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Tsopanides makes his mark on the mat. A story by Gerry deSimas of ctwrestlingonline.

POSTED February 18, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Tsopanides looking forward to competition

Connecticut Wrestling Online
Torrington High senior Dean Tsopanides is quite comfortable at 215 pounds this

A year ago, trying to get stronger for football, he was five to 10 pounds
heavier. But that pushed him up into the 285 pound weight class. Still, he
finished third in Class L and became the first Torrington wrestler to earn a
berth into the State Open.

This winter, Tsopanides has received few challenges in posting a record of 26-1,

good enough to earn the No. 1 seed in this weekend’s Class L tournament at
Bristol Eastern.

Wrestling teams from across the state will compete this weekend in the four CIAC

state championship tournaments. Nonnewaug, Thomaston, Gilbert, Terryville and
Housatonic will compete at the Class S championship meet in Hartford at Sport
and Medicine Science Academy next to Dillon Stadium with Wolcott Tech competing
at the Class M meet at Windham.

Wrestling begins Friday at 4:30 p.m. at each location. Quarterfinals are
Saturday at 9 a.m. with semifinals at 2 p.m. and the championship matches set to

begin at 7 p.m.

Tsopanides picked up another three victories last weekend, all by pin, as he won

the 215-pound class at the Tournament of Independents scrimmage at
Haddam-Killingworth. Two of his three matches were over in less than a minute.

“I still haven’t met anyone as strong as I am,” he said.

Tsopanides should get some competition this weekend. He will likely face
Guilford’s Michael Milando (25-12) in the quarterfinals and Michael Piazza
(26-6) of Bristol Eastern in the semifinals.

The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to the State Open on Feb.
25-26 at the New Haven Athletic Center in New Haven.

CONTENDERS: Berkshire League champion Nonnewaug and Thomaston should be
contenders for the Class S championship. Nonnewaug, which finished 4.5 points
behind champion Somers a year ago, have two No. 1 seeds including two-time Class

S champion Tyler Tilbe (125) and Alex Paparazzo (29-1 at 103).

Six other Nonnewaug wrestlers are seeded in the top six of their respective
weight classes, including No. 2 Austin Hodges (29-1 at 130).

Thomaston, which finished second in 2007, has eight wrestlers who are seeded
eighth or better. Senior Mark Dilley (29-0 at 189) is seeded No. 1 along with
two-time defending Class S champion Alan Sanford (27-1 at 152). Tyler Margison
(28-3) is the No. 2 seed at 285 pounds.

The key to Thomaston and Nonnewaug’s championship hopes lie in the consolation
round. Many wrestlers lose their focus after suffering a loss. Teams that win
state titles have wrestlers continue to wrestle hard even after their dream of a

state championship has evaporated.

The Bears and Chiefs will be challenged by Somers, Killingly and Westbrook/Old

Northwestern’s Tim Zeitler (285) is the No. 1 seed in Class S at 285 pounds,
despite his BL championship loss to Margison. Results from the conference
tournaments were not included as part of the seeding process.

Gilbert’s Josh Hoxie, who won a Class S title at 103 a year ago, is a No. 1 seed

in Class S at 112 pounds with a 27-3 record while teammate Alek Smith (29-2,
135) is seeded second. Terryville’s Dom Russo is a top seed at 119 with a 22-3
record. Teammates Dom Folino (25-4, 152) and Scott LaMarre (22-2, 145) are
seeded third. Housatonic is led by Dom Ghi (24-4, 119) who is seeded second in
his weight class.

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