SARANAC — The Saranac wrestling team made a statement Thursday night.
The Chiefs recorded a 45-26 victory over defending Champlain Valley Athletic Conference champion Peru in an early-season showdown, marking Saranac’s first win over the Indians in 15 years.
“It’s been quite some time since Saranac has beaten Peru,” Saranac coach Heath Smith said. “There were some great matches tonight.
“It was a big hump for us to get over, and we’re off to a great start to the season. But we have to keep it going.”
Peru (4-3, 1-1) grabbed an early 7-0 lead when Jordan Bushey won by major decision at 180 and Mike Hayes by decision at 182.
But Saranac (9-3, 3-0) captured the next five matches to take a 27-7 advantage.
Colby Staley won by fall at 195, Cody Plumadore by decision at 220, Paul Herrera by forfeit at 285, Jacob Nolan with a pin at 99 and John Devins with a pin at 106.
But back came the Indians to cut their deficit to 27-20 when Brandon Goddeau won by decision at 113, Colin Hogan by decision at 120 and Ethan Feazelle by fall at 126, giving Peru three wins in a row.
Then came the turning points in the match.
Rafael Rivera won by fall at 132, and Sean Ahern won by pin at 138 to give the Chiefs an insurmountable lead at 39-20.
“Those were two huge wins for us,” Smith said.
Saranac continued to win matches when Codie Gillette won by decision at 145 and Will Marcil by decision at 152.
“The 145-pound match was the best of the night,” Smith said. “Jay Oakes went up to wrestle Codie, and Codie won 5-2.”
Tanner Phillips then gave Peru its final victory with a pin at 160.
“Everything went well for us and it was a great night,” Smith said. “The off-season work that our wrestlers and coaches did is paying off for us. But we still have a long way to go.”