Kevin Paul leads the Baldwinsville wrestling team into the 2013-14 season, determined to become the program’s first state champion in a decade.
Not since 2004, when Shawn Farnham claimed state honors at 103 pounds, has anyone from the Bees gone to the top of the podium in the final meet of the winter.
But Paul, a two-time Section III champion (106 pounds in 2012, 120 pounds in 2013) hopes to get a third trip to Albany’s Times Union Center for the Feb. 28-March 1 state meet, and he’s joined by a deep, talented roster that, with the likes of Joe Nasoni, Connor Ross and Chad McArdell, again is favored in the CNY Counties League National division.
For its season opener last Wednesday night at the revamped Baker High School gym, B’ville hosted Oswego, and had no trouble putting away the Buccaneers in a 63-12 romp.
Six different matches went to the Bees by forfeit, including one to Paul at 138 pounds, but also McArdell (152 pounds), Alex Bowen (170 pounds), Gunnar Sutphen (195 pounds), Jeremy Pond (126 pounds) and Spencer Woods (132 pounds).
Nasoni did wrestle, at 220 pounds, fighting past Jacob Rodriguez 7-1, this after Devon Buyck (182 pounds) issued the Bees’ first pin of the season, taking just 42 seconds to finish off Zack Caruso.
B’ville had three other pins before the night was done. Kevin Lewis, at 106 pounds, needed just 18 seconds to get his fall over Tyler Blackmar, and Tyler Patrick (113 pounds) worked quickly, too, pinning Dylan McIsaac in 35 seconds. Ross, at 145 pounds, had to wait a bit longer, but pinned Jordan Perchway with 26 seconds left.
And this led the Bees to Saturday’s Andersen Tournament at Cicero-North Syracuse, where it would emerge as one of the top sides in a field full of powerful programs.