Missing last season due to the pandemic, the River Hawks return to the mat for the 2021-2022 wrestling season. Continuing to be impacted by the COVID-19 virus, members of the team show ability and leadership while competing in matches and tournaments against local and out of state programs.
The team is led by senior captains Jason Guglietta and Shane Hurley. Other key wrestlers who have stepped up on the mat to help the teams score include freshmen Chris Hamel and Semi Semiloglu, sophomore Alex Rivard, juniors Aiden Adams, Ricky Cody, and Nick DeBrito, and seniors Dominic Cassarino and Devon Schmidt. The program only has a Varsity team so players of all levels and experience practice with each other to improve.
The close contact nature of the indoor sport made it nearly impossible for teams to practice and compete during the height of the pandemic last year. The program was not allowed to compete in scrimmages or practices, not even against their own teammates. Weightlifting sessions occurred but the team lost a season of wrestling experience.
“The wrestling team has undergone a great deal of change in the past couple years. One of which is our continued growth in numbers. The size of the team has nearly doubled with the addition of many young contributors. A huge focus for the team this year has been the growth of skill and knowledge of new wrestlers. With 10 seniors departing at the close of the season, it is of the utmost importance that the next generation of Farmington wrestlers are properly mentored to ensure a smooth transition into the next season,” Guglietta said.
On December 18 the season kicked off at the CJ McCormack Memorial tournament. Both captains, Guglietta and Hurley, ended on top of the podium, placing first for their weight classes. Additionally, Cassarino and Hamel placed second for their weight classes.
The team soon faced an obstacle from the rise of COVID-19 cases with many players testing positive for the virus. Losing team members damaged the numbers of the team as well as the morale and spirit of the remaining team members. Their first match against Newington on December 22 was postponed but the rest of their schedule remained unchanged.
After a one point loss on January 5, 37 Conard to 36 Farmington, the team moved on to compete at the Bristol Central Invitational on January 8. At the tournament Guglietta placed fourth for his weight class and DeBrito and Semiloglu placed fifth for their weight classes.
On January 11 at Hall High School, Schmidt set the state record for fastest pin at 195 pounds against Hall High School with a five second pin. Although the team lost the match, the record set was significant for the program.
“Even though it may be team vs team, once you get on that mat it’s only you and the opponent. You either win or lose, and it’s all in you… my mentality, self confidence in abilities, and my coaching staff/team have helped me achieve this goal,” Schmidt said.
When the team hosted Glastonbury on January 19, the meet ended with a win of 42 Farmington to 39 Glastonbury. The team also traveled to compete in meets against numerous schools at a time.