George Wales last man standing

George Wales (top) from Fairfield Ludlowe begins to turn a rival en route to a earning the Class L title at 106 pounds on Saturday at Bristol Central High. (Photo by Kyra Palange)

George Wales (top) from Fairfield Ludlowe begins to turn a rival en route to a earning the Class L title at 106 pounds on Saturday at Bristol Central High.
(Photo by Kyra Palange)

Nick Garoffolo’s Fairfield Ludlowe wrestling team placed sixth out of 27 teams at last weekend’s Class L state championship tournament at Bristol Central. The Falcons also placed six individual wrestlers on the podium, including one first-place finisher.
George Wales at 106 pounds was the lone Ludlowe grappler to top the podium. 120-pounder Ben Batulanon took second place, while 113-pounder Eric Kirchgasser placed third and 126-pounder Marcus Sherrod finished fourth. Bobby Clark (132) and Chase Lind (145) each wrestled their way to fifth place.
“Overall it was good, it went as well as we thought it would go,” Garoffolo said. “We’re sending six guys to the Open, and we could come out with a few place winners, which we’re hoping for.”
George Wales
Wales, a junior, went 30-4 during the regular season and was seeded first in the 106-pound class at Saturday’s tournament. After a first-round bye, Wales took on Amir Phipps of Warren Harding (Bridgeport) in the second round and won by 17-1 technical fall
The win advanced Wales to the quarterfinal, where he took on Hall’s Ethan Bravin. Wales spent the first 30 seconds of the match patiently looking for his shot, before taking down Bravin 37 seconds into the period. He spent the next minute trying to work Bravin onto his back, eventually securing a near fall with 19 seconds left in the period.
After escaping his defensive position, Wales added another takedown and two more backpoints in the second frame. He topped off his win with another takedown in the third frame, good enough for the 12-0 major decision.
Wales met Farmington’s Joseph Miano in the semifinal, maintaining control of the Indian for most of the match and earning a 7-0 shutout.
The semifinal victory advanced Wales to the championship final, where he faced third-seed Ryan Pantalena of Maloney. The two were tied up until Pantalena drew first blood with a takedown midway through the first period, but Wales escaped a few seconds later. Wales opted for the defensive position to open up the second period and quickly escaped, but Pantalena kept pace with a takedown shortly thereafter. Wales escaped mid-frame and earned a takedown of his own, but the two continued to trade possession throughout the rest of the period. By the end of the frame, the score was tied at 6.
Pantalena chose neutral to open up the third frame, and the two wrestlers stayed tied up until Wales took down Pantalena 48 seconds into the period. He held Pantalena down for over 30 seconds before Pantalena flipped him for a reversal, tying the score again. With 34 seconds to go, Wales escaped Pantalena’s hold, retaking the lead, then added a takedown for good measure with 12 seconds to go.
“I placed fourth last year at this tournament, so I’m happy with how this year went and I think I wrestled well,” Wales said.
Ben Batulanon
Batulanon was the other Ludlowe grappler to make it to the final round. The 34-3 senior, who was seeded first, started off his tournament performance with a second-round win over Bunnell’s Syed Saud. Batulanon set the tone for the match with a 10-second takedown, then added three backpoints before Saud escaped shortly thereafter. Wasting no time, Batulanon took him down again, adding another near fall shortly before the end of the period. In the third period, he worked the Bulldog onto his back for the pin at 2:52. The victory advanced Batulanon to the quarterfinal, where he defeated Maloney’s Nate Hunter in similar fashion, racking up an 11-0 lead before pinning the eighth-seed at 3:57. From there, he moved on to face Bristol Eastern’s Josh Wilson in the semifinal.
Batulanon had racked up a 6-0 lead on a takedown and four backpoints in the first period of his match, but Wilson answered with a takedown and then nearly pinned Batulanon midway through the second period. The score was 6-5 late in the second when Batulanon flipped Wilson for a reversal, maintaining his lead. Wilson opted for the defensive position to open up the final frame and Batulanon held him down, earning a near fall late in the period. Wilson later reversed as time was running out, but Batulanon’s 11-7 lead was plenty enough for the win. Batulanon hung in for three periods against Platt’s Marlon Argueta and came within one point of tying the score, but was defeated by the Panther in a heartbreaking 4-3 decision.
Eric Kirchgasser
113-pounder Eric Kirchgasser (30-5) also had a good day for Ludlowe, placing third as a fourth-seed. Kirchgasser defeated Hall’s Christian Lund in the second round and Farmington’s Ryan Dopp to make it all the way to the semifinal, before falling to eventual champion Kyle Lindner of New Milford. After the loss, Kirchgasser rebounded to defeat Norwalk’s Luke Schwartz in the consolation semifinal, after which he took on Bristol Eastern’s Daniel Morocho in the third-place final, where he won a 3-1 decision.
Sherrod, seeded fifth in the 126-pound category, defeated Farmington’s Dominic Santos and Platt’s Chris Oyola before losing to eventual champion Dan Ebert of Fairfield Warde in the semifinal. Sherrod rebounded to defeat Hall’s Robert Petry, before falling to Bunnell’s Michael Ross in the third-place final. After losing to South Windsor’s Conor Caffrey and Warde’s Aaron Beinstein, 132-pounder Clark came back to defeat Bristol Central’s Tyler Burrow to claim fifth place. Lind at 145 made it to the semifinal before losing to Platt’s Youssef Saez, after which he rebounded to defeat Daniel Hand’s Owen Gottlick and take fifth place.

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