Clippers finish second again
Batista, Hayes claim titles as 10 Clippers earn medals
SOUTHINGTON, Conn. — For the second straight tournament, the Cumberland wrestling team found itself battling Connecticut powerhouse New Milford for a tournament title.
And, for the second straight tournament, New Milford did just enough in the championship round to stop the Clippers from winning a title.
Cumberland junior Jeremy Batista claimed the 132-pound title and Clipper senior Jack Hayes grabbed the 170-pound title, but New Milford had three wrestlers win titles at Saturday’s Connecticut Challenge to take the tournament title, 195-189. Tournament host Southington finished third with 150 points.
Batista and Hayes, who both won their first titles this season, were joined on the medal stand by eight more Clippers. Aaron Wilcox suffered his first loss of 2017 in the 285-pound final, while Kam Porcaro (120) and Kaream Sangare (195) also finished second. Freshman Dom Passanante placed in his fourth tournament of the season with a third-place effort. Cam Faria (126), Noah Tougas (152), Malik Sangare (160) and Jaylen Reynolds (220) all finished fourth.
Batista, who was appearing in his first tournament final, dominated his first three opponents Saturday, earning a pin, a technical fall and an 11-5 victory to get a shot at No. 1 seed Tyler Schultz, who finished second at the Gorman Invitational two weeks ago.
Batista grabbed a 4-0 lead in the first period after a takedown and a pair of near-fall points before Schultz earned a reversal. The New Milford wrestler tied the match with a reversal in the second and went into the third with a onepoint lead thanks to a late takedown.
Batista picked up an escape halfway through the third and he secured the match-winning takedown with 13 seconds left in the third period to earn an 8-7 win.
Hayes, who was making his second straight finals appearance, was even more dominant that Batista.
Hayes pinned his first two opponents in under a minute before recording a 71 win to reach the final against No. 1 seed Luke Salis of Simsbury.
Hayes took a 5-0 lead into the second period and then he won the match with a pin at 3:13.
Wilcox, the Spartan and Gorman Invitational champion, snuck past Max Cyr of Middletown (Conn.) to reach the tournament final, but he suffered a 3-1 defeat to Jasper Stone in the title match. The match-winning takedown took place with just three seconds left in the third period.
Kaream Sangare dominated his first two opponents to reach the 195pound final, but New Milford’s David Angulo basically locked up the team title with a 17-4 win over the Clipper.
Porcaro, who upset Gorman Invitational champion Brett Leonard of New Milford in the semifinals, was tied with Middletown’s Noah Sylvester in the 120-pound title match headed into the third period. Sylvester, however, worked a reversal and eventually a pin at 4:53 to secure the win.
Passanante rebounded from a technical-fall loss to tournament champion Nick Antonio of Berlin in the semifinals with a pair of wins in the consolation bracket to finish third.
Faria had an impressive showing, as he was unseeded headed into the tournament and wrestled back to fourth after losing to No. 1 Tristan Haviland of Trumbull in the quarterfinals. Faria won four matches. Reynolds and Tougas won three matches and Malik Sangare won a pair of matches to reach the podium.
Cumberland (11-1 Division INorth) continues its march toward a tournament title Thursday at the Wellness Center against La Salle. The Clippers then head to Mount Anthony Union in Bennington, Vt, next Saturday for a dual-meet tournament.
For the third time this season, coach Steve Gordon (left) guided the Cumberland wrestling team to a top-2 finish at a tournament. The Clippers were second at the Connecticut Challenge.