ORCHARD PARK —
ORCHARD PARK — First-year Barker/Roy-Hart wrestling coach Keith Jones knows his team is in a rebuilding phase. The team lost 13 Roy-Hart seniors to graduation, and this season will be about developing talent with an eye toward the future.
But Jones' squad proved itself quite capable as a team in Saturday's Orchard Park Tournament. Barker/Roy-Hart wrestlers won the majority of their matches throughout the morning and afternoon, as the team finished in third place of nine schools.
Against some quality competition that included schools in higher classification levels (Orchard Park, for example, is a AA school), Barker/Roy-Hart accumulated 93 points, edging out Hamburg (92 points) to earn the third-place prize.
Niagara-Orleans League rival Newfane won the tournament with 145 points, as veteran Panther coach Sal Montesani's squad helped the N-O assert itself as a quality wrestling league in Western New York — a sentiment echoed by Albion coach Keith Piccirilli before the season.
Cattaraugus/Little Valley-Pine Valley finished second on Saturday with 121 points, while Orchard Park finished fifth with 81.5. Grand Island (65), Canisius (44), Wilson (25) and Kenmore East (11) rounded out the order of finishers on the day.
Barker/Roy-Hart eighth-grader Tyler Choate took first-place honors in the 106-pound weight class, as did sophomore Cameron Swick as a 120-pounder.
Freshman Brent Bachman finished second at 120 pounds, and junior Daniel Gardner Jr. took second place at 152 pounds. Senior James Brady took second in the 285-pound division, as well.
The event also featured a junior varsity tournament, giving several younger and less experienced Barker/Roy-Hart wrestlers the chance to measure their abilities against wrestlers from other area schools. Four Barker/Roy-Hart wrestlers took first-place honors at the JV level: sophomore Ryan Ulrich (138 pounds), junior Kyle Herian (160), sophomore Joe Dinmayo (195) and sophomore Kirk Fay (285).