Showing Their Tourney Prowess: Hawk Grapplers Win Yet Another Multi-Team Competition
There is some significantly encouraging good news for Newtown High School’s wrestling team as the postseason quickly approaches: These Nighthawks are really tough in the tournament setting.
Postseason begins when the South-West Conference championships take place at Stratford High on February 11 (beginning at 8:30 am), and Newtown will look to avenge its lone setback in a regular dual meet matchup, to perennial conference powerhouse New Milford on January 11, with plenty of reason for renewed confidence in recent weeks.
In their latest message-sender, the Nighthawks (ranked fourth in the state) won the TFC Kevin Miller Duals hosted by East Hartford High School, on January 28. In the preliminary rounds, East Hartford beat Branford, Staples and Stratford. Newtown beat New London (55-21), Granby (84-0), and Guilford (45-21). In a thrilling finals, the Nighthawks edged East Hartford 40-39. The Hornets are currently ranked No. 6 in the state and are the returning LL State co-champs along with Danbury.
Newtown’s Tommy Milligan, Kenna Gioffre, Marc Maurath, Luca Manfredi, Fisher Stites, and Jon DaSilva all went a perfect 4-0 during the tourney.
“We have been looking to this event for a few weeks now. We wanted to see East Hartford and they wanted to see us as well. They did their homework and so did we,” Newtown Coach Chris Bray said. “We had no doubt this was going to be very tight. The guys all stepped up big for this one, we had a few surprises on the way — mostly very positive. The match was everything we expected it to be: thrilling to the very end. In the end I think we both gained a new level of respect and admiration for each other, whose programs in many ways parallel each other.”
The Nighthawks certainly have raised their collective game in tourneys. They placed second among 17 schools in the Guilford Invitational; were first among all Connecticut schools and 12th among 86 total at the George Bossi/Lowell Holiday Tourney; won the Nighthawk Invitational; lost only to tough Melrose, Mass. in the Southington Southland Duals; won the 22-team Greater Hartford Open; and came in fourth among 23 teams at Mercy High’s Colter Abely Tourney.
If nothing else, participation in these events can only help prepare the Nighthawk grapplers for the postseason — both considering the grueling day of continuous bouts and level of the opponents.
“There’s nothing quite like tournament competition to get guys ready for the league and state championships. No matter the event there are always a few top-level guys out there that you want to see to measure where you stand amongst the competition. It’s also important to see and understand the importance of wrestling back should you receive a loss in the early rounds,” Bray points out.
How pleased has Bray been with these collective tournament showings?
“Well we’re a decent dual meet team, but I think we’re a better tournament team. Our top level guys make the finals and score a lot of team points along the way. So far, I feel like we have performed well at tournaments and feel like we are still improving each and every week,” the coach said.
There is one more week of competition to go until the matches with more at stake — SWC and state crowns.
Newtown defeated visiting Pomperaug of Southbury 72-9 on January 26. After visiting Masuk of Monroe on Wednesday, the Hawks are scheduled for one more in-season tournament test: The Bacon Academy Matt Bishel Bobcat Classic on Saturday, February 4 at 9 am. NHS closes out the regular slate with a visit to SWC foe Joel Barlow of Redding on Monday, February 6 at 7 pm.
“I think the team has progressed each week and our best wrestling is still on the horizon. League and state championships are within our reach if we perform to our potential. Don’t get me wrong — there will be some stiff competition along the way against some of the best teams in the state but we belong there with them,” Bray said.
Newtown’s coach said that Class L has three of the top-four overall ranked teams in the state, including Newtown. The Class L State Championship, scheduled for February 17 and 18 in Guilford, will be particularly challenging, Bray said.
Match results from the TFC Kevin Miller Duals In East Hartford are as follows:
Newtown 55, New London 21: 106 Tommy Milligan (N) MD 8-0 Jose Negron-Ortiz (NL); 113 Kenna Gioffre (N) Pin Masyn Smith (NL); 120 Andy Martinez-Soliz (NL) Pin Daniel Kellerman (N); 126 Spencer Jorgenson (N) Forfeit; 132 Jairo Ruiz (NL) DEC 6-5 Grayson Renkert (N); 138 Henry Terifay (N) Pin Shea Quashie (NL); 145 Marc Maurath (N) Pin Jaquis Lee (NL); 152 Luca Manfredi (N) Pin Christian Ortiz (NL); 160 Kanye Nance (NL) Pin Andrew Corey (N); 170 Fisher Stites (N) Pin Trevin Robledo-Thompson (NL);182 Acea Shaham (N) DEC 7-3 Jhandel Marchial (NL); 195 Charles Dunn (N) Pin Jeriel Suriel (NL); 220 Kaiden Smith (NL) Pin Mikey Quesenberry (N); 285 John Dasilva (N) Pin Henry Santana-Liriano (NL).
Newtown 84, Granby 0: 113 Kenna Gioffre (N) FOR; 120 Daniel Kellerman (N) Forfeit; 126 Spencer Jorgenson (N) Pin Benjamin Barlow (G); 132 Grayson Renkert (N) Pin Beckett Malone (G); 138 William King (N) Forfeit; 145 Henry Terifay (N) Forfeit; 152 Marc Maurath (N) Pin Tony Camilleri (G); 160 Luca Manfredi (N) Pin Nikolaus Krauland (G); 170 Andrew Corey (N) Forfeit; 182 Fisher Stites (N) F 1st Period Jack Gianinoto (G); 195 Acea Shaham (N) Forfeit; 220 Charles Dunn (N) Forfeit; 285 John Dasilva (N) Forfeit; 106 Tommy Milligan (N) Pin Liam Kirkpatrick (G).
Newtown 46, Guilford 21: 126 Alex Uzzo (G) DEC 9-4 Spencer Jorgenson (N); 132 Grayson Renkert (N) Pin Sam Martocci; (G) 138 Elijah McDermott (G) DEC 6-5 Henry Terifay (N); 145; Marc Maurath (N) Pin Tyler Skapczynski (G); 152 Luca Manfredi (N) Pin Dominic Bilskis (G); 160; Jean-Paul Meguerditchian (G) DEC 4-8 Andrew Corey (N); 170 Fisher Stites (N) DEC 5-1 Alejandro Colberg-Martinez (G); 182 James Mahoney (G) Pin Acea Shaham (N); 195 Charles Dunn (N) DEC 5-2 Liam Alberti (G); 220 Tim Hastings (G) Pin Mikey Quesenberry (N); 285 John Dasilva (N) Pin Logan Murphy (G); 106 Jacob Wallenta (N) Foreit; 113 Tommy Milligan (N) Forfeit; 120 Kenna Gioffre (N) MD 7-0 Dante Bilskis (G).
Newtown 40, East Hartford 39: 132 Jeremiah DeJesus (E) DEC 11-5 Grayson Renkert (N); 138 Jaeckez Mendez (E) Pin Henry Terifay (N); 145 Marc Maurath (N) MD 11-1 Yaxier Rivera (E); 152 Luca Manfredi (N) Forfeit; 160 Drayvn Roberts (E) Forfeit; 170 Andrew Corey (N) Pin Anthony Gamero (E); 182 Fisher Stites (N) Pin Mason Martinez (E); 195 Malachi Powell (E) Pin Acea Shaham (N); 220 Sammy Montovani (E) Pin Charles Dunn (N); 285 John Dasilva (N) Pin Joshua Keaton (E); 106 Tommy Milligan (N) Pin Muhammad Kasliwala (E); 113 Kenna Gioffre (N) Pin Avery Porter (E); 120 Isaac Quiles (E) Pin Daniel Kellerman (N); 126 Usman Akhtar (E) Pin Spencer Jorgenson (N).
Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.