VIRGINIA BEACH, March
30 – Danbury junior Juan
Garcia fell one point shy of a national championship Sunday
night. Ohio’s Ben Schram beat Garcia, 3-2, in the finals at 170
pounds in the National High School Coaches Association’s (NHSCA)
Junior National tournament.
Garcia had won five consecutive matches and was looking to become the
second wrestler in state history to win a NHSCA national championship.
Seven other Connecticut wrestlers earned All-American status.
Jack (126) took third in the Senior National tournament while
New Milford’s Kyle Lindner (113) was fifth in the Junior National
In the Sophomore Nationals, St. Bernard/ Norwich Tech’s Matthew
Dowler (106) and New Milford’s Brett Leonard (145) each took
eighth. East Granby’s William Versallis, who wrestles at Wyoming
Seminary in Pennsylvania, took sixth at 132 pounds. In the Freshman
National tournament, Newtown’s Anthony Falbo (152) was fourth
along with New Fairfield native Anthony Shay (120).
Garcia (48-8) has lost just twice in 21 post-season matches. He won the
FCIAC, Class LL and State Open title and was second in New England. At
the Junior Nationals, Garcia won five straight including a 3-1 win over
Ohio’s Jessie Palmer and a 2-1 win over Austin Caleb Flores of
California in the semifinals.
Garcia earned All-American honors for the third straight year. The only
Connecticut wrestler to win a national title was Ledyard’s T.J.
Hepburn in 2006 at the Junior Nationals.
Jack (52-2) also earned All-American honors for the third straight year
with his best finish at a NHSCA tournament. He won his first three
matches including a 6-5 win over Anferness Green of Lawrence, Mass.,
and a 3-0 win over New Jersey’s Marc Mastropietro to earn a spot
in semifinals. But he dropped a 5-4 decision to Isaiah Loscin of
Gilroy, California. Jack rebounded by pinning Jason Delacruz of
California in 1:17 and too third with a 15-11 win over Jacob Grigg of
Lindner (53-5) won his first three bouts, including a 4-3 win over Cole
Verner of Wyoming, to earn a spot in the semifinals. Ohio’s L.J.
Bentley beat Lindner, 10-1 and Kyle Quinn of Wantagh, N.Y. beat
Lindner, 3-2. However, Lindner rallied to beat Ryan Burns of Clarence,
N.Y., 9-8 to take fifth place.
Falbo (38-3) won his first three bouts in convincing fashion before
losing in the semifinals to Louisiana’s Drew Peck, 10-3. A 6-3
win over West Virginia’s Noah Adams put Falbo in the consolation
final where he lost to California’s Anthony Villareal, 8-3.
Shay, who grew up in New Fairfield, won four straight matches before
dropping a 3-2 semifinal bout to Joshua Wyland of Virginia. Shay lost
to Arizona’s Quentin Hovis to finish fourth.
Versallis won five of his first six matches only dropping a 5-1
decision to Kentucky’s Hudson Heidorf in the quarterfinals. In
the consolation round, Versallis got to the medal round with a 7-0 win
over Zach Bierfeldt of Olean, N.Y., and a pin over Freddy Eckles of
Lake Shore, N.Y. in 5:22. Timberlane’s Ryan Peters beat
Versallis, 6-2 and Heidorf beat Versallis for the second time in the
tournament, 5-3, to take seventh.
Dowler (57-7) lost his third match of the tournament but rallied with
three straight wins over wrestlers from California, Colorado and New
Jersey in the consolation round to earn All-American status. He dropped
a 4-0 decision to Ohio’s Harry Feuer in the seventh place match.
After winning two matches by pin, Leonard (53-13) also lost his third
match of tournament. He also won three straight with wins over
wrestlers from Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to earn
All-American honors. Leonard was pinned by Olen Brattin in the seventh
Several Connecticut wrestlers had multiple victories. Old
Saybrook/Westbrook’s David Colvin (138) and Westhill’s
Martin Chobanyan (170) each won three matches in the Senior tournament.
In the junior tournament, Trumbull’s Cross Cannone (126) dropped
his first match but he won five straight in the consolation round,
including three one-point decisions. He lost to Louisiana’s Paul
Klein, 4-3, just two wins shy of All-American status. Trumbull’s
Steve Briganti (152) went 4-2 while Windham’s Sebby Ruffino (120)
and Windsor Locks’ Khamri Thomas (182) each went 3-2.
In the sophomore tournament, Danbury’s Justin Peterson (120) and
Killingly’s Austin Caffrey (152) each went 4-2. New
Fairfield’s Alec Opsal (106) and Branford’s Dakota Carden
(152) were each 3-2. In the freshman tournament, Newtown’s Ed
Lovely (113) went 4-2.
CT has a middle school champion
Four middle school wrestlers from Connecticut earned All-American
status. Danbury’s Jakob
Camacho came in first at 90 pounds with a win over Luke Martin
of West Virginia, 3-2. New Canaan’s Tyler Sung came in second at
80 pounds, dropping a 2-0 decision to New York’s Jon Spadaora.
Montville’s Noah Caskey (85) and New Canaan’s Justin
Mastroianni (75) each finished fourth. Connecticut was ninth in the
field of 32 teams with 101 points