Kosman, Caskey and Grover capture State Open titles
New Haven — They were Noah Caskey's words, a Montville High School senior, but he could have been speaking on behalf of Fitch teammates Jarod Kosman and Dakota Grover, as well, early Saturday evening.
Caskey was representing himself, but also echoed the sentiments of a couple of other lifelong wrestling guys and fellow seniors, none of whom had a coveted State Open championship to their credit in their decorated high school careers.
“It consumes your life almost, I guess,” Caskey said. “The past two weeks, we've been focusing on (reshooting), attacking, not stopping. It becomes almost an obsession. I was working out two times a day the whole week.”
Kosman, who spent part of his summer at Yale New Haven Hospital due to a health scare, not knowing if he'd even be able to pursue wrestling this season, was the first of the three to take the mat.
He won the 113-pound division 7-3 over Windham's Alejandro Garcia to push his record to 44-0, adding the State Open mantle to his resume, which includes four Eastern Connecticut Conference titles and two Class L state championships.
Caskey, whose brother Jake was a former state champion at Montville, but also never won a State Open, was next at 132 pounds. Caskey won an active, 7-2 decision over Demetre Carnot of Maloney to go to 46-0. His mom, Nicole, wept as she embraced him following the victory.
Grover then finished a sweep for the locals, pinning his opponent in the 220-pound final, East Hartford's Isaiah Jiminian, in a brief, 3 minutes, 14 seconds. Grover, who pinned his way through the tournament, joined Kosman as the only Fitch teammates in history to win Open titles in the same season.
“It's really important. It's been a big goal of mine since I've been in high school,” said Kosman, whose father Mark, the Fitch coach, also wrestled for the Falcons. “(Garcia is) a tough opponent. I've wrestled him before, so he knew stuff I was doing.”
Kosman returned to the mat for the first time in September at the Empire Wrestling Academy in Somers, N.Y., where he practices during the offseason.
“It had been a month or two months,” Kosman said. “I was a little anxious, a little nervous (about coming back this season for Fitch), but I had been practicing hard. I knew I earned it.”
Caskey's win left Montville coach Gary Wilcox a bit on the emotional side.
“I am verklempt,” Wilcox said. “Fantastic. He wrestled a great match. We've been watching (Carnot) wrestling all day. He's a big kid. (Carnot) lifted the kid right up off his feet (during one match). I told Noah, 'You've got to stay low.' Noah is a great kid, a coachable kid. He can make fast adjustments. I'm very proud.”
Grover has a lot of the same moves as Jarod Kosman, Mark Kosman said, only in a bigger body, which sometimes catches his opponents off guard.
“Moves at his size makes him very unique,” Kosman said.
They're moves Grover learned from studying under former State Open and New England champions Jason Lanoue and TJ MarcAurele of Ledyard.
Grover, who has a stern demeanor when he wrestles, admits he sometimes lapses into what his coach calls “Dakota mode” during a match — he was booed following his Eastern Connecticut Conference championship victory for a postmatch incident, for instance — although he said Kosman has helped those moments become more infrequent.
“On the mat, I'm one kid,” Grover said with a smile. “Off, the mat, I like to think I'm a nice guy.”
“They're kids,” Mark Kosman said. “They're trying to deal with emotions. My biggest thing with him is, 'Don't let things get to you.' Don't let things in a match take him out of a match. … I wouldn't trade him. He's a keeper. He jumps right into the pile (as a teammate), like, 'let's have fun.'”
Grover got off to a quick, 6-1 lead in the final and held a 6-2 advantage when he pinned Jiminian.
“Senior year, had to get it,” Grover said. “I've been waiting for this for a long time.”
Danbury won the team title with 149.5 points, followed by a three-way tie for second place between Fairfield Warde, Bristol Eastern and Killingly with 95 points. Fitch was the top local team, seventh with 75 points.
Other local place-winners were New London's Naaji Powell-Keyton (fourth) at 106, East Lyme's Everett Minevich (fourth), Fitch's Austin Robertson (fifth) at 145, New London's Jacob Commander (third) at 195, Montville's Nick Tibbetts (third) at 220 and Ledyard's Richard Mullaney (third) at 285.
2018 STATE OPEN WRESTLING TOURNAMENT
At Floyd Little Athletic Center (New Haven)
1. Danbury, 149.5; 2. (tie), Bristol Eastern, Fairfield Warde and Killingly, 95; 5. Southington, 94.5; 6. Xavier, 90.5; 7. Fitch, 75; 8. Foran, 71.5; 9. New Milford, 70; 10. New Canaan, 59.5. Other local schools: 14. (tie) Montville and New London, 44; 29. Ledyard, 29; 48. East Lyme, 16; 53. NFA, 11; 70. St. Bernard/Norwich Tech, 6; 81. Waterford, 2.
106 — Final: Travis Longo (Wilton) dec. Thomas Finn (Simsbury), 4-1: Third: Dan Charron (Killingly) dec. Naaji Powell-Keyton (New London), 5-0; Fifth: Elijah Cyr (Middletown) dec. Tyler Johnson (Danbury), 3-2.
113 — Final: Jarod Kosman (Fitch) dec. Alejandro Garcia (Windham), 7-3; Third: Jordan Champagne (Bristol Eastern) dec. Parker Sutton (Glastonbury), 4-2 (OT); Fifth: Louis Bradley (Morgan) dec. Ben LeBlanc (Danbury), 8-5.
120 — Final: Ryan Jack (Danbury) dec. William Chase Parrot (Westhill), 6-2; Third: Brandon Leonard (New Milford) dec. Angelo Folino (NW Regional), 11-3; Fifth: Chris Trelli (Bristol Central) pinned Mike Charron (Killingly), 1:24.
126 — Final: Mel Ortiz (New Milford) dec. Sean Johnson (Ellis Tech), 3-2; Third: Jason Mastroianni (New Canaan) dec. Jacob Cardozo (Southington), 14-5; Fifth: Thomas Mazur (Westhill) dec. Keldon LaRose (Guilford), 12-1.
132 — Final: Noah Caskey (Montville) dec. Demetre Carnot (Maloney), 7-2; Third: Alex Steele (Warde) dec. Kyle Fields (Danbury), 6-2; Fifth: James Lunt (Xavier) dec. Mark Hartmann (Hand), 14-3.
138 — Final: Ryan Angers (Tolland) dec. Tyler Sung (New Canaan), 7-2; Third: Shamar Schand (Manchester) dec. Shaun Wagner (Southington), 10-3: Fifth: Matt Ryan (Trumbull) dec. Tyler Schultz (New Milford), 5-2.
145 — Final: A.J. Kovacs (Danbury) pinned Zack Burgess (Killingly), 3:52; Third: Timothy Roberts (East Hartford) dec. Everett Minevich (East Lyme), 7-3: Fifth: Austin Robertson (Fitch) forfeit over Hunter Adams (Suffield).
152 — Final: Ryan Luth (Foran) dec. Cooper Fleming (Granby), 13-8; Third: Matthew Rothman (Amity) forfeit over Tagan Welch (Southington); Fifth: John Nieroda (Suffield) pinned Justin Marshall (Bristol Eastern), 1:46.
160 — Final: Izaake Zuckerman (Warde) dec. Michael Angers (Tolland), 4-3; Third: Jeffrey Suschana (Somers) dec. Simon Preston (Ridgfield), 5-0; Fifth: Michael Barrett (Bristol Eastern) dec. Joshua Schwartz (NW Regional), 2-0.
170 — Final: Ryan DeVivo (Xavier) dec. Paul Calo (Southington), 6-4; Third: Gino Barretta (Danbury) dec. Derek Turner (Killingly), 5-1; Fifth: Carson LiCastri (Barlow) forfeit over Mason LaFlam (Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech).
182 — Final: Ben Stratton (Platt) pinned Zach Caffrey (Killingly), 1:55; Third: Isaiah Rivera (E.O. Smith) dec. Ben Kibby (Granby), 5-4; Fifth: Dylan Sousa (Xavier) dec. Jackson King (Simsbury), 11-3.
195 — Final: Joe Gjinaj (Warde) dec. Trinidad Gonzalez (Bristol Eastern), 4-1 (OT); Third: Jacob Commander (New London) dec. Ray Weiner (Shelton), 3-1; Fifth: Brett Nutter (Trumbull) dec. Kevin Brocksom (Law), 5-3.
220 — Final: Dakota Grover (Fitch) pinned Isaiah Jiminian (East Hartford), 3:14; Third: Nick Tibbetts (Montville) pinned Qasim Khan (Foran), 2:53; Fifth: Nicholas Cote (Bethel) dec. Kyle Zalewski (Branford), 7-5.
285 — Final: Michael Burchell (Hand) pinned Sergio Ferreira (Stratford), 4:00; Third: Richard Mullaney (Ledyard) dec. George Harrington (Staples), 4-2 (OT); Fifth: Joe Zeller (Newtown) dec. Austin Daley (Morgan), 3-1 (OT).
Outstanding wrestler: Ryan Angers (Tolland).
Note: Top five finishers in each weight class qualify for New England tournament.
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