SYRACUSE As the tension built Saturday night inside Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena, West Genesee junior wrestler Connor Grome knew what he had to do.
Tied with Liverpool’s Derek Eason in the 132-pound Section III Division I championship match, Grome was one good move from advancing to the state tournament - or one false move from seeing his season end.
Encouraged by a loud cheering section of friends, family and teammates, Grome went to work in overtime – and with a successful takedown, Grome won, 4-2, and earned WG’s first sectional title since Zeke Thompson prevailed at 112 pounds in 2008. He’s only the school’s third sectional champion in the last 19 years.
It was a tense match all the way through. Eason, the top seed, led 1-0 going into the third period due to an escape, but Grome’s takedown gave him a 2-1 lead before Eason escaped again, forcing the match into overtime.
Prior to that, Grome, the no. 2 seed, had pinned Forrest Boshart-Lowe (Whitesboro) in 1:34 in the quarterfinals and dominated Baldwinsville’s Connor Ross in the semifinals, winning a 10-0 shutout.
Now Grome, with a record of 36-5 this season, will join his fellow Section III champions (plus some wild-card entrants) as they go to Albany’s Times Union Center for the Feb. 24-25 state meet.
As a whole, West Genesee had a solid sectional meet, finishing ninth with 61 points. Matt Nichols lost in the semifinals to CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt’s Ben Honis 6-1, but won over Mike Ruggio (Oswego) 3-0 before a 12-0 defeat to B’ville’s Joe Nasoni, which left Nichols in fourth place.
Brandon Anderson, at 152 pounds, worked his way to fifth place, pinning Cicero-North Syracuse’s Kiel Dyer in 27 seconds for that spot on the podium. Evan Stefano (170 pounds) also finished fifth, fighting past Cortland’s Andy Price 5-3 for that spot.