Whatever the Cazenovia wrestling team would gain out of last Saturday's Section III Class B championship meet would be truly earned.
The Lakers were in a field full of first-rate programs, including South Jefferson and Phoenix, winners of the last three Section III Dual Meets, not to mention Center State Conference Tournament winner Ilion, plus Hannibal, Oneida and Holland Patent.
And Cazenovia held up quite well, taking fourth place out of 12 teams with 136.5 points, just behind Holland Patent (140 points) for third. Phoenix won big, getting 274.5 points as South Jefferson (178 points) settled for the runner-up spot.
All told, the Firebirds won seven of the 15 weight classes, leaving little for the rest of the field - though Cazenovia three times had wrestlers reach the championship round.
Brad Nardella came close to the 103-pound title. He pinned HP's Israel Rivera in 43 seconds in the quarterfinals, then beat Jordan-Elbridge's Mitch Alpha 6-3 in the semifinals before a title match against Jeron Tanner (South Jefferson) that saw Tanner prevail 9-5.
Meanwhile, Dylan Perry, at 145 pounds, had drama right from the start, holding off Ilion's Paul Greenfield 4-2 and Oneida's Lon Palmer 3-2 to get to the championship round, where he ran into Phoenix star Tyler Button and got pinned in 36 seconds.
Nick Petroff reached the 96-pound finals with a second-period pin over Remington Lynch (Phoenix) and a 9-0 shutout of Greg Hadcock (Hannibal), only to lose the title match to Ilion's Laken Cook in a third-period technical fall.
In consolation finals, Cazenovia split four matches. Teddy Kugler (125 pounds) beat J-E's Preston Bishop 3-2 for third place, while Jake Wilson (130 pounds) edged past Matt Dempsey (Marcellus) in a 2-0 match to also get third.
Adam Lockwood's injury kept him from contesting third place at 135 pounds as Ryan Cook, at 112 pounds, dropped a 7-6 thriller to J-E's Mike Nguyen and settled for fourth, too. Cody Foster pinned Phoenix's Tom Tebidor to get fifth place at 215 pounds as Noah Shephard (152 pounds) finished sixth.