Xavier is again expected to be one of the top wrestling teams in Class LL coming off of last year’s class championship. The Falcons return 11 wrestlers from that title team, which went on to finish sixth in the State Open.
Xavier lost three top seniors from last year’s squad but returns a trio of weight-class champions. Will Chowanec was the Class LL champion at 103 pounds as a freshman, junior Elliot Antler was the LL champ at 160 pounds and senior Tyler Cunningham bested the competition at LL’s at 145 pounds. Senior Sean Marinan Jr. took second place at the State Open at 215 pounds.
The Falcons are taking on a very challenging schedule this season. The team participates in the Guilford Invitational after just one match and prestigious events such as the Easton Duals in Pennsylvania and the New Milford Tournament.
“We have excellent depth at every weight class,” Head Coach Michael Cunningham said. “We should absolutely be one of the top three teams in Class LL.”
Middletown was 18-10 last year and placed fifth in the Class L meet and eight in the State Open. The Blue Dragons can exceed that record this season. But according to Head Coach Mark Fong, that won’t happen unless his inexperienced wrestlers improve quickly.
“Right now we’re a little better than average,” he said. “We’re inexperienced in a lot of areas. The key to our success will be the development of our young guys.”
Much of the inexperience of Middletown’s 25 wrestlers can be found in their background as football players. Two of the more promising converts are sophomore Sam Rivera, who will wrestle as a heavyweight, and junior D.J. Green, who will wrestle at 152 pounds.
The Blue Dragons can put their trust superstar senior Devon Carrillo. Carillo, who is wrestling at 184 pounds, is a Class L and State Open Champion and finished third in New England and seventh in national competition last winter.
“Devon is an experienced wrestler with a ton of athletic ability, but what makes him even more special is that he’s not cocky or arrogant at all,” Fong stated. “He had spent the season focusing on the younger kids and teaching them how to get better.”
Other key wrestlers besides Carillo will be senior Andrew Carrignan (120 pounds), Johnny Carrero (126) and Adam Colavito (113).
“We have strong seniors who are going to produce,” Fong said. “If our younger wrestlers produce we can have a better record than last year and place higher in the state tournament.”
Middletown was victorious in its season opener Wednesday at home, defeating Conard 36-35. Devon Carillo, Adam Colavito, Andrew Carrignan, Johnny Carrero, Nathan Roy, Michael Tewksbury and Cody Carillo all earned points for the Blue Dragons.
Middletown will next take part in the Berlin Invitational at Berlin High School this Saturday.