Hawk Grapplers Bounce Back From New Milford Match — In A Big Way
A big part of wrestling is being able to overcome an opponent who might have you down. Newtown High School’s wrestling team, as a whole, got off the mat following a tough loss for a notable win.
Newtown, after a tough 49-18 loss at arch nemesis New Milford — ranked No. 3 in the state — on January 11, made a statement by winning the 22-team Greater Hartford Open on January 14. The Nighthawks overcame three top-ten Connecticut programs in No. 5 East Hartford, No. 7 Killingly, and No. 10 Southington. Newtown scored 208 points; East Hartford and Killingly each scored 193.5 and Southington tallied 144.5.
The Hawks placed nine grapplers in the tourney. Tommy Milligan, Kenna Gioffre, and Fisher Stites all won first place; Marc Maurath and Jon DaSilva both earned second; Luca Manfredi came in third; Stanley Chenet was fourth; and Acea Shaham and Charlie Dunn both took fifth.
Newtown Coach Chris Bray said he was pleased with how the team bounced back after what was a disappointing overall showing against New Milford, potentially the biggest hurdle standing between Newtown and a South-West Conference championship.
“It showed me their heart and character. To a man the effort was good and we cut down on some of the mistakes. They show some promise moving ahead,” Bray said.
Following the New Milford matchup, the Hawks were down. Bray said his team did not compete at its highest level and that the Green Wave executed very well.
“There were a lot of matches, especially early on, that could have gone either way,” Bray said.
Against New Milford, in the 113 pound weight division, Milligan scored a 4-2 decision over Cayden Reynolds, at 120 Gioffre posted a 17-2 technical fall victory over Aiden Photopoulos, at 145 Maurath earned a 10-6 decision over Ryder Langlois, and at 170 Stites pinned Angelo Fernandez.
A good sign is that the Nighthawks have risen to the occasion in tournaments early on, including a 40-37 loss to Massachusetts powerhouse Melrose in the semifinals of the Southland Duals at Southington High the weekend before.
“If we wrestled a match like we did against them the outcome could have been different,” Bray said. “We’re going to see them in the SWC Tournament and we’ll take another run at it.”
Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at email@example.com.