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    Friday, June 14, 2024

    Caskey helps Montville wrestlers finish off No. 9 Windham 39-26

    Willimantic — Windham was on a roll, a major rampage, and it was Noah Caskey's job to stop it.

    "I was going into my match and I needed to get a pin or a tech fall so that the last match didn't matter," said Caskey, a Montville High School senior who wrestled up a weight class at 138 pounds in the next to the last match of the evening Wednesday. "At first I thought, 'Oh, God,' but it came out all right."

    With Montville leading Windham, ranked No. 9 in the Connecticut Wrestling Online poll, by just five points, Caskey came out firing right away and beat Windham's Dan Castro by technical fall to clinch what would be a 39-26 victory for the Indians in Division III of the Eastern Connecticut Conference.

    Caskey's tech fall made it 36-26 and Ian Anderson tacked on a decision for Montville at 145 for the final margin. Caskey, a senior, was last year's Class S champion at 126 pounds and the right person at the right time for Montville (15-2, 3-0), which took control of the division and is considered one of the favorites in the upcoming Class S tournament.

    With the match commencing at 152 pounds, the Indians had no trouble with momentum early on.

    Montville got off to a 31-0 lead, with pins from Sam Kury (152), Caleb Forehand (170), Dane Concascia (182) and Nick Tibbetts (220), a major decision by Zack Navarrete (160) and a decision by Zach Dorion (195).

    But those six consecutive wins were quickly matched by six in a row for Windham, beginning with 285-pounder Jaden Malave, who took a 6-0 decision over Montville's Darrick Deveau to get the Whippets on the board.

    But while Windham began to steamroll, with wins from Elijah Vertefeuille, defending Class S champ Alejandro Garcia, Kevin Fantoli, Seb Stultz and Luis Rodriguez, the Whips (11-2) earned pins in only two of those, allowing Montville to keep the lead.

    Caskey was originally scheduled to wrestle at 132, but switched with teammate Ezra Spreng and moved to 138.

    "It was a good battle. We kind of anticipated what was going to happen," Montville coach Gary Wilcox said of the back and forth nature of the match. "We got the kids together and said, 'We got to be strong.' We just kept coming at 'em. We never stop wrestling because we can't. ... Our 106-pounder is a first-year wrestler and we told him, 'Don't get pinned.' And he didn't."

    "It was important," Concascia said. "This was one of the best teams in the division. We knew they were good at the lower weights, so in that situation, every little point counts."

    One of Montville's losses this season came against defending Class S champ and ECC rival Ledyard 43-33 on opening night, but Wilcox said his team has come on since then. The Indians have four seniors in Tibbetts, Caskey, Kury and Concascia. Caskey and Concascia are both the younger brothers of former state champion wrestlers, while Kury's little brother, Sawyer, wrestled against Windham at 126.

    "We've had a lot of good connective pieces, it's really been a great culture," Wilcox said of the family legacy. "It gets in our blood."

    "It flew by," said Caskey, who also won the 106-pound Class S title as a freshman in 2015, of his four years. "I'm looking to get another Class S title and hopefully Opens and New Englands. It's all about going to the next level. ... Me personally, I need to work more on chain-wrestling, going from one move to another, and on good position. For our team, our young guys have come a long way."

    Montville has one more divisional opponent next Wednesday in Griswold before taking part in the ECC tournament Feb. 9-10 at St. Bernard.

    v.fulkerson@theday.com     

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