This is the fifth in a multi-part series highlighting the Berlin High School Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
1999 Wrestling Team
The 1999 wrestling team was the Class M state champion, setting a new record for points scored in a state tournament with 261.5 points, surpassing the record of 234 points scored by Berlin’s 1986 Class S state champion team. They became the sixth Redcoat team to capture a state championship. The team had six finalists and placed sixth or better in 12 of the 14 weight classes. Berlin also captured the Northwest Conference championship that year and had a dual meet record of 23-2, surpassing the record 22 matches won by the 1986 team. The Redcoats also had a number of other achievements that season such as winning the Berlin Invitational, while finishing as runner-ups in the Danbury Tournament, the Art Powers Duals, Eagle Classic tournament and the New Fairfield Duals.
Berlin was by senior Jason Siegal, Rob Levesque, Jeremy Osakowicz, Adam Nogiec and Anthony Reynolds. Those seniors led the Redcoats to 76 career dual meet wins during their four years, tying the 1989 class for most wins in a four-year period. As a group, the seniors have won more than 450 individual matches in their careers. Reynolds was undefeated in his dual meets that season with a 23-0 record and an overall record of 44-0. Reynolds and Joe Cleary were winners in the Class M state championships and Reynolds went on to win the State Open championship that season as well.
Other key contributors of the 1999 team were Peter Egazarian, Matt Moran, Michael Laroche, Matt McCormack, George Primich, John Szymanski, Aaron Trusty, Derek Aivano, Bill Aust, Anthony Carlino, Jim Punkunus and Kristi Artigue. The team was coached by Jim Day, Dave Tremblay, John Bennett, Barbara Breslin, Tim Sullivan, Bill Ladas and Rocco Ulrso.
2000 Wrestling Team
The 2000 wrestling team continued the success of the 1999 team, repeating as the Class M state champions. The Redcoats finished a perfect dual meet season winning 19 matches with zero losses for Berlins’ first-ever undefeated team. The team was ranked second in the final state poll by the Hartford Courant.
Other notable achievements were winning the first-ever championship in the Art Powers Duals, triumphing over four great programs - NFA, Simsbury, Stamford and Ledyard - winning the New Fairfield Duals for the first time, capturing the Northwest Conference championship, the Millennium Madness championship and finished as runner-ups in the Eagle Classic and Berlin Invitational. Berlin had three individual state champions in Joe Cleary, Matt Moran and Aaron Trusty, and three State Open champions in Cleary, Michael Laroche and Trusty. The Redcoats also had eight place finishers at the state tournament. Four wrestlers finished their careers in the top 14 in career wins: Cleary at number six with 97, Moran at number seven with 95, Laroche at number nine with 92 and John Szymanski at number 14 with 84.
Other key contributors to this outstanding season were Peter Egazarian (29-9 record), Matt McCormack (20-10), Carlo Pistritto (15-16), Derek Aivano (32-12), Bill Aust (33-7), Mitch Egazarian (13-9), Jim Punkunus (29-9), Alex Barwokowski (21-14), CJ McCormack (28-11), BJ Madey (11-7), Rob Facey (6-6) and John Russo (6-6). The team was coached by Jim Day, Dave Tremblay, John Bennett, Barbara Breslin, Tim Sullivan, Bill Ladas and Bill Carey.
A new ceremony date will be announced at a later date.