Friends of Section 9 Wrestling was host to a record 288 wrestlers, coaches, referees, parents and fans Sunday night at Kuhl’s Highland House in Middletown.
The banquet highlighted the accomplishments of Section 9 wrestlers during the 2016-17 season and was a send-off to one of the more accomplished senior classes.
Seniors Ryan Ferro, Kendall Elfstrum, Mike Fekishazy, Noah Curreri, Evan Barczak, Tyler Lynch, Ryan Ellefsen, Brandon Bobe, Brad Bonner and Andrew Davis combined for 1,503 career wins, 21 Section 9 titles, 15 state medals and three state title.
Wayne Carroll, Section 9′s referee of the year, may have summed up the senior class the best in his acceptance speech, addressing the section’s state qualifiers.
“You represented your school and you represented your coaches and your families, unbelievable,” Carroll said. “You guys are gentlemen, you worked hard and it was an honor to work with you.”
Ferro, a Warwick 160-pounder and two-time state champion, received the Troy Bouzakis senior wrestler of the year award.
Elfstrum was awarded the comeback of the year. The Monroe-Woodbury senior overcame a severe back injury to win the state Division I 195-pound title. Elfstrum was diagnosed with a fractured vetrabrae in the preseason and wore a back brace until being cleared to wrestle on Jan. 18.
Fekishazy received the most courageous award for battling through a knee injury to become Wallkill’s first state finalist.
Wallkill coach Jeff Cuilty was honored with the John Bell Lifetime Achievement award. Cuilty coached Fekishazy in the final match of his 37-year career in the 182-pound state final. He said that he will remain the section’s wrestling coordinator for the few years. Cuilty revealed that 14 Division I teams and four Division II teams will compete in next season’s Section 9 Duals, which will be held in January 2018, the week before the Eastern States Classic. The winners will advance to state first dual-meet championship tournament in late January.
Friends of Section 9 Wrestling Awards
Troy Bouzakis Senior Wrestler of Year: Ryan Ferro, Warwick
Comeback of the Year: Kendall Elfstrum, Monroe-Woodbury
Most Courageous Wrestler: Mike Fekishazy, Wallkill
Orange/Sullivan Officials Sportsmanship award: Brandon Bobe, Washingtonville
John Bell Section 9 Lifetime Achievement award: Jeff Cuilty, Wallkill
Wife of the Year: Carolyn Cuilty
Pat D’Aliso Scholarship award winner: Brad Bonner, Wallkill
Mike DeCapua Scholarships: Evan Barczak, Monroe-Woodbury; Brandon Bobe, Washingtonville, Kendall Elfstrum, Monroe-Woodbury; Mike Fekishazy, Wallkill; Ryan Ferro, Warwick.
President’s Team award: Minisink Valley
Frank Tschan Team of the year: Monroe-Woodbury
Most Improved team of the year: Pine Bush
Mark Faller Coach of the Year (Section 9 team champion): John Gartiser, Monroe-Woodbury
Friends of Section 9 Coach of the Year: Rich Ormsby, Pine Bush
Assistant coach of the year: Bob Christensen, Monroe-Woodbury
Modified coach of the year: Trevor Gale, Onteora
Referee of the year: Wayne Carroll
Person of the year: Phil Rosas, Port Jervis
Scorekeepers of the year: Amanda Sexton, Sydney Sauschuck, Port Jervis
Parent of the year: Matt Curreri, Eldred
Fan of the year: Marie Ng, Monticello
For video feeds of the banquet, check @Varsity845 on Twitter