The Post-Journal

Conti Has Made More Than His Fredonia Team Better

Competition’s greatest value is that it raises the level of effort and determination among those competing and no one has provided more – or better – competition for area wrestling than Alex Conti and his Fredonia Hillbillies.

“Alex has done a great job of putting together a program that others are always trying to model,” Southwestern coach Mark Hetrick said. “Since he’s been the coach there he’s brought up the level of every other team because we are trying to compete with him.”

Trying to compete, but mostly unable, the season was, as Falconer head coach P.J. Wendel noted earlier in the year, a race for second place.

This was Conti’s best season yet as a head coach and for that he has been named the Post-Journal Coach of the Year.

This is the second time that Conti has won the award since 2000 and the third time a Fredonia coach- his assistant, Greg Betts, at Conti’s urging, was named Coach of the Year for the 2006-2007 season- has won the award in the past decade.

This year, four of Conti’s wrestlers were named to the Post Journal All-Star team, twice the number of any other area school. In all, Conti has coached six Post-Journal Wrestlers of the Year since 2000-2001 season, far and away the most of any head coach in the area.

But what stands out is that the Hillbillies, for the first time in the history of Section 6, finished the season as the top-ranked small school in the state according to the New York State Sportswriters Association after compiling a perfect 24-0 record—the only school to go undefeated in the small school rankings.

It was the second-straight year that Conti has led his team to an undefeated season.

Over the past two seasons, the Hillbillies won-loss record is an incredible 37-0, over the past three it’s an enviable 60-4.

Fredonia had flirted with the section’s first-ever No. 1 ranking twice before, finishing second in the 2001-2002 and 2006-2007 seasons before finally setting the mark this year.

Hetrick, for his part, doesn’t see any other schools taking Fredonia’s place at the top anytime soon.

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