Undefeated and state champions



BRISTOL – An undefeated regular season by the Bristol Eastern wrestling squad – a feat that’s happened over back-to-back campaigns – another CCC South title and 36 straight wins were an amazing accomplishment for the program this year.

But the team was looking for the ultimate accolade and that meant defending its Class L title on Saturday, Feb. 17 from the Charles C. Marsh Gymnasium on the campus of Bristol Central, and winning the championship one more time.

After two grueling days of hitting the mats in Bristol, there was another banner to hang in the Thomas M. Monahan Gymnasium.

And they’re starting to run out of room on the walls for those championship accolades by the wrestling squad.

Behind the power of four individual championships, Eastern won the Class L title behind an excellent 231 point showing, enough to stave off runner-up Xavier of Middletown (196.5 points).

The Lancers have won two straight titles and were the Class L runner’s up in 2015-16 – an amazing run that has seen the locals dethrone New Milford’s as the elite team in Class L in the state of Connecticut.

In fact New Milford, who several observers saw as Eastern’s biggest obstacle at the tournament, came in a distant third at 173 points.

New Canaan (163.5 points) brought home fourth place, Daniel Hand (123.5) earned fifth while Central Connecticut Conference challenger Wethersfield (106.5) took sixth.

Bristol Central made a great showing, scoring 102.5 points and had four grapplers place in the top five of their classes.

It was another banner day for Eastern athletics and the finals were loaded with Lancers up and down the line-up.

Right before the finals commenced, Eastern tallied 208 team points, was sitting in first place and in the pole position at the event.

The Lancers were ahead of second place Xavier, 208-178.5 while New Milford was hanging around in third place with 169.

But the Lancers had to get through the semifinals to keep up that pace and by the time the finals rolled around, six Eastern wrestlers were in the final round.

In the semifinals at 106, Bryce Beebe defeated Eli Cyr of Middletown by a 9-4 decision – punching his ticket to the finals.

Then at 113, Jordon Champagne nabbed an 8-0 major decision over New Milford’s Luke Schell and he was finals bound as well.

The 120 pound all-Bristol bout saw Bristol Central’s Chris Trelli pin Tom Nichols with seven seconds left in the match at 5:53.

And Trelli was sent to the final round.

Fast forward to 145 and it was all about Diego Fernandez – a 7-2 decision victor over E.O. Smith’s Nick Richardson.

Fernandez was in the finals for BE and ready to win a championship.

What about Bristol Eastern quarterback Justin Marshall at 152?

Well, the QB rushed his way into the finals with a 7-6 decision over New Canaan’s Christian Sibbett.

Mikey Barrett, the man at 160 pounds, was an easy 10-3 decision winner over Markeese Thompson from Maloney.

Back in the championship mix, Trinidad Gonzalez squared off against Julian Reza of New Milford and the grappler from Eastern was a pin-fall victor in 5:14.

And credit belonged to Central’s Mike Guzman at 220, battling Fitch’s Dakato Grover until the end but absorbed a tough 9-7 loss via decision.

The stage was set and the finals began with Xavier having a lot of work to do in attempting an upset bid over the Lancers.

The finals saw Beebe take the runner-up trophy, falling to Wilton’s Travis Longo by 5-0 decision and in the 113 championship match, Champagne fell to Fitch’s Jarod Kosman via a 4-1 decision.

And then at 120 pounds, Trelli won the championship behind a 12-4 major decision over New Milford’s Brandon Leonard.

Fernandez (145) then took his shot at New Canaan’s Nate Sibbett.

Sibbett made a takedown in the middle of the first period but Fernandez escaped to trail 2-1.

The score remained 2-1 going into the second frame but a repeat took place as Sibbett made a takedown before Fernandez escaped again.

Then Fernandez made a takedown of his own and thirty seconds into the second period, it was all tied up at 4-4.

A near fall gave Fernandez three points and with 10 seconds remaining in the second, he led the championship match, 7-4.

Fernandez took his three-point lead into the third period and made a quick escape, giving him an 8-4 edge.

Another takedown from Fernandez with 1:13 left gave the Eastern grappler a six-point edge and a state championship was in sight.

And in the end, Fernandez was the 145 state champion with a 10-6 win by decision.

Then, the Eastern quarterback was ready for his title bout as Marshall and Amity’s Matthew Rothman were scoreless through one frame and the battle was on.

Marshall then made an escape with just over one minute left to give him a 1-0 lead during second period action.

It was still 1-0 to start the third but Rotham secured a 2-1 lead but Marshall made an escape and with 1:25 left, things were all knotted up at 2-2.

Marshall then came back with a takedown, seizing a 4-2 edge with a minut left in regulation.

Rothman later escaped and it was 4-3 with some time left on the clock. But the warrior from Eastern was never taken down again.

In the end, it was a 4-3 triumph for Marshall and another individual champion for the Eastern program.

Barrett (160) followed with his bout against Wethersfield’s Alec Arnold and the Eastern grappler made his first takedown with less than fifty seconds to go in the first period.

It remained a 2-0 push in Barrett’s favor entering the second period and he quickly led 4-0 twenty seconds in.

And when the veteran held a 6-0 edge and halfway through the bout, the Bristol athlete was in control.

Arnold finally escaped with forty seconds left in the second but one last takedown by Barrett to end the period made the match an 8-1 tally as the number one seed was rolling.

Barrett escaped midway through the third and his 9-1 lead was looking good for a championship win.

There would not be a comeback by Arnold as Barrett earned another title – taking the 160 final by eight points.

Clearly, the Lancers were heading for its second straight state championship with one big final’s bout to go.

And then Gonzalez (195) made his championship appearance against Hall’s Justin Searls and the contest was a back-and-forth event to start.

Gonzalez made a late takedown with less than 10 seconds left and entering the second stanza, it was a 2-0 match.

Searls couldn’t escape Gonzalez and that 2-0 score remained intact as the third and final period commenced.

Gonzalez then led 3-0 as Searls was looking to score a quick takedown in the third to try to get back into the event.

Gonzales then made a go-ahead takedown with just over a minute in the bout and another championship for the junior was in sight.

It was 7-0 with less than 30 seconds to go and Searls was down and out.

At the final buzzer, Gonzalez was the 2017-18 Class L state champ at 195 pounds with his seven-point decision.

And that wrapped up another sensational year for Eastern, a back-to-back championship run, and an undefeated streak that will run into the 2018-19 campaign.


from the Charles C. Marsh Gymnasium, Bristol Central

Team Scores

Champion: Bristol Eastern, 231 points

Runner-up: Xavier, 196.5

The Rest of the Top 10:


Place Points

New Milford

3rd 173

New Canaan

4th 163.5

Daniel Hand

5th 129.5


6th 106.5

Bristol Central

7th 102.5

Amity 8th 101

Wilton 9th 100.5


10th 98.5

Individual Seeding for the Bristol squads:


Name/Year School Seed


106 Bryce Beebe – Sr. BE

3rd 30-4

106 Jake Aldi – Fr. BC

8th 25-12

Results…Beebe fell in the finals to Wilton’s Travis Longo by a 5-0 decision.


Name/Year School Seed


113 Jordon Champagne – Sr. BE

2nd 29-6

113 Adam Ward – Jr. BC

10th 21-16

Results…Fitch’s Jarod Kosman defeated Champagne, scooping up a 4-1 decision in the final match at 113.


Name/Year School Seed


120 Chris Trelli – Sr. BC 1st


120 Tom Nichols – Fr. BE

4th 32-9

Results…Trelli won the Class L title behind a 12-4 major decision over New Milford’s Brandon Leonard while Nichols took third place with a 7-0 decision over Quinn Moynihan of Xavier-Middletown.


Name/Year School Seed


126 Carson Sassu – Jr. BE 6th


126 Jason Feto – So.

BC 14th 17-20

Results…Sassu earned fourth place. He was pinned by Nick Rende of Wilton in 4:08.


Name/Year School Seed


132 Gabe Soucy – Jr. BE

11th 20-14

132 Mason Hale – Jr. BC

17th 6-10


Name/Year School Seed


138 Noah Piazza – Jr. BE

7th 23-14

138 Joe Frechette – Sr. BC 14th



Name/Year School Seed


145 Diego Fernandez – Jr. BE 1st


145 Andrew Mahaffy – Jr. BC 18th


Results…Fernandez racked up the championship win with a 10-6 victory over New Canaan’s Nate Sibbett via decision.


Name/Year School Seed


152 Justin Marshall – Jr. BE 3rd


152 Andrew Beaucar – Jr. BC 17th


Results…Marshall won the 152 title, earning a hard fought 4-3 decision over Amity’s Matthew Rothman.


Name/Year School Seed


160 Mikey Barrett – Sr. BE 1st


160 Caleb Buden – Jr. BC

6th 15-10

Results…Barrett dominated Alec Arnold of Wethersfield, 9-1, to claim the title at 160 by decision.


Name/Year School Seed


170 Damian Mahaffy – Sr. BC 5th


170 Dylan Levesque – Sr. BE 10th


Results…Mahaffy nabbed fifth place as he pinned Fairfield Ludlowe’s Justin Hathaway in 2:04.


Name/Year School Seed


182 Tyler Varasconi – Sr. BE 12th



Name/Year School Seed


195 Trinidad Gonzalez – Jr. BE 1st


195 Jakob Salinas – Fr. BC 13th


Results…Gonzalez blanked Hall’s Justin Searls by a 7-0 decision. He became a two-time state champion.


Name/Year School Seed


220 Mike Guzman – Sr. BC

4th 24-8

220 Hidekel Mangual – Sr. BE 10th


Results…Guzman took third place via 7-3 decision over New Canaan’s Nick Kortman while in the fifth place bout, Mangual pinned Derrick Pommills of Notre Dame-West Haven in 5:55.


Name/Year School Seed


285 Andrew Cercone – Sr. BE 4th


285 John Duncan – Sr. BC

9th 13-13

Results…Duncan wrangled up a 3-1 decision over Nick Dejesus of Middletown for fifth place.e