Weekly Feature

2018-02-07 / Sports

Wrestlers finish second at Class AA tourney

Coach collects 200th dual win in earlier trip to Genesee County

Although he admits it’s a lofty goal, that has never stopped Clarence wrestling coach Jason Chase from aspiring to have 15 wrestlers advance to sectionals from the annual Class AA Championships every single year.

And even though the Red Devils fell short of that standard this season, Chase emerged from Kenmore West this past Saturday pretty satisfied with the fact that Clarence will have 13 grapplers compete in the Division I Championships at North Tonawanda on Saturday – provided Andy Burden, who has been injured for the past month, is granted a medical wildcard for sectionals – following the Red Devils’ second-place finish in the team standings at the Class AA meet.

Burden and Chase were supposed to find out if that wildcard status would be granted on Monday, but information as to whether or not that happened was not available as The Bee went to press.

“I’m pretty happy to have as many guys moving on to sectionals as we do, because that means we had a pretty good day Saturday – even after we started out fairly slow,” Chase said. “We were in sixth place out of nine teams around midday before we started to wrestle better and find some ways to get some pins, which allowed us to crawl back up in the team standings. And some of the guys really stepped up and won some good matches. Some of them beat guys they’d lost to earlier in the year, which I know is a good feeling.”

Aiden Rabideau and Anthony Corigliano emerged victoriously from the 120- and 126-pound weight classes, respectively, to pace Clarence’s team effort. Joe Mannarino also reached the finals of the 182-pound weight class before needing to forfeit for medical reasons to finish second.

Jack Feltz finished third at 152 pounds, while fourth-place finishes were recorded by Matt Gawron (138), Dan Beil (285), Jon Pallozzi (106) and Garrett Jason (113). Finishing in fifth place and rounding out the contingent who qualified to advance to sectionals were John White (160), Jacob Wasko (285), Quinten Burke (145) and Mackenzie Rider (170).

Jimmy Dicostanzo, meanwhile, finished just outside the qualifying standard with his sixth-place finish at 132.

Clarence entered the Class AA Tournament feeling good about its chances after picking up a quality 45-31 non-league victory at Section V’s Batavia/Attica on Jan. 30. The win was the 200th of Chase’s 11-year coaching career at Clarence and boosted the Red Devils’ dual record to 20-4 on the season.

“It was a good milestone to hit and something that every coach looks forward to hitting, but my main concern was that we were able to get in some good match competition against a different school without really having to travel too far,” Chase said. “I have been lucky to have some good athletes and great teams over the years, though, and something like this lets me look back on those successes I’ve had in all my years of coaching.”

Rabideau, Gawron, Mannarino (195) and Beil (220) each recorded pinfall victories for the Red Devils, while Jason, Dicostanzo (126) and Corigliano (132) also won matches by decision.

The Red Devils were hoping to bounce back against Batavia/Attica after dropping a 58-15 decision to Iroquois the previous afternoon. Aiden Walline recorded his first varsity win, a pinfall, at 145 pounds to highlight Clarence’s effort, while Dicostanzo also earned a decision victory.

Clarence will spend the rest of the week focusing on the upcoming sectional tournament, with the goal of advancing multiple wrestlers to Albany for the state tournament in two weeks. Chase knows that’s easier said than done, but just as he refuses to budge on his Class Tournament goals, nothing can be said to get him to alter his goals for sectionals and states.

“This weekend is the most exciting weekend of the year in our sport because anything can happen; anyone can win or lose with your whole season on the line,” Chase said. “We’ve just got to have a good week of practice so that we can be focused on the challenge at hand, come Saturday. My hope is to have a couple of guys step up and perform really well this weekend so they can move on.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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