Medina Journal-Register — SANBORN — Sophomore Joe Velez and freshman Brennen Callara both placed fifth in their respective weight classes at the 2014 Section VI Div. 2 Wrestling Championships and New York State Championships Qualifier hosted by Niagara County Community College Saturday.
Velez, who wrestled in the 113-pound bracket, and Callara, a 106-pound participant, each finished with a record of 3-2 at day’s end. Medina’s other participant, sophomore Charles Beach, failed to place as he was knocked out of the 182-pound bracket in the first round by way of a 10-4 decision.
Velez’s results consisted of a 5-2 win by decision in round one, a loss by way of pin in the quarterfinals, a 5-3 win in the consolation round, a 3-1 loss in the consolation semifinals and a 3-1 win in the fifth-place match.
Callara won his first-round matchup with a pin, lost 3-1 in the quarterfinals, won in the consolation round 14-5, lost in the consolation semifinals 9-0 and won in the fifth-place match by pinning his second opponent of the day.
“They’re close with a lot of their opponents so overall I was pleased with their performances,” Mustangs head coach Eric Gross said about his wrestlers. “It’s not the outcome they want and it’s not what they trained for, but I think they’ve gotten better throughout the year and progressed. That’s what we look for in anything.”
Gross said he knew coming in to the tournament that his wrestlers had a chance to make it far.
“We knew they would have to put together four good matches to be a champion at this tournament and we knew they had a tough road ahead of them, but if they put up a good tournament they could be in the finals,” Gross said. “It’s a process and sometimes they won’t see the results until their junior or senior year.”
The offseason now becomes the focal point for Velez, Callara and Beach since all three failed to qualify for the New York State Championships.
Beach is a member of the track team, so Gross is hoping he can also get him into some wrestling training a couple of times per week. As for Velez and Callara, Gross doesn’t think they will be participating in a spring sport so they can concentrate on wrestling. Regardless, the message is the same for all of them.
“Their message is to stay wrestling in the offseason and find club work or camp work, which is our plan with some of the money we raised from our tournament,” Gross said. “I know they’re eager to do that whether we run open mats or take them to places to train.”
With the youth of the three Medina grapplers that participated at NCCC, there is still plenty of time left in their high school careers for them to learn from and build on this experience.
“They never miss practice and they want to do extra, so I see the potential for a lot of growth out of them,” Gross said. “They have the athletic potential. They’re just going to have to keep developing the wrestling technique and getting offseason time. I think they want to do that so I think the sky’s the limit for them.”
Contact Corey on Twitter: @cpdesi