Three hundred and sixty-four days ago, Kenmore West’s Anthony Argentieri made a mistake he virtually never makes. The mistake cost him a sectional title. The mistake haunted him until Saturday when he had the chance at redemption.
Leading 1-0 and less than a minute away from becoming a Section VI champion last year, Argentieri got reversed and found himself on his back. The result? A 4-1 loss.
The Kenmore West senior found that vindication is a sweet, sweet thing on Saturday by winning the 120-pound weight class in dominating fashion at the 53rd annual Section VI Division I wrestling state qualifier at Lake Shore High School.
“It was horrible last year, so this championship just feels amazing,” said Argentieri, who beat Jake DeWolf of Niagara Wheatfield by a technical fall (15-0) in the final. “Getting a chance to head back to states, and hopefully get on the podium again, this feels great.”
Although Argentieri entered the year as one of Western New York’s top returners, much of his season was an uphill battle after he broke his hand during a match at the Webster-Schroeder tournament. Argentieri missed six weeks of action, and is just returning to top form.
“Even with the cast on my hand, I was still training, I was still running,” Argentieri said. “All I thought was, ‘This can’t slow me down.’ ”
Argentieri holds virtually every Kenmore West wrestling record, and will finish as the program’s all-time winningest wrestler (182 wins so far). He will make his third trip to states, having won a sectional title in the 113-pound class as a sophomore and earning a wild-card spot at 120 last year.
Coming into Saturday’s tournament all local Lake Shore supporters had their eyes set on the potential 132-pound final. Lake Shore senior Frederick Eckles entered the day just three wins shy of 200 career wins, with the big No. 200 potential coming on the biggest stage.
Eckles sure did follow the script.
Eckles pinned his first two opponents and finished off the day with a dominating major decision victory (17-5) over Lockport’s Jamie Camarre to win the sectional crown and earn win No. 200.
“I didn’t think it’d take me this far into the season to get to 200,” said Eckles, who became Lake Shore’s all-time winningest wrestler earlier in the season. “It means a whole lot to me because I trained all year for this.”
Lockport junior Mitch Seaver repeated as a sectional champion with a 9-5 decision over Lancaster’s Parker Rozler at 106, but not without some late drama.
Winning 9-1, Seaver got flipped and found himself of his back with seven seconds left. Thankfully for Seaver, the final buzzer sounded at just the right time.
“It feels pretty good, it just didn’t really end the way I wanted it to,” Seaver said. “I just got tired and he caught me off guard.”
Seaver, who is 39-0 this season, hasn’t lost since placing third at states last year.
North Tonawanda senior Troy Keller improved to a perfect 44-0 on the year with a pin in the 145-pound final. Keller pinned all three opponents he faced on way to being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Niagara Falls eight-grader Willie McDougald took the 113-pound class by a narrow 1-0 decision over his cousin Warren McDougald of Niagara Wheatfield.
In the longest match of the night, Lancaster junior Mason Mastrangelo outlasted Lake Shore’s Shaerod Rodgers in an ultimate tiebreaker situation, 3-2.
Other first time sectional champs include Niagara Wheatfield eight-grader Justin McDougald at 99, Niagara Wheatfield senior Vince Falvo at 126, Hamburg junior Jacob Smeader at 160, Niagara Wheatfield senior Colin Goodrich at 170, Jamestown senior Brandyn Whitacre at 182, Grand Island senior Zach Breeden at 195 and Lake Shore senior Jordan Wasmund-Ringer at 285.
Section VI champions, as well as any at-large qualifiers, will now head to the state championship tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany. Preliminaries and quarterfinals will take place on Feb. 26, with semifinals and finals getting underway Feb. 27.