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Coughlin, Zimmerman Shine at All-Catholic Championships, St. Francis Wins Team Title


St. Francis All-Catholic team champions // Cover photo courtesy of Jeff Pataky

 

St. Francis crowned nine individual champions at Sunday’s 58th Annual Monsignor Martin All-Catholic Wrestling Championships lifting the Red Raiders to the team’s first All-Catholic title since the 2013-2014 season.


“It was another all-around team effort here today,” said St. Francis head coach Mike Messore at the conclusion of the tournament. “These kids have grown and matured as a team and every kid from our ranked guys to our role players have stepped up at important moments. It’s been fun to watch them support each other and feed off each other’s energy and success.”

 

Messore was recognized as the league’s Coach of the Year for the 2023-2024 season, but was quick to give credit to his coaching staff for the success of the team this year.


"I have the best assistants - Steve Hart and Ron Lorenz - in western New York,"said Messore. "We’ve found a way to make this work and build something special. They are a huge part of our success."

 

MMHSAA Chairman Pete Schneider and Coach Messore // Pataky


Eight of the nine St. Francis All-Catholic champions earned crucial pins in their respective title matches, none bigger than senior Jack Coughlin’s pin in the 285-pound final to seal the team title for St. Francis.

 

Down by five points going into the final bout of the tournament, Coughlin would need to pin his opponent in order for the Red Raiders to secure the team title as they trailed St. Joe’s 294 to 289-points.

 

Holding onto a 3-1 lead late in 285-pound final, Coughlin was able to turn Canisius’s Javez Caldwell for the pin with only a minute remaining in the bout to capture the All-Catholic heavyweight individual title as well as the team title for St. Francis.

 

Coughlin went 3-0 on the day with three pins to claim his second straight All-Catholic title. Coughlin was also named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler for his efforts.

 

St. Francis's Coughlin // Pataky


Coughlin’s pin earned the five team points needed to match the Marauders, but the additional team point for Coughlin’s place finish pushed the Raiders’ score to 295-points to St. Joe’s’ 294 for the program’s first All-Catholic title since February 2014. St. Joe’s won the last nine consecutive All-Catholic titles from 2015-2023.

 

Overall, St. Francis placed fifteen wrestlers in the top-4 of their weights, with thirteen reaching the tournament finals, led by nine individual champions. St. Joe’s landed four individual champions and twenty one top-4 place winners.

 

58th Annual Msgr. Martin All-Catholics St. Francis individual champions:

 

108: Cullen Edwards, soph.

124: Kole Haseley, soph.

145: Rory White, soph.

152: Griffin LaPlante, soph.

160: Brandon Drummond, sr.

170: Gage LaPlante, sr.

190: Zach Caldwell, soph.

215: Connor Miller, sr.

285: Jack Coughlin, sr.

 

St. Joe’s senior Austin Zimmerman posted a 3-0 day with three pins on the way to earning his fourth career All-Catholic Championships title, becoming the 16th wrestler in Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association league history to do so.

 

“Choosing St. Joe’s as my high school was the best decision I have ever made in my life,” said Zimmerman reflecting on his time at St. Joe’s. “Ever since freshman year for the past four years have been nothing but success. All my coaches, all my teammates, especially Coach [Pete] Kennedy, Coach [Brad] Devlin, and Coach [Taylor] Golba, they really push me to my limits every day in the practice room. They are a huge part of my success today. I’m super excited to see what happens later in the postseason.”

 

Zimmerman, a native of Niagara Falls, was also recognized as the 2023-2024 Msgr. Martin league Wrestler of the Year at the conclusion of the tournament.

 

Austin is also a three time NYS Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) champion and a returning 5th place winner in the state federation championships. Zimmerman is committed to continue his wrestling career at Edinboro University after graduation.

 

A fourth CHSAA title for Zimmerman would make him the first four time ‘Catholic states’ champion in Marauders program history.

 

“There’s a job that needs to be done. I’m looking to make history there,” said Austin. “But, that’s not my overall goal. It’s a step toward my top goal of being a federation state champion. Also, I’m looking forward to seeing my teammates compete, some freshman and sophomores, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do at the catholic tournament.”


St. Joe's' Zimmerman // Pataky

 

St. Joe’s seniors Nik Massaro (131-pounds) and Sean Gordon (138) both repeated as All-Catholic champions in winning their respective weights while sophomore Damien Ndagano claimed the 101-pound All-Catholic title. Ndagano earned the tournament's Quickest Pin Award as well.


St. Joe's' Ndagano // Pataky

 

Tomas D’Agostino (145) and Aidan Schenk (160) wrestled to runner-up place finishes for St. Joe’s on Sunday.

 

The host Crusaders finished third in the team scoring led by finalists Emerson Capote-Weber (101), Cameron Wiepert (116), and Javez Caldwell (285). The Crusaders' Noah Morlock was awarded the tournament's Aggregate Pin Award for earning four pins in a total time of 2:35 on the way to a 5th place finish at 285-pounds.


Canisius's Morlock // Pataky

 

St. Mary’s finished fourth in the team standings led by finalists Quinn Martin (124) and Brady Baker (138). Gow School was represented in the finals by Nathan Fromme at 190-pounds.


58th Annual Msgr. Martin All-Catholic Championships team scores:


1. St. Francis 295

2. St. Joe’s 294

3. Canisius 112.5

4. St. Mary’s 78

5. Gow School 41


St. Mary's Lancers wrestling team

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