Shelton High benefited from the the contributions of eight seniors — six wrestlers and two team managers — this past season.
Stephen Reyes, Andrew Cordes, Liam Stanske, Anthony Rosa, Collin Scanlon and Nate Morrissey took the mat this season for coach Bill Maloney’s Gaels, while Courtney Litts and Maura Cummings helped Shelton’s program run smoothly.
A four-year team member, Reyes joined the 100-win club as a senior. He placed in both Class LL and the State Open as a junior, qualifying for New Englands, before illness denied his competing in the postseason as a senior. He will attend and wrestle at Castleton University.
Reyes’ accomplishments were noted by sophomore teammate Garrett Zipperstein.
“Steven is one of the most dedicated kids I have met through sports and school,” he said to the fans on Senior Night. “He knows how to have fun, but also knows when to be serious with the team when it is time for a match. Whenever a wrestler in the room needs advice about weight or a wrestling move, he is always there to help. Stephen is a great captain.”
A National Honor Society member who also wrestled for four years, Cordes plans to study psychology in college. A volunteer at Camp Sunshine, a camp for cancer survivors and their families, Cordes played four years of soccer and is a Black Belt in martial Arts.
He was sent off with comments from junior Hunter Eldridge.
“(Andrew) is not just a great wrestler, but a fried and leader,” Eldridge said of the 126-pound grappler. “He is always there for someone who is needing help with a move and/or setups. He pushes us all when we need to be pushed. He has all of our respect.”
A three-year wrestler, two years on varsity, Stanske is also a Brown Belt in Tae Kwon Do. He plans on studying computer programming and game design after graduation.
Sean Rago had this to say of the 160-pound Stanske.
“I have always looked up to Liam,” said Rago, a junior. “He is hardworking, relentless, and a fantastic friend. At practice, everyone can look to him and see what they should be doing and how they should be working. I will miss Liam as a part of the team next year.”
A versatile four-year member of the team, Rosa wrestled in seven weight classes over those seasons. The 170-pounder placed first this year at the Shelton Invitational.
Colin Mengold, a junior, spoke of Rosa’s impact.
“Before during or after practice, he is always putting in one hundred percent to get better and improve every day,” Mengold said. “When you are wrestling, JV or varsity match, Anthony is always there cheering you on and keeping you motivated. Anthony is a great leader, a great wrestler and a great friend. He always knows how to make you laugh.”
A mainstay at 182 pounds for the Gaels, Scanlon has wrestled all four years. He will attend Lincoln Tech to pursue his electrical license.
Liam Saranich pointed to Scanlon as a mentor.
“During my time with Gael Force, Collin was one of the older wrestlers who spent the time teaching me and the other kids the skills to make is better,” said Saranich, a freshman. “He was always friendly, patient and encouraging. I will always be thankful for what he did for all of us as a leader.”
A first-time wrestler for the Gaels after wrestling for three years at Amity High, Morrissey is looking to get into business after graduation and pursue a manufacturing degree.
Mike Monaco praised Morrissey.
“Nate may have come from Amity, but he is a perfect example of a Gael,” sophomore Monaco said of the 220 pounder. “He always puts in the work at practice, which has always shown in his matches. Nate always helps others, is a great person and wrestler.”
Litts has been team manager all four years. A standout all four years on the soccer team, Litts will follow a pre-medical track when she attends and plays soccer at Wesleyan University.
Fellow manager Allison Dapp said, “This year, I showed up the first year of practice and Courtney took me straight in and taught me everything I needed to know about managing the team. She was always there for me, inside or outside of managing the wrestling team. Our friendship means a lot and I wouldn’t have traded the opportunity of meeting her for the world.”
Cummings began helping out the wrestling team at the youth level and continued all four years at Shelton. She is a member of the Student Council and works at Happy Day Preschool. Cummings will volunteer with City Year in Orlando (Fla.), before going to college to become a nurse practitioner.
“Maura is an amazing person that supports everyone with everything they do,” Dapp said. “She believes in everybody no matter what they want to do (in life). Meeting Maura and having her as a fellow manager was an awesome part of this season.”