Catching up on a couple of notes from February as March comes in like a lion:
LAST WEEKEND, the Olean High School wrestling team had two representatives at the state championships in Albany, Nick Bierfeldt (120 pounds) and Patrick Walsh, who placed sixth at 182 pounds. It’s the eighth straight year Olean had at least one state qualifier, but it’s worth mentioning Bierfeldt and Walsh are both Allegany-Limestone juniors.
This season marked the fifth that Olean had a combined team with A-L, and the co-op has proven very successful. Over that time, the Huskies’ record is 88-18. In 2016, they won a Section 6 Class B title. This winter, with 21 victories, they broke the school wins record of 19 which was set in 2013-14 — the first season of the merger — and tied a year ago.
“Really, we just tried to give the Allegany kids the opportunity because we saw that their program was kind of fizzling out,” Olean coach Mike O’Connor recalled. “I knew that there were some kids over there that really enjoyed the sport, so we were happy to take that on.
“We’ve had some great kids from Allegany-Limestone compete in our room, and it’s been very helpful to them and us. Having the extra kids, the competition in our room has been fierce the past few years. I think it’s a benefit to everybody involved. I can’t see it being any better than what it is now. We’re combined from our youth program through our modified, all the way up through high school now. It’s definitely here to stay.”
Bierfeldt and Walsh were joined in Albany by Devan Moore, another A-L student who was a state tournament alternate.
“The good thing is they’re all juniors. They’re all coming back,” O’Connor said.
ALLEGANY’S Shawn Dubin has had quite the baseball journey.
Perhaps best known for his summer as an all-star hurler for the Olean Oilers’ record-setting club in 2016, Dubin barely pitched in high school. However, he found his way to the mound for a season at Erie Community College. That led to an opportunity to play at the Division I level for the University at Buffalo in 2016 and ‘17.
Last spring at UB, Dubin led the Bulls’ staff in wins (five) and strikeouts (66) while making 14 starts. In back-to-back weeks in May, he was named Mid-American Conference East Division Pitcher of the Week.
Dubin would’ve had one year of eligibility left at Buffalo, but there was one problem: The university dropped its baseball program. Thus, Dubin transferred to Georgetown (Kentucky) College of the NAIA, and the 6-foot-1, 155-pound right-hander has already fared quite well at his new baseball home.
In four starts this season for Georgetown, Dubin is 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA. Twice in February, he was Mid-South Conference Pitcher of the Week. His 32 strikeouts in 26 innings are currently tied for the league lead.
To earn the Pitcher of the Week honors, Dubin tossed consecutive seven-inning complete games — one a 2-0 shutout of 15th-ranked Middle Georgia State and the other a 14-strikeout two-hitter in a 3-1 win over Judson (Illinois).
In his most recent outing Monday, he allowed three hits over six innings with five strikeouts and two walks as the Tigers (9-6) beat No. 19 Indiana University Southeast, 3-0.
Afterward, Georgetown coach Micah Baumfeld had this to say of Dubin in a press release: "Shawn continues to be a dominant pitcher and you see how comfortable our offense feels when he is on the mound.”
(Shawn Campbell, a Times Herald sports writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)