Story and video by JOHN ANDERSON, photos by CHAR STONE
Andrew Taylor spins his National Fuel ball cap around. Kneeling on the wrestling mat wearing jeans with his boots dangling off the mat and planted on the gymnasium floor, he demands a Bolivar-Richburg wrestler turn a single-leg shot into a strong double-leg takedown.
To his left, Gary McDowell, who owns a local construction company, is wearing his camouflage wader boots and also has them on the gym floor, not to touch the sacred wrestling mat.
The third coach, Todd Taylor, is running behind because of his job at Cutco.
The mats are in the basement of the school and the kids take a break for water.
It’s February 7, two days after the Section V tournament. And this is not some dad-run youth start-up club.
This is Bolivar-Richburg varsity wrestling.
It’s of the toughest small town wrestling programs in the state and a four-time defending Section V championship team that has all but one wrestler moving on to the Super Sectionals this weekend at Brockport State University. They had five individual Section V champions as well.
How big is wrestling in Bolivar? They had a watch party for the state tournament and filled the fire hall. Bars and restaurants disconnect cable TV and connect the computer HDMI cord to show the championships.
And the old small gym in the basement? It has brand new bleachers, large posters of the wrestlers on the wall and home to some of the loudest and rowdiest dual meets you will ever attend.
Taylor is in his first-year as the coach, but he won two Section V titles in 2005 and 2006. He took the program over from a legend … his father, Todd. Under Todd, the team won three straight Section V Class B and B3 titles in 2018, 2019 and 2020. As an assistant coach to his son, it’s now at four straight titles to the Taylor’s and McDowell (last season was a Covid year, no states).
“We took 10 with us, one was a first-year kid. He won a match, but lost. He gave it his all. I told him and I told them all, you put in the work, and it will pay off. And it has paid off,” said Andrew Taylor.
That speaks volumes to the word “team.” There are so many story lines with this B-R team. After all, 9-of-10 wrestlers advanced. Yet the first person Andrew Taylor wanted to discuss was a first-year wrestler who bought into the program and just missed advancing.
The other story lines?
At 110, Teegan Sibble made Section V history by becoming the first girl to win a sectional title. The 14-year-old freshman was down, 3-1, to Lyndonville’s Christian Garver and executed a 4-point move in the third period and held on the last 15 seconds to win, 5-3.
Her brother Trent Sibble, a junior, improved to 44-0 on the season with a first period pin to win at 215.
Want some more history? The sister-brother combo were both named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Section V meet for lightweight divisions and heavyweight divisions respectively.
Andrew Taylor talked about the wrestlers heading to the Super Sectionals where the top two true winners will head to states.
“At 102, Gary “Junior” McDowell is tough (won a Section V title with a pin in the first 22 seconds). He’s No. 2 in the section and I think he’s ready for the challenge. At 126, we have Trey Buchholz,” Taylor said. “He was a two-seed and a little bit of an underdog and he really stepped up and went out and won sectionals with a 9-1 win. He knew what he had to do,” he said.
“At 138, Ethan Coleman had lost to the kid he lost to and was pinned but this time he only lost 7-1 in the finals,” Taylor continued. “It’s all about making minor adjustments and those improvements and those were big improvements and he wrestled pretty good.
“At 152, Tavyn MacDonell was my heart attack of the week but everyone is going to give you one of those,” he said with a laugh as MacDowell won an exciting 9-7 championship match over Alfred-Almond’s Scott Mills.
“Kadin Tompkins at 145 is our senior standout who ended up taking second,” Taylor said. “He was pinned before, but this time, it was a 1-point match in the finals and he had a chance to tie it and take it into overtime,” Taylor said. “He wrestled a heck of a match.”
Caden Allen at 160 had a first period pin to win the consi finals.
“He lost a close match in the semi’s by one point with four seconds left. That put him in the consolations,” Taylor said. “I told him he has to step up because third is as good as second, keep getting points for the team which he did.
The points kept coming right up until 285, as Lloyd Kinnicutt won his way to the finals.
“Lloyd Kinnicutt is only a second year wrestler and he wrestled the tournament tough!” said Taylor. “He made the finals as a second-year wrestler and I couldn’t be happier.”
Taylor said Trent Sibble has a goal to win the state tournament.
“Trent Sibble works out, comes to school, comes to wrestling practice and then goes to another practice. He is on a mission,” Taylor said.
The team wore shirts in memory of the late Dylan Pesock, a 21-year-old college graduate and two-time national qualifier in wrestling who helped coach Bolivar-Richburg. He died in a car accident and his funeral is today.
“People didn’t know him like we did. He wrestles with the kids all the time,” Taylor said of the Bolivar and Shinglehouse, Pa., native. “He was one of those kids who was fun to be around and the kids loved him. Every night they had practice up on the hill, he was training hard and pushing the kid. He’s not just a friend, he is family. And that’s the type of atmosphere we like to have here. So that’s what we did, we went out and represented him on Saturday.”
Taylor said the kids enjoyed the fire truck escort into town after winning sectionals and they enjoy having fans back. He said success is earned in a sport that is very difficult.
“It’s been pretty tough with Covid, but I’ll tell you what, when we get this place packed, it’s loud. The match is loud, the other teams want to know how we get our own gym and how we get so many fans to a match,” Taylor said. “You have to buy into wrestling. It’s not easy. It’s a lifestyle.”
Varsity | Top 6 individuals advance to State Qualifier
Bolivar-Richburg 218, Lyndonville 185, South Seneca 150, Caledonia-Mumford 115.5, Perry 109.5, Campbell-Savona 100, Alfred-Almond 88, Dundee (+Bradford) 75, Avoca (+Hammondsport/Prattsburgh) 60, Keshequa 58.5, Red Jacket 55, Lyons 31, Arkport (+Canaseraga) 27, Gilead 27, Fillmore 7
Outstanding Wrestler Award (Lower Weights) – Teegan Sibble (BR)
Outstanding Wrestler Award (Upper Weights) – Trent Sibble (BR)
Sportsmanship Award – Caleb Sweet (SS)
Championship Final (1st)
|102||Gary Mcdowell (BR) > Jakob Bishop (CM) fall 0:22|
|110||Teegan Sibble (BR) > Christian Garver (Lyndonville) decision 5-3|
|118||Noah Leitten (Perry) > Nathan Young (Avoca (+Hammondsport/Prattsburgh)) technical fall 19-3|
|126||Trey Buchholz (BR) > Holden Kelly (Perry) decision 8-1|
|132||Matthew Allen (RJ) > Trent Stagg (SS) major decision 9-0|
|138||Caleb Sweet (SS) > Ethan Coleman (BR) major decision 9-1|
|145||Ben Lloyd (AA) > Kadin Tompkins (BR) decision 4-2|
|152||Tavyn Macdonell (BR) > Scott Mills (AA) decision 9-7|
|160||Ivan West (Perry) > Garret Thompson (CM) decision 9-7|
|172||Luke Dendis (SS) > Payton Grabowski (Lyndonville) decision 8-2|
|189||Dakota Stewart (SS) > Robert Poles-Harrison (CM) fall 5:36|
215 Trent Sibble (BR) > Sam Doolan (LY) fall 1:43
|285||Damian Elliot (CS) > Lloyd Kinnicutt (BR) fall 1:08|
Consolation Final (3rd)
|102||James Patanella (CM) > Graham Howe (Keshequa) decision 17-12|
|110||Mitchell Vanauken (Lyons) > Peyton Hoad (Avoca (+Hammondsport/Prattsburgh)) fall 3:51|
|118||Ian Deaton (Keshequa) > Dominick Hand (CS) fall 2:26|
|126||Ty Holmes (Lyndonville) > Noah Brooks (CS) fall 3:42|
|132||Gregg Hargrave (CS) > Blake Ledbetter (AA) fall 1:30|
|138||Trenten True (Perry) > Noah Neff (Lyndonville) fall 4:26|
|145||Jack Snyder (SS) > Jackson Peet (CM) decision 9-2|
|152||Sebastian Temich (Lyndonville) > George Drake (Avoca (+Hammondsport/Prattsburgh)) major decision 11-0|
|160||Caden Allen (BR) > Zack Ledbetter (AA) fall 0:51|
|172||Sterling Strain (Keshequa) > Ethan Lenny (RJ) fall 2:30|
|189||Maddox Stirk (Lyndonville) > Blake Siewert (Gilead) decision 9-4|
|215||Kaden Labar (Dundee (+Bradford)) > Jay Thomas (CS) fall 2:08|
|285||Riley Teeter (Dundee (+Bradford)) > Ruben Diaz (Arkport (+Canaseraga)) fall 0:24|
Consolation Final (5th)
|102||Shayne Nickerson (Lyndonville) > Nick Morley (Gilead) fall 2:38|
|110||Maddox Regatuso (Perry) > Alivia Cartwright (Keshequa) fall 3:00|
|118||Christopher Magwood (Lyons) > Brody Hazel (Lyndonville) fall 1:41|
|126||Tyler Pestle (Arkport (+Canaseraga)) > Peyton Barnes (AA) decision 10-8|
|132||Zachary Kuhn (CM) > Alex Farrell (Lyndonville) decision 7-5|
|138||Kanye Cumberbatch (AA) > Kody Baxter (RJ) forfeit|
|145||Tyler Piccolo (SS) > Dominic Eaton (RJ) fall 2:29|
|152||Sammy Denmark (SS) > Austin Pittman (CM) decision 4-3|
|160||Hayden Erick (Dundee (+Bradford)) > Matt Elliot (SS) forfeit|
|172||Logan Snyder (Dundee (+Bradford)) > Joseph Bodley (CM) fall 1:59|
|189||Hunter Dix (Lyndonville) > Shawn Labar (Dundee (+Bradford)) decision 12-10|
|215||Landon Washburn (Perry) > Jason Kaiser (SS) fall 3:00|
|285||Patrick Hargrave (Lyndonville) > Jeremiah Robbins (Avoca (+Hammondsport/Prattsburgh)) fall 4:49|