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Fairport Wrestlers Look for Strong Season

The Fairport Wrestling Team opens the season this Saturday at the Greece Athena Tournament. The Red Raiders are looking to build on their strong finish from last year. This year’s team returns twelve wrestlers with varsity experience led by co-captains Kyle Tellex, Brian Baniewicz, Joe Fingler, and sophomore Mike Fuqua who qualified for the Super Sectionals.

Coach Craig Kaper is excited to start his third season. Kaper expects to pick up where he left off last season when the Red Raiders finished in the top 10 at the Section V Class A Tournament and closed the season with a stunning win against a strong Brockport team. JV Coach Gary Dawes brings his wealth of experience back and looks to build on his team’s 2nd place finish in the league last season. Mike Kohl is back for his 3rd season as assistant varsity coach. Ed Porto returns as coach of the Martha Brown Modified Team and Mike Barker will lead the Johanna Perrin Modified team once again. With solid coaching at all three levels, the Fairport Wrestling Program is continuing to grow and excel.

The lightweights will be young but solid this season. Sophomore Mike Fuqua returns after qualifying for the Super Sectionals last season as a freshman. Fuqua had eleven wins and was undefeated as a JV wrestler. Junior Aaron Rowe and sophomore Jon LaClair also return with solid varsity experience. Rowe has been a varsity wrestler the past two seasons and is looking for a strong season this year. LaClair came on strong as a freshman last year and is looking to improve in the middle of this competitive group of lightweights. Kaper is looking for sophomore Joe Wingate, freshman Mike Seaman, and a strong eighth grader Phil Accorso to develop quickly for the Red Raiders.

The strength of the Red Raiders this year will be in the middle of the lineup. Senior Kyle Tellex returns as the anchor of a solid and hungry group of middleweights. Tellex is a two-time Monroe County All-League wrestler and has earned 40 wins in his three years of varsity experience. Juniors Brian Baniewicz, Matt Cunningham, Justin Cunningham, and Steve Hassett return and provide some much-needed varsity experience in the middle weight classes. Bano won several league matches and was runner-up in the JV County tournament last year. Justin Cunningham wrestled some tough varsity matches and led the JV team in wins. Matt Cunningham returns after missing last season due to an injury in the Sectionals as a freshman. Hassett wrestled strong and added some key wins in his first season at the varsity level. Coach Kaper is looking for sophomores Ian Ammons and Brian Bowen to be key contributors this season. Ammons improved significantly last season as a freshman. The Red Raiders will also get help from freshman Dan Safranec who wrestled well the past two years at the modified level.

Fairport will be solid at the heavier weight classes but will miss the strength of two-time sectional champion Jake Boerman and Neil Ramage at the end of the lineup. Coach Kaper is looking for a strong year from sophomore Joe Fingler. Fingler begins his third season wrestling at the varsity level. He won eleven matches last year in a very tough weight class. Senior Steve McElvain brings five years of wrestling experience to the end of the lineup along with juniors Matt Winkler and Ryan Kelly to take over as closers. Kelly is coming off a strong season for the Red Raiders football team. Sophomore Justin Gavin and senior Hector Perez will look to gain experience for the Raiders at the upper weights. Gavin had a strong showing at the Sectionals last year and finished runner-up at the JV Counties.

The Red Raiders take on a challenging schedule this year beginning with the Athena Tournament this weekend. In December they will wrestle in the Campbell-Savona Tournament for the first time, and the Penfield Holiday Tournament. The team will also compete in the prestigious Clayton Barnard Tournament and the Monroe County Tournament in January. The Red Raiders will host Monroe County East opponents Rush-Henrietta (Dec. 22), Penfield (Jan. 4), East Rochester (Jan. 18), Pittsford (Feb. 2), and Brighton (Feb. 9). Fairport will host neighbor Canandaigua in the first home meet on Wednesday December 8 and will travel to Palmyra-Macedon this year. All home matches will begin at 7 pm.

This year you can follow the Red Raiders on the Internet. Families, friends, and alumni out of town can link to the team’s success. The web site can be found at members.tripod.com/fptwrestling.