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High school wrestling: South Jeff tops General Brown


DEXTER — South Jefferson and General Brown squared off on Thursday night in a showdown for grappling supremacy in the Frontier League in a meeting of two of the top teams in the state.

This time it was the Spartans, ranked seventh in the state, who wrestled bragging rights away from the No. 3-ranked Lions by reclaiming at least a share of the “B” Division championship.

South Jefferson recorded five pins en route to defeating defending champion General Brown, 40-25, before a packed gymnasium to clinch a tie for the division wrestling title.

Exactly a year ago, General Brown upended South Jefferson, 37-30.

“This is a huge win,” said Spartans junior Daniel Smith, who improved to 31-1 on the season with his win in the 170-pound weight class. “We were looking to have our best match of the year and we did that. I think we took it to them and a lot of our guys came through.”

The Spartans can clinch the “B” crown outright with a win when it hosts Beaver River at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

South Jefferson, which improves to a perfect 10-0 in the Frontier League and 23-0 overall, not only denied rival General Brown (18-1, 8-1) a chance to repeat as division champ, it also dealt the Lions their first loss of the season.

“Tonight was a total team victory,” South Jefferson coach Pat Conners said.

The Spartans won eight matches to the Lions’ seven, but despite the slim margin, took control with their wins by fall.

“Right off the bat we didn’t match their intensity or their aggressiveness,” General Brown coach Mike Hartle said of the Spartans. “They got the pins where they needed them and we didn’t pin where we needed to. They won eight matches and we won seven, but in the scoring pins count the most.”

After Smith began the night with his win by decision, and junior Logan LaFlamme followed with a victory at 182.

“We got the ball rolling right from the start,” Smith said. “They beat us last year in the league, so it was nice to get back at them.”

General Brown then won the next three matches to take a 10-7 lead as sophomore Zech Pitre won by major decision at 195, and seniors Corey Gaffney and Jordan Schofield each recorded two-point wins at 220 and 285, respectively.

South Jefferson responded by winning the next four matches, including three via pins, to seize command.

“We had a couple wins to start out and then our upperweights struggled a little bit, although they wrestled hard,” said Conners, whose team has also won five tournaments this season. “Then our lightweights came through with those three pins in a row and then our team was on fire from there on.”

Junior Jared Carroll began the surge for the Spartans as he pinned Cody Fields in 1:30 at 99, eighth-grader Caleb Beach won by fall over Connor Schissler at 106.

After freshman Tyler Bates pinned Scott Bluto in 2:46 at 113, sophomore Adam Hutchinson completed the run with a 7-2 decision over Luke Rogers at 120 as South Jefferson built a 28-14 advantage.

Freshman Holden Pelton (132) and senior Jon Crast (138) also recorded pins for the Spartans to provide the Spartans with a 40-14 lead.

“It was great,” Conners said. “(Carroll) has been tough all year, (Beach) is a great wrestler who came up with a big pin. At 113 (pounds), we thought it could go either way, and (Bates) came up with big with a half-nelson and that kind of sent our team onwards and upwards from that point on.”

Peter Will won his 152-pound match by technical fall for General Brown and teammates Ryan Snow (126), Kyle O’Connor and Tyler Silverthorn (160) each won by decision.

“We had some nice wins ... but if anything, I think this is a reality check to show us where we are and what we need to improve upon,” Hartle said. “We need to be more aggressive — we looked good on our feet but we were slow in other areas.”

Both teams will now prepare for the Section 3 Dual Meet Championships on Syracuse at Cicero-North Syracuse.

“I think we’re still all right and we’re still tough,” Hartle said.

“We can only hope that Saturday we make it to the semifinals of the Section 3 Duals to we’ll get another shot at them,” he said of South Jefferson.

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