Ledyard captures Class S wrestling championship
Willimantic — Mike Sullivan was thinking about Colin, his older brother, during Saturday's CIAC Class S wrestling tournament.
Mike Sullivan thinks a lot about Colin, who died unexpectedly in 2015. It left a gaping hole in the Sullivan family, a wrestling family.
Scratch that — the Sullivan's are a Ledyard wrestling family. All four brothers wrestled for the Colonels. Shane won a state title in 2008. Mike Patrick, the father, was also a state champion.
Mike Joseph Sullivan used Colin's memory to give the family its third state title. The senior beat David Wyzykowski of Haddam-Killingworth by major decision in the 182-pound final, 11-3, as Ledyard won its state-record 23rd state title.
"I was wrestling for myself and my brother, Colin," Sullivan said. "Everything I do this season for him."
Sullivan showed his sweatshirt with Colin's face on the back.
"Every day I get to practice, every day I get in the weight room, every day I compete, I've got my biggest brother, Colin, on my mind," Sullivan said. "It just feels awesome (to win). It's unbelievable. It's unbelievable to finally accomplish something you've trained for your whole life."
Ledyard scored 203.5 to win its fifth state title in six seasons. It dropped down from Class M to S this season, and, along with Berlin and Windham, is one of just three programs to win state titles in three classes.
The Eastern Connecticut Conference dominated the meet as four-time defending champion Windham finished second (188) and Montville third (185.5).
Senior Bo Nguyen, the top seed at 120, won Ledyard's other title. Dan Contino (220), Collin Crader (170), and Jacob Millbach (160) were all runner-ups.
The Colonels' other place winners were Joseph Millbach (106, third), Tyler Miller (113, fifth), Gavin Williamson (145, fifth), and heavyweight Richard Mullaney (sixth).
"I don't think it was our best performance," Ledyard head coach Steve Bilheimer said, "but it was enough."
Montville won the most individual titles (three). Senior Joel Morth successfully defended his 132-pound title. Junior Noah Caskey won at 126 pounds for his second Class S title (he won the 2105 Class S 106-pound title). Junior Sam Kury (145) won his first state title for the Indians.
Also, Emanuel Diaz (182) and Nick Tibbetts (220) both placed third, and Ian Anderson (138) and Dane Concascia (195) finished fourth.
"Hey, three state champion, that means a lot," Montville head coach Gary Wilcox said. "The kids overcame two kids not being here, which is a hard thing to do. They've could've said, 'we can't win,' but they gave it a valiant effort. I'm proud of them. They had a great season. ECC (Division III) champions and placed in the top three here, I can't complain."
Sullivan earned some redemption after placing second at last week's ECC meet. He never trailed in Saturday's championship match, and all of Wyzykowski's points were via escapes.
"He's a great wrestler," Sullivan said. "Fortunately, for me, I just had a little something driving me from the outside, pushing me.
"It's unbelievable to be a part of (Ledyard wrestling). It's almost hard to imagine being part of a program like this. It's amazing. ... It's amazing to be part of this whole community. It's a great family."
Nguyen ripped through the 120-pound bracket for his first state title. He won all three matches by pin in a combined time of seven minutes, 33 seconds. He pinned Derby's Jordan Stefancin in the final in 1:52.
Caskey wrestled after Nguyen and won nearly as fast. He beat Windham's Sebastien Stultz by technical fall, 18-2, in 3:47.
"I think I tech'd a kid in the first period earlier this season, but never (this fast) in the finals of anything," Caskey said.
Morth beat Matthew Jenkins of Haddam-Killingworth by major decision, 16-5, but wasn't pleased with his performance.
"I have to stay in better position," Morth said. "I gave up points I shouldn't have given up. I'm getting ready for New Englands. I can't be doing stuff like that."
Kury fought off Cooper Fleming of Granby, 5-4, avenging last year's Class S final loss at 138. It was the second time Kury beat him in three meetings this season.
"He pinned me last year," Kury said. "It was a really good job by him. I'm hoping that we get to face each other (this) week."