Cannon Earns Title at UB Open
BUFFALO, NY - Senior John-Martin Cannon stormed through the 174-pound bracket to win Buffalo's lone title Sunday afternoon as the annual UB Open kicked off the 2011-12 season. Kevin Smith and Dominic Montesanti placed second in their respective brackets as seven UB wrestlers finished in the top four.
"Everyone has been off the mats for a really long time so they were really excited. We made a lot of mistakes today which is what you expect in the first time out, and we have a measuring stick for the future to know what we need to do to get better," said head assistant coach Matt Lackey.
An expected redshirt wrestling up a class from last season, Cannon went 4-0 in his bracket, earning a pin and a major decision along the way. He met Pittsburgh's Patrick Tasser in the finals and the two tussled for a 1-1 tie through regulation before Cannon secured the title with a sudden-death takedown in overtime.
"That's what we expect John-Martin to do: dominate, Lackey said. "I was happy to see him do it and we expected him to do it."
Also experiencing success at a new weight was Kevin Smith, who bumped up to 141 and didn't allow more than one point in any match until his loss in the finals to Edinboro's Mitchell Port. The two were locked in a dog fight before Port was able to get a quick turn on Smith and earn the winning points in a 4-2 win. Port also be Andrew Schutt in the 141 bracket, and Schutt wrestled back for a top eight finish.
At 157 pounds, Mark Lewandowski entered with high expectations after a top 12 finish at nationals last season. After an easy first round win, Lewandowski could not figure out Cornell's Owen Scott, and the lanky freshman downed him 5-1. Forced to earn his place through the consolation bracket, Lewandowski reeled off five wins to earn a place in the third-place match against returning national qualifier Johnny Greisheimer of Edinboro. Lewandowski handled him with ease with a 15-0 tech fall to claim third place and a bit of redemption after a slow start
"The match that he (Lewandowski) lost, he just wasn't ready, and that's on Mark," Lackey said. "He did a great job coming back and having a dominating performance through the rest of the tournament."
Newcomer Montesanti came into the day needing to impress to earn consideration for the starting spot at 165 pounds. Competing with redshirt freshman Matt Dehney, Montesanti was able to beat his teammate along the way to the title match against top seeded Sean Bilodeau of Lehigh. Despite getting pinned in the finals and finishing second, Montesanti let the Buffalo coaching staff know that he's still in the hunt to start. Dehney finished fourth at 165.
As one of the team's higher-profile recruits this past offseason, Jake Waste performed well at his first tournament for Buffalo. Despite losing his second match of the day 2-1 after exactly one minute of riding time was counted against him, Waste finished fifth and encouraged Lackey.
"He's just steady, he doesn't make a lot of mistakes which is really out of the norm," Lackey said. "Usually the young kids make a lot of mistakes but he doesn't. He just needs to figure out how to score a few more points and he's going to be a stud."
The final top-four finisher for UB was heavyweight Jedd Mason, who won his first two matches before losing to eventual champion Zac Thomusseit. He earned a spot in the third-place match by collecting his second pin of the day, but then fell in the third-place match to Lehigh's John Delia.
Now with a bit clearer picture of its starting lineup, the Bulls will prepare for its first round of dual matches. Coming up on Saturday, the squad will travel to Harrisburg, PA for the Wrestle For A Cure Duals. It will be a round-robin day of duals with UB joining national powerhouses Utah Valley, Lock Haven, Cal Poly, Virginia Tech in what will be another challenging day of matches.
"We have an extremely young team this year, and we just need to make sure we go out every week not worrying about wins and losses but making sure we're taking something away each week and we're getting better," Lackey said.