February 17, 2014
Norris halted in final
Trojan senior suffers first loss in title match
SYRACUSE — It was evident that it would take an impressive wrestler to deal Homer Central senior Matt Norris his first loss of the season.
Holland Patent’s Alex Herringshaw was all that and more Saturday, scoring a 13-0 major decision over Norris to win the 145-pound championship at the Section 3 Division II Tournament at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena and earning Most Outstanding Wrestler honors in the process.
The top-seeded sophomore put the first blemish of the season on a Norris ledger that showed a Trojan program-record 41 victories this season coming into the match. Norris is now 123-39 with 37 pins in his career, second all-time in the program behind Toby Reese, who went 168-20 from 2000 through 2005.
Herringshaw, who improved to 46-2 this season with the win and 159-27 in his three-year career, took control early with a takedown 20 seconds into the match and two back points 40 seconds later. He made it 6-0 with two more back points 13 seconds before the end of the first period, scored five points in the second on an escape from the down position, a takedown and a couple of back points and got a takedown with 1:05 left in the third for the final margin.
“I knew coming in he was a very good wrestler,” Norris said of Herringshaw. “I tried to get myself focused for him, but not until I got to this match. I focused on each opponent as I faced them, and my semifinal match with John Mazza was a rivalry. I had beaten him last weekend for the Class B sectional championship.”
Norris, seeded second, opened the tournament with a 12-6 first-round victory over Skaneateles junior Drew Newton, and beat Hannibal junior Tyler Wyman 6-5 in the quarterfinals for his 40th win of the season, breaking the standard of 39 set by Mark Dove last season. Third-seeded Central Valley Academy senior Mazza was the next victim, falling to Norris 4-2 in the semis in a rematch of that Class B title tilt exactly a week before.
“I came in with goals,” Norris said of the Division II tourney, where he finished sixth at 138 pounds last year. “I wanted to make the finals and win, and I did make it to the finals. I wanted to break the school’s single-season wins record and did that. I’ve gotten a lot of motivation from personal things, extra motivation to achieve my goals.”
“MATT HAS WRESTLED tough all season,” said Homer coach Jeff Lewis, who is retiring from the position when this season ends. “He came up a little short this time, but he battled. We knew that he (Herringshaw) is pretty aggressive. We’ve seen him wrestle the last couple of years. Matt’s in pretty good condition and is mentally tough. We thought it would be in his favor if he could keep it close into the third period, but it didn’t work out.
“To have an undefeated season all the way to the sectional finals is a heck of a feat. Matt has worked hard all season long. He had some tough matches, but battled through them. I said at the beginning of the season that maybe we wouldn’t win a match (the Trojans finished 11-11), and to have Matt make the Division II finals and (senior) Eric Petrie finish fifth at 152, being healthy after a couple of years where he wasn’t, is special,” he added.
“I knew he was tough,” Herringshaw said of Norris. “I watched video on him all week, and he’s really strong. I was surprised I was able to beat him by that much. I haven’t stopped wrestling since eighth grade, putting in extra hours, and it all helps. Even when I got in front quickly, I knew I had to keep working and stay on top, because I knew he could score points as easily as I did.
“I broke the school wins record with my first match today, and I was excited about that. I ended up cutting down to get to 145 this season, and it felt good. I wanted to be a two-time sectional champion, the first our school has had. I also want to get back to the podium this year at states.”
Herringshaw, whose only two losses this season came at the elite-level Eastern States Classic Jan. 11, won the sectional Division II championship at 99 pounds as an eighth-grader and finished sixth in the state. He was second in Division II at 132 at last season’s sectionals and went out in the round before he would have placed in states.
At 41-1 with 12 pins this season, Norris should get a wild card berth on the Section 3 team for the state Division II tournament in Albany Feb. 28 and March 1.
“I’m very proud of my achievements,” he said. “I got most of the goals I set out to get and I hope it’s not over, that I get a wild card so I can keep on achieving goals.”———
Cortland’s Bay Takes 4th
Sophomore Mike Bay, seeded sixth at 99 pounds, had the top showing among Cortland High wrestlers, finishing fourth to close out a 35-11 season with 16 pins. He flattened South Lewis sophomore Matt Bush in 1:46, then beat the eighth seed, Camden eighth-grader Riley Gerber, 5-3 in the quarterfinals. Bay lost a 9-0 major decision to top-seeded Trey LaFlamme, a freshman from South Jefferson who wound up champion, in the semifinals. He bounced back to pin Copenhagen seventh-grader Dempsey Carroll in 3:29 in his first consolation match, then lost 4-1 to second-seeded Mexico sophomore Austin O’Reilly in the third-place match.
CHS junior Drew Towers finished fifth at 132 pounds and finished the season with a record of 33-13, including 17 pins. After opening with a 7-3 win over senior Adam Davis from Camden, Towers was pinned in 2:25 by the second seed and eventual champion, Mexico junior Austin Whitney, in 2:25. Towers bounced back with a 4-1 win over Copenhagen junior Brendon Jacobs, the sixth seed, to begin consolation action, then lost to fourth-seeded Tanner Christian, a senior from Mount Markham 4-1. Towers finished the day by edging General Brown sophomore Scott Bluto 4-3 in the fifth-place match.
Purple Tigers senior Mike Southwick, seeded fourth, closed out his career by taking sixth at 160 pounds.
After a first-round bye, Southwick pinned Hannibal senior Greg Hadcock, the fifth seed, in 5:01. He then lost 10-4 in the semis to the top seed, Watertown IHC senior Nick Koelmel, who wound up finishing second. Southwick lost to junior Chris Wein from Cato-Meridian by technical fall in 3:41 in the consolation bracket before dropping an 8-2 decision to Camden junior Chad Finch with fifth place at stake.
Southwick finished the season at 38-6 with 25 pins and wound up with a career mark of 91-43 with 61 pins.
The Purple Tigers’ other six wrestlers were all eliminated in the first round. Sophomore Ian George was pinned by top-seeded Dolgeville sophomore Noah Handy in 3:22 at 120 to conclude an 18-17 (6) campaign. Junior Grant Tinker finished 31-14 (9) after a 4-3 loss to Vernon-Verona-Sherrill junior Jason Colon, the fourth seed at 145. Chace Bentley was pinned in 1:18 at 170 by Mexico junior Jacob Woolson, the second seed and eventual champion, and finished the year at 22-20 (10).
Freshman Dakoatah Miller was pinned by third seed Will Hilliard, a sophomore from Phoenix, in 1:30 at 182 to finish 19-14 (15) before Hilliard went on to finish as runner-up. Junior Nic Edmond fell via fall at 220 to top-seeded Sherburne-Earlville junior Grant Duvall, the eventual runner-up, in 1:32 to conclude a 25-17 (7) campaign. Senior Greg Brown finished the year at 20-15 (9) and his career at 33-27 (10) after being pinned in 5:39 by Camden senior Ian Radell, who finished sixth at 295.
“Bay did really well, beating a kid (Gerber) who beat him last week in the Class B meet and taking fourth after being seeded sixth,” Cortland coach Dave Darrow said. “Towers was unseeded, wrestled very well and beat a sixth seed; I’ve got two guys who placed back next year. Southwick did well and made it to the semis. He had a great season and was our go-to guy all year long.”
As noted, Homer’s Petrie took fifth at 152. He opened with a 10-1 major decision over Morrisville-Eaton senior Andrew Bikowski, then dropped a 17-8 major decision to Vernon-Verona-Sherrill junior Simon Breckenridge, who was seeded second and finished as runner-up. Petrie beat Sandy Creek senior Zach Brown, the sixth seed, 8-3 in his first consolation match before dropping an 11-0 major decision to fourth-seeded Kyle O’Connor, a sophomore from General Brown. Petrie bounced back to claim fifth place by beating South Jefferson junior Griffin Charlebois 6-2, closing the season at 36-8 (11) and his career at 81-39 (34).
The Trojans’ other two wrestlers both lost in the first round. At 126, junior Collin Baker lost by technical fall in 2:55 to second seed and eventual runner-up Hunter Richard, a freshman from Holland Patent, to close out a 20-20 (5) season. Sophomore Dylan Hotchkiss was pinned in 1:56 at 195 by third-seeded Herkimer junior Dan Appley, who wound up taking third.
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