Monday February 25, 2013

ANDREW SANTILLO

Troy Rrecord

ALBANY -- Luis Weierbach saved his best for Saturday.

The Hoosick Falls Central School junior finished the season by leaping into his coach’s arms with his final goal attained -- a New York state championship.

Weierbach brings home the first wrestling state title in school history and finishes the year 37-0.

"First of all, I’d like to thank my coaches, my community, my family, my teammates, everyone that has helped me get here," he said. "I wouldn’t be here without them."

Weierbach defeated Danny Fox (Dolgeville - Section III) by a 3-1 decision to earn the state title at 106 pounds.

"He’s a great kid -- great student and he deserves everything he’s put into it," said Hoosick Falls coach Landon Nelson.

Weierbach placed fifth last year, as a sophomore, and has reached the state tournament all three years of high school. To be the first Panthers wrestler to win a state title was still something Weierbach was trying to wrap his head around.

"For me to be able to do this, it’s so humbling," he said.

Weierbach was Section II’s only Division II (small school) state champion.

"I’ve been rooting for him the whole time and seeing him win is amazing," said teammate Brad Burns, who wrestled back to finish third in the 182-pound weight class.

Weierbach was confident throughout the two-day tournament, saying no one would beat him after his semifinal win.

"You kind of have to have that attitude," said Nelson.

Weierbach had a lot of support from Hoosick Falls fanbase.

"Hoosick Falls, it doesn’t matter what sport, we always bring a crowd," said Burns.

After losing in Friday’s quarterfinals, in overtime, Burns finished off his high school career in a positive way on Saturday.

"He really turned it on today," Nelson said. "After his first match, he was wrestling the best I’ve see him perform in all the years I’ve had him as a coach. He definitely wanted to end, as a Hoosick Falls wrestler, within the top three."

Weierbach downed Brad Bihler (Maple Grove - VI), earlier on Saturday, to reach the championship round. It was a tough 2-0 semifinal decision, but Weierbach felt like he was in control the whole way.

"At this point, a win is a win," he said.

Bihler didn’t go easily and it took a total effort to get past the semifinals for Weierbach.

"(Bihler) was good in every position," Nelson said. "Luis just dug a little deeper and came out with a win."

Reaching the state championship was the goal for Weierbach, who finished fifth in 2012.

"It’s really the ultimate peak I guess," said Nelson.

Winning a state title is an accomplishment no one can take away and a feeling that Weierbach will never forget.

"I don’t know if I’m feeling it yet," he said.