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Catrabone, LaPlante’s Shine at Elite Powerade Wrestling Invitational

CANONSBURG, PA – Williamsville North junior Cam Catrabone wrestled to a runner-up finish at the prestigious Powerade Wrestling Tournament Thursday and Friday at Canon-McMillan HS in Canonsburg, PA going 4-1 over the course of the two day tournament. Powerade is regarded as one of the best annually held in-season high school wrestling tournaments in the country. The 2022 edition featured fifty nationally ranked wrestlers, including Catrabone who currently sits at #15 in the country at 145-pounds.

Catrabone was a 3rd place finisher at the 2021 Powerade, falling only by one point in the 132-pound semifinal to the eventual runner-up and returning Powerade champ.

Catrabone earned the 3-seed at 145-pounds for this week’s tournament and had a bye in the first round. Cam earned a second period pin over Eastside, SC’s Bronik Snizaski in the round of 32. In the round of 16, Catrabone earned a 5-0 decision over St. Peter Prep’s (NJ) returning New Jersey 4th place finisher Jonathan Fuller to advance to the quarters.

Another victory over Kissimmee Osceola’s (FL) Anderson Heap in the quarterfinal landed Catrabone another shot in the Powerade semifinal.

The semifinal match would feature the 3-seeded Catrabone against the 2-seed Vince Bouzakis from Notre Dame-Green Pond HS (PA). Bouzakis is currently the #8 ranked wrestler nationally in the weight class.

After a scoreless first period, Bouzakis selected to go down at the start of the second. Bouzakis hit Catrabone for a reversal for a 2-0 lead, however Cam escaped before the end of the period to make it 2-1. Another escape for Cam in the third period tied the score 2-2 going into overtime. A chaotic scramble situation nearly ended the match with a Bouzakis takedown, however Catrabone countered expertly to secure the sudden death victory.

“It felt nice to make it to the final and only have to worry about the one opponent ahead,” said Catrabone on the semifinal victory.

In the final, Catrabone would face unseeded Jaydon Robinson from Illinois’s Homewood-Flossmoor HS. Robinson is a returning 3rd place winner in the Illinois 3A state tournament and an Honorable Mention in the current national rankings at 145. Robinson upset the top seed, #6 ranked wrestler in the country and returning Powerade finalist Mac Church in the semifinal, 3-2.

After another scoreless first period in the title match, Robinson chose down to start the second. Cam was able to control Robinson and return him to the mat a handful of times, but did get warned for stalling close to the one minute mark. An escape for Robinson made the match score 1-0 going into the third. Catrabone added an escape in the third period to tie it, and just barely missed a late third period takedown for the outright win.

In overtime, Robinson was able to secure a takedown for the sudden victory with little time left remaining in the one minute period.

Catrabone improved to 25-2 overall this season after the runner-up finish in Pennsylvania and another top-3 Powerade performance. The 2x NYS place winner also has a 3rd place finish from the Beast of the East earlier this month.

Next up for Catrabone and Williamsville North is a home ECIC I showdown with Lancaster next Wednesday followed by the Section VI Dual Meet Championships at Lancaster on Saturday.

Starpoint’s returning NYS place winners Griffin (freshman) and Gage LaPlante (junior) made their Powerade debuts in impressive fashion, even more so as both started the tournament unseeded in their respective weight brackets.

Gage went 4-2 at 160-pounds to earn a huge 7th place finish at Powerade in his first appearance at the tournament. Gage cruised past Montoursville’s (PA) Hunter Miller in the round of 32 by tech fall, then pinned returning Florida state finalist Adrian Ochoa to advance to the round of 16. There, LaPlante met top seeded returning Powerade champ and #3 nationally ranked Joe Sealey from the powerhouse Wyoming Seminary Prep (PA) and fell by tech fall.

From there, LaPlante dropped into the consolation ‘blood round,’ where a win would mean guaranteed placement and a loss would result in an exit from the tournament.

Gage took full advantage of the opportunity where he dominated Southern Regional’s (NJ) 7-seeded returning NJ state placer, Cole Velardi by major decision, 12-3, to guarantee a podium spot. In the consolation quarters, LaPlante fell to returning NJ state qualifier Ryan Burton from St. Joe’s Regional HS to land a spot in the 7th place match.

In the 7th place bout, LaPlante faced returning Ohio state champion Chris Earnest from Wadsworth, Ohio but fell 5-1 in the match, but still guaranteed of an 8th place finish.

“This was the first big tournament Gage has placed at so it was nice to get that one off his back…place at a big tournament so we can start making progress in the future,” said Spartans assistant coach Kyle McGregor.

“Gage has been in the blood round at multiple national events, and this is the first time he has punched through,” said Spartans head coach Steve Hart on the junior standout.

Griffin made his first appearance at Powerade with a solid 2-2 performance in the 139-pound bracket.

LaPlante won his first match, 6-2, over Notre Dame-GP’s Bryson Vaughn in the round of 32. Griffin then met the 5-seed in returning NJ state champion Tyler Vazquez from Delbarton but fell by major decision to drop to the wrestle backs.

LaPlante met returning state tournament placer Ryan Martin from the powerful AAA West Virginia Parkersburg South program. LaPlante was a 10-5 winner in that match to stay alive in the consolation bracket.

However, LaPlante would fall to Wyoming Seminary’s Michael Trujillo by a close 4-2 decision to bow out of the tournament, only two rounds from the consolation blood round but earning invaluable experience as a freshman in a quality middle-weight class.

Starpoint will host Iroquois on Wednesday for an ECIC II match before the Section VI Dual Meet Championships on Saturday at Lancaster. The Spartans are a sectional title hopeful, looking to make another run at the NYS dual tournament again after a semifinal finish in the 2021-2022 championships.

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