A tiny margin – half a point, to be exact – ended up separating the Cicero-North Syracuse wrestling team from first-place honors at the Jan. 11 Cazenovia Invitational.
And it was Baldwinsville that finished just ahead of the Northstars – the same B’ville team that C-NS faced again four nights later at the Baker High School gym, though it didn’t prove as close this time around as the Bees prevailed by a score of 46-30.
Even though Drew Dyer beat Jeremy Pond 2-0 in a tense 126-pound opener and Sam Ruiz (152 pounds) got past Steve Petrelli 9-5, C-NS lost four of the first six bouts, all of them pins as the Bees surged to the front to stay.
Jerrett Norton did give the Northstars an impressive victory at 170 pounds, holding off B’ville star Chad McArdell 10-7, but then the Bees won the next three matches, too, two of them pins, to clinch the meet title.
C-NS did finish strong, though. After Chris St. Denny (220 pounds) claimed a forfeit, Ray Sorenson, at 99 pounds, routed Jake Naples 14-2, while Joe Barber (106 pounds) took just 34 seconds to pin Tyler Patrick. At 113 pounds, Joe Mayers got a 19-4 technical fall over Josh Peck.
After this, the Northstars made its way to Saturday’s Hannibal Duals, where it would go 4-1 and defeat everyone except Cortland, who prevailed with a 5-0 mark.
Head-to-head, the Purple Tigers beat the Northstars 45-22 in the opening round, largely because C-NS had to forfeit five bouts, worth 30 points. On the mat, West beat Nick Edmond 7-3, with Mayers and James Barbarito (106 pounds) also earning decisions as Ruiz, Norton and Joe Copani (138 pounds) each got pins before the forfeits.
From there, C-NS didn’t lose again, routing Copenhagen 62-6, handling East Syracuse-Minoa 60-22 and edging past Phoenix’s “B” squad 45-37. Against the Firebirds, the Northstars were down 37-36 with two bouts left, but saw West edge Austin Wirth 6-5 and Chris St. Denny clinch the match at 285 pounds when he pinned Jakob Robinson in 3:15.
C-NS returns to league action on Wednesday night, against Oswego, before hosting Saturday's Section III Dual Meet, which starts at 10 a.m. and has the Northstars facing no. 3 seed Fulton in the opening round.