Oh, brother: Shenendehowa siblings land wrestling titles

Two sets of Shenendehowa brothers win Section II wrestling championships and earn berths in the Divi
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The curtain came down on a long-running Shenendehowa brother act in Section II wrestling Saturday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

And the Meys brothers both won, too, though not in their customary manner.

For the second time in as many years, Shenendehowa will send two sets of brothers to the state wrestling tournament, as senior T.J. Popolizio and younger brother Luke won their weight classes at the Section II Wrestling Championships, joining the nationally ranked siblings Austin and Hunter Meys. Shenendehowa saw five athletes win individual titles as the Plainsmen defended the Division I team title.

Duanesburg edged Hudson Falls for the Division II (small school)

title, and will send three wrestlers to the state tourney — four-time champ Brian Borst and first-timers Randy White and David Larson.

Junior Juliano Pabon made it five champs for Shenendehowa when he won the 112-pound title.

“This has been such a great team, and we’ve had a great season,” said T.J. Popolizio, who pinned Queensbury’s Russell Radigan in the 119

final for his second straight title and the third of his varsity career. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

The Popolzios and Meyses have won 13 Section II titles among them — the Meys brothers have four each, T.J. Popolizio owns three and Luke Popolizio is a two-time champ. Austin Meys and Luke Popolizio can add to the total next year.

While the Popolizios had little trouble in the final — Luke downed LaSalle’s Connor Sutton, 9-3, in the 103 final — the Meys brothers both had to go into the third per­iod. Hunter Meys nearly had his two-year unbeaten string end. The Boston University-bound senior had to fight off his back to stave off the upset bid of Queensbury’s Jared Myhrberg in what finished as an 8-6 win.

“It wasn’t the best way to win,” noted Meys, unbeaten since an overtime loss to two-time state champ Michael Chaires in the 152 finals two years ago. “I just had to fight off my back.”

His match followed his brother’s 5:07 technical fall over Saratoga Springs senior Adam Winnie.

Pabon’s win was remarkable in that he wasn’t even on the team last year, due to poor grades.

“Every day now, I go home and get my homework done, go to my teachers if I need extra help,” said Pabon. “I just wanted to be able to wrestle.”

“He’s really turned things around,” said Popolizio. “Having him makes us strong from 96 right through 125.”

Amsterdam senior Brian Benton made it three straight titles as he finished the tournament with a

12-6 win over Brendan McKeown of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake at 130.

“I remember when I was a seventh and eighth-grader, getting pounded on by the big name kids,” said Benton, who was third in the state last year and reached 50 wins for the second straight season. “Now, it seems like it’s the Old West, and everyone is shooting at me.”

Classmate Rob Morey (152) will join Benton at the states.

LaSalle teammates Zach Clemente (140) and Ken Altarac (285) repeated as Division I champs, as did Queensbury’s Tim Elbert (215). Matt Cubillos of Guilderland (125), Alex Steciuk of Ballston Spa (160), Paul Martin of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (145) and Columbia’s Zach Crain (135) moved up a spot from last year’s runner-up showings.

Crain, who won a title as an eighth-grader, ended a frustrating run of three straight second-place finishes.

“I couldn’t imagine another second-place,” said Crain, who got his 213th varsity win by avenging his lone loss of the season with a second-period pin of Amsterdam soph Giuseppi Lanzi. “This was my last chance, and it had to happen.”

Martin pinned top-seeded Eliah Golding of Colonie for his first Section II title.

“That’s how I wrestle,” he said. “I like to go out and get pins.”

Steciuk is the winningest wrestler in Ballston Spa history. He advanced to the state tourney as a wild card last year, but didn’t want to leave anything to chance in his senior year.

“I wanted to to make sure,” he said after taking Amsterdam’s John Paris, 7-3, in the final.

“I knew I could probably go as a wild card, but I didn’t want that.”

Duanesburg’s Dave Larson had to endure a tough last-second loss in the Division II finals last year, and sat home when the third-place finisher got a wild-card bid.

“I was upset,” said the senior, who scored late to beat Mike Welcome of Cohoes in the D-II 171 final. “I wasn’t upset at the wrestlers, but the situation definitely motivated me.”

Larson credited the Eagles schedule as a key.

“We go to so many tournaments where we’re in close matches,” he said. “That helps in matches like this. I waited until I had a chance to hit my move.”

While Borst’s title was expected, White’s championship at 130 helped make up for loss of second-seeded Dana Mesick in the 189 semis, and two-time champ Amy Whitbeck’s loss in the same round.

“We’re a close team,” said White. “I was almost as disappointed when my brother [Matt] lost [in the 145 quarterfinals] as I am happy that I won.”

Cobleskill-Richmondville’s Robert Merchant repeated as a D-II champ, with his second tough win over Schalmont sophomore Vincent Gallo.

“The big thing that helped me was I had the experience of winning last year, and I’m a senior,” Merchant said. “That experience last year helps, because I know how to control situations in the match. I don’t have to go for big moves.”

Johnstown junior Mark Gillen was a spectator the last two years, missing weight as a freshman and suffering a knee injury late last season. That made his 125-pound title more special.

“This has always been one of my goals, to win a Section II championship,” said Gillen, who did not allow a point in his three matches. “I set that goal of not giving up a point, but I also didn’t want to have it take away from my offense.”

The Sir Bills got a second winner when Louis Emden won at 189.

Aaron Barber went one up on Ravena’s Cody Legg in their personal battle in this event, reversing last year’s result and giving Barber his second Section II title.

Galway’s Jonn Gochenour was denied a second title when he lost to Whitehall’s Zach Diekel in the 135 final.

DIVISION I

Team scoring (top 10) — Shenendehowa 1955.5, Amsterdam 160, Queensbury 141, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 136, LaSalle 124, Ballston Spa 117, Colonie 93.5, Guilderland 85.5, Columbia 72.5, Saratoga Springs 69.5

Championship matches

96 – Jeff King (Averill Park) dec. Nick Kelley (Shenendehowa), 10-4 ; 103 — Luke Popolizio (Shenendehowa) dec. Connor Sutton (LaSalle), 9-3; 112 — Juliano Pabon (Shenendehowa) dec. Jon Clemente (LaSalle), 5-1; 119 — T. J. Popolizio (Shenendedowa) pinned Russell Radigan (Queensbury), 5:01; 125 — Matt Cubillos (Guilderland) dec. Dan Riggi (Scotia-Glenville), 3-2; 130 — Brian Benton (Amsterdam) dec. Brenan McKeown (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake), 12-4; 135 — Zach Crain (Columbia) pinned Giuseppi Lanzi (Amsterdam), 3:45; 140 — Zach Clemente (LaSalle) dec. David Staulters (Ballston Spa), 18-6; 145 — Paul Martin (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) pinned Eliah Golding (Colonie), 1:03; 152 — Rob Morey (Amsterdam) dec. Adam Ostrander (Queensbury), 13-3; 160 — Alex Steciuk (Ballston Spa) dec. John Paris (Amsterdam), 7-3; 171 — Austin Meys (Shenendehowa) technical fall over Adam Winnie (Saratoga Springs), 15-0; 189 — Hunter Meys (Shenendehowa) dec. Jared Myhrberg (Queensbury), 8-6; 215 — Tim Elbert (Queensbury) dec. Spencer Miller (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake), 9-3; 285 — Ken Altarac (LaSalle) dec. Zeal McGrew (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake), 6-2

Third-place matches

96 — Nick DiCaprio (Schenectady) pinned Spencer Thomas (Ballston Spa), 3:49; 103 — John Belanger (Glens Falls) pinned Zach Hamell (Queensbury), 2:35; 112 — Mike Hewitt (Queensbury) dec. A.J. Rue (Saratoga Springs), 10-4; 119 — Jason Chudzinki (Colonie) pinned Rick DuFresne (Amsterdam), 6:45; 125 — Corey Rifenberick (LaSalle) dec. Eddie Davis (Saratoga Springs), 13-5; 130 — Nick Oligney (Lansingburgh) dec. Brian Latham (Columbia); 135 — Nick Lashway (Glens Falls) dec. Kyle Vuillaume (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake), 4-3; 140 — Kevin Selin (Niskayuna) dec. Eugene Sellie (Guilderland), 2-1; 145 — Cameron Staulters (Ballston Spa) dec. Dan Brickner (LaSalle), 1-0; 152 — Eric Simmons (Ballston Spa) dec. Josh Simmons (Colonie), 6-4; 160 — Josh Comer (Quenesbury) dec. Jimmy Neal (Glens Falls), 3-1 (OT); 171 — Dan McNamara (Glens Falls) dec. Chad McCray (Albany), 2-0; 189 — Jake Newcomb (Niskayuna) dec. Brandon Hunsdon (South Glens Falls), 12-3; 215 — A..J. Monin (Col­onie) dec. Dan Peyron (Shenendehowa), 3-2; 285 — Devan Van­Auken (Guilderland) pinned Andrew Jones (Schenectady), 4:21.

Fifth place matches

96 — Lisa Anson (Colonie) dec. Mark Hitchcock (Mohonasen), 6-4; 103 — Tyler Kessler (Bethlehem) dec. Evan Wallace (Columbia), 7-3; 112 — Travis Wolanski (Guilderland) dec. Toby Barnes (Ballston Spa), 5-0; 119 — Adam Hulett (Columbia) pinned Ben Clemente (LaSalle), 2:09; 125 — Dan Palmerino (Amsterdam) dec. Josh Vics (Schenectady), 9-2; 130 — Robert Romeo

(Guilderland) dec. Lamont Washington (Saratoga Springs), 9-2; 135 — Ryan Bartholomew (South Glens Falls) dec. Nick Altimari (Shenendehowa), 12-4; 140 — J.J. Anderson (Colonie) dec. Josh Cook (South Glens Falls), 8-2; 145 — Jestin Seays (Amsterdam) dec. Julian Santos (Shenendehowa), 5-4; 152 — Ryan Bellamy (Lansingburgh) pinned Ethan Wilson (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake), 4:29; 160 — Zach Mohan (Saratoga Springs) dec. Dan Barth (Bethlehem), 7-0; 171 — Josh Sawyer (Guilderland) dec. Mike Matrazzo (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake), 3-1; 189 — Andrew Purcell (Albany) pinned Orlando Pacheco (Amsterdam), 4:35; 215 — Van Huyben (Ballston Spa) pinned Aileem Penn (Albany), 2:38; 285 — Nate Brown (Averill Park) dec. Gary Chrys (Niskayuna), 4-1.

Semfinals

96 — Kelley pinned Anson, 1:55; King dec. Thomas, 12-2. 103 — L.Popolizio pinned Hamell, 1:36; Sutton dec. Belanger, 2-0. 112 — Pabon pinned Hewitt, 1:57; J.Clemente dec. Rue, 6-2. 119 — T.J. Pop­olizio dec. Chudzinski, 10-1; Radigan pinned DuFresne. 125 — Cubillos technical fall over Davis,

17-2; Riggi dec. Vics, 3-2. 130 — Benton technical fall over Latham, 18-3; Mc­Keown dec. Romeo, 10-9. 135 — Lanzi dec. Lashway,

13-6; Crain dec. Vuillaume, 6-3. 140 — Clem­ente technical fall Cook, 17-2; D.Staulters dec. Anderson, 1-0. 145 — Golding dec. Brickner, 4-2; Martin pinned Seays, 3:46. 152 — Ostrander dec. J.Simmons, 2-1; Mrey pinned Wilson, 1:20. 160 — Steciuk dec. Comer, 4-3; Paris dec. Neal, 8-3. 171 — A.Meys pinned McCray, 1:09; Winnie dec. McNamara, 7-2. 189 — H. Meys pinned Purcell, :39; Myhrberg pinned Newcomb, 4:29. 215 — Elbert dec. Monin, 12-4; Miller dec. Peyron, 9-2. 285 — Altarac dec. Jones, 5-1; McGrew pinned VanAuken, 7:47.

———

DIVISION II

Team scores (top 10) — Duanesburg 179.5, Hudson Falls 153, Whitehall 139, Schuylerville 111, Johnstown 97.5, Cohoes 79, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 76.5, Hoosick Falls 71, Warrensburg 70.5, Salem 64.

Championship matches

96 — Tyrel White (Whitehall) dec. Noah Valastro (Hudson Falls), 6-3; 103 — Sarah Anderson (Schuylerville) dec. Tom Fuller (Tamarac), 4-0; 112 — Curt Thompson (Whitehall) dec. Aaron Dudley (Whitehall), 12-7; 119 — Brian Borst (Duanesburg) pinned Kirk Harrington (Hudson Falls), 1:28; 125 — Mark Gillen (Johnstown) dec, Andy Lyman (Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk), 12-0;

130 — Randy White (Duanesburg) dec. Josh Rankin (Cohoes), 6-5; 135 — Zachary Diekel (Whitehall) dec. Jonn Gochenour (Galway), 9-7 (OT); 140 — Robert Merchant (Cobleskill-Richmondville) pinned Vincent Gallo (Schalmont), 4:54; 145 — David Adams (Salem) dec. Nate Cross (Hudson Falls),

3-2; 152 — Aaron Barber (Hudson Falls) dec. Cody Legg (Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk), 3-2; 160 — Ryan Black (Warrensburg) dec. Nick Gwiazdowski (Duanesburg), 10-; 171 — David Larson (Duanesburg) dec. Mike Welcome (Cohoes), 3-1; 189 — Louis Emden (Johnstown) dec. Greg Mollnow (Cohoes), 6-2; 215 — Jedd Mason (Whitehall) dec.

Logan Rock (Warrensburg), 4-2; 285 — Dan Ladd (Schuylerville) pinned Pat Owen

(Maple Hill), 1:27.

Third-place matches

96 — John Delaney (Watervliet) dec. Brendan Goldup (Schuylerville), 17-5; 103 — Sammy Shields (Schalmont) dec. Josh Peabody (Cambridge), 8-1; 112 — Amy Whibeck (Duanesburg) dec. Taylor Treadgold (Vooheesville), 4-2; 119 — James Baker (Corinth) technical fall over Tyler Delisle (Maple Hill), 15-0; 125 — Austin Padgett (Salem) dec. Evan Borst (Duanesburg), 3-2; 130 — Billy Chandler (Schalmont) dec. Jake Oswald (Tamarac), 3-2; 135 — Pat Marcel (Corinth dec. Wes Hotaling (Ravena-

Coeymans-Selkirk), 3-2; 140 — Joey Morrison (Johnstown) dec. Tyler Nicholson (Corinth), 10-7; 145 — Matt White (Duanesburg) dec. Josh Harrison (Mechanicville), 10-3; 152 — Wes Coppolo (Duanesburg) dec. David Kohls (Mechanicville), 7-0; 160 — Rocco Nicoletta (Ichabod Crane) dec. Chris Tommasino (Hoosick Falls), 13-2; 171 — Mike Magazu (Hoosick Falls) dec. Josh Stone (Schuylerville), 9-7; 189 — Jeremy Burns (Hoosick Falls) dec. Grant Gebo (Whitehall), 5-0; 215 — Zach Brady (Rensselaer) dec. Janse VanAlstine (Broadalbin-Perth), 3-2; 285 — Ron Daigle (Granville) pinned Derek Mollnow (Cohoes), 2:36.

Fifth-place matches

96 — Kody Shaw (Fonda-Fultonville) dec. Curt Rowley (Duanesburg), 4-0; 103 — Abby Roth (Warrensburg) pinned Ron Radley (Maple Hill), 2:46; 112 — Joey Persico (Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk) pinned Danny Rad­liff (Cobleskill-Richmondville), 1;37; 119 — Shaun Wroble (Broadalbin-Perth) technical fall Len Rosa (Schuylerville), 3:38; 125 — Chris Holt (Schuylerville) by forfeit over Kyle Ehntholt (Granville); 130 — Jordan Lane (Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk) dec. Eric Ripley (Whitehall), 3-1; 135 — Aaron Hamilton (Salem) pinned Sam Mabb (Schuylerville), 1:54; 140 — Steve Waite (Hudson Falls) dec. Chris Schilling (Maple Hill), 5-2; 145 — Joe Still (Watervliet) dec. Tyler Needham (Warrensburg), 13-4; 152 — Nate Lagoy (Whitehall) forfeit over Taylor Robichaud (Hoosick Falls); 160 — Kyle McKeighan

(Salem) pinned Nolan Diamond (Berne-Knox-Westerlo), 4:38; 171 — Tom Barber (Hudson Falls) dec. Craig Cook (Johnstown), 3-2; 189 — Jon Bucher (Hudson Falls) by forfeit Dana Mesick (Duanesburg); 215 — Jon-Paul Muller (Johnstown) dec. Ross Pardy (Granville), 5-4; 285 — P.J. Urban (Catskill) by forfeit over Tim Hammond (Hudson Falls).

Semifinals

96 — Valastro def. Delaney, 15-9; White dec. Shaw, 4-2. 103 — Anderson dec. Shields, 14-0; Fuller dec. Roth, 11-4. 112 — Thompson dec. Treadgold, 9-2; Dudley dec. Whitbeck, 8-4. 119 — B.Borst pinned Delisle, 3:17; Harrington dec. Baker, 9-3. 125 — Gillen pinned E.Borst, 3:13; Lyman dec. Ehntholt, 6-0. 130 — R.White dec. Chandler, 11-6; Rankin dec. Ripley, 6-2; 135 — Gochenour dec. Marcel, 11-4; Diekel dec. Hotaling, 13-1. 140 — Merchant dec. Nicholson, 8-4; Gallo dec. Morrison, 11-7. 145 — Cross dec. Still, 10-3; Adams dec. Harrison, 5-3. 152 — A.Barber pinned Kohls, 1:12; Legg dec. Coppolo, 5-4. 160 — Black technical fall over Nicoletta, 2:38; Gwiazdowski pinned Tommasino, 5:55. 171 — Larson technical fall over Stone, 17-1; Welcome dec. T.Barber, 3-2 (OT). 189 — Emden pinned Burns, 3:24; Mollnow dec. Mesick, 1-0. 215 — Mason pinned Brady, 5:34; Rock dec. VanAlstine, 5-4. 285 — Ladd pinned Urban, :20; Owen pinned Hammond, 3:54.

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