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Skaneateles wrestlers win clash with Marcellus

Lakers break out of late tie, topple Mustangs 46-36

— Whatever else happens in 2012-13, the Skaneateles wrestling team wanted the particular satisfaction of defeating main rival Marcellus – and got it.

Their showdown came on Saturday in the Lakers’ gym, and with a late and well-timed surge, Skaneateles broke out of a 30-30 tie and defeated the Mustangs 46-36.

Through 11 matches, the two sides were even, but that was really a victory for the Lakers because it knew it was getting forfeits from two late matches.

Thus, the free points to Nevan Rourke (99 pounds) and Joey Brillo (106 pounds) served as a cushion from a pin suffered by 113-pound wrestler Dan O’Connell, beaten in 1:14 by Ben Hood.

Still, the match could end up tied if Max Collier got pinned in his 120-pound finale against Nick Distefano. That was never a worry, though, as Collier piled up points and easily defeated Distefano with an 18-8 major decision.

Long before this, Skaneateles bolted in front by winning four of the first five matches. Josh Brillo claimed a tough 126-pound opener over Zach Ruggles, 8-5, while Andrew Newton (132 pounds) shut out Tristan Duger 7-0.

Just before time ran out in the 145-pound match, Adam Notarpole pinned Dan Tierney, which preceded Francis Lombardi (152 pounds) getting a pin over Zach Caza 43 seconds into the third period.

Then Connor Gray (170 pounds) and Colin Alexander (182 pounds) claimed forfeits, which proved a shield against three straight Mustang pins that tied it, 30-30, before the Lakers had the final say.

One big change that the Lakers, and everyone else in the OHSL Liberty division, had to deal with this winter was the arrival of the Phoenix Firebirds.

Coach Gene Mills’ powerful Firebird program has been home to 18 state tournament qualifiers in the last decade alone, including four state champions, two of them won by current senior Nick Tighe.

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