Share this article

print logo

McDougald, Robinson, Rowe persevere to capture state wrestling crowns

By Jason Franchuk
Special to The News

ALBANY – Bryce Rowe sported an old-school look that carried a whole lot of meaning Saturday night. The Chautauqua Lake senior wrestled his Division II 160-pound wrestling match in his uncle’s black, white and orange-striped Section VI singlet.

That gear has now seen another state title. Rowe (45-3), who had never even been to the state tournament, won four straight matches across two days. That leaves him as the first Chautauqua Lake medalist, let alone all-out winner.

Rowe was joined by Niagara Falls 132-pounder Willie McDougald (Division I) and Anthony Robinson of Starpoint, who wrapped up the 30-match night with a 6-5 outcome that gave Section VI the D-II heavyweight title for a second consecutive year.

“I had my head on straight and was really excited to be here,” said Rowe, whose uncle (and now coach) Brad wrestled at Ripley.

Rowe, the No. 3 seed, won, 2-1, against No. 1 Jacob Nolan of Saranac (Section VII), holding on for dear life after securing a reversal with 20 seconds left.

McDougald of Niagara Falls ousted No. 1 seed Justin Vines (Wantagh-Section VIII) in overtime.

McDougald didn’t have much history at Albany’s Times Union Center, either. He finished sixth last year after going two-and-out two years ago. The sophomore had lost twice to Vines in recent memory, including this season at the prestigious Eastern States tournament and last year in the state quarterfinals.

McDougald’s father, Willie Sr., ran down the stairs to give him a big hug after the outcome.

He also had a grandmother in from Indiana, plus his own mother made it – she had to miss the tournament last year because of work.

“I knew I had to perform,” McDougald said with a smile.

Robinson lived up to his top seed. He fell behind two points early, but in the second period managed to slip an attack move and turn it into two of his own – then a pair of back points. Robinson gives up a lot of weight to most competitors, but he still led, 5-4, with 1:38 left and hung on, 6-5, after being knocked for a stalling point with nine seconds left.

The area also had a runner-up at 126. Justin McDougald of Niagara Wheatfield ran into a buzzsaw, getting pinned in the second period by four-time state champ Adam Busiello (Eastport South Manor-Section XI).

Corey Keefe of Falconer also fell in the D-2 195 final, as the No. 1 seed (Doug Simmons, Canastota of Section III) won, 3-1. Keefe trailed 1-0 early in the third period, then Simmons pulled off a sealing two-point takedown with 40 seconds left, right after being warned for stalling.

Rowe’s match was just as fascinating down to the end.

And he even had an adrenaline-pumper before the finals. He had to defeat Section VI mate, Dan Torres of Falconer, who had beaten him three previous times.

“I got the one I needed, though,” Rowe said.

Then he got one that meant maybe even a little more. His Saranac opponent was just shy of having enough leverage in the final 20 seconds to warrant a two-point move.

“I was just locked onto that ankle,” Rowe said. “I was actually in OK shape. I just had to relax.”

Section VI also brought in several high placers.

In D-I, Parker Rozier (Lancaster) took fifth at 113. Warren McDougald (Niagara Wheatfield) was third at 145, while Joe Andreessen of Lancaster also finished just out of the title match at 220. Derek Wojciechowski of Frontier was sixth at 170.

D-II brought a series of top-six finishes as well.

Highlights included Zach Braddell (Tonawanda) third at 126. Cory Day (Iroquois) had the same finish at 145, along with Jacob Sarow (Alden-Akron), who fought back from a second-round loss in the main bracket to win his final match of the year.

Story topics: / / / / /

There are no comments - be the first to comment