Early in the season, Southington coach Derek Dion has said that the most important thing is that his wrestling team gets in shape. While the Blue Knights had success from their first match, their performances last week show they might be settling in nicely for their coach.
After taking down Wethersfield on Jan. 2, Southington came right back two days later when they hosted the Ray Southland Memorial duals tournament. The Knights advanced to the finals where they lost to Mount Anthony of Vermont.
Despite dealing with some injuries, a lot of the same Blue Knights are having their hand raised by the referee at the end of their matches.
Win over Wethersfield
JAN. 2—After an 11-day break from their schedule, Southington returned to conference action on Jan. 2 when they took down CCC rival Wethersfield, 40-36.
The Knights were shorthanded and without Class LL champion, Billy Carr, but were able to hold on for the victory thanks to some key wins in the upper and middle weight classes.
Luke Deangelis and Jacob Vecchio ended the meet strong with back-to-back pins, with Deangelis taking down Tyler Burgos of Wethersfield in 1:12.
Darius Mangiafico and Dawsen Welch also picked up wins by pin in the 138 and 152 weight class, respectively. Jared Guida also picked up a win over Atif Raza by technical pin.
Jared Mangiafico was the first Knight to win their match in the 113 weight class, as he defeated Alden Johnson by major decision, 10-2. Josh Vitti took down Dan Cruz in the 170 weight class by the same score, while Ben Gorr defeated Tom Krystopa by decision, 4-2, in the 132 weight class.
“We were very pleased with the outcome there,” Dion said. “Wethersfield is a tough team. They are well coached and have tough kids. There are still some things we can clean up but it was another solid effort.”
Ray Southland tourney
JAN. 4—Despite dealing with injuries and the flu, Southington was able to make it deep into the duals tournament with dominating wins over Ridgefield, Greenwich, and Maloney.
Mt. Anthony proved to be too much in the final round for the Knights as they lost 60-18. It was the second runner-up finish in weekend tournaments on the season.
“We were fortunate enough to beat Mt. Anthony last year but they are a very good program,” Dion said. “We were dealing with those injuries and some kids were sick, so it was going to be tough to square up against them. I am happy with the way we fought and some kids put in a great effort.”
Many Blue Knights picked up three victories throughout the day, including Darius Mangiafico, Colton Thorpe, Ben Gorr, Dawsen Welch and Jared Guida.
Thorpe and Mangiafico picked up all three victories by pin while Gorr, Welch, and Guida each had two pins. Welch also picked up a win by major decision.
Vecchio, Deangelis, and Vitti also picked up two pins each. Ashley Reed and Jackson Ruslecki each had one win by pin.
“A lot of these kids are putting in the work day in and day out,” Dion said. “There is still a lot of season left, but we’re definitely moving in the right direction.”
Southington competed at Hall on Wednesday. They head back to Hall tomorrow to compete in the Greater Hartford open, which starts at 9 a.m.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at SDreher@SouthingtonObserver.com.