SARATOGA SPRINGS — Just before Eoghan Sweeney walked onto the wrestling mat for his last Section II Class A tournament match, the Niskayuna senior took a mental stroll.
“I was thinking about when I was in eighth grade and got beat in the semis,” Sweeney said. “I looked over a kid. I was the No. 1 seed, and got beat.”
Sweeney hasn’t lost many times since, and with three pins Saturday at Saratoga High School, he boosted his school-record win total to 206 against 36 defeats. His final pin of Columbia eighth-grader Sam Bergin in the 160-pound final made it four straight Class A titles.
Thomas Minahan of Niskayuna also won a title at 138 pounds.
“To be able to win it four years in a row, and end it on a high note with a pin, it’s special,” said Sweeney, before returning to that motivational setback years ago. “It was the worst thing at the time, but looking back, it might have been the best thing to happen to me.”
Niskayuna coach Shaun Neely is confident more good things are in Sweeney’s near future. The top five in each weight class from the Class A meet advanced to next Saturday’s Section II Division I tournament at Cool Insuring Arena, which is the final stepping stone toward the state championships.
“He should do well next week,” Neely said. “Our mission is to place at the states. He’s been close but he’s never done that. We want the top of the podium, but we’ll take a top three.”
Bergin was among seven finalists for team champion Columbia. Among them was Mikey Altomer, who used an escape in the final seconds to edge Schenectady’s Billal Zamani 7-6 for the 132-pound crown.
Ballston Spa won the Section II Class B team title after earning Class A laurels last year. Ballston Spa’s Nick Palso (99), reigning state champ Tyler Barnes (170), Jake Cook (182) and Jake Stangle (285) secured individual championships.
Jim Marx of Mohonasen (145), and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s Sam Lindberg (126) and Danny Jada (138), were among the other Class B individual champions.