Dual meet wrestling tourneys becoming popular

Seeking more bang for the buck, Section II wrestling coaches are turning to dual meet tournaments th
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Seeking more bang for the buck, Section II wrestling coaches are turning to dual meet tournaments this year.

The combination of a state-mandated reduction in competitions this season and the opportunity to get their wrestlers as many as 10 matches in two days proved to be a great way for coaches to fill out their schedules.

“It was partly the change in the point system, and partly because we participated in a two-day dual meet tournament last year,” said Col­onie coach Matt Stein of his decision to turn the Linda Stuart Memorial tourney into a dual meet event that opens Saturday. “I thought the two-day Mountain Duals we went to last season helped us.

“This is a great way for all of your wrestlers to get a lot of matches, as opposed to a situation in a trad­itional tournament where they could be two and out.”

Columbia coach Anthony Serv­idone ran a two-day dual meet event last year. When the NYSPHSAA reduced competition points to a maximum of 20 (two for a tourn­ament, one for a dual) as a cost-saving measure in the offseason, an encore was a given.

“We tried it last year, and it worked for us,” said Servidone. “I like the idea of getting a lot of matches for the two [scheduling] points.”

Columbia and Shenendehowa host dual meet tourneys that open today, and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Albany are both on the road at similar events. Duanesburg hosts a dual tourney on Saturday.

A scheduling conflict has the first two rounds of the Columbia Duals going this evening at three sites — Schalmont, Shaker and Tamarac. The 12-team event resumes Saturday at Columbia, where the final five rounds will be contested.

The field includes the four host schools, along with CBA, Rensselaer, Mechanicville, Beth­lehem, Catskill, Fonda-Fultonville, Lans­ingburgh, Mechanicville and Kingston.

Shenendehowa’s Early Season Duals is more ambitious, from a competition standpoint. Whitehall is the only other Section II team involved. The other teams entered are Waverly (Section IV), Cross River-John Jay (Section I), Newark Valley (Section V), Sachem East (Section XI), Plainedge (Section VIII), Wantagh (Section VIII) and Northern Adirondack (Section VII).

In addition to Shenenedehowa’s Nick Kelley, John Belanger and Seth Hazelton, a number of other 2009 state tournament place finishers and qualifiers will be on hand in the Shenendehowa East gym.

Wantagh, which won last year’s state tourney Division I team title and finished second to Shenendehowa in 2008, returns Matt Loew, Joe Barbato, Nick Fitzmaurice and Joe Kavanagh. Loew lost to Shen’s Austin Meys in the state DI 189-pound final last winter, and Barbato placed sixth at 96.

Waverly’s Devin Soper was sixth at 130 in the DII states last winter.

The Colonie field is also a blend of in-section and out-of-section teams.

“I extended invitations to the teams that have come to our tournament in the past, and I also went looking for some new teams,” said Stein. “I think it’s going to be very competitive.”

Queensbury, Hudson Falls, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, Scotia-Glenville and Granville are the other Section II teams entered. Coming in are Section IX’s Minisink Valley, Monroe-Woodbury and Wallkill; Roy C. Ketcham of Section I; Section XI’s Rocky Point; and Levittown Div­ision of Section VIII.

Rocky Point features reigning state champ and two-time state place finisher Stephen Dutton, state bronze medalist Anthony Volpe and fifth-place finisher Billy Coggins.

Monroe-Woodbury shows two-time state qualifier Mike Vespa and 2009 qualifier Gary Wolff. Minisink Valley has ‘09 state tourney vets Richard Dennison and Kyle Diesel back.

There will be five rounds today beginning at 9:15 a.m, and another five rounds Sunday.

Burnt Hills will see some of the top teams from the western part of the state, with Brockport, Letchworth, Pioneer and Lancaster entered at Attica.

Holland-Patent and Canastota of Section III join the host Eagles, Guilderland, South Glens Falls, Warrensburg and Watervliet at the Duanesburg Duals.

Categories: High School Sports

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