Wrestling: Gladstein, Longo reach FCIAC finals
Last weekend's FCIAC championships got off to a disastrous start for the Wilton High wrestling team, when its top wrestler, Nick Rende, failed to make weight before Friday's first round.
But even with Rende sidelined, the Warriors turned in one of their best showings in the last 15 years — two finalists, five place finishers and ninth place in the team standings.
It tied the best finish, team-wise, in the last 15 years.
"I thought they wrestled really well. They all wrestled to or above their seeds," said coach John Foldeak.
Reaching the finals were senior Jared Gladstein at 182 pounds and freshman Travis Longo at 99 pounds. Both finished second.
Finishing third were senior Quinn Reedy at 132 and sophomore Zach Zeyher at 160. Sophomore Finn McGovern placed fifth at 106.
Rende, who had a 30-2 record, was seeded third at 113 pounds and was a strong candidate to reach the finals. Had he wrestled the Warriors would have most likely had six place finishers, and finished as high as seventh with the additional points.
As things shook out, Wilton still had five place finishers for the first time since 2001, and two finalists for only the second time in 15 years.
At 99 pounds, Longo reached the finals with a pin over Mike Boyian of Norwalk, before losing a tough 3-2 decision to Ridgefield's Ben Smart, who scored a late reversal for the winning points.
At 182, Gladstein also had a third-period lead in the finals, before losing. He advanced to the finals as the fourth seed with two wins, including a 12-0 major decision over top-seeded Matt Adam of Danbury in the semifinals.
He was in control of most of the finals match against Will Arliss of New Canaan. Gladstein led 11-7 in the third period when Arliss put him on his back and got the pin.
Foldeak said an injury the last month had cut down on Gladstein's conditioning, and it hurt him late in the match.
"He was really disappointed. Conditioning got the better of him and he got caught," he said. "He wrestled only two matches the last five or six weeks."
Reedy just missed making the finals at 132, falling in the semifinals to Peterson Souza of Danbury in an 8-2 decision. But he bounced back in the consolation round with an 11-5 win over Adam Giammettei of Trumbull, before defeating Andrew Blum of Westhill in the third-place match, 6-2.
"We knew the Danbury kid would be tough. Quinn did what we expected. Third place is great for him," said Foldeak.
Zeyher was seeded fourth at 160 and reached the semifinals with a pin (in 26 seconds) of Oliver Smith of Darien and 3-2 decision over Gino Barrata of Danbury. He lost 11-1 to top-seeded (and eventual champ) Chase Lind of Fairfield Ludlowe, but won his first wrestleback with an 18-2 technical fall over Joe Tuccinardi of Staples. In the third-place match, Zeyher got a late pin to beat Barrata.
"Zach's a sophomore in a senior-dominated class. I was very impressed with his matches," said the coach.
The team's other place finisher was McGovern, who won the fifth-place match at 106 pounds with a 12-4 decision over Chase Parrot of Westhill.
"I was very, very happy with they way he wrestled. He's the hardest-working kid in the room," Foldeak said of McGovern. "He's really been our player in the pinch, who fills in wherever we need him, does whatever we ask."
Foldeak is looking for another strong showing by the Warriors at the Class L state championships this weekend at Bristol Central High School. Foldeak believes the Warriors have a shot of multiple top-six finishes, and State Open qualifiers.
"I honestly think we can bring four kids to Opens. There's no reason Nick, Quinn, Zach and Jared shouldn't qualify. All of them should place," he said. "We've never brought more than one kid to the Open. It would be very nice."