By Jay Young
PORTVILLE-The Westfield-Ripley-Chautauqua Lake wrestling team was able to begin the postseason on a high note after going undefeated in Division 2.
Brad Bihler of Maple Grove works behind Gowanda’s Jon Flynn en route to winning the 120-pound championship match at the Class D wrestling tournament on Saturday at Portville.
Below, Nick Hudson of Westfield-Ripley-Chautauqua works on top of Maple Grove’s Zak Trim in the 126-pound championship match. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Jay Young
Thanks to 238.5 team points at the Section 6 Class D championships in Portville on Saturday, WRCL claimed the championship.
The Panthers put together three individual first-place finishes, three seconds, four thirds and three fourths on their way to capturing the overall team title.
"I was happy with all of the championship matches that we had here, I think all the boys wrestled hard and well and came away with some good wins," said coach Brad Rowe of WRCL. "Hopefully the boys that came away with losses will learn from that and move on to next week."
All wrestlers to finish the day in fourth place or better will be heading to Niagara County Community College on Saturday for the Section 6 Championships.
Gowanda was second in the overall standings with 197, Maple Grove third with 178.5, Pine Valley/Cattaraugus Little Valley fourth with 153, Randolph fifth with 145, Cassadaga Valley sixth with 123, Salamanca seventh with 94, Franklinville eighth with 75, Portville ninth with 66, Frewsburg 10th with 45, and Holland 11th with 27.
Despite finishing third in the team standings, Maple Grove came away with the most championships on the day with four, as well as three runner-up finishes.
Area wrestlers to take home individual championships were Matthew Evans of Randolph at 99, A.J. Putt of Maple Grove at 106, Brad Bihler of Maple Grove at 120, Nick Hudson of WRCL at 126, Mark Ecklund of WRCL at 132, Kale Gilbert of WRCL at 138, Brian Westerdahl of Maple Grove at 152, Howie Nolan of Maple Grove at 160, Alex Kelly of PV/CLV at 170, Eben Torres of Cassadaga Valley at 182, Trevor Spicer of Frewsburg at 195, Brad Cunningham of Salamanca at 220, and Tyson Gugino of Cassadaga Valley at 285.
Finishing in second was Bryce Rowe of WRCL at 106, Nick Kozlowski of Portville at 113, Zak Trim of Maple Grove at 126, Gabe Grey of PV/CLV at 132, Trevor Micek of Maple Grove at 138, Jed Micek of Maple Grove at 145, Chris Doubek of Randolph at 160, Nick Peterson of Cassadaga Valley at 170, Tyler Furlow of WRCL at 195, Jeff Andrews of Randolph at 220, and D.J. Hamrick of WRCL at 285.
Third-place winners included Sam Grey of PV/CLV at 99, Kyle Perkins of Salamanca at 106, Dakota Parkhurst of Randolph at 113, Jon Kemp of Franklinville at 126, Trent Howard of WRCL at 132, Damian Raynor of WRCL at 138, Randy Grey of PV/CLV at 145, T.J. Bihler of Maple Grove at 152, Dominique Rammelt of WRCL at 170, Billy Flemming of PV/CLV at 182, Brandon Wise of Cassadaga Valley at 195, Alex Swan of WRCL at 220, and Malachi Ficek of Salamanca at 285.
Also heading to the sectional meet will be fourth-place finishers Garret Fransen of WRCL at 99, Derek Ecklund of WRCL at 106, Dylan Brown of Randolph at 113, Tristan Holdridge of Randolph at 120, Sean Greene of Salamanca at 152, Alex Stalker of PV/CLV at 160, Caleb Wares of PV/CLV at 170, Justin Gross of WRCL at 182, Dennis Andrews of Randolph at 195, Zach Rathbun of Franklinville at 220, and Pat Kibbe of Randolph at 285.
In one of the best bouts of the night, Gilbert of WRCL took home the title at 138 after just barely sneaking by Micek via a 6-5 decision.
Micek now stands at 24-9 on the year after falling to Gilbert after two periods of some of the most competitive grappling of the day.
After ending the regular season in third place in Division 2 with a record of 5-2, Maple Grove showed just how strong it is with individual wrestlers in Portville.
Putt's win at 106 pounds capped off a day that included dominant wrestling from both Bihler and Westerdahl, both of whom will look to make a statement next weekend.
"Today we had seven finalist matches with some really tough matchups and were able to come out on top in four of them," said Red Dragons rookie coach Tim Shrout. "We lost two of those matches by two points and the other by just one point, I think those are matches we can win next week and we look forward to that at sectionals."
While Frewsburg was unable to make a push for the top in team standings, Spicer's dominant win at 195 pounds gives the Bears something to look forward to for the rest of the postseason.
Randolph will also head to NCCC with hopes of coming away with big wins as Doubek has drawn tough competition all year long at 160 and has been able to challenge both Nolan of Maple Grove and Falconer's Kyle Ross-the area's top two wrestlers in the class.
99: Matthew Evans (RAN) d Vince Tripi (HOL), 4-2.
106: A.J. Putt (MG) d Bryce Rowe (WRCL), 4-2.
113: Ryan Thierman (POR) d Nick Kozlowski (POR), 7-2.
120: Brad Bihler (MG) md Jon Flynn (GOW), 9-1.
126: Nick Hudson (WRCL) p Zak Trim (MG), 5:39.
132: Mark Ecklund (WRCL) d Gabe Grey (PV/CLV). 8-4.
138: Kale Gilbert (WRCL) d Trevor Micek (MG), 6-5.
145: Lucas McKeever (GOW) d Jed Micek (MG), 3-1.
152: Brian Westerdahl (MG) d Cody Richter (GOW) 9-3.
160: Howie Nolan (MG) d Chris Doubek (RAN), 3-1.
170: Alex Kelly (PV/CLV) d Nick Peterson (CVCS), 7-3.
182: Eben Torres (CVCS) md Dalton Mills (GOW), 11-3.
195: Trevor Spicer (FREW) d Tyler Furlow (WRCL), 9-2.
220: Brad Cunningham (SAL) d Jeff Andrews (RAN), 8-4.
285: Tyson Gugino (CVCS) d D.J. Hamrick (WRCL), 2-1.
99: Sam Grey (PV/CLV) p Garret Fransen (WRCL), 2:24.
106: Kyle Perkins (SAL) p Derek Ecklund (WRCL), 2:29.
113: Dakota Parkhurst (RAN) p Dylan Brown (RAN), 1:35.
120: David Poff (GOW) p Tristan Holdridge (RAN), 1:12.
126: Jon Kemp (FRA) win by forfeit.
132: Trent Howard (WRCL) d Ethan Francis (GOW), 2-1.
138: Damian Raynor (WRCL) d Josh Balzer (GOW), 3-1.
145: Randy Grey (PV/CLV) d Robert Wheeler (POR), 4-2.
152: T.J. Bihler (MG) d Sean Greene (SAL), 2-0.
160: Chris Hammond (GOW) d Alex Stalker (PV/CLV), 5-1.
170: Dominique Rammelt (WRCL) md Caleb Wares (PV/CLV), 11-3.
182: Billy Flemming (PV/CLV) d Justin Gross (WRCL), 8-4.
195: Brandon Wise (CVCS) md Dennis Andrews (RAN), 12-4.
220: Alex Swan (WRCL) p Zach Rathbun (FRAN), :55.
285: Malachi Ficek (SAL) d Pat Kibbe (RAN), 3-1.