The stakes couldn’t have been higher on Wednesday night in Falconer when the Olean Huskies visited the Golden Falcons with the CCAA Div. I title on the line.
The chaos that has ensued as a result of the controversial cancellation of last weekend’s Section VI Duals has been the main topic of discussion in the wrestling community both regionally and statewide. Olean and Falconer were thrust into the center of the discussion as the local and state wrestling committees decided how to handle the situation.
The Huskies and Golden Falcons will represent the Section in Syracuse at the NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Championships on Saturday. But before the squads head off on Friday afternoon, the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Div. I title needed to be settled first.
Olean won the first bout of the evening which started at 220-pounds, but Falconer won eight of the fifteen bouts and earned five pins to the Huskies’ two to roll to a 47-30 victory and the program’s 8thconsecutive CCAA Div. I title.
“It’s tradition and expectation,” stated Falconer head coach Drew Wilcox after his team’s league-clinching win. “We have a lot of tradition and we expect to be good every year. No matter who we throw out there they seem to rise up to that expectation.”
In the evening’s first match, Olean’s Tanner Hulse was a winner by decision 6-0 at 220. However, a big Falconer pin at 285 by Collin Mower and back-to-back forfeits received by Brayden Newman at 99 and Austin Chase at 106 quickly turned a 0-3 deficit into an 18-3 lead after four bouts.
At 113-pounds Olean standout Nate Gabler had a pin and six team points in mind, but Falconer’s Brodie Little had a job to do for his team and he knew it. Little was able to fight for his team and only yield a technical fall worth five team points for Olean where they had hoped for six.
“He [Little] was a little outclassed but only gave up a tech and not a pin to save a team point. He did his best to do his job,” stated Coach Wilcox on Little’s performance.
At 120-pounds, another Golden Falcon stepped up in a big way for his team when Steven Lamb earned a second period pin. Coach Wilcox remarked “Lamb’s been working hard all year. He hasn’t won a ton of matches but he’s been doing everything we ask him to do in the room.”
A Lamb pin at 120 and technical fall by Joey Pillittieri at 126 extended the Falconer lead to 29 to 8.
Olean’s Nick Bierfeldt was sent at 132-pounds and earned a major decision after a tough showing by Falconer’s Hunter Teboe. Bierfeldt was a wildcard participant to the state tournament last season.
Back-to-back pins by outstanding Falconer seniors Jimmy Kramer and Nick Saeger at 138 and 145-pounds, respectively, boosted the Falcon lead to 41-12 after ten bouts.
At 152-pounds Olean’s Gavin Kulp was a winner by decision over a tough opponent in Falconer’s Bryce Baglia, however with the decision win the match was officially out of reach for the Huskies with four bouts to go.
Icar Simon earned the Huskie’s first pin of the evening at 160-pounds before Devan Moore gutted out a 3-0 decision win for Olean at 170-pounds.
In a matchup of two NYS tournament participants from last season, defending Section VI champion Robbie Penhollow added an impressive win to his record (now 36-1 this season) with a second period pin over Olean’s Pat Walsh, a 6th place NYS finisher in 2017-2018, at 182-pounds. In the final bout of the evening Connor Walsh was a winner by pin at 195 for the Huskies. The final score: Falconer 47 Olean 30.
“We knew this was going to be a tough match so we didn’t even talk about the [NYS] Duals,” stated Coach Wilcox on preparing for the league title showdown with Olean. “We just focused on this and talked about making sure we get our league title before we worry about going to states.”
The WNY #1 and NYS #3 ranked Golden Falcons finish 6-0 in CCAA Div. I duals this season and sit at 26-1 overall going into Saturday. Falconer has now won 48 of its last 49 league matches spanning the previous eight seasons. WNY #6 and NYS Honorable Mention Olean finishes 5-1 in league action and is 20-1 overall.
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