MILFORD >> With five wrestlers seeded third or better in their respective weight classes at this weekend’s Class M state championships, Foran has a realistic chance to duplicate the success it enjoyed last season.
Paced by two individual champions, the Lions finished second behind Ledyard in 2013. It was the best finish in program history. This year’s group is equally as talented, led by seniors Jake Pouliot and Zach Hubler.
“We still have high expectations for the team,” Foran coach Frank Peters said. “Individuals are seeded high enough that we can still make a good run in this tournament. Our goal is to finish as high as possible as a team, and to take as many kids to the (State Open) as we can.”
The Class M tournament begins with early rounds today at 4:30 p.m. at Law. Championship bouts are scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday night.
Pouliot (27-1), the Southern Connecticut Conference champion at 113 pounds, is seeded second behind Ellis Tech’s Michael Devanny. Pouliot’s only loss was to Windham’s Jacob Martin, who is 35-0 this season and seeded second in Class S.
“(Pouliot) is the type of kid that when he fully applies himself, there’s very few kids in the state that can hold a candle to him at 113,” Peters said. “He’s just a very tough kid, very competitive.”
Despite winning his first SCC championship, Pouliot admitted he has loftier goals.
“I was really happy to win it, but my season goal is to win Class M,” Pouliot said. “It was a confidence booster, but it wasn’t what I have my sights set on.”
Pouliot has wrestled at 113 for the past three seasons, but until this year has been undersized for that class. He finished fifth in Class M last year.
“This year he has really grown into that weight class,” Peters said. “It’s really shown with the strength advantage that he has.”
Mat time has also proved beneficial for Pouliot.
“Being a senior in a light-weight class, I have a lot of experience, more so than some of the other kids,” Pouliot said. “I think that gives me an edge.”
Hubler (37-1) is seeded second at 195. He lost a hard-fought 7-2 decision in overtime to Xavier’s Noah Cruz at the SCC championships. Peters believes Hubler, who placed fourth at 182 last season, is a legitimate contender to win the Class M title.
“He should be confident in himself that he has the potential to win it,” Peters said.
This week, Hubler has focused on correcting some of the mistakes that occurred at the SCC meet.
“Some of my coaches were looking at what I did wrong and I am just taking the coaching from them,” Hubler said. “Hopefully we’ll figure out what happened, and I can take it from there.”
Gino Esposito, who finished third at 106 at the SCCs, is seeded third in Class M. Ben Croll, who placed fourth at the SCCs, is the top seed at 220. Heavyweight Luke Edmonson is seeded second.
As a team, Foran has steadily progressed in recent years. That continued this season, and the future also appears promising.
“We eventually want to get to that state-championship level,” Hubler said. “If we all set our goals (high) and meet our goals, we’ll be at that level. Right now, we’re still growing, but I think you’re going to continue to see success in the future.”