One clear indication of the level of respect the Cazenovia wrestling team has achieved is an invitation to one of the winter’s signature competitions.
That would be the Section III Dual Meet, held Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. It annually draws 16 of the top teams in the area for a single-elimination tournament, with the winner getting unofficial bragging rights for the next 12 months.
The Lakers got a favorable draw in the opening round, avoiding any of the top seeds and meeting another unseeded side, Adirondack, and it came down to the final match before Cazenovia defeated the Wildcats 43-38.
Dylan Evans wrestled in that 120-pound finale with his team trailing 38-37. Any victory against Devin Banks would do, but Evans left no doubts, pinning Banks 26 seconds into the second period to help the Lakers advance.
Much earlier, Nick Petroff (126 pounds) opened by pinning Connor Weiss in just 47 seconds as Sam Langan (132 pounds) followed with a fall over Jared Johnson in 1:20.
Then Adironack claimed three straight pins to go up 18-12 before Mike Nourse (160 pounds) beat Coty Lutz 8-2. John Nannery (171 pounds) and Dan Phillips (182 pounds) both followed with 15-0 technical falls over James Lamm and Connor Hamilton, respectively.
When Matt Staiger, at 220 pounds, pinned Andrew Abdoo in 1:43 and Brad Lucas (285 pounds) finished off Kieran Armstrong in 2:46, Cazenovia had a 37-21 edge, which vanished when Adirondack got two pins and a technical fall in the lightest weight classes before Evans pulled it out.
Just getting to the quarterfinals was quite a feat, but the Lakers were overwhelmed in that round by top seed South Jefferson in a 58-22 decision.
Of the first eight matches, the Spartans won seven of them, six by pin, to quickly settle matters. Only Nourse broke that spell, pinning Griffin Charlebois, while Lucas claimed a forfeit.