By Rob Tucker
FALCONER - By spotting the defending Division 1 champion Golden Eagles four matches the moment they walked into the gym at Falconer High School on Wednesday evening, the odds were very slim that visiting Southwestern would be able to come away with a dual meet victory.
Falconer’s Jimmy Schwab (right) battles with Southwestern’s Tanner Hoose in the 170-pound bout during Wednesday’s Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 wrestling match. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J?photo by Rob Tucker
That didn't mean, however, that the Trojans couldn't capture a consolation prize or two.
Despite eventually suffering defeat, 53-9, it was the Trojans, in the bout's two "marquee matchups," that were the victors.
In a battle between four of the top wrestlers in the area (all are ranked in Section 6), each of whom have lofty goals - namely, reaching Albany in a few months - it was 145-pounder Brian Westerdahl who got the better of Falconer opponent Kyle Ross and Ryan Hetrick, at 106 pounds, who edged out Kyle Blake when he broke a scoreless tie by recording an escape point with just 48 seconds remaining.
"Those were big matches that, coming in, we were hoping to get," Southwestern coach Mark Arnold said. "And to have those guys battle like they did and pull out close wins, I mean, that's huge for us and for their confidence going forward. I was very proud of them."
Following a 2-1 Zak Mata victory over Joey Lindberg that gave the Golden Falcons a 3-0 advantage early, Westerdahl and Ross stepped into the circle.
After a scoreless first period, Ross finally tallied the first points when he escaped back to the neutral position, and then was awarded another point moments later when Westerdahl was penalized for unnecessary roughness. That two-point lead looked to be enough as it held all the way until the final 10 seconds of the third period, but it was then that Westerdahl managed the comeback with a takedown and a four-second near fall to seize the 6-2 win as the buzzer sound.
"That's Brian's style," Arnold said with a smile. "He loves taking it to the last second. He just threw a move, got it and was able to get the points and pull out a close match."
Westerdahl's victory knotted the contest at 3-3, but that would be as close as Southwestern would get the rest of the way. Falconer reeled off the next seven victories in a row, converting the tie into an insurmountable lead, 39-3.
During the match-clinching run, Jake Youngberg pinned Mason Hoose in 1:20 at 160 pounds, Jimmy Schwab battled Tanner Hoose for the 5-1 victory, Dan Williamson flattened Ben Swanson in 1:57 and Jake Penhollow blanked Howie Boutelle at 195 pounds behind a takedown in the second period and a reversal in the third.
It was Schwab's match, during which the junior never trailed and scored three points in the final 12 seconds of the third period, that was particularly impressive to Wilcox.
"Schwab has really improved since last year," Wilcox said. "He's one of the harder workers in the room and it's finally starting to pay off for him. He just goes out there, wrestles hard, outworks people and finds a way to win. It's fun to watch."
Also fun to watch for the first-year head coach was 132-pound senior Brandon Muntz, who got Falconer to the winning margin by dismantling his opponent, 19-2. The win improved Muntz's record this season to a perfect 15-0.
"He's not shy about his goals," Wilcox said of his wrestler. "He's going out there and working on things because he wants to get to Albany, and he knows he's got no time to waste so he goes right after it."
With the victory, Falconer improved to 9-1 on the season. Southwestern dropped to 4-5.
138: Zak Mata (F) d. Joey Lindberg, 2-1.
145: Brian Westerdahl (S) d. Kyle Ross, 6-2.
152: Cody Dustin (F) by forfeit.
160: Jake Youngberg (F) p. Mason Hoose, 1:20.
170: Jimmy Schwab (F) d. Tanner Hoose, 5-1.
182: Dan Williamson (F) p. Ben Swanson, 1:57.
195: Jake Penhollow (F) d. Howie Boutelle, 4-0.
220: Double forfeit.
285: Javen Newman (F) by forfeit.
99: Ricky Griffith (F) by forfeit.
106: Ryan Hetrick (S) d. Kyle Blake, 1-0.
113: Jacob Peru (F) by forfeit.
120: Austin Ormond (F) d. Ronnie Fish, 9-7OT.
126: Dylan Lundmark (S) d. Tim Franzen, 4-0.
132: Brandon Muntz (F) tf. Mike Raynor, 3:18.