PANAMA - Though the scoreboard in the gym at Panama Central School indicated a tie, 39-39, following the final wrestling match between the Frewsburg Bears and the host Panthers, neither teams' coaches were congratulating their squads - yet.
Instead, they were huddled at the scoring table around the referee, who was quickly leafing through a rulebook in an attempt to find the tie-breaking criteria so that he could determine, once and for all, a winner.
Finally, after striking out a number of contingencies that didn't apply - four, to be exact, most of which entailed tallying up unsportsmanlike or flagrant penalties - the correct criteria was finally discovered midway down the rather extensive list.
Above, James Haick of Frewsburg works on top of Panama’s Curt Schnars of Panama en route to a 6-4 win in the 152-pound match of Wednesday night’s non-league wrestling meet. Below, Troy Franklin of Panama, in back, and Devone Adelgren of Frewsburg battle in the 145-pound match that Franklin won, 7-4. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Rob Tucker
"The team having won the greater number of matches (including forfeits)," it read, "shall be declared the winner."
After some furious counting on either side, it was determined that Frewsburg, by virtue of its eight wins (four by forfeit and four in contested matches) had edged Panama's seven (two by forfeit and five in contested matches) and were thus awarded the single, tie-breaking point for the 40-39 non-league victory.
It was the first win in at least a year for the perennially undermanned Frewsburg squad, but coach Cody Spicer wasn't particularly thrilled by the way it came about.
"It's great to get that first win," he said, "but Panama definitely outwrestled us tonight. We got the win on criteria - won it by having more wins during the match - but we still have a lot of work to do.
"I'm glad for the kids, but it's a lot nicer to get the win when you outwrestle your opponent."
The Bears struggled early in the lower weights as the Panthers won by fall in each of the first three matches to take an 18-0 lead. One more victory by Troy Franklin in a hard-fought 145-pound bout against Frewsburg's Devone Adelgren increased the advantage to a what seemed like a hefty 21-0 margin.
But James Haick turned the tide for the Bears and secured a crucial first win when, with the match tied 4-4 in overtime, he was awarded two points for a takedown with 18 seconds left to cut the deficit to 21-3.
Then came the Panama forfeits.
Frewsburg won the next four matches by forfeit to take its first lead, 27-21, and behind that score-changing momentum Zach Haller, at 220 pounds, handled Tyce Schneider with a pin in 1:26. And right behind him, first-year wrestler Tyler Pearson flattened Robert Burham in a little more than a minute to clinch the victory.
"We've always got (Zach), we know he's great," Spicer said with a smile, "but for Tyler to get his first varsity win was just huge. Hats off to him. The match came down to him and he came through for us."
It was a tough way to suffer defeat for the Panthers, especially given the kind of start they enjoyed.
Beginning at 126 pounds, Mark Ecklund, Zac Freedline and Nick DiMaggio each delivered pins to capture the victory. The falls by Freedline and DiMaggio, impressively enough, were recorded in just 41 seconds.
"Our lightweights did a really good job for us," Panama coach Bill Schneider said. "I was really not expecting (that kind of start), to be honest, and I didn't think the score would be that close, that's why (their performance) was so impressive. Freedline, DiMaggio, Troy (Franklin), Ecklund - they all really stepped up to the plate and had great matches."
126: Mark Ecklund (P) p. Jon Martin, 1:24.
132: Zac Freedline (P) p. Kyle Parker, :41.
138: Nick DiMaggio (P) p. Joe Martin, :41.
145: Troy Franklin (P) d. Devone Adelgren, 7-4.
152: James Haick (F) d. Curt Schnars, 6-4 OT.
160: Robert Russo (F) by forfeit.
170: Scott Cappadonia (F) by forfeit.
182: Austin Lynn (F) by forfeit.
195: Cody Haller (F) by forfeit.
220: Zach Haller (F) p. Tyce Schneider, 1:26.
285: Tyler Pearson (F) p. Robert Burham, :59.
99: Ron Johnson (P) by forfeit.
106: Double forfeit.
113: Jake Swanson (P) by forfeit.
120: Brian Radka (P) p. Joe Cappadonia, :35.