Green Wave grapplers dominate the SWC New Milford High mat crew earns fourth straight conference title
New Milford High mat crew earns fourth straight conference title
It truly was a Green Wave or, as some called it, a "sea of green," which swept through the Bethel High School gym last weekend.
The green-clad New Milford High School wrestling team proved again the scourge of the South-West Conference as it cruised to a fourth consecutive conference championship.
Coach Chris Piel's Green Wave earned semifinal spots in all 14 weight classes, placed nine athletes in respective finals and came home with titles by Conor Kirkegard at 103 pounds, Alex Thalassinos at 112, Nick Amorando at 119, Matt Saraceno at 160 and Adam Lynch at 189.
"I can't say enough about how proud I am of this team and what we have been able to accomplish this year," reflected coach Piel. "Our wrestlers try harder and persevere with each individual victory or defeat.
"To put 14 wrestlers into the semifinals is unparalleled, and in two days of wrestling, we only gave up one fall," added the Green Wave coach.
For the two-day competition, coach Piel's crew accumulated an SWC-record 250 points. NMHS was so dominant as to nearly match the combined total of second-place Masuk (137) and third-place Bethel (126.5). It marked the seventh straight season the Green Wave has captured SWC tournament honors.
NMHS now closes the book on a regular season and SWC campaign during which it extended its league dual-meet win skein to 43, ended the 262-meet win streak of neighboring Danbury and won its own invitational tournament.
Up next is the state class `L' tournament today (Friday) and tomorrow at Bristol Central High School.
"Would you believe, we are still not satisfied," chortled coach Piel, "and we are already looking toward the... state tournament. This may be an individual sport, but with each individual triumph comes team success."
On the horizon for the Green Wave's top wrestlers would be next weekend's state open and, if successful there, the New England tournament the weekend of March 5-6.
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There was little doubt from the opening matches which team would emerge victorious from last weekend's South-West Conference championship wrestling tournament in Bethel. Coach Chris Piel's New Milford High School grapplers pinned and decisioned their way to a fourth straight SWC crown. Above, NMHS senior Adam Lynch leaves Brookfield's Joel Wamser without a leg to stand on during their title bout at 189 pounds. Lynch was one of five Green Wave wrestlers to claim individual titles. For the story and more photos, see Page S14.