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Local grapplers wrestle way to NYSPHSAA tournament

February 19, 2015
By Craig Harvey - editorial@westfieldrepublican.com , Westfield Republican

EAST AURORA - After being a state qualifier finalist and losing in the championship match in 2014, Chautauqua Lake's Nick Hudson refused to be denied this year.

Hudson won an 11-6 decision over Olean's Jordan Kayes on Saturday at the Section 6 Small School state qualifiers to punch his ticket into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association wrestling championships in Albany in two weeks.

"He was a finalist last year and lost to the eventual state champion," Chautauqua Lake coach Brad Rowe said of his 138-pounder. "He has had a chip on his shoulder for a while now. Hopefully we are peaking at the right time. We have two weeks to get ready for the finals."

Article Photos

Photo by Joe Conti
Chautauqua Lake’s Nick Hudson after winning the 138-pound title at the Section 6 Small School State Qualifier Saturday at East Aurora High School.

Meanwhile, Fredonia's Dakota Gardner took second place at 152 pounds as he lost a 3-0 decision to Lewiston-Porter's Andrew Shomers.

And though only the first-place finisher is guaranteed a trip to the state finals, Gardner has accumulated enough points over his stellar career to earn a wild card to Albany.

"He wrestled with himself," Fredonia coach Joe Santilli said. "Andrew Shomers is a great matchup. It's a cat and mouse game. They know each other really well. There is a good chance that if they take care of their business in two weeks, they will see each other in the semifinals."

When asked if both wrestlers did not show their full arsenal in an effort of saving it for two weeks, Santilli said, "But know each other so well and both coaches know the other wrestlers so well. The match will be an extraordinary match in two weeks, I believe."

Gardner is returning from a week off as he returns from an upper-body injury.

It's a timing thing right now. He is still trying to work his way back into top performance. He is in a position that he didn't have to take first. He just had to make the finals. If shots were there, he could take them. Dakota is a competitor and wants to compete at the highest level."

The Gowanda Panthers had two wrestlers in the finals as David Poff wrestled Akron's Johnny Fiebelkorn, who is a returning state qualifier, while Lucas McKeever battled returning state qualifier Brian Westerdahl.

Fiebelkorn earned a 5-0 victory while Westerdahl battled back from a 2-1 deficit, to earn a two-point takedown and a pin with seven seconds left in the match.

"Fiebelkorn wrestled a tough match," Gowanda coach Mark Leous said Dave was stronger as the match went on.

"He got thrown on a nice hip toss," Leous added of McKeever's match. "It's tough, man. It's a tough way to go out. Westerdahl, you have to give it to him, he had a great takedown in the end."

Hudson wasn't the only local wrestler to punch his ticket into Albany as Cattaraugus-Little Valley/Pine Valley's Alex Kelly defeated Newfane's Jake Kubala, 3-2, at 182.

Kelly earned a second-round pin in his first match and advanced to the finals with a 4-2 decision over Fredonia's Steve Mignoli.

Also taking second place was Chautauqua Lake's Austin Bourgeois at 99 as he was defeated by Tonawanda's Zach Braddell, 15-4.

Despite the loss, Rowe is hoping a wild card is in Bourgeois' future, which will be determined Wednesday.

"We will find out Wednesday," Rowe said. "It all depends how the cards fall."

 
 

 

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