Updated: Foran’s Antonio Madero state champ, Lions place 11 wrestlers in Class M

Foran's wrestling team celebrate Antonio Madero's title and team placing second at Class M championship.

Foran's wrestling team celebrate Antonio Madero's title and team placing second at Class M championship.

Foran High Athletics / Contributed photo

Foran will be taking 11 wrestlers to the State Open after it placed second at the Class M tournament.

That number sits well with coach Dave Esposito.

“I’m very happy,” he said. “Every year we tell them to peak on this Saturday in February and they did.”

Branford also placed 11 wrestlers, including four champions, to finish with 261.5 points. Foran (226.5) was followed by Berlin (155.5) and RHAM (150.5).

Foran has finished first or second in eight consecutive divisional meets, winning titles in 2016 and 2018.

Antonio Madero dominated throughout the 120-pound class before taking home the title with a 12-0 major decision over No. 3 seed Danny Carrozza from Brookfield.

Madero, who was a fourth-place finisher at 113 pounds in 2020, cruised to the finals with wins by fall in 51 seconds, 1:08 and in 49 seconds of his semifinal victory over No. 4 seed Gavin Plourde from RHAM.

Esposito said of his junior: “I’ve been coaching Antonio since he was 5 years old. He is a very talented kid. This is probably the first final I’ve ever coached where I wasn’t nervous. We’ve had great wrestlers in finals, but Antonio was locked in this weekend.”

Craig Mager and Kyle Pokornowski placed second.

Mager was seeded third at 132 pounds. The junior pinned in 2:53, won by 16-1 technical fall, then pinned No. 2 seed Nehemiah Czelusniak from Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech in 3:04. He trailed 4-1 at the time. He lost 5-1 in the final to No. 1 seed Scott Romano from Joel Barlow.

Kyle Porkornowski was seeded second at 145 pounds. He won three matches by fall -- 20 seconds, 2:51 and 2:37 -- to earn his spot in the final opposite Joe Kennedy from Plainville. The top-seeded Kennedy won a 5-2 decision.

Eliot Poffenberger (195 pounds) took third. Mason Hallstrom (113 pounds), Barry Held (220 pounds) and Jason Cruz (heavyweight) finished fourth. Keith Pokornowski (106 pounds), Anthony Giordano (138 pounds), James Taylor (152 pounds) wrestled back to take fifths. Joey Cichowski (182 pounds) was sixth.

“Wrestling in consolation rounds is about being mentally tough,” Esposito said. “They know they can’t win. It’s about going for third, and if that doesn’t work going for fifth. This team bought into that.”

No. 4 seed Poffenberger won his first match in 3:35 at 195 pounds then lost 5-1 to No. 1 seed and eventual winner Nate Mathis from Branford. In wrestle backs, Poffenberger pinned in 5:56 then won an electric 8-5 decision over No. 5 seed Thomas Paneccasio from RHAM in the consolation final.

Hallstrom was seeded fourth and placed fourth at 113 pounds. He won by fall then was knocked into wrestle backs by No. 1 seed and eventual champion Isaiah Adams from Avon. Hallstrom advanced to the consolation final with a 5-1 decision before losing 6-4 to No. 3 seed Hayden Ferland from Ellis Tech.

Cruz, seeded No. 6 in the heavyweight decision, won by 29-second fall then lost to No. 3 seed and third-place finisher Aiden Cote from Berlin. Cruz pinned in 4:36 and 56 seconds before losing 2-1 to No. 2 seed Jaycee Diaz from E.O. Smith in the third-place bout.

Keith Pokornowski, the sixth seed, earned a pin then lost to eventual champion Mason Arborio from Berlin. In consolations, Pokornowski pinned in 24 seconds and 1:50 before dropping the consolation semifinal to No. 4 seed Ben Fournier from RHAM. He pinned No. 4 seed Cesar Rodriguez from Platt in 35 seconds to earn fifth.

Anthony Giordano, seeded seventh, pinned Tristan Robledo-Thompson from New London in 3:12 to place fifth at 138 pounds. He pinned in 1:14 then lost 4-0 to No. 2 seed and eventual champion Jace Korab from Branford to open states. Giordano advanced in wrestle backs with a 7-5 decision and a 2:15 pin before No. 5 Landon Viera from Berlin won their consolation semifinal.

James Taylor was seeded sixth at 152 pounds. He won 1:11 and 15-11 before losing to No. 2 seed and eventual champion Caiden Talento from Platt in the semifinals. Taylor lost his consolation semi then defeated Branford’s No. 3 seed Inderpreet Behal in a 9-8 bout to take fifth.

Cichowski placed sixth out of the sixth seed at 182 pounds. He won his first match in 2:57 then dropped into wrestle backs with a loss to No. 3 seed Mike Marques from RHAM. Cichowski added falls of 2:52 and 2:54 before No. 4 seed Greg Kealey from Branford took their consolation semifinal. Marques defeated Cichowski in the fifth-place match.

Esposito said: “This was our hardest season. We never knew day to day when we might miss a kid for a week or more because of contact tracing protocols. Class M may have been the first time all year we’ve wrestled that lineup. Add in that most of our wrestlers weren’t in our lineup two years ago makes this season especially gratifying.”

The top six placers in each weight class at all four meets will compete for State Open titles on Friday and Saturday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354

Team scores

1. Branford 261.5; 2. Foran 226.5; 3 Berlin 155.5; 4. RHAM 150.5; 5 tie Avon 119, Plainville 119; 7. New London 101; 8. Lyman Mem/Windham Tech 99; 9. Suffield/Windsor Locks 93; 10. Bunnell 89.5; 11 EO Smith 88; 12. Ellis Tech 84; 13. Platt 79; 14. Waterford 76; 15. Brookfield 70.5; 16. East Haven 61; 17. Weston 60; 18. Barlow 56; 19. Notre Dame-West Haven 55; 20. Bethel 47; 21. Law 31; 22. Rockville 26; 23. Masuk 22; 24. St. Joseph 20; 25. Watertown 3; 26 Torrington 0; 27. North Haven 0

106 LBS

1st Mason Arborio Berlin, CT (Berlin) F Jackson Tassoni CT (Ellis Tech), 1:15

3rd Jack Batista-fletcher East Haven, CT (East Haven) F Ben Fournier Hebron, CT (RHAM), 4:17

5th Keith Pokornowski Milford, CT (Foran) F Cesar Rodriguez Meriden, CT (Platt), 0:35

113 LBS

1st Isaiah Adams Avon, CT (Avon) DEC Jerry Hill Bethel, CT (Bethel), 8-5

3rd Hayden Ferland Brooklyn, CT (Ellis Tech) DEC Mason Hallstrom Milford, CT (Foran), 6-4

5th Jorge Gonzalez-garcia New London, CT (New London) FOR Miles Fine Weston, CT (Weston), 0-0

120 LBS

1st Antonio Madero Milford, CT (Foran) MD Danny Carrozza Brookfield, CT (Brookfield), 12-0

3rd Jake Elpi Branford, CT (Branford) F Andy Martinez-soliz New London, CT (New London), 2:07

5th Gavin Plourde Hebron, CT (RHAM) DEC Esther Ribeiro Bethel, CT (Bethel), 5-0

126 LBS

1st Matthew Carrozza Brookfield, CT (Brookfield) MD Caleb Phillips STORRS MANFLD, CT (EO Smith), 13-2

3rd Dominick Zdunek Branford, CT (Branford) F Kyle Currier Hebron, CT (RHAM), 0:45

5th Evan Cavicchia Weston, CT (Weston) FOR Stryder Hanson Redding, CT (Joel Barlow), 0-0

132 LBS

1st Scott Romano Redding, CT (Joel Barlow) DEC Craig Mager Milford, CT (Foran), 5-1

3rd Lucas Gannotti Waterford, CT (Waterford) DEC Nehemiah Czelusniak Lebanon, CT (Lyman Mem/Windham Tech), 6-4 SV

5th Carter Burgess Branford, CT (Branford) F Nathan Videira Monroe, CT (Masuk), 2:08

138 LBS

1st Jace Korab Branford, CT (Branford) DEC Zackary Kanaitis Hebron, CT (RHAM), 6-3

3rd Landon Vieira Berlin, CT (Berlin) DEC Kevin Sevigny West Haven, CT (Notre Dame-West Haven), 5-1

5th Anthony Giordano Milford, CT (Foran) F Tristen Robledo-thompson New London, CT (New London), 3:12

145 LBS

1st Joseph Kennedy Plainville, CT (Plainville) DEC Kyle Pokornowski Milford, CT (Foran), 5-2

3rd Ghassan Saleh Windsor Locks, CT (Suffield/Windsor Locks) MD Josh Berdon Branford, CT (Branford), 10-2

5th James Hiltz Lebanon, CT (Lyman Mem/Windham Tech) FOR Jake Ortiz East Haven, CT (East Haven), 0-0

152 LBS

1st Caiden Talento Meriden, CT (Platt) DEC Roel Johnson Avon, CT (Avon), 8-2

3rd Mason Concascia Waterford, CT (Waterford) DEC Dakota Blanchard STORRS MANFLD, CT (EO Smith), 5-1

5th James Taylor Milford, CT (Foran) DEC Inderpreet Behal Branford, CT (Branford), 9-8

160 LBS

1st Patrick Zdunek Branford, CT (Branford) DEC Jeremy Devine Hebron, CT (RHAM), 8-5

3rd Joshua Nieroda Suffield, CT (Suffield/Windsor Locks) F Cameron Casey Avon, CT (Avon), 2:51

5th Cameron Sammarco Lebanon, CT (Lyman Mem/Windham Tech) F Ahmed Hernandez Meriden, CT (Platt), 4:37

170 LBS

1st Cole Snider Branford, CT (Branford) DEC Ryan Mclaughlin Stratford, CT (Bunnell), 5-2

3rd Marco Marino Berlin, CT (Berlin) MD Connor Bly Suffield, CT (Suffield/Windsor Locks), 9-1

5th Devon Powers Waterford, CT (Waterford) F Mustafa Dannett New London, CT (New London), 3:59

182 LBS

1st Alexander Santini Plainville, CT (Plainville) F Elijah Bean CT (Ellis Tech), 7:12

3rd Kieran Mcguire Weston, CT (Weston) DEC Greg Kealey Branford, CT (Branford), 5-0

5th Michael Marques Hebron, CT (RHAM) F Joseph Cichowski Milford, CT (Foran), 2:31

195 LBS

1st Nate Mathis Branford, CT (Branford) F Nicholas Demanche Stratford, CT (Bunnell), 3:28

3rd Eliot Poffenberger Milford, CT (Foran) DEC Thomas Paneccasio Hebron, CT (RHAM), 8-5

5th Nick Ebrahimi Berlin, CT (Berlin) F Ethan Volpe Avon, CT (Avon), 2:06

220 LBS

1st Brandon Toscano Stratford, CT (Bunnell) DEC Drew Schwartz Branford, CT (Branford), 7-1

3rd Hamza Mourabit Berlin, CT (Berlin) F Barry Held Milford, CT (Foran), 2:10

5th Nicholas Dennis Plainville, CT (Plainville) F Kaden Smith New London, CT (New London), 2:14

285 LBS

1st Jeff Quirion la oz Plainville, CT (Plainville) vs. Aiden Cote Berlin, CT (Berlin)

3rd Jaycee Diaz STORRS MANFLD, CT (EO Smith) F Jason Cruz Milford, CT (Foran), 1:44

5th Timothy Breault (Lyman Mem/Windham Tech) vs. Lou Sabo Milford, CT (Jonathan Law)