By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE Moments after the Tri-Valley Bears hosted Eldred/Fallsburg and Ellenville in wrestling matches on Wednesday night, T-V Coach Mike March smiled.
“I think they all did great tonight,” March said of his wrestlers.
March remains optimistic about the Bears as they compete in their second season.
Because it received late approval from the T-V Board of Education, the T-V wrestling team had to contest all of its matches on the road during its inaugural 2010-2011 season. When Eldred merged with Fallsburg, T-V took over Eldred’s away schedule of matches. March then contacted his alma mater, Port Jervis High School, about facing the Bears and reaching the minimum six matches required to send wrestlers to the Section IX tournament.
This season, in addition to a slate of Section IX Division II-B and non-league matches, March has taken the Bears to Section IX Division I tournaments at Cornwall and Middletown.
“Those tournaments gave us some great experience and we got some wins,” he said. “Competing against wrestlers from bigger schools helps you when you face teams in your own division.”
March noted that having a wrestling team in a small school means competing with other sports for athletes.
“I see who has been cut from the basketball teams and go to P.E. classes to get kids,” he explained. “I am also a football coach here at Tri-Valley, so after the season I asked our 113-pound wrestler Kyle Rogers if he was playing a sport this winter. He said ‘no’ and I said he should join the wrestling team. He said ‘OK’ and he has been doing a great job, especially since he never wrestled before.”
While he is enjoying the present T-V wrestling program, March is hoping the program’s future is even better.
“I am working on starting a feeder system to get kids involved at a younger age,” he said. “A couple of years ago, we had an intramural wrestling program. The first year included kids from fourth grade, fifth grade and sixth grade. The second year was for kids in fifth grade, sixth grade and seventh grade. The first year, the kids just wrestled against each other, but in the second year they wrestled in a Fallsburg JV tournament.”
March noted that some of the wrestlers on the current T-V team, including Jared Ratner and Albert Hernandez, participated in the intramural program.
The Bears’ roster includes freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.
“John Monforte at 145 pounds is a senior and he will be a key loss for us next season,” March said. “But we will still have Kevin Palko at 152, who is a junior this year, and a lot of other great wrestlers.”
March and his wrestlers are grateful for the support they have received from the community.
“We had a good crowd here tonight,” he said. “And there were a lot of young kids here. Hopefully they will stay interested in wrestling and go out for the team someday.”
March noted that the team was scheduled to attend last night’s T-V Board of Education meeting. The board was going to recognize the team for recently hosting its first-ever home match. The team was planning to thank the board for its support in getting the program started.
“We have had donations from the community, which we really appreciate,” March said, noting that starting a wrestling program and purchasing the necessary mats and equipment can be expensive. “Among the donors are two area businesses, Silver Canoe Rentals in Port Jervis and Ratner & Son Paving Inc. in Woodbourne.”
March noted the Bears are working hard to improve.
“We videotape each match, so we can breakdown the tape for each weight class and watch it in practice,” he said. “These guys are having fun and want to keep improving.”
Eldred/Fallsburg, Ellenville earn wins
In Wednesday night’s matches, Ellenville scored two victories while Eldred/Fallsburg earned one win.
In the first match of the evening, Ellenville defeated Eldred/Fallsburg, 39-36. In the second match, Eldred/Fallsburg topped T-V, 42-32. In the third match, Ellenville beat T-V, 41-32.
Ellenville is now 8-4 on the season. Eldred/Fallsburg is 4-3, 3-1 Division II-B. T-V is 1-11, 1-2 Division II-B
“We have some things to work on for sectionals,” Eldred/Fallsburg Co-Coach Tim Bult said. “We made some mistakes and we will try to fix them in practice.
“When some guys got in trouble, they gave it their all,” Bult said. “But they need to work as hard as they can offensively and defensively.”
Ellenville Coach Merrill Conner noted that his team is mix of youth and experience. Four seniors are joined by juniors, sophomores and freshmen.
“It’s a good group of guys, they are very coachable,” Conner said. “And I think this is the smartest team I have ever coached.”
Conner also praised Eldred/Fallsburg and T-V.
“Those coaches have done an outstanding job with their teams,” he said.
Ellenville 39 Eldred/Fallsburg 36
99 No Contest; 106 John Candelaria (Ell) wins by forfeit; 113 Nick Perrello (E/F) pins Joe Smith at 5:07; 120 Miquel Candelaria (Ell) pins Allenson Flores at :54; 126 Willie Bruce (Ell) wins by forfeit; 132 Dylan Bonitz (Ell) pins Shane Martin at 3:02; 138 Kyle Conner (Ell) defeats Adam Hurwitz by 8-4 decision; 145 Rafael Olan (E/F) wins by forfeit; 152 Ethan Lonstein (Ell) pins Nick Brown at 3:25; 160 Ken Kryger (Ell) defeats Carl Peterson-Langeland by 7-1 decision; 170 Tony Moriggia (E/F) wins by forfeit; 182 Javier Cortez (Ell) defeats Tadeusz Loarca by 5-1 decision; 195 Dominique Valez (E/F) pins Preston Gibson at 3:42; 220 John Mejia (E/F) wins by forfeit; 285 Jesse Corcoran (E/F) pins Kyle Cox at 3:22.
Ellenville 48 • T-V 26
106 John Candelaria (Ell) wins by forfeit; 113 Kyle Rogers (T-V) pins Joe Smith at 1:01; 120 Miquel Candelaria (Ell) wins by forfeit; 126 Willie Bruce (Ell) pins Steven Graham at 3:49; 132 Jared Ratner (T-V) defeats Dylan Bonitz by technical fall, 19-3; 138 Kyle Conner (Ell) pins Michael Glinski; 145 John Monforte (T-V) wins by forfeit; 152 Kevin Palko (T-V) defeats Ethan Lonstein by 5-2 decision; 160 Ken Kryger (Ell) pins Hunter Kennedy at 2:30; 170 Javier Cortez (Ell) wins by forfeit; 182 No Contest; 195 Preston Gibson (Ell) pins Albert Hernandez at 1:39; 220 Jesse Harris (T-V) wins by forfeit; 285 Kyle Cox (Ell) wins by forfeit.