Ebert, Hourani lead Warde at Class L tourney

Fairfield Warde heavyweight Ahmed Hourani puts his opponent’s shoulders to the mat on his way to winning the Class L state title. Hourani will bring a perfect record into the State Open. (Photo by Kyra Palange)

Fairfield Warde heavyweight Ahmed Hourani puts his opponent’s shoulders to the mat on his way to winning the Class L state title. Hourani will bring a perfect record into the State Open.
(Photo by Kyra Palange)

Fairfield Warde placed eight wrestlers in the top six and took a collective second place at last weekend’s Class L state championship wrestling tournament at Bristol Central.
Dan Ebert (126) and Ahmed Hourani (285) were each crowned champion in their respective weight classes, while Timmy Kane (113) and Dylan Bender (138) took second. Aaron Beinstein (132), Anthony Rotz (152) and Colin Ventura (160) took fourth, and Jack Price finished sixth.
“We put four wrestlers in the finals, we’re sending eight to the Open, and we placed second overall, so we are very happy with the outcome,” coach Jason Shaughnessy said.
Ahmed Hourani
Heavyweight Hourani was the first of two Warde wrestlers to take the top spot in his weight class. Hourani, a senior who was seeded first at 285, capped off his day in dramatic fashion when he pinned Bristol Eastern’s Kyle Porter just 30 seconds into the championship final. Prior to defeating Porter, the 31-0 Hourani secured a trio of pins in the earlier rounds.
“I feel good about the Open. I think I can do well,” said Hourani, who placed third at last year’s Open and went on to place second at the New England Regional. “I just tried to get quick pins tonight and take control early in my matches.”
Dan Ebert
After two decisions and a pin, top-seeded junior Ebert (30-1) took on New Milford’s Nico Stefanatos in the 126-pound final. Stefanatos took control early with a 30-second takedown, but Ebert maneuvered a reversal half a minute later. The score was tied at 2 at the end of the first period, whereupon Ebert opted for the defensive position. Stefanatos held him down for a minute and a half, before Ebert regained control with a reversal to extend his lead to 4-2.
Stefanatos chose neutral to open up the final frame, and the two remained tied up until Ebert shot for a late-period takedown with 25 seconds left. Stefanatos made a final push, reversing Ebert late in the frame, but Ebert held on for the 6-4 win to be crowned state champion.
Ebert opened up the tournament with a first-round bye and a second-round pin of Newington’s Rafael Anderson.
He next defeated Pomperaug’s Matt Pangle, 6-0.
The win advanced Ebert to the semifinal, where he took on Marcus Sherrod of crosstown rival Fairfield Ludlowe. After a scoreless first period, Ebert opted for the defensive position and got on the board with an escape early in the second frame. Sherrod shot and took down Ebert half a minute later, but Ebert quickly broke free and procured a takedown and nearfall of his own slightly thereafter. Sherrod chipped away at Ebert’s lead with a pair of takedowns in the third period, but Ebert hung on for the 6-4 win to advance to the championship finals.
“I just had to keep reminding myself I could do it,” said Ebert, who placed second at last year’s Class L tournament and sixth at the State Open. “It felt really nice to win tonight.”
Timmy Kane
Kane, who went 29-1 during the regular season, took second place in the 113-pound category. Kane, who was seeded second, pinned Wethersfield’s Lorenzo Ruglio and Norwalk’s Luke Schwartz before taking on Windsor’s Nghia Nguyen in the semifinal. Kane racked up a 14-0 lead after two periods, then escaped his defensive position six seconds into the third frame to reach a 15-point lead and earn the technical fall.
Kane met top-seeded Kyle Lindner of New Milford in the championship final. Kane hung in for a full three periods, but in the end it was Lindner who prevailed for the 11-7 victory.
Dylan Bender
138-pounder Dylan Bender was the final Warde wrestler to make it to the championship bout.
Bender, a senior who was seeded first in his weight class, opened up the competition with a quick pin of Bunnell’s Christian Perez.
Bender improved his fall time in the quarterfinal, pinning South Windsor’s Ryan Schroder in just 47 seconds, then hung in for three and a half minutes in the semifinal for the 3:29 pin of Bristol Eastern’s Zachary Thompson.
Bender likewise battled Daniel Hand’s Ashton Gyenizs for six minutes, but the 11-seed Gyenizs persevered and kept control for much of the match and was crowned state champion after an 8-4 win.
132-pound junior Aaron Beinstein, seeded ninth, fell to Middletown’s Jordan Baker in the second round, before wrestling back to the third-place final.
152-pound senior Anthony Rotz, seeded eighth, defeated Hall’s Wyatt Dressler in the second round, before falling to Newington’s Christian Zotti in the quarterfinal. After the loss, Rotz defeated Ludlowe’s Konstantine Suvarov, Wilton’s Andrew Sakamoto, and Pomperaug’s Anthony Ryan before being defeated by Maloney’s Jophy Nieves in the third-place final.
160-pound senior Colin Ventura, seeded sixth, defeated New Milford’s Stefan Ceconi in the second round, before falling to Masuk’s Otton Velez in the quarterfinal. After the loss, Ventura bounced back to win three straight before losing again to Velez.
106-pounder Jack Price was seeded sixth and wrestled back to place sixth.

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