No. 7 Killingly wrestlers are too much for Whalers
Killingly — New London wrestling coach Mike Gorton knew the Whalers were going to have trouble Wednesday night against Killingly.
And they did.
Killingly routed the New London, 62-6, just as it's done to the majority of teams its faced this season. Gorton still felt good about his team afterwards, and the Whalers still have a big prize within its reach — an Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I title.
"I was not expecting to even come close," Gorton said, "but I like how we wrestled, though. I think we wrestled tough. We lost a lot of close matches."
New London senior Luis Rodriguez-Veras said, "We still wrestled hard. We set an example. We showed them (Killingly) that we were coming after them."
The Whalers (8-6) have won both of their ECC Division I matches this season and can finish unbeaten in the division by sweeping East Lyme and Fitch at home on Monday. It's a huge deal for a program that wasn't in good shape not too long ago, and New London should benefit from wrestling Killingly.
"We got our clocks cleaned tonight, but I think it's good because they didn't just roll over," Gorton said. "We lost a match in overtime and a couple of one-point matches. Maybe that will motivate them to work a little harder in practice."
It was the second time in five days that the Whalers had an opponent hang over 60 points on them. East Hartford beat them 66-18 last Saturday.
Not every loss is the same, though.
"We wrestled tougher tonight than when we got our butts kicked by East Hartford," Gorton said. "X (Xavier Alvarez) and Noah (Kimball) both went out that day right before the match (with injuries), and it sucked the whole life out of our team.
East Hartford, we just didn't wrestle with any pride. That was one of the worst days in terms of how I felt about the team."
Adam Garcia (138 pounds) was New London's lone winner against Killingly. He pinned Sam Burdick in two minutes, 25 seconds.
The Whalers were without Jacob Commander, the ECC 160-pound champion and CIAC Class L runner-up last season, and Alvarez due to injuries.
"Killingly is the team to beat this year," Gorton said. "If we were going to have a shot, we would need a whole lineup. And even with our whole lineup, we wouldn't have beaten them tonight."
Redmen head coach Rich Bowen said of New London, "I think they're doing a good job. Tonight is no indication (of their stature). We wrestled really well. It was our Senior Night. We have a solid team."
David Charron (112), Mike Charron (119), Cooper Morrissette (128), Zach Burgess (145), Ben Morin (182) Zach Caffrey (195) and heavyweight Willie Postell all won by pin for Killingly (26-1), which established a program record for most wins in a season. It's the ranked seventh in Connecticut Wrestling Online poll.
New London should be at full strength for next Monday's matches, Gorton said.
"We're ready," Rodriguez-Veras said. "We're brawlers. We don't give up that easily. Even if we lose, we go out fighting."
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