Wrestling from behind crucial to team's success

The reason why wrestling is a team sport, despite the fact up to 14 weight classes are decided by two individuals came into play when Shelton High played host to Amity High in an SCC match on Tuesday night.

Five Amity wrestlers won unopposed, and two Shelton grapplers were awarded forfeits, as the Spartans went home with a 45-35 decision.

“We did okay,” Shelton coach Bill Maloney said. “We wrestled well in most matches and with the forfeits, things pretty much went as expected.”

Of the seven matches, six were one-sided.

That is where Wrestling Course 101 is taught.

There is no such thing as a timeout once you take the mat. If you are down on the scoreboard, you battle back. If the match is getting away, you do your best to save team points.

Six points for a pin...don’t let the officials' hand hit the mat.

Down by a lot….fight to keep it a five-point technical fall. Save a team point.

Six minutes of effort is always required.

Case in point came in the 120-pound bout between Shelton junior Garrett Ziperstein and Amity freshman Paul Canalori.

Ziperstein who won a 17-1 decision, left the mat frustrated. Canalori was greeted by coach Todd Patterson with a pat on the back.

“We are a really young team,” Patterson said. “We’re looking to build a solid foundation so that when these wrestlers are juniors and seniors they will be prepared. Yes, wins and loses count. But how you win or lose is important.”

Ziperstein took the Spartan to his back three times for an 10-1 lead. After Ziperstein reversed early in the second, Canalori kept a shoulder raised for 38 seconds before giving up a pair of back points. Ziperstein led 14-1 with a two-minute period left. Canalori rolled through one pin attempt, and was hit for a stalling point with 50 seconds remaining. Ziperstein was looking for a fall. He garnered two back points right before the buzzer, and had to settle for a 17-1 win by technical fall.

“That’s what good wrestling is all about,” Maloney said. “You work hard from the top or bottom for six minutes.”

Shelton freshman Graham Ziperstein met Amity sophomore Colin Boufford at 116 pounds.

Boufford showed that experience gained with a third-period win by fall. He caught Ziperstein looking to sit out and escape and earned three buzzer-beating back points for a 5-0 lead after one. Boufford turned his rival twice, but couldn’t get the pin, and took an 11-0 advantage into the third. He scored a reversal and notched the pin at the 4:28 mark.

At 126 pounds, Shelton’s second-year wrestler Aayan Mumtaz took on Amity freshman Kyle Ciola. The Gaels’ senior scored a takedown, was penalized a point for an illegal hold, then kept a leg in to deny Ciola a reversal as the horn sounded. Mumtaz took his time to run a half and earn a pin at the 2:35 mark.

Two talented seniors took the mat at 132 pounds, with Shelton’s Sean Rago taking on Amity’s Cole Johnson. The Spartan looked to get underneath for a single-leg takedown. Rago sprawled out and used head control to negate the move. One minute into the first, Johnson got a takedown, but Rago escaped 30 seconds later. In the second, Johnson hit his switch for a 4-1 lead. From the mat, Rago used a lift and dump with 36 seconds on the clock to cut the deficit to 4-3. Rago reversed positions midway through the third period. Johnson escaped to tie things at 5-all with 36 seconds left in regulation. Returning to the first period tactic of shoot and sprawl, this time Johnson spun behind to get the takedown at the 11 second mark for a 7-5 win.

Amity 138-pound senior Mike Widell traded two-point takedowns for one-point escapes to take a lead of 6-2 over Shelton junior Chris Cavagnulo before winning by fall in 1:48.

Shelton senior Colin Mengold took Amity junior A.J. Pocwierz to his back twice in the first period on their match at 145 pounds, only to be denied a pin. He upped his advantage from 7-0 after one to 11-0 after two periods, then pinned in 5:36.

At 160 pounds, Shelton sophomore Mike Monaco pinned freshman Harry Wyndorf in 2:58. It was on the fourth turn to back that Monaco triumphed.