SYRACUSE Kevin Paul, Chad McArdell, Gunnar Sutphen and the rest of the Baldwinsville wrestling team made sure that no small margin was required for a second consecutive Section III Division I team title Saturday at Onondaga Community College's SRC Arena.
Unlike 2013, when it edged Fulton by two points for top honors among the large schools, the Bees, with 155.5 points, breezed past runner-up Liverpool, who was second with 137 points as Fulton (134 points) had to settle for third place.
Not only were team titles at stake, so were automatic berths in the Feb. 28-March 1 state tournament at Albany's Times Union Center, a venue Paul has known quite well from the appearances he made at the state meet each of the last two years.
Now it's three in a row for Paul, who took the 138-pound championship and improved to 39-5 this season. He pinned Jake Wright (CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt) in 1:02 in the quarterfinals and routed Daesean Williams (Watertown) 11-1 in the semifinals before a title bout with New Hartford's Sean McKenna, where Paul used a near-fall at the end of the first period to take charge and cruise to a 5-1 decision.
Then it was McArdell's turn at 152 pounds. As the no. 2 seed, he gave up just one point all day, shutting out Aaron Yablonski (Fulton) 12-0 and Max Emond (Central Square) 4-0 to reach the finals, and then took charge against the top seed, Liverpool's Darren Breen, midway through the second period of the final, rolling to an 11-1 win and clinching a first-ever trip to the state meet with his 42-4 record.
Sutphen, who is 37-7 this winter, was the top seed at 182 pounds, but had to wrestle a first-round match, where he pinned Tyler Secanne (Central Square) in 45 seconds.
From there, two more pins followed, over Brett Barnes (Rome Free Academy) in 3:52 and Dalton Elias (West Genesee) in 1:59, and in the title bout Sutphen took the lead for good against CBA/J-D's Mark Friske late in the second period, prevailing by a 6-2 margin.