TRUMBULL — A single point made a mile of difference for Jacob Cardozo and Billy Carr on Saturday night.
By one-point decisions, the Southington wrestlers won Class LL state championships at Trumbull High School.
Cardozo, a senior, won the 145-pound division with a 3-2 victory over Cole Shaughnessy of Fairfield Warde. Carr, a junior, clipped Andrew Seaton of Amity 5-4 at 170 pounds.
Cardozo and Carr were two of four area finalists in this weekend’s CIAC class championships. Maloney senior Nik Debaise was pinned in the Class L 182 final. Platt junior James Rondini lost 5-0 in the Class M 120 final.
Three other area wrestlers were beaten in the semifinals, but wrestled back to take third: Platt junior Isaiah Ross (126) and Southington senior Jason Brault (138) and junior Josh Vitti (160).
In all, 14 area wrestlers placed in the top six. All 14 will advance to next weekend’s State Open at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.
That group includes Platt’s two fourth-place finishers, seniors Ryan Greene (182) and Andy Flores (195), and Maloney junior Kody Talento, who was sixth at 152.
Southington had fourth-place performers in freshman Ben Gorr (113) and seniors Matt Jacobson (182) and Caleb Chesanow (195). Junior Jacob Vecchio was sixth at 220.
There were no No. 1 seeds among area wrestlers heading into the weekend. Some of them did knock off the No. 1.
Exhibit A: Billy Carr, a No. 3 seed who faced a No. 1 in Amity’s Seaton in the Class LL 170-pound finale.
Carr grabbed a 2-0 lead with a takedown with eight seconds left in the opening period. He held Seaton down for the much of the second period before the Amity grappler finally escaped with 15 seconds left on the clock.
That set up a nip-and-tuck third period. Carr, in the down position, escaped after 49 seconds to push his lead to 3-1, but was hit with a penalty point for stalling.
The final 20 seconds were intense. Carr clinched the championship with a takedown with 17 seconds left, but did yield a late reversal that closed the final margin to 5-4.
The victory was Carr’s 30th of the season.
Cardozo, Southington’s winningest wrestler this year at 37-6, was a No. 2 seed facing a No. 4 in his final at 145. Cordozo fell behind 2-0 when the Shaughnessy scored a takedown in the opening 40 seconds. Before the first period was out, Cordozo tied the match on a reversal.
Taking the bottom position to start the second period, Cordozo escaped and that point stood up as the difference.
As for the two Meriden finalists, Debaise and Rondini, they were both up against No. 1 seeds at the end of the line.
Debaise, after knocking off the No. 3 seed via a quarterfinal pin and the No. 2 via a 9-4 semifinal decision, had to face Jake Commander of New London in the Class L 182 final at Bristol Eastern. Commander built a 6-2 lead before notching the pin with one second remaining in the first period.
Rondini, who was coming off career win No. 100 in the Platt-Maloney match last Wednesday, added to his career total in the Class M 120 brackets in Guilford with two pins and an 8-0 major decision in the semfinals over the No. 3 seed.
That led to a championship showdown with top-seeded Braeden O’Brien of Bacon Academy. The match was scoreless through the first period. O’Brien grabbed a 2-0 lead on a second-period reversal, then completed the 5-0 victory with back points in the third.
A little earlier, Rondini’s teammate Ross secured third place at 126 pounds with a 9-8 victory in his consolation final. Ross recorded the winning point on an escape with nine seconds left.
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