It has been another monumental decade for area grapplers capped off by Perry’s Brock Conaway’s NYS title at 182 pounds.
It was the first state wrestling title for Perry but just one of 17 state championships area wrestlers have captured since 2010.
While the overall numbers have fallen some, forcing teams to merge in the past few years, the talent level hasn’t dropped at all.
Conaway finished the season 54-0 and was the first local grappler since 2017 to bring home gold.
The past decade was led by three wrestlers that each won three NYS titles including Alexander’s Dane Heberlein, Holley’s Quinton Murphy and Letchworth’s Chris Nevinger.
Winning one state title is every wrestlers dream let alone winning three and that trio was as talented as any this state has seen no matter what decade it was.
In 2017, Heberlein (132) and Alexander teammate Matt Gaiser (170) along with Warsaw’s Noah Grover (160) each won a NYS title.
In 2016, Heberlein’s 5-3 victory over Section III’s Theo Powers earned the then junior the tourney’s MOW honor.
In 2014, Heberlein and Warsaw’s Burke Paddock (170) captured titles.
Paddock became the third of his family to earn a state title when he captured the 160-pound title in 2013 joining brothers Paul and Ian on the top of the state podium.
Also in 2013, Hornell’s Zack Bacon captured the 220-pound title with the narrow 1-0 victory over Waverly’s Ryan Wolcott.
The 2012 state meet was a memorable one for area wrestlers as Lyndonville brothers Anthony (99) and Sam (120) each won their respective titles.
The same year both Murphy (138) and Nevinger (160) won the third and final state crown of their career in dominating fashion.
Both Murphy and Nevinger were the area’s only state champs in both 2010 and 2011.
Chris joined older brother Mike, who was also a multi state champion for the Indians and head coach Chad Wittenrich.
“When we look at the ‘best’ of the decade there is always a recency bias,” said Byron-Bergen AD and wrestling coach Rich Hannan. “The Glow area has produced some of the best wrestlers in the state for years. Looking at just the last ten years, the names like Murphy, Nevinger, Heberlein, Paddock, Sauer, Recco, Gaiser, Grover, Thompson, Young, Runfola, and many others, shows that the quality of wrestlers from this area is off the charts.”
Hannan spent his previous six years working right next to one of the, if not the best wrestling coach this area has ever seen in future NYS Hall of Famer John Grillo, who stepped away from the sport late in the decade after turning the Holley Hawks into a program of dominance winning five straight Genesee Region titles and one sectional crown (2012). During his five year decade reign from 2010 to 2014 the Hawks did not lose a single dual meet finishing 20-0 in that run before finally giving way ironically to Hannan’s Byron Bergen club that snapped the streak.
While local grapplers have enjoyed a tremendous amount of NYS success over the past decade, team success has also been outstanding.
Especially the Warsaw Tigers and head coaches Rob Hirsch, Jeff Royce and Glen DiStefano.
Hirsch was the original architect during Warsaw’s impressive run for a NYS title in the previous decade and was with the Tigers up until 2013 when Royce took over.
This decade, Warsaw won sectional titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
In 2011, Warsaw (278 1.2), Holley (217 1/2) and Letchworth (213) dominated the Class BB tournament winning 12 of the 15 weight classes including five by champion Warsaw — Colin Royce (99), Aaron Paddock (103), Austin Keough (112), Joey Paddock (125) and Burke Paddock (160); three by runner-up Holley including Quinton Murphy (Holley (135), Mike Silvis (220) and Kacee Sauer (285) and four by third place Letchworth including Micah Nagy (140), Anthony Harding (145), Chris Nevinger (152) and David Woolley (189).
Other team sectional champs included Attica/Batavia and Byron-Bergen with two apiece, and Holley, Letchworth, Alexander, Lyndonville, Keshequa and Geneseo each with one.
Alexander’s Class B title back in 2014 was one of the closest in the history of Section V as the top four teams were only separated by seven team points with the Trojans winning the title by a mere 1 1/2 points over South Seneca (178-176 1/2) with Keshequa third (174 1/2) and Perry fourth (171).
That same year also saw one of the most dominating performances as Warsaw won the Class BB title with the 167 point victory over runner-up Byron-Bergen winning 346-179 as five different Tigers won individual titles including Dylan Walker (99),Mike Galton (120), Corey Farrell (145), Josh Griffith (152) and Burke Paddock (170).
A note of interest, Galton’s 4-2 victory came in the finals over Pavilion/York’s Daylon Swearingen, currently one of the top bullriders in the world today.
In a battle of LCAA vs. GR heavyweights at the 2012 Class BB sectionals in East Rochester, Holley came out on top with the 283-250 victory over Warsaw as Andrew Flanagan (99), Quinton Murphy (138), Tim Butler (152), Mike Silvis (220) and Kacee Sauer (285) all won titles for the Hawks.
The Geneseo title under head coach Danny Carman came back in 2011 and was a memorable one as it was the Blue Devils’ first in over 30 years since the Don DeBadts title back in 1980.
Attica was a powerhouse program in the late 90’s and 2000’s until low numbers forced a merge with Batavia.
The merge was a match made in heaven as A/B captured back to back sectional titles in both 2017 and 2018 under head coaches Rick Stewart and Lance Bannister.
Attica was once a Section V power under former head coach and now current AD Eric Romesser.
“Area wrestling over the last 20 years — Genesee & Livingston Counties — has been outstanding,” Romesser said. “Obviously, like anything else, things run in cycles. Wrestling as a whole as been hindered by lack of numbers thus maybe preventing some teams from having great seasons because of having to forfeit weight classes. With our area consisting of small schools, this has become a major hinderance for most looking to achieve team success. On an individual bases, though, it is quite the contrary. Our area has excelled with so many of our local wrestlers making the podium at the state championships and this can directly be attributed to programs having coaches that are willing to put the extra time in during the off- season and our athletes having the desire and work ethic to want to get better.”
Hirsch, who coached the Tigers through 2013, and is now a high school principal at Frankinville, says it was a mindset with his kids that started back in the early 2000s and continued right through his tenure. Pretty simple, Warsaw kids grew up wanting to put on a Tiger singlet.
“By 2010, our system was finally up and running,” Hirsch said. “We developed a new phrase — ‘we don’t rebuild, we reload,’ and we meant it. We had over 100 kids in the youth program every year and our modified and our varsity teams had more than 40 kids on them, and we were a small school. We became a solidified family. The majority of our wrestlers played football with me in the fall, then we had a wrestling season in the winter, then we have freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling season in the spring, and finally wrestling camps that we went to and hosted ourselves. Basically we wrestled year round. The coaches were always together learning from each other debating technique and strategy. Our families were together helping with the club events’ booster events, we were united as a community to continue to make Warsaw wrestling better. We had another quote that was, ‘Wrestling is Warsaw, Warsaw is wrestling.’ We had wrestlers competing at national tournaments and around the world. This commitment to wrestling excellence not only produced some of the toughest male wrestlers (as listed below), but it also produced one of the toughest female wrestlers around. Three things made Warsaw so tough, tradition, commitment, and a loving wrestling family.”
Lets take a look at our GLOW All-Decade Wrestling Programs….
ALL-DECADE TOP FIVE
1. Warsaw Tigers- Nobody has enjoyed more on-the-mat success this century (and decade) more than the Tigers, winning five sectional titles (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016). While the numbers have dropped the past few years, it has been another truly remarkable dynasty for the orange and black matmen.
2. Attica/Batavia- The once powerful Attica program in the late 90’s and 2000’s saw their numbers dip and merged with Batavia. The A/B merge has already produced two sectional titles, both up in Class BBB. This past season A/B sent two kids — Casper Stewart (3rd at 120) and Josh Barber (DNP at 220) to the state meet in Division I.
3. Byron-Bergen Bees- Head coach Rich Hannan pumped some incredible energy into a Bees program and nor only ended the Holley and Attica GR dominance but also captured two sectional title in 2016 and 2017. The Bees also won solo GR titles in 2015, 2016, 2017 and were tri-champs in 2018.
4. Holley Hawks- Now merged with former rival Kendall, the Hawks captured five straight GR titles from 2010 to 2014. They also captured the 2012 sectional title and finished second multiple times. Grillo, who also coached at Pavilion in his early years, won 795 matches in 44 seasons.
5. Alexander Trojans- The Trojans and head coach Tom Aldinger and assistant Dee Gugel have this program heading in the right direction with three straight GR titles and one sectional title. Alexander also captured the Class B title in 2014. More titles to follow.
Letchworth Indians- Sectional champion back in 2010 while also finishing in the top three several other years. Former coach Chad Wittenrich would have been the first to say he had some great assistant coaches that helped out a lot. New coach Weston Weaver wrestled under Wittenrich and has what it takes to keep this program winning.
Le Roy Knights- Although the Knights haven’t taken away any sectional titles the past decade you can bet that head coach Zac Condidorio, a state place winner himself, will have his share in the future that will make former coaching legend Bob Gately proud. Le Roy has captured their share of LCAA divisional crowns this decade. Great youth numbers and talent will have this program rolling in the near future.
Keshequa Indians- Now merged with Dansville, the Indians won a sectional title solo back in 2017 with championships from Colton Davis (113), Hunter Wood (120), Clayton Bowman (170) and Wyatt Holley (182).
Avon/Geneseo- The A/G program has been merged for three years now and head coach Andy Englert has been piling up the dual meet victories and is expected to make a sectional title run in the next year or two.
Perry Yellowjackets- Head coach Phil Leitten has had some very tough kids in his room the past several years including all the Hollister boys, son Cole and 2020 NYS champion Brock Conaway.
Hornell Red Raiders- The Red Raiders got a 2012 state title from Zack Bacon and have turned the corner lately with some tough lighter weights. Hornell won the LCAA D-I title this season.
Lyndonville Tigers- Sectional title in 2015 and two state champs.