WELLSVILLE – The curtain officially came down in Wellsville, as the young Lions grapplers rolled out the mat for the final time in front of their home crowd before their trek through the sectional tournament begins this weekend.
The Lions welcomed in Dansville/Keshequa for one last meeting Tuesday night, looking for redemption after suffering a defeat at the hands of the Mustangs earlier in the season.
It would come with a first, something that has never been accomplished before in the wrestling program’s history.
With the arctic blast closing in on Western New York, Wellsville heated up on the mat, as the Lions picked up nine victories in all, including a forfeit win for Hunter Kurtz at 106 pounds, finishing up an undefeated senior season at 36-0 on the year – becoming the first unbeaten Wellsville wrestler ever in the team’s 51-18 win over the Mustangs.
“He’s been a great addition to our program. Hunter has been a hard, hard worker. He comes in everyday, and he’s a true wrestler,” Wellsville coach Tyler Carman said. “If the practice ends in two hours, he wants it to be three. He’s that kind of kid, and he wants to grind and work. For him to have an undefeated season, it’s great, but he’s not done yet. He has a lot of work to do, he’s going to keep hitting those strides to find ourselves at the State meet.”
Kurtz’ victory came as the second to last win that Wellsville collected on the mat. The last came at 113 pounds, when Eli Torruella closed out the home slate strong for the Lions, exchanging points with Dansville/Keshequa’s Caleb Kendall before picking up the match-sealing take down at the start of the final period for a 6-5 major decision victory.
“That’s what it about,” said Carman. “Kids like Eli work hard everyday, and it was finally nice to see it pay off for him. This is a tough sport where it takes longer to see some wins, but Eli’s a great kid. I love how hard he’s worked to get where he is now. That’s what we talk about all the time.”
The night would start at 120 pounds, where both teams picked up a pair of wins in the first four matches, with Dale Ableidinger starting it off with a quick pinfall win at 1:14 over Gavin Brooks. In a hard-fought battle at 126 pounds, Trey Learn picked up a pinfall win of his own with 49 seconds left in the match to get the Mustangs on the board.
Damian Moultrup and Ian Roelle each exchanged a win in the next two weight classes for their respective teams, with Moultrup pinning Gavin Hart at 132 pounds and Roelle fighting his way back from behind after trailing 5-4, with 10 of the last 12 points to take a 14-7 decision win at 138 pounds.
“The kids we expected were going to do what they were going to do, and they did,” said Dansville/Keshequa co-coach Jack Cook. “It was a good match, and Ian had a great match, he was up a couple weight classes as well. Both went out there and got the job done. It was nice to see them do that.”
Wellsville found the win column in three of the next four matches to solidify the victory, as the Beckwith siblings recorded back-to-back pinfall wins, with Blake starting it off at 145 pounds (1:06), and later Blake at 152 pounds (3:12). Levi Howe earned the night’s quickest pin for Dansville/Keshequa, pinning Chet Robbins in 1:02 at 160 pounds.
In between a pair of forfeit wins for the Lions, each squad had one more victory on the night, as Eagan Enke fought his way to a pinfall win at 195 pounds, before Karam Alli settled on a 9-3 decision win over Tyler Smith at 220 pounds for the Mustangs.
“Karam is up a weight class for 220 pounds, and he went out there and had a good match,” said Cook. “Wellsville has been coming on, and hats off to them for doing a great job with their program. They’re clicking at the right time. Wellsville’s always tough, and they’re always a great match to have on the schedule.”
As for their last home match now in the books, Carman hopes that the team will use the energy to put toward their Sectional trek this weekend.
“Dansville is a really tough team, and they beat us earlier in the year,” he said. “They’re going to be a team that’s ready to go in Sectionals, and their coaches do a great job with the kids. For us to get one more at home is awesome, and we wrestled really hard to get this one in front of the home crowd. It’s a great way to go into Sectionals. We’re prepared, and we’re ready.”
Carman added, “It’s a long trip all the way up to Wayne. We’ve traveled a lot, and we’re ready for it. All of our preparations inside two-day tournaments have helped us tremendously. We want to be as relaxed as possible. This will be no different, and there will be contenders there waiting for a challenge. As long as we go up there, and do what we’ve been doing all year, we’ll be fine.”
For the Mustangs, the arctic conditions putting a halt on school activities gives them a chance to regain full strength in their lineup.
“We’re battling some injuries, so we’re hoping that those guys will get healthy, and come back to help us make a run,” Cook said. “The guys that we’re expecting to click, are clicking, and they will do well. The weather will be a big factor for us, they’ve already cancelled school tomorrow, so we can’t practice. But everyone will have the same issue.”
Wellsville 51, Dansville/Keshequa 18.
99 – Double for. 106 – Hunter Kurtz (W) by for. 113 – Eli Torruella (W) def. Caleb Kendall (D/K) by maj. dec, 6-5. 120 – Dale Ableidinger (W) def. Gavin Brooks by pin, 1:14. 126 – Trey Learn (D/K) def. Alex Brandes (W) by pin, 5:11. 132 – Damian Moultrup (W) def. Gavin Hart (D/K) by pin, 2:39. 138 – Ian Roelle (D/K) def. Derrick Sallazzo (W) by dec, 14-7. 145 – Blake Beckwith (W) def. Owen James (D/K) by pin, 1:06. 152 – Bryce Beckwith (W) def. Michael Adams (D/K) by pin, 3:12. 160 – Levi Howe (D/K) def. Chet Robbins (W) by pin, 1:02. 170 – Hunter Brandes (W) by for. 182 – Double for. 195 – Eagan Enke (W) def. Garrett Szulewski (D/K) by pin, 2:48. 220 – Karam Alli (D/K) def. Tyler Smith (W) by dec, 9-3. 285 – Mekha Dorrough (W) by for.