Southington has made it to the final round of weekend tournaments quite a few times this season but couldn’t claim to be champion. That changed last Saturday, and it happened against another one of the state’s best.
After breezing through to the championship of the South Windsor Groundhog Duals, the No. 6 Blue Knights took on the undefeated, seventh-ranked Bristol Central. Despite giving up two forfeits and dropping matches in the lower weight classes, the upper weight classes stormed back and won 37-34 in their closest dual meet this season.
Bristol Central won matches in four of the first five weight classes, but many of Southington’s relied-upon veterans stepped up when they needed to most. Billy Carr pinned Jacob Boucher of the Rams in 3:05 in the 182 weight class while Josh Vitti pinned Matthew Beaucar in 3:12 in the 170 weight class.
Caleb Brick also pinned his opponent, Umar Malick, in a team-best 1:42 in the 145 weight bracket. That was Brick’s 100th career win. Ben Gorr pinned his opponent, Landon Dionne in 3:49 in the 126 weight class.
Dawsen Welch and Jared Guida were the others to win their matches, both by decision. Guida went into extra time with Matt Duquette in the 152 weight class, but Guida held on for the 8-2 win.
Southington had to battle in their first meet dual meet of the day against Ledyard. Ledyard won four matches but big days from Welch, Carr, and Colton Thorpe helped the Knights pick up the win as each pinned their opponent. It took Gorr just 40 seconds to pin Linda Holeman of Ledyard in the 126 weight class.
Thorpe picked up three wins by pin on the day leading up to the matchup with Bristol Eastern. Carr won each of his matches on the day by pin as well. Welch and Brick each won two by pin and one by major decision.
Darius Magiafico won two by pin and one by decision in his matches leading up to the championship, while Guida won a match by pin and another by major decision.
The victory at the groundhog duals followed up another Central Connecticut Conference dual meet win over Farmington on Feb. 5. Despite being short on players in an injury-riddled season, the Blue Knights won seven of the nine matches on the night to pick up the 64-15 win.
Six of Southington’s seven victories were picked up via pin. After dropping their match in the 120 weight class, Gorr, Darius Mangiafico, and Emmett Vitti each pinned their opponents in the next weight classes to jump out to a commanding lead. Ashley Reed, filling in the 145 weight class, continued the Knights’ impressive night with a win of her own, pinning Alex Smith of Farmington in 1:10.
Josh Vitti and Jacob Vecchio finished off the night with two victories by pin of their own. Welch picked up the other victory for Southington, beating Frank Miano by major decision, 13-3, in the 152 weight class.
Southington wrapped up its regular season on Wednesday when they hosted New Britain on senior night. They will compete in the CCC championships tomorrow at Simsbury high school at 9 a.m. Could the Blue Knights reign superior over the host school, who is ranked No. 2 in the state?
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at Sports@SouthingtonObserver.com.