Seven years ago, Section II athletes more than held their own at the Cadet and Junior National Championships.
The locals, under the Adirondack Three-Style Wrestling club banner and coach Joe DeMeo, had three national champions and 10 All-Americans, all but two in Greco-Roman.
“We would have been second as a state, just with what our club did,” said DeMeo, the New York state head coach for this year’s weeklong event, which opens today in Fargo, N.D. “Now, for some reason, kids just aren’t going to Fargo.”
Entries released for the six tournaments — freestyle and Greco-Roman in both the Cadet and Junior divisions, plus Cadet and Junior female — showed just six athletes from the Capital Region.
State high school champ Connor Sutton, who will be a senior at LaSalle Institute this coming school year, is the most distinguished of the group.
Tyler White of Whitehall, a two-time qualifier, and Brendan Goldup of Schuylerville, who competed in both styles at the Cadet level in 2010, are out due to injuries.
Others who qualified through the state tournament have opted not to participate.
DeMeo cited expense as one reason wrestlers opt out. He also feels that recently graduated high school seniors who are eligible for the Junior tournament are instead getting ready for college.
“College coaches that are running summer camps are bringing them in to work at camps,” he said
Sutton (152 pounds) and Columbia High School rising senior Matt Greene (135) are entered in both styles at the Junior level.
Bethlehem’s Matt Morris is in the brackets at 105 in both styles in Cadet. Galway’s Jay Oakes (140) is also doubling up. Brandon Diaz of LaSalle is in the Cadet GR tourney at 112, and Shenendehowa’s Alexis Porter is entered in the Junior women’s freestyle at 112.
The Cadet Greco wrestlers open on Sunday, with the Juniors beginning Monday.