Baldwinsville Perhaps competing on home mats helped the Baldwinsville wrestling team just enough to secure a third consecutive Section III Class AA championship.
Unlike 2012 and 2013, when it had to go to Cicero-North Syracuse to claim the sectional title, the Bees got to serve as hosts in the refurbished Baker High School gymnasium when nine teams gathered Saturday for the 2014 edition of the AA tournament.
And right to the last bout, the team outcome was in question. But with titles from Kevin Paul, Gunnar Sutphen and Joe Nasoni, B’ville held on and, with 197.5 points, edged C-NS (196.5 points) for the team title. Liverpool (184 points) and CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt (179.5 points) were close behind in the third and fourth spots.
Paul, a two-time sectional champion, got through at 138 pounds, where he had a bye straight to the semifinals before pinning Yvan Kouakou (West Genesee) in 1:11. Then, in the finals, Paul dominated against C-NS’s Joe Copani, nearly getting a technical fall, but winning a 16-3 decision.
Sutphen got going at 182 pounds by pinning Nate Knox (Liverpool) in 2:31 and then handled Dalton Elias (West Genesee) 14-4 in the semifinals. And the title bout against CBA/J-D’s Mark Friske didn’t prove difficult, either, as Sutphen pinned Friske in the waning seconds of the second period.
For Nasoni, the 220-pound division proved to be a personal showcase. He pinned Corey Swan (Auburn) in 48 seconds, finished off Oliver Froelich (Rome Free Academy) late in the third period and closed it out with a fall over C-NS’s Andres Anoceto in just 1:46.
In all, five B’ville wrestlers made it to the finals. Chad McArdell did so at 152 pounds, beating teammate Steve Petrelli 14-2 in the semifinals before a narrow 8-7 defeat to Liverpool’s Darren Breen in the finals, while Connor Ross got a 31-second pin over Brian Carr to reach the 145-pound title bout, only to fall to Tristan Broddus (Fayetteville-Manlius) in an 11-5 decision.