Weekly Feature



2015-12-09 / Sports

NT wrestlers excelling in coach Fire’s final year

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter


North Tonawanda’s Tyler Bartolomei dominates Andrew Lucinski (Newfane) during the Tonawanda Wrestling tournament, Satruday, Dec. 5. 
Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com North Tonawanda’s Tyler Bartolomei dominates Andrew Lucinski (Newfane) during the Tonawanda Wrestling tournament, Satruday, Dec. 5. Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com After coaching wrestling for 37 years, including two stints for a combined 14 years at North Tonawanda, Dan Fire is retiring at the end of the season.

His final year is off to a good start. The Lumberjacks opened their season with a 60-18 win over Kenmore East on Wednesday, Dec. 2. It was for Fire’s 100th career victory.

Then at the Tonawanda Duals Tournament Friday and Saturday, NT beat Tonawanda, 48-31, the team’s first win over the Warriors in 21 years.

In Fire’s first coaching tenure with NT, the Lumberjacks broke a 23-year losing skid.

NT placed fourth overall at the Tonawanda Duals, beating Amherst, Lyndonville, and Starpoint and losing to ranked teams in Clarence, West Seneca West and Newfane.

NT’s top wrestler is senior Troy Keller, who placed second last year in the Class A Tournament and in the Section VI finals at 132 pounds. He has been an alternate for the state meet three times, including last year, and qualified for states as a sophomore.

Keller has wrestled for NT since the seventh grade and is a three-year team captain. He is wrestling at 160 in dual meets and is projected to wrestle at 145 for the postseason.

Keller is NT’s all-time wins leader and is undefeated to start the season.

“He’s definitely a state contender for this year,” Fire said. “He’s totally dedicated. He’s a true technician when he is on the mat. He does not get flustered. If one move does not work, he will go to another move. He sets the bar for all of the other wrestlers.”

The other team captains are seniors Hayden Holmes (195 or 220, 5-1 record) and Noble Corp (285), and juniors Jake Codelia (120/126) and Logan Kent (145).

Codelia is a returning sectional qualifier.

Other returning wrestlers include junior Veysal Mukhtasimov (170), who took third at the Class A Tournament last year to qualify for sectionals and only has one loss this season, and sophomore Nick Rosky, a returning sectional qualifiers who will wrestle between 120 and 126.

Fire’s young wrestlers also have excelled. Freshman Tyler Bartolmei (99) is 5-1 and eighth-grader Ben Parish is 4-2 at 113. Freshman Ryan Meyer has also excelled between 99 and 106.

NT hosts Kenmore West on Wednesday and competes in the Springville Duals Tournament on Saturday.

“The Kenmore West meet will be a good barometer for where we are,” Fire said.

Fire’s coaching staff includes assistant coaches Tony Fire, Tyler Bruce and Wally Maziarz, Joe Hooley (JV coach), and Eric Herbert (modified coach).

email: pnagy@beenews.com

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