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Moss rolls to sectional wrestling title

As a solid local contingent of wrestlers sought honors at Saturday's Section III Division I championship meet at Utica Memorial Auditorium, East Syracuse-Minoa's Dustin Moss set out to dominate the 171-pound division.

Entering the meet with a record of 36-1, Moss made a brief appearance in the quarterfinal round, taking just 15 seconds to pin Baldwinsville's Pat Nasoni. His semifinal was slightly longer, with the pin over Dylan Secor (Rome Free Academy) coming in 1:38.

In Saturday night's final between Moss and Mexico's Troy Benjamin, the ESM senior took his time, waiting until the second period to execute several takedowns and nearly pin Benjamin before cruising to a 10-3 victory.

With that, Moss, who was second a year ago at 160 pounds, advances to the Feb. 26-27 state championships at Times Union Center in Albany, where he might be one of Section III's strongest contenders.

In all, ESM had five wrestlers at the sectional meet, including Eric Cushing, who took third place at 285 pounds. Cushing beat Brian Ervin (Vernon Verona Sherrill) 7-1 to reach the semifinals, only to lose there to Carthage's Pat Gibbons 4-0.

Bouncing back, Cushing pinned Kris Jones (Whitesboro) in 49 seconds, then won the consolation bracket final over Ervin 3-2 in overtime to claim that third spot and finish the season at 19-6.

Connor Fitzpatrick won twice and claimed sixth place at 160 pounds. Jamie Landry, at 215 pounds, pinned Mike Reed (Liverpool), only to fall in the quarterfinals to the eventual winner, Fulton's D.J. Ingham. Alex Moss joined Dustin at 171, but got beat in the first round.

Meanwhile, Fayetteville-Manlius saw Pat Quinlan, at 96 pounds, edge B'ville's Chad McArdell 7-6 to reach the semifinals before falling to Indian River's Mike Mullins 6-0. Quinlan toped Dennis Hilts (Camden) with a technical fall, but lost the rematch to McArdell and finshed fourth.

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