Marco Grandinetti wasn’t in the lineup at the start of the season, but the junior’s hard work and versatility have made him one of Greenwich High School’s most valuable wrestlers.
That was certainly the case Wednesday evening as Greenwich and border rival
Stamford were locked in a close match that appeared headed for a fight to the finish.
“I told Marco right before he took the mat that this was the biggest match of the night,” Cardinals coach George Albano said. “I’m really happy for him, he’s been like my utility guy and he really came through for us.”
Grandinetti’s first-period pin at 152 pounds was just one of the highlights for hard-charging Greenwich, which closed the FCIAC match with five straight victories en route to a 53-26 home triumph.
“I went 2-0 over the weekend and that definitely helped my confidence,” Grandinetti said. “I’m always asking coach if I’ll be in somewhere in the lineup. I know I need to make the most of my opportunities, and hopefully we can build up the momentum from this match.”
The match opened in exciting fashion with Stamford JV callup Robert Richardson pulling out a 3-1 overtime decision against Nick Pennella at 195 pounds. Richardson earned the victory thanks to a takedown 15 seconds into the extra session.
Despite having to forfeit at 220, 285 and 106, the Black Knights stayed in match due to the efforts of Jose Marroquin (113 pounds), Matt Cammarota (126) and Ben Pierre Saint (132) – all of whom won by pinfall.
The first-period pin by Pierre Saint, who improved to 20-1 this season and remained unbeaten in-state at 132 pounds, was followed up by a 16-0 technical fall victory by fellow senior standout Joe Battinelli.
The result in the 138-pound division gave Stamford the lead. But it was short-lived indeed as Greenwich’s Cameron Driscoll started the comeback using a cradle to pin Nick DeJongh in just 49 seconds.
“Our hammers wrestled like they usually do but I thought we could have done better in some other weight classes,” said Stamford coach Tim Donnelly, who works for the town of Greenwich’s Parks and Rec Department and is quite familiar with the Cardinals program. “It’s tough when you’re forfeiting three weights, but that’s our own fault for not being able to fill them.”
Although the outcome of the match had already been decided, there was still plenty of buzz for the 170-pound showdown between Greenwich senior Ryan Whittle and Stamford junior Miguel Nieto, who entered with only a combined three losses between them.
Nieto was ahead 4-2 late in the first period, but was caught in a roll and landed on the back of his head as Whittle went for a pin. Though he wanted to continue, Nieto was woozy and Whittle was awarded the match by injury default in improving to 20-1 this winter.
Justin Montier (220), heavyweight Graham Perry and Gary Frayter each won by forfeit for the Cardinals, who also got a hard-earned second-period pinfall victory by 160-pounder Max Kim. Alex Margetoes (120) was dominant in his 15-0 technical fall victory.
The match ended with plenty of drama as Greenwich junior 182-pounder Grant Cucchissi overcame a 4-0 deficit and pinned senior Julio Sanchez at the 5:25 mark.
“That was a tremendous win by Grant,” Albano said. “I ask our guys to approach every match as though they’re taking part in 14 individual battles, and I think certain wrestlers really did that. We’ve got about a month left until FCIACs, and the goal is to be peaking then.”