Golden Bear Senior Wrestlers Recognized

On a perfect sun-filled Wednesday afternoon the members of the Canton Central Wrestling team diligently worked to host the first ever Section X outdoor wrestling event. Yes……. Outdoors! As the teams prepared for competition, the indoor, “high risk” sport of wrestling would not be able to offer spectators the opportunity to enjoy in-person matches. This of course was due to the nature of the Covid-19 protocols in place earlier this spring. Since many other outdoor sport teams had recently begun practicing and playing outdoors with fewer restrictions, including the allowance of 2 spectators per athletes, the idea was born to move the mats and take it outside!

Coach Mike Haycook commented, “The delayed 2020-21 wrestling season has been a challenge for coaches, athletes and spectators alike.  Coach Morrison and I felt it was important to find a way for our athletes, especially our seniors, to compete one last time in front of their families.  The first ever section 10 outdoor wrestling event more than met our expectations and was a great way to bring the wrestling community back together after the last year of Covid-19 restrictions.”

Below: Wrestlers warming up on Mat 1.

At a subsequent Section X Athletic Council meeting, Massena Athletic Director Gavin Regan presented the idea to his athletic director colleagues from Section X and Executive Director Mr. Carl Normandin. With the unanimous support from everyone involved, it was determined that the culminating event for the wrestlers, along with senior recognitions of all athletes, would occur on June 9 at Canton Central School. The Canton match just happened to be the last event on the Section schedule which is why they were chosen to host.

Following the many thanks for the commitment of the coaches, parents, officials and those who worked the event, each coach was able to make remarks regarding the senior members of their teams. It was clear to each the casual observer and dedicated wrestling fan alike that there was much love for this special group of young men. Wrestling by nature is one of the most demanding sports there is. As Coach Dylan Morrison commented, “Wrestlers need to have grit…..most are just born with it”.

Below is a photo of Canton Seniors Hunter Blauvelt, Brock Francis and Matt Haycook being recognized by Coach Dylan Morrison with Coach Mike Haycook looking on.

Add to the demands of simply being a wrestler with the fact that so many of them had taken so many months off from training, were pushed into the spring season, forced to choose wrestling over a spring sport and it is safe to say, that these young men and women have sacrificed. Needless to say, the outdoor event was an attempt to show each and every wrestler the respect and admiration which they deserve!

Thanks also must go out to officials Ryan Amato and Bob Doser who not only officiated for nearly three hours, but did so in the heat of the late afternoon. They may just be the first wrestling officials to ever leave an event with a sunburn!

Wrestling Chair Randy Morrison served at the MC for the evening. His proficient use of the microphone kept the matches on the two mats moving and on schedule throughout the course of the evening. Facilitating these matches made the event run smoothly and kept the fans always watching wrestling…there was never a lull in the action.

Below: Wrestlers warming up on Mat 2

Credit must also be given to those who managed the event including Coaches Mike Haycook, Dylan Morrison, and Alan Rossner. Their leadership with this event was for lack of a better word….perfect. They assembled best table crews in the area including Amanda, Amber, Jenni and Triva. These ladies endured the hot sun so that each match could run smoothly and effectively. You are all appreciated!

Local sports photographer Denny Barr with “Two Guys and A Camera” was on site to take over 3,000 photos of the memorable event. His website is linked below if anyone is interested in exploring or purchasing them.

Bill Seward of Freedom Media Productions was hired by Section X to live stream the event which can be accessed On Demand at the link below on the NFHS Network.

Below Canton Senior Hunter Blauvelt as he gets to his feet following a pin on his senior night and in the second photo has his armed raised by official Ryan Amato.

Above: Seniors Brock Francis, Matt Haycook, and Hunter Blauvelt.

Brock Francis is headed off to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg Florida next year to study Marine Sciences.

Hunter Blauvelt is of to Paul Smith’s College next year to study Natural Resource Management. He is also a recipient of The Rotary Scholarship.

Matt Haycook is currently being recruited by the Ithaca College, Elmira and Oswego State wrestling teams. He is undecided at this time which school he may decide to attend.

Coach Dylan Morrison summed up the evening very well by saying, “Thank you to everyone who made this possible!   It was a wonderful cap on a weird and abbreviated season.   I am glad that  we could make it happen for the whole section and families / friends.  It was definitely a fun atmosphere and great event!”

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