Eastern States Classic tuneup for state wrestling meet

It’s not the state tournament, but it’s close.
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It’s not the state tournament, but it’s close.

That’s why Section II coaches like entering the two-day Eastern States Classic, which opens this afternoon at Sullivan Community College in Loch Sheldrake. Wrestlers from over 70 teams are entered, 14 from the Capital Region.

Some of the Section II entries — like Shenendehowa, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Colonie and Amsterdam — will field close to a full 15-man lineup. Others are sending a handful of athletes, to get their wrestlers experience against top competition in a setting that resembles the state tourney.

“It’s a chance for some of our kids to see different wrestlers from different sections, see different styles,” said Watervliet coach Dennis Lane, who has entered 96-pounder John Delaney (a former Section II champ), 125-pounder Andrew Etman and 135-pounder Brian Walsh. “We went to the Mountain Duals [a two-day dual meet tournament] last weekend, and the kids liked the experience.

“We’re growing as a program, and this is another chance to get some of our kids out there.”

Schenectady is also sending just three wrestlers. Dan Riggi and Matt Burchhardt will represent Scotia-Glenville.

“We’re young this year, so instead of entering everyone, we’re just sending Josh Vics (135), Nick DiCaprio (103) and Kyle DiCaprio (119),” said Schenectady coach Brian Faulisi. “Their goal is to go down there and place in the top eight.”

Riggi has been to the state tourn­ament three times.

“He hasn’t been on the podium at the state tournament, and that’s the goal this year,” said Tartans coach Ron Ashcraft of his senior 125-pounder, who took fourth in this event last year. “To get him there, we’re trying to get him the best competition.”

Burnt Hills has seen a lot of quality competition this season. A tough December schedule (the season-opening Andersen tourney, the two-day Attica Duals, their own Lee VanSlyke invy and a Suburban Council match with Shenendehowa) has coach Steve Jones looking for good things for the Spartans.

“They’ve worked real hard,” said Jones. “We knew we were going to have a good team this year, but we still had some questions.”

Burnt Hills has three state tourney vets in the lineup in Max Miller (112), Brendan McKeown (145) and heavyweight Zeal McGrew, but the Spartans have been solid up and down the lineup.

“They came through a tough part of the schedule, and handled it well,” said Jones.

Ethan Wilson placed in this event last year for Burnt Hills.

Shenendehowa finished second to Port Jervis in the team scoring in 2008. Two-time placer Luke Pop­olizio (112) and two-time champ Austin Meys (189) lead the Plainsmen, who should also get good showings from Nick Kelley (103), John Belanger (119), Mike Almaviva (215) and Adam Geleta (285).

LaSalle brings back 2008 champ Zach Clemente (145) and 215 finalist Ken Altarac, (285), both reigning state champions.

Amsterdam’s John Paris won at 160 a year ago, with Giuseppi Lanzi and Rick DuFresne also placing.

Colonie’s Eliah Golding was a place-finisher a year ago, and will be joined by 11 teammates, including fellow 100-match winners Justin Chudzinski and A.J. Monin.

Duanesburg will bring nine wrestlers, led by Evan Borst (119), state tourney qualifier Randy White (130) and Nick Gwiazdowski (189).

Also expected to compete are Schalmont’s Vinny Gallo, Andy Lyman of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, Jeremy Burns of Hoosick Falls, Mark Gillen of Johnstown and Whitehall’s Ty White, Curt Thompson and Zach Diekel.

Meys, Popolizio, Clemente and Altarac are all top seeds. Nine eventual state champions were in the field last year.

Columbia is also on the road this weekend, the Blue Devils making their annual trip to Hampton, Va., for the Virginia Duals.

Anthony Servidone’s club was on a bus at 3 this morning, and has an opening match in the American Division at 7 p.m. against James Wood .

The Colonels return two third-place finishers from the 2008 Virginia AA state tourney — 103-pounder Gage Swartz and 152-pounder Josh Shaffer.

A win would mean a 9 p.m. quarterfinal for Columbia.

Guilderland and Queensbury open the two-day Bradshaw Inv­itation at Canandaigua this afternoon.

Galway and Warrensburg will host tournaments Saturday, with the Burgers’ event a dual meet that will include Hudson Falls, Mohonasen and Morrisville-Eaton from Section III.

Salem, Cohoes, Canajoharie/Fort Plain and Corinth are among the Galway entries.

Categories: High School Sports

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