North wrestling places fourth at own invitational
The Williamsville North wrestling team responded from a disappointing ECIC Division I dual loss to Lancaster Wednesday with a fourth-place finish at the 10th annual Spartan Wrestling Invitational Saturday at North.
The Spartans scored 110 points to take fourth out of 14 teams.
“Lake Shore, Eden, Niagara Falls, Grand Island and Gowanda were there and are all ranked in the section, so the quality of competition was very good,” North coach Brian Swatland said. “There were a few kids who were at the state meet before and we had some of the top wrestlers in the section there. We had a nice blend of strong teams and individual talent at that tournament.”
John Freda was North’s only champion, beating teammate Jake Zaleski, 6-2, in the 126-pound final.
“It was a great match,” Swatland said. “Both are very skilled wrestlers. John played to his strengths more than Jake did. John was a JV wrestler for us last year, so for him to win a tournament this year as a sophomore is pretty amazing. It shows that if you put in the time in the offseason and dedicate yourself the right way, success does come.”
Leading up to their match, Freda — seeded second — pinned Williamsville East’s Richard Bobo in 2:44 and Eden’s Brady Bermingham in 3:15 while the top-seeded Zaleski beat Frontier’s Joe Nowak, 18-2, and pinned Lackawanna’s Hajaj Ahmed in 1:20 and Williamsville South’s Anthony Ferguson in 2:43.
Three other Spartans placed third — Russ Pusateri (138), Blake Curran (152) and Paul Carbrey (160).
Pusateri — seeded fourth — pinned Williamsville East’s Ben Clark in 3:43 and beat Lackawanna’s Mohammed Salih, 15-0, before losing to top-seed John Inglut, the eventual champion, 6-2, in the semifinals. In wrestlebacks, Pusateri beat Hamburg’s John Bard, 14-2 and defeated Gowanda’s Derek Miller, 7-5, for third place.
“The match with Miller was tied at 5-5 with five seconds left and he turned him at the end to get the win,” Swatland said.
Curran — the top seed — blanked Hamburg’s JR Maroone, 8-0, and then lost to Niagara Falls’ Deasha Duckworth, 5-4, in the semifinals. In wrestlebacks, Curran shut out Williamsville East’s Andrew Crawford, 5-0, and Eden’s Craig Witmer, 1-0, for third place.
Carbrey — seeded fourth — beat Lake Shore’s Kevin Zybert, 12-3, but lost to Zybert’s teammate, top-seed Joe Catalano, 10-1, in the semifinals. Catalano won the tournament. In wrestlebacks, Carbrey pinned Williamsville East’s Conor Shea in 4:22 and Kenmore East’s Preston Smith, 6-1, for third place, avenging a 16-6 loss earlier in the year.
Other wrestlers who did not place but won matches were: Garrett Adelizzio (113, 2-2), Zac Kelly (113, 1-2), Matt Kellner (132, 1-2), John Ring (145, 2-2), Tom Canna (170, 2-2) and Mike Moeller (170, 1-2).
Swatland lauded the efforts of Dave and Marie Kellner from the Williamsville North Wrestling Boosters for getting parent support for the event.
North needed to rebound at its own tournament because of how they performed Wednesday at Lancaster. The Spartans lost, 43-27. Last year, North handed Lancaster its first ECIC I loss since 1996.
“I haven’t been this disappointed in our team since we lost to Clarence two years ago in the Jon Vesper Duals,” Swatland said. “We had every opportunity to win and did not finish what we started. We lost three matches in the third period. We had kids on their backs and we let them off their backs and ended up losing. As far as a total team effort, it wasn’t there.”
Kellner opened the match with a 4-2 win at 132. Pusateri won, 8-2, at 138, Ring was pinned at 145, Curran lost, 3-0, at 152, Carbrey won by pin at 160 and Canna won by pin in the first period to give the Spartans an 18-9 lead.
Then, Tom Weisensal lost, 6-4, at 182, after winning going into the third period, Nate Mutka lost, 9-1, at 195, Harshdeep Mander fell, 5-4, at 220, and Sean Duggan was pinned at 285.
North forfeited at 99 and 106. Zac Kelly lost by pin at 113, Zaleski won by pin at 120 and Freda won, 4-2, at 126.
North (7-4, 4-2) travels to Hamburg for an ECIC I dual meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday. They’ll close out the week at the ECIC Tournament Friday and Saturday at Clarence.