As the sectional and state tournaments are coming closer and closer for local wrestlers, the preparations for the championship season have begun. While many teams are looking ahead to what could be in store come February, county schools have been focused on the IAC Wrestling Championships which were held at Waverly High School on Saturday morning.
Of the 11 schools in attendance, only two, the Dryden Lions and Groton Indians, represented Tompkins County at the IAC tournament. After a successful team season that saw Groton take the top spot in the IAC Division II and Dryden finish third in Division I, both teams had high expectations of landing wrestlers on top of the podium at the end of action on Saturday. Both squads have extremely talented light to middleweight wrestler that were expected to make deep runs and would not disappoint.
For the Indians, the day would be highlighted by four wrestlers securing spots in the finals, while two would go on to capture the IAC title. At 106 pounds, freshman Kris Willard would advance to the finals with a second period pin of Waverly’s Zack Reeves. In the finals, Willard would lose by fall to Newark Valley’s Andrew Post who has fluctuated between 106, 113, and 120 this season.
At 113 pounds, the Indians representative, Kyle Willard, would make quick work of his opponent in the semifinal round when he immediately locked his place in the finals with a first period pin of Moravia’s Andrew Hatch, which he recorded just 52 seconds into the opening frame. Willard’s matchup with Spencer-Van Etten/Candor’s Ousmane Duncanson would be of stark contrast to his previous bout, going the complete distance. Duncanson, who had defeated his semifinal opponent with a 42-second pin, would test Willard until the final horn, before falling to Groton’s 113-pounder 12-11.
The 152-pound weight class was one that seemed to heavily favor Groton’s Reese Lockwood, who had asserted himself as one of, if not the best 152-pounder in the section. After a first period pin of Marathon’s Larry Barned in the quarterfinals, Lockwood would go on to win by technical fall over Whitney Point’s Killian Prentice, 17-2. The finals proved no different for Lockwood, as he craftily won by tech of Waverly’s Austin Kimble 16-1 to capture the crown at 152.
Groton’s final chance for an IAC title came at 170, where Kyle Gombas opened the day with a 20-4 tech fall over fellow Indian Jaden Howell. Following a semifinal that saw Gombas win by a 15-2 major decision over Newark Valley’s Collin McCall, he would find himself in a rematch with Moravia’s Joe Shoemaker. In the finals, Gombas’ day would come to an end as he would lose by a first-period fall.
While the Indians had a great day at the tournament, Dryden saw similar success throughout the weight classes. Similar to their county counterparts, the Lions saw two champions crowned and a third wrestler make the finals. At 126, Samuel Dow would pin his way past Moravia’s Nate Eberhardt to advance to the semifinals. Dow would punch his ticket to the finals at 126 with a 7-1 decision over Whitney Point’s Brennan Roe. In the finals, he would have his way of Waverly’s Colby Sindoni, 10-1, to become the first of the Lions to take a title.
The last two finalists for Dryden both came at the 138-pound weight class when Robert Brotherton and Mathew McKewin-Bates met for the title. McKewin-Bates pinned his way to the finals with falls over Waverly’s Cory Chandler and Thomas A. Edison’s Tyler Lewis. Brotherton would have an identical path to the title bout after pinning Groton’s Nick Radley and Southern Cayuga’s Gabe Stevens. In the finals, the two teammates would fight a close match, which ultimately saw Brotherton emerging with a 3-2 victory.
With four champions between the two schools, Dryden and Groton showed the strength of Tompkins County wrestling at the IAC tournament. When the day ended Groton would finish one spot ahead of Dryden in the team scoring, coming in fourth with 145 points and the Lions tallying fifth with 131 points.
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