Amsterdam’s season-long quest to find the best available competition continued Saturday, with the Rams going 4-0 in the North/South Duals at Saratoga Springs High School.
The victories not only meant the Rams shared team honors with 4-0 Shenendehowa, but it also put them over 20 wins for the season and gave coach Ken Benton his 200th victory.
“I’m fortunate to have had a lot of good kids, and a lot of good coaches,” said Benton, deflecting praise after the Rams beat Glens Falls 78-6, to complete their sweep of the North, comprised of four Foothills Council schools.
“It’s a nice milestone, and I’m proud of it, but I’m prouder of this team and the program.”
The Rams placed sixth at the tough Eastern States Classic last weekend, with John Paris winning the 160-pound division. Brian Benton and Giuseppi Lanzi were third and Rick DuFresne sixth.
Amsterdam showed it was more than a four-man team Saturday, giving an early sign that it was going to flex its muscles with a 48-23 over 2007 champion Queensbury in the opening round. The Rams also beat Hudson Falls and South Glens Falls.
“We came into this tournament wanting to win all four matches, but we also wanted to get some good individual matches,” said Benton. “We were able to accomplish both.”
This was Amsterdam’s first time in the North/South Duals.
“Last weekend was a tough tournament,” said Benton. “Every match was a battle. We knew this was going to be tough, too.
“The kids really rose to the occasion, really wrestled well.”
DuFresne’s pin at 119 got the Rams rolling against Queensbury. They had little trouble in beating South Glens Falls, 66-18, and took Hudson Falls, 51-29, in the third round.
“We knew this was going to be a good group,” Benton said. “This group all started as pee wees, and grew up together in the sport.
“They all pick each other up. When one of them is on the mat, the others are all focused on that match, pulling for their teammate.”
Benton also tried to get his wrestlers matched up with the opponents’ best, whenever possible.
“I don’t understand wanting to protect a kid’s [future] seeding at something like this,” he said. “We wanted to use this as another chance to match our best against other teams’ best.”
Amsterdam — which has added Section IV’s Johnson City to its schedule (Jan. 31) after Mount Anthony of Bennington, Vt. pulled out of a scheduled dual — futher bolstered its chances of being the top team in the section. The Rams and Shenendehowa could be the top two seeds for the Feb. 2 Section II Duals.
“We’re not looking that far ahead,” said Benton. “But I’m proud that the kids beat two real quality teams in Queensbury and Hudson Falls.”
Shenendehowa also had little trouble in going 4-0. The Plainsmen lost only seven of their 60 bouts, and were only pinned twice.
With a match at fellow Suburban Council unbeaten Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake set for Tuesday, Plainsmen coach Rob Weeks was more than pleased with his team’s effort.
“This comes at a tough time in the schedule for us, with the Eastern States last weekend and Burnt Hills on Tuesday,” he said. “But I would be more concerned if we had not looked sharp today.”
Former state champ Austin Meys and reigning state champ Hunter Meys both remained unbeaten for Shen, with Hunter Meys picking up his 200th varsity pin to finish the day.
Columbia. 1-2 at the Virginia Duals last weekend, went 2-2 Saturday, but the losses to Queensbury and Hudson Falls were by a combined seven points.
“We could have been 4-0, but I thought we wrestled very well for the most part,” said Blue Devils coach Anthony Servidone. “We were one match away from winning in our two losses.”
Blue Devils senior Zach Crain broke the school record for career wins, finishing the day 4-0 and pushing his varsity win total to 196.
Included in that was a tough win over Nick Lashway of Glens Falls, in which Crain worked hard to get a reversal late in the match to break a 4-4 tie before eventually pinning in the closing seconds.
“That’s what you’re looking for in tournaments like this,” said Servidone. “I want Zach and the other kids we think have shots at winning sectionals see some good competition.”
Saratoga Springs’ coach Anthony Bellai used the even as an indicator of the progress his young team has made.
“I thought we did all right,” said the former state champ. “This tournament always gives us a good idea of where we stand, with sectionals coming up.”
Duanesburg had five individual champions in winning the team title in this round-robin style event.
Amy Whitbeck (112), Brian Borst (119), Randy White (130), Wes Coppolo (152) and Nick Gwiazdowski (160) were first in their respective weight classes, with Whitbeck and White becoming the fith and sixth members of the Eagles’ lineup to reach 100 wins.
Whitbeck is the first female in the state to hit that number.
Curt Rowley (96), Matt White (145) and David Larson (171) were all second for Duanesburg, with Evan Borst (125), Tyler Waldron (130), Ben Lynch (135) and Dana Mesick (189) all third.
J.J. Goblet and Matt Davis of tournament host Schoharie/Middleburgh were named the most outstanding wrestlers after winning the 130 and 160-pound classes, respectively.
Schoharie/Middleburgh also had a champion at 96 pounds in Lucas Howland. Voorheesville had champions in Colton Parrott (103) and Taylor Treadgold (112), and Robert Merchant of Cobleskill-Richmondville was best at 140.
Schoharie/Middleburgh was the top local team, placing third behind Saranac and titlist Copenhagen.
Whitehall’s Curt Thompson (112) and Jedd Mason (215) secured individual championships, and the Railroaders placed fourth among the teams with 166 points at Burlington, Vt.
Thompson was tabbed the most outstanding wrestler. Whitehall had runner-ups in Ty White (96),
Travis Beayon (145) and Grant Gebo (189), while Zack Diekel (135) took third and John Diekel (103) placed fourth.
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