Shelton High head wrestling coach Bill Maloney has set up the Gaels schedule this winter to provide the best opportunity for his grapplers.
“Other than three matches at both Middletown and Warde on Saturday’s, we’ve competed in Invitationals where team scores are kept but the competition is geared so that the individual wrestler faces the best on a format similar to what they’ll face in the postseason,” Maloney said.
“We came in to the year with a lot of inexperienced guys. They are learning as we go.”
Shelton played host to Jonathan Law on Tuesday, which was Senior Night for the Gaels.
Wrestlers Steven Reyes, Andrew Cordes, Liam Stanske, Anthony Rosa, Collin Scanlon and Nate Morrissey, and team managers Maura Cummings and Courtney Litts were honored prior to the match.
The longtime Southern Connecticut Conference contenders were each shorthanded, when the Gaels (4-10) met the Lawmen (15-10). Because of illness and injury, Maloney was without Sean Rago (132 pounds), Ray Weiner (195 pounds) and Nate Morrissey (220 pounds). Law coach Matt Schoonmaker had three holes to fill and made moves in his lineup to gain the extra points that come from forfeits.
Maloney switched Garrett Zipperstein from 106 pounds to the match-starting 113-pound bout, where the sophomore won unopposed to give Shelton a 6-0 lead. Schoonmaker chose not to send a 120-pounder out to meet Reyes, a senior captain with a 23-3 record.
The Gaels 12-0 lead went to 18-0, after Cordes posted a pin in 3:43 over Law’s Alex DeLorio. Cordes had a takedown for a 2-0 lead after one period. He added three back points to make it 5-0 before turning his foe for good.
Law’s Shayne McCourt, a placer in states a year ago, won unopposed at 132 to take the score to 18-6.
Colin Mengold met Law senior tri-captain Aisaiah Rodriguez at 138 pounds. A junior, Mengold three times fought off his back and went the distance before losing 10-2.
The match of the day came at 145 pounds, as Gael freshman Mike Monaco took on Law senior tri-captain Alexi Giantomidis. The first period featured a lot of rumbling and tumbling but no points. Monaco escaped midway through the second stanza. Giantomidis got a two-point takedown, but Monaco didn’t give up any back points and only a late stalemate denied him an escape. The duo battled for points in the third, before the Lawmen walked off with a hard-fought 5-4 decision.
It was three straight wins for Law after senior Marcelo Giantomidis won by first-period fall over Shelton freshman Liam Saranich.
Stanske put the Gaels back in front 24-19 with a second-period pin of Law senior Jack Lawless.
In a physical battle at 171 pounds, Rosa met Ryan Gorman with the Lawmen winning a throw off a restart and getting the fall.
Scanlon and Gunner Malin faced off at 182 pounds in a match between seniors.
Scanlon got the quick takedown, gave up a reversal, but knotted things at 2-all with an escape.
From the neutral position in the second period, Scanlon looked for a throw but Malin rolled through the takedown attempt and scored a pin.
Forfeit wins to Law’s Kevin Brocksom at 195 pounds and Anisa Cruz at 220 pounds pushed the Law lead to 43-24.
Shelton sophomore Isaiah DeLoatch drew six points back with a win by fall in his heavyweight match with Andrew Berger.
Law’s Tegan McCourt was awarded a forfeit at 106 pounds to close out the match.
In a jayvee bout at 138 pounds, Shelton’s Hunter Eldridge won by fall in 53 seconds.
“We’ll continue to get matches in tournament-settings,” Maloney said. “This weekend we’ll be at the Law Invitational on Saturday. Right now, Garrett Zipperstein is unbeaten (6-0) in the SCC at 106. Stephen Reyes is 23-3 and Ray Weiner 20-3.”