February 23, 2009
Foster snares mat title for CHS
UTICA — Dan Foster celebrated the anniversary of a big goal in a big way.
The Cortland High senior scored a 3-1 decision over Mexico’s Troy Benjamin Sunday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium to win the 171-pound championship at the Section 3 Division I wrestling tournament. The win was the third of the day for Foster, all of which came exactly one year after he had lost to eventual state runner-up Matt Bogardus of Fulton in the 160-pound title bout in the 2008 Division I meet at Cicero-North Syracuse High.
Foster was one of three Purple Tigers to earn berths in their respective weight class finals. Junior Eric Reisweber lost 13-1 to Fulton’s David Hall at 119 pounds, while at 152 pounds senior Corby Reynolds was edged 1-0 by Jacob Burke from Mexico.
“I worked as hard as I could, every day,” said the top-seeded Foster, now 49-1 this season and 153-30 in his four-year career, after noting that the road to Sunday had started with last year’s runner-up finish. “It made me hungry to get the title. All I thought about was being the best, and I finally proved it today. This was the third time I’ve wrestled him (Benjamin) and every time it gets harder as you get to know each other more.”
Foster won all three match-ups against the second-seeded Benjamin this season, including in the Section 3 Class A title match last weekend.
“It takes experience, and you have to know what you’re doing —what the score is, how much time is left,” added Foster. “You also need to stay aggressive, and that was a key tonight. I never let down. I can’t explain in words how it felt when the match ended. I was exuberant.”
Foster got all the points he’d need when he took Benjamin down 44 seconds into the match. Benjamin cut the deficit to 2-1 with an early second-period escape after starting down in the referee’s position, but Foster returned the favor 32 seconds into the third and stifled a pair of Benjamin shoots on takedown attempts in the waning moments.
“Dan did great stuff, and got that first takedown,” Cortland coach Dave Darrow said. “Then he was smart and wrestled well. He wrestled super all day. The weight class was his to lose. He should be a good representative for the section at the state tournament.”
Foster, got a first-round bye, then scored a 14-5 major decision over Baldwinsville’s Nikko Manning and beat David Minney from Corcoran 7-4 to gain the finals. He’ll be making his second straight appearance in the state tournament, set for Friday and Saturday at Albany’s Times Union Arena, after dropping a pair of 3-2 decisions in the states last year.
“It’s something you need to experience,” he said of states. “You have to be in the mental state to believe you can succeed. Being there for the second year will help.”
“Dan had two real good matches last year at states, and is tougher and stronger now,” Darrow said. “From the checking in at the hotel with everyone running around to the wall-to-wall mats at the arena and everyone practicing in one little area, you have to be there to experience it to be able to calm down. It would be nice for him to finish his career with a couple of wins there.”
REYNOLDS FINISHED his scholastic career in impressive fashion. He came in as the sixth seed and opened with a 15-7 major decision over Anthony Kite of C-NS, then scored another major decision, 16-5 over Solvay’s Anthony Warne, in the quarterfinals before shading Rome Free Academy’s Stefano Iodice 3-2 in the semifinals.
After two scoreless periods in the title bout, the top-seeded Burke scored the only point of the match 29 seconds into the third and held on as Reynolds wound up 44-8 on the season and 88-61 for his career.
“(Burke) is a good wrestler, and it was a good battle,” Reynolds said. “I wrestled hard; he just came away with it. It was a good season. I won a lot, and I feel like I gave it my all and did the best I could. My making it to the final shows that if you want something bad enough you’ll find a way to do it. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”
“Corby had his chances,” Darrow said. “Today was as good a performance as you’re going to get out of a sixth seed. It was a great match. He just needed a takedown at the end. It would have been nice. He’s been a good leader, and had a great year. He worked hard all last summer getting ready for football and on through. He never missed with weight room or speed work.”
Reisweber, who finished 36-11 on the season and is now 86-51 for his career, was seeded second behind the rugged Hall, who he lost to for the third time this season, including for the 119-pound Class A crown last weekend. He got to the finals after an opening-round bye with a 3-1 win over Corcoran’s Grigory Bagiryan in the quarterfinals and a 13-8 semifinal victory over Indian River’s Tyler Brown.
“I was really happy to get to the finals,” he said. “Placing in the sectionals was something I wanted to do last year but didn’t. I was proud to finish second. I wrestled as hard as I could. I had an idea of what he would be doing and gave it my all. After beating me twice he had everything to lose; it could have been a psych-out for him. This will help me next season; wrestling into the semis and finals takes the edge off after the first time, and you’re not so anxious the next time.”
“That kid (Hall) is just really good,” Darrow said. “Eric has nothing to be ashamed of. He wrestled super all day, and did a good job getting to the finals.”
ALSO PLACING FOR for Cortland were senior Josh Morehouse, who despite having the flu finished 2-2 on the day and took fourth at 215, and senior Montana Sanders, who was 3-2 and took fifth at 145 with a 13-4 major decision over Carthage’s Jacob Frezza. Morehouse finished the season 44-6 and 123-33 for his career, while Sanders was 35-12 this winter and 77-30 for his career.
Junior Jason DeGouff was 1-2 at 130 to finish a 37-15, and will enter next season with a 55-33 career mark. Junior Cody Hartmann was 1-2 at 189 to close out a 21-26 year and is 27-31 heading into next season. Senior Ian Spafford wound up 19-14 this season, his lone varsity campaign, after going 1-2 Sunday. Senior Mike Gates was unable to compete at 125 due to a knee injury, finishing 31-7 this season and 73-19 in his career.
“Everyone scored points for us,” said Darrow, whose team finished sixth out of 23 teams with 94 points. “We had the most finalists ever in the 21 years I’ve been the coach, and wrestled as well as we’re going to wrestle here. We started the season wanting to beat five or six state-ranked teams, win 30 dual meets (the Purple Tigers finished 31-7) and have a sectional champion, so we accomplished all of our goals. It’s been a great year.”
Carthage 189-pounder Homer Dobransky was named Most Outstanding Wrestler. The senior pinned Fulton’s Zach Race in 1:05 in the championship match to win his fourth straight sectional championship.
Section 3 Division I
Team scores: Fulton 144, Indian River 126.5, Baldwinsville 122.5, Carthage 113.5, Cicero-North Syracuse 105, Cortland 94, Mexico 93, Corcoran 91.5, Chittenango 66.5, Solvay 62.5, New Hartford 57.5, Oneida 56.5, East Syracuse-Minoa 49, Central Square 42, West Genesee 36, Liverpool 34, Rome Free Academy 30, Whitesboro 27, Oswego 25, Camden 20, Fayetteville-Manlius 18, Watertown 10, Auburn 8
96- Derrick Gray (IR) dec. C.J. Loomis (Mex), 13-6. 103- Mike Sardo (Whites) dec. Nick Hopkins (One), 5-2. 112- Anthony Finocchiaro (Bald) dec. Cole Farsaci (Chitt), 6-4. 119- David Hall (Ful) maj. dec. Eric Reisweber (Cort), 13-1. 125- Patrick Dyer (C-NS) dec. Adam Wallace (Ful), 5-2. 130- Eric Smith (Ful) dec. Aaron Benedict (Sol), 7-1. 135- James Loomis (Mex) pinned Matt Letcher (ES-M), 2:23. 140- Todd Hagger (C-NS) dec. Peyton Amato (IR), 2-0. 145- Dustin Shawcross (IR) dec. Matt Harp (One), 4-2. 152- Jacob Burke (Mex) dec. Corby Reynolds (Cort), 1-0. 160- Pat Brady (Carth) dec. Dustin Moss (ES-M), 4-2. 171- Dan Foster (Cort) dec. Troy Benjamin (Mex), 3-1. 189- Homer Dobransky (Carth) pinned Zach Race (Ful), 1:05. 215- Kyle Sheridan (Bald) dec. Austin Morris (C-NS), 3-1. 285- Elijah Graham (Corc) dec. Pat Gibbons (Carth), 6-3
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