The game of forfeits

By TED WADDELL
Posted 12/18/19

LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY — When you forfeit six matches for a total of 36 points in a wrestling meet, it’s almost a sure bet that you’re going to get the short end of the stick.

In the …

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The game of forfeits

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LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY — When you forfeit six matches for a total of 36 points in a wrestling meet, it’s almost a sure bet that you’re going to get the short end of the stick.

In the Wednesday, December 11 meet between the combined Eldred-Liberty-Sullivan West team of grapplers versus the squad from Onteora at SUNY Sullivan, the home team gave up six six-packs versus the visitors 12-points (two matches at six points a pop) in forfeits.

And doing the math, that’s going to put you in a hole real fast.

In the end, Onteora took the meet 57-18, but taking a peek at the numbers, the total of points given up by both teams was an eye-opening  48 points.

Liberty’s veteran wrestling coach John Lennon has been in the game for a long time; the 2019-2020 season marks his 40th year as a coach of local high school grapplers.

At Liberty High, Lennon was one of the first seventh- and eighth-grade wrestlers in the former Dutchess-Ulster-Sullivan-Orange (DUSO) League, competing under the Indians banner from 1964-1970.

“Way back in 1966, Liberty was the DUSO champ,” he recalled.

Fast forwarding a few years, the combined team is made up of wrestlers from three area high schools, and the early season roster lists them as follows:

From Eldred is Kaitlyn Potter, Joseph Curreri, Matthew Dunker, Patrick Adams, Mark Amorso and Hunter Roberts. From Liberty is Quintin Herzog, Tanner Ferguson, Derek Wheeler, Ethan Blumenthal, Anthony Philippe, Boise Sellers, Francisco Miguel, Andrew Scamihorn, Jorge Reyes, Caleb Milk and Jackson Wolcott. From Sullivan West is Henry Peters, Nathan Coy and Robert Vongerichten.

It’s early in the season, but Lennon said his top competitors so far are Henry Peters of Sullivan West, and Eldred’s Joseph Curreri and Hunter Roberts.

But return with us now to “the game of forfeits” and the future of merged high school wrestling.

According to Lennon, the Section IX Merger Committee will break up a team if it fields more than seven weight classes.

“If you have more than seven weight classes, you can win mathematically, but not realistically,” said Coach Lennon, also of the sectional merger committee, “I know what they’re trying to do, make a blanket policy mergers all over the state in all sports… but it needs to be sports specific.”

Lennon said that the committee “really needs to look at their merger policy.” As case in point, he noted that during the meet against Onteora, his merged team fielded only six weight classes, but if they ramped it up to eight, “they would have broken us up.”

“We’re barely able to field a line up,” added Lennon. “Wrestling is like a chess match on the mat.”

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