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February 12, 2009

 

Historic night for Purple Tigers

Hall of Fame festivities part of 31st win

Tigers Wrestling

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland High grappler Mike Gates (right) ties up with Balwinsville’s Tim Hamm in the final period of their 130-pound match Wednesday night. Gates won an 11-7 decision as the Purple Tigers prevailed 36-25.

On a night when both its past and its seniors were honored, the Cortland High wrestling team made some history of its own Wednesday night.
On Senior and Hall of Fame Night, the Purple Tigers beat visiting CNYCL champion Baldwinsville 36-25 in their final dual meet of the season to extend their school record for wins in a season to 31, against only seven losses.
“We wanted to get to 30 wins this season, and got that,” Purple Tigers coach Dave Darrow said. “The kids did a nice job. Only one other school in the state, Valley Central, reached 30 wins this season.” The Section 9 school was 33-5 and ranked 19th in the latest Division 1 state poll, with Cortland 34th. Baldwinsville is 36th.
Darrow was forced to do some lineup juggling without the injured Montana Sanders, who has a 29-9 record at both 145 and 152 pounds this season.
“Some kids sacrificed, and it was a good team effort,” Darrow said. “Mike Gates (130) beat the top-ranked guy in AA, Corby Reynolds (160) won in overtime, and Dan Foster (171) and Zack Alexander (103) both won by injury default.”
Gates was an 11-7 winner over the Bees’ Tim Hamm to improve to 29-6 on the season, while Reynolds bested Sean Hennigan 7-5 and is now 38-6. Foster was leading 4-1 early in the second period when Andrew Giromini defaulted and is now 43-1; Alexander (23-12) was up 7-1 after one period when Tyler Reynolds was unable to continue.
Winning by forfeit for Cortland were Anthony Stento (7-7) at 125, Garrett Wyatt (25-14) at 152 and Eric Reisweber (31-10) at 119. Ryan Webber won by pin at 119 pounds in an exhibition match.
This year’s seniors in the spotlight were Foster, Sanders, Reynolds, Josh Morehouse, Wyatt, Gates, Kyle Cute, Ian Spafford and Mitch Fitts.
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Price, Meldrim Inducted
The late Jim Meldrim and Rob Price were the newest inductees into the CHS Wrestling Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Meldrim was undefeated in his junior and senior years and won Section 4 titles at 120 pounds in 1958 and 127 pounds in 1959. That was the end of the season, as no state tournament existed at that time. He continued his career at Cornell, where he suffered only one Ivy league loss in three seasons at 130 and 137 and garnered a number of tournament crowns. He took fourth in the Easterns in 1963, one point away from qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. An award in his memory is presented every year at Cornell.
After graduation he taught and established the wrestling program at Harpursville. he was the second of five brothers who wrestled at CHS during a 20 year span, including John (’56), Tom (’61), Bob (’66) and Dick (’72).
Price was the first Cortland wrestler to reach the 100-win mark in his career, and finished with a record of 106-34-1. He was 34-1 as a senior and 70-4 over his final two high school seasons, winning a sectional title at 132, reaching the state semifinals before losing a controversial decision and ultimately finishing sixth.
He then wrestled at SUNY Oswego and after graduation held several coaching positions, including the top spot at Broadalbin-Perth (Section 2), where he started the program. Price is currently a principal in the Oneida City School District, where he also helps out with the wrestling program.
The Hall of Fame Committee also honored the contributions of the Price family, also including Rob’s parents Sandy and Lee, brothers Mike, Eric, Lance and Jim, sisters Bonnie and Lori and dedicated fan George Saltsman.
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Foster, Gates Top Seeds
CHS will next compete in the Section 3 Class A tournament starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Chittenango. Top seeds for the Purple Tigers are Foster at 171 and Gates at 125. Second seeds went to Reynolds at 152 and Morehouse at 215, while Jason DeGouff (130), Sanders (145) and Spafford (285) are seeded third and Alexander (96) and Kyle Cute (140) fourth. In addition, Wyatt is seventh at 160, Tyler Thayer 10th at 112 and Garrett Morse ninth at 140.
“We got some good seeds,” Darrow said. “We’ll see how we do.”