Falconer/CV Advances To Semis Before Losing To Section III Team
SYRACUSE — After a full day of grappling inside SRC Arena at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Dual Meet Wrestling Championships on Saturday, one fact was undeniable. Out of more between 300-400 small-school wrestling programs in the state, Falconer/Cassadaga Valley is in the elite company of the top four.
Despite entering the day without a seed in the mat-six pool, head coach Drew Wilcox’s team took care of Section VII Saranac, 45-27, in the opener before rolling past Section II Warrensburg, 47-26, to advance to the semifinal round. In their final match of the day, the Golden Falcons posted another untiring performance that ultimately fell in favor of Section III Central Valley Academy, 48-24.
Saranac entered the day with the No. 2 seed in the Small School Division, while Warrensburg held the No. 7 spot and Central Valley No. 6, earning wins over Section VII Peru and Section V Canisteo-Greenwood to advance out of the mat-three pool.
“In the beginning of the season everyone counted us out because we lost three great guys, three state reps,” senior captain Robbie Penhollow said following a third straight win over Riley Brewer of Central Valley. “I watched all these guys come in over summer and I watched them all grow and get better, and it’s great. They all got better and came together as a team.”
For the crowd gathered on the campus of Onondaga Community College, it was always easy to figure out where the Golden Falcons were on Saturday.
From the very first match of the day, when Bryce Baglia was able to claim a narrow 3-2 win over Bryce Smith at 152 pounds, the energy across Falconer/Cassadaga Valley’s roster was electric. Mack Mikula followed up that performance with a pin of Noah Steigleman, before Hudson Johnson earned a major-decision win over Tim Gadway at 182 and Penhollow earned his first victory, pinning Emilio Lugo in 16 seconds at 220 pounds.
Wrestling in a higher weight class than his usual 182-pound spot, Penhollow remained dominant.
“I thought we wrestled with energy. I thought we got them. I thought we were in better shape than them and wore them down,” Wilcox said of his team’s opening win over Saranac.
“Coach (Dan) Morales gave the guys an awesome warmup and we talked about having energy. We definitely had more energy than them. They were flat and we were on it. That’s how you win in these environments.”
Having the experience of one year at the dual championships under their belt, Wilcox and company were able to arrive earlier than most teams and prepare for the long day to come.
“Huge difference,” Wilcox said of the experience. “First of all we got here earlier, got to work out in the arena and that helped. We got a great warmup first thing this morning. We were the first team warming up.”
In the opener, Collin Mower followed Penhollow’s lead in the opening match of the day, earning a pin over Kaiden Kriplin before action turned back over to 99 pounds, where Brayden Newman was able to earn a close decision over Ryan Devins.
“I was also really impressed with (Brayden Newman) at 99 and 106,” said Wilcox. “He just goes out there and battles no matter how old the kids are, how much more they weigh. He’s going to be a really good one.”
Newman claimed a forfeit win against Warrensburg before falling to Sixx Cook by just one point in semifinal action.
After Newman’s win, Falconer gave up five straight matches before Jimmy Kramer was able to earn a technical fall at 138, while Nick Saeger earned a pin at 145 to seal an opening-round win.
Moving on to Warrensburg, Falconer got on the board with more strong, early performances, as Mikula earned another pin, this time taking care of Hunter Nemec in the first period.
Following behind were Jordan Dustin with a major decision at 170, Johnson with a come-from-behind pin as the final buzzer sounded, Grant Cheney with a pin at 195, and Penhollow with a major decision over Chris Wilson.
Turning the order over once more, Austin Chase pinned Robert Ranous at 99 pounds, Kramer earned a decision and Baglia recorded his second pin of the day in the first minute against Thomas Combs to secure a spot in the semifinals.
“I thought Robbie and Hudson had a great tournament,” Wilcox said. “Robbie took care of business like he should have and Hudson had a couple of tough battles, but he found a way to win, I think all of them. So my hat is off to those guys. We have a tight-knit group and they support each other, whether it is the individual stuff or the team stuff. This team has really come together.”
With the third and final match of the day starting at 182, Johnson once again showed his best stuff, flipping Jacob Lawrence on to his back for a pin at 2:45.
While the Golden Falcons were able to rely on their upper weights throughout all three matches, the task proved more difficult against Central Valley.
After Penhollow earned another pin at 220, Mower was thrust into a defensive battle with Malachi Farr at 285, ultimately earning a close 1-0 decision.
As action returned back to 99 pounds, Central Valley was able to rattle off six straight wins until Kramer returned to the mat and earned a 5-1 decision over Anderson Klosner. By that time the Thunder had built up a commanding lead. Saeger built on Kramer’s work with a dominant first-round pin at 145 over Jacob Taylor, but from 152 through 170 Central Valley was able to rattle off three more wins to seal their trip to the finals.
“I just told them I’m sure it stings right now. It stings for me as well,” said Wilcox. “But two, three, four days go by they’ll really start thinking about it. To be one of the top four teams of 300-400 teams in the Small School (Division), that’s a pretty impressive feat for them.”
NOTES: Entering the day’s large school competition without a seed, Olean was not able to make it out of the mat-three pool. The Huskies fell to Spencerport of Section V, 47-33, in the opener before losing to Fulton of Section III, 42-27, in the second round.
Falconer/Cassadaga Valley 45, Saranac 27
99: Brayden Newman (F) d. Ryan Devins, 5-3
106: Collin Clancy (S) d. Austin Chase, 4-3
113: Landen Smith (S) p. Brodie Little, 1:49
120: Robert Foley (S) p. Stephen Lamb, 1:07
126: Hunter Devins (S) d. Joey Pillittieri, 4-3
132: Alex Christman (S) d. Hunter Teboe, 8-2
145: Nick Saeger (F) p. Jacob Vann, 0:49
152: Bryce Baglia (F) d. Bryce Smith, 3-2
160: Mack Mikula (F) p. Noah Steigleman, 4:00
170: Jacob Nolan (S) p. Jordan Dustin, 1:43
182: Hudson Johnson (F) md. Tim Gadway, 12-1
195: Grant Cheney (F) win via forfeit
220: Robbie Penhollow (F) p. Emilio Lugo, 0:16
285: Collin Mower (F) p. Kaiden Kriplin, 1:46
Falconer/Cassadaga Valley 47, Warrensburg 26
99: Austin Chase (F) p. Robert Ranous, 3:12
106: Brayden Newman (F) win via forfeit
113: Dylan Winchell (W) p. Brodie Little, 1:10
120: Dustin Reiter (W) p. Stephen Lamb 5:12
126: Tenner McKenna (W) d. Joey Pillittieri, 8-7
132: Zach Shambo (W) p. Hunter Teboe, 0:51
138: Jimmy Kramer (F) d. Zack Davis, 6-2
145: Hunter McKenna (W) d. Tony Fiasco, 7-0
152: Bryce Baglia (F) p. Thomas Combs, 0:53
160: Mack Mikula (F) p. Hunter Nemec, 1:38
170: Jordan Dustin (F) md. Joseph Murcick, 17-3
182: Hudson Johnson (F) p. Tristan Hitchcock, 6:00
195: Grant Cheney (F) p. Ayden Rushia, 1:49
220: Robbie Penhollow (F) md. Chris Wilson, 13-3
285: Jacob Clear (W) d. Collin Mower, 5-2
Central Valley 48, Falconer/Cassadaga Valley 24
99: Sixx Cook (C) d. Brayden Newman, 6-5
106: Kace Cook (C) d. Austin Chase, 9-5
113: Mason Bush (C) p. Brodie Little, 1:11
120: Dawson Mower (C) d. Stephen Lamb, 11-4
126: Marek Bush (C) p. Joey Pillittieri, 0:28
132: Trevor Grogan (C) md. Hunter Teboe, 13-2
138: Jimmy Kramer (F) d. Anderson Klosner, 5-1.
145: Nick Saeger (F) p. Jacob Taylor, 1:40
152: Kye Cook (C) p. Mack Mikula
160: Hunter Shaut (C) tf. Bryce Baglia, 15-0
170: Jon Becker (C) p. Brock Johnson, 0:28
182: Hudson Johnson (F) p. Jacob Lawrence, 2:45
195: Bryson Youngs (C) p. Grant Cheney
220: Robbie Penhollow (F) p. Riley Brewer, 0:44
285: Collin Mower (F) d. Malachi Farr, 1-0