Hoosick Falls wins first Section II wrestling championship
QUEENSBURY, N.Y. -- The Hoosick Falls Central School wrestling team had a goal at the beginning of the season -- to win the sectional championship.
On the strength of four finalists, the Panthers won the first Section II, Division II title in school history on Sunday.
At 182 pounds, senior Brad Burns won by injury default over Salem's Tyler Morris. Morris, undefeated this season and fourth in the state last year, battled into overtime, with each man scoring an escape during regulation. In overtime, Morris dove for Burns, but injured his shoulder, an knock left over from football.
"He shot on me and we were close to out of bounds," Burns said. "I spun and I didn't know he was hurt until I turned around. I felt bad for him."
But the win marked Burns' third straight sectional championship and clinched the team title for the Panthers, 127-123.5, over Duanesburg. Corinth was third with 113.5 points. With one Duanesburg wrestler left after Burns - Jeff Senecal, who won by disqualification at 195 - it was a must-win match for the Panthers.
A loss would have meant a Duanesburg championship by half a point.
"Our goal has always been to win the team title; we had some big wins to get us there," Burns said.
"We were second last year and we've always said we want to go one step higher," said Hoosick Falls coach Landon Nelson, who was named the Division II coach of the year earlier in the night. "We took every step to get there."
At 152 pounds, Bryan Sherman fell 8-7 to No. 1 seed Connor Lawrence from Duanesburg, cutting the lead to just 3.5 points.
Lawrence, now 43-2 on the season, was the aggressor, hitting single leg and double leg takedowns to gain the advantage. In the third period, down 6-4, Sherman went for the shot and connected, scoring a takedown of his own to tie the match at 6-6. But with 41 seconds left, Lawrence scored again, then held off the senior to win the championship. Sherman lost only his fifth match of the season, and now waits to see if he will get one of the four wildcard spots.
Hoosick Falls did have a champion early on in top-seeded Luis Weierbach at 106 pounds. Weierbach won his third straight sectional crown, pinning Galway's Nico Riccio in 2 minutes, 54 seconds.
"Individually, it's a great feeling," Weierbach said. "I'm setting school records and sectional records. It shows that all the hours we put in really pay off."
In the Class C championship a week ago, Weierbach, now 32-0 on the season, pinned the second-seed Riccio in the first period.
"I avoided his [offense] and when I got on top [in the second], I was confident with my legs to turn and pin," Weierbach said. "It's a great sense of accomplishment and to represent Hoosick Falls is really fulfilling.
At 113 pounds, freshman Nolan Foster was a bit overmatched against Albany Academy's Matt Morris. Morris, now 41-1 this season, scored a takedown immediately off the whistle and poured it on, eventually scoring a technical fall in 2:47.
Six Panthers reached the semifinals, the most in Division II, and Hoosick led by 24 points during the wrestleback rounds.
After a technical fall against Duanesburg's Shane Barberis in the quarterfinals, Weierbach continued his perfect season with a pin over Rensselaer's Kyle Miano in 3 minutes, 54 seconds.
Foster, seeded eighth coming into the tournament, was one of the more surprising finalists. After starting his day with a pin of Cohoes' Sam Hill, he took on the second seed in Galway's Jordan Sartin. In a back-and-forth quarterfinal, Foster tied the match late at 6-6 to take it to overtime. Neither scored in the sudden victory period, and in the second OT, Sartin scored to take a 7-6 advantage. In the third extra session, Foster scored a takedown and rode out the rest of the time for an 8-6 win.
Then in the semifinal against Cobleskill-Richmondville's Brandon Merchant, Foster seemed to be beaten but he was able to turn Merchant on his back and earn the fall.
Sherman, the third seed at 152, scored a dominating major decision in his quarterfinal match over Greenville's Josh McIlhenny, 12-2, then won in overtime over Schalmont's Anthony Paturso, 5-3, scoring the winning takedown with 19 seconds left in the sudden victory period.
At 170, Billy Pine earned a 10-8 win in the quarterfinals against Glens Falls' Matt Tocci, but suffered an injury and was forced to default to Hudson Falls' Geno Brancati in the semifinal.
Brad Burns scored a pin in his quarterfinal against Schoharie's Chris DelRocco, then reached the final after a dominating 18-3 technical fall in the semifinal against Ravena's Brandon Boomhower
Colby Davendonis at 132 pounds, Mike Matatt at 138 and Garrett Wright at 160 reached the consolation semifinals, trying to wrestle back for third.
Davendonis lost a heart-breaking semifinal against Corinth's Ryan Matuszak, 4-3, unable to score the tying point in the final seconds, but came all the way back for third, beating Duanesburg's Austin Lown for the second time in the tournament.
Matuszak won the weight class with a first-period pin.
Wright fell in the quarterfinals to Galway's Ryan Pappalau, but made it back to fifth after topping Pappalau in the 5th-6th match.
"I wanted to help my team get the [team] points," Wright said.
In first-round matches, Tyler Randall fell to Hudson Falls' Mike Kelly at 126 and Shane Barss was pinned in the first period by Duanesburg's Jeff Senecal.
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