After a runner-up finish at last week's Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championships, all signs point to another big weekend for the Greenwich High wrestling team at this weekend's Class LL championships.
The meet begins Friday afternoon at Trumbull High School with first- and second-round matches. The tournament features a full day of wrestling Saturday, finishing with the finals at 7 p.m.
Greenwich appears poised for a strong meet performance after taking second behind Danbury, the state's top-ranked team, at the FCIAC meet. The Cardinals won two championships with Johnny D'Elia (112) and Ben Ceci (189), who will be the anchors of the lineup this weekend. D'Elia is seeded second. Ceci, 36-2, is the top seed.
"We're hoping for a top three finish,'' coach George Albano said. "It would be a great way to end the season." The key for a strong team performance will come in the consolation rounds. The Cardinals wrestled well in those bouts at the FCIAC meet, where 10 wrestlers earned points in 13 weight classes. "I think they really got that idea of wrestling a full tournament,'' Albano said. "We scheduled all year to prepare for these two weekends. It's a little overwhelming to think about wrestling six or seven matches. For our guys, it's commonplace. They've been doing it all season."
Ceci, who missed his junior year with an injury, has bounced back with a phenomenal season in which his only losses were one-point setbacks against New York opponents. "I told him I don't care who you wrestle, you won't see anybody in the state as good as those two guys,'' Albano said. D'Elia faces a tough bracket at 112, where he could face Stamford's Joey Battinelli in the quarters. D'Elia defeated Battinelli in overtime at last week's FCIAC finals. Glastonbury's Tyler Keane (36-1) is the No. 1 seed.
James Cummiskey (seeded fourth at 152 pounds), FCIAC finalist Joe McGuire (215, ninth), Mark Chien (ninth, 103) and Matt Didell (11th, 130) are among the other Greenwich wrestlers who could be alive deep into Saturday.
"In the FCIACs, if you're a good wrestler you stand a good chance to make it to the finals,'' Albano said. "This is different. There are so many good wrestlers. You just want to try to get medal. If you get six or seven kids to get into the top six, then you've had a good tournament. I told them wrestle your best and everything else will take care of itself. If they wrestle the hardest they can, I'll be proud of them."
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