Quite a few fathers spent the majority of the holiday weekend inside a gymnasium at Mercyhurst University. And loved every minute of it.
“For me, it’s the best Father’s Day there can be,” said G2 World Wrestling Academy coach Adam Burgos. “I wouldn’t trade it for a tie, a dinner out, a gift card to Home Depot or any other typical gift. None of that compares to being with my son, watching him do something he loves. And then spending time with the rest of my family later in the day.”
Burgos and his squad competed at the Ragin Raisins Duals June 15 and 16, along with quality teams from New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio. The event featured 12 squads in both the youth and high school divisions and saw some great competition on Saturday and Sunday.
Capturing the title in the youth bracket was the Empire State’s Superior Wrestling Academy Black. The group went 7-0 over the weekend, earning a 37-21 decision over Ragin Raisins Green in the title bout to win gold.
“We had a very, very competitive all New York team of mostly Superior wrestlers,” said coach Gary Ferro, who led the group along with Ed Schafer. “They put their hearts into it. With each win, the kids kept getting more excited. It was very exciting, with a NY vs. PA final. It was intense and the crowd got into it.”
In the championship round, the first four bouts were decisions, with the Ragin Raisins taking a 9-3 lead. Next on the mat for Superior at 78 pounds was Ethan Ferro, who was set to take on an opponent who had defeated him at the Empire Duals earlier in the spring.
This time, it was different, as Ferro took a sizable lead before recording the pin to tie the dual score at 9 and swing momentum toward New York.
“It was very big for him because it’s an older kid who already beat him this year,” Ferro said of his son. “It meant a lot to him and it really helped the team. It was a great Father’s Day present.”
Superior took over from there, pulling ahead by double digits on the way to victory.
It was the closest match of the event for Superior Black, as the team outscored its opponents by a combined 327-45 in the first six duals. The closest meet prior to the championship was a 31-point victory.
That kind of dominance often comes from a balanced lineup, and that was the case over the weekend. According to Ferro, a number of wrestlers went undefeated – Stevo Poulin (61 pounds), Drew Schafer (84), Dillan Palaszewski (90), Dane Heberlein (98), Mike Venosa (115), Tyler Barnes (135) and Frankie Gissendanner (147). In addition, Ferro said that Jace Schafer (56), Greg Diakomihalis (66), Hammond Raes (106) and Emerson Block (125), all tallied 6-1 records.
At the high school level, one of the host squads, Ragin Raisins Pink, came out on top, besting Lake County, Ohio for the championship.
Placing in the top six for New York were Cobra (third), Superior Black (fourth) and G2 (sixth). G2’s team actually defeated the eventual champions earlier in the competition, 37-23, but finished third in the pool on criteria.
On the youth side, the Empire State was also very well represented as all three squads placed in the top six – Superior Black (first), Super Six (fifth) and Superior Gold (sixth).
The weekend wasn’t only about wrestling, however. On Saturday evening, the Superior wrestlers and their families went to a campground and had a picnic with around 80-90 people.
“It was just a good time, a great time to bond,” Ferro said. “It made it a really special Father’s Day weekend. We love wrestling, so this weekend was a great present.”
Courtesy of Adam Burgos, a number of videos from the event are available, including coach Jason Locke of Ragin Raisins previewing the event, wrestler interviews and a number of heartfelt Father’s Day messages. (Match videos to come).
For the full playlist, see Ragin Raisins Video Link
Here’s a number of wrestlers with Father’s Day wishes:
And event organizer Jason Locke
Final Standings – Youth Bracket
1 Superior Black (NY) 37
2 RR Green (PA) 21
3 Gladiator Swords (PA) 34
4 AWC (OH) 22
5 Super 6 (NY) 41
6 Superior Gold (NY) 15
7 Gladiator Shields (PA)45
8 RR Pink (PA) 18
9 Mt Men (PA) 41
10 Lancaster (PA) 19
11 RR Tye Dye (PA)
Final Standings – High School Bracket
1 RR Pink (PA) 29
2 Lake County (OH) 26
3 Cobra (NY) 84
4 Superior Black (NY) 0
5 AWC (OH) 25
6 G2 (NY) 18
7 Excelsior United 35 (NY)
8 North Shore Edge (IL) 29 9 Falconer (NY) 35
10 Roughnecks 9 (NY) 11 RR Purple (PA) 29
12 Superior Gold (NY) 27
Youth Champions – Superior Wrestling Academy Black Roster (as provided by Gary Ferro)
56 – Jace Schafer
61 – Stevo Poulin
66 – Greg Diakomihalis
72 – Brennan Roe
78 – Ethan Ferro
84 – Drew Schafer
90 – Dillan Palaszewski
98 – Dane Heberlein
106 – Hammond Raes
115 – Mike Venosa
125 – Emerson Block
135 – Tyler Barnes
147 – Frankie Gissendanner
160 – Brandon Cousino
180 – Ryan Flaitz