Hall of Fame: Mat class

Jesse Cavallaro is considered one of the best wrestlers in Blue Devils history, and he was almost as dominant on the soccer field.

By KEVIN ROBERTS

STAFF WRITER

A two-sport athlete who competed in soccer and wrestling, Jesse Cavallaro is considered one of the best wrestlers in the history of the Blue Devil program. He compiled a record of 173-22 (.887 win percentage) on the mat, and his 173 winners place him 11th all-time in state history, according to the state record book compiled by Gerry deSimas.

All Cavallaro did on the mat was win four straight Northwest Conference championships, becoming the fifth wrestler in league history to do so. He is the only Blue Devil on the list.

Cavallaro was pinned once in his entire career, which came as a freshman, and he reached the 100-win milestone midway through his junior year. Cavallaro finished in the top three in all four CIAC class wrestling meets that he competed in. He won a Class M state championship at 103 pounds in 2002 and a Class S state title at 119 pounds in 2004. Cavallaro won state open titles in 2002 and 2004, and went on to compete at the New England meet.

In 2004, he finished second in New England, and that was after a double overtime loss in the final. Cavallaro was the Outback Steakhouse Athlete of the Week on ESPN2 in 2004 and served as a team captain in his junior and senior seasons. The 2004 team won the Northwest Conference title and finished second in Class S, which is still the top finish in program history. That 2004 Plainville team finished 11th in the final state wrestling coaches poll.

Cavallaro twice won 46 or more matches in a season, including a 50-3 record in 2004. He was 46-6 in 2001 as a freshman.

On the soccer pitch, Cavallaro was a four-year varsity starter at midfield, receiving all-Northwest Conference accolades three times. As a senior, he was a captain and earned second team all-state honors. Cavallaro was on the state Olympic development team during his sophomore and junior seasons. He continued to play soccer in college at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I.

Tickets are available for the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet. It will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5 at Nuchie’s Restaurant, 164 Central St., Forestville. This year’s inductees are Harold “Curly” Bartley (Class of 1962); John Mangan (Class of 1964); RoseMarie Havelevitch Dugas (Class of 1975); Jesse Cavallaro (Class of 2004); and coach Phil Mannarino. John Bello will be honored with the distinguished service award.

Tickets are $50 per person or $450 for a table of 10 and are available at the Dental Offices of Dr. Rusty Camp, 359 Farmington Ave.; Angelo’s Modern Barber Shop, 61 East St.; People’s United Bank, 117 East St.; and Gnazzo Food Center, 73 East St. Tickets can also be purchased via PayPal or Venno.

A cash bar social hour opens the festivities at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m., followed immediately by the awards.

To sponsor the event or to advertise, contact Mike Bakaysa at (860) 573-8015 or Byron Treado at (860) 836-3377. More info about the hall of fame can be found at www.plainvillesports.com.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com