Pride of Lions headed to New Englands
Foran’s Luke Edmondson escaped as time expired to win a 2-1 decision over Notre Dame-Fairfield’s Hakim Fleming in the 285-pound State Open wrestling final at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven on Feb. 27.
Edmondson and teammates Michael Ross and Ryan Luth, who both won bronze medals, qualified for the New England Championships next weekend at the Providence Career and Technical Center in Rhode Island.
“We work so hard,” Edmondson said. “We prepare so much for this moment. I’m just glad it all paid off.”
Ross took third place at 145, clipping Ed Lovely of Newtown, 4-3. At 132, Luth beat Ryan Angers of Tolland, 7-1, in their consolation-bracket final.
Gino Esposito placed fifth for the Class M champion Lions at 113, defeating Julio Javier Flores of Windham, 3-1.
New Fairfield won the team title with 115.2 points, followed by Danbury (112.5) and New Milford (111). Foran finished seventh overall with 89 points.
Edmondson, the No. 1 seed and last year’s State Open runner-up at 285, started off the tournament with a fall in 1:15 over Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech’s Pedro Galarza, the No. 17 seed. Edmondson then pinned eighth-seeded Desmond Washington of Trumbull in 2:52 of their quarterfinal bout. Washington placed fourth.
In the semifinals, Edmondson recorded his third pin of the Open — taking down fifth-seeded Josh Angel in 1:25 to punch his ticket to the final. Angel went on to take third.
“That definitely boosted my confidence,” Edmondson said of the victory over Angel. “And in the quarterfinals, I got revenge on somebody that I lost to earlier in the season.”
After a scoreless first period in the final, Fleming, the No. 2 seed, escaped four seconds into the second frame. Edmondson then chose down to the start the final frame, eventually tying the match at 1 when Fleming was cautioned a second time for stalling.
Just before the timer struck zeroes in the third, the Lion senior stood up, cleared his leg and faced Fleming to notch the escape and capture the Open title.
“Our coach does tell us always wrestle to the whistle,” said Edmondson, a senior. “If you don’t hear the whistle, they’ll (the officials) touch you.”
At 132, No. 8 seed Luth won a 17-1 technical fall over No. 24 Josh Veleas of Berlin High, before losing a 12-2 major decision to top-seeded Timmy Kane of Warde — the eventual champion.
Dropping down into the consolation bracket, the sophomore pinned H-K’s Matthew Jenkins, the No. 14 seed, in 2:27 and recorded a 16-1 technical fall over Simsbury’s Joshua Kowalski, the 10th seed.
Advancing on to the consolation semis, Luth edged third-seeded Alejandro Paulino of New London, avenging a 3-1 loss to Paulino in the final of last week’s Class M state tournament.
Against Angers, Luth used a pair of takedowns, a two-point nearfall and an escape to take third place.
Ross won a 15-0 technical fall over Fermi’s Chase LaRusso, before Lovely, the sixth seed, won a 6-4 decision over the third-seeded Ross in the quarterfinals.
After dropping into the consolation bracket, Ross won three straight matches; a 16-1 technical fall over Bristol Central’s Shane Oxton, a 3-0 minor decision against Danbury’s Justin Peterson and a fall in 2:04 over Ludlowe’s Bobby Clarke.
Ross, a junior, then avenged his earlier loss to Lovely, using a takedown and reversal to secure the victory.
Esposito, the No. 3 seed, won decisions over East Haven’s Antonio Lieto (10-4) and Trumbull’s Tristan Haviland (1-0), to advance to the semifinals, where he fell 6-0 to South Windsor’s Devon Schoenberger, who placed second.
In wrestlebacks, the Lion junior lost to No. 8 seed Nick Arborio, 4-2, in the consolation semis, before defeating Flores for fifth place.
Noah Hubler, at 160, won three matches in wrestlebacks before the senior lost 8-0 to Trumbull’s sixth-place finisher Joey Ryan in the consolation semis.
Qasim Khan picked up a win at 170, while fellow sophomore Will Mauro (120) and senior Jubilee Witte (138) also participated in the Open for coach Dave Esposito’s Lions.