Greenwich High wrestlers finish FCIAC finals fifth [SLIDESHOW]

By looking at the championship portion of the brackets, it appears that the Greenwich High School wrestling team didn’t have one of its better seasons.

However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite not having a grappler in the championship match of any weight class, the Cardinals finished the Joe Sikorski Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference wrestling tournament having a medalist in 10 of the 14 brackets and took home fifth overall with 129.5 points.

“I thought we did well and it was right where we expected to be,” Greenwich High School head coach George Albano said. “We knew that it would be tough to get individual champions or get a finalist, but we also knew that we had a good chance to have 10 or 11 kids medal. That’s right where we ended up. It was what we expected and it kind of speaks to the depth of our team, where top to bottom we consistently had a quality wrestler at every weight class. We had a pretty solid lineup this year and it is reflected on the amount of kids that we got in the top six.”

Once again, it was Danbury High School grabbing the conference championship with 260.5 points. Fairfield Warde finished in distant second, grabbing 214 points. Picking up the bronze was Trumbull High School, scoring 184 points. Fairfield Ludlowe rounded out the top four with a score of 139.5 points.

“We had 10 kids place this year at FCIACs and that was great,” Albano said. “Warde probably had the same amount and so did Trumbull. I am very proud of the effort the kids gave. Although we didn’t have a kid wrestle in the finals, eight of the kids that picked up medals for us will be returning next year. That is promising for the us, both for the class LL meet on Saturday and for our future as well.”

Three juniors and picked up high marks for Big Red during FCIACs, as Jack Freiheit, Justin Montier and Chris Fischer each grabbed the bronze.

In the 152-pound weight class, Freiheit took to the third place match with Warde’s Anthony Rotz and came away with the thrilling 3-0 victory.

Freiheit started his tournament by getting a first round bye and then beat Danbury’s Andrew Marquis with a 15-0 decision. After falling to Wilton’s Andrew Sakamoto, Freiheit dominated the rest of the way, starting wrestlebacks with a 6-2 decision victory over Norwalk’s Matt Deering and advanced to the consolation finals against Rotz.

Not to be outdone was Montier in the 170-pound weight class, as he took third place overall by netting the hard-fought 6-5 decision victory over Fairfield Warde’s Mike Sheets. Like Freiheit, Montier started his tournament with an opening round bye and then beat Harding’s Xavier Bass via pinfall at the 5:25 mark.

Although Montier fell to Westhill’s Martin Chobanyan in the semifinals, Montier started his wrestlebacks by pinning Ludlowe’s Austin Buongiorno at the 3:26 mark. That victory earned Montier a spot in the third-place match.

In the heavyweight division, Big Red’s Fischer was solid. In his first match of FCIACs, against Norwalk’s Doug Knowles, Fischer came away with the easy pinfall at the 1:04 mark. Although he fell to second-seed Joseph Fraccaroli of Wilton, Fischer scored a pinfall victory in the 2:32 mark of his match against Danbury’s Michael Garboardi.

“The three of them have been really consistent this year and their effort in practices, day in and day out, has been outstanding,” Albano said. “The three of them went into FCIACs with pretty high seeds and they all had tough expectations to live up to, but they all wrestled well. We had a dual meet tournament a few weeks ago and it seemed like they were hitting their stride. We all try to peak at the end of the year and that’s exactly what those three have been doing. They are all great leaders too, so it was great for them to get that experience and have success a year before they are seniors.”

In addition to the three third place finishers, Greenwich had a plethora of other medalists. In the 106-pound weight class, Brandon Aguda finished fourth overall, as did Alex Margeotes in the 113-pound weight class and Mark Neilson in the 195-pound weight class.

Aguda started his tournament with a with a 3-1 decision over Trumbull’s Tristan Haviland. Although he lost to top-seeded Paulo Freitas in the championship semis, Aguda wrestled back and beat Norwalk’s Jonathan Albrecht via pinfall at the 1:50 mark. However in the wrestleback finals, Aguda fell to Warde’s Jack Price in a 5-4 decision.

In the next weight class, the 113-pound division, Margeotes started the championships with a 4-2 decision over Norwalk’s Luke Schwartz. Despite falling to top-seed Tim Kane of Warde, Margeotes came back to net a default win over Brien McMahon’s George Gallagher.

At 195, Nielsen was the biggest surprise for the Cardinals. Entering the tournament as the No. 7 seed, Nielsen fell to second seed Alex Mayer of Warde. However in wrestlebacks Nielsen beat Stamford’s Lucien Metelski with a pinfall at the 4:21 mark and then upset McMahon’s Chase Stumpf with a 3-0 decision before falling once again to Mayer in the consolation finals.

In addition, Alex Jarombek took home fifth place for Greenwich in the 132-pound weight class, while Daniel Gutman (160), Dylan Ehert (99), Erik Menchaca (220) and Michael Ceci each finished sixth in the 126-pound weight class.

Up next for Greenwich High will be the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class LL tournament, which gets underway Friday afternoon at Trumbull High School with the first three rounds taking place. The conclusion of the class LL tournament will take place at Trumbull Saturday.

“It should be interesting because we had a lot of kids that wrestled at states last year, but not too many were successful and won any matches,” Albano said. “The positive was that they have been there before, but in terms of advancing, it was difficult last year. With that said, we had a lot of underclassmen that have had tremendous seasons and wrestled really well at FCIACs. Hopefully they take that success from FCIACs and build on it for the state tournament.”

For Albano, getting a top 10 finish at the class LL tournament is a top priority. Although it has been awhile since Greenwich achieved that, the GHS head coach believes that with the depth his team has, anything is possible.

“I think it’s a realistic goal for us,” Albano said. “We need to wrestle our best, but if we can get a good week of practice in and hopefully stay together as a team, I think we will be okay. Obviously you have the elite teams like Danbury, Xavier, Simsbury and Newtown. But when you look at the remaining top 10 spots, I really think it’s not going to come down to place winners. It’s going to come down to teams winning matches. We want to have five kids place and take them to Opens. I think we will hang in there with those second tier teams.”

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