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Ken East grapplers look to thrive in system of second-year head coach

If you push it to the limit anything can happen.

The Kenmore East Bulldogs wrestling team experienced that first-hand as it took third place in the Warrior Duals on Nov. 30-Dec. 1 that were held at Tonawanda High School.

Led by Preston Smith, Kurt McGowan and tri-captain Aaron Barraclough, all of whom went 7-0 in the eight-team tournament, the Bulldogs went 5-2.

The Bulldogs defeated Amherst, Wilson, Lackawanna, Lydonville and host Tonawanda.

The two losses were to unbeaten tournament champion Fairport of Section V, and a down to the last match battle for second place with Newfane.

Along with Barraclough, the Bulldogs will look to fellow captains Sam Koford and Joe Dowdell to set the tone of hard work.

Dowdell said he feels having high expectations every time they step onto the mat is a result of the team getting better from the top down.

“We have a change in leadership and a lot of kids are taking it a lot more serious,” Dowdell said. “It’s a very serious environment and (junior varsity coach Sean) Leaderstorf is more involved.”

Cody Orcutt, Austin Vendetta, Ben Ireland, Alex Barraclough and Brandon Jamieson will also be huge for the Bulldogs as they try to make an impact in the Niagara Frontier League.

In year two with coach Joe Korniczky, the Bulldogs also have a greater understanding of his philosophy and demands.

“I think it’s a lot better. It’s a lot more beneficial because we know his style more,” Koford said.

“He knows us a lot better. Last year, coming in, he didn’t know any of us really,” he added. “Now he also has some younger guys coming up that are going to be with him all four years.”

Returning at 285 pounds, the somewhat soft spoken Aaron Barraclough is the gentle giant of the team. But make no mistake, his drive and intensity will keep everyone on their toes.

“I usually don’t say much,” Barraclough said. “I just lead by example. You don’t have to talk a lot to be a leader.”

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