Weekly Feature



2018-02-14 / Sports

North wrestling’s Catanzaro, Walter win section titles in dramatic fashion

First time team crowned multiple champs
PATRICK NAGY
Sports Reporter


Williamsville North’s Mike Catanzaro works over Clarence’s Garrett Jason during their match in the 113-pound weight class in Saturday’s Section VI Division I Championship Tournament at North Tonawanda. Catanzaro won the match by pin and finished the day taking third overall. 
Photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Williamsville North’s Mike Catanzaro works over Clarence’s Garrett Jason during their match in the 113-pound weight class in Saturday’s Section VI Division I Championship Tournament at North Tonawanda. Catanzaro won the match by pin and finished the day taking third overall. Photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Winning a Section VI wrestling title takes a lot of work, and Vinny Catanzaro and Cam Walter needed every second to accomplish their goals.

Catanzaro scored a two-point takedown in the waning seconds of the 138-pound final to edge Niagara Wheatfield’s Jake De- Wolf at Saturday’s Section VI Division I Championships at North Tonawanda High School. Walter held off Blake Bielec of Grand Island to record a 4-3 win at 195 pounds.

It was North’s first section champions since John Freda won at 132 in 2014 and it’s the first time the Spartans have crowned two section champions in the same season.

“I have been working my whole high school career to make it to the state tournament,” Catanzaro said. “I came up a match short last year,” he said. “I have been working hard to make it this year. I’d like to thank my parents, Mike and Maureen, and my coaches, Mark Lewandowski, Paul Palizay and Wally Maziarz, for their support.”

“It is something I have wanted for four years now,” Walter said.

“It is what we have been working for,” said Palizay, North’s assistant coach. “Both kids put in the work in the offseason, which is what you have to do to get to this point. It’s awesome.”

Catanzaro trailed 3-2 with less than 20 seconds left and forced DeWolf out of bounds with three seconds left. Most wrestlers would have probably given up, but not Catanzaro.

“I had three seconds left to try and do as much as I can to score,” Catanzaro said. “When the ref blew the whistle, he backed away and I threw him right to his back.”

“He found a way to win and wrestled to the last whistle,” Palizay said.

Catanzaro opened with a pin in 43 seconds over Mark Sanfilippo of West Seneca East in the quarterfinals and beat fifth seed Matt Gawron of Clarence by technical fall, 16-1, in the semifinals.

Catanzaro was voted the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler.

Late in the third period, Palizay said Walter had Bielec in a side headlock to try to turn and pin him and Bielec almost slipped out and Walter held on for the victory.

“I did everything my coaches told me to do,” Walter said. “I had him in a side headlock, rolled through and had me on my back for a little bit but I got him on the side and held him off for the last 15 seconds.”

Walter opened with a pin in 41 seconds over Raman Singh of Amherst and then pinned fourth seed Mike Pataky of Orchard Park in 1:28 in the semifinals.

Catanzaro, 37-1, and Walter, 30-5, advanced to the New York State Championships Feb. 23-24 at the Times Union Center in Albany. Both of their goals are to place.

Vinny’s younger brother, Mike, a freshman, took third at 113.

Mike Catanzaro pinned Garrett Jason of Clarence in 3:03 in the quarterfinals and lost to third seed Cody Pool of Jamestown, 2-1, in the semifinals.

Mike Catanzaro wrestled back and pinned fifth seed Paul Cantafio of West Seneca West in 1:57 and pinned sixth seed Harith Alkalahf of Sweet Home in 3:03 for third place.

“He should have been wrestling in the championship match,” Palizay said.

At 132, senior Stevie Pusateri avenged a quarterfinal loss by pin against sixth seed Kyle Jungier of Niagara Wheatfield by beating him 5-4 for third place.

After the quarterfinal loss, Pusateri wrestled back and beat Jacob Mancuso of West Seneca West, 8-2, and fourth seed Jeremy Marszalek of Frontier, 12-7 before meeting Jungier again.

Senior Wayne Warren, seeded sixth, placed fourth at 145, losing to third seed Jason Omar of Orchard Park, 3-2, in the third-place match.

Warren lost his quarterfinal match against Omar, 7-4, and then wrestled back and beat Jojo Dixon of Niagara Falls, 4-2, and fourth seed Quinten Burke of Clarence, 3-1, in the consolation semifinals.

“We’re so proud of Wayne,” Palizay said. “He went to the Class Tournament last week with a 15-16 record and took third. His goal was to place in the top six. There is no quit in that kid. That is what hard work gets you.”

Senior JT Waterman lost to Derrick Howser of Jamestown, 11-5, in a first-round match at 120.

Senior Ryan Venohr lost by pin to Dan Beil of Clarence in 2:20 at 285.

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