Weekly Feature



2008-01-23 / Sports

Stella wins ECICs, breaks older brother's school record for career victories

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter

Nic Stella became Sweet Home's all-time career wins leader after winning the 140-pound weight class at last weekend's ECIC Championships held at East Aurora High School. Nic Stella became Sweet Home's all-time career wins leader after winning the 140-pound weight class at last weekend's ECIC Championships held at East Aurora High School. There's a new career wins leader in Sweet Home wrestling but the last name remains Stella.

Sweet Home senior Nic Stella beat Cheektowaga's Scott Patryzk, 19-7, in the finals of the 140-pound weight class at last weekend's ECIC Championships at East Aurora High School to break the school record for career victories held by his older brother, Andrew. Nic Stella has 185 career wins. Andrew Stella, a 2005 Sweet Home grad and sophomore at the University at Buffalo, amassed a record of 184-32.

"It means a lot to me because I know I'm going to have it for a long time," said Nic Stella. "My brother was glad I was the one who broke it rather than somebody else."

"I'm extremely proud of him," added Sweet Home coach Jeff Hess. "His family takes him everywhere around the country to give him the best competition there is so it's nice to see all of his hard work paying off. He's a great representative of the school and a good leader. We've very lucky to have him."

Stella, seeded first, had never faced Patryzk prior to the tournament. Hess said Patryzk came right at Stella but Stella was quicker and stronger.

Stella had no trouble with his first two opponents, beating Depew's Frank Kuhlmey, by major decision, 15-0, in 2:30 and pinning Williamsville North's Abbas Rizvi in 1:50. In the semifinals, he defeated Williamsville East's Sean Trabert, 3-1.

If Stella, 28-3, continues to have success this season, there is a good chance he could finish with at least 200 career wins, one of his personal goals.

Stella is ranked first in the state at 135. He will get his toughest competition to date at the Joe Shifflet Sweet Home Invitational Tournament this weekend at Sweet Home. Friday's matches start at 3 p.m.; Saturday's matches begin at 4 p.m.

In Stella's weight class will be Mark Lewandowski of Lancaster and Alex Ekstrom of Section V's Palmyra Macadon, ranked second and third in the state at 135. Ekstrom is a former two-time state champ.

Also in the weight class will be Mike Nevinger of Section V's Letchworth, considered the favorite to win the small school state championship at 140. Nevinger, a former state champion, is ranked third in the state at 140.

Stella was not the only Sweet Home wrestler to place at ECICs. Sophomore Daiquann Burney took fourth at 103. Classmate Matt Danwin took sixth at 130.

"Last year, only Nic placed at this tournament," said Hess. "To have three place is a nice improvement."

Burney, unseeded, opened with a 10-0 win over Alden's Nick Jurek then beat the fifth and fourth seeds, Williamsville South's Luke Falzone, 3-2, and Hamburg's Luke Happ, 9-7, before losing to eventual champion, Kyle McGregor of Tonawanda, 10-5.

"The whole crowd was watching the match," said Hess. "It was a physical match."

In wrestlebacks, Burney beat Falzone, 5-2, but lost to Happ, 1-0, for third-fourth.

"At the beginning of the year, I felt he could make it to sectionals if he devotes himself," said Hess. "He has really been working hard the last few weeks."

Danwin, seeded third, defeated Alden's Robert Sonberg, 14-1, in the first round but dropped a 5-1 decision to Iroquois' Jim Kloc. Hess said the match was scoreless heading into the second period when the fire alarm went off, forcing wrestlers, coaches and parents to evacuate the building for 15 minutes.

In wrestlebacks, Danwin beat ninth-seed Randy Weston of Lake Shore, 12-3, seventh seed Aaron Crowley of West Seneca West, 7-0, lost to Williamsville North's Tommy Kellner, 4-2, for third-fourth and 2-0 to Kloc to place sixth.

Sophomore Gage Bateman, seeded tenth, won his first round match over Cheektowaga's Russ Wojtusiak, 5-2, but had to medical default in 6:45 against West Seneca West's Tyler Kostrzycki.

Sweet Home finished 16th out of 27 teams with 65.50 points. Hess only brought eight wrestlers.

"As a team, we wrestled well," said Hess. "Every other team had a full lineup. I feel we're turning the corner."

Sweet Home opened its week last Wednesday with a 46-18 loss at Williamsville North. Stella pinned John Sfier at 140. Danwin beat Kellner, 7-4, at 130. Burney knocked off Dave Marple, 10-6, at 112.

Sweet Home wrestled at St. Francis on Tuesday but the result was unavailable before The Bee went to press.

Williamsville South

The Billies' best finish at ECICs came from Luke Falzone and Elliot Frank, who took sixth at 103 and 215 pounds, respectively.

Falzone, seeded fifth, lost his first round match to Sweet Home's Daiquann Burney, 3-2, and in wrestlebacks, defeated West Seneca West's Kyle Colgrove, 7-0, Springville's Nate Grieser, 5-1, and sixth-seed Tap Tasker of East Aurora, 5-1, before falling to Burney, 5-2, in the consolation semifinals. Falzone then fell to West Seneca East's Ben Bebak, 3-1, in the fifth-sixth match.

Frank, seeded sixth, pinned West Seneca East's Andy Maj in 1:16 then was pinned in 3:03 by third-seed Nick Lopez of Lancaster. In wrestlebacks, Frank pinned Alden's Mike Weisbeck, seeded eighth, in 1:20, beat seventh-seed Mark Bouquin of Springville, 8-4, but was pinned by Pioneer's Kyle Colling in 2:55. Frank then wrestled down for fifth and was pinned in 4:09 by Lopez.

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