ECC wrestling notes: Stonington makes an appearance in the finals, with a win by Sam Light
Groton — There was an unfamilar uniform in the finals Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Connecticut Wrestling tournament: the brown camouflage belonging to Stonington High School sophomore Sam Light.
Light, a team of one who practices with Fitch, was making his debut in the finals following a 4-2 victory over top-seeded Sam Burdick of Killingly in the semifinals, after which he sprinted into the waiting arms of Fitch coach Mark Kosman.
And then he won again. The No. 4 seed, Light blanked No. 2 Jared Swett of Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech 6-0 for the 138-pound championship. Light took a 4-0 lead on a reversal 9 seconds into the second period in the final.
“I came out with confidence, but I didn't think it was going to be easy,” Light said. “(Taking the early lead) gets your confidence through the roof. ... After the end of the first match I won (Friday), I just wrestled.”
“He's absolutely part of my team,” Kosman said. “He listens. He's a great kid. He's peaking at the right time. He's an athletic kid. He's got a lot of wrestling background.”
Light, 14-5 during the regular season, had a bye into the quarterfinals, matching up with Ledyard's Brayden Grim, the No. 5 seed, and beating him 2-0. He went 3-0 in winning the tournament and will next wrestle in the Class S state tournament for the second straight season.
A member of the Stonington track and field team in the spring, Light joked he likes to keep his wrestling “incognito” among his friends at school.
“No. My friends like it,” he said with a laugh. “… Absolutely, Fitch, they're some of the best teammates in the world. When it comes down to it, it's an individual sport, that's the basis of this tournament. But I know most of the kids wrestling.”
Fitch family tree
The Fitch wrestling lineage was on display Saturday as coach Mark Kosman was joined in the gym by former coaches Glen Graham and Bernie Nasser. Graham, a ref for the tournament, pointed out the state championship banner hanging in the gym marking the state title he won coaching (1988) and Kosman's (2002).
Graham coached Kosman, whose day including watching son Jarod win his fourth straight ECC title.
“He was always tough on his feet,” Graham said of Mark Kosman. “He has a short stature, short arms, so he was good on his feet. I think he has the school record for takedowns. … To see Jarod out there, it makes you feel good.”
Jarod Kosman and teammate Dakota Grover (220 pounds) won their titles wearing brand new pink and black uniforms, dotted with pink Falcons, designed by Mark Kosman.
“They came in yesterday,” said Mark Kosman, who runs Mark Kosman Design, creating custom posters and advertisements.
“My son loves Vineyard Vines, so I tried to do a singlet with a Vineyard Vines feel. I had to run it by Dakota first because I figured he would be in the final, too, and he said, 'Cool.' I always like to do something cool. I was worried it wasn't going to get here in time.”
Waterford's Luther Wade, the No. 2 seed, started off the championship round, winning the 160-pound title with an energetic 13-10 victory over top-seeded Dennis Charles of Ledyard, scoring the match-winning points on a takedown and a near fall with 5 seconds remaining. Wade trailed 8-2 early in the second period.
No. 2 Logan Smith then added the 106-pound title for Waterford with an 8-5 decision over Killingly's Dan Charron, also the No. 1 seed. Smith, a junior, scored late, as well, a takedown with 6 seconds to go, to put a lock on his first ECC title.
Waterford, which had a third finalist in Aj Sachatello at 132 pounds, was fourth of 15 in the team standings with 149 points
“Beyond words,” Smith said of his match. “Oh, my God, it felt so great; hearing the crowd go 'twoooo' (at the end), it was actually amazing. … I love Luther, too. He works so hard day in and day out. He never backs off. We definitely exceeded expectations this year.”
The entire Waterford team watched a fired up Wade give a post match interview, taking pictures and cheering.
“I had these 13 guys cheering me on. I knew I had to do something,” Wade said.
Commander in chief
New London's Jacob Commander, a junior, won his third title in as many seasons when he took the 195-pound title by technical fall over Joe Reihl of Lyman/Windham Tech.
Commander was part of a Whalers program which finished fifth with 136 points and, therefore, claimed the ECC Division I title. Killingly won the ECC Division II championship and Montville the Division III crown.
“We just worked hard, we worked hard in practice,” Commander said of how the Whalers were able to hold on, knowing that should another Division I team beat them Saturday, they could lose their grasp on the title.
“Drill, drill, drill. Saturdays. Sometimes Sundays. We wanted that banner.”
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