A third-place finish for a team at one of the toughest tournaments in the nation is usually a cause for celebration. But, Lockport does not have a typical team. While the wrestlers, parents, and coaches are proud of the teams finish, there was also a looming sense of disappointment and underachievement, as everyone knew that we were more than capable of bringing home a team championship. But, that was not in the cards at the POWERade tournament, held at Canon-McMillan High School this past Thursday and Friday.
Considered to be the 2nd toughest high school wrestling tournament in the nation this season, the POWERade lived up to its reputation, much like it did last season. Lockport, having earned a total of 128 points, finished in third place, just one point shy of the second-place team, Kiski Prep (PA).
Five of Lockport’s wrestlers managed to earn a place on the podium. Sophomore Ronald Tucker, the defending POWERade champion at 285, put himself in a position to earn back-to-back titles, picking up wins in his first three matches and becoming the sole Porter in the championship finals for the second year in a row. Unfortunately, Tucker lost by fall in the second period to Brandon Furman, a senior who is ranked 17th in the nation by FloWrestling, and hails from the host, Canon-McMillan. Still, Tucker placed highest on the team for the second straight year.
Finishing one place behind Tucker was sophomore standout Matt Ramos. Ramos, making his first trip to the POWERade tournament, posted a 5-1 record, including a fall, technical fall, and a major decision, on his way to a 3rd place finish. Ramos, seeded 5th, defeated the seed by fall in the quarterfinals, but ran into a buzz saw named Kirk McHenry in the semifinals. McHenry showed how he was able to earn a world title earlier this year, defeating Ramos 13-4. Matt bounced back, however, picking a consolatioj semifinal win, as well as a 4-2 decision over 3rd seed Nick Kayal of Bergen Catholic (NJ) in the place match.
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the tournament for the Porters came from freshman James Pierandozzi at 120 pounds. Pierandozzi came in unranked and very unknown, but anyone who watched his bouts will be remembering him and taking note of him in the coming years. Pierandozzi started with a bye and a win to put himself into the quarterfinals against the 6th seed, Gavin Park of Brookville (PA), who was a 7th place finisher in the PIAA State Tournament last season. Pierandozzi put Park on his back in the first for five, then wrestled a smart, controlled match to come away with his first upset on paper, an 8-5 decision victory. Pierandozzi had to take on hometown hero and 3rd seed Logan Macri. Pierandozzi had Macri flustered and frustrated early on, but Macri was dominant in a few positions and defeated Pierandozzi 8-1. In his first wrestleback match, Pierandozzi took out 5th seed Vincent DiStefanis of Hempfield (PA), 9-6. Pierandozzi then defeated Mike Salas of Pine Richland, 7-1, followed by Franklin Regional’s Colton Camacho. That match went into double overtime with Pierandozzi nearly giving up a reversal as time expired, but Pierandozzi managed to keep his fingers locked around the leg, maintain control, and pick up a 2-1 OT2 victory. Pierandozzi would go on to take 4th, losing by a 6-0 decision to Wyoming Seminary’s Beau Bartlett, currently ranked 5th nationally.
Also taking 4th was Trevell Timmons, who improved on his sixth-place finish last year. Timmons, seeded third this year, won his first three matches handily, but lost his semifinal bout to the 2nd seed out of Belle Vernon (PA), Zachary Hartman. Timmons dropped that bout 3-2 in ultimate tie-breaker, as Hartman was able to ride Timmons out in the final 0:30 second period to earn the ride-out point and the win. Timmons bounced back in his consolation semifinal match, but struggled to score in his 3rd place match, losing 5-1 to Christopher Foca of Bergen Catholic (NJ), whom Timmons had previously defeated by an 8-3 score in the quarterfinals.
The only other placewinner for the Porters was Chandler Proszek, who finished in 8th place at 170 pounds. Proszek, who posted a 4-3 record on the tournament, had a tough route to his placing. After his first round bout, Proszek ran into top seed Trent Hidlay of Mifflin County (PA), ranked 6th nationally by FloWrestling. Proszek responded well, picking up a decision and a fall to put himself into the Round of 12, aka “The Blood Round” – win and place, lose and you’re out. Proszek rose to the occasion, picking up an 8-3 win to guarantee his spot on the podium. Following the win, however, Proszek ran into two rough spots, dropping his next two matches by a 1-0 margin in each match.
Several wrestlers came up just short of a spot on the podium. At 113, Anthony Molton, seeded 8th at the start of the tournament after one of the seeded wrestlers scratched on Thursday, came up just shy of placing. Molton suffered an upset in his second-round bout, heading into the UTB portion of his overtime match, where he was also unable to escape, losing 3-2 with the ride-out point given to his opponent. Molton rattled off 2 more wins in the wrestlebacks, but in the blood round, he came up just short, losing by 3-0 decision. Yousif Salah, wrestling at 195, also came up one match shy of placing. Salah won his first bout before a loss by fall to the 5th seed in his bracket. In the consolation bracket, Salah would win his first two matches by fall, but lost his Round of 12 match by an 8-5 decision.
Lockport’s middle weights had their roughest showing of the season. From 126-152 pounds, the Porters failed to put anyone into the second day, let alone on the podium. Matt Kronsbein posted a 1-2 record at 126, while Abdullah Assaf, seeded 8th at 132, went 2-2 and did not place, as did Brandon Ramos, the 3rd seed at 138. Baylor Fernandes also went 2-2 at 145. Zach Reese, wrestling at 152, also posted a 1-2 record for the tournament.
Also coming up shy of wrestling on the second day of the tournament was Payton Fernandes at 182 and Dan Stojsavljevic at 220 pounds. Fernandes went 2-2, including a loss to top seed Nino Bonaccorsi, the eventual champion ranked 3rd nationally. Stojsavljevic went 1-2 on the tournament, but for anyone who watched his bouts, he may well have shown more heart than anyone on the team. So, sit back, you’re getting a short story time. After losing his first match, Stojsavljevic found himself trailing 11-2 late in the second period of his second match. Far too many wrestlers would have been mentally broken at this point, but Stojsavljevic pushed on. After earning a takedown, Dan began to take his opponent down and cut him at will, closing the gap with each takedown, perhaps not realizing that realistically, time would expire before he was able to continue this strategy and earn enough points to win. Undeterred, Stojsavljevic stayed aggressive, attacking his opponent, and seized on an opportunity to put his foe on his back for the fall. Walking back to his seat in the bleachers after the match, Dan was congratulated and applauded by fans from at least 5 different schools, by my count.
106: Matt Ramos - 3rd (5
113: Anthony Molton - DNP (3-2)
120: James Pierandozzi - 4th (5-2)
126: Matt Kronsbein - DNP (1-2)
132: Abdullah Assaf - DNP (2-2)
138: Brandon Ramos - DNP (2-2)
145: Baylor Fernandes - DNP (2-2)
152: Zach Reese - DNP (1-2)
160: Trevell Timmons - 4th
170: Chandler Proszek - 8th (4-3)
182: Payton Fernandes - DNP (2-2)
195: Yousif Salah - DNP
220: Dan Stojsavljevic - DNP (1-2)
285: Ronald Tucker - 2nd (3-1)
For brackets and individual breakdowns, click here to see the tournament on FloArena. Click on "Teams" and then "Lockport" for our results only. For complete brackets, click "Results," then change the group on the far left just below that to "Varsity," and then adjust for the weight and bracket type of your choice (Championship, Consolation, 5th place match, 7th place match). It's not the most user-friendly interface, but it's what POWERade chose to use.
Photos will be up as soon as possible. Bear in mind that there are literally over 1000 photos to sort through. Then, anything out of focus gets deleted. Then, pictures are adjusted for color, lighting, leveling/rotation, and cropping. It's very time-consuming, but they will be uploaded by session. Click here for Sealy's photo site, and click here for the tournament section. Once edited, POWERade photos will be uploaded here.
Oh, and after that technical glitch that deleted the Ron Sauer Dual Photos, I'm happy to say that they have all been re-edited, re-organized, and are now uploaded to the tournament section.