LOCKPORT • Lockport hosted and entered thirteen wrestlers into their 3A regional this past Sunday, and, when the tournament had concluded, all thirteen wrestlers qualified for this weekend’s I.W.C.O.A. Individual Sectional Championships. With eleven finalists, eight champions, three runner-up finishes, and two third-place medalists, Lockport absolutely dominated their competition.
As for how Head Coach Josh Oster felt about his team’s performance, he said “They all wrestled well. We wrestled pretty crisp and competed well. I think we were more aggressive than we have been in some dual meets this year. We did a better job of looking to score points and finish matches early and get on and off the mat as quickly as possible. I was happy with that. It was a good way to start the end of the season for these guys.”
With the dual season being the only season to this point, Lockport, like many schools, had a line-up that shifted from week to week in order to place their best team on the mat. On Sunday, they finally settled into a line-up that felt right to them.
“We have kind of been bumping around all over the place all year,” Oster said of his line-up, “and now they are where they think they should have been all year—not that everyone is cutting a lot of weight.
But we had some smaller kids in our line-up all year for their weight class.”
The payoff was a team title and qualifying for the I.W.C.O.A Dual Team Championships in two weeks. For the team, their finalists, aside from 113 pounds, was seven consecutive wrestlers from 126 pounds all the way through 220—Lockport did not enter a heavyweight. And, in a season filled with dual meets and no opportunities to work on tournament wrestling and getting into a tournament routine, Oster and his staff did all they could to simulate such a style throughout their practices in order to help their guys find a tournament rhythm.
“I think they did alright,” Oster commented on his team’s ability to adapt to the qualifying tournament. “Tournaments are obviously different than dual meets just because you are wrestling multiple times. There were smaller numbers this year, and we knew we would be on the mat every half hour, so we prepared with practicing matches, short matches. We tried to simulate that type of [tournament] style.
No one looked out of sort, everyone looked like they were prepared and had wrestled some type of tournament.”
The Porter’s crowned eight individual champions: Logan Kaminski, 126; Jad Alwawi, 132; Keegan Robertson, 138; Nate Ramsey, 152; Paul Kadlec, 160; Aiden Nolting, 182; John Kratz, 195; and, Andrew Blackburn, 220, who remains undefeated on the season as he pinned his way through the tournament.
Oster credits their season schedule for preparing his team and being able to correct some areas that may not have been exposed as quickly in a normal season.
“We have been lucky enough to wrestle a good schedule this year,” Oster explained, “and some techniques or issues we needed to correct got exposed against other teams. With the time we had, we were able to work on those throughout the season and we’ve done our best to make the process and the season as normal as possible for the kids.”
Other place-winners for Lockport were runner-up finishers Isaiah Rogers at 113, Shane McEntee at 145, and Paul Rasp at 170, and third-place medalists Ben Marjham (106) and Ryan Oster (120).
“We didn’t have anyone that was a surprise,” Oster said of how his team competed. “But, Rasp at 170 turned around a loss from a few weeks ago from Providence, so that was good for him to get that—that was in the semifinals and put him in the finals. But I think everyone wrestled well. I don’t think anyone punched above their weight, necessarily, but they all looked like they belonged and they all looked like they will be competing to qualify next week and get another week out of this.”