Law wrestling coach Matt Schoonmaker would like some sort of practice sessions

Law coach Matt Schoonmaker believes his team will weather the canceled season.

Law coach Matt Schoonmaker believes his team will weather the canceled season.

Law Athletics / Contributed photo

MILFORD - Law wrestling coach Matt Schoonmaker was hoping that there would be a wrestling season.

“I was trying to be glass half full kind of guy, maybe we wouldn’t start the season on time, maybe we would have a reduced season with just dual meets twice a week,” Schoonmaker said. “I would have been fine with that. But at some point, I realized it wasn’t looking good for wrestling because it was listed by the CIAC and the state Department of Health as a high-risk sport.”

Schoonmaker is now waiting to hear if Milford Public Schools will allow winter teams to take part in a CIAC-sanctioned season.

“We will do whatever we will be able to do with non-contact conditioning,” he said. “The kids that really want to be there and are motivated for this season will want to do something wrestling related. It would be nice to have everyone in one area.”

Schoonmaker had stayed connected with wrestlers through emails and texts. The team did online workouts.

“Now it is just a waiting game until we can do anything else,” he said. “Wrestling was fortunate last year; we had our state tournament. I think we could have had a shortened season, but it wasn’t my decision. If I can get them on the mat to for non-contact drills I could go over shoots, turn-ins individually. If we can’t be inside, it is going to be difficult.”

Not knowing if wrestling would be okayed forced athletes to make a choice.

“I think I had five freshman that signed up for the team,” Schoonmaker said. “Now it is four because one went over to another sport that can actually play. Some of the freshman from last year are also football players. They didn’t sign up again because they were banking on having that wedge football season that was canceled. I’m not sure if they are going to come back.”

Schoonmaker believes that a lost season of wrestling will come at a cost.

“I think this might have hit us when we were fluctuating back up, so we will be okay,” he said. “I don’t think there is a program that is bullet proof from this. One team might not feel it as much, but they are going to feel it. Ricky Shook from Danbury said this is going to affect him. People think all the kids come from their youth program, but not all of them do. They get kids that turn out to be great wrestlers that were soccer or cross country and football players.

“Some teams will weather it better than others,” he added. “I read Shelton coach Bill Maloney’s comments and I agree there could be programs that will fold. It will definitely affect the fringe programs that were hanging on with less than 10 guys or less the past few year and couldn’t get over the hump.”

Sam Bergami and Cody Malin are Law’s two senior wrestlers.

“I feel badly for those guys not being able to wrestle,” Schoonmaker said. “Sam is a football player and for Cody wrestling was his sport. Football at least had a 7 on 7 season.”

Law’s numbers are solid.

“We have talented kids coming back, sophomores that will be juniors, juniors that will now be seniors,” Schoonmaker said. “Dylan Benedetti is a junior and he would be considered my best wrestler returning. He placed in Class M and qualified for the State Open as a sophomore. Hopefully, they all will have another shot but missing a season does take away from their development.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354