Norwich wrestlers ride momentum to Ilion title


ILION – Norwich carried the momentum of nine straight dual meet wins into the Leo J. Sammon Memorial Tournament this weekend.

The Tornado won four individual titles to nail down the overall team championship in the 12-team tourney. Tristan Rifanburg (120), Frank Garcia (132), Anthony Vitello (160), and Kegan Levesque (195) topped their brackets in leading NHS to nine overall top-four finishes.

Norwich racked up 187 points besting runner-up Lowville by seven. “One of the first years we went to this tournament was when I was wrestling, and I don’t think we’ve ever won it,” said Norwich coach Joe Downey, a 1999 NHS grad of the Sammon crown. “There are always some good teams there, and we were banking on that. We just wrestled really well.”

Rifanburg and Levesque had little trouble in winning their weight classes, and were not extended the full six minutes in any of their victories. Garcia, down 2-0 after two periods to Lowville’s Tim Pargo, picked up a reversal and two sets of back points to rally for a 6-2 victory.

Vitello continued his rapid improvement pinning Berne Knox’s Josh Richards in 4:34 for his title. “This was awesome for Anthony to win,” Downey said. “He was the third seed, and he beat the number one and number two seeds to win this. He’s just rolling right now.”

Norwich was able to capture the title in large part due to its wrestlers’ breaking their seed. Cole Rifanburg (99), Trey Muserallo (113), Matt Thompson (138), and Chandler Rifanburg (220) all exceeded their pre-tournament seedings, Downey said.

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