Senior captain Mikell Washington was the major bright spot for Staples wrestling team at the Class LL championships last weekend.

Top-seeded Washington placed third in the 195-pound weight class, and Staples finished 21st with 35 points at Trumbull High School.

Xavier (242) won the 27-team field, Danbury (232) placed second, and Trumbull (153) took third.

Washington received a first-round bye, and qualified for the semifinals with a 10-9 overtime victory over Norwich Free Academy's John Crooks. It was a defensive match with neither wrestler giving an inch until Washington was able to score a takedown in the fifth overtime.

"I got the `W' in the overtime match, and that's all that mattered," Washington said.

In the semifinal match against Xavier's Jake Whalen, Washington took a 1-0 lead with an escape. However, Whalen eventually took over the match late in the second period, and advanced to the finals with a 5-2 victory.

"I was mad I didn't get to the finals, but I'll take third any day," Washington said.

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Despite losing to Whalen, Washington remained resilient. He defeated South Windsor's Thomas Anderson, 7-3, and Crooks, 6-1, in the consolation round to claim third place.

"I was a man on a mission, and I knew I had to wrestle well," said Washington on his comeback.

Wreckers coach Kevin Lippert said, "Mikell bounced back from a tough match. He made one mistake, which cost him, but he did well in the finals."

Junior Jeremy Sherman and senior Stephan Patterson fell short of placing in the 120-pound and 160-pound weight classes, respectively. The sixth-seeded Sherman had a first round bye, and opened his run with a 3-2 win over Xavier's Alex Kasinskas. He then lost, 4-3, to Danbury's Zach Tepper, which dropped him to the consolation round.

Sherman then dropped down to the loser's bracket, and set his sights on placing in the top six. He took a step towards that goal with a 6-0 win over NFA's Rigoberto Valadez, but fell short with a 9-2 loss to South Windsor's Justin Healy.

Patterson was seeded ninth in his weight class, and began his campaign by pinning Bridgeport Central's Justin Torres in 3:21. Trumbull's Brandon Fulco then pinned Patterson (3:50), dropping him to the consolation bracket.

In the consolation round, he opened with a 9-6 decision over Westhill's Monir Koumall but it ended when Ridgefield's Victor Hernandez pinned him in 4:50.

"I wanted to see Jeremy and Stephan win their last matches, but they gave it their all, and they should be happy with what they accomplished," Lippert said.

Senior captain Mike O'Day (145) was seeded seventh, and received a first round bye. However, he lost a decision, and was pinned in the consolation round. Junior Alex Brown (132) lost a first-round decision.

Freshmen Justin Ludel (113) and Charles Lomanto (126) were bright spots for Staples. Ludel began his Class LL quest by pinning his opponent in 33 seconds, and Ludel started things by grabbing a 7-4 decision. However, they both lost their next two matches by decision.

"They have been battling all year," Lippert said. "They worked hard to achieve their goals."

The season is over for all of the Wreckers except for Washington. He will wrestle at the State Open at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven next weekend. If he places in the top four, he advances to the New England championships the following weekend in Providence.

"It's a tough field with a lot of good wrestlers, but he's one of the good wrestlers," Lippert said. "We'll see."

Washington said, "I know I'll have to bring my `A' game."