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Ledyard's Doran wins CIAC State Open wrestling title

New Haven — It was 1:13 Sunday afternoon and Connor Doran and Linda Holeman had put Ledyard head wrestling coach Allyn Quibble in a positive conundrum.

On one mat, Doran was wrestling for the 132-pound State Open boys’ championship.

On the other mat, Holeman was wrestling for the 132-pound girls’ Open title.

Quibble watched Doran, a senior, pin sophomore William Smith of Fairfield Prep in 3 minutes, 49 seconds.

“It feels like a rush of euphoria,” Doran said about winning his first Open title. “I just feel ecstatic right now.”

Quibble then joined assistant Bill Glenney to coach Holeman in the closing minutes of her match. The junior lost a 1-0 decision to defending champion Camryn Brown of Amity.

“(Holeman is) a junior, (Doran is) a senior, so I stayed with the senior,” Quibble said. “It’s tough choosing when it’s like that but I felt comfortable in both of their wrestling. They’re the ones out there doing it.”

Montville senior Blake Chapman (138 pounds) and Waterford senior Mason Concascia (152) both finished second.

Doran (28-1), the top seed in his weight class, got an early takedown on Smith and led 4-0 after on period. He wrapped up the title over a minute later.

“I was just trying to get the first takedown and work up the points,” Doran said. “I was trying to be tough on top, ride him out.”

It was Doran’s third title of the season. He won his second Eastern Connecticut Conference championship on Feb. 12 and his second Class S title seven days later.

“He had probably the tougher side of the (132-pound) bracket,” Quibble said. “He had to work all weekend to get where he was. Connor was confident the whole way and it showed right here. A pin in the finals, there’s no disputing that.”

Holeman was involved in arguably the most intriguing girls’ final because she had won the 2020 Open 126-pound title while Brown, a junior, won at 132 pounds. There wasn’t a season last year due to the pandemic.

Brown began the third period on the mat and escaped in four seconds for the match's only point.

“I tried taking a shot (but) just couldn’t get it in,” Holeman said about the third period. “I just couldn’t get a takedown.”

Holeman got to the final by beating junior Julianna Morris of Pomperaug, 3-0, in the semifinals. Morris was ranked fifth at 127 pounds in the country this month by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

“That loss might help (Holeman),” Quibble said. “She’s had a long streak of beating up on both boys and girls. ... I hope she learns from it, and I hope she comes back and does better.”

Chapman had a painful weekend because he hurt his neck in his first match on Saturday. He jarred his neck again during the 138-pound final when he landed hard on the mat on a takedown by top-seeded Kai O’Dell. The latter won a 16-5 major decision.

“I got whiplash,” Chapman said about reaggravating the injury. “It definitely shook me up and got me off my game. I didn’t feel right after that.”

It was the first loss of the season for Chapman (24-1), who won ECC and Class S titles this winter.

“My words to Blake have been, ‘that does not define you as a wrestler,” Montville head coach Jake Caskey said. “‘That one loss does not define who you are.’

“I’ve been in that same boat as him where I reached all those (earlier) goals and then fell short of the Open title, so I completely understand where he’s at and it’s tough. It’s really hard to sit with it and swallow (it). It’s an empty feeling, especially as a senior knowing that you’re not going to get that second chance.”

Concascia had to grind his way through the tournament because he was seeded 11th at 152 pounds despite having just one loss prior to the Open. He edged Class LL runner-up Colin Loria of Xavier in overtime, 8-6, in the round of 16, won a 9-8 decision over Class S champion Benjamin Williams of Haddam-Killingworth in the quarterfinals, and beat Class LL champion Lucas Coleman of Fairfield Warde in the semifinals (3-2).

Concascia was one of five double-digit seeds to reach a final. He was pinned in 4:26 by Simsbury’s Zach Johns, who earned Most Outstanding Wrestling honors.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to find myself in the finals,” said Concascia, a two-time ECC champion who took third at last weekend’s Class S championships. “I had to get through a lot of good wrestlers. For me to be able to get through those four wrestlers to get (to the final), it was a very proud moment for myself.”

Killingly juniors Kaden Ware (126) and Jack Richardson (145) both finished second while sophomore Soren Rief was fourth (195).

Xavier won the boys’ team title with 204 points, followed by Danbury (145), Simsbury (135), East Hartford (134.5) and Fairfield Warde (109).

Amity won the girls’ team title (58) followed by Berlin (55), Norwalk (46), McMahon (45) and RHAM (44).

Other place winners in the girls’ Open were Makiyah Raine Boozer (fifth, 132) and Cassandra Roman (sixth, 126) of New London, Renee Bunn (fourth, 138), Olivia Cicarelli (fifth, 152) and Lena Alves (sixth, 99) of Killingly, Caroline Gonzalez Garcia (first, 235) and Andrea Quinones-Galaga (fifth, 170) of Windham, Ledyard’s Jessica Dudley (99, fourth), Sydney Dameron (fifth, 138) of Griswold, Hoshena Gemme of Old Lyme (third, 106), Jalinda Pontes (third, 170) of Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech co-op and Karla Flores (fourth, 113) of Montville


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