From the time it debuted Dec. 7 at the Chittenango Dual Meet to the time it made a stunning comeback to win the Fabius-Pompey Dual Meet a week later, the Marcellus wrestling team saw a lot of mat action – and in the process, proved that it was once again a viable and strong program.
In a showdown last Tuesday against Phoenix, a long-time power new to the OHSL Liberty division, the Mustangs put up quite a fight, leading in the early stages before surrendering that edge in the late going and falling to the Firebirds 38-28.
They started at 113 pounds, where Sam Rice rolled past John Garofalo 14-4, and Ben Hood (120 pounds) followed with a 12-5 decision over Ross McFarland.
Zach Ruggles, at 126 pounds, lost 6-2 to Brad Dietz, but two matches later Tristan Duger (138 pounds) defeated Adam Pinzer 5-1, with Nate Long, at 145 pounds, handling Billy Ostrander 8-2.
But the Mustangs’ lead slipped away when Phoenix won five of the next six matches, two of them forfeits. Only Kevin Morrissey, at 170 pounds, broke up that run, topping Codie Corso 10-3.
Despite this Firebirds surge, Marcellus, trailing 32-16, rallied late as John Dunn (285 pounds) recorded a third-period pin over Derrick Button and Riley Donovan, at 99 pounds, earned a remarkable 10-second pin over Tayler Caruana to make it 32-28.
So, if Alex Czerniak could earn a majority decision over Ryan Dolbear in the 106-pound finale, it would win the match because of the criterium point earned by winning eight of 15 matches. But Dolbeat made the point moot, pinning Czerniak in the second period.
This busy stretch began at Chittenango. Marcellus would go 4-1 at that meet as it won its first three matches, turning back Whitney Point 48-29, holding off Homer 47-35 and routing Onondaga 72-11 to enter contention.