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.

Claiming runnerup efforts were Ian Curtis at 125 pounds, Andrew Golden at 130, Tyler Monroe at 135 and Brian Richman at 171.

Evan Renner and John Burns contributed respective third-place performances at 145 and 215 pounds.

"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.

Also lending their mat talents to the title-clinching effort were Anthony Terlizzi at 135 pounds, Karl Bradshaw at 152 and heavyweight Dustin Wilson.

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.

-- Norm Cummings

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Simply outstanding!

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Norm Cummings/Spectrum

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.