Weekly Feature



2012-12-05 / Sports

South wrestling loaded with depth at higher weights

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter

There is no question where the strength in the lineup is on the Williamsville South wrestling team.

“We have a lot of capable and talented upper weight class wrestlers between 152 and 285,” South coach Chris Heximer said. “We have good veteran leaders and a lot of depth. It’s a good problem to have.”

It’s become such a “problem” that Heximer has put his team in some additional tournaments this season in order for his wrestlers to gain more experience on the mat.

It is also why he hopes the team can finish in the top three in ECIC II.

“A lot has to happen,” Heximer said. “We have to work hard, be a little lucky, match up well and have to finish.”

Leading the Billies is senior Anthony Liberatore, the returning Section VI Division I champion at 170 pounds. He also placed sixth in the public schools and seventh in the federation at the state meet, and finished with a 40-5 record.

Liberatore, a three-year captain, enters his sixth year of high school wrestling with 113 career wins. He will wrestle at either 182 or 195.

“We have big aspirations for him,” Heximer said. “He’s aggressive and has excellent technical skills. He’s great on his feet and does a nice job of riding his opponent on top. It’s very difficult for opponents to hold him down.”

Heximer also said Liberatore has a great work ethic.

“He puts in a lot of summer wrestling,” Heximer said. “His dad has a wrestling mat in the basement of their house. We want Anthony to continue to peak, gain confidence and try to put him up against the best guys in the section and the state. The sky is the limit for him.”

Heximer said Liberatore would like to compete at high school senior nationals April 3-7 in Virginia Beach, Va. He also said Liberatore has been contacted by USA Wrestling to wrestle at the national level after the high school season.

Other Billies in the upper weight classes that Heximer feels should contribute to the team’s success, in order of weight class, are junior Nick Allen (182), senior James Cooper (182, 195), senior Casey Nuchereno (182, 195, 220), senior Colby Durinka (195), seniors Greg Crane and Eric Wightman (220), and senior Louis Santillo, junior Erik Jacobs and sophomore Austin Gallagher (285).

Nuchereno and Cooper are team captains.

Nuchereno is a four-year varsity wrestler who Heximer said is reaping the benefits of sparring with Liberatore during practice.

“His technical skills are improving,” Heximer said. “He’s also feeling positions better and earlier than previously identified, and has developed more confidence in his wrestling ability.”

Heximer said Cooper, a four-year varsity wrestler, has grown to be a leader on and off the mat.

The team’s fourth captain is senior Alex Achenbach, a four-year wrestler who will compete at either 138 or 145. He is a returning Section VI state qualifier at 132 who Heximer described as an “intelligent, hard-working and physical wrestler.”

Other wrestlers competing in the starting lineup, starting at the lightweights, are: freshman Alec Paul (99), eighth-grader Matt Genau (106), sophomore Anthony Carducci (113), junior Greg Yensan (120), junior Justin LaMonto (126), freshman Anthony Cooper (132, 138), senior Khalim Evans (138), junior John Simonian (152), senior Matt LaDuca (160) and junior Greg Digati (170).

Heximer called Anthony Cooper a “dynamic wrestler” who wrestled over the summer and has improved, thinks Simonian is going to have a breakout season, and said LaDuca and Digati will be solid contributors in the middle of the lineup.

Freshman Logan Schouman and sophomore Noah Zells are capable of filling in at 120 and 126, respectively, and sophomore Kevin Millane will contribute at 152.

South opened its season with a 45-30 road win over Starpoint Wednesday.

The Billies won nine matches. Four came by pin, with Genau beating Derek Driskel in 2:58 at 106, Carducci downing Bryan Ghiandonni in 1:56 at 120, Achenbach defeating Lucas Stover in 35 seconds at 145 and Liberatore going over Dillon Thomas in 4:17, at 182.

Durinka beat Rich Duermeyer, by major decision, 15-3, at 195; Simonian downed Maxwell Poeller by technical fall, 15-0, at 152; Nuchereno beat Reese Elson, 9-3, at 220; and Anthony Cooper blanked Corey Mack in overtime, 2-0, at 138. LaMonto earned a forfeit at 132.

Heximer said Crane was bumped up to 285 and wrestled tough against Class A finalist Rion Elson, losing by pin.

South closed out the first week of competition for the 2012-13 season at the Jon Vesper Duals Saturday at Clarence High School.

The Billies opened with a 64-18 loss against Clarence, defeated Clarence’s “B” team, 51-30, lost to Lockport, 64-18, beat Starpoint for the second time in the week, 62-22, and won five of their last six matches but still lost to Section V’s Brockport, 45-39.

South opened an 18-0 lead on Clarence with pins by Digati at 170, Liberatore at 182 and Durinka at 195, but Heximer said the team could not match the Red Devils’ depth and strength in the lower weights and Clarence scored 64 unanswered points.

Liberatore was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the meet and was named to the All-Tournament Team with Digati and Durinka. All three wrestlers posted five wins. Digati recorded five pins.

Other notable highlights included Jacobs downing Elson, 7-3, of Starpoint, a Class A finalist, and Achenbach losing to Jose Pagan of Lockport, 6-4, a sectional finalist.

Other wrestlers earning wins on the day included: Genau, Carducci,

LaMonto, Anthony Cooper, Evans, Achenbach, Simonian, Wightman and Santillo.

Williamsville South
2012-13 Schedule
12-5 Pioneer ...................... 6 p.m.
12-8 at Cheektowaga Duals ..... 9
a.m.
12-11 St. Joe’s ................... 6 p.m.
12-13 Iroquois............... 6:30 p.m.
12-19 at West Seneca East....... 6
p.m.
12-20 Wilson ...................... 6 p.m.
12-29 at Akron Holiday Tournament .................................... 9 a.m.
1-4 at Niagara Frontier Wrestling
Officials Tournament (Niagara
County Community College)

..................................................TBA
1-5 at Niagara Frontier Wrestling
Officials Tournament (Niagara
County Community College)
..................................................TBA
1-8 Lake Shore.................. 6 p.m.
1-11 Williamsville East..... 6 p.m.
1-12 at Williamsville North Invitational Tournament (Williamsville
North)................................. 9 a.m.
1-16 at Cheektowaga ....... 6 p.m.
1-25 at Amherst ................ 7 p.m.
1-26 at Pete Rao Memorial Tournament (Lew-Port)........... 9 a.m.
2-2 at Class A Tournament (Starpoint) ..................................9 a.m.

email: pnagy@beenews.com

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