“We asked our guys to wrestle at or above their potential and I think we did that,” Fairfield Warde wrestling coach Jason Shaughnessy said after his fifth-ranked Mustangs defeated eighth-ranked Trumbull High on Dec. 19.
“Sometimes its the big matches (as you expect), but sometimes it’s the ones in the rearview mirror that are the big matches. Today was a good day.”
Sophomore 120-pounder Dan Ebert was a standout for Warde.
“I knew I was wrestling a good kid, but I went in and did what I came to do,” said Ebert, after he won his bout from the Eagles’ talented Cross Cannone. “I spent a lot of time in the fall program and put in the work to get better.”
Warde had a 27-15 lead with six matches remaining when Ebert took the mat.
Cannone scored the first points before he and Ebert traded reversals. Ebert scored a near-fall late to lead 6-4 at the first break.
Cannone’s numerous attempts for back points were fought off by Ebert throughout a scoreless second stanza.
In the third, Ebert blocked a shot attempt and took control for an 8-4 lead.
With 15 seconds remaining, he scored three back points for the 11-4 victory.
Warde dominated the upper weights, with Colin Ventura pinning in 1:20 at 170 pounds, Thomas Anania winning an 8-1 decision at 182, Alex Mayer pinning in 34 seconds at 195 and Ahmed Hourani pinning in 25 seconds at heavyweight.
Jack Anderson pinned in 2:36 at 113 pounds, Charlie Kane won a 10-0 major decision at 126 and Dylan Bender pinned in 2:46 at 138.
Pharoah Eaton won an 8-0 major decision over Stephen Briganti at 145 pounds.
Eaton, the defending Class L champion who placed third in the State Open at 132 pounds a year ago, scored an early takedown, but Briganti fought off multiple-tilt attempts the rest of the first period.
Eaton took advantage of being on top for the second stanza, where he switched up and went for a cradle that resulted in a three-point near-fall at 1:20.
Briganti just missed scoring a reversal, and Eaton recovered with a near-fall at the buzzer for a 7-0 lead.
The Eagle looked to gain some back points in the final frame before Eaton escaped late to complete his 8-0 win.
Over the weekend, Eaton was the most outstanding wrestler at the Guilford Invitational, where he is a four-time champion.
Trumbull’s Brandon Faslco opened the match with a quick takedown of Mike Sheets, and then used a variety of moves before the senior settled on a cradle for three back points and a 5-0 lead after one period.
He scored a reversal and put the Mustang to his back to get the pin call at 2:34 for a 6-0 team lead.
Warde’s Utsav Strestha’s 106-pound match with Brandan Keiser’s match saw the grapplers enjoy huge momentum swings.
Keiser, a junior, took Strestha down and to his back for a four-point gain 30 seconds into the bout.
He looked to add points the rest of the stanza, and throughout most of the second period, only to have Strestha stay off his back.
The Mustang made it 4-2 with a reveral with 30 seconds left in the second session, and Keiser fought off an ankle pick attempt from the neutral position to start the final period.
Keiser got inside and went to a high waist takedown with a minute left and rode out his 6-2 victory.
Warde’s Anthony Rotz and the Eagles’ Tim Douthit caught everyone’s attention with an intense match-ending battle at 152 pounds.
Douthit had the better of things early before he brought Rotz to the mat off a lift and was penalized a point, while Rotz took time to gather his senses.
It was 6-5 Douthit when Rotz worked his way from the bottom to score a reversal with 1:22 left.
Douthit reversed back 30 seconds later, but after an escape Rotz got a takedown for a 9-7 lead with 19 ticks remaining.
Warde moved to 4-0 with wins over Greenwich (62-12) and Section 1 John Jay (NY) (43-30) on Saturday.
After giving up the first two matches, the Mustangs rattled off 12 straight victories to dominate Greenwich.
In a back-and-forth battle against John Jay, Hourani pinned a very strong Ethan Smith to clinch the win.
Strong performance were turned in by the undefeated Ebert, Kane and Eaton.