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East Lyme/Norwich Tech knocks off Ledyard

Ledyard — Nobody else in Standish Gym appreciated the significance of this victory more than the opposing coach. Ed Lorah didn’t merely coach his kids Wednesday night staring at Ledyard’s 22 state championship wrestling banners. He helped hang one of them.

And so to bring East Lyme/Norwich Tech into his old digs and walk out with a 49-30 victory? Behind the mask was a huge smile.

“Well,” Lorah said, “this is the first time we’ve beaten them. And I’ve been here for 14 years.”

Lorah wrestled for the 1977 state champion Colonels and on three of Ledyard’s 35 conference champions. He knows these are hallowed mats. And he’s taken what he learned in the old days to what’s become the Eastern Connecticut Conference’s rising program.

“When I wrestled here, the guy above you beat you up and the guy below you beat you up,” Lorah said. “So it was either quit or get better.”

East Lyme/Norwich Tech hasn’t merely done the latter, but has much promise. Two of its winners — Brayden Soleau (160, pin) and Lincoln Carlson (126, decision) are freshmen.

“They have been doing a hell of a job,” Lorah said.

Other wins for East Lyme included Jackson Hart (170, pin), Noah Santiago (285, pin), Nolan Morton (106, pin), Jeremiah Irizarry (120, major decision) J.J. Morse (132, pin) and Mike Minevich (138, pin).

“The co-op has been a big help,” Lorah said. “Norwich Tech has given us some good wrestlers and numbers. More numbers mean better competition and a better atmosphere.”

Ledyard coach Allyn Quibble mentioned earlier in the season he thought East Lyme/Norwich Tech would be among the programs to watch in the league. He was proven correct Wednesday.

“On paper, I thought this would have been closer,” Quibble said. “But they rallied in matches we should have won. They came out quite a bit ahead.”

Dylan Crawford (195, pin) and Connor Doran (145, pin) were among Ledyard’s winners.

“It’s tough when you have kids out on vacations and some that didn’t make weight because they ate too much at Christmas,” Quibble said. “But, hey, what can do you? A lot of things tonight didn’t go our way.”

m.dimauro@theday.com 

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