January 15, 2009


Senior night at Homer suffers unhappy ending


Rich Barnes/contributing photographer
Homer Central senior Saxon Sprouse lifts Tyler Avery off the mats during Wednesday’s OHSL Freedom match at 135 pounds. Sprouse won by pin, though Solvay prevailed 48-27.

Staff Writer

For three Homer Central wrestling seniors, it was a special night with a disappointing ending.
Trojans Ben Chace, Saxon Sprouse and Shane Davis were all honored in pre-match ceremonies Wednesday night before their final home matches of the season. It was not a happy occasion overall as 30 forfeit points allowed visiting Solvay to post the 48-27 OHSL Liberty Division victory on Senior Night.
The Trojans (1-3 league, 10-13 overall) won the eight contested matches by a 27-18 count, Solvay, who has a larger squad this season by having some additional kids from Westhill and Christian Brothers Academy on the squad, is now 1-3, 4-4 overall.
“It was strange wrestling my final home match,” said senior captain Saxon Sprouse. “It really hasn’t dawned on me yet that I won’t be out here again. There is nothing I can be about that, but I did my best tonight and got a win for the team.”
Sprouse improved to 19-5 this season when he struck Tyler Avery at the 2:39 mark of the 135-pound match. His win tied the match at 6-6 after Aaron Benedict received a forfeit at 130 to begin the night.
Nate Crawford gave the Trojans three more points after he posted a 7-1 decision over Ian Rogers at 140. Crawford is now 22-4 this season, and shares the 57 career win mark with Sprouse.
“Both of these guys were really disappointed about not making sectionals last year,” said Homer coach Jeff Lewis. “Saxon has been a leader for us as has Nate. It is nice to see them having the success that they have had this year and in their careers. We will miss Saxon next season, but it is also nice to know that Nate will be back.”
Chace was looking real good at 152, but he aggressive style came back to bite him. He made a nice escape move to start the third period, but his momentum was too much and he got caught, and pinned, by Mitch Anthony at the 4:36 mark..
“You can’t win them all,” Chace replied after seeing his record level off at 13-13 this season. “You just go out and try to do your best each time. It is hard to believe that I have wrestled for 13 years and it is almost over.
“Our goal all year has been to win more matches than the other team on the mat,” he added. “For the most part, we do that. You can’t count all those points we give up each match to begin with.”
“Ben really wrestles hard every match and he sometimes gets himself in trouble,” said Lewis. “He is a tough kid and sometimes, things just go that way. He has given a lot to our program.”
The Bearcats helped secure the team win with pinfalls at 152 and 160, but the Trojans picked up three more wins on the night.
The first was by the final senior on the Trojan roster. It also had a lighter moment as well.
Leading 4-0 after the first period, Davis started in the down position and quickly went for the two-point reversal. As he was successful, he rolled John Racciatti on his back. Though he was also on his back, Davis was on top and completing the pinning maneuver. Davis took a moment to nod and smile at Nate Crawford’s father, Greg, who films the matches for Coach Lewis. Davis upped his record to 11-6 this season with seven pins.
“I just saw the camera and decided to nod,” chuckled Davis afterwards. “It was just something that came to me. I wanted to have some fun in my final home match. I told coach it was senior night, so he wasn’t too upset with me.”
“Shane is one of those wrestlers who has really grown the most,” said Lewis. “He used to have trouble just making through practices, but to see him come out here in his senior year and come into his own. He really has picked up quite a few points for us this year.”
Ryan Murray followed with a pinfall of Bradley Pozzi at the 1:34 mark of their match at 189 pounds, which pulled the Trojans back to within 24-21, but the next four weight classes (215, 103, 112, 119) were all forfeits to Solvay. Murray is 22-6 this season with 11 pins.
With one match remaining, Ben McBride improved to 15-11 by pinning Joe Merola in three minutes to wrap-up Senior Night with one final Trojan victory.
“Giving up 30 points is a lot,” Lewis said. “We just looked at it match by match and I was pleased with what we did.”
At the end of the night, Solvay coach Joe Caloia was pleased with his team’s win, but also knows how Coach Lewis feels working with low numbers.
“Cirro Nicolletti at 160 and Mitch Anthony at 145 got good wins for us tonight,” said Caloia. “There are all good wins, but Mitch really can wrestle anywhere from 130 to 145 and has. He has been on the varsity for four years now.
“We do have some good numbers this year,” Caloia added. “We do have some kids from Westhill and CBA to help fill the weight classes. I know where Coach Lewis is all the forfeits, but I know this program at Homer will bounce back.”
Homer will have a few days off before returning to Liberty Division action Tuesday at Marcellus.