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Valley Sports Report
BINGHAMTON — Tioga’s Section IV wrestling dominance continued Saturday as Tigers crowned six champions, advanced 10 to the state tournament, and won its seventh consecutive Division 2 championship here at the Visions Memorial Arena.

“This is a really, really good group,” said Tioga coach Kris Harrington. “It’s exciting, and fun, but it’s also bittersweet because it’s almost over with this group.

“We’ve been together for a long time,” he noted. “Levi (Bellis), Caden (Bellis), and Gianni (Silvestri) in seventh grade, we got Deak (Bailey) when they were in eighth, and the rest of them in ninth grade.

“It’s great to see them almost finish the story” added Harrington. “It was a good day. We’ve never put 10 in (the state tournament) … I’m excited to have a full room still.”

Harrington notes his team has kept their heads despite all of its successes.

“One thing that’s not talked about enough is, they do a lot of winning, but they win with class.

“You don’t see a lot of showboating, they’re not trying to show people up,” he noted. “They are respectful young men, and I think that something they should be applauded for, how they carry themselves because you see other guys not carry themselves that way.

“I’m proud to say ours do,” added Harrington.

The Tigers easily outdistanced the field in winning their seventh straight Division 2 title.

The Tigers amassed 253 points, while runner-up Windsor had 118, Unatego-Unadilla Valley was third with 116.5, Maine-Endwell was fourth with 84.5, Oneonta was fifth with 69.5, and Waverly was sixth with 66.

Tioga advancing 10 to States is a school record, topping the eight sent in 2022. The six champs is second to 2022 when the Tigers crowned seven champs.

Seniors Gianni Silvestri and Caden Bellis each won their fourth Section IV title, while senior Ousmane Duncanson reached the top step for the third time.

“Those three are workers,” said Harrington. “You never have to question effort in the room with them.

“They’ve been leaders for our program, and its been a blessing,” he noted. “You look at Declan McKee today … he wins his first Section title, and he doesn’t have to guess how to work, he just looks at the upper classmen when they grind the way they do it’s an expectation in that (wrestling) room, and it starts with those three.”

Senior Tyler Roe, and sophomore Jayden Duncanson each won their second title, and freshman Declan McKee won his first Section IV title.

Seniors Drew Macumber and Deakon Bailey each placed second — losing to a teammate in the finals, while sophomores Logan Bellis, and Kadin Cole each posted third-place finishes.

Junior Tate MaCauley was 2-2 on the day, and placed fourth, and junior Jonah Lamb was 2-2 and finished one win away from reaching the podium.

The Tigers had eight wrestlers reach the finals. The two that lost in the finals Bailey and Macumber, lost to teammates, Roe, and Ousmane Duncanson.

Harrington said the all-Tioga finals are “not a fun experience.”

“It’s tough because you care so much about your guys,” he said.

“Number one, you can’t really coach them,” noted Harrington. “And two, there’s going to be a loser. It’s not the most enjoyable thing, you want them to all win.”

Of course, it’s nothing new to the team or coaches.

“It’s tough, but we see it every day,” said Harrington.

“Coach (Jason) Bellis said, ‘the rest of the section gets to see what we see every day,’ which is good hard wrestling.

“On any given day, those four guys and Caden Bellis could be in one group together; that’s pretty impressive,” added Harrington.

McKee started the Tigers out in style, winning the 101-pound title with a 3-0 record.

He decked CV’s Camryn Rosenbarker in 59 seconds in the quarterfinals, then forged a 17-2 technical fall over fourth-seeded Dylan Newman of Windsor in the second period.

In the finals, McKee gave up a takedown with 22 seconds remaining in the first period as second-seeded Caden Higley of Sidney took a 2-1 lead, but McKee escaped at horn to tie the bout at 2-2.

McKee chose bottom, and quickly notched an escape, and a takedown to go ahead, 5-2.

McKee was banged for locked hands, and moments later HIgley registered an escape to close the gap 5-4, but McKee sealed the win with a takedown with 10 seconds remaining for a 7-4 victory.

Jayden Duncanson, the top seed at 131 pounds, scored three wins on his way to the title.

He opened with a pin of Oneonta’s Isaac Gray in 1:54 in the quarterfinals, then forged a 13-0 major decision over fourth-seeded Hunter Boynton of Moravia in the semifinals.

In the finals, Duncanson notched a takedown of third-seeded Abdul-Jami Zaggout. with 6 seconds remaining in the first period. He added a reversal in the second period for, then tacked on a takedown late to take a 6-0 lead.

“Jayden looked great, he was truly dominant,” said Hattington.

Silvestri, the top seed at 138 scored a pair of quick fall to reach the finals, decking CV’s Ethan Randis in 44 seconds, and Deposit-Hancock’s Asaac Mead in 27 seconds.

In the finals, Silvestri hit a five-point move on second-seed Tim Boyce of Windsor in the first period, then tacked on a reversal off the second-period whistle to make it 7-0.

In the third period, Silvestri took Boyce down three times, and cut him each time in a 13-3 major decision for his fourth Section IV title.

Roe and Bailey each scored a pair of falls en route to their match-up in the 145 title match.

Roe, the top seed, decked Maine-Endwell’s Mason Masi in 1:36 in the quarterfinals, then pinned SVEC’s Shane Neal in 3:18 in the semifinals.

Bailey, the second seed, decked Schuyler’s Jaymes Forker in 1:24, then pinned U-UV’s Abdeen Zaggout in 5:36 in the semifinals.

In the finals, Roe scored a 6-3 decision over Bailey.

Roe scored the initial points of the match with a takedown midway through the first period, but Bailey escaped about 40 seconds later to close the gap to 2-1. Roe hit on a pair of takedowns in the second period to make it 6-3 heading into the final two minutes, were Bailey rode top the entire period.

Caden Bellis, the top seed at 152 pounds, registered two falls, and a technical fall on the way to his fourth Section IV title.

Bellis pinned Walton-Delhi’s Travis Houck in 2:59 in the quarterfinals, then pinned Newark Valley’s Cadin Creeley in 3:36 in the semifinals.

In the finals, Bellis notched three takedowns, then three near-fall points in the final seconds to take a 9-2 lead after the first period on the way to a 19-4 technical fall in 3:20.

Ousmane Duncanson scored a fall and a technical fall, and Macumber recorded a pair of falls on the way to their 160-pound title match.

Duncanson, the top seed, forged a 19-3 technical fall in 2 minutes over Whitney Point’s Jonathan McCall in the quarterfinals, then pinned Moravia’s Nicholas Plue in 3:26 in the semifinals.

Macumber, the second seed, decked Oneonta’s Reilly Waltz in 1:31 in the quarterfinals,then pinned Maine-Endwell’s Griffin McQuade in 2:24 in the semifinals.

In the finals, Duncanson scored an escape early in the second quarter to break a scoreless tie, then upped his advantage to 3-0 with a takedown with 36 seconds remaining.

Macumber escaped early in the third period, but Duncanson registered a takedown for a 5-1 lead at the period’s midpoint. Macumber scored the match’s last point with an escape with 23 seconds left.

Logan Bellis, the second seed at 116 pounds, was upended by seventh seed Trevor Middendorf in sudden-victory by a score of 5-3 in the quarterfinals, but bounced back with four straight wins to finish third.

He opened his wrestleback effort with a 16-1 technical fall of Maine-Endwell’s Evan Merrell, then topped Deposit-Hancock’s Jason Canedo 3-0 in the blood round.

In the consolation semifinals, Bellis forged a 10-1 major decision over Lansing’s Evan Sheils.

In the third-place match, Bellis gained a measure of redemption with a 6-0 decision over Middendorf to punch his return trip to States.

“Logan (Bellis) not really feeling well all day … losing in the first round, then battling back, and avenging a loss, I thought that was really great,” said Harrington.

Cole was 3-1 on the day, with his lone loss coming to the number-two ranked wrestler in the state.

In the quarterfinals, Cole fell behind 4-1, but responded, and pinned Walton-Delhi’s Hayden Robinson in 3:55.

In the semis, Cole dropped a hard-fought, 7-3, decision to Chenango Valley’s Anthony Valls.

He bounced back with a 15-1 major decision over U-UV’s Gavin Nordberg to advance to the third-place match, where he beat Waverly’s Drayton DeKay, 3-0, to punch his ticket to States for the first time.

“I thought Kadin Cole wrestled exceptionally well,” said Harrington.

MaCauley, the sixth seed at 285, upended third-seeded Joe Maraski of Maine-Endwell in the quarterfinals, then dropped a 2-1 decision to second-seeded Gabe Soundararj of Windsor in the semifinals.

MaCauley bounced back in the consolation semifinals with a pin of fifth-seeded Elliott Briggs of BGAH in 1:48.

In the third-place match, Maraski avenged his loss to MaCauley in the quarterfinals with a pair of late takedowns in a 6-3 win.

“That’s a tough one because he beat (Maraski) earlier,” said Harrington.

Lamb, the eighth seed at 190, was 2-2 in his first trip to Sectionals.

Lamb pinned ninth-seeded Jared Milk of Oxford-Greene in 1:40 in the opening round, then lost via first-period fall to top-seeded Mason McCombs of Windsor in the quarterfinals.

Lamb bounced back with a pin of Oneonta’s Lucas Weaver in 4:12, then lost via third-period fall to Marathon’s Dawsyn Cole in the blood round.

“For Jonah (Lamb), in his first year, to win two matches here is impressive,” said Harrington.

“He’s right there, he’s making some really inexperienced mistakes, but he’s a worker, too,” noted Harrington. “He’ll put some time in this spring. I think he’ll be right there next year.

“Tate’s never placed here before, so to not only place, but to get to the qualifying match is impressive,” he said.

Harrington credits one of his peers for the upper weights’ success.

“You have to credit coach Bellis, he’s really taken hold of that 190, 215, heavyweight group and molded it in his own image.

“I thought Tate (MaCauley) wrestled pretty darn tough,” said Harringon. “He’s probably two exchanges away from being in the state tournament.”


IN PHOTO 1: Tioga’s Declan McKee. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.

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