South Windsor wrestling wins Groundhog Dual

By Martha Marteney, Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Sun., Feb. 6, 2011
SWHS Matthew Braddock gets into position to ultimately pin Kyle Wing of Lyman/Windham Tech.
SWHS Matthew Braddock gets into position to ultimately pin Kyle Wing of Lyman/Windham Tech.

The annual Groundhog Duals were held at South Windsor High School on Saturday, Feb. 5. Wrestling teams from all four divisions participated, including Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech., Plainville, Portland, Rockville, South Windsor and Stafford. Once again, SWHS won the tournament.

“I’ve got a lot of kids, who are real successful,” said SWHS wrestling coach Jude Knapp. Knapp has been with the SWHS wrestling program for 14 seasons. Freshman Conor Caffrey in the 103 weight class recently received an honorable mention in the individual ranking by CT Wrestling Wire. At 119, sophomore Sam Odell was ranked number 1; senior Jake Odell was ranked number 1 in his class at 152; and senior Paul Sullivan was ranked third in the 285 weight class. Other seniors on this year’s team include Michael Cottle, Keith Dalesio and Brandon Lopez.

The team is undefeated for the season in the CCC North division, having won the Skip Arden tournament at Manchester High School on Dec. 18; the South Windsor Classic on Jan. 8; the Eagle at East Catholic in Manchester on Jan. 22 and the Rodney Smith tournament in East Windsor on Jan. 29.

Junior Matthew Braddock, wrestling in the 171 weight class, won both of his first two matches at the Groundhog Dualsl by pins, against Zack Gardner of Rockville and Kyle Wing of Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech. Braddock only started wrestling last year, and says he likes to stick to what he calls his simple techniques. “It’s always a good atmosphere at the Groundhog Duals,” said Braddock. “We have a booster club that really helps out.”

Sophomore Casey Mitchell went into the Groundhog Duals ranked number 1 in the 140 weight class. He took on the number 2 wrestler, Jake Alderman from Lyman. Both wrestlers stayed in their stances, looking for an in. Mitchell won by points. “The 140 is one we were hoping for,” said Knapp.

“I was expecting a tough match,” said Mitchell, who was familiar with Alderman, who wrestles off-season on a rival club. “I think the two of us have a similar style,” added Mitchell. “I was pretty happy with the way it came out.” Reflecting on the match, Mitchell said perhaps he should have scored earlier.

Throughout the meet, Knapp coached his wrestlers with clear instruction on specific moves, keeping his team focused. Most of his wrestlers won their matches by a straight out pin, with others winning through points.

The team has only a couple more meets before the Class LL tournament on Feb. 18. Last year, the team placed second, with Sam Odell, Casey Mitchell and Jake Odell champions in their weight classes. Paul Sullivan placed fifth in his class.

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