2014 NHSCA National Championships
March 28-30, 2014
Virginia Beach, VA

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. Danbury’s Kevin Jack (126) took third in the Senior National tournament while New Milford’s Kyle Lindner (113) was fifth in the Junior National tournament.

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 North Carolina.

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 place match.

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

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