Ram Grapplers take ninth in FCIACs
Published 4:32 pm, Wednesday, February 16, 2011
New Canaan High School's wrestling team had several solid performances -- led by Brian Khzouz's second-place finish -- in the Joe Sikorski FCIAC Wrestling Tournament at New Canaan High last Friday and Saturday. The host Rams, as a team, placed ninth with 62.5 points. First-place Danbury scored 234.5 to lead a field of 16 FCIAC schools.
Khzouz, the top seed in the 145-pound weight division, lost an 8-4 decision to Stamford's Bryan Polonia, the No. 3 seed, in the finals. Khzouz earned a spot in the pinnacle match, after a first-round bye, by pinning No. 9 Jamie Restivo of Brien McMahon in 1:35 in the quarterfinals, and earning a 16-1 decision over No. 5 Noah Moore of Bridgeport's Harding High in the semifinals.
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With the championship match very close, Khzouz nearly earned two critical points but wasn't able to keep both feet inbounds during what proved to be a turning point in the match, New Canaan coach Paul Gallo said. Suddenly, Khzouz found himself trying to battle back from a deficit.
"He had to try a couple things that didn't work," the coach said.
Despite the outcome, Khzouz certainly had plenty to be proud of for getting all the way to the finals.
"He works hard. He's been wrestling great all year," Gallo said.
Among other highlights for the Rams was Kevin Hall, the No. 5 seed in the 103 division, earning fifth place.
"He wrestled well. He wrestled a great tournament," Gallo said.
Hall pinned No. 12 Patrick Collins of Wilton in 27 seconds, then lost a 13-4 decision to No. 4 Mark Chien of Greenwich in the quarterfinals. In the consolation round, Hall beat No. 8 Colin Maher of Ridgefield 13-1 before being pinned by No. 7 Jose Marroquin of Stamford in 4:31. Hall then knocked off Fairfield Ludlowe's Ben Batulanon, the bracket's No. 2 seed whom he lost to in the regular season, winning a 6-2 decision in the tourney clash.
Gallo and the Rams have had a challenging season with many newcomers in the lineup getting a taste for high school action on the mats.
"I can't complain about the effort we put in. We just made some technical errors you can't make in a tournament," Gallo said. The coach added that, while many of the FCIAC's grapplers are year-round wrestlers, his play other sports and are not quite as seasoned as those from Danbury and Greenwich, for example.
New Canaan's 140-pound grappler, Ken Philipson, is only a freshman. He was the bracket's No. 5 seed, and wound up placing fourth. Philipson pinned No. 12 Ziggy Isidra-Cloudas of Stamford in 3:29 in the first round. He earned a 9-3 decision over No. 4 Andrew Washington of Staples in the quarters, and was pinned by top-seeded Lars Remole of Darien in 1:34 in the semifinals. Philipson then had a bye in the first consolation round, pinned No. 7 Kevin Thomas of Westhill in 3:32 in the next round, and was pinned by No. 8 Cameron Driscoll of Greenwich in the third/fourth-place match.
New Canaan's 112 grappler, Frank Hogan, the No. 11 seed, a sophomore, lost in the first round. The team's 215-pound wrestler, Will Nemiroff, a junior, was the bracket's No. 8 seed and had one win in the tourney. At 152 is a first-year varsity wrestler David Korman, the No. 10 seed, who lost in his first postseason match.
Other New Canaan team members who participated in the championships were No. 12 McCabe Hemmers at 125, No. 5 Tom Costigan at 171, and a trio who won a match in the tourney before being eliminated: No. 2 Dylan Kavookjian at 160, No. 3 Dylan Leeming at 189, and No. 2 Kalin Killinger at 285.
"I have a lot of young guys who don't have a lot of experience," Gallo said. "The FCIAC is a tough tournament to get experience."