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Riley and Bradshaw Lead Huntington to Windsor Tournament Title

Winning makes Huntington wrestling coach Lou Giani happy.  So the legendary coach had a smile on his face after his Blue Devils faced down an extremely strong 21-team field in the 47th Windsor Christmas Tournament outside of Binghamton last weekend.  But, while winning is always a welcome event in this storied program, Giani was even more pleased with the individual performance of his wrestlers, some of whom failed to place, yet still earned praise from the Hall of Fame coach.

Seniors Shawn Riley (130 lbs.) and Shaheim Bradshaw (145) did what they were expected to do in winning weight class championships, but it was some of the younger wrestlers, including eighth grader Francisco Periera, who had four pins and scored 17 team points, that quietly helped lift the Blue Devils to narrow 9.5 point victory over Canandaigua, coached by Huntington graduate Rich Romeo (’79). 

Riley (12-0) was so impressive in winning four matches that he became only the third Huntington wrestling in history to be named Windsor’s Most Outstanding Wrestler (MOW) at the conclusion of the competition. 

“Shawn had a really great tournament,” Giani said.  “He looked very strong and didn’t make many mistakes.”  Riley wasn’t gloating after the impressive performance, though.  “I’m wrestling a lot sharper than I was at the beginning of the season, but I want to get better from every position,” he said.  “I’m not where I want to be yet.”

After two easy early round wins, Riley edged Toby Reese of Homer, 4-2 in the semifinals and then pinned Kyle Ingraham of Canandaigua in 5:10 in the finals. Ingraham finished fourth in New York State last March.

Bradshaw (12-0) was equally impressive, with three of his four matches ending in pins.  On the year, he has pinned all but one of his opponents.  The senior steamrolled through four foes at Windsor, including Norwich’s Matt Adamow, who he pinned in 5:18 in the finals.

Jack Sullivan (12-1) lost a tough 8-7 decision in the 189 lb. finals to top seeded Matt Riddle of Saratoga Springs after winning a hard-fought 8-5 semifinal bout over Jon Jones of Union-Endictott.  The junior had two earlier round wins, including a 12-2 major decision over Joe Depersis of Susquehanna Valley.

Jeremy Pellot looked strong in finishing second at 275 lbs.  The junior nipped Allen Shellenberg of J.M. Robinson, 2-1 in the opening round and followed with 7-4 and 4-2 decisions before losing by pin to state champion Arthur Jones of Union-Endicott.

Huntington was boosted by fine efforts from junior Charlie Paar (11-1), who went 3-1 at 171 lbs. to grab third place and seniors Frank Sangiovanni (140 – 4th) and Pierre Delva (215 – 4th). 

Sangiovanni (8-3) won a pair of matches, including a nifty 5:45 quarterfinal pin of Scott Web of Bainbridge-Guilford Afton.  Delva (10-2) won a close 3-1 decision in the quarterfinals over Chris McLaughlin of Waverly before losing to Zack Stratton of Norwich, 4-1 in the semifinals. 

Junior Brian Lifson (10-2) won three matches, including a pair of pins and a technical fall, en route to a fifth place finish at 96 lbs.  Periera (4-2) went 4-1 in the tournament, including four pins.  “Francisco did a super job,” said Kieran Mock, assistant coach.  “He really came through for us.  He’s going to be a good one.”

Justin Giani (9-4), Tom Feldman (11-4), Jon Dolan (6-3), Manny Santiago (10-4) and Chris Holland (7-5) didn’t place in their weight classes, but they all won matches, earning points that were crucial in beating Canandaigua Academy for the team title.

“It was a really tough tournament,” said Travis Smith, assistant coach.  “I think there were four returning state champs and a bunch of other state place winners.  Wrestling in a tough tournament like this helped get us ready for our dual meet schedule and for the county and state tournaments.”

Final team scores: 1. Huntington - 189  2. Canandaigua – 179.5  3. Chenango Forks – 146  4. Bainbridge-Guilford Afton – 131.5  5. Waverly – 128  6. Homer – 109.5  7. Union-Endicott – 100  8. Wallkill – 95.5  9. Saratoga Springs – 88  10. Norwich – 86  11. Harpursville – 82  12. Windsor – 71  13. J.M. Robinson (NC) – 69.5  14. Colonie – 61.5  15. Ithaca – 54.5  16. S-VE – 53  17. Susquehanna Valley – 43.5  18. Horseheads – 27.5  19. Chenango Valley – 25  20. Dryden – 20.5  21. Owego – 11

Mat Notes: Riley is only the third Blue Devil wrestler, along with Adrian Bonilla (1995) and Pat Flynn (2001) to win the Windsor Tournament’s MOW award . . . The championship was the 102nd tournament title of Giani’s career . . . Freshman Justin Giani lost 10-9 in the quarterfinals to eventual runner-up Dan Blaine of Union-Endicott, who lost to state champion Tyler Mumbulo of Bainbridge-Guildford Afton in the finals  . . The field included state ranked powers Huntington, Canandaigua, Chenango Forks and Bainbridge-Guilford Afton. . . Riley’s pin in the finals over Canandaigua’s Ingraham was crucial, coming when the two teams were locked in a tight battle for the team title.

Go to the results!