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Starpoint's Elson steps up to land season-changing win

Starpoint High School sophomore Reese Elson had wrestled Williamsville East standout Bill Brady in the past and hadn’t had much success.

But most of those matches were competitive, and Elson knew he had it in him to beat Brady, who is recognized as one of the best 220 pounders in the area.

When Williamsville East paid a visit to Starpoint for an ECIC-II dual meet on Jan. 8, Elson had another crack at his rival. But after the first period, Brady led 5-0 and it looked like Elson was going to have to wait another day.

From Elson’s perspective, however, it was far from over. He made his move in the second period, put Brady on his back and brought the Starpoint fans to their feet with a surprising pin.

“I was just thinking, ‘Don’t give up,’” Elson said. “I knew I had to keep trying, keep pushing. It was a big goal of mine to beat him, I’ve been wrestling him the past two years and he’s really good.”

Elson has steadily improved this season, and the Spartans knew he could grapple with the best. And on that early January evening, he proved it.

“That kid is real tough; Bill Brady is one of the top-ranked wrestlers in Western New York,” Spartans’ coach Justin Daugherty. “Reese has wrestled him a few times and he’s been close. But I was real happy with him getting six (points). He had a couple opportunities earlier in that match. But I’m really happy with the way he’s been wrestling.”

The pin was also the second of the day for the Elson family. His brother, Rion, had earlier pinned his East opponent in what ended up a 57-23 dual meet win for Starpoint.

And although Reese Elson trailed by five points after the first period, it wasn’t like he has getting dominated. In fact, he nearly scored an early takedown but the wrestlers came down out of bounds. Brady took control late in the period, putting Elson on his back.

Maybe last year, it would have been too much for Elson to overcome. This year is a different story.

“I improved a lot from last year,” Elson said. “I’m trying a lot harder, not giving up, trying more in the first.”

As the postseason approaches, Elson will have his work cut out for him. But the best part for the Spartans is that they get him for two more seasons after this one — and Elson plans on getting even better.

“I’m hoping to go to sectionals and wrestle well, being just a sophomore,” Elson said. “And I plan on improving even more in the offseason, going to some more camps, stepping up a lot as a junior next year and making a big difference. Hopefully, I can be one of the best in my weight class.”

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