Area wrestlers take home hardware at CJ McCormack Wrestling Tournament

Published on Saturday, 18 December 2021 20:07
Written by TYLER HETU


BERLIN - The CJ McCormack Wrestling Tournament went to Foran, scoring 238 points to claim the top spot in a nine-team points race Saturday afternoon.

Area teams finishing behind Foran and second-place Avon (193.5 points) included third-place Berlin with 189.5 points, fourth-place Plainville with 141 points and Bristol Eastern in sixth with 121 points. The tournament, running slightly behind schedule, ran roughly nine hours across the day as some teams got their first taste of tournament action for the winter season.

Among wrestlers on the front side of the bracket Saturday were Bristol Eastern's Ella Nichols, who had an impressive run through 152. Nichols took her first match over Kevin Chan of Foran with a pin in a minute, advancing to the bracket semifinals where she defeated Foran's Olvier Ardrey in a 5-0 decision.

Nichols continued her tear into the finals, where she defeated Chris Choi of Farmington in a 5-0 decision.

"She very technical, not gifted, that's all earned," said Bristol Eastern head coach Eric Sassu on Nichols. "She's so good because she's worked for every move. ... She's one of the hardest workers in our room and one of the most technical in our room. The kids area really lucky to have her in this program, not only for our to look up to, but even to show me some stuff from time-to-time."

Joining Nichols in finals matches included Anthony Silva (113 pounds), Alex Marshall (160) and Dylan Piazza (182), all of whom fell in their respective weight classes final to place second.

"We really wanted to come here and just give it our all," said Sassu.

For Berlin, the hosting Redcoats had three wrestlers work in finals and all take home first-place medals.

Nicholas Koops (132), Marco Marino (170) and Nick Ebrahimi (220) each wrestled their way to a final, with Koops winning his title on a 10-8 decision over Craig Mager of Foran, Marino winning his title on a 5-3 decision over Cameron Casey of Avon and Ebrahimi pinning Nicholas Dennis of Plainville.

Ebrahimi, a freshman, swept the day with pins. Berlin head coach Pete Veleas felt there was obvious ways where the Redcoats could have improved in order to have a chance to take first on team points, but said the message overall is just to get better every day.

"Every time we step on the mat, we have to get a little bit better," said Veleas. "... I write notes down all the time, all through the tournament I was writing down notes. ... We have to do this or that, so much to cover, and losing last year was huge. It's a big setback. We were building, ... everybody is in the same boat and dealing with the same thing, so it's one step at a time, keep moving forward and keep working hard."

Plainville had a strong day at the CJ McCormick title, despite its placing in team standings. Joseph Kennedy (145) earned a bye to start his day, and then rolled through three opponents on his way to a first-place finish in his bracket.

Kennedy won a narrow 2-1 decision over Foran's Kyle Pokornowski, nearly evening the score on a stalling call on himself late in the third period. He had an 11-4 decision win and a pin to bring himself to the final.

At 285, Jeff Quirion La Oz pinned his way to a bracket title, pinning Semih Sellmoglu of Farmington, Joe Fuccillo of Brookfield and Dominic Cassarino of Farmington. 

Also in finals were the big men of Alex Santini (195) and Nicholas Dennis (220). Santini dropped a 7-3 decision in his final while Dennis fell by pin to Ebrahimi in the final.

There's still room to grow for Plainville, with head coach Todd Krolikowski saying there's some need to adapt to the environment and high-level varsity wrestling. But, he feels they're right where they need to be in the process.

"It's hard for those younger weights. There's some newer kids and they're getting used to tournaments instead of wrestling in general," said Krolikowski. "... I think we're right where we thought we'd be."


In consolation Bristol Eastern, Berlin and Plainville had several weights work their way back for a potential third-place opportunity.

Due to some brackets hitting match limits (wrestlers in high school are only allowed to wrestle five times per day), some wrestlebacks were not possible.

Bristol Eastern's day in the wrestlebacks saw them take one a third-place medal through Gabe White (126). He was the only Lancer wrestler to work his way back to a podium spot as nine others fell just off a podium position.

In consolation Berlin had nearly its entire team work for a position, with six wrestlers batting for third. Caleb Orde (113), Jonah Lorenzo (126), Braden Shea (138) and Hamza Moruabit (145) each went home with a fourth-place spot while Mason Arbolo (106) and Landon Vieira (145) finished third.

Plainville had three wrestlers going for third, with John Guzzardi (138) and Bobby Wright (285) successfully completing their wrestleback run for a third-place medal. Guzzardi took third by no contest, while Wright pinned Foran's Jagger Rees in the third-place match.

Gabriel Hernandez (170) fell in his third-place match, wrestling for the fifth time in the day. He lost a 5-1 decision to Connor Bly of Suffield/Windsor-Locks after getting back-to-back pins in consolation.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, Plainville on Saturday, 18 December 2021 20:07. Updated: Saturday, 18 December 2021 20:09.