Despite lingering injuries and some not being at 100%, the Southington wrestling team finished right where most would have expected in the CCC Large championship tournament last Saturday. While the host team, Simsbury, placed first, Southington tied with the Trojans with 10 top-two finishes.
The difference was in the championships of each weight class, which mostly featured Southington or Simsbury. Simsbury came out on top in seven championship matches while the Knights had three champions.
Billy Carr, the reigning Class LL champion, cruised to a conference championship, pinning Ethan Zimmerman of Manchester in 2:52 before taking just 45 seconds to pin Mario Paige of Middletown in the championship of the 182 weight class.
Josh Vitti, on the other hand, had to battle for his championship. In the 160 weight class, Vitti was neck-and-neck with Terrell Johnson of Middletown. But Vitti gained the upper hand late and escaped with an 8-7 decision to win the championship match.
Ben Gorr was the third and final champion for Southington. Starting as the No. 2 seed in the 126 weight class, Gorr pinned his first opponent before narrowly defeating Alex Kasson of Simsbury by a 4-0 decision. He took on No. 1 seed Justin Beiler of Enfield in the championship match, and finished strong with a 6-4 decision to take first.
Five of the seven second-place finishers for Southington were taken down by Simsbury in the championship match. Caleb Brick and Saul Pera had arguably the closest championship match of the day in the 145 weight class and it was a nailbiter to the end, but Pera got the upper-hand and escaped with a 7-6 decision.
Colton Thorpe also had a shot at a championship in the 106 weight class but eventually, Simsbury’s Cael Finn gained some important points at the end for the 5-1 decision.
In the 99 weight class bracket, Jared Mangiafico pulled the upset against No. 2 Muhammad Kasliwala in the semifinals, but was pinned by Simsbury’s Ryan Finn in the championship.
Dawsen Welch, Jackson Rusiecki, Jared Guida, and Jacob Vecchio were the other runner-up finishers for Southington, while Emmett Vitti won in his third place bout over Dyland Sassu of Middletown in the 132 weight class.
The Blue Knights concluded the regular season with a lopsided win over New Britain on senior night. Southington won nine of the 10 matches that were played.
Welch and Brick each took less than a minute to pin their opponents. Rusiecki pinned Jabari Destine in 3:06 in the 170 weight class while Emmett Vitti pinned Luvis Offarill in 4:22 in the 132 weight class.
Guida and Anthony Deldebbio were the others to win by pin for the Blue Knights. Thorpe took down Eric Maldonado by a 3-1 decision in the 115 weight class while Vecchio defeated Shendell James by a 5-2 decision in the 285 weight class. Josh Vitti defeated Andy Mensah by major decision, 11-0, in the 160 weight class.
Southington now has its eyes set on the Class LL and state open tournaments. Entering this week, Southington was ranked sixth in the Connecticut Wrestling Online’s top-10 poll, and is ranked third among Class LL teams, trailing Danbury (16-0) and Fairfield Warde (18-1).
The Class LL tournament begins today at 3 p.m. at Trumbull High School. The tournament continues tomorrow with the championships.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at Sports@SouthingtonObserver.com.