Host Lions show their mite among difficult wrestling field
A first-place finish by Anthony Orefice at 120 pounds helped the Lockport Lions take fourth in the Lockport Wrestling Booster/Sunrise Optimist Tournament that was held at Lockport High School on Jan.12.
With a total of five wrestlers finishing in the top three of their bracket, the Lions scored 139.5 team points, finishing behind only tournament champs Clarence (224), Fredonia (164.5) and Pittsford (147.5) in the 21-team event.
“One of the things we’ve tried to do with our tournament is make it as strong as possible, and we’ve got some great teams that come,” Lockport coach Joe Scappaletti said. “To put our guys in the position where they have to wrestle tough opponents almost every single match it’s only going to get them ready for the end of the season. That’s what we’re looking at.”
Orefice defeated Jeff Gould of Pittsford to take first at 120. Marshall Taylor, who had been fighting the flu bug all week, made it to the finals of the 220-pound division but had to forfeit the championship match because the illness had taken its toll on him.
Scappaletti said it was in Taylor’s best interest to hold him out, rather than have him been at less than 100 percent because of the illness and risk injury.
Jose Pagan (145), Seth Anderson (160) and Josh Steinman (152) all took third-place finishes for the Lions, who are the No. 2 ranked large school.
“We’re very proud of where we are now and while we’ve achieved most of what we hoped to achieve, there’s still one more spot to climb,” Scappaletti said. “We wrestled Clarence earlier in the year and they got the best of us, so they deserve the No.1 ranking.”
Marching forward with the goal of a league title in mind, the Lions clash with Lewiston-Porter in a meet that took place (Jan.16). Winning that match would go a long way in deciding the NFL champion.
Both standing at 4-0 in league action, the Lancers took fifth place in the Lockport Tourney with 131.5 points.
“Right now our eyes are set on the league championship in the Niagara Frontier League,” Scappaletti said. “We’re both undefeated in league competition and haven’t really been tested a whole lot in our league duals.”
“And (Lew-Port coach) John Hoover is a very good friend of mine. We both know what’s on the line Wednesday night and I think both teams are excited,” he added.
Drew Hull of Roy-Hart, who finished first at 145 pounds, was selected the Most Outstanding Wrestler. At 32-0, Hull is also ranked No.1 in his class in Section VI.