Ryan Luth — state’s best going to Washington & Lee
Foran High wrestler Ryan Luth is Connecticut’s all-time leader in career wins with 203.
This past weekend, Luth placed fifth in the 152-pound division at the National High School Coaches Association Wrestling Championships at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
That placement earned Luth All-American honors for the third time.
Luth will take his 220-19 overall record to Washington & Lee University in Lexington (Va.), where he will wrestle for coach Nathan Shearer and the Generals in the Division III Centennial Conference.
When asked about the stand-alone moment he will bring with him, Luth didn’t hesitate to answer. It wasn’t being Milford’s only two-time New England champion or being named an Academic All American all four years.
“Winning Class M this year,” said Luth, who played his part by earning the Outstanding Wrestler Award after pinning four opponents in only three minutes and 44 seconds. “We had twelve guys place and all fourteen of us scored team points. That’s the neat part about wrestling — you have the team aspect and then you have an individual goal. They don’t have to be different.
“Our coaches (Dave Esposito and his Ryan’s dad Noel Luth) always tell us that we have to try and get better each day. When you do that, then the team is ready when it gets an opportunity to be great. Everybody played a part. When everything seemed stacked against us, we showed the heart needed to get the job done.”
Esposito said, “Ryan is the best wrestler I’ve ever seen. He’s won more matches than anyone in the state of Connecticut. He does it with style. He’s technically pure, he’s tough, he never gets tired. He’s like the perfect wrestler. Ryan is quite simply the best Connecticut wrestler I have ever seen. He is strong, tough, smart, and technically pure. He competes at a national level and holds his own with the best in this country.
“More importantly, he is not only a champion on the mat, but a champion in every phase of his life. He is a superb student, keeping a GPA above 4.5 and ranking in the top 10 in his class. He is an exemplary role model who works hard every single day, encourages his teammates, volunteers in the community, and despite all his successes, remains one of the most humble young men you could meet.
"A coach could wait his entire career for a student-athlete such as Ryan. I have been blessed to have been his coach for the last 12 or so years, and I am proud to simply have my name mentioned in the same breathe as his.”
Luth, however, has had his own dragons to slay.
He captured the 120-pound Class M title as a freshman. But, after posting a state-tieing mark of 55 wins as a sophomore he lost in the Class M finals (3-1 at 132 pounds).
“I never wanted to feel that way again,” he said. “But I did. I lost again at states as a junior (7-3 at 145 pounds).
“When you wrestle, failure is always right in front of you. It’s not an option you choose, you have to work past it. You tell yourself that every day there is someone out there working as hard or harder than you.”
Luth bounced back from his loss at states as a junior to win both State Open and New England titles.
He added titles in all three events this season.
“I thought I would go to school closer to home,” Luth said. “Then I met with the coaches from Washington & Lee. I went for a visit and felt comfortable with the school, the team and the class work offered. I’m leaning toward business, but I’m not going to rush my major.”
“I began with Milford Youth Wrestling in first grade,” Luth said. “My brothers (C.J. and Jack) started before me and I just followed. My mom (Mary-Ellen) knew wrestling was important to all of us. It’s hard to a wrestling mom, but she is always there for me.
“I’ve received support from family and friends and from my extended family. They came down from New Hampshire to watch me. It’s easier to compete at a high level when you know they have your back no matter what.”