Wolverine wrestlers harbor high hopes for post-season tournaments
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Tue., Feb. 7, 2012
With four returning Class S finalists on his team, Griswold High School wrestling coach Dana Cooke has good reason to harbor high hopes for this year’s Small Division tournament.
Leading the Wolverine squad to the Feb. 17-18 Class S tournament at Haddam-Killingworth will be defending State, State Open and New England champion Brandon Walsh, a senior who is wrestling at 138 this year and is undefeated for both this and last season. Cooke said he fully expects Walsh to bring home the Class S crown in his weight class.
Cooke’s other standouts include 113-pounder Dylan Martel, who was the 103-pound champ last year; Dustin Falco at 126, who placed second last year at 119; Aaron Wing, who in 2011 was second in Class S and fifth at the state open at 171 and this year wrestles at 182.
Cooke said that he’s expecting great things from the quartet, but that doesn’t take the heat off the rest of his 12-man squad. “For the state championship, I expect everybody to be wrestling up to their potential,” he said. “We won the tournament last year by eight points. I’ll be exploiting every pin they can give me.”
At press time, the Wolverines were 4-2 in ECC Small division competition following a 46-30 loss to the division leader, Windham, Feb. 6, with losses to Windham, Killingly and Old Saybrook-Westbrook. The Wolverines’ overall record for the season is 17-6. The Windham Whippets, who are undefeated at 6-0 in the division and 23-3 for the season, currently hold the lead over both Griswold and Montville.
The ECC tournament is coming up this weekend at Fitch High School, followed by the Class S tournament Feb. 17-18 and the State Open championships Feb. 24-25 at New Haven Athletic Center. This year, two Plainfield wrestlers, Jared Forrestal at 138 and Nick Devanny at 132, will accompany the Wolverines to the Class S tournament for the first time, due to the recent ECC realignment. The two Plainfield grapplers, who practice with Cooke’s team but compete as “teams of one,” formerly competed in Class M and had to work with a different coach for the tournament.