Pins make difference

The Foran and Jonathan Law wrestling teams tangled on the mat a lot earlier in the season then the squads are used to, meeting on Dec. 19, at the James Richetelli Sr. Gym in a Southern Connecticut Conference match up.

In the season-opening dual meet for both teams, the Lions dominated the upper weights — getting first-period pins from Zach Hubler, Ben Croll and Luke Edmondson — to defeat the Lawmen, 48-30.

“Overall, I wouldn’t have expected it to have turned out as close as it did,” Foran coach Frank Peters said. “I thought there were some swing matches that would’ve gone in our favor. But, it’s the first varsity matchup for both teams. You’re going to expect errors on both sides.”

Law recovered late, winning the final three bouts of the night, but the ability to record falls gave the victory to Foran. All eight of the Lions’ head-to-head wins were won by fall, while Law notched four pins and two minor decisions.

“We lost two matches I thought we would’ve won and we lost them by a pin,” Law coach Matt Schoonmaker said. “If we had won those two just by decision, it would’ve been a tie score.”

The teams traded falls early on, with Lion junior Patrick Fitzgerald pinning Jordon Betz in 1:38 in the 138-pound bout. Law evened it at 6-6 when Mark Bluemer pinned Jerry Pellegrino in 2:57 at 145.

Richard Kratzer and Beau Garcia then recorded falls over Jason Savisky (3:38) and Devin Bannon (1:34) at 152 and 160 respectively, before Max German pulled Law within 18-12 with a pin in 92 seconds over Noah Hubler.

At 182, Law’s Kurt Holden earned a takedown in the first period of overtime to edge Cristian Woodford, 6-4. Woodford escaped with eight seconds left in the bout, but Holden battled back to score a takedown with one second left.

During the takedown, Holden was hit with a clasping violation, tying it at 4.

The Lawmen senior rebounded in overtime, winning it during the first session with a takedown.

Foran made its move from there, with seniors Zach Hubler (pin over Justin Cortes in 26 seconds) and Croll (pin over Dylan Lucas in 1:34) and sophomore heavyweight Edmondson (pin over Erik Chiarelli) piling up a total of 18 points through falls.

Lion freshman Gino Esposito then opened up a 15-1 advantage over Zach Anderson late in third period, before recording a pin at 5:17 at 106 pounds to increase Foran’s margin to 42-15.

Senior Jacob Pouliot’s fall over Luke Centore in 57 seconds at 113 closed out the Lions’ scoring.

Tim Rebentisch halted Law’s skid at 120, taking down Kyle Lang and gaining the pin in 40 seconds, to cut the deficit to 48-21.

Law’s Phillip Manes followed with a pin over Elijah Moretti in 63 seconds, before Sean Berg beat Jubilee Witte, 6-1, in the final bout of the night.

It was a solid start for the Lions, who finished second as a team in the Class M state tournament last year.

“It’s nice to start out and establish our place as the better team in Milford for this year,” Peters said. “Hopefully we’ll continue to set the tone and improve as the season goes on.”

Foran lost two New England qualifiers in C.J. Luth and Clay Callahan to graduation, but showed they still intend to be a force in the SCC and Class M.

“A lot of people look at this team as one that graduated two Open finalists,” Peters said. “I see it as one that has four returning Class M state place-winners… We have a young team that really knows what it’s like to be hungry for a victory now.”

Law will look to shake off the early season setback to its crosstown rivals and continue to gain experience for its newer grapplers.

“I don’t know if we wrestled them in three weeks, four weeks, if it would’ve made that much of a difference,” Schoonmaker said. “A senior wrestling a first-year sophomore isn’t going to make much of a difference.”