Albion’s first mat title season was perfect

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 13 January 2021 at 3:20 pm

Photo Courtesy of Bruce and Associates – Albion’s first ever Niagara-Orleans League champion wrestling team in 1983 included, in front, Rawn Mitchell, Joe Walls, Eric Johnston, Darrin Hillman, John Snell, Tim Bourke, Aron Conn (manager), John Pahuta, Bill Swan, Todd Spencer, Shawn Conn, John Sacco and Eric Knaak. Standing are Coach Keith Piccirilli, Jeff Harding, Joe Christopher, Bill Hiese, Dwight Fowlks, Edmond Vandergenalht, Walt Passmore, Dave Coville, Mike Conn, Scott Mattice, Scott Burnside, Bob Rice, Chuck Persons, Carmine Calabria, Dean Sevor and Coach Al Johnson.

Albion captured it’s elusive first Niagara-Orleans League wrestling championship during the 1982-83 season in impressive fashion as the Purple Eagles went 7-0 during the duel match portion of the campaign and then rolled to a 73 point victory at the All-League meet.

Coach Keith Piccirilli’s Purple Eagles placed a total of nine wrestlers in the finals at the All-League tournament which saw Albion garner 190 points to easily out duel runner-up Roy-Hart which had 117.

Albion emerged with six individual N-O champions including Todd Spencer (94), Mike Conn (101), Darrin Hillman (108), Rawn Mitchell (115), John Snell (141) and John Sacco (158).

The Purple Eagles also had Bill Swan (138), Joe Walls (148) and Eric Knaak (180) all earn second place honors.

In compiling the 7-0 duel match record the Purple Eagles defeated Newfane 57-3, Starpoint 57-4, Medina 53-12, Barker 52-3, Akron 45-12, Wilson 45-14 and Roy-Hart 35-18.

The match against Roy-Hart was the highlight of the regular season as the Purple Eagles and Rams both brought undefeated 4-0 records into the match.

Sparked by a pin by Hillman, a major decision win by Spencer and a major decision win by Mitchell, Albion jumped out to an early 18-4 lead which the Purple Eagles never relinquished.

Roy-Hart did close the gap to five at 18-13 after a pin by Vince Roselli and a decision win by Mike Lang but the Rams would get no closer.

Decision wins by Bill Swan, Snell and Sacco vaulted Albion out to a 29-13 lead with just three bouts to go and a decision win by John Pahuta then put a lock on the victory.