Weekly Feature



2017-12-07 / Sports

Maryvale grapplers seek further improvement

by JASON NADOLINSKI
Reporter


Maryvale’s Kahlil Perry battles to free his hands during the third period of his match with North Tonawanda’s Logan Kent during Friday’s portion of the Joe Shifflet Sweet Home Wrestling Invitational. 
Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerdePurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Maryvale’s Kahlil Perry battles to free his hands during the third period of his match with North Tonawanda’s Logan Kent during Friday’s portion of the Joe Shifflet Sweet Home Wrestling Invitational. Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerdePurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com With just one member of last year’s team that posted its first winning season in over a decade no longer with the squad, it’s no surprise that Maryvale wrestling coach Dale Striker is entering the 2017-18 campaign cautiously optimistic about the Flyers’ chances to make it two in a row.

Maryvale, which had a pair of grapplers finish in the top six of their respective weight classes at sectionals last season, took the first step toward improving on last year’s 4-3 finish when it defeated Lackawanna by a 48-24 mark in its season opener on Nov. 29. Will Mendofik (126 pounds), co-captain Paul Tripi (152), Kyle Myers (182) and co-captain Nick Costanzo (220) won their respective matches by pinfall, while Carl Zarcone (145; 12-6) and Riley Sawning (285; 7-3) both won via decision.

The Flyers used the momentum of that victory over Lackawanna to pick up another pair of wins in their eight dual matches over the course of Friday and Saturday’s annual Joe Shifflet Sweet Home Wrestling Invitational. Maryvale edged out Kenmore West in the first round, 40-39, and also defeated Cleveland Hill/Depew by a 46-31 count. Maryvale came close to victory in the second round as well, but ultimately dropped a 42-33 decision to North Tonawanda.

“We have more depth this year than we did last year, and we also have fewer holes in the lineup and more experience,” Striker said. “We still have a ton of brand new guys stepping up into the varsity lineup, but considering we are in a rebuilding year I am happy with our progress so far. We should always be one of the best conditioned teams out there. No one should outwork us and we should push the pace through the entire match, no matter who we’re going up against.”

The Flyers will once again be counting on Sawning, Nick Freyburger (120) and Kahlil Perry (160) to be among the veteran leaders during what Striker called the team’s rebuilding phase this winter. Maryvale also gets reinforcements from Zacori Volious (170), who returns to the squad “looking to make a name for himself this year” after being away for the past three seasons, Striker said.

Maryvale, which counts Cheektowaga and Pioneer as among the top foes it will face in divisional action this season, has its roster rounded out this season by Lucas Machowski and Darius Fritts.

“The goal is always to be better, and in that regard we’ve continued to improve each year that I’ve been with the team,” Striker said. “We don’t worry about anyone else or what they are doing. We concentrate on what we can control and that is ourselves. It is all about the journey and learning from our losses so that we can become better from them.”

The Flyers were scheduled to host Tonawanda Wednesday in their return to league action, but information about that match — including whether or not the weather even allowed for it to be held — was not available at press time. Weather permitting, Maryvale will close out its week by taking part in Saturday’s annual Depew Wildcats Duals Tournament before traveling to East Aurora on Wednesday.

“We’ve just got to stay mentally strong and realize the regular season is just a warm-up and practice for the postseason,” Striker said. “We have to keep our heads on straight and learn from every mistake we make. We have to be consistent in the way we handle wins and losses — we can’t let ourselves get too high or too low — because wrestling, more than any other sport, can be an emotional roller coaster. You can’t let yourself get wrapped up in records or rankings because, at the end of the year, they mean nothing. Once we get to the class championships it’s win or go home, no matter what your record is. We are working on coming in each day better than we were the day before. If we continue to do that good things will come.

“To that end, I’ve got a great group of athletes this year who come in each day and give their best effort. We push them extremely hard and they refuse to give up. They don’t ask questions but just work.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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