Crusader wrestlers succumb to Warriors in the Brawl for the Belt

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  • Photos by William Dimmit On Jan. 31, the Crusaders took on the Warriors of Minisink Valley in their annual Brawl for the Belt.

  • David Strauss tackles his opponent before pinning him.

  • Crusader fans erupt as Richard Toledo wins a close 7-6 decision at the buzzer.

  • Undefeated Marco Vespa records a pin in 1:30 at 126 lbs.

  • Joe McGinty stacks his man up before pining him in 3:31.

CENTRAL VALLEY — On Thursday night, Jan. 31, the Crusaders hosted the Minisink Valley Warriors in their annual Brawl for the Belt.

The two premier wrestling programs in Orange County have battled for what looks like a heavy weight boxing belt for the past two years with each team having taken possession of the belt once.

Thursday's match started at the 182 lbs. weight class, where the Warriors took a 6-0 lead. But the Crusaders fought right back when Sam Santander won a Tech-Fall decision 15-0 at 195 lbs.

Crusader David Strauss at 220 lbs. put the team up 11-6 when he pinned his opponent in 2:34 of their match.

The Warriors won a close decision at 285 lbs. and the score stood at 11-9 for the Crusaders.

Richard Toledo at 99 lbs. increased the team's lead when edged out his opponent at the buzzer 7-6 and the Crusaders took a 14-9 lead.

But the Warriors stormed back and took 21-14 lead by sweeping the next three weight classes.

Crusader Marco Vespa at 126 lbs. cut the Warriors' lead down to one when he recorded a pin in 1:30.

The Warriors then showed why their top ranking is well deserved this year as they recorded pins three pins and one decision over the last six matches.

Only Crusaders Joe McGinty's pin at 3:31 of his 145 lbs. match and Steven Felice's 12-8 decision at 170 lbs. slowed the Warriors down.

The Warriors took the Brawl for the Belt this year 42-29 and will take the belt back to Minisink Valley where the Crusaders will have to and get it next year.

The Crusaders will be in action Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8 and 9, as they host the Section 9 wrestling tournament.

- William Dimmit

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