January 18, 2007


Quick starting CHS tops Trojans


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland High’s Montana Sanders (left) tries to get to the legs of Saxon Sprouse of Homer Central during Wednesday’s 130-pound match. Sanders won a wild 19-12 decision in Cortland’s victory.

Staff Writer

The winner of the annual Cortland High-Homer Central wrestling match always hinges on the success of the early matches and that crucial wave of momentum.
For the third straight season, the Purple Tigers of CHS found that crest first and used the momentum to post the victory.
Cortland won five of the first six matches Wednesday night to defeat host Homer 37-18 for an emotional OHSL Freedom Division victory. The Purple Tigers improve to 2-2 in the division, 22-8 overall, while the Trojans fall to 0-4 in league action and 4-8 overall.
“I just wanted to get a win,” said Cortland junior Cody Cute after his 11-6 decision over Elijah Vaber gave the Tigers a crucial 22-6 advantage. “We did not want to give them the early motivation. I bumped up in (weight) for the team. I did what I had to do the help our team.”
The varsity contest began at 140 pounds with junior A.J. Meldrim (24-10) giving Cortland and 6-0 lead after he pinned Joe Riley at the 3:23 mark, but Homer senior Mark Brenchley (16-9) answered in the next match at 145 by sticking Garrett Wyatt at the 3:12 mark to even the score at 6-6.
The Tigers began a four-bout run at 152 pounds as sophomore Brandon Fitzgerald (26-8) dominated Ryne Austin for a 16-4 majority decision and four team points. Another sophomore, Dan Foster posted his 32nd win of the season as he decisioned Logan Williams by an 8-4 count in a tough 160-pound bout. Sophomore Josh Morehouse (26-5) continued the early run at 171 pounds when he pinned Ryan Murray in 1:37. Colby closed out the run with his win at 189.
Mike DiOrio (18-5) kept his team in the match as the Homer senior built a 5-0 lead through two periods before pinning Jon Wood with 18 seconds left in the match.
With the team score at 22-12, Cortland retook control as the lightweights took to the mat.
Eighth-grader Garret Morse (14-4) started the clinching run for the Tigers by pinning Trojan freshman Ryan Sparrow in 1:46 at 103 and sophomore Mike Gates improved to 28-4 with a 6-0 decision over freshman Ben McBride at 112.
With hopes for a team will beginning to fade. Homer senior Zak Quirello fanned the Trojan flames with a 6-0 decision over a less-than-100 percent Clint Morse, who is nursing a sore back. Quirello (7-1) really wanted the pinfall, but Morse fought off one nearfall during the second period and only allowed Homer three points in the 119-pound bout.
“When I first came to Homer, I did not know what to expect from the school and this match with Cortland,” said Quirello, a transfer from Maine-Endwell High School in Section 4. “I just went out and wanted to do my best. I always try to get in my opponent’s head and I was able to do that a little against Clint. I wanted to be physical and I wanted do my best.
“Even though we lost as a team, I thought, as a team, we really did wrestle quite well,” Quirello added “This was a big change coming to Homer. I did not know anyone, but the guys really took me in. It is really like a family here. I really enjoy being here.”
With three matches remaining and Cortland holding a 31-15 lead, Homer needed three big wins, including two pins. Cortland junior Barry Kinney (25-6) closed the door on any late Trojan comeback as he scored two reversals holding on to a thrilling 4-2 decision over Homer freshman Nate Crawford at 125.
The 130-pound match between Cortland sophomore Montana Sanders and Homer sophomore Saxson Sprouse turned out to be the most action-packed bout of the night.
Sprouse took a 5-2 lead in the first period after a three-point nearfall. Sanders roared back in the second quarter and, with the help of one penalty point for stalling and a couple of nearfalls, raked up eight more points in their match. Sprouse added six points of his own and led 11-10 entering the final period.
Sanders allowed Sprouse one escape point on an optional start to begin the period before going to work. After tying the match at 12-12 with a takedown, Sanders scored three near falls (two for two points each and one for three points) and improved to 12-4 after a 19-12 decision.
“It was a little funny wrestling against Homer,” said Sanders, one of two younger brothers of Blaze Sanders who wrestled for the Trojans and posted 96 career wins before graduating in 2004. Montana and younger brother Brian, A.K.A. Shaq, are in their second year at Cortland as wrestlers. “I wrestled well, but he (Saxson) wrestled a lot better than the last time I wrestled against him.”
Has Montana felt any pressure to live up to what his older brother did on the mat?
“There is a little pressure, but I really plan to set my own path. I want to make sectionals and do the best I possibly can.”
In the final match of the night, Homer senior Adam Blanden showed what the heart of a Cortland-Homer match in all about. It would be his final match of the season and the Trojan gutted out a 6-3 decision over Corby Reynolds for the final Homer points. Blanden explained why this was a very risky match.
“I wrestled against my doctor’s advice and the advice of my parents,” said Blanden, who has a serious shoulder injury that has and will keep him out of action. “I knew my team would need points and I was hoping I would help us win, but I was glad that I could come out and beat my first Cortland wrestler. I am a senior and this was my last Cortland-Homer match, I won’t lie, I was nervous. Coach Lewis talked to me and helped me settle down. I was really tired in the third period. Corby surprised me with his intensity. I was impressed with that and glad I was able to get a win.”
At the end of the long night, both coaches summed up their teams and the effort put forth.
“It is always good win,” said Cortland coach Dave Darrow. “We just want to keep working hard as a team. We are tired because we have wrestled a lot of matches lately. This (Homer) match is always like this. The ebb flows one way and then it changes. Some matches end up closer than they should and some guys who should win don’t. We did the right things tonight and our young team got another win. We are still missing some guys with injuries, but these guys keep finding a way to win matches. These our great kids. They really work hard.”
“We just did not win the close matches,” said Homer coach Jeff Lewis. “That caused the match to swing the other way. We gave up a lot of points in the final seconds of periods. You cannot do that against good teams because their guys will take advantage of that and win. You can look at both rosters and we are similar in what grades the kids are in, but the tell-tale sign is the actual mat experience. That is where Cortland does have that edge.
“We even have first-year seniors which, don’t get me wrong because I am glad we have a full team, but, wrestling is not a sport you pick up in one year. Not having that mat experience does hurt. The kids are working hard in practice and in every match,” he said.
Cortland High will return to the mats Saturday as the Tigers travel to the Irondequoit Tournament in Section 5. Homer Central will return to action Saturday at the Mike Dana Ironman Duals held at South Jefferson High School. Spartan coach Pat Conner stepped up and offered to host the tournament normally held in Tully. The Black Knights dropped wrestling this season due to low numbers.


Purple Tigers hang tough until final quarter at J-D

DeWITT — Despite the final outcome, Cortland High boys’ basketball coach Mick Lowie was pleased with his team’s performance Wednesday night in a 79-55 road loss to Jamesville-DeWitt.
“For three quarters we gave the number one (Class A) team in the state everything it could handle,” Lowie said. “I think it was just a matter of depth. Every kid on that team can play, and score. They were rotating players in an out all night, and we kind of ran out of gas.
“It was a case of too much explosiveness from them and our spending what we had. In my opinion, he didn’t have his best five kids on the floor together until the fourth quarter,” he added.
The Purple Tigers, now 4-5 in the OHSL Freedom Division and 10-6 overall, trailed 17-10 after one quarter and 29-24 at halftime before a 21-19 third-quarter advantage got them to within three, at 48-45, heading into the fourth. The Red Rams (9-0, 15-1) exploded for 31 points in the final eight minutes while holding their visitors to just 10.
“They hit a couple of shots, got a couple of breakaways, got the lead up to 10 or 12 and we got into panic mode,” Lowie said. “We started shooting quickly and got perimeter-oriented, and due to fatigue were missing. Long shots mean long rebounds, and they were off to_the races.
“We had been very patient offensively, had gotten good shots and were scoring, and had worked the ball inside well, where Tom Wilk did a good job against their big man, (6-foot-10) Nick Pascale. Defensively we started out in a zone, which they torched, so we went man-to-man and cut down their scoring a little and did some good things offensively in the second, including 3-pointers from Kaywon Pittman and Derek Allen.”
While Wilk had 14 points and five rebounds, Lowie noted it was senior guard Joel White who he said: “took over in the third quarter and single-handedly carried us. He put on a pretty good show, and when he wasn’t scoring he had some real nice assists to Wilk inside.”
White had 13 points in the third quarter including a trio of 3-pointers.
J-D led throughout, though CHS pulled even at 43-43 with 1:47 left in the third quarter. J-D then scored five of the last seven points of the quarter to regain control, and expanded on the lead from there.
“People think that without Brandon Triche J-D isn’t a good team,” Lowie said of the Red Rams’ sophomore standout guard who was lost for the season with a knee injury last month. “I’m sorry, but they’re still very, very good. They just have so many weapons.”
White led Cortland with 23 points and also had eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. Wilk had 14 points and five rebounds, J-D winning the boards 37-22.
Lowie cited Allen (five points, three assists), Pittman (three points, four rebounds, defense), Dan Leonard (six points off the bench) and Levi Walrath (four rebounds early) for their individual efforts.
Pascale led J-D with 23 points while Alshwan Hymes added 18 and Mickey Davis. That trio, plus Greg Stern and Sam Cieplicki, make up J-D’s top five-player unit, Lowie said.
CORTLAND JVs led a powerhouse J-D squad most of the way but were outscored 19-9 in the fourth quarter and dropped a 65-63 decision to fall to 9-5. Kevin Shaw had 19 points and Jeff brown nine to lead the Purple Tigers, who led 18-7 after one quarter, 40-27 at halftime and 54-46 after three.
Lamar Kearse had a game-high 22 points for the Red Rams, while John Sheedy and Taccari Davis added 12 apiece.

Both CHS squads visit Mexico Friday, the JV game set to start at 5:30 p.m.


Dryden upset denied

DRYDEN —Dryden High nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the Interscholastic Athletic Conference wrestling season, but two crucial forfeits by the visiting Purple Lions allowed Tioga to escape with a 41-36 victory.
In a pair of non-league matches, an injury-depleted Marathon Olympian team lost to Walton 42-34 and host Oxford 30-29 in a double-dual meet.
Tioga 41, Dryden 36: “I told the team Tuesday at the conclusion of practice that anything can happen in an athletic contest,” said Dryden coach Larry Hinkle. “I also told the team that I believe in Cinderella outcomes. It almost happened. We were on the verge of upsetting the sixth-ranked team in the state, but just didn’t have the horses at toward the end. We needed just one more pin to do it.”
Forfeits at 119 and 125 gave Tioga 12 crucial points that Dryden (3-4 league, 4-12 overall) almost overcame.
The Purple Lions get pinfalls from James Gleason (112), Levi Relyea (140), Pat Perkins (145), Rex Hollenbeck (160) and Tony Clarke (215) while Anthony Jerome (135) won by injury default.
AT OXFORD, it was a tough day as the Olympians forfeited at 145, 160, 171 and 189 in both matches due to injuries and once at 112, with no match at that weight class against Oxford.
“We wrestled well tonight, but with four kids out due to injury, we just could not get the team a win tonight,” said Marathon coach Jamie Bush.
The Olympians got two wins each from Frank Davis (103), Mikhail Brown, Tyler Malmberg, Kasey Bush, Scot Torbitt and Dan Morehouse.
AT GROTON, Southern Cayuga posted a 49-24 victory.
Groton earned half of its points of forfeits and the other half by pinfalls. Cal Conner (112) and Chris Ingalls (119) received the forfeits while Brandon Davidson (140) and Matt Hinman (145) earned the pinfalls.