Newtown Youth Wrestling is back on top. The program, consisting of grapplers in kindergarten through eighth grade, captured Western Connecticut League championship at Danbury PAL on January 28, picking up where the young Nighthawks left off in 2020.
The program was denied titles the past couple of years not by opponents but rather extenuating circumstances — the impact of the coronavirus in 2021 and a storm the following winter. It is a three-peat for the program, hiatus or not, which captured two straight Elementary and Middle School team titles, 2019 and '20 (the Elementary team also claimed six of the last seven titles). This year, with post-COVID numbers down for some programs, both age groups were lumped together for one overall, combined championship bid. The Hawks showed their skill on the mats at all levels. Newtown defeated wrestlers from Danbury, New Milford, New Fairfield, Ridgefield, Stamford, Darien, Bethel, Easton, and Redding. New Milford placed second and Ridgefield was third.
This championship is a huge source of pride, not just for every wrestler on the team who has put in countless hours of work, but for their families as well. Our wrestling program prides itself on commitment and hard work and the constant reminder that we are a town program, Newtown’s town program," Newtown Head Coach Curtis Urbina said. "So, although winning is important and our purpose, how we represent Newtown and ourselves — both on the mat and off the mat — is of equal importance and a source of pride. Our young wrestlers believe in our vision and goals and have every reason to celebrate this success."
The wait makes for this title tasting that much sweeter.
"Not only is it nice to win another championship, it felt great to get back out on the road and attend tournaments around the area and east coast. Anytime we can get our wrestlers multiple matches with different opponents, it truly sharpens our skills and gives our young athletes the confidence and respect they work hard for. Hopefully this Covid-19 scare is behind us, but we are always taking the necessary precautions to keep our wrestlers, their families and our community safe," Urbina added.
Newtown had the following first-place grapplers: Jake Cascone, Kellen Lowe, Matthew Gaudenzi, Tyler San Souci, Brian Marini, Chase Ibbitson, Eddie Kascak, Eli Houston, Emmett Featherstone, Evan Huber, Jake Kennedy, Matthew Iacuone, Allen Gaudenzi, Camron Veneziano, Marcus Buntin, Noah Blair, and Rion Lena.
Second-place Hawks are Alex Carrozza, Jake Gibney, Joey Bartolic, Kylan Braga, Mason Galterio, Michael Donnelly, Luke Salce, Vinny Franzago, Wyatt Fournier, Cole Salce, Ethan Kearney, Kirsten Barr, Luke Piccirillo, and Owen Blair.
Third-place finishers are Colin Brennan, Frankie Skura, Gunner Fournier, Luke Hoadley, Maddox Wilson, Mason Karlin, Payton Kiney, Drake Oatis, Silas Houston, Tyler Richards, Daniel Candullo, Dante Ames, Dom Smeraglino, Erich Metzker, Reilly Kling, and Ryder Symes.
Fourth-place wrestlers include Ava Kearney, Hunter Fowler, Jaxon Leng, Luka Nechaev, Alexander Jaquez, Blake Deloge, and Riley Lovett.