Fredonia’s Russo, Kristan win Section titles, head to states
ANGOLA — Five area wrestlers walked away with guaranteed trips to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships in Albany in two weeks after claiming individual titles at the Section VI Division II Championships at Lake Shore Central School on Saturday.
Fredonia will also be sending a pair of grapplers to Albany as Giovani Russo earned an 8-0 win over Austin Bourgeois of Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Panama to claim the 132-pound title and teammate Ceric Kristan earned a narrow 3-1 win over Cleon Lawton of Franklinville at 170.
Russo will be making second consecutive appearance at the state tournament after making it there last season with an at-large bid.
Also earning a spot in the finals for the Hillbillies was Dalton Gardner, but he ultimately suffered a last-second defeat at the hands of Zach Braddell of Tonawanda at 138 pounds.
Jake Skinner of Fredonia also earned a trip to the finals at 220 pounds, but he fell to Michael Rigerman of Pioneer via pin in 2:34.
“I believe we placed eight in the top six which is the most I have been a part of in my tenure as head coach, so that is pretty exciting,” said Fredonia coach Joe Santilli. “Four finalists…that’s pretty excellent.”
Also making the trip to the state tournament will be Gowanda’s David Ball who bested Iroquois Donavan Bukaczeski to earn a section title by winning the decision, 8-5.
“David had a great week of practice leading up to today,” said Gowanda head coach Ray Logan on his sophomore wrestler. “We’re working on not just being happy on getting to states, but working on doing well there as well.”
Ball will head to the state tournament for the first time as just a sophomore.
“His wrestling partners in Maddox Browning and Ethan Fort have really pushed him to the limit this season,” said Logan. “They’re definitely a tribute to his success.”
Falconer/Cassadaga Valley’s Robbie Penhollow continued his near-perfect run at 195 pounds, earning a major decision win over Millard Young of Akron, while teammate Jimmy Kramer took care of Ryan Nugent of Newfane at 145 pounds to lead the Golden Cougars.
The Golden Falcons finished first in the team standings with 186 points, while Fredonia took fourth with 136 and Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Panama was fifth with 103.