Cazenovia Rested and ready to assert itself again, the Baldwinsville wrestling team emerged with a tense, closely-fought victory in Saturday’s Cazenovia Invitational at Buckley Gym.
Though the field included 16 teams, it came down to the Bees and CNY Counties League National division rival Cicero-North Syracuse. With 172.5 points, B’ville prevailed, just half a point ahead of the Northstars’ total of 172 points as Port Byron, with 156 points, finished third.
After the Bees’ appearance in the Dec. 27-28 Mountain Duals at Dolgeville, it alternated between practice and rest for two weeks, but didn’t lose any events due to the winter weather.
And when it resumed at Cazenovia, B’ville knew that every point would prove important, but didn’t imagine just how close it would get against C-NS.
Kevin Paul won the 138-pound class, rolling past Collin Treen (Herkimer) and Jared Williams (Sandy Creek) to reach the finals against Cormac Green, Port Byron’s all-time leader in wins. Green proved tough, but didn’t find much headway as Paul defeated him 4-1.
Chad McArdell didn’t need any decisions to run over the 152-pound field. He recorded three straight first-period pins over Zach Kurtz (Port Byron, 1:32), Jacob Wheet (Herkimer, 32 seconds) and Eric Petrie (Homer, 1:42) and, in the title bout, met Oswego’s Jordan Atwood, working until the third period, but still pinning Atwood in 4:40 for the title.
Joe Nasoni was just as dominant on his way to the 195-pound championship. He took just 39 seconds to pin Oswego’s Austin Piazza, required 45 seconds to finish off Homer’s Dylan Hotchkiss, and in the final against host Cazenovia’s Dan Phillips, won the championship with a pin in 1:34.
Overall, B’ville went 3-3 in finals. Gunnar Sutphen, at 182 pounds, ran into Port Byron’s Christian Pinckney and lost the championship match in a second-period fall, while Connor Ross dropped the 145-pound final to Homer’s Matt Norris. David Rush reached the title bout at 120 pounds, but could not keep up with Port Byron’s Austin Parker in a 14-3 defeat.
Devon Buyck (160 pounds), beaten in the semifinals, recovered to pin Herkimer’s Alex Shephardson in 2:34 in the consolation bracket final to finish third. Josh Peck, at 113 pounds, pinned Fabius-Pompey’s Nick DeJosia in 2:15 for fifth place.
In an ironic twist, B’ville would go up against C-NS head-to-head on Wednesday night, part of a big week that includes the Bees hosting its own set of dual meets next Saturday, starting at 10 a.m., against the likes of Liverpool, Central Valley Academy, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill and Fayetteville-Manlius.