Warde pins Greenwich in FCIAC battle
Coming off a dominating first-place finish in its own invitational over the weekend, the Warde wrestling team returned the mat Wednesday ready for business as usual.
Actually, it was a little more than that.
“We reminded our guys before the match that Greenwich beat us last year early in the season,” Warde coach Jason Shaughnessy said. “This one was personal.”
If payback was what the Mustangs were after, consider the debt paid in full.
After dropping the first match at 113 pound, Warde proceeded to rip off seven straight victories en route to a convincing 61-6 win over Greenwich in a matchup of perennial FCIAC powers.
Senior heavyweight Mike Money kept his unbeaten season going for the Mustangs (8-1) with a first-period pin, while junior 160-pounder Thomas Anania also remained perfect this winter courtesy of an 11-0 major decision over Max Kim.
Jack Anderson (106 pounds) had the fastest pin of the day in 32 seconds, while Joey Marx (195 pounds) and David Wolff (220 pounds) also closed out their matches in the first period.
By far, the most stunning first-period pin came at 126 pounds where freshman Aaron Beinstein, Warde’s third-stringer at that weight class, overcame a 13-3 deficit to Austin Longi and pulled out the victory with just three seconds left in the period.
One match prior, Dylan Bender gave the state’s No. 7 ranked team its first win of the day with an overtime pinfall triumph over fellow sophomore Jack Benenson, who rallied from a 4-0 hole and forced the extra session with a takedown late in the third period.
Another highly competitive match took place at 182, where Mustangs senior James Heinzman held on for a 6-5 decision against junior Grant Cucchissi.
“We were excited to test ourselves against one of the top teams in the state,” Cardinals coach George Albano said. “Our kids wrestled tough. We won two matches and at least three were decided in the last 30 seconds so I really don’t think the final score was indicative of our effort today. Fortunately for us, the brutal part of our schedule is now over, and hopefully we can build off this.”
Freshman Alex Jarombek scored a 4-0 decision at 113 pounds for Greenwich (5-5), and senior Ryan Whittle continued his impressive season at 170 pounds with a 7-1 victory over Joey Muratori.
Also for Warde, Phil Neamonitis (132) won by second-period pinfall and Pharoh Eaton cruised to a 16-1 technical fall victory. Capping the run in the middle weights were seniors Casey Stopa (145), who decisioned Cameron Driscoll 8-2, and 152-pounder Kevin Kollar, who won 9-1.
“We’re putting a good kid at every weight class and that consistency from top to bottom in our lineup is what sets us apart from any teams right now,” Shaughnessy said. “We’ve got big, strong kids at the upper weights and overall we’re pretty close to where we want to be at this point.”
The Mustangs, who finished more than 100 points ahead of runner-up Mahopac, N.Y., in the Fairfield Warde Invitational, are already eyeing their showdown against top-ranked Danbury in two weeks.
“I like to schedule them every year,” Shaughnessy said. “It’s always a great measuring stick for us, and we want to take on the best because that helps us get better.”