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Wrestlers Battle Past Pomperaug, Place Second In Tourney



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Coach Ron Chivinski had a lot to be pleased with following his Newtown High School wrestling team’s 39-27 victory over visiting Pomperaug of Southbury on January 8.

With the Nighthawks giving up a pair of weight classes with forfeits and up against some tough competitors, it was a match that could have gone either way.

“We needed things to go right,” Chivinski said. “They all came out and wrestled with heart, and they all did their job.”

In the 138-pound weight division, Ben Watson prevailed for an 8-5 decision. At 152, Zach Reilly had a tough loss. He overcame a 6-5 deficit in the final half minute to force overtime before losing an 8-6 decision to Zach Hartman.

A trio of Nighthawks pinned their opponents, each scoring six team points. Fritz Maurath pinned his 160-pound opponent in the first period, and Steven Leuci (170) and Luca Manfredi (106) also pinned their counterparts in the first period.

James Tibolla was tied 2-2 going to the third before falling in a 7-2 decision to Joseph Mastroianni at 113 pounds. Although it was a defeat, it should be noted that Tibolla recently returned from an injury and took a seasoned wrestler the distance, avoiding being pinned, this saving the Nighthawks a few points.

At 120, Ben Plaue trailed 5-3 late but came back and earned the win over David Jutcawitz on a takedown with only six seconds left. Plaue fought to get the victory by a slim margin — both with the clock and boundary on the mat — bringing his counterpart down on the edge of the circle. “That’s what we teach them to do — wrestle ‘til the whistle blows,” said Chivinski, adding that Plaue overcame a wrestler who was second in the South-West Conference last year.

In the 195 weight class, Ryan Callahan and Harrison Anglace were locked in a scoreless battle going to the third and in a 2-2 deadlock with a half minute left; Callahan scored two points on a takedown with 25 seconds to go and earned a 4-2 decision over an experienced wrestler.

“There were so many positives here. This was a team effort,” Chivinski said.

Newtown followed up the win over the Panthers with a second-place performance in the John Chacho Dual Tournament at Staples High School in Westport on January 11. Watson, Steve Vournazos, and Manfredi all went undefeated with a 4-0 record in the competition.

Ben Watson, top, and Aidan Gilchrist of Pomperaug battle during Newtown's win. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Ben Plaue, right, tangles with his opponent.
Fritz Maurath, top, earns a win by pinfall.
James Tibolla battles on the mat.
Ryan Callahan takes on his opponent.
Zach Reilly, right, competes for Newtown.
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