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A Berkshire League Wrestling preview by Gerry deSimas.

POSTED January 02, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Connecticut Wrestling Online
The athletes come and go but there is some consistency among the top high school
wrestling team in the area. Once again, it looks like Nonnewaug is the team to
beat in the Berkshire League.
Nonnewaug comes into the season with seven BL titles in the last nine years and
a handful of experienced wrestlers including defending State Open champion Tyler
Tilbe at 125 pounds. In the first two weeks of the season, they finished an
impressive second at the Pomperaug Holiday Tournament and outlasted perhaps
their biggest rival for the league title this year, Thomaston, 42-35, four days
before Christmas.
The Chiefs are loaded with experienced wrestlers in the lower weight classes.
Along with Tilbe, who was 45-3 a year ago, Nonnewaug returns senior Alex
Paparazzo (103), junior Quentin Mylie (112), senior Austin Hodges (130) and
senior Brian Reilly (135).
Paparazzo, Tilbe and Hodges each won at the Pomperaug Tournament.
In other weight classes, the Chiefs have some older wrestlers but they are
lacking varsity experience. Nonnewaug coach Dave Green said this is their
opportunity to contribute. Senior Paul Ciasse (189) and John D’Agostino (152)
saw limited time with the varsity a year ago but they had key pins in the 42-35
win over Thomaston.

After three weeks, Nonnewaug is 10-2 and 2-0 in the league.
Green was particularly pleased with his team’s second place finish at the
Pomperaug Tournament beating Thomaston by two points and finishing 18 points
behind Bristol Eastern. The Chiefs didn’t enter wrestlers in three weight
classes because Green opted to send them to a junior varsity tournament where
they would be guaranteed four matches instead of just two at the Pomperaug
Thomaston should contend for the title this year under head coach Shaun Conney.
He has been sharing responsibilities with long-time coach John Perucci, the
current principal at Thomaston. But as much as Perucci loves coaching the team,
he simply didn’t have enough time with his duties as principal.
There are only 18 athletes in the program, but as always, Thomaston has some
hard-nosed wrestlers. “We have a very strong tradition,” Conney said. “We don’t
always have the experience but we work hard every day.”
Senior Alan Sanford (152), senior Mark Dilley (189) and junior Tyler Margison
(285) are captains and leaders on the Bears. Junior Cliff Aquino (103),
sophomore Rigon Gilani (125) and senior Kyle Oldham (145) also return to the
Sanford is a two-time Class S champion and a three-time BL titlist. Oldham has
won two BL titles.
Terryville could be a threat for the championship. Defending BL champions Scott
LaMarre (152) and Dom Folino (160) return along with returning starters D.J.
Russo (119) and Ben Russo (135). Folino and D.J. Russo won the Pomperaug
Tournament earlier this month.
The Kangaroos should be able to field a full lineup in all 14 weight classes but
some wrestlers are inexperienced at the varsity level.
Terryville is off to a 3-0 start including wins in its first two Berkshire
League bouts. They visit Thomaston for a key BL bout on Wednesday, Jan. 5 that
could determine which team will challenge Nonnewaug for the championship.
It’s a new era at Housatonic Regional where Thomas Medonis replaces Ameen Abo
Hamzy after 11 seasons. Medonis has a small and talented squad that should do
well in tournaments. Kevin Arrell (112) and junior Steve Wingard (171) won at
the Derby Invitational earlier this month. Tyler Spadaccini (152) and Dom Ghi
(125) each finished second.
Senior Josh Hoxie (119), senior Alek Smith (135) and junior Dylan Jefferis (140)
are three of the top wrestlers back for Gilbert, currently 1-2. Tim Zeitler
(285) returns at Northwestern (0-8, 0-1 BL) while senior Dean Tsopandides (285)
tries to win a Class L title wrestling for Torrington. He was 19-7 and third in
Class L a year ago. He trains with Wolcott Tech (0-3, 0-9).

Upcoming key matches
Wed. Jan. 5: Terryville at Thomaston
Wed. Jan. 19: Nonnewaug at Terryville
Sat. Feb. 11: Berkshire League Tournament at Nonnewaug
Feb. 18-19: CIAC championships: Class S at Sports Medicine and Science
Feb. 25-26: State Open at New Haven Athletic Center (Hillhouse)
March 4-5: New England championships at New Haven Athletic Center (Hillhouse)

For the latest high school wrestling, results and boxscores, visit Connecticut
Wrestling Online at, the state’s
oldest website for high school wrestling news and information, celebrating its
10th anniversary this month.

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