By CONNOR WOOD
The Coxsackie-Athens wrestling team traveled to Spencerport, NY, for the two-day Teike-Bernabi Tournament – one of the toughest wrestling events in New York State. The other teams in the tournament were all from Section 5 and much bigger than Coxsackie.
“Small schools competing with large schools is the nature of the sport,” said Coxsackie-Athens head coach Ryan Palmer.
The first day of the tournament was a round-robin event, with wrestlers competing for seeding in the brackets for Day 2. Devon Shader, the leader of the Coxsackie-Athens team, went into the tournament with a record of 13-1, which ranked him No. 2 in Section 2 for the 195-pound weight class. Shacder coasted his way through the first day, not losing a match. He recorded a pin in each match, which gave him a big advantage in seeding. He entered the second day of the tournament as the No. 2 seed in his bracket.
Being the No. 2 seed helped Shader, as he had a bye straight into the quarterfinals. He pinned Mike Cody of Gates-Chili 1:30 into their quarterfinal match to set up an intense semifinal against Cody Scotland of Lancaster. Scotland gave Shader everything he had, but Shader came out on top by a score of 4-3.
In the finals, Shader wrestled Matt Werts from St. Joe’s. The two knew each other from their time together on the New York team at nationals, and it made for a great match-up. The match remained scoreless until halfway through the second period when Werts was able to gain an escape. Shader fired right back with a quick takedown to take a 2-1 lead. Shader quickly got an escape of his own at the beginning of the third period and followed it with another takedown to earn a 5-1 win and the tournament title.
“The atmosphere was amazing. It’s an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” said Shader.
Dakota Anatriello also put on a great performance for Coxsackie-Athens at the tournament. He won all but one match on the first day and received the No. 4 seed in the 220-pound weight class, which also gave him a bye into the quarterfinals. His quarterfinal match was one of the more exciting ones of the second day, as he rallied from a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5 in overtime on an escape.
Anatriello’s semifinal match was a tough one, as he took on top-seeded Kyle Tillich. Anatriello was unable to pull off the upset, as Tillich won 12-5. However, Anatriello’s day was far from over, as he was placed in the consolation bracket with a chance to finish third.
Anatriello picked up an easy win in his third match of the day, pinning his opponent in the first minute. His third-place match was another exciting one, as he was down early against Charles Morrison of St. Joe’s. He was able to fight back to close the gap to 5-4 with 13 seconds remaining and then scored a two-point takedown with two seconds left to win 6-5.
“It was a great feeling having my hand raised, knowing how tough this tournament would be. No matter the place I finished, I was proud of all I accomplished,” said Anatriello.
As a team, Coxsackie-Athens finished eighth in the standings. “This is something we are very proud of,” said Palmer. “As happy as our coaching staff is with some of our results, we know there is still more work to do. Our kids have been taught to never settle and to always stay hungry.”
Shader and Anatriello look to carry the momentum to the rest of their team as they set up to host the Greenville Spartans in the inaugural Military Appreciation Night at Coxsackie-Athens Wednesday, Jan. 2.
Connor Wood is a senior at Coxsackie-Athens High School and an intern at Capital Region HS Sports.