Wrestling: Shelton wins, loses to Notre Dame

Wrestling at the high-school level oftentimes comes down to numbers. They favor the squad with more wrestlers filling out the 14 weight classes and hamper the one that is short-handed.

No matter how well a team competes on the mat, giving away six points for forfeits in multiple classes makes it difficult for team victories in dual meets.

Shelton High was a victim of that cold calculus on Wednesday night, when it lost a 45-33 decision to Notre Dame of West Haven in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division II match.

The Gaels defeated the Green Knights in five of the eight contested matches, four via fall, but shipped away six forfeits to Notre Dame’s one to account for a 30-point swing.

Mike Monaco recorded the first Shelton fall in the 152-pound class. Monaco opened up a 5-1 edge before pinning Sebastian Buenano in 3:17.

That cut Shelton’s deficit to 9-6, following wins for Notre Dame at 138 by Chris Fillion (pin of Chris Cavagnuolo in 1:32) and Gianni Liguori (8-2 minor decision over Colin Mengold) at 145.

From there, NDWH reeled off four consecutive unopposed victories, pushing the margin to 33-12.

At 220, Ray Weiner, last year’s SCC runner-up at 195, notched a fall over Ron Quagliani in 1:14.

Matt Weiner then followed suit for the Gaels at heavyweight, dispatching Victor Robles in 45 seconds, before Graham Ziperstein picked up Shelton’s lone forfeit win at 106.

Garrett Ziperstein provided a spark for Shelton in the 113-pound bout, rallying to pin Kelsey Naylor in a come-from-behind triumph.

Naylor got the first takedown of the match, but Graham Ziperstein escaped in the closing seconds of the first period with a stand-up.

After Naylor increased his edge to 5-3 in the second frame, Graham Ziperstein worked a takedown into a pin at 3:32.

“One of our big emphasises are to be in better physical shape than the other team,” Shelton head coach Bill Maloney said. “Obviously not saying the other team isn’t in shape, I’m just saying we pride ourselves on being able to come back later in a match.”

With that result, the Gaels trailed 33-30. That was as close as the locals got, as Jeff Bracale received a forfeit win for the Green Knights at 120.

Ayyan Mumtaz of Shelton then hung tough in his match against Kevin Sevigny at 126. Sevigny led early, but Mumtaz tied it on a second-period reversal before losing via fall in 5:32 to ensure Notre Dame’s team victory.

The last bout of the night, at 132, was another testament to Shelton’s grit. There, Sean Rago outlasted Luis Stephenson in a hard-fought 8-5 decision.

Rago trailed 5-3  at the start of the third period, but Stephenson chose neutral and was taken down. After receiving a point due to stalling, Rago flipped Stephenson for a near-fall to lock up the match.

“When it’s a 2-1 match, a 2-2 match, a match that goes to overtime,” Maloney said, “Our kids are confident in our conditioning at that point in our match.”

Shelton will return to action on Saturday, when it travels to Branford High to take part in the Shoreline Scuffle.