by Roger Wistar
Six varsity wrestlers finished in the top six of their draws at this year's Western New England wrestling championships.
The best finish at the event, held Feb. 11 at Salisbury School, was a runner-up finish by Duncan Sopko '19 in the 220-pound weight class. Brant Hadzima '20 (fifth at 106 lbs.), AJ Caba '20 (third at 132 lbs.), Malachy Mitchnick '17 (sixth at 160 lbs.), and Andrew Vagliano '17 (third at 182 lbs.) also placed.
Vagliano had perhaps the most exciting day, with all five of his bouts ending in pins, including his victory in the third-place bout. Caba also earned pins in all three of his wins.
In a smaller draw with only seven wrestlers, Sopko pinned his first opponent in less than a minute and earned a 9-3 decision in the semifinals before losing by pin in the finals.
The Bearcats qualify four wrestlers for next week's New England championships in Maine: Sopko, Caba, and Vagliano by virtue of their top-three finishes this weekend, and Josh McCarthy '18, who was unable to wrestle at Westerns but qualified through his regular-season record.