Louis Ceci became the latest member of his family to win an FCIAC wrestling championship and he certainly put in a tremendous amount of work to do so.
A Greenwich High School senior, Ceci pinned Ryan Gilchrist of Norwalk with three seconds remaining in the third period to capture the 182-pound title at Saturday’s FCIAC Wrestling Championships at New Canaan High School. The hard-fought win gave Ceci an accomplishment he’s had his sights set on for a long time.
“I’ve been working out two years now for this moment and I didn’t want to let that pin slip away from me,” Ceci said. “Hard work pays off.”
Winning FCIAC wrestling championships runs in the Ceci family. Louis Ceci’s father, Mike Ceci, won the FCIAC title in his weight division for Greenwich in 1983. Ben Ceci, Lou’s brother, was the 189-pound FCIAC champion back in 2011 and Mike Ceci, Lou’s other brother, captured the 160-pound conference title in 2017.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life,” Louis Ceci said. “I saw my brothers win and just leading up to it, I was so nervous, there was a lot of pressure. The match was tough too.”
In the championship match of the 182-pound bracket, Gilchrist took a 2-0 lead on a take down, then Ceci tied the score at 2-2 with a reversal in the first period. The second period saw Ceci execute an escape to take a 3-2 edge, but a reversal by Gilchrist gave him a 4-3 advantage in the third period.
With time running out, Ceci got Gilchrist’s shoulders to the mat for the pin at the 5:57 mark – just three seconds left in the match.
“The last 10 seconds of that match were crazy,” Ceci said. “I was down, I tried to hit a switch, I ended up in a good position. I got him on his back and I just held on. I’ve been working out two years now for this moment and I didn’t want to let that pin slip away from me.”
Saturday’s match marked the third time Ceci has beaten Gilchrist, but the first time he faced him this season.
“I beat him twice my sophomore year and I heard he got a lot better and he did,” Ceci said.
Ceci advanced to the championship match of the 182-pound bracket by edging Monty Goldberg of Staples in the semifinals, 10-8.
“That was a war it was 10-8, I finished with a takedown the last 10 seconds,” the top-seeded Ceci said of his semifinal-round match.
In the quarterfinals, Ceci pinned his opponent from Fairfield Ludlowe in 1:09.
“He had a little bit of a bout with a cold and some aches and pains that he had to overcome the last couple of weeks,” GHS coach Jere Petersen said of Ceci. “He’s having such a great season.”
Indeed, winning his weight class title was the perfect way for Ceci to end a grueling, challenging tournament.
“It feels so good,” he said. “Only I know and my family knows how hard I’ve worked. There was great competition at this tournament, they’re all great competitors.”
Senior Javier Serra finished in fourth place for the Cardinals in the 145-pound division. Serra lost in triple overtime to Jeremy Brault of Fairfield Warde in the third-place match, 2-1. Serra began the tournament by winning his Round of 16 match by an 11-2 decision against his foe from Wilton.
“Javier Serra, he had a great tournament,” Petersen said. “He was the No. 8 seed and he came out and worked hard in all the matches. Even the third-place match that he lost, it was full effort the whole time. I’m very proud of him, there was no quit. He is putting it all together at the right time. His consolation semifinal match, he was down by one with 10 seconds left and Javy got up and managed to get away and got the escape and he managed to win the match.”
Freshman Stephen Numme placed fourth for the Cardinals in the 113-pound bracket. Numme was pinned by Deydon Soto from FCIAC team champion Danbury in the third place matchup. Numme was a 6-5 winner against his Westhill foe in the quarterfinals, before losing in the semifinals and moving into the consolation bracket.
“Numme, his first match he won pretty easy, then the quarterfinal he got the kid from Westhill, who is tough,” Petersen said. “He was able to fight off his back and score and win the match in the end.”
Senior Facunco Montesinos won by a 7-0 decision in his first-round match in the 138-pound class. He won his fifth-place match against Zach Strauser from Fairfield Warde, pinning Strauser in 3:24.
Junior Drew Falla posted a fifth-place finish in the 285-pound division for the Cards. Falla was a 2-0 winner against Ludlowe in the first round, then was edged by Staples in the quarterfinals, 2-0. He advanced through the consolation round and met Matt Pastore of Fairfield Warde in the fifth-place match.
Falla quickly got Pastore in a headlock, took him to the mat and pinned him in 25 seconds, earning a fifth-place finish.
“Drew, his matches are pretty much first period matches,” Petersen said. “He pins a lot of people. He had a great tournament. Hopefully, it will be a turning point for him in terms of confidence, since he picked up three wins.”