WESTPORT—Greens Farms Academy wrestling coach Jack Conroy didn’t consider it a gamble.
Not when he was betting on his very own Nico Provo.
Provo, a GFA sophomore and resident of Stratford, let his opponent, Kelvin Griffin of the Brooks School, have a free point and a 3-2 lead with just a minute left in Saturday’s New England Prep School 113-pound championship match at the Coyle Gym.
The move, which allowed the Dragon wrestler to restart the match from a neutral position instead of being on top, paid off as Provo got his two-point takedown and posted a 4-3 victory over Griffin.
It was the second straight New England championship for Provo.
“When (Griffin) chose down, I knew I wanted to go on my feet, so I was already thinking in my head I wanted to go neutral,” Provo said. “I looked over at coach and we went for it and it paid off.”
Conroy explained that he didn’t want to risk Griffin escaping with little time left on the clock to earn a point.
“I wanted (Nico) to go win the match, and not try to hang on,” Conroy said. “If he was on top, tied, the worst-case scenario is the kid gets out. We always say when you’re down it’s a free point because the guy usually gets out.
“The thought behind it,” Conroy added, “is we don’t want to have him get out with just 10 seconds left and not have any time left to work with.”
Conroy, whose assistant coach agreed with him, never considered the move a gamble.
“We had been talking about it. We said let’s go win the match right now,” Conroy said. “Let’s not wait. Let’s trust in our guy.”
For the past two years, Provo has proven to be a steadfast wrestler for the Dragons.
He was again on Friday and Saturday.
The top-seeded Provo won his first match on Friday, in the Round of 16, with a pin over a Loomis Chafee wrestler in 36 seconds.
On Saturday, it took him 58 seconds to win his quarterfinal match and 24 seconds to take the victory in the semifinals.
As such, Provo was well-rested for Saturday’s final against the second-seeded Griffin.
“I felt like I had him,” Provo said. “I broke him at the end. He was tired and I was getting my shots, so I took a shot and rode him on top.”
While Conroy was the first GFA wrestler to win a New England championship, Provo is a first to win two.
Later in the day he was joined by senior teammate Griffin Seyfried, who was won his second New England title, as well.
“It means a lot especially to be the first in GFA history, but it’s not the end goal,” Provo said. “Next week are nationals and I’m looking for a national title.”
Provo, who seeded fifth nationally at 113 pounds, will join six Dragon teammates at the Prep School Nationals next weekend at Lehigh University.
(Editor’s Note–Post author John Nash is also the Athletic Communications Coordinator at Greens Farms Academy)