Syracuse – A lot of defending champions prevailed in the finals at Saturday’s Section III Division I and II wrestling tournaments.
Few did so as impressively as Ryan O’Rourke.
Adirondack’s 132-pounder remained unbeaten by pinning Holland Patent’s T.J. Philpotts in 3:18. That gave the senior a fourth chance to win a state title and helped the Wildcats clinch the Division II crown with 167 points.
“It was one of my favorite moves,” the Adirondack senior said of the spladle. “I’ve used five or six times. I won the league with it last year.”
O’Rourke, a three-time placewinner at states, also stayed unbeaten for 2015-16 with his victories in the February 13 tourney at Onondaga Community College.
“I knew it’d be a fight,” O’Rourke said of Philpotts. “He’s tough.”
Indeed. The HP wrestler entered the meet with three Class titles to his credit and was trailing just 1-0 in the second period when O’Rourke hit the winning move.
The title was the second of three for the Wildcats on a day that saw many Mohawk Valley-area wrestlers win. One match earlier, at 126, teammate Derek Spann continued his quest for a second state title by beating Morrisville-Eaton’s once-beaten Zach Burke 5-0. Two takedowns and very tough riding clinched yet another title for Spann.
Late in the tourney, Adirondack won its third crown when Joe Hennessey beat Camden’s Brett Finch 5-1 at 182. In all, 10 Wildcats placed and that kept General Brown from winning. The Lions were second with 152 points. Phoenix had 113.5, Central Valley Academy had 107 and Mexico had 104 to round out the top five in Division II.
Jon Charles was the first wrestler from the area to win a title. The CVA 99-pounder pinned Skaneateles’ J.W. Simmons in 3:53 after slowly building a 3-0 lead. Charles used a throw to pin his foe in the finals.
“It means everything to me,” Charles said of his first Section III crown. “I’ve trained forever for this.”
Tanner Cook was CVA’s other champ and he prevailed at 138 with a 9-0 victory against Dolgeville’s Noah Handy. Cook used a falling arm drag in the first three seconds for a takedown and a lead and used another in the second period to help build a 7-0 edge heading into the last period.
HP had two champions as expected since Hunter Richard and Alex Herringshaw are defending state champions. Richard blanked Phoenix’s Ross McFarland 8-0 at 145. It was the second straight week the HP junior beat McFarland in the finals of a tourney.
Herringshaw beat GB’s Trevor Snow 5-0 at 170. A first period takedown set the tone for the senior to win another Section III crown and continue his quest to win three state titles in his storied career.
Runnerups in the Division II finals included Adirondack’s previously unbeaten Kevin Spann at 106, CVA’s C.J. Walz at 120, M-E’s Josh Farrar at 160 and M-E’s Anthony Moffo at 220.
MVP in Division II was Sherburne-Earlville’s Jack Buell. The 195-pound senior, third at states last year, pinned previously unbeaten Joe Benedict of Sandy Creek in 3:34. The match was close until Buell caught the rugged SC sophomore.
There weren’t nearly as many finalists in Division I from the area, but both won. New Hartford’s McKenna brothers prevailed at 113 and 120.
“I just wanted to get to states,” Kelan said of his pin win at 113. “My real goal is to win states.”
Kelan, a senior, has placed three times at the state finals but has yet to win. A month ago he struggled in a dual meet win against CVA and has improved since that he might rate as one of the contenders in his weight at the two-day meet in Albany.
“My mindset changed after that match,” Kelan said. “I realized I can’t (just) hold onto leads. I’ve got to go and get it. I feel like I’m peaking right now.”
Kelan needed just 62 seconds to pin Jamesville-DeWitt/CBA’s Garrett Bauer to win in the finals. A quick takedown was followed by a crossface cradle that led to the senior’s pin. His sophomore brother Ian appeared headed to a similar outcome in the next match after he earned a quick takedown against Liverpool’s Sean Nadeau. But Nadeau was too strong to turn with the cradle attempt and it stayed 2-0 after one period. Ian escaped in the second period to lead 3-0 but gave up a late takedown and suddenly the outcome was in doubt.
Nadeau gambled that he’d escape in the third period to tie the match. Ian made him pay by being the aggressor on top. And while he did not turn his Liverpool foe, he kept the pressure on so much he earned a stalling point and went on to win 4-2.
“I knew I had it then,” Ian said. “I knew I could ride him out, (but) he was tough.”
That he even had a chance to compete was impressive as Ian missed a few weeks of the season with an injury and returned just in time for the playoffs.
“My goal is to place at states,” Ian said.
The winners Saturday automatically qualify for the state tourney. Some will learn in the coming days if their runnerup finishes will gain them a wild card entry.
2016 Section III Division I Wrestling Championship
Fulton 247, Baldwinsville 190, Indian River 116.5, J-D/CBA 106, Central Square 90.5, Liverpool 89, NH 85 Whitesboro 61, RFA 57, C-NS 52, Oswego 39, F-M 37, ES-M 36, SIT 33, Auburn 32, Watertown 31, Carthage 26, WG 22.5.
99: Matt Griffin (J-D/CBA) d. Logan Patterson (IR) 4-2
106: Christian Bradshaw (Liv) d. Kaleb Carreon (F) 5-2
113: Kelan McKenna (NH) p. Garrett Bauer (J-D/CBA) 1:02
120: Ian McKenna (NH) d. Sean Nadeau (Liv) 4-2
126: Tucker Amato (IR) p. Kevin Lewis (Bville) 3:44
132: Audey Ashkar (Liv) p. Adam DeMauro (Ful) 1:12
138: Jonah Cavallo (J-D/CBA) d. Jeremy Pond (Bville) 4-3
145: Naseem Fielder (SIT) d. Collin Flynn (F) 8-3
152: Phoenix Webb (CS) d. Tim Holden (F) 3-2 OT
160: Daesean Williams (Wat) d. Stephen Demong (Osw) 13-2
170: Sonny McPherson (IR) d. Travis Race (Ful) 6-3
182: Max Emond (CS) d. Dan Fawwaz (Bville) 5-1
195: Alex Bowen (Bville) d. Isaac Havens (CS) 5-3
220: Caleb Null (Carth) d. Noah Gates (Ful) 2-1
285: Jared Crucitti (Ful) d. Dylan Ashwood (IR) 2-1 OT
2016 Class B Wrestling Championship
Adirondack 167, GB 152, Phoenix 113.5, CVA 107, Mexico 104, Camden 97, SJ 86, HP 74.5, S-E 61, M-E 57.5, Canastota 56, 25 other teams competed.
99: Jon Charles (CVA) p. J.W. Simmons (Skan) 3:53
106: Cahal Donovan (Ph) d. Kevin Spann (Ad) 7-0
113: Trey LaFlamme (SJ) d. Austin O’Reilly (Mex) 8-4
120: Theo Powers (Mex) d. C.J. Walz (CVA) 7-0
126: Derek Spann (Ad) d. Zack Burke (M-E) 5-0
132: Ryan O’Rourke (Ad) p. T.J. Philpotts (HP) 3:18
138: Tanner Cook (CVA) d. Noah Handy (Dolgeville) 9-0
145: Hunter Richard (HP) d. Ross McFarland (Ph) 8-0
152: Caleb Beach (SJ) d. Morgan Seller (SL) 8-0
160: Kyle O’Connor (GB) d. Josh Farrar (M-E) 3-0
170: Alex Herringshaw (HP) d. Trevor Snow (GB) 5-0
182: Joe Hennessey (Ad) d. Brett Finch (Cam) 5-1
195: Jack Buell (S-E) p. Joe Benedict (SC) 3:34
220: Ricardo Dawkins (GB) d. Anthony Moffo (M-E) 5-1
285: Jacob Beckwith (GB) d. (S-E) 5-2