Despite losing the first three matches of the U-E Duals Championship to fourth-ranked Shenendehowa and forfeiting the fourth to fall behind 15-0, coach Steve Fischbein’s Monroe Woodbury crew stayed calm.
After all, Fischbein assured his wrestlers they had a legitimate shot at winning this year’s crown, and according to junior Andrew Tully, they believed him.
Tully’s exhilarating pin at 170 pounds jump-started the Monroe-Woodbury pin parade, and after five more falls, the Crusaders left Endicott with a lopsided finals victory and plenty of momentum heading into the remainder of their season.
“The strongest part of our lineup is our lightweights, so we were hoping to keep it close when it turned to the 99 match,” said Fischbein of the dual that started at 138.
Mission accomplished. Despite a lackluster start, the Crusaders rallied to within two points (21-19) before the lightweights hit the mat. Fischbein asserted that Tully’s come-from-behind effort and Tyler Vervalin’s close win at 285 were the turning points of the dual.
He was especially impressed with his heavyweight, noting that “[Vervalin] has just been pulling one tough match out after another for us and has been wrestling lights out.”
Despite a glowing endorsement for Tully and Vervalin, Fischbein was quick to point out that it was a full team effort.
“All our kids had their 'A' game,” said Fischbein. “To win a tournament like this you have to have your 'A' game. If you have your 'B' game, you’re not winning.”
Making Monroe-Woodbury’s first U-E Duals win since 2000 even more special was that it comes in the final year of Fischbein’s 18-year career at the helm of the Crusaders program.
“To go out with a potential #1 ranking is the best feeling in the world,” said the long-time coach. “As nice as this is and as nice as the state rankings are, the most important thing is the Sections and the states at the end of the year. We want to get as many guys as we can to the state tournament, get a lot of state medals, and I’d trade all of this for a state champion.”
As the premier large school dual tournament in the state, the U-E Duals are more than just another tournament and, to some, represent an unofficial New York State team championship.
“If you want to be the number one team in the state, you have to come [to the U-E Duals],” Fischbein said.
The tournament’s prestige makes it more fun for the wrestlers, too.
“It means a lot because we get a banner on the wall, a picture on the wall – it’s amazing,” Tully said. “I’ve still got another year here and I’m ready to go!”
Hilton took third, with Rocky Point fourth. For more results, go to this link.
To watch the replay of the livestream of Day 2 of U-E Duals (Spencerport vs. MacArthur, the semifinals dual of Monroe Woodbury vs. Rocky Point and the finals between Monroe Woodbury and Shenenedehowa), go the front page of www.newyorkwrestlingnews.com, scroll down and you'll see the video screen.
Monroe-Woodbury 46, Shenendehowa 24
138: Kevin Parker (Shen) won by decision over Shane Smith, 6-0 (M-W) (Shen 3-0)
145: Anthony Dinallo (Shen) won by decision over Brandon Lewis, 11-4 (M-W) (Shen 6-0)
152: Ryan Betts (Shen) won by decision over Eli Rodrigo (M-W), 7-0 (Shen 9-0)
160: Jesse Porter (Shen) won by forfeit (Shen 15-0)
170: Andrew Tully (M-W) won by fall over Nick Joseph (Shen), 5:51 (Shen 15-6)
182: Nick McShea (M-W) won by fall over Chris L’Amoureaux (Shen), 1:29 (Shen 15-12)
195: Levi Ashley (Shen) won by forfeit (Shen 21-12)
220: Rob Kelly (M-W) won by major decision over Kevin Leonard (Shen), 13-4 (Shen 21-16)
285: Tyler Vervalin (M-W) won by decision over Jordan Gougler (Shen), 5-3 (Shen 21-19)
99: Marco Vespa (M-W) won by fall over Mike Dimonda (Shen), 1:17 (M-W 25-21)
106: Vinny Vespa (M-W) won by fall over Dietrich Hartmann (Shen), 3:17 (M-W 31-21)
113: Kevin Kelly (M-W) won by fall over Nick Hotaling (Shen), 2:04 (M-W 37-21)
120: Evan Barczak (M-W) won by decision over Kevin Guardino (Shen), 13-6 (M-W 41-21)
126: PJ Smoot (M-W) won by fall over Jordan Maynard (Shen), 3:25 (M-W 47-21)
132: Jonah Fulger (Shen) won by decision over Tom Maloney (M-W), 11-8 (M-W 46-24)