The Greenwich High wrestling team attended the Ludlowe Duals in Fairfield on Saturday and the Big Red left with a 2-3 record.
“This was a good day of competition to get us ready for FCIACs,” said Greenwich coach George Albano, whose team went 14-7 in dual matches and placed third in the FCIAC a year ago.
Despite losing, among others, Ryan Whittle (second in Class LL), Cameron Driscoll (FCIAC champ) and Matt Diddel (third in FCIAC) to graduation, Albano knows his team has enough experience and talent to weather a tough schedule.
“We have veterans with Mark Chien at 106, Jack Benenson at 120, Eric Tack at 152, Mike Gestal at 160, and Grant Cucchissi at 182,” he said. “We are inexperienced in other classes, but have ability, and it’s in those swing matches that we need to win.
“Our first two matches today [against Ludlowe and team champion Trumbull] were difficult,” added Albano. “We’re 7-3 and this is a good lesson for the postseason. Win or lose, 45 minutes later you have to go again.”
Greenwich lost to Ludlowe 54-17 and to Trumbull 47-27, defeated East Lyme 72-3, lost to Norwich Free Academy 47-22, and defeated Platt Tech of Milford 54-24.
Greenwich was stunned by Ludlowe from the outset of its first match, as the 17-win Falcons took the first seven weight classes to forge out a 36-0 lead.
The Big Red’s Tack put his team on the board with an 18-2 win by technical fall at 152 pounds.
Gestal wasted little time adding to the momentum when the senior co-captain pinned Alex Sullivan in 53 seconds of their 160-pound bout.
Ludlowe won the next two matches to secure the decision, before the Cards’ Tom Williams pinned Kyle Pietrzak in 4:43 at 195 pounds.
Freshman Erik Menchaca wrestled beyond his experience at 220 pounds, when he took the Falcons’ Matt Garoffolo to triple overtime before dropping a 2-1 decision.
Sophomore Chris Fischer and Ludlowe’s Jacob Jessen put each other in jeopardy throughout before the Falcons got the better of a throw and scored a 3:15 fall.
Next up was Trumbull, which went 5-0 and handed Ludlowe (43-18) its only loss on the day.
Chien met the Eagles’ equally talented Cross Cannone to start the match at 113 pounds.
Cannone scored a takedown midway through the first period and added a two-point near-fall with 11 seconds left in the stanza.
The Eagle was better on his feet and used that advantage to extend his lead to an 11-0 victory.
GHS’s Alex Margeotes met Dylan Haviland in an exciting match at 120 pounds.
Margeotes had a takedown and took a 2-0 lead into the second period, where he stopped Haviland’s roll attempt for a reversal and put the Eagle on his back for a pair of three-point near-falls to lead 8-0.
Haviland reversed early in period three, but Margeotes fought off two serious pin attempts and the junior emerged with an 8-2 victory.
Greenwich’s Scott Sutton met Brandon Liscinsky and the 100-plus win Eagle grappler scored a fall on his third attempt to win in 1:45.
Ben Jones met Trumbull’s Jalaam Robinson at 130 pounds and fell behind 4-0 after one period, and trailed 7-0 when the junior fought off his back to earn an escape late in the second frame.
From the bottom to start the third, Jones reversed Robinson to his back, but couldn’t get the back points needed, and the Eagle later escaped with an 8-3 victory.
GHS’s Kyle Hernandez lost by second-period fall to Adam Angelucci at 138, and Mike McCafferty had no better luck in losing by fall to Trumbull’s Steven Briganti at 145.
Tack again put Greenwich on the board, this time when he won a throw from David Briganti and got the pin call one minute into their 152-pound bout.
Rainaldo Morris met Trumbull’s Brandon Fusco in a physical matchup of 160-pounders.
Morris took a 4-0 lead before the Eagle rallied within 4-3 after one period.
Morris missed his throw attempt from the neutral position to open the second period, and Fulco used a pair of near-falls to go up 13-4.
In an old-fashioned roll-around, Morris just kept missing his attempts and Fulco finally caught him for a pin at the 5:16 mark.
Gestal won by pin in 3:50 at 171, as he had to work hard against the defensive-minded Steve Green.
Gestal led 2-0 after one and 3-0 in the second, when he patiently took his time to tighten his grip and get the pin call.
Cucchissi was next up for Big Red and the 189-pounder met Trumbull’s Paul McKee with the Eagles leading 31-15.
McKee led 5-0 after Cucchissi fought off his back in period one.
Twice down 7-0 in the second, Cucchissi looked to escape only to be stopped by the outside circle.
In the third, Cucchissi went with an underhook, but before he could get his throw, McKee fought it off and turned it into a 9-0 victory.
Williams lost by second-period fall to Trumbull’s Erik Mercado, who improved his record to 24-3.
Menchaca and Trumbull’s John Miolene jousted into the third period before the Eagle turned a 3-1 lead into a fall with 21 seconds remaining.
Fischer got Greenwich back on the board with a win by fall in the heavyweight division.
Fischer fell behind Ryan Moulton 2-0, but escaped, earned a takedown, and got to Moulton’s hip before rolling and pinning the Eagle in 1:10.
Mike Russell was awarded a forfeit for Greenwich at 106 pounds to complete the scoring.