Declan Gray and Daniel Fowler both won their matches and were able to help Chaminade pin down its first state wrestling title since 2008 at the NYCHSAA State Wrestling Championships in Buffalo Saturday night.
“It feels great,” Gray said. “We’ve never won since I’ve gotten to this school and I know the year before I got here was Farrell.”
The Flyers had sent six wrestlers into the finals, but only Gray and Fowler stood victorious, winning the championship by 6.5 points over arch-rival St. Anthony’s and 7 points over Msgr. Farrell.
“A great day for the Flyers,” Chaminade head coach George Dlugolonski said.
“We had a good lead going to the finals too,” Gray said. “We were kinda worried because we had so many finalists that we might lose it but the fact that we kept it and we got some big matches throughout the whole tournament that kept us in there was great.”
Chaminade had won the 2013 season league competition title but yielded the league tournament crown to St Anthony’s earlier this month.
Farrell sent 19 wrestlers to Buffalo while St Anthony’s also qualified 19 wrestlers for the state championship last Sunday at the Chaminade AAC, but Chaminade qualified 21 wrestlers whose combined performance brought home the crown in Buffalo.
Leading the slate of Chamiande finalists were Gray (43-4, 152lbs), the team captain, and 195-pounder Dan Fowler (28-2). Joining them in the finals were Christian Briody (113), Danny Jones (138) and Chris Delgatto (160). Gray and Fowler combined for 10 pins in their 12 post-season matches.
Gray (152 lbs.) had only faced his finals opponent once before, at the Catholic duels at Chaminade in January and going to overtime.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match,” Gray said. “I kinda figured this whole year I would have a somewhat easy match in the finals of Catholics.”
Trying to tire his opponent out in first period, Gray ended up locked in a cradle on his back for 25 seconds before pulling a reverse to score 2 points, but still down 5-2 at the end of the first period.
“It kinda freaked me out because I’ve never been in that position before in a match like that,” he said.
The Chaminade senior had back points scored on him in the second frame before landing another reverse, but was still trailing 7-4.
“I was really freaking out and getting nervous,” Gray said. “I had to try to ride him. I was just trying to turn him and score points and get the lead back.”
Gray ended up letting his opponent up before a duck-under for the take-down to be down by 1 and letting him up again before shooting under him and lifted before holding a cradle for the last 30 seconds to win the match 11-9.
“We have been dominated by St Anthony’s for the past three years, losing in all duals and all the league and state titles,” Gray said. “It’s so great to go out this season sweeping them in the head-to- head dual and the state title… when you’re on the mat, winning is just a bit sweeter when it is St Anthony’s.”
Meanwhile Fowler dominated every one of his matches the entire day.
“There was never a point in the match where he was in trouble,” Grey said. “He was great the whole day.”
The tournament had been cancelled the previous weekend due to the blizzard and leaves little time for Fowler and Gray to prepare for the NYPHSAA Federation state tournament on Friday.
“It was kind of more annoying because if we had them when we were supposed to, we would have like two weeks to get ready for public schools and now we don’t,” Gray said. “We have a week.”Team Totals Chaminade 226 St Anthony’s 219.5 Msgr. Farrell 219
Individual Champions Name Weight Class School Baugher 99 St Joe’s Collegiate, Buffalo Twomey 106 St Anthony’s Lamantia 113 St. Anthony’s Russ 120 St. Anthony’s Dunau 126 St. Anthony’s Melikian 132 Fordham Prep Berube 138 St Joe’s Collegiate, Buffalo Alessandrini 145 St. Anthony’s Gray 152 Chaminade Psomas 160 Msgr. Farrell Vrasidas 170 St. Anthony’s Roberts 180 Msgr. Farrell Fowler 195 Chaminade Sisti 220 Msgr. Farrell Alianakian 285 Kellenberg
Michael Gray contributed to this report.