Youth Grapplers Earn Titles
Youth Grapplers Earn Titles
Newtownâs youth wrestling program saw four wrestlers take home state titles at the USA Wrestling State Championships.Â
The championships took place during two weekends with the kindergarten through second-grade wrestlers dueling on February 22 at Platt High School in Meriden and the grades 3-8Â wrestlers dueling at Hillhouse High School in New Haven on March 1.
Sean Arnold, Anthony Falbo, Edward Lovely, and Forest Speed won state championships. Andy Hubina, Shaine Luzietti and Gren Paynter placed second, James Leuci took third, and Luca Crudo took fourth in their respective weight classes.
At the bantam division state tourney, 7-year-old Sean Arnold, a second grade student at Sandy Hook School, took home the title in the 52 pound weight class. Arnold dominated with two pins and a third win by points, 10-0.
Hawley School first- and second-graders Shaine Luzetti and Gren Paynter wrestled to second place after losing one match each in the early rounds. Second-graders Justin Bogdanoff and Ryan Straiton also participated in the bantam division, with Bogdanoff wining one and Straiton losing his first two matches facing fierce competition.
In the Intermediate division, 9-year-old, Middle Gate School student Edward Lovely won the state title in the 76 pound weight class. He dominated, winning 7-0, 2-0, and 5-2 in his final match over local opponent Cole McGrath of Pomperaug. Anthony Falbo, 10-year-old Sandy Hook School student won the state title in the 86 pound weight class. Falbo won convincingly with two pins, a tech fall, and 9-0 and 10-0 wins in his final matches.
Thomas Leuci, Michael Garner and Ethan Ross also participated in the Intermediate division. Garner won early and then lost two touch matches. Ross and Leuci fought hard but were eliminated in the early rounds.
In the Novice division, Forest Speed, a sixth-grader at Reed Intermediate School, took home the state title in his weight class. Speed pinned his first opponent and then won 10-5 and beat his next opponent by a tech fall, earning the state championship. Andy Hubina, a fifth-grade student at Reed School as well, finished second in his weight class. He pinned his first two opponents and then lost in a tough final match against Trumbullâs Stephen Briganti. James Leuci, a sixth-grade student at Reed, earned third place in his weight class by wining his first two matches, losing,Â and then winning in the consolation round against Trumbullâs Connor Smith. Luca Crudo, also a sixth-grader at Reed, earned fourth place is his weight class, losing in the consolation round to rival Kyle Linder from New Milford. Other Reed students participating in these championships were Joseph Praino, who won early but lost two in the consolation bracket, and Michael Schlesinger who forfeited due to illness.
Middle School Division
Sixth-grade students Kevin Ross and Matt Gonzalez wrestled hard in the middle school division. Ross pinned his first opponent, then lost 4-3 before coming back with an 8-6 win in his next match. He was then eliminated with a tough 10-3 loss. Gonzalez faced fierce competition, losing 1-0 and 5-4.Â
The Youth Wrestling Program continues to make steady progress at the state tournament each year.Â
The participants will now travel out of state for tougher competition with their final matches occurring in Syracuse, New York in early May. The program continues to succeed under the direction of coaches Steve Ford and Chris Bray.