Falconer Wrestles to Ninth Consecutive CCAA Division I Title
The #1 state ranked Golden Falcons captured the team’s ninth consecutive Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division I title on Wednesday night with a 45-24 victory over #17 Fredonia at home and on senior night. The Golden Falcons improved to 53-1 this decade in league duals, 26-1 overall this season, and finish the 2019-2020 campaign with another perfect 6-0 record in CCAA I.
“I was really pleased with tonight’s performance,” said Falconer head coach Drew Wilcox on the team win. “We’ve beaten Fredonia once already this season and it is always hard to beat a good team twice. I thought our team really showed up prepared for this match.”
The highly anticipated league title showdown between these teams was expected in the pre-season. Falconer were 51-21 winners over the Hillbillies on December 14th at Pioneer, and just barely missed a potential rematch at the Section VI Duals after Iroquois topped Fredonia in the tournament semifinals.
Wednesday’s dual began at 120-pounds. Fredonia won the prematch coin flip and opted to have choice in odd numbered matches. Defending Section VI champion Dave Ball got the road team on the board first with a 9-0 major decision to start the dual. Ball turned his Falconer opponent for near fall points with short time remaining to earn a major decision and the extra team point.
However, Falconer responded quickly, as Brodie Little collected a forfeit at 126. Joey Pillittieri earned one of only four pins in the dual at 132-pounds followed by a technical fall courtesy of Hunter Teboe at 138. After four weights the Golden Falcons held a 17-4 lead.
At 145-pounds sophomore Hunter Larson earned the only pin of the match for the Hillbillies. Bryce Baglia responded with another Golden Falcon pin at 152 followed by strategically crucial decision victories from teammates Mack Mikula and John Kozlowski. Mikula was a come-from-behind 9-6 decision winner at 160, earning a set of near fall points to secure the victory. Kozlowski earned a narrow 3-1 decision at 170-pounds.
“I thought Mack and Koz did a great job of winning a couple matches that could have gone either way,” said Wilcox on his 160 and 170-pounders’ wins. “Getting wins like that will be a huge determining factor in how far we go at the state duals.”
Going into the heart of the Fredonia lineup, Falconer maintained a 29-10 lead starting at 182-pounds. Defending Section VI champion Ceric Kristan was impressive in a 9-4 win over Falconer’s Hudson Johnson. Brock Johnson recovered some team points back for Falconer with a 16-5 major decision at 195.
“Brock is a tough kid,” remarked Wilcox on his junior standout. “We didn’t know if he could wrestle tonight but he put his teammates before himself and insisted on wrestling. To not be at one hundred percent and secure a major for us was huge.”
Fredonia’s Alex Christy and Jake Skinner collected half a dozen team points with decision wins at 220 and 285-pounds, respectively, however with a the team score now 33-19 and a forfeit upcoming in the only three remaining weights, Falconer had secured the victory.
Mike Ball earned five team points with a technical fall at 99 for the Hillbillies while Braydon Newman collected a forfeit at 106. In the final bout of the night, Austin Chase pinned his Fredonia opponent in a wild back and forth match to send the Golden Falcons out on a high note and put a close to their league dual meet slate.
Falconer will compete in the Fred Bell Tournament in Grove City, PA this weekend before heading to Syracuse for the NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Championships next Friday. Fredonia finishes the league dual season with a 5-1 record in CCAA I. The WNY #5 ranked Hillbillies are currently 21-6 overall this season.