"I'm in disbelief of what we accomplished as a team," managed Green Wave wrestling coach Chris Piel this week. "Wow!"
The veteran New Milford High School grappling mentor started the 2012-13 season with a young team he thought could surprise some people.
On Saturday at Bristol Central High School, the Green Wave surprised even Piel.
It marked the second time in three years the Green Wave has come home with a Class L title.
The state success comes on the heels of an unbeaten season in South-West Conference competition, a performance that all but clinched yet another SWC championship banner for NMHS.
The Green Wave blitzed hopeful New Fairfield, 47-26, before a vocal crowd at NMHS Feb. 6 to put a lock on the title (see photos).
Coach Piel and company had their quest to wrap things up temporarily thwarted Feb. 9 when the SWC tournament was canceled due to the blizzard.
However, league ADs are expected to designate the Green Wave as the SWC team champ once they figure how to determine the SWC's individual weight class champions.
Rob Tozzi sealed the deal at the state meet with his win at 220 pounds, bumping New Milford up to 192.5 points.
Fairfield Warde was the runner-up with 189 points and Farmington took third with 186.
The Green Wave won the title with nearly an entirely new lineup. Fourteen wrestlers graduated from last season's squad and 10 athletes in this season's starting lineup are first-year varsity wrestlers.
"It's amazing, I am speechless," coach Piel said. "I told people at the beginning of the season we could surprise some people and the heart and desire these kids showed was unbelievable."
Tozzi's 3-2 victory over Travis Salois of RHAM was a sweet win for the senior captain, who didn't even take up wrestling until he was a freshman.
"He knew it was down to him and he went out and did a great job," coach Piel said. "The last match, with all that riding on it and to go out and win it in style. What an awesome job."
In addition to Tozzi and Lindner, the Green Wave boasted state runner-ups in 120-pounder Halim Bourjeli and 152-pounder Kameron Bradshaw.
The Green Wave will send a program-record nine grapplers to this weekend's state open tournament. Top qualifiers there would advance to the New England tournament.
For more information about the Green Wave and more photos, check www.newmilfordspectrum.com.