Weekly Feature



2017-02-15 / Sports

Rabideau punches return ticket to state wrestling championships

by JASON NADOLINSKI
Reporter


Nate Prelewicz, right, works over Niagara-Wheatfield’s Austin Leber during their first-round match in the 138-pound bracket of the Section VI Division I wrestling championships, held Saturday at North Tonawanda High School. Prelewicz lost the match by technical fall, 15-0. 
Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Nate Prelewicz, right, works over Niagara-Wheatfield’s Austin Leber during their first-round match in the 138-pound bracket of the Section VI Division I wrestling championships, held Saturday at North Tonawanda High School. Prelewicz lost the match by technical fall, 15-0. Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Last year, it took an injury for Aiden Rabideau to sneak into the state wrestling tournament and become Clarence’s first eighth-grader to compete at that level in the process.

Both he and coach Jason Chase were determined to take luck out of the equation this winter, however, and Rabideau did his part Saturday by charging through the 99-pound bracket to become the first Red Devil freshman to win a Section VI Division I in program history.

“We’re very proud of Aiden and what he was able to do,” Chase said. “It’s a great accomplishment to win a sectional title. He just dominated his weight class all year long to where it was almost expected. We certainly weren’t taking a title for granted, though; Aiden worked really hard to get it.”

The top-seeded Rabideau capped his run to the title by earning a 3-0 decision over Lancaster’s Jake Harry in the final, whom he had already wrestled once last year and a couple of times the previous season. Rabideau reached the finals by pinning both Lancaster’s Bryce Bolognese and Hamburg’s Dylan Collins in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

Heavyweight Sean Kloss was Clarence’s only other grappler to reach the finals, but his bid to cap his high school career with a sectional title was upended by Lake Shore’s Shaerod Rodgers, who pinned Kloss at the 3:08 mark.

Kloss, who had not faced Rodgers this season, was winning the match in the second period but slipped and fell to his back. Kloss had scored a takedown on Rodgers not long before the fateful slip.

“That was a tough way for Sean to have what was a great tournament for him end,” Chase said. “He does still have an outside shot at a wild-card berth for states, but we won’t find out for sure until Wednesday.”

Six other Clarence grapplers placed in the top five at the tournament: Andy Burden placed third at 126 pounds; Anthony Corigliano (113), Ryan Kist (132), Zach Braunscheidel (145) and Christian Rider (195) all took fourth; and Joe Mannarino (170) took fifth.

“Andy lost a tough match in the first round but wrestled back really well to place third, and Christian’s been fighting through an injury all year but still managed to have a good tournament despite that,” Chase said. “Most of those guys were competing at sectionals for the first time, so to place in the top five in their debut was pretty good.”

Rabideau will now spend the next week and a half practicing with the other Section VI qualifiers to prepare for the state tournament, which will be held Feb. 24 and 25 at the Times Union Center in Albany. Rabideau won one of his two wrestleback matches last season, but the plan is to do much more than that this time around.

“Aiden’s going to see some great competition in the next week and a half before we head to Albany, and that should really help him out in his preparation,” Chase said. “He’s a big, strong kid for a 99-pounder, and I think he has a great shot at doing well. He’s wrestled a lot of the kids who’ll be there, so we’ll see how things shake out.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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