Sawyer, Cummings win sectional crowns
He couldn't believe what happened on Saturday at the Section II wrestling championships at the Cool Insuring Arena, even though he was the one who did it.
The No. 4 seed at heavyweight, Sawyer upset No. 1 Gary Hill of Warrensburg in the semifinal and the No. 3 seed, Coxsackie-Athens' Marc Martinez, in the final to punch his ticket to the New York state tournament in two weeks at the Times Union Center.
"I'm shocked to see that Craig said he was shocked," said Hoosick Falls coach Landon Nelson. "
Sawyer was smooth throughout the tournament, starting with a quarterfinal win over Tamarac's Brad Bugbee, someone he was seeing for the third time.
Both wrestlers won during the regular season, but Sawyer had the upper hand on Saturday, getting an early takedown and near fall points to take a lead and then finish off an 8-1 win to move on to the semifinals.
In the semifinals against Hill, Sawyer was holding his own against the larger Warrensburg senior. Sawyer trailed 1-0 going into the third period after Hill scored an escape, but the Panther senior escaped himself in the first seconds of the final period and in the scramble, Hill injured his leg, causing a stoppage.
Hill used most of his injury time but remained in the match, though visibly pained. Seconds later, Sawyer took down Hill, who crumpled in pain and made the universal sign to stop the match, giving Sawyer a win by default and a shot at a sectional championship.
"I thought had a chance to win, I had to wrestle smart," Sawyer said. "Nobody wants to get a win because [of injury], but it happens. The takedown was key."
Sawyer continues a line of now eight years in a row that a Hoosick Falls wrestler has won a sectional title, going back to 2011.
"Our administrators give us the opportunity to practice and get better," Nelson said. "Our coaching staff is very broad, lots of different guys, you have a lot of kids with lots of experience before they get to the varsity level. And it's the mentality of the kids, they see a long tradition of championships for wrestling in Hoosick Falls and we want to keep it going."
Nelson said Sawyer's offseason really paid off.
"You can't be a sectional champ and not wrestle in the offseason. He's been wrestling at the Catamount Club during the summer," Nelson said.
Salem-Cambridge senior Zac Cummings became the first wrestler for the combined team to win a sectional title as he scored in the final seconds to secure a 3-2 win over the No. 3 seed, Watervliet's Connor Lyons.
He was tied at 2-2 with time running out in regulation when Lyons was called for a locked hands penalty with a few seconds left to give Cummings the 3-2 victory.
Cummings beat Hoosick Falls' Gabe Fisher in the semifinal, 5-1, scoring a late takedown to secure the victory.
"We had him wrestle so much competition this year, he went to Eastern States," said Salem-Cambridge coach Frank Fronhofer II. "He's been working toward this for years."
Fisher ended up fourth at 113. After his loss to Cummings, he wrestled all the way back to the podium with a win over Marquise Johnson from Fonda-Johnstown. In the third-place match, he led 1-0 until the final seconds of the match against Ravena's Brandon Mogul when Mogul escaped to tie it and go to sudden victory. In the extra period, Mogul scored a takedown with 33 seconds left to win 3-1.
Matthew Laporte lost to Daniel Motta from Mechanicville-Stillwater in the semifinals, 3-2, as Motta scored a takedown with two seconds left to stun the Panthers' junior, a two-time sectional champion.
In the fifth-place match, Laporte won by fall in the second period.
Logan Powers got a tough draw at 132, facing Laporte, who pinned him in the quarterfinals. Powers lost to Nic Reese from Greenville in the consolations.
For Salem-Cambridge, David McFarland wrestled back for third with a pin in the consolation semis and in the third place match over Warrensburg's Chris Simpson.
Tyler Linendoll at 138 pounds and Hunter Day at 160 both were knocked out in the consolation semifinals, Linendoll a 3-0 loss against Schuylerville's Xavier Jones and Day by pin to Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George's Cody York.
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