Triple Play Barnstorm Through Wrestling And Two Basketball Games Affords A View Of Triumphs And Struggles; Port Jervis Grapplers Make Short Work Of Monticello; Livingston Manor Boys Nearly Pull Off A Major Hardwood Upset Against Careless Monticello And Liberty Fights Its Way Back Towards Making A Pleas For Sectional Consideration With A Needed Hoops Win Over Port Jervis
Wrestling: Port Jervis 60, Monticello 30
Basketball: Monticello 54, Livingston Manor 52; Liberty 61, Port Jervis 37
By RICHARD A. ROSS
MONTICELLO AND LIBERTY, NY—In the intense crucible of high school sports, particularly when teams are really up against it, there are two possible outcomes. Rallied by the challenge of having their backs to the wall and their bodies nearly pinned to the mat, some will reach down for that last bit of what Abraham Lincoln referred to as “Their last full measure of devotion,” and fight to the end with everything they have.
Of course, Lincoln was referring to the ultimate sacrifice rendered by northern and southern soldiers in the cathartic, bloody battle at Gettysburg. There will be no such fatalities in these late season wrestling and basketball clashes though clearly some teams’ hopes will perish though they battle to the end against all odds.
Other teams facing the inordinate weight of loss after loss will simply fade away. The effect of defeats that outnumber triumphs will cause them to lose hope and simply await the final whistle so as to be free of the burden.
Needless to say, teams are comprised of individuals some of whom will never give up no matter what their teammates do. They are warriors in every sense of the word and the mettle they show under the duress of adversity will serve them throughout their lives, though they probably can’t see that far ahead.
It seems that each January I have one of these days where I barnstorm across the county covering as many as three different events in a single day. It helps me to step back and take a more global view of things, as well as provide my legion of fans/readers with a triplex of photo albums and a few words relevant to their beloved teams’ causes.
My main agenda of the day was Monticello wrestling which would not only afford me a first view of the Panthers, but also a chance to revisit to Port Jervis wrestling, something I covered with intense interest when I was sports editor at The River Reporter.
My last encounter with the Red Raiders was during the heyday of wrestlers like Steven Butler, Matt Parlier, Sean Floor, C.J Floor, J.D Zitone and the like. As coach Eric Hartman notes, “Those guys came through middle school and four years of high school together.”
Few schools can boast of the kind of tradition Port Jervis has had in its illustrious mat history. That year the aforementioned Port grapplers dominated the landscape at the Section Nine Championships.
In 2008 the Red Raiders won the Eastern States tourney, had three Section Nine champions and had two state runner-ups and three of its wrestlers finish in the top four at states. Then coach Jared Kahmer was named Coach of the Year.
Referencing his current team’s status, Hartman notes, “We haven’t gotten things quite the way they were then but we’ve got five guys who were wrestling since they were little. Bret Sauschuk (145), Dylan Muller (138), Dan DiCarlo (160) and Dylan Booth (106).
They’ve done a lot of camps, clinics and tournaments up and down the east coast. So we have a kind of veteran leadership this year which the younger kids feed off of. Port’s recent win over Cornwall was monumental. The Red Raiders had lost to Cornwall a couple of weeks prior at the Middletown duals. What made for the win were wins that Hartman might not have penciled in prior to the match including a victory by Henry Schall (220) and Jarod Sauschuck (99).
In the earlier match, Hartmann had elected not to wrestle Schall up, he opted for the forfeit against a wrestler Schall would beat two weeks later.
At the Eastern States Bret Sauschuk took seventh and Port Jervis finished 21st, the highest placement of any Section Nine team there.
Looking ahead to Sectionals, Hartman notes, “We have six guys that can get us some medals. I think Bret Sauschuk has the best chance of winning. Dylan Muller is another kid who can find his way to the finals so can Dylan Muller. Travis Edwards at 152 and Dylan Booth (106) both have tough weight classes but they should be very competitive.
Port beat Monticello earlier this season. It’s good to see with a new coach taking over the last couple of years that their numbers have come up. It’s tough. Even we have holes in our line up. It’s tough to fill weight classes. A lot of kids don’t want to play two sports and wrestling is a tough sport. You have to build the allure and the public relations. I’ll bet in the next couple of years Monticello will get bigger numbers of kids out and we will too.”
Following this night’s easy 60-30 win over the Monties, the Red Raiders travelled to the Newburgh duals where they’ll encounter heavy hitters like Chaminade, Arlington, Newburgh, Kingston, Warwick and Hauppaughe, a great test prior to sectionals that are coming up soon.
Monticello is struggling these days, but its wrestlers are showing enormous grit and perseverance nonetheless.
In bygone years Monticello has had its share of iconic wrestlers under the watch of former Montie Coach Ed Kaufmann. Over the years there was Marcus Hutchins, Anthony Ng, Alexis Bruno and Vinny Brugaletta, each of whom holds a special place in the annals of Montie wrestling history. But in recent years, especially since Kaufmann’s retirement and the assumption of the reins from his former assistant Justin Fenichal, these have been lean times for the Panthers with a few bright lights including senior standout Paul Gomez (126) who is currently 18-3. Gomez won by forfeit in this match against Port. Interested in attending either St. John’s University or Sacred Heart for pharmacological studies and eschewing wrestling scholarship in favor of studies, the stalwart wrestler will get a chance to take to the mat on January 31 against Minisink Valley on senior night.
In this encounter the Monties collected 24 of their 30 points via forfeits. The only winner was Steve Demestrio (132) who pinned Port’s Steven Dunn in :53.
“Our young guys got a taste about what it’s like to wrestle top guys. I was pleased with the way John Doherty(145) wrestled,” said Fenichal. “Alex Lawrence (160) put up a great battle. Monticello is 5-12. They beat Goshen twice and won three at the Voorhesville tourney.
Section 9 Division I-B: Port Jervis 60, Monticello 30
99 pounds: Jarod Sauschuck (PJ) won by forfeit; 106: Dylan Booth (PJ) pin Chawn Neal :22; 113: Gary Lanterman (PJ) won by forfeit; 120: Sajeth Soundararajan, Sajeth (M) won by forfeit; 126: Paul Gomez (M) won by forfeit; 132: Steve Demestrio, Steven (M) pin Keegan Dunn :53; 138: Dylan Muller (PJ) pin Devin Wallgren :40; 145: Bret Sauschuck (PJ) pin John Doherty 1:37; 152: Travis Edwards (PJ) pin Travis Kelly 1:01; 160: Dan DeCarlo (PJ) pin Alex Lawrence 2:40; 170: Adam Kaiser (M) won by forfeit; 182: Randy Wilson (PJ) pin Nick Fiore :28; 195: Travis Currieri (PJ) won by forfeit; 220: Henry Schall (PJ) won by forfeit; 285: Mike D’Abbraccio (M) won by forfeit.
Records: Port Jervis 10-9 (4-2 Section 9); Monticello 5-11 (1-3 Section 9).
Montie Hoopsters Dodge A Bullet Against Class D Manor Wildcats
Traveling through the maze of hallways from the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School wrestling venue to the high school gym took awhile as I took a number of wrong turns and had to rely on various custodians to provide me the right directions. I should have had my GPS with me.
Arriving in the Pit with 5:35 to go in the fourth quarter I was stunned to see Manor ahead by two points having heard that the Panthers had led by as many as 17. What I witnessed from Monticello looked like a re-enactment of its struggles that led to an earlier season collapse against Sullivan West. Feisty LM which has already clinched at least of share of Division VI and with a win over Chapel Field will own that honor, was battling full bore, while the Monties looked out-of-synch.
Defensively they weren’t closing on shooters and offensively they were not executing their sets, settling instead for low percentage shots and forced entry against rotating help. Leading 52-50 Monticello nearly nearly suffered its eighth loss against three wins but dodged the bullet of a late trey attempt by Mike Mills which would have put Manor in the driver’s seat. Joe Ravell scored 16 for the Panthers in the win which advanced their record to 4-7. Rob Riley had 10. Kenny Fisk had 20 points for Livingston Manor (6-4) and Troy Correa scored 15.
Monticello, which lost an OT heartbreaker in the Class A Sectional semifinals last year, has its work cut out for it if it wants to return to the dance. Coming frays against Valley Central, Burke, Port Jervis and Liberty which it will play at SCCC in the Coaches Versus Cancer Classic will determine its fate. Manor has an easier road to travel and will likely find John A. Coleman Catholic as its strongest obstacle to a Section Nine Class D title.
Liberty Downs Port Jervis As It Hopes To Build A Case For Sectional Inclusion
No team has suffered more adversity than the Liberty Indians boys basketball team this season. Following what appeared to be a commanding home league win over Sullivan West, the district uncovered the fact that one of its players was in his fifth year of high school, thereby rendering him ineligible and wiping out Liberty’s four wins to date.
In lieu of being 4-3 (1-1) at the juncture, the Indians were consigned to an 0-7 (0-1 ) mark. Losses to O’Neill and Burke made matters worse, as did a heart-rending one-point defeat to S.S. Seward. The Indians reclaimed a win by downing Chapel Field and on this night they doubled their win total with a commanding 61-37 win over Port Jervis, a team they beat by two points earlier this season.
Details of this game are far from the point as Liberty led 16-9 at the end of the first quarter, 32-17 at the half and 46-27 after three quarters in a game that was never in doubt. Eddie Byrd led all scorers with 27 points that included a quartet of treys. Joe Franke had 18 points and four long-range strikes as well. Ryan Henry added the team’s final trey as part of his seven point contribution for the now 2-10 Indians over the 2-10 Red Raiders.
Despite its garish record, Liberty actually has a chance to still make sectionals through an appeal to a Section Nine committee comprised of A.D.’s from various schools. To that end, they must win key games from here out including league rematches against Sullivan West and O’Neill. Needless to say an upset win over Burke, though highly improbable to say the least, would go a long way towards abetting their cause.
Liberty still has games against Chapel Field, Monticello, Family School and Livingston Manor. A win over Monticello would help since the Panthers are a Class A school as is Port Jervis.
Port Jervis was led by nine points from Davon Adamson. They were 5-for-14 from the line (35%), while the Indians were a lackluster six-for-14 (42%).
Liberty Coach Mike Salvia summed things up this way: “We’re playing a lot better basketball now, despite our last couple of losses considering the turmoil we’ve been through. We had one bump in there. In the one-point loss to Seward we just didn’t get a good shot at the end of the game.
One thing that has been constant throughout this season has been our defense. As long as we defend like that we’ll be fine for the rest of the season. We have some winnable games in the future and we have to beat the teams who are in front of us to make our case, “he noted.
“Every game is a one-game playoff for us,” he averred. “Then we’ll put it in the hands of the committee after doing what we can do on our end and hopefully the committee will rule that we have a case,” he added.
Regardless of what the final decision will be in that regard, it is clear that Liberty is handling its adversity with class, fight and determination, all of which will yield its share of rewards for the players and their coach even if they find themselves on the outside looking in when sectionals roll around.
Ultimately, who wins or loses each year is obviated by the long term gains in character and perseverance built, especially when you’re fighting against what seems like insurmountable odds.
More to come. Of that you can be sure.
For albums of photos from all three events, visit www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com