Wrestling: Opportunity for newcomers to step up

Shelton High’s wrestling team traditionally has the goals of placing among the top Southern Connecticut Conference and best Class LL squads.

Those objectives haven’t changed, but first things first: the team is also striving to fill holes left by seven graduates.

Captain Chandler Duhaime (45-7, first in the SCC, second in LL, second in State Open, 120 career wins – fifth overall in program history) leaves a notable slot the fill and having turnover in half of the weight classes is also significant.

The Gaels do not have depth in numbers, but coach Bill Maloney is impressed with the skill level of the returnees and newcomers to the varsity program.

“We have quality. We don’t have a lot of quantity. We’re a little down on numbers but we’ll fill each weight class,” Maloney said.

A season ago, the Gaels went 18-6, placed fifth in the SCC and seventh in Class LL.

This year’s captains are 106-pound senior Steven Reyes (44-12, second in the SCC, 5th in LL, 5th in Opens), 182-pound senior Colin Scanlon (17-8, injured in postseason) and 195-pound junior Ray Weiner (29-9, SCC champ, LL champ, 4th in Opens).

Andrew Cordes (126), Anthony Rosa (170), Liam Stanske (160) and Nate Morrissey (220) are key seniors.

Tough SCC foes include Foran of Milford and Xavier of Middletown. Top teams in the state include perennial powerhouses Danbury and Fairfield Warde.

“Hard work and dedication every day,” is what Maloney said the grapplers will have to put into practice in order to succeed. “We’ve always been a hard-working team and this year’s no exception.”

Maloney said he likes what the grapplers have brought to the mats in preseason, and is pleased with what those who have stepped into starting roles are showing now that they have a chance to shine.

Maloney said this season marks a chance for grapplers to take on prominent roles following the loss of the graduates.

“We have a really good work ethic. It’s been instilled upon us by the previous teams,” said Maloney, adding that the upperclassmen also motivate the team members. “They have to step up. Some of them have been waiting in the wings.”

Something Maloney will look for from his grapplers is consistency in finishing matches, particularly when they have the lead.

The Gaels will get a good test in the second dual match of the slate, when they face Foran.

“It will be a good measuring stick for us,” Maloney said.

The Gaels are home to New Haven tonight at 7.

They will host the Shelton Invitational on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m.