Norwich’s Rifanburg on a mission

From the first wrestling practice in November to today, the start of the state wrestling tournament, Norwich sophomore Tristan Rifanburg has retained a singular focus:  To win another state wrestling title.

The only Purple Tornado grappler to ever stand atop the podium in state tournament competition, Rifanburg is coming off a sixth-place finish at last year’s tourney. That followed a title as a seventh-grader and a runner-up finish two years ago as an eighth-grader. “He was not happy at all about where he finished last year,” said Norwich head coach Joe Downey. “He didn’t wrestle well, he had a bad tournament, and he made a couple of mistakes.”

Rifanburg struggled to make his most ideal weight last year, and bumped up a weight class toward the end of the season. Buoyed by a third straight section title, Rifanburg was prime for another state tournament run. Unfortunately, he was derailed losing three matches to place sixth. To make a comparison, it was an equivalent number of losses for Rifanburg his first two seasons in a Tornado singlet.

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