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January 21, 2016

Homer’s Cline gets 100th win

WrestlingBob Ellis/staff photographer
Isaac Cline, of Homer, spins around from Central Square’s Andy Nicholson in the 113-pound match Wednesday at SUNY Cortland. Cline won the match, his 100th win of his high school wrestling career.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

Isaac Cline earned his 100th career win and Homer Central made a strong showing in its first home wrestling match, but it still was not enough for the Trojans to pull out a victory Wednesday night.
Senior Cline became the seventh wrestler in school history to reach the 100-win plateau with a 14-4 majority decision over Andy Nicholson during their 113-pound pound as the Trojans fell 38-35 to Central Square in a non-league Senior Night match at SUNY Cortland’s Corey Gymnasium.
Homer is now 10-10 on the season. Central Square improves to 14-15.
“I was really looking forward to a pin, but an 18-4 win wasn’t bad,” Cline said. “I’ve worked very hard. Every win counts so I am glad I got 100.
“It’s disappointing to lose by three points, but we really did battle hard,” he continued. “We lost by 19 the last time we battled these dudes in a dual meet. We did come back this time and battled hard. I am proud of the guys.”
The 19-point setback Cline referred to was a 50-31 loss to the Red Hawks Jan. 2 during the Akley Duals in Oswego. It was Cline, Cameron Cronk, Dylan Hotchkiss and the injured Jeremiah Bush who were honored before the match as part of the Senior Night activities.
Cline is 26-4 this season and 100-29 for his career.
“Isaac has been our spark plug all year,” Homer coach Jason Reynolds said. “We have always been able to count on him to give us his best effort. A hundred wins is huge and being just the seventh guy with all the great history of this Homer program is really something special to be proud of and something he can build on the rest of the season.”
HOMER GOT OFF to a good start.
Gabe Cline used a third period near fall to pull out a 7-6 victory over Brent Tyrell in the first match of the evening at 126 pounds.
Cronk followed by pinning Casey Brennan 46 seconds into the second period of their 132-pound bout. He improved to 20-7 this season and recorded his 85th career win.
“It was really great to get a win on Senior Night,” Cronk said. “Today was the one night that was about me and my buddies. We been here and put our time in over the last four years. It feels good to go out on my night and get it down for my team.
“We were missing a lot of weight classes in the beginning of the season, but we are getting people back into it,” he added. “It really makes everyone want to work harder to get where we want to be at the end of the season.”
Peter Davis gave Homer a 13-0 lead with a convincing 14-4 majority decision over Nick Ackley at 138 pound, but the tide began to turn after this match.
Central Square ran off five straight wins.
A majority decision, three pins and two forfeits put the Red Hawks in front 34-13. Paul Morse lost a tough 170-pound bout to Central Square’s Jamie Battaglia when he was pinned just before the buzzer sounded in the third period. Hotchkiss was also the victim of a pinfall loss as he was stuck by Isaac Havens at the 3:45 mark of their 220-pound bout.
“Overall, it was a much better match for the team than when we wrestled them a couple of weeks ago,” Hotchkiss said. “It was a better overall outcome in the way the team pulled together.”
Hotchkiss got a later start than the rest of the team due to a football injury, but he is still 15-5 with 14 pins after this loss.
“I still really need to work not getting pinned if I’m not pinning my guy,” Hotchkiss said with a smile. “That is what I really need to focus on right now.”
IT WAS HERE that Homer started its own comeback.
Junior heavyweight Reno Gaffney used a show of force in dominating Zach Stultz at 285 pounds. Gaffney improved to 13-9 with his ninth pinfall as he stuck Stultz in 1:24. That made the score 33-19 as Central Square lost a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct. Stultz pinned Gaffney in 1:17 in the match at Oswego and the Trojan returned the favor.
Nick Rice received a forfeit at 99 pounds as the Trojans closed to within 33-25, but the Red Hawks sealed the match at 106 when Peyton Rupracht got a technical fall over Josh Markley for a 38-25 win. The most Homer could have done was gain 12 points with two matches remaining and still fallen a point short.
Isaac Cline posted his win at 113 and Noah Thomas received a forfeit at 120 for the final Trojan points.
“I was proud of the guys,” Reynolds said. “They have been resilient all year. These guys don’t use their youth as an excuse. They really have worked hard.
“Both teams made some adjustments tonight,” he continued. “It just didn’t work out for us this time.”
Isaac Cline, Cronk and Hotchkiss offer some thought on their careers winding down.
“Every year goes by and it’s finally here,” Cline said. “It’s like wow, the end of the season is right around the corner. You just give it all you’ve got. It really does open your eyes when you’re a senior. It’s right there.”
“It’s been my plan to get my name up on the wall the past four years,” Cronk said. “This is the year, my final year, to get that done.”
“The time is really going by fast,” Hotchkiss said. “It’s going a lot faster than I want it to. I’m just trying to make the best I can out of it and cherish every moment that I have.”
Wrestling at SUNY Cortland was special for the seniors and the entire team.
“It is a great experience,” Cline said, “I love it.”
“It felt great to be able to wrestle here,” Hotchkiss added. “I was grateful for this opportunity.”
“It is a nice experience for the guys and it’s like a homecoming for me,” Reynolds said. “I spent a lot of blood, sweat and tears here. I have a lot of love for the Cortland State program. For them to allow us to have a home match here for the kids is great. They don’t have to do this, but it really helps out our kids and our program.”
Homer will return to the mat Saturday with a make-up non-league match at Oswego Saturday at 1 p.m.. The Trojans travel to Cortland High this coming Wednesday for a 5 p.m. OHSL Freedom National Division match.

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