Lions win early, often to topple Gaels

The Foran High wrestling team won the first five matches of the night en route to a convincing 51-22 dual-meet victory over Shelton High at Edna Fraser Gymnasium on Jan. 30.

Zach Hubler kicked off the match with a fall in 4:35 at 195, Ben Croll prevailed in a tough 5-1 minor decision at 220 and heavyweight Luke Edmondson pinned in 3:48, as the Lions roared to a 15-0 lead.

“It’s always nice to start out with our upper weights,” Foran coach Frank Peters said. “It gets the ball rolling. With the home crowd behind us tonight, I think it was good to get the momentum and take it into the middle matches.”

Gino Esposito then posted a 19-3 technical fall and senior Jacob Pouliot claimed a 13-8 victory. That pushed Foran’s margin to 23-0, before the Gaels picked up their first of four head-to-head victories.

“We didn’t wrestle with much emotion tonight,” Shelton coach Bill Maloney said. “Our room has been flat all week and it showed tonight in the wrestling. Foran is a good team… We knew coming in it would be a tough match. We didn’t bring it and they did.”

Hubler took a 14-2 lead after one frame in his bout against Malike Malcolm, before increasing it to 17-3 after two. Malcolm attempted to stay off of his back, but Hubler earned the fall early in the third period.

Croll faced off with Shelton junior Kyle Tobin, escaping with a standup to start the second stanza. That lead held until the third period, when Tobin started in the down position and Croll gained a three-point nearfall. A stalling point awarded to Croll sealed the 5-1 triumph.

Edmondson also grabbed an early edge in his match with Jose Nieves, going up 5-0 before getting the pin in 3:48.

Esposito, a freshman, controlled his bout with John Rosa from start to finish at 106, reeling off points with takedowns and nearfalls.

Pouliot held off sophomore Nico DiStassio at 113, opening up an 8-4 lead after one period through four takedowns. Pouliot pushed the advantage to 12-5 after two, before DiStassio escaped and notched a takedown to make it 12-8 in the third. Pouliot then escaped to put the final score at 13-8.

Shelton’s talented sophomore Kyle McGinnis halted the skid for the Gaels at 120, taking Elijah Moretti down off the whistle and pinning in 45 seconds.

Junior Scott Plucienik followed with a first-period fall over Michael Bakx in 1:25 to get Shelton within 23-12.

Jubilee Witte and Patrick Fitzgerald quickly got Foran untracked at 132 and 138, gaining pins over Alexander Ercolani and Ethan Lam, respectively, to establish a 35-12 Lions’ advantage.

Nick Pogacsas at 145 picked up a third pin for Shelton, taking a 10-0 lead over Ray DeWitt before recording the fall in 3:29.

At 152, Foran’s Rich Kratzer sailed to a 16-3 win over Dan Persson and Beau Garcia was awarded a forfeit victory at 160.

Liam Cummings then shut out Noah Hubler, 12-0, at 170 for the final Gael victory of the night.

Cristian Woodford finished off Foran’s triumph with a fall over Brett Scanlon in 2:33 at 182. The Lions improved to 16-5 overall, 2-1 in the SCC A Division. Shelton dropped to 16-4, 1-2 in the SCC A.

“We’ve had a couple of wakeups over the course of the season,” Peters said. “We had to step it up and step up the intensity… We’re a very competitive team in our league and state divisions.”

Take Down Cancer event

Prior to the match, the Lions presented a charity donation to the Get in Touch Foundation to help the fight against breast cancer. It was the culmination of Foran’s Take Down Cancer fund-raising event.

“We were fired up about this match,” Peters said. “We wanted to put out a good show in front of our home crowd tonight.”