It was a record-setting performance for the Lancaster Redskins on Friday at the Section VI Division I wrestling championships.
And second-year coach Dave Young wasn't the least bit surprised.
"We've got a bunch of guys who have been working hard all year long and it's paying off," Young said.
A school-record nine Redskins placed, while four earned titles at Niagara County Community College. Lancaster won the team championship with 140.5 points, well ahead of Niagara-Wheatfield (97).
"I expected it," Young said of his team's banner performance. "We've got a good base with a lot of seniors who have wrestled well."
It was a pair of Redskins who aren't even in high school who kicked things off Friday, as eighth-graders Steve Michel and Eric Lewandowski met in the 96-pound final. Michel, the third seed, scored two points for a cradle in the third period to come away with a 2-1 win and his first sectional title. Michel was the only wrestler not seeded first or second to win a title.
"Seedings don't matter," he said, "it's who shows up.
At 103 pounds, Lancaster's Tim Schaefer earned his second straight sectional crown, moving up a weight class from last year and defeating Lockport's Ivan Cruz. Also winning titles for Lancaster were Matt Waldmiller at 119 pounds and Clint Schaefer at 145.
"It was great to have the most wrestlers ever place," said Schaefer, who improved to 44-4 on the season and won his third sectional title after winning at 96 and 112 pounds in the past.
The second-place Falcons, wrestling just a few miles from their high school, had three champions. Junior Angelo Malvestuto remained unbeaten on the season at 44-0 with a 9-3 win over Clarence's Zach Ward in the 171-pound final. Malvestuto, a two-time high school All-American who's ranked first in the state, will make his third trip to the state tournament.
His older brother, Bob, was a repeat winner at 152 pounds, as the senior held on for a narrow 2-1 win over Cheektowaga's Mike Kirpolsky. Bob Malvestuto had dropped two decisions to Kirpolsky earlier in the year.
All was not well for the Malvestuto clan Friday, however, as 119-pound sophomore Joey Malvestuto was upset in the semifinals.
"Joey was sort of sick all week and lost a tough one to [North Tonawanda's Ryan] Drass," Falcons coach Rick Sweney said. "That was tough, but I'm always happy with all their efforts."
James Donner, ranked third in the state at 285 pounds, rounded out the winners for Niagara-Wheatfield with a 9-3 win over Kenmore East's Mike Fraterrigo in the last match of the night.
Kenmore West's Nathan Skiba, who repeated as sectional champion at 140 pounds, earned the Most Outstanding Wrestler award. Skiba defeated Niagara Falls' Irvin Buck with a thrilling pin 3:51 into the match. Buck had defeated Skiba at last week's Class AAAA Tournament and was seeded first.
"A lot of people were saying I couldn't beat him, so it was great to prove I could," Skiba said.
Three schools had two winners each, including Cheektowaga and senior Jared Messina, who won his fourth sectional title in a fourth different weight class, this year at 130. Clayton Reed also won at 160 pounds for the Warriors.
Niagara Falls had two champions in Ken Hamilton at 189 pounds and Matt Johnson at 215, both of whom won by pins. Iroquois also had two champions in Jimmy Kloc (135) and Joe Kalinka (12).
The 15 Division I (large school) champions crowned Friday will represent Section VI at the state tournament Feb. 27 and 28 at the Pepsi Center in Albany.
The wrestling continues at NCCC today with the Division II meet.
Finals are slated to start about 5:30 p.m.