January 13, 2011
Tigers make it exciting
CHS overcomes 26-0 deficit before losing on final match
On a night when Bob Valentino (Class of 1953) became the 10th member of the Cortland High School Wrestling Hall of Fame, youth was also served as the Purple Tigers hosted Jamesville-DeWitt/CBA/Solvay in a non-league match between a pair of squads filled with underclassmen.
In fact, the final result hinged on a 125-pound bout between a pair of freshmen, with the visitors’ Matt Lauro scoring a 9-2 win over Alec Edwards to give his team a 40-39 win.
“It was exciting,” said CHS coach Dave Darrow, his team now 5-7 overall heading into another non-leaguer tonight at Marathon starting at 5:30 p.m. “I told the kids it would come down to the last match. We just needed one more in there. That one and 135 were good matches. We had our opportunities.”
At 135 pounds, Ben Honis was an 8-6 winner over Cortland’s Ryan Webber.
“We were down 26-0 and came back to lead 27-26,” added Darrow, whose squad was also in front at 39-37. “That’s what high school wrestling is all about. It hurts to have to forfeit (as the Purple Tigers did at 103). When you do that you have to be clean the rest of the way, and win an extra one somewhere.
“We had a chance going into the last match. Alec is young and just needs more experience.”
“I knew it would be close,” said CBA/J-D/Solvay coach Trevor LeBlanc, a former SUNY Cortland mat standout. “I knew my young guys — we’re a young team, mostly freshmen and sophomores — would have to come through. Some did and some didn’t. I knew it would rest on the shoulders of one of them. It just depended on what weight class we started at. I was very confident. Matt is doing a great job. That match at 135 was a big one for us, too.
“This is only our second varsity season, and we have a great bunch of young kids. We just want to keep improving. Cortland hammered us last year (54-24), so we’re on track.”
As Darrow noted, the visitors (6-2 overall) got off to a 26-0 lead by recording three pins, a technical fall and a decision in the first five bouts. Cortland then won the next five, four by pin, to go up 27-26. Senior Garret Morse (now 16-4 with seven pins) got things started by pinning George Kassis in just 19 seconds at 160, and senior Tyler Thayer (9-2, six pins) followed by flattening Paul D’Antonio in 2:54 at 171.
After senior Luke Bush (8-7) scored a 5-3 decision over Ryan VanPatten at 189, sophomore Andy Price (10-7, six pins) needed 4:58 to put Zach Shapiro’s shoulders to the mat at 215. Sophomore Paul Turco then gave the hosts the lead by pinning Corey Plumley in 51 seconds at 285.
A technical fall and the forfeit in the next two bouts gave J-D/CBA/Solvay the lead back at 37-27, but the Purple Tigers then recorded two more pins to retake the lead at 39-27. Sophomore Zack Alexander (17-4, eight pins) took just 44 seconds to pin Max Havens at 112, and eighth-grader Tanner VanDee (7-10, four pins) flattened Brad Carr in 4:25 to set the stage for the final bout.
“I was a little nervous, but I knew what I had to do,” said Lauro, who is from Solvay and improved to 3-4 on the season. “I just had to play it smart and try to win. As soon as we got into the match a little, I felt pretty confident. It felt great when I heard the (final) buzzer. I was so relieved.”
Lauro led 2-0 after one period, getting a takedown 10 seconds in. Edwards made it 2-2 with a reversal six seconds into the second period, but Lauro then went ahead to stay with a reversal of his own with 1:04 left in the middle stanza. He started the third period in the down position and got a reversal 21 seconds in to make it 6-2, then got three late back points on a near-pin to account for the final margin.
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