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O’Rourke, Guarino Honored by National Wrestling Hall of Fame

WNYAthletics wrestling contributor Matt O’Rourke accepted the Stanbro Media Award from the Upstate New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony on Sunday in Syracuse. Former University at Buffalo wrestler and Williamsville East and Lake Shore head wrestling coach Roy Guarino was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame with the Hall’s Lifetime Service Award.

O’Rourke has been covering high school wrestling like no other since 2017. His knowledge and creativity has caught the eye of a number of local sportswriters who have leaned heavily on O’Rourke for his insight. The local wrestling community hasn’t had the kind of coverage O’Rourke has been providing in decades, if ever. His dedication to the sport has helped highlight hundreds of high school wrestlers, coaches, and programs across the state.

“I am extremely humbled and grateful to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for choosing to recognize me with this honor,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “I cannot thank the wrestling community in Western New York enough for supporting my work and for nominating me for this award. I would especially like to thank all of the area coaches for being so accommodating to me and generous with their time. I want to thank the sectional wrestling committee members, referees, WNY Athletics staff, the parents of all the athletes, and especially the wrestlers for the years of support and entrusting their stories with me.”

Former University at Buffalo standout wrestler and Williamsville East and Lake Shore head wrestling coach Roy Guarino was also honored by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame with its Lifetime Service Award.

Coach Guarino is an alumnus of Amherst High School. He went on to wrestle collegiately first at Corning Community College and then at the University at Buffalo. Guarino was a two-time NCAA Division I tournament qualifier and was a key member of the 1971-1972 Bulls team that cracked the top-20 national team rankings. Guarino wrestled with a number of all-time great names in the history of the UB wrestling program, some of whom are already enshrined as inductees to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

After graduating from Buffalo, Guarino went on to coach the Flames first before taking over the Eagles. Guarino’s teams claimed many league and sectional honors as many of his wrestlers from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.

“Roy gathered many coaching awards and was lauded by his peers in the coaching ranks,” said former Bulls teammate and Hall of Fame member coach Anthony Policare, who introduced Guarino at the banquet. “I honor and praise Roy for his successes. He is a caring man and friend who has made many lifelong friends and acquaintances through his association with wrestling.”

“This whole experience has been really surreal to me, being nominated, and ultimately selected for such a prestigious honor…I am very humbled,” said Guarino at Sunday’s banquet. “The outpouring of ‘congratulations’ from friends, family, teammates, and athletes I’ve coached over the years, has been really humbling.”

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