Weekly Feature



2015-12-09 / Sports

Tonawanda wrestling debuts new coach, returns state qualifier

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter


Tonawanda’s Jason Frazer slips out of a pin attempt from Jeffery Gress Jr (Lyndonville) during Saturday’s tournament at Tonawanda High School. 
Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Tonawanda’s Jason Frazer slips out of a pin attempt from Jeffery Gress Jr (Lyndonville) during Saturday’s tournament at Tonawanda High School. Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Dan Bishop is walking into a good position as ( Tonawanda’s new wrestling coach.

The Warriors, who last year earned a piece of the ( ECIC Division III title for the first time in 19 years, graduated Cody McGregor — the school’s all-time leader for wins and pins — but still returns a ton of talent headlined by freshman Zach Braddell, who as an eighth-grader, won the 99-pound Division II section title, qualified for the state meet and finished 35-7.

Braddell will compete at 106. In the offseason, Braddell won a national title in the junior high age group.

“He’s in the chase for a state title this year,” said Bishop, who previously served as an assistant coach with West Seneca East and Iroquois. “He has all of the physical tools and puts in the time. He’s eager to learn. He’s the type of kid you want to be around.”

Another returning sectional qualifier is senior captain Sam Sparacino, who placed fourth at 99 pounds.

Sparacino is one of only four seniors in the lineup. Other senior captains include Jon Dowdall (113, 106 for postseason) and Josh Bukowski (138, 132 for postseason). Senior Rick Tartick returns at 285.

Seventh-grader Joe McDonald (99), eighth-grader Jason Frazier (126), freshman Jermaine James

182) and sophomores Cory Gau (132), Destin Tirado (152), Gabe Pounce (160) and Reilly Whipple

170) are young wrestlers in the starting lineup.

The Warriors opened their season with a 54-24 victory over Lackawanna on Wednesday, Dec. 2. McDonald (99), Sparacino (106), Braddell (120), and Tirado (152) all won by pin.

At the Tonawanda Duals Tournament on Friday and Saturday, the Warriors beat Lyndonville, 43-34, Amherst, 48-32, and Starpoint, 42-36, and lost to North Tonawanda, 45-32, Clarence, 60-23, Newfane, 60-20, and West Seneca West, 63-17. Frazer recorded a pin over Starpoint’s Griffin Mack at 126 to win the dual for the Warriors.

Spararcino (106) and Braddell

(120 in six matches, once at 113) went undefeated and were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Bishop’s assistant coach is Jordan McGregor.

Tonawanda hosts Cheektowaga at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 9 and Alden at 6 p.m. on Friday, and competes at the Penfield Tournament on Saturday.

email: pnagy@beenews.com

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