Most of the high school wrestlers that enjoyed success at the FCIAC tournament spent the following week getting ready for the state meets. A season's long of work crammed into a tight week of preparation with hopes of extending a season to the State Open was at hand.

Staples senior Charles Lomanto had a different type of week, and one that ultimately cut his season short for the second time in his high school career.

That still didn't stop him from competing.

Fresh off an appearance in the FCIAC finals and gearing up for the biggest tournament of the season, Lomanto felt pain in his abdomen after going to sleep Monday night. After trying to shake the pain for a few hours, he was taken to the hospital. There he discovered his appendix had swollen and needed to be removed.

"When I got home that next day I was just super sore, I couldn't stand up straight or walk that well," Lomanto said. "As each day came I got a little better but not 100 percent."

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He improved daily, enough to consider returning to the mat for the Class LL tournament.

"I realized when I was at the hospital the doctor told me I could wrestle on Friday and it wouldn't ruin the stitches or anything," Lomanto said. "I would be in a ton of pain but it definitely felt better each day and I felt I was going to be OK wrestling Friday."

Lomanto had the No. 2 seed with a 19-2 record at the 160 pound weight class during the regular season, earning a bye in the first round. He won his second-round match Southington's John Vecchio despite the pain on Friday night to qualify for the quarterfinals.

"The fact that he even attempted to compete was well above call of duty," Staples coach Dave Bernstein said. "I don't think any of us had expectation of him for him to win a match and score points for our team."

Prior to the match, Lomanto -- who didn't practice all week -- went to warm up and was forced to stop due to the pain. A pad helped ease some of the pain.

"I felt bad for the kid, a senior captain and one of my favorite personalities," Bernstein said. "Obviously he was the No. 2 seed going in; had he been at full strength he would have been able (to make the finals). He was nowhere near 100 percent; I wouldn't even say 50 percent."

Lomanto fell to Ridgefield's Tyler Hamilton in the final eight, and was unable to compete in the consolation bracket due to the injury. Trumbull's Stephan Briganti would go on to win the championship. The previous week, Lomanto reached the FCIAC final before being pinned by Briganti in 3:31.

It was another bitter injury blow for Lomanto, whose had parts of the last three years ruined by injury. He broke his collarbone as a sophomore, with the resulting surgery ending his season. The following year, a meniscus tear hobbled him throughout the winter.

"I was excited for the state tournament I was going to have the second seed," Lomanto said. "My side of the bracket wasn't that tough and I knew I could make it to the finals."

Lomanto, who hasn't committed to a college, said he will continue to wrestle on the club circuit and participate in freestyle tournaments with an eye to the future, which may include a postgraduate year.

Also, Lomanto will participate in a national tournament held in Virginia in March, usually reserved for state winners. However, he applied and was granted an injury waiver and qualified as a wild card.

The Wreckers placed 16th out of 25 teams at the Class LL meet. Justin Ludel was the lone Sate Open qualifier placing in fourth at the 138 pound class.

"I was happy for Justin, in my opinion that was the deepest weight class in the tournament," Bernstein said. "Going into it as a No. 6 seed; to make it to fourth I think he did some tremendous wrestling in the consolation round."