacob Cardozo (145) and Billy Carr (170) earned silver medals. Brick lost a 4-1 decision in his final, Welch got pinned and Cardozo dropped a 4-2 decision. Cardozo’s defeat came against Berlin’s Daniel Veleas, who was named most outstanding wrestler.
Carr was taken down by Wethersfield’s Alec Arnold in the first sudden victory overtime to lose 3-1.
Dion said that the team’s second place finish wasn’t from a lack of effort. The loss came as a result of a few small problems with technique.
“As soon as they started getting tired, their technique went out the door,” said the coach. “We didn’t do a great job finishing matches. We had a lot of leads late in the match that we gave up. You can’t do that. We lost five or six close matches because we weren’t able to finish out and use good technique late.”
Dion said some of it is a need to get in better shape, but it’s also about wrestling tougher.
“We’ve got to get better,” Dion said.
Jason Brault took a bronze medal at 152, as did Jacob Vecchio at 220. Ben Gorr (113), Darius Mangiafico (132), Matt Jacobson (182) and Sam McCarty (285) all finished fifth. Emmett Vitti (126) and Josh Vitti (160) wrestled and scored team points for the Southington.
The Knights held defending New England champion Paul Calo out of the invitational meet, so that the senior can deal with his ongoing, nagging injury.
“We kept Calo out as a precaution,” Dion said. “It could have been a different story with him in there, but that’s OK. The bottom line is we’ve got to get better. We didn’t wrestle great.”
Win at East Hartford
JAN. 3—The Knights improved to 6-1 in dual meets with a convincing 55-21 win over the Hornets in East Hartford.
Brick (120), Mangiafico (132), Brault (152), Josh Vitti (160), Carr (170) and Vecchio (220) all earned pins for Southington.
Matt Jacobson won by major decision at 182 (11-3) while Chesanow claimed a decision at 195 (7-4). Welch (138) and Jacob Cardozo (145) won by forfeit.
Up next: Southington hosted Hall on Wednesday in a CCC West Division dual meet. Some select Knights head to the Eastern States Wrestling Classic, which will be held on Friday and Saturday in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y.
Most are going to the Greater Hartford Invitational on Saturday at Hall High School in West Hartford.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com