NEW CANAAN – It would have been rather easy to say that Saturday’s Joe Sikorski Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference Wrestling Championships were really just about the race for second place. But honestly, that would not have been a sarcastic remark about Danbury High School’s incredible dominance.
It would have been a fact.
“We knew we had won it before the finals,” Danbury coach Rick Shook said after the meet Saturday. Shook was referring to the results of the third-place through sixth-place matches that had taken place earlier, as well as the fact that Danbury had placed nine wrestlers (out of a possible 14) in the finals. So, even if all nine had lost, Danbury, the No. 1-ranked team in the state, still would have won the FCIAC championship . . . for the 29th time in the last 30 years.
“We are peaking at the right time and this is the result of all the hard work by a lot of people,” Shook said in a rather matter-of-fact tone.
But you can’t blame him for the lack of exuberance. Twenty-nine out of 30. Think about that for a while.
“It’s one of the best feelings ever knowing that we are keeping the legacy going,” a slightly more excited Danbury wrestler Jakob Camacho said. The 113-pound Camacho was one of six Hatter champions after winning a hard-fought 3-1 decision over Trumbull’s Tristian Haviland.
Speaking of Trumbull, the Eagles emerged as the “winner” Saturday, earning second place behind Danbury (277 points) with 195 points.
“You want to win, but to come in second place behind a team like Danbury is not terrible,” Trumbull coach Charlie Anderson. “I’m not too happy with second place, but it’s better than third.”
Trumbull had three of its five finalists win FCIAC championships Saturday, including Joey Ryan in the 170-pound meet finale that sealed the deal. Trumbull edged Fairfield Warde (183) for second place. Fairfield Ludlowe (151.5) was fourth, followed by Ridgefield (99).
Rounding out the top 10 were sixth-place Stamford (88), Greenwich (79), Westhill (78), Wilton (63.5) and Norwalk (57).
“We were not really striving for second place but it’s a great accomplishment,” said Ryan, who pinned Stamford’s Kevin Thomas in 3:40 in the final match of the day after a scoreless first period to defend his 170-pound title. “As for my match, I had some early jitters in the first period — he almost took me down. I asked myself, ‘What am I doing?’ But I got it together. Defending my title is a great feeling.”
Almost as great a feeling for Ryan was that his freshman brother Matt (106) also won. Matt Ryan pinned Norwalk’s Sam White in 4:51 earlier in the meet.
But the story, as usual, was Danbury. The Hatters won their first five matches before dropping three out of their final four. The five other winners besides Camacho were Andrew Marquis (195) over Fairfield Ludlowe’s Lee Stenildjoh Johansen, 5-4; Solomon James (220) over Warde’s John Ocana, 4-1; Chris Sam (120) over Trumbull’s Alex Greco with a pin at 1:15; Joey Hulse (126) over Ludlowe’s Austin Sherman, 3-1; and Jeremy Fields (138), who defended his title over Ridgefield’s Colin Storm with a pin at 3:18.
“This is one of my favorite teams at Danbury,” Shook said. “All (nine) wrestled well but I hope we didn’t do everything we could here. This is just a stepping stone,” he added, referring to the upcoming state meets.
The other Danbury finalists were Peterson Souza (132), who was pinned by Warde’s Tim Kane in 5:36; Justin Peterson (145), who was beaten by Warde’s Charlie Kane, 13-5; and Jarek LaPlant (152), who lost to Ludlowe’s Marcus Sherrod, 4-1.
The Kane brothers of Warde each defended their FCIAC championships, as did Ludlowe’s Chase Lind (160), who beat Greenwich’s Mike Ceci, 7-1.
Camacho’s victory over Trumbull’s Haviland at 113 was one of the feature matches of the day.
“I knew that kid was tough so I had to work on my game plan,” said Camacho, a sophomore who remained undefeated in FCIAC action this season. “I was confident, though. It’s knowing you can do it. It’s something that develops over the years.”
It’s a tradition that seems to rub off on Hatter wrestlers from generation to generation. Another Danbury tradition is for the wrestlers to dye their hair blond every postseason.
“It’s been going on for 25 years now,” Shook said. “Some of us look forward to doing it every year… and some of us don’t — like me.”
Other winners were New Canaan’s Will Arliss (182), who pinned Wilton’s Jared Gladstein in 5:03; and Trumbull’s Desmond Washington (285) over Warde’s Alex Lobsenz, 3-2. In a 99-pound exhibition match, Ridgefield’s Ben Smart defeated Wilton’s Travis Longo 3-2.
NOTES: Warde is the only team to break up Danbury’s domination over the years, winning the 2010 FCIAC title. … After Danbury (nine wrestlers who went 6-3) and Trumbull (five who went 3-2), the other multiple winners were Warde (2-2) and Ludlowe (2-2). … This was the 21st consecutive year that the Sikorski FCIAC Wrestling Championships were held at New Canaan High School. … The Class LL meet is Feb. 19 at Trumbull and the State Open meet is Feb. 26 in New Haven. The New England Championships are March 4 in Providence, RI.