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Fairport Wrestlers Start Fast at Athena Tourney

The Fairport Wrestling Team opened the season at the Greece Athena Tournament with a very good start. Coach Craig Kaper had nine wrestlers place in the top four of their weight class. Phil Accorso (103), Mike Fuqua (119), and Aaron Rowe (125) advanced to the finals. The Red Raiders got strong third place finishes from Steve Hassett (152) and Steve McElvain (189). Matt Cunningham (130), Brian Baniewicz (140), Brian Bowen (145), and Ryan Kelly (215) placed fourth.

Accorso, and eighth grader, got his varsity career off to a tremendous start by attacking Nelson McNeil and sticking his first varsity pin in just 59 seconds. Accorso followed up in the semi-finals with another strong effort. Trailing 4-2 in the third period against Nick Crawford, Accorso scored a single leg takedown and scored his second pin at 4:58 to advance to the finals. Accorso wrestled well in the finals against David Wade one of the top wrestlers in Section V and came up just short 6-2 to finish runner-up in his first varsity tournament.

Fuqua started strong against Mike Pannoni working to a 7-0 lead with a takedown and two near-falls before ending the match with a pin at 2:48. In the semi-finals Fuqua scored the first takedown and carried a 2-1 lead into the third period. He put the match away with another takedown and advanced to the finals with a 4-2 decision. Fuqua fought hard but ran into a very strong wrestler from Holley in the finals.

Rowe began his season very well with a technical fall at 4:28 against Kyle Martin. He scored three takedowns and three near-falls. In the semi-finals Rowe battled Scott Thompson in a tough match. Rowe scored the first takedown and took a 2-1 lead in the first period. He was able to score a reversal and another takedown to stretch his lead to 6-3 in the second. Martin escaped in the third but Rowe put the match away with another takedown. Martin closed the gap but Rowe held on for an 8-7 decision. In the finals he got caught in a tough move and couldn’t escape.

Hassett came out offensively against Josh Brant and advanced with a pin at 5:40 in his opening match. He picked up three takedowns and three near-falls. After dropping his semi-final match Hassett bounced back with an 11-4 decision over Matt Turner by scoring four takedowns and a near-fall. In the consolation finals Hassett scored the only takedown of the match in the second period and earned a hard fought 3-2 win to finish third.

McElvain had the toughest assignment for the Red Raiders. He was underweight in the 189 lb. weight class. In his opening match he showed his determination by sticking Matt Hannafon with his first pin at 2:48. After dropping his semi-final match McElvain came back in a tight match and pinned Matt Schiffauer with the scored tied in the third period. In the consolation finals McElvain pulled out one of the most exciting matches of the day against Chris Rizzieri. McElvain trailed 8-4 with under thirty seconds to go in the match but suddenly reversed Rizzieri and caught him on his back to pick up the near-fall and pull out a thrilling 9-8 decision to earn a third place finish.

Cunningham earned a pair of wins in his varsity return including a pin in the consolation round. Bowen also earned a pair of wins including his first varsity pin. Kelly picked up his first varsity win with a pin in the consolation round. Baniewicz earned a hard fought 1-0 decision.

The Red Raiders open the Monroe County East schedule at Irondequoit tonight and will take on Canandaigua in the home opener next Wednesday (Dec. 8) 7 pm.