Weekly Feature



2017-12-06 / Sports

Wrestlers open season on strong note

by JASON NADOLINSKI
Reporter

Clarence’s wrestling kicked off its 2017-18 season in style this past week, taking down Orchard Park in Wednesday’s league opener, 58-24, before fighting its way to a second place finish at Tonawanda’s annual Duals Tournament on Friday and Saturday.

Eight of Clarence’s 10 victories on the night came via pinfall against the Quakers, including the one recorded by freshman first-year varsity grappler Nathan Madson at 99 pounds. Sophomore Aiden Rabideau, who reached the state championships last year, also posted a pin at 113 pounds, while additional pinfall wins were also recorded by seniors Anthony Corigliano (126 pounds), Andy Burden (132) and Joe Mannarino (170), juniors Quinten Burke (152) and John White (160), and sophomore Jack Feltz (145).

Corigliano, Burden and Mannarino all qualified for sectionals last year, while Burke, White and Feltz all have greater expectations placed upon them for this season after what they accomplished last year. Senior Dan Beil (220) is also a returning sectional qualifier, while sophomore Jimmy Di- Costanzo (132) is another of the grapplers being counted on to do more this winter. Both defeated their respective Orchard Park foes by decision.


Andy Burden, right, quickly gets the upper hand during his match with Amherst’s Hayden Burrows en route to earning a pinfall victory during Friday’s first day of the annual Tonawanda Duals Tournament. Burden, wrestling at 138 pounds for the tournament, finished 6-1 overall. 
Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Andy Burden, right, quickly gets the upper hand during his match with Amherst’s Hayden Burrows en route to earning a pinfall victory during Friday’s first day of the annual Tonawanda Duals Tournament. Burden, wrestling at 138 pounds for the tournament, finished 6-1 overall. Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com “We wrestled pretty well to beat them,” coach Jason Chase said. “They’re an up-and-coming program with some pretty good athletes, so to go in there and get a good win in some good matches was a good experience for us.”

Clarence received additional good experience in the Tonawanda Tournament, finishing 6-1 in the team standings — the Red Devils defeated Amherst, Niagara Falls, Tonawanda, West Seneca West, Williamsville South and Starpoint — behind some solid individual efforts. Mannarino, Rabideau (120), Corigliano and junior Garrett Jason (113), another wrestler poised for a breakout year after doing well last season, all went undefeated for the tournament. Burden, meanwhile, lost only one match while wrestling up at 138.

“Beating Orchard Park and then doing what we did at Tonawanda was a good start to the season for us,” said Chase, whose squad went 23-1 overall last year. “We’re giving up a few points in our lineup by forfeit for some dual meets, but the guys wrestled hard all weekend and found ways to win a couple of tight matches. We were within one match of beating the only team that went undefeated too. It was certainly a good effort to build off of as we move forward.”

This year’s squad has a bit of a different makeup than the one that saw 12 grapplers qualify for sectionals and two ultimately move on to states. Though there are still some skilled wrestlers in the upper and lower weight classes this winter, Clarence will be strongest this time around through the heart of the lineup. Chase believes that with the majority of this year’s varsity experience and victories returning in the 113- through 182-pound weight classes, the Red Devils “will be able to compete with anyone at those weights.”

Clarence, which also saw senior Nate Prelewicz (160) qualify for sectionals last year, will also be looking for fellow seniors Matt Gawron (138) and Jacob Wasko (285) to do what they can to make the most of their respective last outings with the squad this winter. Wasko is new to the team, while Gawron is another member of the “looking for a breakout year” club.

“We had some tough wrestlers through the middle of the lineup last year, and I really do think that we have some pretty good wrestlers this year to where if we get the right match-ups we can wrestle with anyone,” Chase said. “We don’t have a ton of depth in any weight class this year, though, so staying healthy will be a big key to any success we achieve this year.”

The Red Devils are scheduled to return to action tonight by hosting West Seneca West, provided school or after-school activities are not canceled due to the weather. Weather permitting, Clarence will close out its week by hosting its annual Jon Vesper Memorial Duals Tournament on Saturday.

“As a team, our top goal hasn’t changed, and that’s to win a league title,” Chase said. “If everything goes right, we can be right there in the mix with anyone, but for that to be the case we’ve really got to stay healthy and we’ve got to continue to get better every time we step on the mat. Individually, Aiden has high hopes of getting back to the state tournament. He’s been working hard to get back there for sure, and three or four other guys have their hopes set on joining him there. If things go right, we can definitely have a couple of kids in Albany again at the end of the year.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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