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National Honor

Falconer/Cassadaga Valley Coaching Staff Receives NWCA Recognition

Falconer/Cassadaga Valley’s coaching staff celebrates after winning the NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Division II championship this past winter. P-J file photo by Jay Young

It’s been nearly five months since the Falconer/Cassadaga Valley wrestling team captured the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Dual Meet Division II championship, but the honors keep piling up for the program.

The latest recognition extends far beyond the borders of the Empire State, though.

Late Tuesday night, head coach Drew Wilcox was notified that his assistants — nine of them in all — have been named the Section 1 Scholastic Boys Assistant Coaching Staff of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Wilcox’s staff includes Trevor Delahoy, Dan Morales, Travis Hummel, Kevin Strong, Chris Fiasco, Scotty James, Jake Youngberg, Mike Smith and team trainer Andrew Lanphere.

To put that into perspective, they are only one of eight such groups in the country to be so recognized.

“I sent a group message out to the coaches (Tuesday night) and congratulated them,” Wilcox said Wednesday afternoon. “It’s their award. When I sat down and thought about it, wow, one of eight teams or groups of guys to get recognized across the nation. That’s a big deal.”

Falconer/Cassadaga Valley celebrates its penultimate victory prior to the final bout of the NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Division II title match. P-J file photo by Jay Young

The Golden Falcons’ program has proven to be a big deal for decades, including the last nine under Wilcox.

In addition to capturing the state small-school dual meet title in February — it was its third straight appearance in the tournament — Falconer/Cassadaga Valley posted a 33-1 overall dual-meet record. The Golden Falcons also claimed the team’s ninth consecutive Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division I title, its eighth straight class tournament crown, its third straight Section VI Division II dual-meet title and the No. 1 ranking in the New York State Sports Writers Association small school final poll.

Since Wilcox took over the program, he and his staff have compiled a 180-19 overall record, a 90.5 winning percentage.

“The thing I’m personally most proud of is the fact we’ve been able to keep our participation numbers up and then seeing the pride the kids have in it when they’re here and the pride they have in it long after they’ve graduated,” Wilcox added.

Now the program has yet another reason to be proud, thanks to the dedicated work of its nine assistant coaches.

“You won’t find a more selfless group,” Wilcox said. “The guys are working in it for the right reasons, which are to make the kids better, and no one is in it for self gain.”

The rest of the high school wrestling world has taken notice.

“The NWCA is proud to be able to provide a platform to help recognize outstanding coaches at both the state, section, and national levels,” NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer said in a statement. “Coaches have the ability to positively impact the lives of their athletes and ultimately change the fabric of a community. While we are recognizing these winners, we also want to thank each coach out there as they give so much of themselves to their program and athletes.”

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