Mindset Motivates Team’s Success

Bill O'Brien PhotoWhen there are 14 weight classes in a high school wrestling match, it would seem unreasonable to expect too much success if you don’t have the personnel to fill upwards of five of those spots. Well, that hasn’t happened with the Branford wrestling team and their new coach Jesse Hurlburt.

Bill O'Brien Photo“We wrestled with aggression and pride, which is all we have asked of our kids,” said Coach Hurlburt, after the Hornets’ loss to the Amity Spartans on Tuesday. “It’s very hard to win a dual (meet) when you are forfeiting five weight classes, but that has not stopped this team from winning 13 matches this year.”  Under these circumstances Branford’s record is currently an impressive 13-10 on the season.

Bill O'Brien PhotoAt the Amity match, Branford won three of the nine weight categories they competed in. Senior Zach Cash won the 160-weight class with a pin over Amity’s Sam Keylock at 2:40, senior Kyle Zalewski pinned Andrew Coscia at 1:32 and sophomore Cody Mchenry won a decision over Andrew Seaton, 9-4. (pictured above)

Bill O'Brien PhotoHere the official raises Senior Zach Cash’s arm after pinning Amity’s Sam Keylock in the 160-lb. class at 2:40.

Bill O'Brien PhotoSophomore Cody Mchenry won a decision over Andrew Seaton, 9-4.

Bill O'Brien PhotoSenior Stella Kelly, the only female on the team, lost by “tech fall” at 4:15. A “tech fall” is when an opponent is ahead by 15 points in a match. It’s like the mercy rule some sports have. It speeds up the competition.

Bill O'Brien PhotoUp and coming Freshman Peyton Tracy competed at 120 and lost on a tech fall to Amity senior Christian Chadwick at 4:23. 

Bill O'Brien PhotoSophomore Minsok Lee lost a close decision to Amity’s Simon Flaherty 3-2 in the 182 class.

Bill O'Brien PhotoJunior Brendan Shamas wrestled at 126 and was pinned at 2:10 by Aiden Hebert. 

Bill O'Brien PhotoSenior Jake McPartland lost a decision in the 195-weight class 10-6 to Josh Foote.

Bill O'Brien Photo“We have an amazing group of seniors that we will miss, who have done a lot for our program, but we are lucky to have some great freshmen and upper classmen that love this sport,” said the coach. He has been with the Branford wrestling program for eight years and became the head coach this season succeeding Chris Bonagiuso.

Bill O'Brien Photo“We have been working hard on our mindset this year and believing in ourselves, which has helped us along the way. I’ve asked the kids what they want their legacy to be when they leave this school, what their goals are, and I think that had been a driving force for the year.”

Bill O'Brien PhotoWhen asked about the future, Hurlburt said, “With the determination and eagerness we have with the young guys we have, and the support of great parents, our program is on the rise.”

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