Of all the various ways Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool get together in athletics during this academic year, their wrestling duel will be difficult to top.
In a contest that was in doubt until the last seconds of the last match, the Northstars held on and beat the host Warriors 27-25, despite the fact that Liverpool won seven of the 13 matches on the card.
Amid those 13 matches, 12 were contested, and nine of them went the full six minutes to a decision. The fact that the ninth match went that far proved to be the ultimate difference in CNS prevailing.
They started at 189 pounds, where Mike Reed gave Liverpool the early edge by beating Jack Hotaling 6-2. CNS quickly tied it in the 215-pound match, a high-scoring affair where Austin Morris fought off Jon Miller 17-12.
Then Liverpool took over, winning three straight matches in the lowest weight classes. Johnny Goldthwaite (103 pounds) got the single takedown he needed to beat Dan Ciciarelli 3-1, while Tyler Eason (112 pounds) got past Tony Battista 12-5. Justin Thompson then earned the Warriors' lone pin of the night at 119 pounds, finishing off Robert Brandt in 3:22.
Down 15-3, CNS began to rally at 125 pounds when Kiel Dyer pinned Dominic Lizzio in 1:48, and did not get deterred when Matt Dunham (130 pounds) lost a narrow 4-3 decision to Liverpool's Tyler Kolbasook, since Dan Drake (135 pounds) would get a forfeit.
When Jordan Ramos (140 pounds) pinned, Mende Cukalevski in 1:08, CNS took a 21-18 lead. James Segars (145 pounds) got past Matt Hathaway 7-4, setting up a 152-pound duel between CNS's Todd Hagger and Liverpool's Derek Eason.
For six pulsating minutes, Hagger and Eason grudgingly surrendered points and settled nothing, going to overtime. By making an escape, Hagger prevailed 5-4, and CNS had a 27-18 edge with two matches to go.