Husky Pack Sweeps, Repeats as Connecticut State Champs
NEW HAVEN, CT – The University of Connecticut’s wrestling team defeated teams from the University of New Haven and Yale University before an overflow crowd at the David A. Beckerman Recreation Center on the UNH campus on Sat., 2/20/10 to earn its second consecutive NCWA State of Connecticut Championship.
In the first event of the day, UNH scored a 19-13 win over a determined but undermanned squad from its cross-city rival. The Husky Pack from UConn then faced off against Yale in the second match of the day The Huskies jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead with a fall scored by Zachariah "Z-man" Savic at 125 lbs. and a forfeit win awarded to Evan Nahins at 133 lbs. Then the Bulldogs went to work with a win by Justin Wright at 149 lbs and a fall by Ricardo Rodriquez at 157 lbs. to cut the Huskies lead to 12-10. To everyone’s surprise, the Huskies moved their regular 157 lb. wrestler, Mike Battinelli up to 165 lbs. and the weight difference did not affect him at all as the Husky star scored a major decision to up the lead to 16-10 in favor of UConn. The Bulldog’s Connor Youngblood and Zachary Belway scored two narrow decisions at 174 lbs. & 184 lbs. respectively to tie the score but that was it for the Yale scoring as UConn prevailed in the remaining weights for a 34-16 win.
Then came the showdown between last season’s CT State finalists, which was won by the Huskies with a Chris Scoppetta pin in the final bout of the event. The narrow loss by Coach Alex Nagy's Chargers seemed fresh in their minds as Chris Whiting came out at 125 lbs. and scored his second fall of the day to put UNH ahead 6-0. Whiting has established himself as one of the top wrestlers at 125 lbs. in the NEC and is looking to place at the top of his class at the upcoming NEC Championships. The lead would not last long as Nahins and Josh Schmidt of UConn, and Nathan Maclure of UNH exchanged wins. Entering 157 lbs. with the score tied 12-12, Mike Battinelli stepped on the mat at his regular weight and scored a convincing 15-4 win to give the pack the lead for good. Micah Flashman overcame an early deficit to score an exiting fall at 165 lbs., which brought the crowd to its feet. The remaining weight classes all ended in falls. Two by UConn Senior Co-Captains Mike Gorton at 174 lbs. and Pat Neilan at 197 lbs. sandwiched around a fall by the Charger’s Jacob Edelman at 184 lbs. Nick Morales and Matt Dombrowski completed the scoring with falls at 235 lbs. & 285 lbs. respectively.
Entering this event, there was some concern in UConn’s Hawley Armory locker room on the Storrs campus, as several of their top wrestlers were on the sidelines for this event including Luke Walsh at 141 lbs., George Madkour at 133 lbs. and Rich Zschoche at 197 lbs. The Husky Pack’s depth was put on display as several new faces recently broke in to the starting line up including Nathan “Little Stanley” Freedman, Eric “Pizza man” Parsons, Josh “Cheese man” Schmidt, John "Hunny Bear" Casper and Mario Pasquel. Strong performances have been turned in by each of these young men, which will make UConn a serious contender in the upcoming NCWA NEC Championships @ University of Vermont.