SOUTHINGTON - Senior Night for the Southington wrestling team was not just about celebrating the careers of its graduating class. For four seniors in particular, it was about recognizing a group that still has plenty to accomplish before their high school careers come to a close.
The Blue Knights held a pregame ceremony for their seniors on Wednesday night before the team’s regular season finale against New Britain, and after the festivities were over, Jacob Vecchio (285 pounds), Caleb Brick (145) and Josh Vitti (160) all came away with victories, while Billy Carr (182) lost a hard-fought decision to Isaiah Medina, the Hurricanes’ undefeated senior.
The notable performances from that quartet was fitting for Senior Night, but it was also a potential sign for what is to come once the state championships get underway next weekend.
“I think all four seniors can all make the [Class] LL finals,” Southington head coach Derek Dion said. “I think they all will and I think they all could win it. They’ll have to wrestle really well, but they all could do it. We’re keeping our fingers crossed and we’re going to work as hard as we can.”
All four members of this senior core were all-conference grapplers last season, with three of the four competing in last year’s State Open. This season, they all plan on being there for the State Open and even beyond.
“We’re going to surprise a lot of people in LLs,” Brick said. “I think all of us have a chance to win LLs and move on to State Open and New Englands. I’d love to keep the group together and all make it to New Englands.”
Brick will already be walking away from his varsity career with a piece of history, having recorded his 100th career win in Southington’s penultimate dual meet of the regular season, though there’s still plenty of work to be done for him and his senior mates.
“He’s been wrestling all year round, he’s put in the time and he deserves it,” Dion said of Brick. “He’s worked really hard and he deserves everything he’s going to get.”
This fearsome foursome has already shown its might aside from Wednesday night. The senior group led the Blue Knights to a No. 6 ranking in the Connecticut Wrestling Online poll thanks to a 17-2 record, and last year helped the team to a third-place finish at the Class LL state championships. If all four can reach the finals like Dion believes they can, it could be an even better finish for Southington as a whole in 2020.
And all four seniors have already shown they can compete with the best in the state. Earlier this year at the Connecticut Challenge, which boasts some of the top teams from Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut, and is widely considered by local teams to be the toughest event of the season, the Blue Knights sent three grapplers to the finals, and all of them were part of this group of four. Carr, Vecchio and Brick all made it, with Carr and Brick winning first place, while Vitti was only absent because he wasn’t able to wrestle that day. Come next weekend, when state championships begin, they all plan on being ready and showing the state just how stacked Southington’s senior class is.
“We know we’re all pretty good, and we push each other hard in practice,” Brick said. “We have the support system and practice partners to get to the top.”
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org