Lyman gets the best of Griswold in ECC Division III match
Lebanon — Jayden Veilleux is too young know the meaning of “rope-a-dope”, a term most associated with the late Muhammad Ali after he let George Foreman tire himself out en route to winning their 1974 heavyweight boxing match.
Regardless, Veilleux used that strategy on Thursday night to electrify the Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech co-op wrestling team.
Just when it looked like Veilleux was about to lose his 138-pound match, he got control of Jeff Bentley from the Griswold/Wheeler co-op and pinned him with 41 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a big jolt in their 48-36 win, putting them in position to win the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division III title.
“I just noticed he was strong,” Veilleux said, “so I just had to ride through it as best as I could. I was just kind of getting pushed down, squished a little, so I just decided to ride it through (and) maybe he’d get tired, which is what happened. And the second I saw the opportunity I felt I could get (the win), I got him on his back and crunched on him.”
Veilleux’s win caused Lyman/Windham Tech head coach Brandon Strout to leap from his chair in excitement as the Bulldogs went wild.
“We talk a little bit (as a team) about getting into deep water and surviving,” Strout said. “I told him he became a predator tonight in deep water. A lot of guys would go out there and drown. He was in the deep water, and he decided he wanted to be a predator and he wrestled out of really tough positions.
“(Bentley) got caught in a bad position and our guy smelled blood in the water and really attacked it. I was super proud of him. That was a huge swing.”
Lyman/Windham Tech (11-7 overall) finishes 4-0 in the ECC Division III. It could clinch the title at the league championships on Feb. 10-11 at Killingly High School. It won its first ECC division title in 2020.
The Wolverines are 11-8, 3-1.
The ECC’s division titles are determined by combining the results of the divisional dual meets and the ECC tournament. A team receives a win for each team it finishes ahead of at the tournament and a loss for every team that finishes ahead of it.
“We can tie them at least,” Griswold/Wheeler head coach Dana Cooke said. “That’s what we’re hoping to do at this point. We were geared up to do what we did today. ... It just didn’t fall in our favor.”
Every match was won by either pin or forfeit. Hunter Sanchez (120), Chase Plourde (126), Nehemiah Czelusniak (132), Ben Broderick (152), Vincent Gauvin (195) all won by pin for Lyman/Windham Tech. Cam Sammarco (170) and heavyweight Timothy Breault won by forfeit.
Seth Christie (103), Steven Steniger (112), Rylee Kenny (145), Russell Stewart (160), Liam Gervais (182) and Ben Lewis (220) won for the Wolverines.
Veilleux’s win gave the Bulldogs a 24-12 lead but Strout didn’t start breathing easier until Broderick’s win at 152, a weight his team has filled with different wrestlers during the season,
“That was the big swing match for me,” Strout said. “Jayden’s comeback was huge. It was a great momentum swing and then when Ben went out there and did what he did, looking like a real wrestler and all that stuff, it was awesome to see his growth from the (beginning of) the season.”