With an inspired effort, West Genesee wrestling senior Connor Grome delivered a second consecutive Section III Division I championship at 132 pounds in Saturday’s sectional meet at SRC Arena.
Though in the same weight class as when he prevailed in 2012, Grome was not a favorite in his championship match against Fayetteville-Manlius junior Pat Quinlan, the top seed, who had beaten Grome 3-0 in the sectional Class AA final a week earlier.
The key, as it turned out, was getting that first takedown, which Grome did in the opening period to lead 2-0. From there, the opponents exchanged one-point escapes until the third period, when a timely takedown made it 5-2 and Grome went from there to prevail by a 7-3 margin.
Thus, Grome, with a 35-5 record for 2012-13, makes a return trip to Albany’s Times Union Center to compete in the state Division I (large school) championship meet on Feb. 22 and 23. He is the Wildcats’ lone representative.
In all, five WG wrestlers made it to the awards podium in the sectional meet as it finished 10th in a 19-team field with 64 points. Baldwinsville (145.5 points), the Class AA team champions, edged Class A champion Fulton (143.5 points) to finish in front.
Tyler Heggelke finished fourth at 120 pounds, beating Mike Mullins (Indian River) 5-2 in the quarterfinals, but running into B’ville’s Kevin Paul in the semifinals and taking a 5-0 defeat. Heggelke would also go 1-1 in the consolation bracket to finish his season at 26-11.
At 126 pounds, Odae Badwan lost in the semifinals to another eventual champion, Rome Free Academy’s Antonio Deluco, but won a tight 3-2 decision over Marcus Castaneda (New Hartford) in double overtime before Matt Haddad (Utica Proctor) pinned him in the consolation bracket final.
So Badwan, like Heggelke, finished fourth, while two others, Matt Calascibetta (152 pounds) and Dalton Elias (182 pounds), earned sixth-place finishes, winning once each in consolation brackets after quarterfinal defeats.