GLENS FALLS — Zack Lawrence is heading to the state wrestling championships with a heap of momentum and motivation.
The Duanesburg senior earned his fifth Section II Division II title with three pins in the 152-pound bracket Saturday night at Cool Insuring Arena, an effort that kept him unbeaten and hungry for a few more victories. Say, four more.
“Ever since I lost, it’s [eaten] at me,” Lawrence said of his setback in the state semifinals nearly a year ago. “I don’t want to lose this year.”
Section II’s all-time wins leader hasn’t this winter, raising his season mark to 46-0 with his three pins, the last coming against Logan Duers of Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George in 3:06.
“They’re like trees. You cut them down one by one,” Lawrence said. “Never estimate anyone. Never overlook anyone.”
Lawrence certainly wasn’t overlooking Duers, the 2018 Division II 145-pound champ. The seniors wrestled to a 0-0 stalemate through the first period, and Lawrence had a 2-0 lead when he notched his third pin of the state meet qualifier.
All of the Division II and Division I winners, as well as some at-large selections, will see action Feb. 22-23 at the state meet at the Times Union Center in Albany.
“The key in big matches is to not get discouraged,” Lawrence said. “Stay focused. Keep your mind on what you want to do.”
Lawrence’s state tournament goal is quite clear after he wrestled back to snare place third last year. The six-time Section II Class D champion also has a fourth and a pair of fifths to his state meet credit.
“That’s been his goal since last year,” Duanesburg coach Ryan Patrie said of Lawrence’s state title bid. “That’s what he’s been training for and working for. This is the final push.”
Lawrence was the No. 1 state meet seed at 152 last year, when he went 4-1 for his third place.
“He was favored going into last year,” Patrie said.
“I’m looking to stay healthy,” said Lawrence, after upping his career varsity record to 273-23. “Try to make sure I do the right things. Put the right things in my body. Practice.”
Lawrence pinned Sam Richards of Hoosick Falls in 44 seconds, and pinned Kendryek Flynn of Watervliet/Heatly in 3:05 to again reach the 152-pound final.
“I knew he’s won sectional championships a bunch of times, and that motivated me to move up [in class],” Duers said. “I could have stayed down and won another title, but I wanted to stop him.”
Didn’t happen against the Division II meet’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
“I’ve been at this game for 14 years,” Lawrence said. “The work I put in is showing.”
Charlie Grygas of Duanesburg won the Division II 160-pound title soon after Lawrence prevailed, with a 12-2 major decision over Owen Lyons of Watervliet/Heatly.
Jake Deguire became Mohonasen’s first Section II Division I champion since 2012 when he forged a 12-2 major decision over Dan Brady of Queensbury in the 132-pound final.
“Since seventh grade, this has been my goal,” the sophomore said after raising his season record to 43-5. “Now its place [at the state meet]. In the future, it will be to win it.”
Corey Quintana was the last wrestler from the Rotterdam high school to snare a Section II Division I title at 285 pounds at the 2012 state meet qualifier. Mohonasen’s last state meet place finisher was Pat Ferri (119 pounds, sixth) in 1983.
“I want a lot more people [from Mohonasen] to do it with me next year,” Deguire said.
Deguire scored a 15-0 technical fall over Dillon Blanchard of Guilderland and decisioned Sam Lindberg of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 2-0 to reach the 132-pound final. Deguire also beat Brady in last week’s Section II Class B title bout with a pin in 2:31.
“He’s good, but I knew I could beat him,” Deguire said. “I just had to be aggressive. When I wrestle good, I’m aggressive.”
Deguire picked up his 100th varsity win earlier this season at the Eastern States Classic.
Willie Thacker of Niskayuna knocked off top-seeded Eric Griskowitz of Saratoga Springs for the second week in a row as part of his run to the Section II 138-pound Division I title.
As the No. 3 seed Thacker, defeated Griskowitz in last week’s Section II Class A title bout 5-3, and as the No. 4 Saturday, he recorded a 5-1 decision over the Blue Streaks junior in the semifinal round. Thacker went on to beat Nick Pino of La Salle in Saturday’s final.
“I had to beat him [Griskowitz] to get here,” Thacker said after winning his title. “I got my shots in, and he never got his offense going. It was 4-1 heading into the third.”
The title match was tied 12-12 after three periods, as well as after three overtimes. Thacker got the win by riding out the third OT.
“This feels so, so nice to win this,” Thacker said.
Griskowitz scored a 6-4 double-overtime win against Thacker in early January at the Saratoga Invitational.
Queensbury senior Dylan Sleezer defeated his twin brother Ryan in the Division I 113-pound final 6-5. Top-seeded Ryan had beaten his No. 3-seeded sibling twice earlier this season by decision, in the Section II Class B final 9-8 and in the Queensbury Holiday Tournament final 7-5 in overtime.
Dylan Sleezer led 5-1 and held off his brother, who had won the 106-pound title at last year’s state qualifier.
In an ironic twist to the story, the Section XI Division II 113-pound title match also had brothers from Port Jefferson collide, with Rick D’Elia recording a 13-5 decision over younger Anthony D’Elia.
STATE CHAMPS ADVANCE
Section II’s reigning state champions both earned a shot at another, with Shenendehowa’s Stevo Poulin taking the Division I 106-pound title with a 17-2 technical fall over Owen Hicks of Fonda/Johnstown, and Maple Hill’s Trent Svingala securing the Division II 132-pound title with a 20-5 technical fall over Matt Laporte of Hoosick Falls.
Poulin and Svingala both pinned twice before their dominant state-clinching wins, and both remained unbeaten.
Poulin won the state Division I 99-pound crown last year as a freshmen to cap his first scholastic season. Svingala, a senior, won state Division II crowns in 2017 at 106 pounds and in 2018 at 120 pounds. Svingala hasn’t lost a match since his freshman season.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake won the Division I team title and had a trio of winners in John DeConno, who defended his 120 crown, Jakai Townsend (170) and Vincent Daviero (182).
99 — Jashon Holmes (Shak) major dec. Nick Palso (BS), 10-2.
106 — Stevo Poulin (Shen) tech fall Owen Hicks (F/J), 17-2.
113 — Dylan Sleezer (Q) dec. Ryan Sleezer (Q), 6-5.
120 — John DeConno (BH) dec. Aiden Scott (Colum), 3-2.
126 — Vince Santilli (SGF) dec. Ben Catrambone (Nisk), 4-2.
132 — Jake Deguire (Mohon) major dec. Dan Brady (Q), 13-2.
138 — Willie Thacker (Nisk) 3 OT criteria Nick Pino (LSI).
145 — Brock Delsignore (Shen) dec. Mike Altomer (Colum), 7-4.
152 — Sean Malenfant (AP) dec. Jakob Edwards (Colum), 5-4.
160 — Peter Meshkov (Nisk) dec. Colden Dorfman (Shen), 7-0.
170 — Jakai Townsend (BH) dec. Austin Grant (Guild), 8-5.
182 — Vincent Daviero (BH) dec. Liam Mooney (Colon), 10-5.
195 — Brant Robinson (Sara) dec. Ryan Stein (Shak), 5-2 (OT)
220 — Nik Kock (AP) major dec. Doug Cooper (Sara), 13-0.
285 — Jake Stangle (BS) pin Brian Garrity (Shak), 2:17.
99 — Jair Gomes (IC) pin Kieran Cullen (Greenvl), 5:36.
106 — Caleb Svingala (MH) pin Chris Petteys (HudF), 1:08.
113 — Joey Scheeren (Gal) 3 OT criteria Gabe Fisher (HooF).
120 — Kaden Gransbury (RCS) dec. Riley Retell (Tam), 5-4.
126 — Aidan Cullen (Greenvl) pin Austin Lits (Scho), 4:58.
132 — Trent Svingala (MH) tech fall Matt Laporte (HooF), 20-5.
138 — Alec Richards (Cor) dec. Greg Hotaling (CR), 8-2.
145 — Marlon Laing (RCS) pin Hunter McKenna (WB), :27.
152 — Zack Lawrence (Duanes) pin Logan Duers (HLLG), 3:06.
160 — Charlie Grygas (Duanes) major dec. Owen Lyons (WH), 12-2.
170 — Ethan Cooper (CR) major dec. Rich Forbes (Cat), 13-5.
182 — Cody York (HLLG) pin Hunter Edwards (CR), 1:25.
195 — Devon Shader (CA) injury def. Nolan McNeil (WB), 5:49.
220 — Jeff Crooks (CR) dec. Chris Wilson (WB), 6-1.
285 — Craig Sawyer (HooF) dec. Christian Salvio (RCS), 6-0.
Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.
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