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Golden Cougars win wrestling tourney

Photo by Alex Shipherd Falconer/Cassadaga Valley's Brayden Newman works on top of Falconer/Cassadaga Valley's Austin Chase during the 99 pound final match at the Patrick J. Morales Memorial Tournament in Falconer on Saturday evening.

FALCONER — Robbie Penhollow lost his first match of the season Saturday evening.

But by that point, the Falconer/Cassadaga Valley 182-pounder and his teammates had already done plenty to earn the team title at the 2019 Patrick J. Morales Memorial Tournament.

Brayden Newman (99 pounds) and Jimmy Kramer (138 pounds) won individual titles while Penhollow, Austin Chase (99 pounds) and Collin Mower (285 pounds) each finished second as the Golden Cougars took the crown with 248.5 points.

“There were a couple of really good teams here,” Falconer/Cassadaga Valley coach Drew Wilcox said. “It’s fun to compete against teams from outside the area.”

Eisenhower (Pa.) took second place with 215.5 points on the backs of individual titles from Logan Jaquay (113 pounds), Cael Black (195 pounds) and Josef Bauer (220 pounds) while Kane (Pa.) was third, led by Alec English’s 160-pound championship.

Derek Ecklund led Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Panama to a fourth-place team finish after he won the 145-pound crown.

“We seem to have a decent tournament team,” Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Panama coach Ken Rowe said. “Even though we are light in some areas, we seem to score a lot of big points.”

Most Outstanding Wrestler Austin Hinzman handed Penhollow his first defeat of the season after 34 wins and led Akron Conventry (Ohio) to a fifth-place team finish with 159 points. Hinzman’s teammates, Miles Knuckles (132 pounds) and Kaleb Shank (170 pounds), also earned first-place finishes.

Randolph’s Mason Pagett (285 pounds) claimed the Aggregate Pin Award after picking up four pins in a total of 11:29 over the weekend. He capped his strong showing by beating Mower in the finals.

“It’s a great confidence booster for him going into the postseason,” Randolph coach Todd Conley said. “They had really good competition here. It’s just a validation of his hard work.”

Falconer/Cassadaga Valley couldn’t lose in the opening final of the evening as Newman made quick work of his teammate in 58 seconds.

“Brayden is really turning the corner,” Wilcox said. “He went through a rough stretch for a couple of weeks, but he’s back on track and wrestling to his ability again.”

Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Panama suffered its first of three losses in finals at 106 pounds when Trent Burchanowski fell behind Corry’s Lucas Munsee, 4-2, late in the second period only to pick up a last-second reversal. Heading into the final period tied at 4 apiece, Munsee quickly pulled off a reversal and held on for a 6-4 win.

“When (Munsee) scored, two of the three scores I don’t think Trent really made mistakes, he just got physically beat,” Rowe said. “I wish he would’ve been a little more aggressive when they were on their feet.”

Knuckles never looked fazed during the 132-pound final, although the Thunderbirds’ Brendon Ramsey put up an active fight for a period. Eventually, nursing a 4-0 lead, Knuckles pinned the Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Panama sophomore in 2:50.

“With Ramsey, he had opportunities, but he knew who the kid was and he knew his background so he was a little timid,” Rowe said. ” … With a kid like that, if you aren’t 100 percent, you are going to get beat.”

Kramer strategically beat Kane’s Noah Blankenship in the 138-pound final, earning takedowns in both the first and second periods en route to the 4-0 victory.

“He wrestled a really smart match and controlled the whole thing for six minutes,” Wilcox said. “He got a really good win for himself.”

Ecklund won a back-and-forth match over Eisenhower’s Garrett Head at 145 pounds. After a scoreless first period, the pair traded a takedown and a reversal in the second period to enter the final two minutes tied at 2. Ecklund then went ahead 6-2 and 9-4 before holding off Head late in the match.

“He’s still kind of mentally growing,” Rowe said. ” … Hopefully he can finish really strong.”

Sam Grey earned Cattaraugus-Little Valley its only place finish of the weekend at 152 pounds where he beat Kane’s Aiden Hulings, 8-6.

Hinzman put on a show against Penhollow in the 182-pound bout, turning a 2-2 first period into a rout in the second with an escape, a takedown and a near-fall before the wrestlers hit the boundary. Penhollow escaped to open the third period, but was never able to take control as Hinzman won going away, 11-3.

“It was two extremely good athletes,” Wilcox said. “You want to win every time you step on the mat, but this time of year a loss is never a bad thing.”

Ben Szymanowski became Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Panama’s third runnerup of the evening when he fell to Bauer in the 220-pound final. The Eisenhower senior led 2-1 after the first period and 5-2 after the second before a takedown and a near-fall in the third gave him a 10-4 victory.

“He’s been back and forth, and up and down,” Rowe said of Szymanowski. “I think he can get back to Albany this year if he puts it all together at the right time.”

Pagett shook some history in the heavyweight final, beating Mower for possibly the first time in his career. Mower led 2-1 after the second period, but Pagett got out from the bottom to open the third to tie the match at 2. After getting Mower down for a 4-2 lead, Pagett finished the pin in 5:03.

“They’ve wrestled all the way up … and Mower always has him by two points, so that was nice,” Conley said. “We had choice going into the third period so I thought if he could keep it within a point, he’d be fine.”

Some teams will look to use the momentum gained this weekend for next weekend’s Section VI Dual-Meet Tournament at Lancaster High School. The winner there will advance to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Dual-Meet Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 26 at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena.

“I think we’re in a good spot. We’re healthy and we’re wrestling well right now,” Wilcox said. ” … We’re going to have to be on the top of our game if we want to make it to the state duals again this year.”

NOTES: Cheektowaga’s Tyler Le was named the recipient of the Greg Munksgard Award prior to winning the 126-pound title.

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