Wrestling: Longo is Wilton’s first State Open champ in 25 years

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Travis Longo capped off an unbeaten season against Connecticut opponents with the State Open title at 106 pounds on Saturday — the first Warrior to win at the Open since 1993. GretchenMcMahonPhotography.com

Junior Travis Longo became Wilton wrestling’s first State Open champ in 25 years on Saturday, defeating Ty Finn of Simsbury 4-1 in the 106-pound championship match at Hillhouse High School in New Haven.

Longo finished the tourney 4-0, improving his season record 35-1. He advances to the New England championships on March 2-3 in Providence, R.I.

The last Warrior to win a State Open title was Jay Pelletier in 1993. That was also the last time Wilton had a wrestler qualify for New Englands.

After Longo’s win, Wilton was 21st in the team standings. The team’s point total, 36.5 points, set a new Wilton record for the State Open, and the 21st place would also be the program’s best showing.

The 106-pound final featured the state’s two top-ranked wrestlers in Longo and Finn, a freshman who entered with a record of 47-3. All the scoring came in the first period, with two Longo takedowns sandwiched around an escape by Finn.

In the semifinals, Longo had scored a 5-3 decision over Dan Charron of Killingly.

Two of Wilton’s senior captains, and two of the all-time greats in Wilton wrestling, came up short on Saturday in their bids to make New Englands.

Nick Rende, at 126 pounds, opened with two convincing wins before suffering an 8-6 overtime decision in the quarterfinals to eventual finalist Sean Johnson of Ellis Tech.

He came back in the wrestlebacks with a 2-1 decision over Aaron Occhipinti of Newtown. He had an early 5-0 lead in his next match but wound up getting pinned by Jacob Cardozo with 55 seconds left in the third period — one win short of qualifying for New Englands.

Rende finished the season with a record of 36-7. He is the only Wilton wrestler to reach the State Open four straight years.

Zach Zeyher, like Rende one of the few Wilton wrestlers to ever reach 100 wins, also fell short of making New Englands.

After a 17-0 tech fall over Luis Rodriguez-Veras of New London in the first round, he got the defending New England champ, Paul Calo of Southington, in round two and lost by pin.

In the wrestlebacks, he scored 12-2 major decision over Xavier Gonzalez of Windsor Locks, but was ousted in the next round in a tough 4-3 decision to Liam Smith of Northwestern, who got an escape in the final minute for the winning point.

Zeyher, making his third straight trip to the State Open, finished the season 32-8.

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