Wrestling: Knights finish as runners-up at CT Challenge

Derek Guida (152) takes down his Keene High School (Maine) opponent at the annual CT Challenge last Saturday. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)



Southington wrestling hosted one of the top tournaments in Connecticut on Jan. 26 when several top state teams, and some others from around New England, came to Southington High School for the CT Challenge.

The Blue Knights had a good effort overall and came in second, ahead of third place Bristol Eastern and behind the winner Trumbull. The Lancers and Eagles were both ranked in the Top 10 in the latest state wrestling poll, as were the Knights.

Southington scored 178 points and crowned two individual champions but placed second behind Trumbull (186). Bristol Eastern (165) finished third overall as Connecticut teams swept the top spots.

“All in all, I’m pretty pleased with most of the kids today,” Dion said. “We did see some things to work on, but they should be proud of their effort.”

Jacob Cardozo was the champion at 145 pounds and was named most outstanding wrestler of the tournament. Billy Carr was the champion at 170. Cardozo beat Berlin’s Daniel Veleas in a 6-2 decision in the 145 final.

“Veleas beat him earlier in the season, so we worked on a couple little things on that,” Dion said. “Cardozo really wrestled well today. He stayed on his offense, he got to the positions that he needed to get to, and was able to come out 6-2. That was a really good win.”

Carr pinned Berlin’s Sebby Malespini in 58 seconds, though Malespini hurt his shoulder area just before being pinned. That doesn’t take anything away from Carr, who had another pin and a 7-2 decision for his other two victories on the day.

“Billy Carr wrestled tough all day,” Dion said.

Matt Jacobson finished second at 182 while Jason Brault (138), Derek Guida (152), Caleb Chesanow (195) and Jacob Vecchio (220) each finished third. Josh Vitti finished fourth in a tough 160 weight class.

“There were a couple loaded weight classes,” Dion said. “This is the toughest tournament in Connecticut, definitely during the season, maybe as tough as anyone up to the LLs.”

Dual win vs. Conard

JAN 23—The Knights hammered division foe Conard, 77-6, last Wednesday to improve to 9-1.  The Chieftains are trying to re-establish their program after some years with low numbers, but the journey is a difficult one, and it really was against the Knights.

Southington used its strength to secure 10 pins against Conard, the fastest by Guida in 34 seconds in his 152-pound bout. It was a good win, but Dion wanted more than he got from the Knights. Dion said he was looking for better foot movement and some different setups for shots.

“We just got to develop them a little bit better, keep working on them, and get them to translate from the wrestling room,” Dion said.

Besides Guida, Chesanow (:49 at 195), Vecchio (1:05 at 220), Ben Gorr (1:27 at 113), Emmett Vitti (1:24 at 120), Caleb Brick (1:16 at 126), Dawsen Welch (4:48 at 132), Brault (1:11 at 138), Cardozo (3:04 at 152) and Carr (1:21 at 170) all won by pin. Josh Vitti secured a technical fall with less than three seconds left in his 160 bout. Jacobson (182) and Sam McCarty (285) won by forfeit. The only points Conard scored came off of Southington’s forfeit at 106.

“There’s a couple of technical things that we need to work on, get better at,” coach Derek Dion said. “We have a really tough match coming up on Wednesday that we’re not necessarily lined up for, but we’re going to try to do the best we can.”

Up next: Southington hosted Simsbury for the division title in its final home dual meet on Wednesday evening. Both teams entered at 4-0 in the CCC, and the meet decided the conference title. The Knights head to Waterford on Saturday for the Lancer Duals.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com

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