Newtown High School’s wrestling team, for the second year in a row, earned second place in the South-West Conference championships. New Milford retained its hold on the trophy at the February 11 competition, held at New Fairfield High School.
New Milford scored 251 points. Newtown had 208.50, and the host Rebels took third with 103 as 12 teams battled throughout the day.
The Nighthawks had four weight division champions, four runner-up grapplers, and a trio of team members place fourth.
Ed Lovely won the title in the 145 pound weight division, Alex Stavola came out on top at 160, Joe Accousti was first at 170, and Tom Long claimed the top spot at 220.
Second-place finishers were Evan Rooney at 106, Nik Accousti at 113, Aaron Occhipinti at 132, and Owen Walsh at 138.
In fourth were Aidan Occhipinti at 120, Justin Bogdanoff at 126, and Joe Zeller at 285.
“I think we’ve seen a strong progression of the team throughout the season. The new guys that joined us have really developed a lot throughout the year,” Newtown Coach Chris Bray said during the competition.
The Nighthawks were without standout grappler Anthony Falbo, who was sidelined throughout most of the campaign with an injury and will miss the rest of the postseason.
“Both for Anthony individually and the team collectively it is important to have him here,” Bray said of the significance of not having Falbo in the lineup for the SWC tournament.
Falbo, who has dominated not only at the SWC and state levels, but beyond Connecticut with New England and national championships, will resume his career on the mats at Purdue next year.
The injured Nighthawk was selected as the SWC’s Career Wrestler, an award given annually based on career performance.