February 2, 2010


Tigers roar on ‘Fame’ night

Shafer, Hartford get inducted

WrestlingBob Ellis/staff photographer
Cody Hartmann of Cortland High pins Ryan VanPatten of J-D/CBA in the 189-pound bout Monday night. The Purple Tigers flattened their nonleague visitor 54-24.

On a night that two more members were inducted into the Cortland High School Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Purple Tigers improved to 9-7 on the season Monday with a 54-24 non-league victory over visiting Jamesville-DeWitt/Syracuse CBA.
Ross O. Shafer and Dick Hartford became the newest members of the Hall of Fame in pre-match ceremonies in the downstairs gymnasium.
As for the match itself, the Purple Tigers won seven of the nine contested matches, all by pin. Included in those winning by flattening their opponents were the team’s three seniors in their final home match — Eric Reisweber in 1:42 over Dan Meile at 125 pounds to improve to 27-4 on the season with 13 pins, Jason DeGouff over Joe Merola in 5:49 at 130 to up his record to 21-12 (12) and Cody Hartmann in 2:30 over Ryan VanPatten at 189, his 15th pin in a 26-6 season.
The Purple Tigers’ quickest pin of the night came at 215, where Paul Turco needed just 59 seconds to put Michael Schneider’s shoulders to the mat. Other pin winners for the hosts were Anthony Stento over Brad Kogut in 1:58 at 135, Jesse Towers over Brad Delevan in 2:56 at 145 and Luke Bush over Pete Koulouris in 3:05 at 160. Forfeit wins by Zach Alexander at 112 and Tyler Thayer rounded out the CHS scoring.
“Everyone wrestled pretty well,” CHS coach Dave Darrow said. “Jesse Towers doesn’t get many chances to wrestle varsity and did well, and Paul Turco got to wrestle 215 for the first time and looked good. Cody Hartmann had a good match against one of their better wrestlers.
“This ensures us of a winning dual-match season. That’s pretty big for this group, which is young,” he added, CHS to travel to Oneida Wednesday in a non-league match for its final dual match. “Oneida beat us by three earlier this season. It should be a good one.”
Cortland also won all three exhibition matches. Andy Price pinned Christian Domico in 1:22 at 171, while Jordan Bowers pinned Paul D’Antonio in 5:46 at 145 and Mark Phelps scored an 8-1 decision over Zach Shapiro at 160.
After Wednesday’s contest the Purple Tigers will compete in the Section 3 Class A meet at Fulton on Saturday.
The Hall of Fame inductees:
Ross O. Shafer started the Cortland High wrestling program in 1945 and also coached football, basketball and baseball at all levels as a one-man athletic department. He coached many league and sectional champions, and coached the program, which was respected and feared by all opponents, until 1960.
He served as athletic director at CHS until he retired in 1967, and was also president of the Southern Tier Athletic Conference and the Physical Education and Recreation Association of New York State. He was also involved in the original summer playground program, known today as the Cortland Youth Bureau, as well as the Cortland Small Fry Football program and many others.
The upper gym at Cortland High is named in his honor.
Dick Hartford was the first CHS wrestler to qualify for the state tournament, doing so in 1963 after dominating Section 3 by going undefeated at 183 pounds. He lost a close decision in the state semifinals and wound up finishing third. He turned to wrestling after being advised by Shafer and John Moiseichik that he wasn’t a basketball player, and also cites coaches Dave Hennessey and Gary Dillingham as well as principal John Gee for his success.
Drafted into the army after high school, he qualified for the Special Services (while his division was sent to Vietnam) and spent two years wrestling through the First Army, going undefeated and capturing the Army Championship at 197 pounds.
He also excelled in football, in which he was MVP in 1962, and track and field at CHS. His school record for the shot put stood for many years after his graduation.
— This is the fourth year of inductions into the CHS Wresting Hall of Fame.
Dick Meldrim and Benny Mastronardi were inducted in 2007; Robert Stevens, Larry Hinkle and Gary Dillingham shared the spotlight in 2009; while James Meldrim and Rob Price were honored last year.