Shelton High’s wrestling team got a tough test when Southern Connecticut Conference rival Foran of Milford visited on Wednesday night.
The Lions won the match 49-21 but, in the eyes of Shelton coach Bill Maloney, his Gaels passed that test given the effort his grapplers showed.
“This is one of the top ten teams in the state. They’re deep in every weight class. They are a quality program,” Maloney said of Foran. “We fought, we didn’t back down, and the score shows it.”
Foran improved to 2-0 and Shelton fell to 1-1 in dual matches this winter.
While Maloney is never thrilled to be on the losing end, there were plenty of bright spots.
“We’re happy with the way our younger wrestlers are performing,” Maloney said. “I was pleased with the effort the kids put in today.”
At 106 pounds, sophomore Garrett Ziperstein scored two points on a reversal then pinned Tanish Joshi in 1:47 to take home a win in the first period.
Freshman Mike Monaco lost a 4-2 decision to senior Mike Rees at 145, but has proven early in the season to be a competitive grappler despite tangling with more seasoned high school wrestlers.
Sophomore Isaiah DeLoatch competes at heavyweight, almost certain to face seniors or juniors on most night. He went up against Patrick Rescanski and dropped a 12-2 major decision, but made his opponent work, scoring two points on a reversal and avoiding being pinned in the second period, dragging the match out the full three periods.
“He showed some heart, showed some fight. He gets better every single time he goes out and wrestles,” Maloney said of DeLoatch.
Senior Steven Reyes, following a takedown for two points, pinned Anthony DiPietro in just 49 seconds in the 113 division.
Andrew Cordes scored a 7-1 decision over Jordan Lang at 126.
Class L champion Ray Weiner pinned Qasim Khan, the runner-up in Class M a year ago, in 3:13 to win the 195 weight class.
Weiner said pin-fall victories have a way of sparking teams.
“We all get fired up. It’s a big mental thing,” Weiner said.
A team captain, Weiner added that the Gaels prepared well for this match.
“Some wrestlers may have lost, but none of them quit,” Weiner said.
Reyes, also a senior captain, said, “All of our guys fought hard. We don’t have as much talent as them, but we have willpower and fight. We can out wrestle them as long as we work on the little things.”