Sweet Home’s Crouse wins wrestling crown
Sweet Home wrestler Dominic Crouse made the most of his first appearance in a sectional final, taking the 160-pound title at Saturday’s Section VI Division I State Qualifier at North Tonawanda High School.
Crouse’s highest place finish prior to this year was third at 120 and 132 in his sophomore and junior years. Crouse, the top seed at 160, pinned Dan Emblidge of Grand Island in 1:56 in the finals.
“I wasn’t surprised that I won it just because I had all of the support from the team,” Crouse said. “It all came together. When I was in the finals I knew I could do it.”
“Dominic has been on fire of late,” Lilly said. “It couldn’t have happened to a better kid. His work ethic and determination over the past few years have been a roller-coaster for him. I’ve seen him cry, puke, work though injuries, you name it over the past three years with me, although Saturday’s tears of joy were well worth it.”
Crouse knew that Emblidge had a longer reach than he did, so he tried to keep moving forward with the hope that his opponent would attack him.
“I kept the offense going,” Crouse said. “When I got him on the ground, I knew if I kept hammering him with my legs that he would eventually give in to the forward pressure. Once I was on top and I got the first initial point, I knew I could put him away.”
Crouse’s pin in the finals secured him 76 pins in a career, tied for first with Tom Shifflet all-time. He also recorded his 42nd win of the season, another single-season record that ties him with Shifflet.
“That made my entire career,” Crouse said. “I was expecting to get a win, but to get a pin was amazing.”
Crouse, the top seed, pinned Thomas Berner of Niagara Falls in 49 seconds in the quarterfinals and downed Derek Wojciechowski of Frontier by major decision, 12-0, in the semifinals.
Crouse will compete at the New York State Championships Feb. 24-25 at the Times Union Center in Albany.
“I want to go as far as I can but I definitely would like to go on the podium,” Crouse said. “I know I am not going to be ranked or seeded high but I know the biggest upsets happen at the state tournament and I am definitely looking to get mine.”
Senior Brad Straw took runner-up at 220.
Straw pinned Noah Tuzillo of Jamestown in 2:29 to extend his single-season school record to 27 and beat Anthony Robinson of Starpoint, 2-0, in the semifinals, avenging a lost from the Class A Tournament.
Straw then lost to Mason Mastrangelo of Lancaster by pin in 59 seconds in the finals.
“He wrestled tough and finished with his best placement of his career,” Lilly said. “I’m really proud of him.”
Lilly said Straw weighed 186 pounds and pushed weight the entire postseason, giving up between 25-35 pounds in most matches, to wrestle at 220.
“His heart and strength gave him a great finish to his final season here at Sweet Home,” Lilly said.
Senior Robert Carroll lost to Mark Cye of Lockport by technical fall, 18-2, in a first-round match at 145.
Junior Mohammed Amin lost to Codie Scotland of Lancaster, 10-6, at 152.
“They both wrestled well, and I was happy with the way they finished the year,” Lilly said.