Fredonia falls in league title match against Falconer 45-24
FALCONER — The program all others measure themselves against in local wrestling for years has been Falconer.
For another year, the Golden Cougars are the gold standard.
Falconer/Cassadaga Valley turned three pins and a technical fall into a 45-24 victory over Fredonia/Silver Creek/Pine Valley/Forestville/Brocton to wrap up its ninth straight Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 title Wednesday night.
“We have kids who are willing to do whatever it takes to get wins for us,” Falconer/Cassadaga Valley head coach Drew Wilcox said. “When you have that, you find a way to win duals like this.”
The championship is the program’s 26th since league play began in 1972.
“We had an outside chance. We came to throw down and give Falconer a match,” Fredonia/Silver Creek/Pine Valley/Forestville/Brocton head coach Joe Santilli said. “They have a heck of a team. I have tremendous respect for the Falconer program. We had to have everything go right and then some.”
David Ball got Fredonia/Silver Creek/Pine Valley/Forestville/Brocton off on the right foot with a 9-0 major decision at 120 pounds, but Falconer/Cassadaga Valley’s Karsen DePasquale was able to stay out of a pin and save what could have been a valuable two points.
“That’s what we need out of him,” Wilcox said of DePasquale. “If he wrestles a good kid, he stays off his back. When he wrestles someone he can beat, he goes out there and takes care of business.”
After a forfeit, the Golden Cougars’ Joey Pillittieri came to life during the second period of his 132-pounds match against Antonio Pagan to take a 9-1 lead before ultimately earning the takedown with 39 seconds remaining in the third period.
“His conditioning is very good, and he uses that to his advantage,” Wilcox said of Pillittieri. “We’re never worried when it’s a close match with him because he usually breaks it open.”
Falconer/Cassadaga Valley’s Hunter Teboe then dominated his opponent, Dawson Russo, to the tune of a 17-0 technical fall at 138 pounds before the Hillbillies got back on the scoreboard with Hunter Larson’s 2:53 pin of Evan Phanco at 145 pounds.
“I’m a realist. I knew we were up against it and I knew we’d be overmatched in some areas,” Santilli said. “I knew we’d be giving up sixes in a couple of spots. We gave up six- and a five-pointer at a couple of weights that I didn’t expect.”
The Golden Cougars’ Bryce Baglia led 5-0 after one period and 11-0 after two periods before taking down Bryson LeGrano with 38 seconds left in their 152-pound bout.
“He’s another one who’s conditioning is on point,” Wilcox said of Baglia. “He definitely gets a lot of pins and steals a lot of bonus points in the third period.”
Falconer/Cassadaga Valley’s Mack Mikula and the Hillbillies’ Cole Golembieski fought through a spirited battle at 160 pounds. The two traded a takedown and a reversal in the first period before alternating escapes and takedowns in the second period to enter the third period tied, 5-5. Golembieski started on the bottom and picked up an escape point before Mikula picked up a takedown and a pair of back points to win, 9-6.
“Mack wrestled great,” Wilcox said. “That’s what we need out of Mack going forward.”
The Golden Cougars’ John Kozlowski and Fredonia/Silver Creek/Pine Valley/Forestville/Brocton’s Ceric Kristan alternated decisions at the next two weight classes before Brock Johnson earned a 16-5 technical fall at 195 pounds to essentially lock up the title for Falconer/Cassadaga Valley.
“Brock’s dealing with a little something, but manned up for the team. He went out and took care of business for us,” Wilcox said. “We really needed him tonight. If we gave up a forfeit or got pinned at that weight it would be a much closer dual.”
Alex Christy and Jake Skinner each picked up a decision for Fredonia/Silver Creek/Pine Valley/Forestville/Brocton at 220 pounds and 285 pounds, respectively, but were kept out of pins by Collin Beichner and Collin Mower.
David Ball capped a three-bout winning streak for the Hillbillies with a 16-0 technical fall at 99 pounds.
A forfeit at 106 pounds gave the Golden Cougars a 15-point lead before Austin Chase put an exclamation point on the night for Falconer/Cassadaga Valley with a come-from-behind pin of Lucas Hoffman in 5:33 at 113 pounds.
“We’re a really well-balanced team. We put a good wrestler out at every weight,” Wilcox said. “As far as the postseason, I think we have kids who will make a name for themselves, but that requires putting in work in the next three or four weeks and believing in yourself.”
The Golden Cougars will now head to the Fred Bell Tournament in Grove City before preparing for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division II Dual Meet Championships, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 1 at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena and Events Center.
“Hopefully,” Wilcox said, “we are peaking next Saturday.”