BROCKPORT — Bolivar-Richburg hadn’t sent a wrestler to the New York State tournament since 2012.
This year, the Wolverines are sending three.
Dawson Yates, Hudson Evingham and Tyler Smith each won the Section 5 Division II state qualifier tournament at SUNY Brockport on Saturday, punching their tickets to the Times Union Center in Albany in two weeks.
Yates used two takedowns and a reversal on his way to a dominant 6-1 decision win over Addison’s David Howe in the 126-pound final. Then, at 195 pounds, Evingham pulled off what may have been the biggest upset of the tournament by beating two-time Section 5 champion Nate DeGroff, of Warsaw, 2-0, in the finals. Evingham got a takedown early in the first and rode DeGroff for the remainder of the period. After DeGroff held Evingham down for the entire second period, Evingham returned the favor in the third with an impressive leg ride that DeGroff could not escape.
“(Evingham) controlled the match the entire way,” B-R coach Todd Taylor said. “(DeGroff) is really good on top too. We wanted (Evingham) to control his hands and his tempo, and we knew that once he got back on top, if he stayed in control and threw the legs in then he was going to win it.”
DeGroff had beaten Evingham at the Gowanda Tournament earlier in the season, the only blemish on Evingham’s 53-1 record. If Evingham’s match wasn’t enough drama for the flock of B-R fans that made the 91-mile trip north, Smith followed it up at 220 pounds with a thriller against Lyndonville’s Mario Fidanza, whom he beat the week before in the Section 5 Class B3 final.
Smith found himself on his back in the second period, which left him down 6-0 in the match. He then put Fidanza on his back about a minute later and stuck him at 3:35.
“Look at the size of this kid, he’s a stud,” Taylor said as an ecstatic Smith walked by. “Him and (Evingham) work hard together all the time, and it showed today.”
Three other Wolverines placed in the tournament, as Trent Sibble took third place at 182 pounds, Tayvn MacDonell finished fourth at 99 pounds and Kadin Thompkins was fifth at 138 pounds. Taylor said that he was impressed by the amount of B-R fans who made the trip to Brockport for the tournament. That, added with three champions out of the 15 Division II weight classes, made it a special day for the B-R program.
“These people drove two hours just to come up here and watch our guys,” Taylor said. “The amount of support we have for our wrestling program is unbelievable. I’m still speechless.” Yates, Evingham and Smith will have two weeks to prepare for the NYS tournament on Feb. 28 and 29.