Waterford's Logan Smith hopes to end his run with a State Open title
Waterford — Logan Smith won a wrestling match in nine seconds this season.
Yes, nine seconds.
“Double (leg takedown), threw a half, bang,” Smith smiled.
Smith, Waterford High School's accomplished 113-pound senior, has used his speed and aggressiveness to win two CIAC Class M championships and countless other honors.
Smith goes fast and goes hard, but he used restraint last year when he injured his ankle days before the State Open and opted not to compete. An Open title is one of the few things he hasn’t won, nor did he place in the top six as a freshman or sophomore.
The postseason starts this weekend for Eastern Connecticut Conference wrestlers with the league championship tournament at Fitch. Smith has his sights set on winning his second ECC title, a third Class M title, and that elusive Open championship.
The ECC tournament begins Friday at 5 p.m. It concludes on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. with the championship finals being broadcast live on theday.com.
Smith comes from a wrestling family. Brentt Sr., his father, wrestled as a 98-pounder at Montville. Brentt Jr., his older brother, won Class M championships in 2013 (113 pounds) and 2014 (120 pounds). He also placed fifth at 113 at the 2013 State Open.
Logan Smith caught the wrestling bug when he was seven.
“I just love the sport,” Smith said. “I’m a competitive person, so I like the competitive edge that it has. … Wrestling is a tough sport and I just love that competitive drive. It’s awesome.
“We have wrestling mats in our basement. (Dad) would come downstairs (when I was younger), show me moves. ‘Oh, do this, do that.’ It would get me better. My brother would help me, too. … I’d go down with him when I was in third or fourth grade and scrap. Scramble in the basement, (work on) different positions (and) try to get me better.”
Smith wastes as little time as possible on the mat. Monday, for instance, he took down Jayden St. Louis of Fitch five seconds into their match and won in 42 seconds.
“I like to push the pace,” Smith said.
Waterford head coach Chris Gamble said, “He’s very athletic and he’s extremely fast, and when he wrestles his style, he’s on his opponent so fast. He takes you down and goes right from the next move to the next move. I think that’s what separates him (from others). You combine that speed with technique, that’s a good combination.
“Even some of our other coaches who are bigger than him who’ve rolled around with him (at practice), they’ll say, ‘man, he gets on your leg so fast.’ You try to react and he’s already there.”
That aggressiveness is another trait that runs in the Smith family.
“Brentt (Jr.) was very fast as well and athletic,” Gamble said. “They’re pretty good on the basketball court. I think there are some similarities, which makes sense. The younger brother watches the older brother, and I’ve got to believe they’ve done a little training at home. Both are similar with how they wrestle technically.”
Smith is 21-1 this season. He lost a majority decision Joziah Fry of Coventry (R.I.) on Jan. 18, which stung a bit because Smith thought he was lethargic.
“I didn’t wrestle well,” Smith said. “I wasn’t aggressive. I wasn’t shooting. I was very cautious. I shouldn’t have wrestled like that. I had to learn from that and bounce back from it.”
It seemed like a safe bet that Smith would place at last year’s State Open after winning ECC and Class M titles. Instead, he tweaked his ankle at practice days before the Open. A doctor told him he could wrestle on it, but Smith made the difficult decision not to do it.
“I wouldn’t have been 100-percent,” Smith said. “That was my reasoning, and I had hurt it earlier in the season, too. It made me upset (not to wrestle), obviously. I worked hard during the ECC and the states, but I wanted to win the Open or at least place at the Open.”
Smith is the top seed at 113-pounds at the ECCs, and odds are that he’ll face Killingly’s Dan Charron again. Smith beat him, 8-5, to win the ECC’s 106-pound title last season. They met a week later in the Class M final with Smith scraping by with a 9-7 overtime win. Charron went on to place third at the Open.
Smith won another close match against Charron, 3-2, at December’s Lancer Invitational.
“It’s not a rivalry,” Smith said. “We do wrestle a lot, but I love that kid. He’s a great kid and a great person. He’s a very, very tough opponent. I have a great amount of respect for him. … Off the mat, we’re great friends.”
EASTERN CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE WRESTLING TOURNAMENT
Following is a list of the top four seeds in each weight class for the 2019 Eastern Connecticut Conference wrestling tournament, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Fitch High School (see schedule below):
106 pounds: 1. Danny Charron (Killingly), 27-4; 2. Mason Concascia (Waterford), 26-1; 3. Connor Doran (Ledyard), 29-6; 4. Blake Chapman (Montville), 26-5.
113: 1. Logan Smith (Waterford), 21-1; 2. Mike Charron (Killingly), 13-1; 3. Elijah Vertefeuille (Windham), 30-4; 4. Tyler Arsenault (Griswold), 27-6.
120: 1. Braeden O'Brien (Bacon), 30-3; 2. Naaji Powell-Keyton (New London), 19-3; 3. Cooper Morrissette (Killingly), 32-7; 4. Connor DeVega (NFA), 26-8.
126: 1. David Charron (Killingly), 38-3; 2. Kevin Fantoli (Windham), 28-4; 3. Jackson Archer (Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech, 27-6; 4. Logan Starr (St. Bernard/Norwich Tech, 27-12.
132: 1. Tyler Miller (Ledyard), 30-7; 2. Dominic Renfree (NFA), 26-4; 3. Tyler Radack (Waterford), 19-8; 4. Trevor Johnson (Killingly), 27-12.
138: 1. Austin Robertson (Fitch), 28-5; 2. Cole Dirico (Ledyard), 30-6; 3. Eric Zane (Waterford), 25-4; 4. Sam Light (Stonington), 13-5.
145: 1. Jared Swett (LM/WT), 29-6; 2. Marcos Rodriguez (Windham), 29-5; 3. Everett Minevich (East Lyme0, 18-4; 4. Mason Barnett (Ledyard), 23-13.
152: 1. Ryan Powers (LM/WT), 2. AJ Sachatello (Waterford), 3. Ian Anderson (Montville); 4. Theran Vanase (NFA), 23-7.
160: 1. Zackarie Navarrete (Montville), 29-4; 2. Brayden Grim (Ledyard), 29-7; 3. Dakota Grover (Griswold), 24-6; 4. Keith McDonald (Fitch), 28-11.
170: 1. Derek Turner (Killingly), 36-3; 2. Adam Crawford (Ledyard), 29-7; 3. Cadan Odom (Griswold), 26-8; 4. Jacob Gannotti (Waterford), 21-6.
182: 1. Jacob Commander (New London), 18-0; 2. Stephen Sims (Griswold), 26-5; 3. Leonardo Amaro Jr. (Bacon), 26-8; 4. Greg Gosselin (Killingly), 30-12.
195: 1. Johnny Falco (Griswold), 33-1; 2. David Thoma (LM/WT), 26-12; 3. Andrew Allen (Ledyard), 16-3; 4. Tashua Williams (New London), 16-7.
220: 1. Jadien Mackenzie (New London), 17-4; 2. Cory Carr (Griswold), 22-5; 3. Jeremiah Harshberger (Waterford), 19-9; 4. Ioannis Valkanos (Bacon), 16-7.
285: 1. Roark Ryan (SB/NT), 31-2; 2. Rene Bernie (Killingly), 13-4; 3. Darrick Deveau (Montville), 30-2; 4. Ruben Britos (NFA), 7.
Schedule (subject to change)
Friday: First round, 5 p.m.; championship quarterfinals and consolation first round, 6 p.m.; consolation second round, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: Championship semifinals and consolation quarterfinals, 11 a.m.; consolation semifinals, 1 p.m.; consolation finals, 2:15 p.m.; championship finals, 4:15 p.m.
Note: Saturday's championship finals will be streamed live on www.theday.com