Spartans go after elusive Class B wrestling title
So far, the team concept has worked well for Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.
Today, Steve Jones’ Suburban Council champions will try to add a Class B title to their impressive season resume.
“Burnt Hills hasn’t won a Class B championship in a while,” said senior 132-pounder Nolan Hale. “We’ve been placing in the top three. This year, we want to win it.”
The Class B event at Mohonasen is one of five tournaments running today that will determine the field for next weekend’s Division I and II state qualifiers, scheduled for the Glens Falls Civic Center. The top six finishers in each weight class at both the Class B and Class A (at Niskayuna) tournaments move on.
The top four from the Class CC (Schalmont), C (Hoosick Falls) and D (Warrensburg) events will compose the 12-man brackets for the small school state qualifier.
Burnt Hills — second the past two years — will be trying to unseat Queensbury, which has won the last three years. Amsterdam took the team title in 2008 and 2009.
Burnt Hills went 8-0 in the league and 27-4 in all duals this season, getting contributions from each of the 15 weight classes.
“All season, we’ve wrestled well,” said senior 195-pounder Race Viedt. “It’s a little different when you get to this point in the season, because you also went to get to the sectional and states.
“You want to get as many to the Civic Center as possible. If you get a lot that make it, you’ll do well as a team.”
Jake Ashcraft also has set a Class B title as a goal, both for himself and the team.
“This is the first time in 13 years that we’ve won the Suburban Council,” said the sophomore, one of two returning champs on the Burnt Hills roster. “I think everyone has gotten confidence from what we’ve done this season.”
Junior Joey Butler is Burnt Hills’ other returning champ.
Amsterdam’s Brandon Lapi is looking for his fourth title.
Shenendehowa is looking to extend its run of Class A titles to eight, led by state third-place finishers Nick Kelley (138) and David Almaviva (145). Corey Ali (113), Kevin Parker (120) and Levi Ashley (195) also won titles a year ago.
Columbia, second the last two years, has returning champions in Kyle Greene (132) and Angelo Kress (152), plus state finalist El Shaddai VanHoesen (285).
Schalmont is hoping to take a little sting out of losing the Colonial Council title to Cobleskill-Richmondville at the Class CC event.
“We’ve been stressing, especially to the younger kids, that every match is important,” said Sabres coach Brian Faulisi. “They may not even win a match, but if they keep from getting pinned, or giving up bonus points, that could make a difference.”
Two-time state qualifier Nick Gallo (160), two-time Class B champ Anthony Paturso (152) and 2012 99-pound “CC” winner Alex Lambert lead the Sabres.
Cobleskill-Richmondville has gotten great seasons from 2012 “CC” winners Mike Green (26-1) and Derrick Knight (33-5), who give the Bulldogs a tough 1-2 punch at 170 and 182.
Nick Rehberg (152), a returning finalist, returned from injury this week to further the lineup for coach Justin Kimball.
Duanesburg has won three of the last five Class D events. Coach Joe Bena has another deep, talented lineup.
“We’ve got guys in every weight class that can score points,” said Bena, whose Western Athletic Conference champions are solid from 145 up with Andrew Mollevik, Connor Lawrence, Henry Holmes, Colin Kenyon, Jeff Senecal, Jacob Karandy and Chas Mueller. Lawrence, a sophomore, is a two-time “D” winner.
“The Class D’s always have tough people. It’s never easy,” said Bena. “Some of those teams have great wrestling traditions.”
Two of those, Whitehall and Salem, bring back some of the most successful Class D wrestlers.
Salem’s Carter Merecki is looking for his fourth championship, and Tyler Morris is a returning state place finisher.
Whitehall senior John Diekel has 207 career wins and four straight Class D titles, and Al Aubin is a three-time winner.
Unbeaten two-time champs Luis Weierbach and Brad Burns and a host of other returning place finishers should keep the host Panthers at or near the top of the Class C team race.
Galway would like to knock the Panthers from the top spot after finishing second in 2012.
“Last year, maybe I was a little surprised,” said Eagles coach Mike Sartin. “But we’ve got a lot of guys wrestling really well this year.”
Steve Culbert is Galway’s only returning champ, but Nico Riccio, Jay Oakes and Ryan Pappalau reached the finals a year ago.