Lions gain finals
It was a historic day for Milford wrestling last weekend when two grapplers earned their 100th career victories on Saturday at the Joe Beler Duals at Jonathan Law.
Foran High’s Clay Callahan and Law’s Ryan Bannon, both senior captains, secured the wins within hours of each other at the 10-team tournament.
Prior to losing to Farmington in the final round to finish in second place, Frank Peters’ Foran Lions swept their first three opponents.
The Lions opened up the day with a 57-10 win over Fitch of Groton, then went on to defeat Morgan of Clinton 63-16 and Gilbert of Winsted by a score of 48-22.
“Going in, we knew we had to forfeit either the 106 or the 113, depending upon where Liam (Callahan) wrestled, and we knew we’d have to forfeit the 126. So going in, we knew we were at a disadvantage, and we were a little anxious,” Peters said.
“But overall, it ended up going well. We’re a good individual team, and we hope to be a tough tournament team by the end of the season.
“With the seniors and some of the other wrestlers we have this year, I’m confident we could make an impact on the state level.”
Liam Callahan set the tone for Foran’s entire day when he took the mat against Fitch’s Brian Brown in the 113-pound class and pinned the Falcon in just 10 seconds flat.
Jubilee Witte (120), CJ Luth (138), Clay Callahan (152), Ben Croll (182), Luke Edmonson (220) and Chris Kyak (285) each contributed pins, while 132-pounder Jesus Ortiz, 145-pounder Luke Stojanowski and 170-pounder Wasim Khan chipped in decisions on points to give Foran the decisive victory over Fitch.
Foran and Morgan were both short-staffed in the lower weights, and Morgan took a 16-6 on lead on forfeits by the end of four matches.
But the Lions went on a tear, sweeping the next 10 matches on six pins, three forfeits and a decision to secure the 63-16 victory.
Luth got things started with a pin at 138 pounds, and two weight classes later, Clay Callahan stepped to the mat in the 152-pound class.
He’d started the day with 98 victories and had secured his 99th against Fitch, and his 100th came in dramatic fashion against Morgan’s Robert Blanco.
Callahan earned the early takedown and a three-point near fall before pinning Blanco in the final seconds of the first period, giving Foran a team lead they would not relinquish and starting a 10-match rally.
“Clay’s always been as good as Clay wants to be,” Peters said of his captain. “He’s pushed himself, he’s worked hard, and we can count on him to score big points and win close matches.”
Beau Garcia and Khan followed up with pins in the second periods of their 160- and 170-pound matchups to take the score to 36-16.
In the 182-pound class, Croll notched the early takedown and added two near-falls to take a 6-0 lead before sealing the deal at 1:13
Kyek maintained control of his heavyweight opponent for two periods before the two spent much of the third tied up, and the match ended with Kyek on top 5-2.
Much as he had started off the Fitch dual, Liam Callahan wrapped up the Morgan meet with a 16-second pin to take the final score to 63-16.
Now on a roll, the Lions moved on to face the Masuk Panthers.
Masuk jumped ahead to an early 12-0 lead, but Foran rebounded with consecutive first-period pins by Luth, Stojanowski and Clay Callahan.
Khan followed up with a second-period pin in the 170-pound class, after maintaining control of Masuk’s Anthony McConnell for most of the first two and a half minutes.
Foran held on to a narrow 30-27 lead, then took three out of the last four matches to secure the 48-33 win.
After Kyek won by forfeit, Liam Callahan (49 seconds) and Witte (35 seconds) each chipped in pins to help Foran down the Panthers.
The Lions wrapped up preliminary round competition with a 48-22 win over Gilbert.
Luth, Clay Callahan, Garcia and Khan were victorious with pins in their matchups — Khan’s in just 31 seconds — and four Gilbert forfeits helped Foran surmount their opponents and secured the Lions’ place in the championship finals.
But the squad struggled against a persistent Farmington in the final round, with only Luth, Clay Callahan and Liam Callahan victorious against the Indians.
Foran will host Jonathan Law at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3.