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January 19, 2010

 

CHS-Homer up for grabs

By TOM VARTANIAN and TANEY BEAUMONT
Staff Writers

As the OHSL Freedom Division regular season winds down, the local highlight match of the season has arrived.
On Wednesday, Cortland High will host Homer Central in the latest battle of the two local wrestling programs at 5:30 p.m. in Shafer Gymnasium. The Trojans come into the contest with a 17-7 overall record (2-2 division) while the Purple Tigers are 7-5 overall (2-1 division).
The Trojans snapped a six-match losing streak to the Purple Tigers back on Nov. 28 in the first round of the Cortland Dual Meet Tournament by a narrow 33-31 margin. In the past 10 meetings, Cortland has enjoy the upper hand by winning seven of the encounters.
Both coaches are looking for this rematch to be just as close as the first meeting.
“It should be a good match,” Cortland coach Dave Darrow said. “It will be fun. We’re giving them a dozen points (with two forfeits), but that’s the way it is. We’ve been on the other end of that, with a full lineup, getting forfeits and beating teams, for years. This is a rebuilding year for us. It could have been horrible, but it’s not. I’m very pleased with how things have gone with what we have talent-wise. We have a lot of JVs in the varsity lineup.
“We could have won just two matches this year, and we’re sitting at seven. We’ve been in the top five in three of four tournaments (not counting their own) and our JV kids have lost maybe four or five matches total in those. But Homer definitely has the advantage. They’re older than we are. We’ll see how we wrestle.”
“I think it will be another barnburner,” Homer coach Jeff Lewis predicted. “We did win in their tournament, but it was close. Neither team is going to win in a blowout.
“It really comes down to who has gained the most experience during the season. Whichever team is on that night will probably come out on top.”
Cortland is led by seniors Eric Reisweber (21-3), Cody Hartmann (17-2) and Jason DeGouff (14-10), plus juniors Garret Morse (20-4) and Luke Bush (13-10).
Homer is led by the senior group of Carter O’Gorman (23-5), Nate Crawford (21-3), Ben McBride (20-9), Ryan Murray (19-8) and James Cochran (18-10), along with freshman Nick Petrie (18-11).
Does either team have an advantage since they did see each other in the opening match of the season?
“It doesn’t matter,” Darrow replied. “We know pretty much what they do. We had a couple of kids who weren’t there, wrestled well and came up short. That match was a long time ago. The young kids get better, older kids don’t.”
“Strange things tend to happen in this match,” Lewis stated. “We have both wrestled tough against some good opponents this season, including each of us losing to Fulton. We have both slotted guys into spots at this point, but changes happen on the fly depending on how the match is going.”
Until Cortland won at Shafer Gymnasium during the 2005-2006 season, home-mat advantage meant little and both coaches don’t think it does matter.
“With the history of this, probably not,” Darrow said of being the home team. “But it’s a match where stupid things happen with a big crowd and the emotion.”
“I really think most matches, home or away, are determined by the strengths of the teams, which weight class starts the night,” Lewis added. “Momentum is so important.”
— The annual CHS-Homer wrestling match is just part of a week of showdowns between the two neighbors, starting with tonight’s basketball match-ups.
The first-place Cortland boys will visit last-place Homer this evening in an OHSL Freedom Division match-up, with the girls’ squads tipping off with the same 5:30 p.m. junior varsity starting time at Shafer Gymnasium in Cortland.
On Wednesday, the CHS volleyball team visits Homer looking to avenge an earlier loss to the Trojans in an OHSL Freedom Division match.