Dylan Benedetti, Kian McEnerney leads Law grapplers

Dylan Benedetti and Kian McEnerney captain the Law wrestling team.

Dylan Benedetti and Kian McEnerney captain the Law wrestling team.

Bill Bloxsom / HCM

Jonathan’s Law Brayden McCourt placed third at the Ludlowe Invitational.

McCourt pinned Stratford’s Joshua Kydes to win the 145-pound consolation final on the first full day of tournament competition for high school wrestlers in Connecticut since February 2020.

“Brayden is gifted, he has all the tools,” Law coach Matt Schoonmaker said his junior. “He’s got that natural wrestling ability. Brayden went to Super 32, went away for weekend tournaments. Brayden and Dylan Benedetti have great opportunities to make things happen.”

Benedetti and Kian McEnerney are captains.

“Missing junior year cost Dylan a lot of matches,” Schoonmaker said. “He did what he could prepping for his senior year. He went out to Nationals, he went to multiple tournaments, and had some success against tough competition. Kian is a great captain. You want your kids to work as hard as he does.”

The roster is full of dedicated and inexperienced athletes.

“My seniors aren’t really seniors except for Dylan. Gary Schulte came out as a sophomore and showed a lot of potential. But again, didn’t have a junior year,” Schoonmaker said. “Luke Iafaldano came out as a sophomore. He was at 160 at the Invitational and will certify at 152 when they add the two pounds. Colin Rose my other 160-pounder went 2-2. He made quarters. Colin won his first match against Hand, which was great.”

Filling out the lineup will soon be easier.

“Right after Dec. 25 we get the two-pound weight allowance and it looks like I’ll be able to fill 113 to 195,” Schoonmaker said. “We’ll have a gap at 220, because I have three heavyweights. One is tweaked up right now. He will come down a weight class when he gets healthy. I don’t think we’ll get a 106. The numbers for being out for a year are better than I thought they would be.”

Two new wrestlers were due to begin practice this week.

Schoonmaker said: “I have two freshmen, Tim Firla and Will Smith, who each wrestled youth which is great. When Tim came out, I didn’t know who it was. He had grown a foot since I’d seen him with the youth team. Will Luxeder came out last year and I recognized him.”

Marissa Wargo is another newcomer.

“I’m looking forward to coaching Marissa,” Schoonmaker said. “She came to all our conditioning last March. She is a great kid, works hard, listens. Marissa picked up her first win at 132 pounds at the Invitational. She is a strong kid but will probably drop to 126. It will be interesting to see how she does at the CIAC’s All-Girls Wrestling State Open Invitational.”

Alex Carleglio and Matt Spector are both first-year sophomores.

“Those kids scrap. They have ability. They go after it. You can’t teach that aggressiveness,” Schoonmaker said. “Ben Girandola is another sophomore who never wrestled. He is an athlete, again very coachable. I put him with Gary Schulte and Kian McEnerney, and Luke Iafaldano in the wrestling room because they work hard; he works hard.

“Louis Sabo is working to get down to weight (from football) and he can be a force. He has great size, hard to move,” he added. “Zach Sulkis went with Dylan to do some club wrestling. He came out the first night against Hand and won his match. He works with Luke Iafaldano every day. He wants to get better. Then you have Jasper Chu my third heavyweight. He is a sophomore who can drop and go to 220.”

Ludlowe Invitational

Branford (176) won the team title. Norwalk (170) was second, Brien McMahon (159) third and host Ludlowe (152) fourth. Law was 13th.

Brayden McCourt won his first two matches by fall, in 33 seconds and 49 seconds, before the junior lost in 1:08 to McMahon’s eventual champion Zavier Hernandez in the semifinals.

Sophomore 132-pounder Marissa Wargo opened with a 1:39 pin against Weston’s Shayaan Siddiqui. Sophomore Colin Rose won by 1:32 fall over Fairfield Prep’s Matthew Kery. Sophomore Will Luxeder advanced at 145 pounds with a pin in 19 seconds of Elizabeth Hernandez from Westhill. Sophomore Ben Girendola pinned Mike Marshock from Branford in 1:47 of his first bout at 170 pounds.

Law lost a 48-28 decision to Daniel Hand in the season-opening wrestling match for both teams. The Lawmen won five of 11 matches on the mat. Dylan Benedetti pinned in 1:45 at 138 pounds. Brayden McCourt earned a 10-6 decision at 145. Luke Iafaldano won by 49-second fall at 160 pounds, Kian McEnerney posted a 1:18 pin at 195 pounds, and heavyweight Zachary Sulkis scored a second-period pin in 2:36.

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354