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Preview: Auburn wrestlers hope to make more history at section championships
WRESTLING

Preview: Auburn wrestlers hope to make more history at section championships

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Lucas Hogan, top, wrestles Oswego's Logan Matthews in the 170-pound match Jan. 15 at Auburn High School.

This weekend, wrestlers from central New York will battle to determine the area’s best at the Section III championships.

The meet, which will feature both Division I (large school) and Division II (small school) wrestlers, begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena. Grapplers from Auburn, Port Byron and the combined team of Hannibal/Cato-Meridian will all take part.

Here’s what to look for at this weekend’s championships:

DIVISION I

Last year, Auburn presented its first section champion in 42 years when Luca Pirozzolo captured the 132-pound title with an 11-5 decision in the title bout over Fulton’s Cole French.

Pirozzolo, now a junior, is back again with another favorable seed, but he’s not the only wrestler expected to contend for the Maroons.

Undefeated in 22 matches, Keyshin Cooper is the No. 1 seed at 200 pounds. Cooper, a senior, returns to sectionals this year after placing third in the 182-pound bracket last year. Among his season highlights, Cooper won his bracket at the Andersen Tournament, the Phoenix Round Robin, the Kenneth Haines Memorial, and the Section III Class AA tournament that took place last weekend.

Of Cooper’s 22 wins, 18 have been on pins. His main competitor is Fulton junior Matthew Woodworth (38-5). The two have never met on the mat. Cooper has faced the other top seeds. He beat both the No. 3 seed Adam Rush (Cicero-North Syracuse) and the No. 4 seed Sean Hunt (Syracuse) on pins, and beat the No. 5 seed Alfonso Alonso (Syracuse) on a major decision.

Despite a 24-6 record, Pirozzolo is not the top seed at 138 pounds. Instead the Auburn junior was ranked No. 2 behind Fulton’s Sean May, who he has not wrestled this year.

Earlier this season, Pirozzolo broke Auburn’s program record for career wins. His other highlights include first-place finishes at the Phoenix Round Robin and the Section III Class AA tournament. He was the runner-up at the Andersen Tournament. Pirozzolo can make more history this season with another section title. According to cnywrestling.com, no Auburn wrestler has won back-to-back section titles since the early 1960s.

Auburn has two other wrestlers that will compete. Lucas Hogan (28-7) is the No. 4 seed at 170 pounds. This season, Hogan came in third at the Kenneth Haines Memorial, the Port Byron Mid-Winter Classic, and the Section III Class AA tournament. He finished fifth at the section championships last season. Bradley Boyhan (14-13) will also represent the Maroons as the sixth seed at 120 pounds. Boyhan, a freshman, is a first-year wrestler that placed second at the Class AA tournament a week ago.

Ryan Fedigan (126 pounds) and Christian Hogan (113 pounds) are both alternates for the tournament.

DIVISION II

Hannibal/Cato-Meridian has four wrestlers with a chance to claim section titles.

Perhaps the best odds belong to Hunter White, a 126-pound senior who went 33-2 this season. A third seed, White is the only wrestler in his bracket with two or less defeats this season. White racked up the tournament victories this year, winning at the Kenneth Haines Memorial, Fallen Heroes Tournament, Cazenovia Invitational, Liberty/Patriot League Tournament, and the Section III Class B Tournament. In fact, he has not lost a match since Dec. 14 when he was defeated in the Penfield-Hunter Holiday Tournament. He did not face the top two seeds, Lowville’s Micah Roes and Vernon-Verona-Sherrill’s Kyle Burback, this season. He did square off with Burback as a 106-pound freshman in 2016, falling by a 10-3 decision. Teammate Tyler Murray is also in the 126-pound bracket as the No. 5 seed. Murray finished the season with a 29-11 record.

Also for Hannibal/Cato-Meridian Jack Lamson (23-11) is the No. 7 seed at 106 pounds, while Ethan Scanlon (21-5) is the fifth seed at 182.

Jordan Beach (132), Chad Thompson (152), Anthony Crofoot (220), and Santana Salvador (285) are all alternates.

Port Byron is guaranteed three wrestlers with a chance to compete, and potential for a fourth. Ike Svitavsky has the highest seed of all participating Panthers. He’s slotted at No. 6 at 145 pounds. Svitavsky, a sophomore, went 29-10 this season. Port Byron also has a pair of seventh-seeds. Mitch Tanner is in the 220-pound bracket, finishing the season with a 25-13 record. Jack Smith is No. 7 at 132 pounds. He went 27-8 this year. At 99 pounds, Henry Smith is an alternate.

Editor's note: Seeds, individual records, and other accomplishments are courtesy of cnywrestling.com

Sports reporter Justin Ritzel can be reached at 282-2257 or at justin.ritzel@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenRitz.

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