From First Win To 100th Triumph, Milestones Celebrated By Grapplers
On a night in which senior captain Nik Accousti’s 100th career high school win was celebrated — he accomplished the milestone in Danbury’s tournament on December 29 — Noah Clark, a freshman newcomer to the sport, earned his first triumph on the mats at any level of organized wrestling. Newtown High School defeated visiting Masuk of Monroe 48-18 on January 16.
Accousti was one of a handful of Nighthawk grapplers to win via forfeit in the Masuk match, but still had a chance to shine in the circle when he was presented with signs commemorating his century-mark victory; his achievement was also recognized by public address announcer Jason “J” Edwards.
“You work four years for it — it’s kind of big,” said Accousti, who joined his brother, Joe Accousti (class of 2017), and other Nighthawks in the 100-win club.
Clark will potentially be working hard for his share of victories during the next four seasons. The first-year high school student, who competes in the 220-pound weight division after having joined the team in late December, got his first taste of victory in an overtime thriller. He edged Peter Dutkowsky in an 11-9 decision of a back-and-forth bout.
There were a flurry of points recorded late in the two-minute third period, with Clark outscoring his counterpart 5-2 in the final period with two takedowns and an escape to force overtime tied at seven. Down 6-5, Clark’s takedown gave him a 7-6 edge with just 20 seconds left in the third period. Dutowsky’s escape for a point sent things to OT. Neither wrestler scored in the first 30 second overtime period. In the second OT, Clark took the lead for good with a two-point reversal.
Only a few weeks ago, Clark had never stepped foot on a wrestling mat.
Newtown Coach Ron Chivinski, who works at Newtown Middle School, taught Clark in eighth grade last year, so he approached both Clark and his family about the opportunity to give the sport a chance. "I'm glad he did," Chivinski said.
Clark had to be cleared to compete following an injury and saw his crash course wrestling efforts pay off after a handful of matches. Once the second overtime buzzer sounded, Clark pumped his fists and celebrated.
“It’s a really hard sport to start that far behind. He’s been coming to practice and working hard. To see him go six minutes and overtime and pull out a victory shows he wants to be here,” Chivinski said. “He’s learning.”
The Hawks got a pair of wins with relative ease. In the 120-pound weight class, Newtown’s Connor Faxon won via pinfall in 1:34. Ayden Kasbarian won his 138-pound bout via pin in just 26 seconds. Justin Bogdanoff won his 170-pound weight division match via pin in only 17 seconds.
Newtown had several hard-fought battles with the Panthers.
“Even though they don’t have a full lineup, they had some tough kids,” Chivinski said.
In the 152 weight class, Nighthawk Andrew Sayers scored a point on a second-period escape and that was all she wrote in his 1-0 win over Jason Lobdell.
Masuk’s Zach Minch battled to a triumph via pinfall over Steven Leuci in the 160 weight class. It was 3-3 after one period and 7-6 Minch heading to the third. Leuci had a couple of escapes in the third period before finally being pinned with only seven seconds showing on the scoreboard clock.
Fritz Maurath suffered only a first-period takedown at the hands of defending South-West Conference champion Curtis Fedorko of Masuk and hung tough before losing a 2-0 decision at 145.
At 195, Newtown’s Sebastian Vona tangled with Cole Deleo for three action-packed periods before losing a 13-10 decision. It was 3-3 after one and 8-7 Deleo in front after two. A late-match escape and a reversal were not enough for Vona despite a valiant effort.
“They didn’t come out our way, but these are the matches we want. We want to challenge ourselves,” Chivinski said.
The Nighthawks competed at the Eagle Classic at East Catholic High in Manchester on January 19 and placed 11th with 74 points. Highlights included Accousti reaching the championship at 132 before losing 4-2 in overtime to Stafford’s Tristan Julian, Kasbarian placing fifth at 138, Sayers finishing runner-up at 152, Leuci placing fifth at 160, and Joe Zeller placing second in the 285 division.
“We’re not here for easy wins,” said Chivinski, adding that the Hawks are taking on tough weekend competition in tournaments to prepare them for the postseason. “We want to be ready for the end of the year.”
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