Morgan Wrestling Hoping to Continue Winning Ways on the Mat
The Morgan Huskies co-ed wrestling team began their season on Nov. 28, with their first tournament on Dec. 14 at home against Old Lyme.
The Huskies are coached by Jon Wolfer, who is going into his fifth year with the team, but his second year as head coach. He is assisted by Jimmy Lewis and Darin Hicks. The Huskies are a co-ed team with 15 wrestlers, including one girl, Ariana Farr (sophomore).
There are two captains on the team: Anderson Darr (senior) and Nicholas Spaziano (senior). Coach Wolfer discussed how both of them lead their team individually.
“The number one way is to have them step on the mat and wrestle the hardest matches they can,” said Wolfer. “Each one of them forms a nice dynamic. Mr. Darr is extremely organized, which is very helpful, and levelheaded. Nicholas is very motivational and is going to be the captain for the baseball team as well.”
Morgan competes in the Southern Connecticut Conference (SCC). There are three divisions in the SCC, including Division A, B, and C. The Huskies are a part of Division A, which also includes Xavier, Jonathan Law, and Guilford.
There are several notable athletes to look out for this season, and those wrestlers include both of the captains, Dominic Larabee (sophomore) and Farr.
“Mr. Spaziano stepped out onto the mat with two of the state champions from last year. He won one match but lost the other match, but he was toe to toe with both of them,” said Coach Wolfer. “Mr. Darr started making some waves last year and placed as a junior at the Griswold tournament. I expect him to be standing on the podium or in the first-place position this year.”
Additionally, Wolfer added how effective Larabee has been for the team.
“Dominic also stepped on the mat with state championship experience, who wrestled for Xavier previously,” said Coach Wolfer. “He only lost by two points; he is having a phenomenal season with a record of about .800.”
Although Farr is the only female wrestler on the team, she is still able to contribute in a big way.
“Ariana is a girl athlete and is stepping out on the mat with boys, [she] is putting it to them,” said Coach Wolfer. “We were at an individual tournament where she took fifth place in her weight class with 13 wrestlers, and in the top six, there were two girl athletes.”
On Jan. 14, the Huskies competed at the Griswold Mid-Season Invitational at Griswold High School. At the match, Spaziano placed third overall in the 132-weight class, and Larabee placed fourth overall in the 120-weight class.
Although the team is small in numbers, Wolfer looks forward to what the wrestlers can do for the remainder of the season.
“We have a lot of brand-new kids that either started as seniors or sophomores,” said Coach Wolfer. “The sophomores came out a little late, but they have a lot of potential for the future, so I am very hopeful with that.”
Even though the future looks bright, due to the small size of the team, there are a lot of holes when the Huskies compete in tournaments. Coach Wolfer touched on not having wrestlers that fit into certain weight classes.
“We don’t have a 106-pounder, a 195-pounder, a 220-pounder, and a heavyweight,” said Coach Wolfer. “We are giving up forfeits, and we are always in the hole, sadly.”
Aside from having a small team, Coach talked about the importance of keeping his wrestlers healthy so they can not only wrestle to the best of their ability but also have a chance to place at each tournament.
“Staying healthy is going to be one of the most challenging things this season,” said Coach Wolfer. “Wrestling is a very in-your-face sport; there is no ‘not breathing in each other’s face.’”
The Huskies are at the midway point of their season, and Wolfer looked ahead to the timeline for the elite wrestlers for the rest of it.
“If we have wrestlers wrestle all the way up to State Opens, which will be the last weekend in February, then the first weekend in March is New Englands, which includes the four top wrestlers in each weight class from each state,” said Coach Wolfer. “Some kids that end up doing well here in Connecticut may not only make it to New Englands, they will go down to Nationals, which is in Virginia in late March. Last year, we took one of our captains who won states to that.”
Wolfer looks to keep growing his team next year with the help of the Sled Dogs Youth Wrestling Program, which is run by Jimmy Lewis, the assistant coach for the Huskies.
The program ranges from wrestlers that are in the Lewin G. Joel Jr. School (pre-kindergarten to fourth grade) and the Jared Elliot Middle School (grades five through eight). Coach looks at this program to be positive for not only bringing in wrestlers for the high school team but also one of the biggest things that he looks forward to.
“Two of our freshmen came out of the program, and next year we should get six kids from that program. That is how we are growing our program and getting things back on track to where they should be,” said Coach Wolfer. “They train on Wednesdays and Saturdays and go to tournaments on Saturdays and Sundays.”
The Huskies wrestling team includes Christopher Carmona (senior), Darr, Christopher Dowd (senior), Steven Kinser (senior), Spaziano, Aidan Staunton (senior), Gavin Baptista (sophomore), Carson Dowd (sophomore), Farr, Tyler Farrell (sophomore), Mason Jakober (sophomore), Creighton Johnson (sophomore), Nate Kinser (sophomore), Larabee, Joshua Nobitz (sophomore), Johnnie Alexander (freshman), Jaidyn Hills (freshman), and Giovanna Riera (freshman).