January 28, 2016
Trojans nip shorthanded CHS
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Despite having his headgear blinding him for a moment, Cortland High’s Brandon Batsford went on to defeat Collin Cronk of Homer in Wednesday’s 152-pound match.
With the final team result on the line, Homer Central wrestling coach Jason Reynolds was happy to see Dylan Hotchkiss on the mat against host Cortland High Wednesday night.
The 220-pound senior justified his coach’s feelings, pinning Purple Tigers junior James Barbarito with 26.8 seconds left in their match to clinch what ended up a 42-39 victory for the Trojans. It marked Homer’s first over its rival since 2010, a span of five matches.
The 220-pound bout started with Cortland on top 39-12 but with Homer receiving forfeits in the next four weight classes to close out the night — in effect meaning the score was 39-36 for the hosts. Hotchkiss needed to win by more than a regular decision, since CHS had taken eight weight classes and would win by criteria if the team score ended up 39-39.
“Dylan has been one of our keystones all year long,” Reynolds said, his team now 2-1 in the OHSL Freedom National and 11-11 overall. “He’s a team leader and this year has been the most committed he’s been in the four years I’ve coached at the varsity level. As soon as it came down to Dylan, I was confident we were going to win the dual.”
“We were going home with a win or a tie, and I chose to go for the win — it’s been six years,” Hotchkiss said after improving to 17-5 with 15 pins this season. Hotchkiss led 7-1 after he took Barbarito down with 35 seconds left. “I turned him in a headlock and he almost rolled me through, but I was able to catch him on his back,” he said.
“This is the first time we’ve beaten Homer since I’ve been here. It’s definitely the greatest feeling to beat your rival.”
Hotchkiss’s win was followed by forfeits by the undermanned Purple Tigers to junior Reno Gaffney (15-9) at 285, sophomore Nick Rice (10-5) at 99, freshman Josh Markley (7-11) at 106 and senior Isaac Cline (28-4) at 113 to account for the final score.
THE VISITORS’ OTHER win in a head-to-head bout was also big, as sophomore Paul Morse stopped a string of six straight Cortland victories, pinning CHS junior Schuyler Miller in 5:43. At the time, it made the team score 27-12 for the Purple Tigers.
“It was pretty exciting,” Morse said of the win, which came after the bout was tied 4-4, that improved his season’s record to 12-11 with seven pins. “To be able to step out on the mat like that was exciting, and their guy gave me his best, which was exciting, too.
“I came over the top, had a good headlock and leaned back. I had to move my arm up a little to get his shoulder blades down.”
The match officially started at 120 pounds, where Homer sophomore Noah Thomas (24-10) was awarded a forfeit.
Cortland junior Dane George scored 17-5 major decision over the visitors’ Gabe Cline to improve to 12-8, and at 132 junior Kiegan Brown (24-2) gave the hosts a 9-6 lead with a 16-0 technical fall in 4:30 over Homer junior Peter Davis.
Then came some controversy, as Cortland coach George Burkinshaw wanted senior Isaiah Brookman, who had weighed in at 145 and was written in there but was eligible at 138, to wrestle at the latter weight. A discussion ensued as to whether that would be allowed, which in turn resulted in a call to a Section 3 rules interpreter who determined it was legal. After the 25-minute delay, Brookman decisioned Trojans senior Cameron Cronk 14-8 to give CHS a 12-6 lead.
“I saw an opening to have Isaiah come out at 138 and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity based on who they put out,” Burkinshaw said. “The sectional interpreter had to make some other calls; there’s nothing in the rule book about where a guy’s written in as opposed to where he wrestles by weight.”“THAT CHANGED THE match based on who we’d put out in the two prior weight classes,” Reynolds said. “But at the end of the day, no matter what, the kids battled. It didn’t work out in our favor, but that illustrates the resiliency of our kids. We have four seniors — one’s hurt and can’t wrestle — a couple of juniors and a lot of younger wrestlers.
These are resilient guys, and I love coaching them. I wouldn’t rather be coaching anywhere else.”
The 145 match came next and went to overtime, Cortland sophomore Aaron Kelchner (17-9) scoring a takedown with 32.9 seconds left in the first one-minute extra session to win 4-2 over Homer freshman Charles Lines.
Purple Tigers sophomore Brandon Batsford (9-13) scored his third pin of the season, in 5:26 over Trojans sophomore Collin Cronk, at at 152 to give the hosts a 21-6 lead.
CHS senior Russell Gerhard (22-8, 16 pins) needed 5:01 to flatten the visitors’ Hunter O’Gorman, a sophomore, at 160 to give his team a 27-6 lead. After Morse’s pin at 170, Cortland’s 182-pounder, sophomore Jack Davie, pinned Trojans sophomore Parker Thomas in 1:18 before Purple Tigers junior Dakoatah Miller, now 29-7 with 15 pins, put sophomore Anthony Parker’s shoulders to the mat in 1:22 to make it 39-12 for Cortland.
That set the stage for Hotchkiss’s match-winning heroics.
“We wrestled smart and tactically,” said rookie head coach Burkinshaw, whose team wound up 1-3 in the Freedom National and is now 8-8 overall. “Overall the guys wrestled sharp and did what they had to do. We’re a young team with a young coach; this is a rebuilding year. To get back where we were, we have to start somewhere.
“Dane, Kiegan and Isaiah started us off well. Aaron, I thought, had a couple of pins that weren’t called before he won in overtime. Brandon’s match was a highlight, and Russell, Jack and Dakoatah did their jobs.”
Brookman, Schuyler Miller and Gerhard, and their parents, were honored in Cortland’s pre-match Senior Night ceremonies.
Homer will take on Mexico Saturday morning in a league match, the two teams to meet at Fulton Junior School at 9 a.m. Cortland is also in action Saturday, traveling to Albany High for the Big 10 Invitational starting at 9 a .m.
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