Aspras blended her passions in a wrestling match with Prep.

Kelly Aspras of Foran's look of delight in this JV win over Notre Dame-West Haven was matched by the sophomore when she earned the first varsity win by a girl in a match with Fairfield Prep.

Kelly Aspras of Foran's look of delight in this JV win over Notre Dame-West Haven was matched by the sophomore when she earned the first varsity win by a girl in a match with Fairfield Prep.

Foran High Athletics / Contributed photo

MILFORD — Meet Kelly Aspras. She is a sophomore on the Foran wrestling team, a member of the school choir, and a scholarship attendee at The New York Performance Arts Academy for theater, dance, voice and acting.

Aspras couldn’t have blended her three passions any better than she did when Foran met Fairfield Prep on the mat Tuesday.

It went something like this:


FADE IN: A talented young woman goes up and sings the National Anthem like a movie star. She then runs to the bench, throws her head gear on, and takes to the wrestling mat. She pins her 138-pound opponent at the 3:54 mark of the second period before a screaming crazy crowd. It was the first varsity win for a female in the history of the school. FADE OUT.

“I was in shock. Everyone told me my face was hysterical when the ref’s hand hit the mat. It was like ‘Whoa.’ I went from not knowing if I was going to win to getting my team six points with a pin. I loved the feeling,” said Aspras, a sophomore and first-year wrestler who helped Foran to a 48-30 victory. “It was a lot bigger moment than I had dreamed about. I didn’t know there would be so many people there. It’s a great feeling.”

Foran coach Dave Esposito said the stars aligned perfectly for the magical moment.

“Kelly wrestled off to earn the second position at 138,” he said. “We lost four starters to close contact COVID protocol, so she moved into the lineup. We drew out of a hat to decide the first match. It was 138. It was like a fairy tale.”

Aspras said: “I knew the first match was mine. I thought I was going in to get a forfeit. But when they moved wrestlers around…”

Esposito picks up the story.

“Kelly had asked me last week if she could sing the National Anthem before a match,” he said. “It was our Alumni day and there was a big crowd including 30 former wrestlers. We did the cross-mat introductions. Kelly took the mic and sounded like Whitney Houston. Then she ran to our bench, went out and had a 9-4 lead before the pin.”

Esposito knew he had something special when Aspras came out last year for conditioning drills. It was all that wrestlers could do because of COVID. Her commitment was apparent after the first practice.

“She was tougher than any of the 15 people we had in the room,” Esposito said. “Kelly’s legit. She is fun to watch. The look on her face after the win against Prep was so pure.”

Aspras swam the 100 and 500 freestyle at Foran to get in condition for wrestling.

“I needed a winter sport and my brother Antonios (a freshman) wrestles,” she said. “I said, ‘Let me give it a try’ and I love it. The conditioning drills last year were great. I think you should give 100 per cent effort in anything you do. It is the only way you can improve. Now I’m going to wrestle all year.”

She embraces the winner-take-all that goes with the sport.

“I love wrestle offs,” she said. “The boys I wrestle are seniors and are all very good. Every day I learn something. That competition pushes me to be better.”

Junior Nicki Mainville and fellow sophomore Frances Navarro are girls on the team.

“I love having Nicki and Frances with me,” Aspras said. “Opportunities for girls just keep increasing and I keep trying to get more to come out and join us.”

Aspras has never been the shy type, according to her mom.

“I’d sing with my uncle in a restaurant my mom and dad owned, Sandy’s Kitchen in West Haven, when I was little,” she said. “I sing chorus at Foran. I love to dance. A friend encouraged me to audition for The New York Performance Arts Academy. I was accepted two years ago.”

Classes are held every Saturday on Broadway in Manhattan.

“I skip the Academy classes for the wrestling meets during the season,” Aspras said. “Academy classes are held year-round.”

Aspras’ brother broke a finger wrestling in the Berlin Tournament. He and Kelly each wrestle at 138.

“Antonios started wrestling with Milford youth wrestling in eighth grade,” she said. “No, we don’t move the living room furniture and match up. But we are getting a wrestling mat for Christmas.” Twitter: @blox354