Now it was time for area wrestling teams to enter the post-season fray, and Marcellus did so by appearing in Saturday’s Onondaga High School League Liberty/Patriot League Tournament, held at Port Byron High School, and recording an impressive fourth-place finish in an 11-team field.
All told, the Mustangs picked up 158 points, just behind host Port Bryon (third with 160.5 points) and Hannibal (second with 167.5 points), but ahead of Skaneateles (155.5 points), whom it lost to, 36-32, back on Jan. 16. Phoenix won the league meet with 207.5 points.
Ben Hood won the 113-pound championship, pinning Anthony Negrete (Onondaga) and stopping Max Collier (Skaneateles) 6-2 to reach the finals, where he outscored Phoenix’s Ross McFarland by a 10-4 margin.
Zach Ruggles managed to beat the field at 120 pounds. Like Hood, Ruggles started with a pin, over Devin Mullins (APW), and his semifinal was even closer, a 2-1 squeaker over Port Byron’s Austin Parker, but he handled another Phoenix opponent, Zach Gilbert, 12-5 in the title bout.
Three other Mustangs got to the finals, including Riley Donovan at 99 pounds, as Donovan lost, 2-0, to Hannibal’s Evan Salmonsen, who was named one of the meet’s Most Outstanding Wrestlers with Port Byron’s Cormac Green.
Dan Tierney (152 pounds) blanked Tom Skinner (Fabius-Pompey) 7-0 in the semifinals, but lost a tight final to Hannibal’s Tyler Wyman, 8-3. At 220 pounds, John Dunn beat Cooper Pitman (Skaneaeles) 13-4 to reach a final-round classic where Dunn and Port Byron’s Mike Murray spilled into overtime before Murray pulled it out with a fall less than a minute into the extra period.
Nate Long claimed third place at 145 pounds when Phoenix’s Kyle Demo had to forfeit the consolation bracket final. Kevin Morrissey, beaten in the 160-pound semifinal, rebounded to shut out Alex Curr (Fabius-Pompey) 10-0 for third place in that weight class.