Wrestling: Two win medals at Class L meet

Joel Barlow High’s Emmett LiCastri, second from right, placed third in the 126-pound class at the state Class L finals on Saturday at Bristol Central High. Also pictured from the 126-pound class are fifth-place Kevin Hall of New Canaan (left), second-place Peyton Soucy of Bristol Eastern, first-place Charles Kane of Fairfield Wardeand and fourth-place Nico Stefantos of New Milford.

A couple of strong performances helped the Immaculate-Joel Barlow High wrestling team earn its share of points at the state Class L finals.

The Falcons had a victory and a third place in two of the weight classes. With a few other victories in the earlier rounds the team would take 13th with 70 points, a half a point behind Wethersfield on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16, at Bristol Central High.

South-West Conference power New Milford was the winner with 192.5. Fairfield-Warde was runner-up with 189 and Farmington took third with 186.

“I was very encouraged by what I saw over the weekend,” said Barlow coach Phil LiCastri. “All of our wrestlers showed how much they progressed during the class tournament by having their best matches of the season. Every match was competitive even that matches that were lost seemed as though they could have gone our way with a little more experience.”

Immaculate-Barlow had wrestlers in most of the weight classes. At 106 pounds, Jay Broderick had a bye in the first round but was pinned in one minute, 19 seconds by Maloney’s Ryan Pantalena. Moving to the consolation round, he won a 12-7 decision over Harding’s Amir Phipps but was pinned in 14 seconds by Windsor’s Nghia Nguyen.

One wrestler who placed was Emmett LiCastri. Competing at 126 pounds, the freshman got a bye in the first round and then pinned Harding’s Marco Lopez in 1:48.

A 6-4 loss to New Milford’s Niko Stefanatos put him in the consolation bracket, where he pinned Pomperaug’s Christian Clarke in 1:28. This set up a match with Hand’s Andrew Kennally, who he pinned in 2:26.

Reaching the semifinals, he won a 4-2 decision over Newington’s Brendan Zotti, which set up a rematch with Stefanatos in the finals. This time LiCastri won a 6-3 decision to take third overall.

Aiden Buckley was at 132 pounds for Immaculate-Barlow and won a close 13-12 decision over Conard’s Josh Cherry in the first round. He then fell 5-2 to Middletown’s Nate Roy.

Moving to the consolation round, he had another close match, an 11-9 loss o Hand’s Kevin Mallon.

In the 138-pound class, Jake Allen lost a 10-2 major decision to Farmington’s Joe Carpino. Ed MacLean competed at 145 pounds and was pinned in 4:50 by Fairield Ludlowe’s Pete Clark.

For the 160-pound class, Dave Gombos opened up against Kensington’s Andre Jackson but lost an 8-4 decision. John Stocks was at 170 pounds and was pinned in 1:26 by E.O. Smith’s Brad Marston.

Immaculate-Barlow had a couple of wins at 182 pounds. Dante Hristu had a bye in the first round and then pinned Newington’s Anthony Orwa in 3:57. A loss by pin in 1:27 to Wethersfield’s Jim Mcdunnah sent him to the consolation round, where he pinned Wilton’s Jon Luse in 46 seconds. He finished with a 7-1 loss to Fairfield-Ludlowe’s Ben Brzodski.

The gold medal came at 195 pounds. Steve Ghossaini opened with a bye in the first round and then pinned Fairfield-Ludlowe’s Kyle Pietrzak in 1:58. He did likewise to Bristol Eastern’s Tyler Dionne, only in 1:30.

Reaching the semifinals, he pinned Farmington’s Joe Fillia in 3:59 and was the winner by defeating Bristol Central’s Cy McIntosh by a 3-1 decision.

Andre Hristu opened the 220-pound class with a bye and then won a 7-3 decision over Middletown’s Jamar Jones. Taking on RHAM’s Travis Salois, he lost a 7-3 decision and moved to the consolation round, pinning E.O. Smith’s Jake Koehler in 4:17.

Hristu then pinned Fairfield-Warde’s Gabe Dias in 2:09 before losing by a pin in 4:03 to Bristol Eastern’s Jacob Pelletier.

“Both Dante and Andre Hristu came one match away from qualifying for the State Open and with injuries to starters Sam Bartlett, Elias Papadimitriou and C.J. Kowalski that left the way for newcomers to the sport Ed Cadden-MacLean and David Gombos to get on the mat and they held their own,” said LiCastri.

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