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Grapplers Have New Leader, High Expectations

Newtown High School’s wrestling team has a new leader as former Newtown Youth Wrestling Association Coach Chris Bray takes over and is joined by first-year NHS assistant Mike McKeever.

“I’m very excited. It’s like I’m regaining my guys,” said Bray, noting that he’s reacquainted with many of his former youth grapplers, some of whom he’s coached for as many as eight years.

Captains are seniors Mike Long in the 138 pound weight division and Greg LaRussa at 160, and juniors Luca Crudo at 106 and James Leuci at 132.

Other returnees are Matt Gonzalez (126) Logan Walsh (145), Forest Speed (likely 170), Connor LeMay (likely 182), Andy Hubina (195), and Ryan Wagner (220). Ed Lovely (113), Anthony Falbo (152), and Thomas Leuci (106) are freshmen who are expected to add depth to the lineup.

Top teams in the South-West Conference include perennial powerhouse New Milford and New Fairfield stands to be strong, Bray anticipates. But the coach also believes his team may be one of the best in the conference.

Last season’s SWC championships were canceled because of snow, and Bray is hopeful that Mother Nature gives his team a shot to win the title this time around.

“We feel like we can be very competitive in the SWC,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent here. There’s a lot of potential here.”

The season gets going with a December 18 home match against Bunnell of Stratford. The team will host New Milford on January 22 and participate in the New Fairfield Duals on February 1.

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