Southington standouts lead way in annual All-Herald wrestling team

Published on Wednesday, 1 April 2020 17:36
Written by RYAN CHICHESTER

@ryanchichester1

The wrestling season concluded just before all remaining winter sports were canceled, allowing some of the best grapplers in the area to compete at the New England Championships, and a number of those wrestlers make up this year’s All-Herald team.

From State Open champions to perfect regular seasons, this group is stacked with some of the best talents in all of Connecticut.

Southington leads the way with four entries on this year’s list, including a pair of State Open winners in Billy Carr and Ashley Reed. Carr (182) was trailing his State Open final 3-2 before securing a takedown of Amity’s Simon Flaherty with just six seconds left to grab a 4-3 lead and hang on for a thrilling victory. Carr carried that momentum into New Englands, where he reached the semifinals before securing sixth place overall, staking his claim for one of the best in the region.

Carr also earned his 100th career win in his first match at the State Open, providing yet another athletic accolade that also includes an All-State selection in football.

Reed struggled with injuries during the offseason and in the early parts of the regular season, but came on strong just in time for the first-ever CT Girls Wrestling Invitational, which took place simultaneously with the State Open. Reed (160) rolled through her tournament and pinned Montville’s Baylee Gagneir in the second round of the championship match to find herself atop the podium. Reed is still only a junior and was coming off a memorable sophomore campaign where she placed third in the 144-pound weight class at the National High School Coaches Association Nationals tournament, earning her All-American honors. Expect to see Reed dominating again next season as a senior.

Also making the list for the Blue Knights is Jacob Vecchio (220), who like Carr, picked up his 100th career win at the State Open. He also made it to the third-place bout, where he pinned East Lymes Roark Ryan in the second round. With their 100th wins, Carr and Vecchio joined teammate Caleb Brick, who makes this list as well after a memorable season that saw the 145-pounder come in second place at the CCC Tournament and first overall at the always stacked Connecticut Challenge, where he pinned West Springfield’s Taha Alsutani in the second round to secure the title.

New Britain boasts a pair of entries, with senior Isaiah Medina (182) leading the way. Medina, who dedicated his final high school season to his mother after she passed away from cancer last year, rolled through the regular season and finished with a perfect record, capped off by a win over Carr in the regular season finale. Medina went on to finish fifth at the State Open to just make it to the podium and secure a trip to the New England Championships, capping off a memorable career with the Hurricanes.

Teammate Tyree Pinnock (285) was also at the State Open, and rolled over Bristol Central’s Eric Facey with a 15-0 tech fall in the first round before bowing out in the second round. Still, Pinnock was one of first-year head coach Nick Catalano’s most reliable grapplers during the 2019-20 season, continuing a memorable high school career that included time on the gridiron as well.

Berlin also has two entries on the 2020 squad, with Christianna Morley earning a spot after coming in second place at the CT Girls Wrestling Invitational. Morley (120) secured quick pins in the first two rounds of the tournament, then beat Pomperaug’s Julianna Morris by a 12-6 decision to reach the final. She fell in a close 3-1 decision to NFA’s Destiny Mateo, but still led the way for the Redcoats in terms of top finishes during the championship weekend.

On the boys side, Aidan O’Connor was consistently reliable for Berlin. O’Connor (170) took third place at the Connecticut Challenge and went on to win a match in the State Open as well, after taking fifth place at the Class M state championships.

Newington’s lone entry is Aidan Lozada (182), who completed a successful career with the Indians by placing second in Class L and sixth at the State Open. Lozada nearly secured fifth place and a trip to New Englands, but lost a close match to Medina, his longtime rival. In the Class L state championships, Lozada nearly took home the gold but lost in a 7-4 decision to Flaherty, who was shocked by Carr at the State Open a week later.

Rounding out our squad is Plainville’s Kyle Voisine, who picked up a win at the State Open in the 160-pound bracket and finished fifth overall at the Class S championships, helping the Blue Devils secure a top-10 finish at seventh place overall.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, New Britain, Newington, Plainville, Southington on Wednesday, 1 April 2020 17:36. Updated: Wednesday, 1 April 2020 17:38.