Greenwich High

Greenwich’s Drew Falla finishes third in 285-pound division at FCIAC Wrestling Tournament; Thomas Andruss places fifth in 138-pound division for Cardinals

Photo by David Fierro: Drew Falla, a Greenwich High School senior, finished third in the 285-pound division at the 2023 Joe Sikorski FCIAC Tournament at New Canaan High School on Feb. 11, 2023.

Using a powerful headlock, his signature hold, Greenwich High School senior Drew Falla, registered an impressive third-place finish in the 285-pound weight class at the 2023 Joe Sikorski FCIAC Tournament – a performance that paced the Cardinals at the highly competitive annual event at New Canaan High School.

Seeded fourth in the 285-pound division, Falla received a first-round bye, then won three of his four matches to place third in his weight class at the FCIAC Tournament. In the third-place match in the 285-pound bracket, Falla wasted little time, pinning Lucas Kellogg of St. Joseph in 19 seconds for the victory.

After locking up with Kellogg, Falla applied a headlock on his St. Joseph opponent, threw him down to the mat and executed the pin, giving him a third-place finish.

Photo by David Fierro: Drew Falla of Greenwich, left, gets ready to lock up with Lucas Kellogg of St. Joseph in the match for third place in the heavyweight division at the FCIAC Tournament at New Canaan High School.

“It’s been a great day,” said Falla, who played on the offensive line for Greenwich’s CIAC Class LL state championship team this past fall. “The best part was watching my teammates succeed. I had some nice throws, won some nice matches. Overall, it was a great day.”

Falla’s first match on Saturday at the FCIAC Tournament came against Matt Pastore in the quarterfinals. Leading 4-1 behind a pair of takedowns, Falla pinned Pastore in 1:28 to advance to the semifinals.

“I knew he was going to wrestle high, because that’s what he does,” Falla said of Pastore. “I worked him for the first minute or so and as soon as he stood straight up, I caught him and did what I needed to do.”

Greenwich’s Drew Falla applies a headlock on Lucas Kellogg of St. Joseph at the 2023 FCIAC Wrestling Tournament.

In the 285-pound FCIAC semifinals, Falla lost to eventual champion Nuh Ajdinoski of Danbury by pinfall in 3:55. Ajdinoski was up in the match, 4-0, prior to the pin on the strength of a takedown and a reversal. The consolation semifinals saw Falla pin Woodensley Blaise of Westhill in 2:05.

“I knew I wasn’t going to be able to throw him as easily as everyone else, so I just wrestled my match,” Falla said of his match against Westhill. “I felt comfortable on bottom and top, so as soon as I got on bottom, I rolled him a couple of times, caught him on the edge and put him away.”

Falla quickly put a headlock on Pastore in the third-place match.

“I dug my head into him and when he popped up, I hit it and secured it,” Falla noted. “I used it to win one match today and I match yesterday (Friday).”

Falla finished with a record of 3-1 in the FCIAC Tournament.

Thomas Andruss of Greenwich placed fifth in his weight class bracket at the Joe Sikorski FCIAC Tournament.

“Placing third was a nice way for Andrew to end his senior year,” Cardinals coach Jere Petersen said. “He had a good tournament and has been working hard.”

Cardinals junior Thomas Andruss posted a fifth-place finish in the 138-pound class at the FCIAC tourney. In the match for fifth place in the FCIAC Andruss pinned Joey Fratino of Fairfield Warde in 1:36.

“I’m happy with my performance, compared to last year when I didn’t place, it’s a great improvement. I’m very proud of all the hard work I’ve put in with the team. I’m happy for everyone on our team that placed.”

Andruss earned his fifth-place finish with a well-executed pin.

“My fifth-place match was against Fairfield Warde, I didn’t know too much about the guy I was wrestling, so I was cautious,” he said. “I really only shot when I had an opening. When I had an opening, I shot a single leg and finished it strong. At the start of the second period, he started on bottom and he had me in a cradle, but I was able to get out of it and get his head and I’m glad that I pinned him.”

Colin Falla of Greenwich, left, wrestles in the FCIAC Tournament on Feb. 11, 2023, at New Canaan High School.

Seeded sixth, Andruss pinned Jordan Mattus Pereira of Wilton in the first round by pinall in 35 seconds. Andruss was ahead 2-0 at the time of the pin behind a takedown.

“I was just trying to control the match and work at my own pace,” Andruss said of his opening-round match. “Getting the first takedown was key. When I shot my takedown, he held onto my head and threw in a half and got him on his back.”

In the quarterfinals, Andruss was pinned by Victor Petkov of Ridgefield in 2:45, then in the consolation round, Andruss defeated Andrew Holms of Trumbull by pinfall (2:50). The 138-pound consolation semifinals saw Andruss pin Trumbull’s John Maroney in 43 seconds.

Junior Rylan Alves finished sixth in the 152-pound division. His victories came in the first and quarterfinal rounds. In the first round, Alves pinned Brien McMahon’s David Molina in 2:00, after leading 4-0 on a takedown and near fall. Alves pinned Trumbull’s Sam Lapham at the 2:51 mark with the match tied at 2-2 in the quarterfinals.

Cardinals freshman Colin Falla took sixth in the 215-pound class. He pinned Stamford’s Noah Washington in the opening round (32 seconds) and was victorious in the first round of the consolation bracket, defeating Vinh Nguyen of Fairfield Warde by pinfall in 2:03.

The Class LL Championships takes place at Trumbull High School on Friday and Saturday. Greenwich finished 10th in the team standings at the FCIAC Tournament with 64.5 points. Fairfield Warde captured the team title with a score of 216 team points, followed by Danbury (184).

“I’m Looking forward to LLs, it’s going to be a great time,” Drew Falla said.

“If I can place at states, that would be a great accomplishment and achievement,” Andruss said. “The goal is to keep winning and keep moving on up. It would put a nice mark on the season, a nice cap on the season.”

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