Leading off today:
The year is only six days old, so it's a wee bit early to be handing out "Best of 2019" awards, but we have a leader in the clubhouse in the category of outstanding sportsmanship moments.
Marek Bush, a sophomore and defending state wrestling champion for Central Valley Academy, received a standing ovation Saturday night at the 44th annual Leo Sammon Memorial Tournament for an incredible gesture during the 126-pound file against Logan Patterson of Indian River, turning down a forfeit that would have wiped out an all-but-certain loss.
Here's what transpired according to veteran reporter Perry Novak:
Patterson was in command of their final, leading 7-0 with just over 30 seconds to go when he suffered an elbow injury while trying to keep Bush on the mat. With injury time winding down, it became apparent Patterson wasn't going to be able to continue and would have to default.
But while Patterson was being checked out, Bush was having a conversation with his father and coach, Bob Bush. They formulated quite the plot twist.
Rather than allowing Patterson to default, Bush simply stayed motionless on the mat on his belly for the last 30 seconds of the match so Patterson could ride out the remaining 30 seconds and claim the crown.
It took a few seconds after the match's resumption, but the crowd caught on to what Bush was doing. Within a matter of moments, the more than 500 spectators were on the feet to give the CVA standout a long ovation.
Novak said that couldn't recall a similar gesture and moment in 50 years of being involved in the sport.
More wrestling: The Section 5 Division I dual meet tournament -- and we use that term loosely -- ended with Hilton defeating Spencerport 43-24 for a guaranteed berth in the NYSPHSAA championships later this month.
Sammy DePrez, the Cadets' 195-pound standout, pinned Silas Egenlauf just 19 seconds into their match for his 200th career victory and an insurmountable 37-24 lead.
He could have been at 201 or 202 by the end of the day, but Hilton vs. Spencerport was a one-and-done matchup as three other teams that initially were expected to compete in the tournament pulled out.
"Teams were banged up," sectional wrestling coordinator Bill Hadsell said. "We'll probably have to take a look at the format."
• Falconer won the team title for the second time in three years with 205.5 points, edging Niagara-Wheatfield (181) and Niagara Falls (178), at the Niagara Frontier Wrestling Officials Association Classic.
The NFWOA announced the establishment of the Linda Knuutila Award to honor the memory of the woman who coordinated the tournament, which began in 1982, for many years. Knuutila died Dec. 20.