Wrestling: Foran High wearing mantle with pride

Foran High standards are high.

Since Dave Esposito took over the program in 2015, the Lions have been one of the top teams in Class M. Foran placed second in 2015, won the title in 2016, placed second in 2017 and added another championship in 2018.

Esposito and assistant coach Noel Luth captained the 1986 team at Foran. With Frank Peters’ the head man, the duo came aboard to help out for five years. Peters’ 2013 team placed second in the state.

The Lions opened their season last week with a 51-30 road win over Guilford High.

Foran won seven consecutive bouts.

The Woodmonters had seven wins by fall, four in the first period, to garner the victory.

Mike Giordano’s scored an 8-7 win at 152 pounds to end an 18-0 Guilford run to start the match.

After Giordano’s decision, K.J. Pokornowski pinned in 5:43 at 160 pounds.

Teddy Mauro won by first-period fall at 170, and Pat Brogan scored a pin in 1:19 of his 182-pound match to make it 21-18.

Billy Ives’ first-period pin was followed by falls from Nolan Bannon (3:16 at 220 pounds) and Philip Boyes (5:31 at heavyweight) to take the score to 37-18.

Guilford recovered to close within 37-30. Lions’ freshman Kyle Pokornowski pinned in 3:57 of his 120 pound bout. Jordan Lang’s win by fall in 1:52 at 126 pounds finished the night.

Foran High took second in the CJ McCormack Memorial Tournament in Berlin on Saturday.

Umer Khan at 170 pounds, Brogan at 182 pounds and Bannon in the 195-pound weight class won titles. Kyle Pokornowski was second at 120 pounds, Giordano runner-up at 152, Ives (by a 6-5 margin) second at 182 and Pat Rescanski gained the heavyweight final where he lost a 3-2 decision. K.J. Pokornowski was third at 160 pounds.

Taking fourths were Tanish Joshi at 113 pounds, Raul Valle at 138 and Tim Fitzgerald at 160.

Windham was third and Berlin fourth.

What does future hold?

What can stand in Foran’s way this season.

Well, it graduated Ryan Luth, its most decorated wrestler. Luth finishing his four-year career career with a 220-19 record. The 220 victories are the most in state history. As a senior, Luth went undefeated in the postseason – winning four straight tournaments and winning 15 straight matches at 152 pounds. He became the second wrestler in Southern Connecticut Conference history to win four straight SCC titles and he went onto claim his second consecutive Class M championship.

Luth won the State Open for the second year in a row and captured his second straight New England title with a triple overtime win over Devin Rivet of Bishop Hendricken, R.I. A two-time New England champion, Luth finished fifth at the Nationals.

Fellow graduates Qasim Khan (second states, fourth at Open at 220), Will Mauro (third states at 132) and Ronnie Gaul (fifth at 160) all wrestled at the Open.

Open qualifiers returning to the mat this season are senior Mike Giordano (third at 120 pounds in Class M), sophomore Ethan Edmondson (fifth at 138 pounds), senior Billy Ives (fourth at 182 pounds) and senior Nolan Bannon (fourth at 195 pounds).

Foran recorded points in all 14 weight classes and placed 12 wrestlers in the top six to win the state title a year ago.

Also back from that squad are senior Kevin Pokornowski (fourth at 145), senior Umer Khan (fourth at 170), senior Jordan Lang (fifth at 126) and junior Philip Boyles (sixth at heavyweight), junior Tanish Josho (106) and junior Ryan Jordan (120).

K.J. Pokornowski, Raul Valle, Barry Held and Anthony DiPietro lead newcomers to the varsity.

Next up for the Lions is a date at the Bristol Eastern Duals on Saturday, Dec. 22.