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Monday, Jan. 7, 2013: Wantagh wins title at Union-Endicott Duals

   Leading off today: It was more gritty than pretty, but Wantagh walked away with the championship Sunday at the Union-Endicott Duals, securing its spot as the state's No. 1 wrestling team.

   Wantagh defeated Islip 28-27 in the semifinals and then earned the crown in the two-day tourney with a 35-27 victory vs. Sachem East. Sachem East had advanced with a 38-30 win over Shenendehowa.

   “I’m really happy for our coaches, the guys and the fans,” senior T.J. Ragusa told New York Wrestling News. “A lot of times these duals are won by the guys who don’t get pinned; who don’t give up bonus. It was a total group effort.”

   The finals began at 120 pounds, and Sachem East built a 24-10 lead though eight matches, but Dan McDevitt started turning the tide with a pin at 182, and Wantagh would then go on to take five of the next six matches. Wantagh took a 32-27 lead when 106-pounder Kyle Quinn earned a first-period fall; Joe Hill closed out the meet with a decision at 113.

   Islip edged Shenendehowa 36-34 for third place, Clearence beat Monroe-Woodbury for fifth and MacArthur downed Spencerport for seventh.

   More wrestling: The U-E Duals story that's linked above took not of the presence of Monroe-Woodbury's Vinny Vespa, whose comeback from cancer this past offseason has been noted in this blog previously.

   Just as Vespa's story has been nothing less than inspiring this season, there's a feel-good story in Central New York as well. Tim Conners, son of legendary Section 3 coach Mike Conners, has returned to the mat close to three years after the start of his battle with leukemia. (Earlier blog entry.)

   Conners is 1-4 in the early going, but a post on last week captured details of his first home match.

   Milestone: Cicero-North Syracuse wrestling coach Dereck Bigford picked up his 300th win last week at the Akley Memorial Duals at Oswego.

   Martin powers Mount Vernon: Brandon Martin made his first six shots and finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds for Mount Vernon in a 71-61 boys basketball victory over Rochester's Bishop Kearney on Sunday at West Point.

   It was the 6-foot-4 junior's first game back following a one-game suspension stemming from a fight during a game in the Knights' holiday trip to Edmonton.

   The Kings (2-4) again played without 6-foot-10 Syracuse recruit Chinonso Obokoh (foot injury), but Martin did just fine against 6-10 Godspower Ogide and 6-9 Thomas Bryant. His fast start included 12 points as Mount Vernon (4-1) built a 29-13 lead with 6:09 left in the first half.

   “They’re taller than me, but I can outmuscle them,” Martin told The Journal News. “That’s what I try to do.”

   Coach on leave after arrests: Red Hook football coach Bill Stutz was placed on leave after he was arrested twice on charges stemming from a domestic altercation, The Daily Freeman reported Monday.

   Stutz, 35, who is 14-15 in three seasons as head coach, was arrested Saturday night on misdemeanor charges of endangering the welfare of a child and assault, as well as the violation of harassment, the paper reported.

   State police in Rhinebeck said Stutz was arrested after troopers were called to a physical dispute. Stutz was accused of assaulting his girlfriend and her 16-year-old son. After he posted bail, Stutz was arrested a second time on

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felony contempt and a violation of harassment for violating a court order of protection to stay away from the two, the paper reported.

   He was released after posting bail on Sunday and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 7. Stutz, a physical education teacher, was placed on administrative leave, according to school superintendent Paul Finch.

   Stutz could not be reached for comment, the paper said.

   Stopped in their tracks: The Brooklyn Thomas Jefferson indoor track team has been banned from The Armory for a month, deemed as the instigator in a fracas the erupted over the weekend at the Hispanic Games, The Journal News reported.

   Saturday's incident began with runners from Thomas Jefferson and Mount Vernon getting tangled up during a leg of the boys 1,600 relay.

   Mount Vernon was unable to compete the next day, when it was scheduled to defend its league championship. A review of videotape of the incident led Armory officials to subsequently rule that Mount Vernon can return beginning with it's next scheduled meet.

   But Thomas Jefferson has been banned for a month, deemed as the instigator.

   “This type of behavior is extremely rare at The Armory and in track and field in general,” Armory official Tim Fulton told the paper in an e-mail. “We cannot recall the last time we had a fight amongst teams in the building — much less during competition. This behavior will not be tolerated and let this be a warning to all teams. If something like this happens again, expect punishments to be much harsher for all parties involved.”

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