BY JEFF CHANEY
BATTLE CREEK, MI – The New York Wrestling Association for Youth Wrestling (NYWAY) is in its second year, but already the state’s youth wrestlers are making a name for themselves at the national level.
On Sunday, Feb. 10, two New York teams took part in the National United Wrestling Association Team National Duals at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.
And both teams had a strong showings, as the 8-under team finished in fourth place in its division, and the 10-under took eighth place in its division.
Competing against some of the best youth teams from across the nation, like teams from Iowa, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the 8-U team was in a 10-team bracket, and the 10-U team was in a 12-team bracket.
There were a total of 48 teams from 13 states in the tournament covering four divisions from 14 years of age and younger.
New York’s 8-U team, coached by George Granger, consisted of J.J. Lucinski at 37 pounds, Darren Bailey at 40, Xavier Jesus at 43, Joey Florence at 46, Bryce Bailey at 49, Garrett Skeens at 52, Carter Schubert at 55, Carson Alberti at 58, Trent Reid at 61, Caden Granger at 64, Jayden Scott at 67, Brian Bieleu at 72, Wesley Barnes at 77 and Bobby Ranger at heavyweight.
“I thought the team wrestled outstanding, everyone did great,” George Granger said. “We didn’t place last year at this tournament, so we’re very happy this year to take fourth.”
The 8-U team was placed in Pool A and went 3-1, beating teams from Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, and dropping a close match against a team from California.
Then in the third-place match, New York was edged by a team from Georgia, 28-27.
During the day, Alberti finished with a perfect record, while Skeens ended up with a single loss. And Bryce Bailey and Caden Granger suffered only two losses.
New York’s 10-U team was coached by Gary Ferro, and consisted of Mason Franklin at 45 pounds, Lucas Simco at 50, Gavin Henrickson at 55, Andy Lucinski at 60, Myles Griffen at 65, Jalen McCarty at 70, Ethan Ferro at 75, Ethan Stotler at 80, Anthony Rasmusson at 85, Castin Ostrander at 90, Blake Bieler at 95, Nick Franco at 100, Tyler Benjamin at 105, Trent Skeens at 110 and Patrick Ganter at heavyweight.
The 10-U team was placed in Pool B and lost to California and Ohio, but beat teams from Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. Then in the seventh-place match, the squad lost 37-27 to Georgia.
“We took fourth last year, but the storm in the East Coast affected our roster,” Gary Ferro said. “We had a couple of late fill-ins, so it was tough.”
McCarty and Ethan Ferro had solid days, ending up with a lone loss.
“It was tough,” Ethan Ferro said of the tournament. “But this tournament helps show me what I need to work on. I like the tough competition, it makes me better.”
And that’s why the coaches love bringing teams to the National Duals.
“This tournament is awesome,” Gary Ferro said. “The competition here is second to none. The main reason we come here is to get the kids exposed to new styles and away from competition on the East Coast.”
Added George Granger, “We love this venue and tournament. This gives our kids a chance to go against kids with similar or better ability, and that’s how you get better.”