FREWSBURG - While many of the Maple Grove athletic programs - football, basketball, soccer and cross country, to name a few - have enjoyed much success over the years by claiming a number of league, sectional and state titles, one area has lagged somewhat behind.
That is, until now.
The Maple Grove wrestlers brought to a close a nearly two-decade long title drought on Wednesday evening, topping host Frewsburg, 37-33, to complete its Division 3 season with an unblemished 7-0 record.
Maple Grove’s Howie Nolan, left, recorded a 13-0 major decision over Frewsburg’s James Haick at 152 pounds in Wednesday’s Division 3 wrestling match. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J?photo by Rob Tucker
Yes, after a 15-year hiatus, the Red Dragons are once again league champions.
"We haven't had an undefeated (league) season in 15 years," Maple Grove coach Trevor Delahoy said. "I don't think the guys truly understand yet what it means, but it is huge for me."
Needing one last victory to clinch, Delahoy gave his team a choice before the match.
"I told them that if we win, we're champions," he said, "but if we lose, we're leaving that decision up to (some other team)."
His Red Dragons chose the former option, though they needed a little help to get there.
In a back-and-forth match that saw Frewsburg take the early lead, 12-3, then surrender it, 19-12, only to regain it yet again, 33-19, with just four matches remaining, in the end the Bears fell because they didn't have the bodies to fill out an entire lineup.
Frewsburg forfeited its final three matches, allowing Maple Grove to overcome that 33-19 deficit and complete its season in winning fashion.
"Thank God for forfeits," Delahoy said with a smile.
Though it may have been the forfeits that got them to the winning margin, that's not to say the Red Dragons didn't come up with some crucial victories in the meet's nine contested matches.
Maple Grove's best showing was from 145 to 160 pounds, when, in succession, Keenan Smith flatted Kyle Parker in just 49 seconds at 145 pounds, Howie Nolan handled James Haick with a 13-0 major decision and then Brody Nolan pinned Robert Russo with a minute remaining in regulation, pushing the Maple Grove advantage at the meet's midway point to 19-12.
"Howie's been real outstanding for us this year and he's doing great," Delahoy said of the sophomore whose record improved to 24-5. "And Brody, a freshman, is up to 17 or 18 wins now. But really everyone wrestled well, even if they didn't win. Our guys wrestled tough, they went out there and gave it their all and that's all I ask."
For Frewsburg, it was a bitter way to go out on its final home match of the season.
"Another night and we win this," coach Cody Spicer said. "Our 120-pounder was kicked off the team recently, and that would have been a forfeit (for us) and we would have won this match. It (stinks) for the seniors because we couldn't go out with a bang."
Those seniors, however, performed quite well.
Of the four on the team, three were victorious as 138-pounder Devone Adelgren won by fall over Chris Kampa in 1:16; Austin Lynn, at 182 pounds, by pin over Mitchell Sandberg in 2:30; and Cody Haller, at 170 pounds, with a last-second fall of T.J. Bihler at 5:52.
"We're proud of them," Spicer said.
Frewsburg, which fell to 2-5 in Division 3 this season, has the Salamanca Tournament (as does Maple Grove), which begins today, and then one final league contest remaining against Allegany-Limestone on Jan. 30.
126: Jon Martin (F) by forfeit.
132: Kyle Hall (M) d. Preston Rhodes, 11-7.
138: Devone Adelgren (F) p. Chris Kampa, 1:16.
145: Keenan Smith (M) p. Kyle Parker, :49.
152: Howie Nolan (M) md. James Haick, 13-0.
160: Brody Nolan (M) p. Robert Russo, 5:00.
170: Cody Haller (F) p. T.J. Bihler, 5:52.
182: Austin Lynn (F) p. Mitchell Sandberg, 2:30.
195: Trevor Spicer (F) d. Derek Johnson, 10-4.
220: Double forfeit.
285: Zach Haller (F) p. Jared Hallberg, 5:51.
99: A.J. Putt (M) by forfeit.
106: Zak Trim (M) by forfeit.
113: Brad Bihler (M) by forfeit.
120: Double forfeit.