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Tuesday, February 25 High School Sports

Brunswick wrestles to first-place finish at own Invitational tournament for second-straight season


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GREENWICH — After earning All-America honors as a sophomore, Chris Perry is certainly on the same type of pace on the mat for the Brunwick School wrestling team this season.

Perry has registered an eye-opening record of 18-0, including three more decisive wins Saturday at the Bruins’ very own tournament.

A junior, Perry won the 140-pound weight class title at the 45th annual Brunswick Invitational and was one of nine Bruins that claimed championships on Saturday.

Amassing a team score of 356 points, Brunswick won its tournament for the second straight season and 21st time overall.

Northfield Mount Hermon, which won the Brunswick Invitational in 2018, was the runner-up for the second consecutive year (177), followed by Noble & Greenough School (145.5) and Saint Thomas More (64). The eight-team tournament also included Hamden Hall Country Day School (50), Hotchkiss School (34), The Marvelwood School (28) and The Woodhall School (21).

Among some of the teams that were scheduled to compete in the tournament, but didn’t make the trip due to inclement weather were Greenwich High School, Episcopal Academy, Long Island Lutheran and New York Military Academy. Snow began falling approximately through the tournament, which concluded earlier than in previous years, since there were not as many teams/wrestlers participating.

In the championship match of the 140-pound bracket, Perry of Brunswick was a 6-0 winner against second-seeded David Barrett of Northfield Mount Hermon. The top-seeded Perry took a 2-0 first-period lead with a take down and scored four more points during the match with a pair of reversals.

“I wrestled him before at the Tabor tournament,” said Perry, who defeated Barrett at the Battle of the Bay tournament at Tabor Academy. “He came out tough today and wrestled really good the first period. After the second period was over, I started to open up a little bit more and started to get comfortable.”

In the opening round of the 140-pound division, Perry pinned Northfield Mount Hermon’s Ivan Perevalov in 14 seconds. He then beat fourth-seeded Benjamin Bole of Woodhall by pinfall in 27 seconds in the semifinals.

“I’ve been wrestling really good, I’ve been working on my feet a lot more this season,” said Perry, who won the 132-pound title at the 2019 Brunswick Invitational. “I have just been trying to get ready for the big tournaments at the end of the season, like the New England tournament and Nationals.”

The 2019 National Prep School Wrestling Championships in Lehigh, Pa., saw Perry place fifth in the 126-pound class, which was good for All-America honors. He’s wrestling at 140 this winter.

“For the rest of the season, I want to win New Englands, win states and, hopefully, place top five at Nationals and make All-American,” Perry said. “I have to continue to focus on winning my matches, even if it’s not by a lot, just win.”

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Jojo McCurdy of Brunswick finished third in the 140-pound division. The Bruins’ first championship of the tournament came in the 128-pound final. Top-seeded freshman William MacGillivray pinned second-seeded Charles Wang of Noble & Greenough in 2:38. Prior to pinning Wang, MacGillivray held a 3-2 lead, after executing an escape.

“It was hard to break him down, so I had to work with what I had,” MacGillivray said of his pin. “I put him in a half nelson, when I saw him open up and pinned him.”

Following a first-round bye, MacGillivray pinned his fourth-seeded foe from Hotchkiss in 2:35. He placed third at the Brunswick Invitational a year ago.

“This is my first win at this tournament, so I’m hyped,” MacGillivray said. “I want to place well at states and go from there.”

In the 154-pound final, Brunswick’s Nick Bell won by an 8-6 decision against second-seeded Austin Robertson of Saint Thomas More.

With the match tied at 6-6, Bell scored two points with a take down for the win.

“It feels awesome, it’s very rewarding,” said Bell, a junior. “I hadn’t wrestled him before, but I knew he was good. He was scrappy and he took second at the Tabor tournament a few weeks ago, he was tough, but I came out on top.”

Bell started the season at 160 and is now wrestling at 154.

“The team is doing awesome,” Bell said. “We had a lot of JV guys step up and produce and it was a great team effort.”

Bell pinned his Hotchkiss opponent in the opening round (3:24) and won by pinfall against Noble and Greenough’s Tommy Howell (1:54) in the semifinals.

Bruins senior Luca Errico finished second in the 147-pound class. Seeded first, Errico pinned his opponents from Northfield Mount Hermon (18 seconds), Marvelwood (39 seconds) and Hotchkiss (1:37), to reach the finals. In the title match, he was defeated by second-seeded Owen Finn of Northfield Mount Hermon, 8-2. Finn was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

The loss was the first of the season for Errico, who earned All-America honors in 2019 and won a title at the Brunswick tourney last season.

In a hard-fought bout, Brunswick’s Will Donovan captured the 162-pound championship, pinning second-seeded Sam Jankey (Noble and Greenough) in 5:25.

“He was really strong, I got taken down at the start, which is never good, but I came back and started getting out of tie-ups,” said Donovan, a junior. “I started wrestling here when I was in eighth grade, so it is something to have a 99-pound championship here and a 162-pound championship.”

The fourth-seeded Donovan received an opening-round bye then took a 14-7 decision from Liam Nawara of Noble and Greenough in the semifinals.

“Donovan is in a tough weight class, he will be going 160 the rest of the year,” Brunswick coach Ostrye said. “That was a big win for him against a PG (postgraduate) kid. He’s looked good on his feet.”

Senior Alex Burdick claimed the 182-pound title for the Bruins, pinning No. 2 Will Mitchell of Saint Thomas More in 44 seconds. Burdick, seeded first, won is first match in 19 seconds and his semifinal matchup by a 7-3 decision against Hotchkiss.

“This is my fifth year on the team and the first time I won the tournament, so I’m very happy,” Burdick said. “Winning this tournament is very rewarding for the team. We have been putting in a lot of work. This is always one of my favorite tournaments.”

Sam Guadalupe of the Bruins was third in the 184-pound bracket. Clayton Ostrover, a Bruins senior, took first in the 197-pound division, scoring a 9-3 win over No. 2 Peyton Rose of Noble and Greenough. Ostrover got a first-round bye, then pinned Ricky Paz of Northfield Mount Hermon (1:43 in the semifinals).

“Our last tournament, I faced him (Rose) in the finals too, he’s a really good guy,” Ostrover said. “He’s one of the best wrestlers in New England. We’re one of the best conditioned teams I believe, which pushes us through to the finals.”

Brunswick’s Dante White was third in the 197-pound bracket. The 222-pound final featured Brunswick teammates Michael Neviera and Andrew Shaffer. Neviera edged Shaffer by a 5-3 decision. Neviera and Shaffer each pinned their foes in the semifinals.

“We practice against each other a lot and we were joking a lot before the match, telling each other our weaknesses,” Neviera said. “It was fun, but once the match started, we were not out there trying to lose. It’s been a great season so far.”

Cliff Belknap gave Brunswick a title in the heavyweight division, pinning Hunter Shrok in 1:35. Belknap was seeded first and beat Dimitri Ratner of Hamden Hall in the semifinals in 32 seconds.

“The finals was the last matach of the day, which was on my mind since the first match,” the top-seeded Belnap said. “He tried to get me in a headlock, but I leveraged myself to get him down, then used my weight to get the pin.”

Second-seeded Nadji Ngbokoli was the runner-up in the 172-pound class. Top-seeded Connor Massey pinned Ngbokoli in 2:49 in the final. Jackson Wolfram (134) placed second for the Bruins. Liam Finn of Northfield Mount Hermon pinned Wolfram in 5:10. Kyle Pagnani (108) posted a second-place finish for the Bruins. He was pinned by Northfield Mount Hermon’s Aaron Burstein (3:12). Enzo Vera was third at 108 for Brunswick.

The Bruins also received a second-place showing from Michael Accetta (122).

“Overall, it was a great tournament for us,” Ostrye said. “We received a lot of outstanding performances.”

dfierro@greenwichtime.com

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