Wrestling: Wilton low on numbers, but not on talent

Filling every weight bracket has always been a challenge for the Wilton High wrestling team.

This year, head coach John Foldeak won’t have to spend time worrying about it.

With only 13 wrestlers on the roster, and 14 weight classes, there’s no way the Warriors will be able to cover every class.

“There’s nothing I can do about it,” said Foldeak. “We’re not going to fill all the weight classes. We’re going to fill as many classes as we can with some creative coaching and bumping up, but there’s only so much you can do.”

The Warriors open their season on Wednesday at Stamford.

In addition to losing wrestlers to graduation, the team lost six starters who were expected to return. Four transferred to private schools and two opted not to wrestle this year.

A small freshman class, with only two wrestlers, did not offset those losses.

“We graduated a lot of kids the last two years,” said Foldeak, noting that his smallest team before this season still had 25 wrestlers.

The small team will mean Wilton will have a hard time winning dual matches, since it will be giving up so many points to forfeits.

“We will probably forfeit three weight classes. We’re going to give up at least 18 points in each match,” he said. The team has nobody for the 195-, 220- and 285-pound weight classes, he added.

On the positive side, the Warriors do return some talented wrestlers, who have the potential to advance deep into tournaments and score points. That is where Wilton will have its most success, said Foldeak.

“It’s a different focus for us. We have to focus on the tournaments and getting kids ready a little more for individual success. As a team, we’re not going to be competitive.”

The top returning wrestlers is sophomore Nick Rende, coming off an outstanding freshman season that saw him finish third at the FCIAC championships at 106 pounds, fourth at the Class L championship, and qualify for the State Open. He then won two matches at the Open. His final record of 33-10 was by far the best on the team.

Rende will again wrestle at 106 pounds, but can bump up to 113, too, as Wilton has two other wrestlers at the 106 class.

One of those is another sophomore, Finn McGovern, who finished second at FCIACs last season at 99 pounds and is looking to build on that success.

Three other key returners are senior captains Matt Beck, Quinn Reedy and Jared Gladstein.

Reedy, a four-year varsity wrestler, is coming off a 21-16 season that saw him place fifth at the FCIAC championships at 126 pounds. This season, he will wrestle at the 132-pound weight class.

Gladstein, a third-year varsity wrestler, is back at the 182-pound weight class after going 11-14 last season, while Beck will wrestle in the 150 to 160 range after going 6-8 last season at 162 pounds.

Foldeak is looking for big things from sophomore Zach Zeyher, who missed most of last season with an injury before finally getting on the mat and finishing with a record of 2-2. Wrestling in the 152-pound weight class, as a freshman, he won two matches at the Class L tournament. He starts the season in the 160-pound range.

Other returning wrestlers include seniors James Arbisi and Jack Walsh, and juniors Greyson Kennedy  and Alec Favarolo. Arbisi, who saw some action last season in the heavyweight division, has dropped 70 pounds and will be wrestling at 170 this season. Walsh, Kennedy and Favarolo (who sat out last season with an injury) will all wrestle at around 140 pounds.

Senior Tanner Cho, who wrestled as a freshman and then moved out of town, before moving back, will wrestle at 152.

Rounding out the roster are the two freshmen — Travis Longo, who wrestles at 106, and Sabrina Hartz, who will wrestle at 126.