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Ball finishes fourth at championship

TAKE HIM DOWN — Bryant Boundy competes with a wrestler from Gow, during a recent match. Photo by Dave DeLuca.

SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute Grapplers traveled to the Erie County Interscholastic Conference Championships on Jan. 17. The team’s best performance came from sophomore standout Josh Ball, who finished in fourth place with a 3-2 record, in the 285-pound class. The ECIC Championships draws schools from all over Erie County, regardless of the school’s size, and each weight class may have 35-40 athletes in a given bracket.

Ball was able to pin Alan Morreale, of Williamsville East, and Eric Jacobs, of Williamsville South, in his first two matches, including pinning Morreale in 32 seconds.

Ball took on Luke Catalano, of Lake Shore, in the semifinal, who was the top seed in the semifinals. Ball nearly pinned Catalano early, but the Lake Shore wrestler was able to get out of it and pin Ball at the 3-minute, 51-second mark of the match.

“Josh was scaring a lot of people,” said Springville coach Gary Feltz. “He almost pinned [Catalano] in the semi-final match. He had the boy on his back and [Luke] was able to get out of it. Josh gave the top seed a scare and had him on his back.”

Ball is 14-4, on the season. Jake Smith finished 3-2 for Springville, at 132 pounds. Smith won his first two matches, via pins over Andrew Heppner, of Frontier, and Dante Walsh, of Lancaster, before falling to Pete Walsh, of West Seneca West.

“That kid was really strong and really sound, technically,” said Feltz, of Walsh. “Jake got most of his points from escapes but [Walsh] was just a really tough opponent.”

Ian Baker went 2-2, at 152. The freshman pinned Curt Giese, of Amherst, and teammate Greg Benstead.

“Being a freshman, I was really impressed with his performance,” added Feltz. “He was in a smaller bracket, which helped him. To pick up a couple wins at 152 was huge. Usually, freshmen and sophomores are down in lower weight classes. He’s a really strong kid and he knows nothing but 150 miles per hour, which gets him in trouble sometimes, but puts him in a good position a lot, too.”

Jobe Fleming went 2-2, at 126, and Bryce Szudzik went 2-2, at 132. Jerry Weeks finished 1-2, at 145, earning a 5-3 decision win over Cory Winter, of Holland. Anthony Mitchell won his first varsity match of the season, after spending much of the season competing in junior varsity tournaments. Mitchell pinned Allison Fuller, of East Aurora, to go 1-2 at ECIC’s. Springville placed 23rd in Erie County, out of 38 schools.

“The kids did really well,” said Feltz, of his team’s performance. “The tournament is a real ‘meat grinder,’ as I call it; there’s always a lot of good athletes there and it’s really tough to get to the top. Last year, we didn’t have anyone go beyond one win. This was a big jump for us.”

On Jan. 21, Springville defeated Gow for the team’s fourth dual-meet win of the season. Seven wrestlers took home victories for Springville, with five coming via pins. Bryant Boundy kicked off the match at 160, with a pin of Gow’s Sergie Evans, for his ninth win of the year.

“Boundy’s win was huge. I wasn’t expecting that of him,” said Feltz. “He was upset that he didn’t do well at ECIC’s and he came in against Gow and just wanted to destroy people,” Feltz said, with a laugh. “He was disappointed with his performance at ECIC’s and came through really strong, with a pin in the first period.”

Ball pinned his opponent 16 seconds into the match. Szudzik, at 132, Zack Swank, at 120, and Fleming, at 126, each won via pins, as well. Mitchell moved up a weight class to a 138 and scored an overtime victory over Angel Menna, of Gow.

“Jake was on his back the whole first period and had to fight to come out with an overtime victory,” said Feltz. “That was huge, for Jake to weather through that. It’s really tough when you’re on your back like that. That kid was strong.”

Benstead won via a forfeit for Springville. Springville improved its record to 4-3 in dual matches, with the win.

Next up for Springville is a home tilt with East Aurora on Jan. 28.


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