Falconer’s Peru And Penhollow, Salamanca’s Haas Recognized
Wrestling season is still months away, but the Falconer Golden Falcons still have plenty to be excited about.
Recently the New York Wrestling News compiled it’s all-decade team, listing the best Division I and Division II wrestlers from 2010-2019.
Now combined as Falconer/Cassadaga Valley, two former members of the program were named to the Division II third team.
Former state champions Jake Peru and Robbie Penhollow were selected to the 182-pound and 189/195-pound spots respectively.
“I’m familiar with the website,” said Falconer/Cassadaga Valley coach Drew Wilcox on Wednesday. “They do season rankings and team rankings throughout the year. I hadn’t heard about the all-decade team until (Wednesday).”
Peru was selected for his performance during the 2016 season, which culminated in a 182-pound New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division II title after a 5-2 decision over Ian Chedzoy of Section IV Watkins Glen.
“He had taken third at sectionals all three years previous to that,” Wilcox remembered. “I remember being nervous. It was the first time we felt like we had a chance to have an individual state champ. It was a big relief when it was over.”
The first individual title for Wilcox and his staff, Peru’s victory, which improved his record that season to 45-1 with 32 pins, was the first championship for Falconer since Jacob Schaus’ victory in 1994. During his senior campaign with Falconer, Peru was sidelined with a dislocated elbow.
“I think that it is pretty impressive for him to get on that list and not even have a senior year,” said Wilcox.
Similar to the performance that Peru put on as a junior was Penhollow’s senior season.
The 195-pounder smashed his way through the field in Albany earlier this year, eventually claiming his NYSPHSAA title with an 8-1 decision over Jace Filion of Section VII Adirondack.
That win capped off a 49-1 season and a 167-30 career record for Falconer/Cassadaga Valley.
Robbie worked himself into that state championship,” said Wilcox. “He wasn’t a prodigy coming out of elementary school. He had barely wrestled until seventh grade. His work ethic speaks for itself, whether it is on the mat, in the weight room or on the football field.”
Peru and Penhollow are two of six Section VI grapplers to earn a spot on the Division II All-Decade team.
Ben Haas of Salamanca, a 152-pounder, has earned first-team honors for his performance in 2012.
See ALL-DECADE, Page B3
During that season, Haas was able to avenge his only loss of the season in the NYSPHSAA Division II final, scoring a come-from behind win over Tristan Hamner of Medina to secure his title. After falling behind early to Hamner, Haas took the lead in the final period for a 12-11 decision, finishing the season at 44-1.
He would leave Salamanca with a 243-39 record before taking his talents to NCAA Division 1 Lehigh.
For a Falconer/Cassadaga program that has placed an emphasis on team competition in addition to individual accolades, these are a pair of honors worth savoring.
“It’s exciting for the program. Myself and the other coaches are just happy for Jake and Robbie to reach their goals. It’s not about anything other than helping kids reach their goals and end up on lists like this,” said Wilcox. “Jake set the bar with the state title and now it’s almost expected. I think Robbie expected to be a state champion since ninth grade. When that is the expectation, it makes things easier.”