February 08, 2007


Ithaca falls to Dragons

Red Dragons

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland’s Treavor LeBlanc locks up with Ithaca College’s Tyler Daffine. The Red Dragon won 7-1 at 174 pounds.

After splitting a pair of overtime decision victories, this match-up between nationally ranked Division III wrestling powers was up for grabs with three matches remaining.
That is when SUNY Cortland took over Wednesday evening on their Corey Gymnasium mats, pulling away for a 23-11 victory over Ithaca College.
Zack Bogardus won a 5-3 decision at 165 pounds, Treavor LeBlanc came up with 7-1 victory at 174 and defending Division III champion Stef Sair closed the show with a 13-0 major decision shutout at 184 pounds in this final dual match of the season.
Cortland, ranked ninth in the country, won seven of the 10 weight classes while improving to 16-3. Archrival Ithaca, ranked 14th in the country, stands 9-3 in duals.
The Red Dragons will now get ready for the Empire Conference National Qualifiers, which Ithaca will host on Feb. 17. The winners and selected wild card entries will advance to the NCAA Division III Championships being held March 2-3 in Dubuque, Iowa.
Sair won the 174-pound national title last season, but has been wrestling up a weight class this season following a successful football season as the starting safety on a highly-touted Red Dragon defense.
Against Ithaca, Cortland opened up a quick 6-0 lead.
Nationally seventh-ranked junior Phil Archer won a 4-0 decision at 197 pounds and senior Matt Eldredge came up with a tough 3-2 victory over Joe Goetz of the Bombers for that good start.
Ithaca grabbed an 8-6 lead, however, by winning the next two match-ups in the lighter weight classes. Freshman Jon Gregory recorded a 20-1 technical fall at 125 pounds, while freshman Justin Seifried earned a 4-2 decision at 133 pounds over Eddie Ortiz. It was only the third loss suffered by Ortiz this season, the Red Dragon with 21 victories.
It was Cortland’s turn to win back-to-back matches, retaking the team lead at 13-8.
Sophomore Paul LeBlanc, ranked third nationally, registered an 11-2 major decision at 141 pounds over Willie Horwath. He improved to 28-1 on the season.
Cortland senior John Franchi responded by getting a takedown early in overtime to secure a 6-4 win over John Paxos to win a battle at 149 pounds.
It was Ithaca’s turn to earn an overtime decision, the Bombers pulling within 13-11 on sophomore Scott Edwards’ 3-1 win over Jack Holmgren in extra time.
That set the stage for Cortland’s big finish, started by former Fulton High standout Bogardus. The junior, ranked sixth, won a close decision over John Dale to up the lead at 16-11. Sophomore Treavor LeBlanc clinched the triumph with a 7-1 decision at 174 pounds.
The final bout of the evening matched up Ithaca senior Nick Calandrino, ranked seventh, and Cortland senior Sair, ranked third, at 184 pounds. Sair earned a 13-0 major decision, which included a nine-point third period.
Sair improved his record to 14-2.


Purple Tigers set school win record

Finish 26-11 after victory over Bees

The Cortland High wrestling team got some tangible evidence of its overachieving Wednesday night.
The Purple Tigers flattened visiting Baldwinsville 43-15 to finish their dual-meet season at 26-11, eclipsing the program’s record for wins in a season set during last winter’s 25-7 campaign.
“This is a very young team, which I figured would finish a little over .500,” CHS coach Dave Darrow said. “I thought we’d struggle some, but we’re a year ahead of schedule. We just bloomed; it’s amazing. The kids gelled, and they like to work hard, which is what it’s all about. We also wrestled every tough team there was this season, which made us tougher.”
Wednesday was Cortland’s Senior Night, and Jon Wood celebrated by taking just one minute to pin the Bees’ Kyle Sheridan at 215 pounds.
The other starting senior, Clint Morse, lost a heartbreaker at 119, rallying from a 7-1 deficit to earn a 7-7 tie against Keith Dement before losing on an overtime takedown. Other seniors on the squad are Fran Evangelista and Keith Sherman.
Five members of the CHS squad — four of them sophomores — have won at least 30 matches this season, and all five earned team points Wednesday.
Mike Gates (34-4, 17 pins) flattened John Hierholzer in 1:44 at 112, while 171-pound junior Coty Cute (32-6, 12) scored a technical fall over Tyler Basden in 5:11. Dan Foster scored a 12-1 major decision over Corey Buyck at 160 to improve to 38-3 with nine pins, while Josh Morehouse is 32-5 with a dozen falls after posting a 10-0 major decision over Devon Woods at 189. Brandon Fitzgerald is 30-11 after a 9-2 win over Andrew Giormino at 152.
Junior A.J. Meldrim is now 29-12 with11 pins  after a 6-5 decision over Nate Russell at 135. Other winners fore the Purple Tigers, both with pins, were sophomores Corby Reynolds in 4:23 over Tony Parker at 140 and Montana Sanders in 1:35 over Kurt McArdell at 130.
“We’ll be a lot better next year,” Darrow said. “We should be exceptional, everyone from top to bottom.” 
Cortland will next compete in Saturday’s Section 3 Class A Tournament at Indian River (see related story).



Happy ending for Homer

It was a happy home finale for Homer Central wrestlers. Six Trojan seniors took to the mat and all won during a 60-9 non-league victory over visiting Fabius-Pompey on Wednesday evening.
The Trojans wrapped up the regular season at 5-13 overall while the Falcons fall to 4-9.
“It was a nice way for the seniors to end their home season,” said Homer coach Jeff Lewis. “This is a great group of kids to work with and it has been a tough season because we are young. I can’t wait for many of these kids to get some more experience. These guys just need mat time and we are going to be tough.”
The night did not start well as Alex McCoy and Ben McBride lost tough matches as Homer went in a 9-0 hole. Those would be the only two losses as the Trojans reeled off 11 straight wins. Granted seniors Zak Quirello (10-2) at 119, Elijah Vaber (16-15) at 189 and Mike DiOrio (23-6) at 215 all received forfeits, as did freshman Mate Crawford at 152 and junior Ryne Austin at 152. Still, there were nice win by some other hard-workers.
The most satisfying may well have been senior Joe Riley, who notched his first win of the season as he pinned Kasey Owens-Shelton at the 2:58 mark of their 140-pound bout.
“It was great to see Joe get a win at home,” said Lewis. “It was really a good match because he was behind, but he kept battling and got the pin.”
Senior Logan Williams at 171, Saxson Sprouse at 130 and Ben Chace at 135 all notched pin victories. Senior Mark Brenchley (18-12) closed out his home career with a 3-1 decision over Will Frazee at 145, while freshman Ryan Murray scored a 6-2 decision over Mike Ashley at 160.