The road to the Class M state championship was a nail-biter for Berlin High sophomore Jake Eliades.
Eliades came in as the number one seed at 138 pounds but almost lost in the first round. He led the whole match but fell behind 8-7 with 30 seconds to go. He scored a takedown with 10 seconds left to win 9-8 and advance.
He won his next match 7-1 but than had to go to two overtimes to win in the semifinals in a controversial finish.
"I gave him a point on a penalty and then scored an escape to tie it at 1-1," Eliades said. "Finally I got an escape in the second overtime to go ahead 2-1 but at the end of the match one ref gave me two points and the other gave the other guy two points but I ended up winning 2-1. I beat a kid from Windham and the meet was at Windham so the whole place booed me out of the gym. I didn't mind it because it just gave me fuel to go on and win states."
Eliades dominated the final and won the crown.
He led a solid performance by the Berlin wrestlers. The young and thin Berlin team struggled in dual meets but improved steadily as the season progressed.
Ethan Greider and Rick Mulins finished third at 113 and 152 pounds respectively. Jordan Zima came in fourth at 160 pounds and Rich Schlichting came in fifth at 132 pounds.
"I love wrestling as a team sport but I love it most because it's just me and the other guy on the mat," said Eliades, who also plays lacrosse and football. "We struggled in the dual meets but we did pretty well in the tournaments. We had all freshmen and sophomores in the upper weights so it was hard to fill a line-up for the dual meets. Those guys got better as the year went on."
For Eliades he has accomplished one of two goals he set before the season started.
"I was third at the states last year, which was pretty good and I wanted to do better than that this year," he said. "Next I want to place at the Open, which would allow me to wrestle in the New England's."
Eliades has a bye into the round of 16 at the Open but his first match could be a tough one. He could face Brendan Butler of Xavier, who is a Berlin resident, is Butler wins his first match.
"It would be a tough match," he said. "He is my drill partner and we have known each other for a long time. We started with the Minutemen and later with a club team. Xavier has four kids from Berlin on their team."
Xavier's Tyler Cunningham of Berlin won a state championship in Class LL by pinning his way to the title. His championship helped Xavier win the team title.
Class M State Meet results
1) Ledyard, 260; 2) Windham, 232; 3) Bacon Academy, 148; 4) Montville, 134; 5) Waterford, 115; 6) Platt, 112; 7) Berlin, 104; 8) Foran, 94.5; 9) Brookfield, 89; 10) Avon, 86.5; 11) Branford, 75.5; 12) Guilford, 74; 13) New Fairfield, 73; 14) Wolcott Tech, 70; 15) Jonathan Law, 66.5; 16) Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech, 66; 17) Immaculate/Joel Barlow, 62; 18) SMSA/University, 44; 19) Fermi, 36; 20) Bethel, 33; 21) Stratford, 26.5; 22) Enfield, 26; 23) Vinal Tech, 25.5; 24) New London, 23; 25) East Haven, 22; 26) Cheney Tech, 19; 27) Woodstock Academy, 15; 28) Norwich Tech, 8; 29) Ellis Tech, 5; 30) Wilcox Tech, 0; 31) Tolland, 0; 32) Sheehan, 0; 33) Rockville, 0.
--- Place Winners ---
113 Championship: Michael Ruffino, Windham def. Matt Mcallister,
Bacon Academy, 3-1 3rd Place: Ethan Greider, Berlin def. Nicholas
Lauer, Ledyard, pin 3:39 5th Place: Joseph Martone, Branford def.
Joseph Rainville, Montville, 7-2
132 Championship: Miguel Calixto, Windham def. Blaise Boullianne,
Brookfield, pin 1:44 3rd Place: Matthew Cadiz, Cheney Tech def.
Justin Timberlake, Ledyard, 3-2 5th Place: Rich Schlichting,
Berlin def. Kevin Carregal, Guilford, 8-4
138 Championship: Jake Eliades, Berlin def. Brandon Finney,
Ledyard, 7-2 3rd Place: Nicolas Bellerose, Montville def. Dakota
Fleming, Windham, 2-0 5th Place: Youssef Saez, Platt def. Luke
Stojanowski, Foran, Default
152 Championship: Jack Mckeever, Brookfield def. Mikey Amorando,
New Fairfield, 4-2 3rd Place: Rick Mullins, Berlin def. Kiante
Macon, SMSA/University, 12-2 5th Place: Ryan Lyons, Ledyard def.
Jacob Schmalz, Montville, 3-0
160 Championship: Alex Manwaring, Ledyard def. Devyn Petsa,
Windham, 10-6 3rd Place: Kristion Neysmith, Platt def. Jordan
Zima, Berlin, 3-0 5th Place: Dylan Robbins, Fermi def. Dan
Rodruguez, Avon, 4-2