Wrestling: Things falling into place for Wilton after consecutive wins

Winning for the second time in two days, the Wilton High wrestling team may have turned a corner in what has been a challenging season.

The Warriors defeated Westhill 43-33 at home on Thursday, which followed a 48-36 win over Staples the day before.

That raised the team’s record to 5-7, with only next Tuesday’s season finale at home against New Canaan before the FCIAC championships later next week.

“We’re wrestling the best we’ve wrestled all season, and this is the time to do that. So we’re peaking at the right time,” said head coach John Foldeak, whose team is filling more weight classes now and giving away fewer forfeits.

“Early in the season we were forfeiting four, five, six weight classes at times. Now that we’re consistently (forfeiting) two, three, we’re doing better. That absolutely helps.”

It was forfeits (six) that led to Wilton’s first-ever loss to Harding last month, a defeat that could keep the Warriors from finishing above .500.

On Thursday, however, the Warriors only gave away two weight classes. They came out aggressively and won by pin in the first four matches, courtesy of Will McArdle (140 pounds), Harry Winrow (147), Zach Zeyher (154) and Matt Beck (162).

Pins by Jared Gladstein (184) and Stefan Nobles (222) pushed the lead to 36-12. A major decision by Nick Rende at 108 pounds and 6-5 decision by Quinn Reedy at 128 sealed the win.

“The kids did what we set out to do. We were aggressive, going for the first takedown and first points. We worked for pins and that made a difference tonight,” said coach Foldeak. “We only forfeited two weights. We had to be a little creative and bump up kids. We had a 195 wrestle 220, and a 220 wrestle heavyweight.”

For an inexperienced, young team that has been plagued by injuries all season, the recent wins have the Warriors moving in the right direction.

“Our two biggest classes are freshmen and sophomores,” Foldeak said. “We’ve had several injuries. We only have 19 kids on the roster. Of those, five or six have had pretty significant injures – torn shoulder, fractured sternum, another blown-out shoulder. There’s some fairly significant stuff. We haven’t been able to really replace those kids. It’s difficult.”

But going into the regular season’s final week, the Warriors are more experienced and healthier than any time of the season.

“We're going in on a little bit of a roll. Hopefully, that carries us through to the FCIACs,” he said. “I feel confident going into New Canaan that we have a shot to win that (match).”

Foldeak said the Warriors could also surpass expectations at FCIACs.

“Some of the kids, their records are not where we want them to be. But if they wrestle tough they can wrestle through their seed. Hopefully, we can wrestle above our seed and do a little better than might be expected,” he said. “We have kids like (freshman) Zach Zeyher, who was out most of the season with an injury, so his record isn’t great. He’s better than his record.”

Another freshman, Rende, leads the team in wins (26) and has quickly established himself in the FCIAC and state.

“Nick Rende has had a tremendous freshman season," he said.  “We’re expecting him to do well and place at FCIACs and do well and hopefully place at Ls.”

Results for Thursday’s match:

Wilton 43, Westhill 33

140 - Will McArdle (Wil) pinned John Edwards, 3:20;

147 - Harry Winrow (Wil) pinned Dylan Martin, 1:22;

154 – Zach Zeyher (Wil) pinned Derek Adams, 3:28;

162 – Matt Beck (Wil) pinned Gabriel Fitzgerald, 3:15;

172 – Jordan Goins (West) won by forfeit;

184 – Jared Gladstein (Wil) pinned Tanner Gibbs, 1:03;

197 – Davonte Jeffers (West) pinned Marty Zoruba, 3:12;

222 – Stefan Nobles (Wil) pinned Adrian Fabes, 3:31;

287 – Dillon Gonzalez (West) dec. Riley Kennedy, 6-2;

108 – Nick Rende (Wil) maj. dec. Evan Torres, 10-2;

115 – Josh Appel (West) pinned Finn McGovern, 3:22;

122 – Matt Conte (West) won by forfeit;

128 – Quinn Reedy (Wil) dec. Andrew Blum, 6-5;

134 – Brandon Chejin (West) pinned Greyson Kennedy, 3:43.