Stonington Borough, CT
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CUMBERLAND — Westerly Middle’s wrestling team pulled away from Barrington on the final day of the state tournament Sunday afternoon and was crowned champion.
The Bulldogs finished with 199½ points. Barrington wound up with 153½. Going into the day, Westerly led by just five points. Twenty five schools competed for the title.
“They were very excited,” Westerly co-coach Matt Bailey said. “It’s been kind of a running joke. We were coming home after one of the dual meets and one of the kids texted me to see if we could stop at Wendy’s.
“He kept texting and I finally said if we win the states I’ll take you guys to Wendy’s, so when we won it all that’s all you heard about — ‘We’re going to Wendy’s!’”
Westerly had three state champions and two runnersup. The Bulldogs also had a third, a fourth and a fifth. The top five finishers received medals.
Max Davis won the 200-pound title. Shawn Moore won at 185 and Kyle Roberts finished first at 170.
“They were very focused, they weren’t nervous, they wrestled with confidence and aggressively. It was exciting to watch,” Bailey said.
Davis, who missed a few matches, finished the season with a 9-0 overall record. He’s an eighth-grader.
“He’s been big since the sixth grade. He’s gotten better, his fundamentals have gotten better, and he’s able to take wrestlers down. He’s got a nice combination of wrist and half-Nelson,” Bailey said.
The top-seeded Davis pinned Caden Jolcimat of Brichwood with one second left in the 1½ minute first period of Sunday’s finals. He was ahead 2-0 at the time.
Davis went 3-0 in the tournament, the other two wins being on pins of 24 seconds and 19 seconds.
Moore, who was seeded second, went 3-0 winning each match by pin. He pinned Nicholas Rimoshytus of Barrington in the finals in 1:06.
Moore finished the season with an 11-1 overall record, the loss being to Rimoshytus.
“He initiated contact and controlled the tempo,” Bailey said. “And he never stopped moving. When he won he jumped up and screamed. He was very excited.”
Roberts advanced to the finals Sunday with a 7-6 semifinal won against Fermi’s Santino Nasisi. Roberts built a 5-2 lead and held on for the victory.
In the 170 finals, Roberts got two takedowns and an escape for a 5-1 win against Martin Middle’s Garrat Olbrych.
“He definitely was in control of the match. He was riding very well. He got called for stalling but he controlle the match from start to finish,” Bailey said.
Roberts also went 3-0 in the tournament and finished the season with a 9-2 record.
Brady Holdredge (104) and Jacob Schafer (140) went 3-1 in the tournament and finished second.
Holdredge, the only returning state champion on the team, lost in the finals, 7-0 to Dylan Disano of Curtis Corner.
Holdredge had won his first three matches by pin, in 26 seconds, 20 seconds and 49 seconds.
Schafer fell to Bob Sprague of Curtis Corner, 10-4 in the finals. He pinned two opponents on Saturday and defeated Alfonso Dixon of Riverside 14-5 in the semifinals.
Dominic Bonanno finished third at 82 pounds with a 3-1 record. The loss was to eventual champion Kyle Merritt of Chariho, 9-0 in the semifinals.
Bonanno won two consolation round matches — 4-2 and by pin in 2:23 — for third place.
Ethan Kadar went 2-2 and finished fourth at 112 pounds. He lost Sunday’s semifinal to Chariho’s Cameron Anderson, getting pinned in 45 seconds. He pinned in 4:20 to get to the match for third place where he was pinned in 1:21.
Ryan O’Donnell went 1-2 at 148 and took fifth place. He pinned his opponent in 2:26 in the match for fifth.
The meet marks the end of the season.
The Bulldogs earlier won the Northern Division title and finished first in the statewide Birchwood tournament, which many believe is a precursor to the state tournament.
“One of the exciting things about the year is we had eight first-year wrestlers including state champion Kyle Roberts and we were pretty much able to cover every class (15 of 17) which is difficult to do,” Bailey said. “We didn’t have any national (level) kids like we had the last couple of years but we had a lot of kids who were good collectively as a team and as a group they did very well.
“Also Vinny Kubicsko and I, we’re co-coaches, are involved with the Westerly Wrestling Club and we made the decision to try to get all of the kids to wrestle with the Club as well and you generally get four matches every Sunday. In middle school you generally only get about 10 matches, so now they’re getting 40 matches and the addtional mat time ultimately helped us win in the state tournament.”