Clarence, Lancaster Wrestling Remain Perfect In League Duals
In WNY’s most competitive wrestling league of the 2019-2020 season, some of the area’s largest schools are in the midst of a division-wide renaissance in the ECIC I league. With six of the league’s eight teams ranked in the top nine of the most recent WNY Athletics large school wrestling power ranking, division matches have risen to a new level of competition this season.
Wednesday night battles between the four league leading teams resulted in a slightly clearer picture for the league title race, however with two weeks left in the regular season, still nothing is guaranteed.
The Clarence Red Devils improved to 5-0 in ECIC I action with a home win against the visiting Frontier Falcons in what has become a true league rivalry match. The #6 Red Devils were victorious, 48-29, over the #5 Falcons, taking revenge on Frontier for a 40-38 loss in the Section VI Duals on January 4th. This rivalry has heated up in recent years, as the teams split with one win apiece in 2017. Clarence was a 45-31 winner in last season’s league dual, but the Falcons were the most recent winner before Wednesday at the sectional duals.
“We really wanted to get this one back after our loss to them at the sectional duals,” said Clarence head coach Jason Chase. “Jefferson Long and Dylan Carns both avenging losses from a few weeks ago was huge as well.”
Starting at 170-pounds, Jack Feltz put the hosts up 6-0 with a first period pin. However, Frontier responded with a major decision win by Andriy Petrov at 182 followed by pins by Konrad Kryszton and Ryan Myers at 195 and 220-pounds, respectively, for a 16-6 Frontier lead. However, before heading into the lightweights, Clarence’s Marquis Carns cut the deficit to 16-12 with a pin at 285-pounds.
In the lower weights Frontier’s Travis Browning and Sal Affronte earned a pin and decision win, respectively, to increase the Falcons’ lead to 25-12. Zack Dicey responded for the Red Devils with a pin at 113. Then, 7th grader Jefferson Long took the mat at 120 for a critical match with Frontier senior Adam Kowalski, who pinned Long in their 1/4 meeting. In a wild 13-10 match, Long was a winner, contributing to the team score and taking revenge for the previous loss.
Alex Kowalski earned a major decision at 126-pounds to create an eight-point difference in favor of the Falcons, however the last five bouts of the night belonged to Clarence, as Jon Palozzi pinned at 132 followed by a Dylan Carnes decision win, 5-2, at 138 over the Falcons’ Jake Petricca. Carnes earned three near fall points to break the 2-2 tie with only ten seconds left in the match. Carnes fell to Petricca 8-2 on the 4th. Jake Slowinski and Aiden Rabideau pinned at 145 and 152-pounds to seal the win. Jimmy Dicostanzo capped the night and the comeback for the home team with a pin at 160 making the final score 48-29 Clarence.
“We’ve been struggling to stay healthy over the last few weeks, but that has allowed some different guys to step in and get some quality matches,” said Chase after the win. “Those guys have been really stepping up in our last few duals when we needed them.”
While both teams were without a handful of starters, the match overall went without any forfeits.
Just over five miles away on the campus of Lancaster High School, another top ranked league battle was going on, as the #3 Hamburg Bulldogs were taking on the #2 Legends. Hamburg, fresh off of a 3rd place finish at the Section VI Duals, has had an excellent season under first year head coach Ken Schmitz. However, the powerful and experienced Legends proved too much for the Bulldogs as Lancaster improved to 5-0 in ECIC I and 16-1 overall with a 51-25 win over the visitors. Lancaster, who were the runner-up squad at the Duals, are still hopeful for a wildcard entry to the NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Championships on February 1st. Hamburg fell to 2-1 in ECIC I and 16-4 overall on the season.
Winning bouts for Lancaster were Carter Tadusz, Michael Schaefer, Myles Gronowski, Caleb Schurkus, Ethan Monin, Bryce Bolognese, Josh Jelonek, Dan Empfield, Ryan Stencel and Codie Scotland. The Legends collected five pins in their ten wins.