Just a few days into a new season, the Cazenovia wrestling team has already taken a major step toward keeping the Onondaga High School League Liberty division regular-season title it claimed a winter ago.
The Lakers, who went 21-5 overall in 2011-12, emerged from an exciting, back-and-forth battle with Hannibal Wednesday night, prevailing over the host Warriors 48-34 by winning five of six matches in a pivotal stretch late in the meet.
Midway through the meet, Cazenovia trailed 24-18, but began its decisive push at 170 pounds when John Nannery pinned Logan Scott 30 seconds into the second period.
Dan Phillips (182) worked even quicker, pinning Corey Hyde in 51 seconds, followed by Hayden Polhamus (195) earning a second-period fall over Zach Hartranft.
Then Brad Lucas, working at 285 pounds, clinched the meet with a 27-second pin over John Williamson, which preceded a forfeit to Zach Maxwell at 99 pounds.
Much earlier, Cazenovia had taken the first three matches of the meet. Carter Biviano, in the 113-pound opener, beat Jesus Flores 12-4, after which Dylan Evans (120) pinned Kyle Cooper in 59 seconds and Nick Petroff (126) finished off Robert Elliot in 1:10.
Hannibal would take four of the next five matches, all of them with pins. The lone exception was 152 pounds, where Mike Nourse gained three crucial points by holding off Derek Hilton in a 10-9 decision, the closest match of the night. That set up the Lakers’ decisive late push.