Angelo Ashker had beaten Vic Arena before, but that was last summer at a club tournament. "That didn't mean anything," Ashker said.
On Saturday night, in a packed gymnasium, Ashker beat Arena again. And this time, it meant everything.
Ashker, a Niagara Falls senior, won a 3-2 decision over Salamanca senior Arena -- the Western New York all-time victory leader -- in the 152-pound final at the Section VI Wrestling Championships at Kenmore West. Fourteen other Section VI champions crowned Saturday night will join Ashker next weekend at the state championships at the Onondaga War Memorial in Syracuse.
"I didn't overlook anybody else, but this was definitely the match that I was working towards," said Ashker, who lost a 7-4 decision to Arena earlier this year at the Niagara Frontier Officials' Tournament. "That was a little motivation for this time."
Arena -- who was seeking his third straight trip to the state tournament -- won twice in Friday's preliminary round to tie and then pass the mark of 215 wins set last year by Lockport's Bill Morello. Arena's semifinal victory gave him 217 career victories.
Ashker gained a 3-0 lead with a second-period takedown. Arena got points with two escapes, but Ashker fended off several Arena charges in the closing moments.
Three wrestlers are returning to the state championships. Kyle Cerminara of Lew-Port, the champion at 189, will return to the states for the third straight year after dominating Lockport's Bryan Petti, 25-10. Newfane's Ryan Needle, who won a state championship in 1999, won the 125-pound title with an 11-5 win over Fredonia's John Perry. Pioneer's Chris Purtell defended his title at 215 by beating Jim Nelson of Southwestern, 6-1. Right after Purtell's victory, Panther teammate Tim Schwab detroned defending 275 champion Matt Keem of Iroquois, 4-2.
Medina's J.R. Roberts won one of the more exciting matches of the evening, as the capacity crowd rallied behind his aggressive style during a frenetic 12-7 win over defending 119 champion Mike Sebaaly of Lancaster. Roberts, who trailed, 4-1, closed in on Sebaaly with a second-period takedown, then used two third-period takedowns to take the lead.
Roberts' teammate, Justin Hartway (112), used takedowns in the opening and closing seconds to beat Mike Sanders of Albion, 5-2.
Another winning pair of teammates were Lancaster's Derek Ostrowski (135) and Nick Kwiatek (145). Ostrowski took down Niagara Falls' Mike Parmer twice in the third period of a 9-5 win. Kwiatek fell behind, 2-0, but handled Marc Babcock of Ripley, 8-3.
The closest win went to 140 champ Dave Walker of Frewsburg, who escaped in double overtime for a 4-3 win over Ripley's Aaron Rowe. Sweet Home's Andrew Stella (96) started the meet off by dominating Starpoint's Brian Marmo, 8-0.
Amherst's Dan Faden (103) rode an early takedown to a 3-1 win over Lancaster's Lorne McCallum. Damianos Skaros (130) of Iroquois trailed, 3-0, to Brian Sebaaly (Mike's twin brother) before rallying with a reversal and three takedowns in a 9-5 win. Chautauqua Lake's Garrett Hicks (160) used a second-period takedown to take a 7-6 lead, then held on to beat Bill Hetherington of Niagara-Wheatfield. Niagara Wheatfield's Eric Wiseman (171) scored a third-period takedown to beat Niagara Falls' Pat Williams, 3-1.