ALBANY — Zack Lawrence raised his arms in victory twice Saturday night.
The second time, it counted.
“The last 15 seconds were the hardest 15 seconds of my life,” the Duanesburg senior said after securing the state Division II 152-pound wrestling championship at the Times Union Center. “I knew he was going to come out like hornets in a nest. I rode him out.”
Match officials put 15 seconds back on the clock — called “bad time” — after Lawrence thought he had wrapped up a 3-2 victory over Mike Squires of Norwich, and celebrated what he thought was his first state title after four previous place finishes.
“They didn’t stop the clock for stalling like they’re supposed to,” Duanesburg coach Ryan Patrie explained. “There were 15 seconds left. Zack was hit with stalling, but the clock kept going. They corrected it.”
Squires got a point for the stall call to make it 3-2. Squires opted for the bottom on the restart, but failed to escape as the seconds ticked off, and Lawrence held on tight.
“He had to put the anklet back on,” Patrie said. “After six years, you’re thinking you’re a state champion, and you’ve got to do it again. He had to have a tremendous amount of focus to do it again.”
Lawrence said he was both physically and mentally prepared for the meet-ending tournament, and it showed. He earned a 7-0 semifinal decision over Johnny Putney of East Aurora earlier Saturday. Friday, the top seed opened with an 11-4 decision against Austin Carman of Clarke, and beat Bryce Smith of Sanarac 3-0 in the quarterfinals.
“This is the best and smartest he’s wrestled,” Patrie said of after Section II’s career wins leader upped his varsity mark to 277-23. “He strung together four nice matches. I’ve never seen him so locked in like he has been for the past two days. Not a lot of joking around.”
“Growing up, it was always, ‘Beat the No. 1 seed,'” Lawrence said. “I was the No. 1 seed, and you know people are going, ‘He’s the one to beat. He’s the one to beat.’ I had to be focused.”
Lawrence finished his senior season at 50-0, which also included a 7-3 semifinal win over Squires (42-5) at the Eastern States Classic.
“I knew exactly what he was doing,” said Lawrence, who led Squires 1-0 after two periods and held a 3-0 advantage over the junior in the third. “He is an aggressor. He scraps well. I had to wrestle him smart.”
Lawrence placed third last year at the state event when he won twice, lost in the semifinals and forged two more wins. His state meet ledger also includes a fourth and two fifths.
“Six years going for it,” Lawrence said. “It’s tremendous. I think I wrestled tremendously well.”
Nick Gwiazdowski was Duanesburg’s last state wrestling champion in 2011.
Shenendehowa sophomore Stevo Poulin beat Minisink Valley freshman Zack Ryder for the third time this season to take the Division I 106-pound championship, scoring a 4-3 decision.
Poulin won the New York 99-pound title a year ago.
“Third time this year,” top-seeded Poulin said his meetings with No. 3 Ryder. “The first time, I won 24-9. Second time, 10-3. Third time, 4-3. He was definitely watching some film.”
Poulin scored a 16-4 major decision against Rocco Camillaci of Hilton in the semifinals earlier Saturday. Friday, he knocked off a pair of foes by technical fall by a combined 39-9 points total.
“He’s wrestled him [Ryder, 43-4] a bunch of times. Every match gets closer,” Shenendehowa coach Rob Weeks said. “They figure it out. They watch a lot of film. They figure out what you’re good at.”
Poulin used a pair of takedowns in building a 4-2 lead in the first period, and the score remained that way through the second. Ryder’s third escape of the match made it 4-3 in the third period, and Poulin held on to keep intact his goal of four state titles.
“In the third period, I’m thinking, ‘This isn’t good,'” said Poulin, who, like Ryder, finished the bout with a bloody nose. “One take down and my whole goal from my childhood was gone.”
Weeks was confident his young star would prevail in the tight match.
“He’s had enough close matches in his career where he knows how to win them,” Weeks said. “He’s comfortable winning that way.”
Poulin capped his second varsity season with a 44-0 record, and became the fourth multi-state champion from Shenendehowa, following Austin Meys (2005, 2008-09), Hunter Meys (2007-08) and Kevin Parker (2015-16).
Among the others crowned Saturday night were DI 138-pounder Adam Busiello of Eastport-South Manor, who became the third five-time champion in state tournament history.
SECTION II GOES 2-1
Maple Hill junior Caleb Svingala dropped a 3-0 decision to top seed Dante Geislinger of Norwich in the Division II 106-pound final.
Svingala won three matches by decision to get to the title bout, including a 6-1 decision against Joe Sparacio of Bayport-Blue Point in the semifinals.
Section II went 3-3 in state finals a year ago before Saturday night’s 2-1 showing. Two-time state runner-up Kiernan Shanahan of Shenendehowa would have been among the favorites this year in the 160-pound DI bracket but a knee injury ended his season after nine matches. Shanahan, who has committed to North Carolina State, finished with a 160-20 career record.
“We kind of knew where we were as a section,” Weeks said. “We have a young group. A lot of them will be back.”
Maple Hill senior Trent Svingala was denied a third consecutive state title when he dropped a 7-3 decision to Brady Worthing of Tioga in the Division II 132-pound semifinals.
Svingala rallied with consecutive pins in the wrestlebacks to snare third, and his second pin, of Gage DeNatale of Locust Valley, was his 250th career triumph.
Svingala won previous state titles at 120 (2018) and at 106 (2017). Orion Anderson of Schuylerville — Poulin’s second cousin — won his third consecutive state title at a third different weight class last year.
Duanesburg senior Charlie Grygas, Cobleskill-Richmondville junior Ethan Cooper, Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George senior Cody York and Hoosic Falls 12th-grader Craig Sawyer also rallied from semifinal defeats to place third in the DII 160, 170, 182 and 285-pound brackets, respectively.
Unseeded Division I 160-pound Injury replacement Colden Dorfman of Shenendehowa finished fifth with a pin of West Genesee’s Devin Earl.
Dorfman replaced his friend and fellow sophomore Peter Meshkov of Niskayuna, who sustained a fractured sternum when be beat Dorfman at the Section II state meet qualifier. Dorfman beat the No. 4 and 5 seeds Friday to reach the semifinals, and lost there and in his first wrestleback match before his pin of Earl in 4:36.
106 — Stevo Poulin (Shenendehowa) dec. Zack Ryder (Monisink Valley), 4-3.
106 — Stevo Poulin (Shenendehowa) major dec. Rocco Camillaci (Hilton), 16-4.
160 — Cooper Kropman (Penfield) major dec. Coden Dorfman (Shenendehowa), 8-0.
160 — Colden Dorfman (Shenendehowa) pin Devin Earl (West Genesee), 4:36.
106 — Dante Geislinger (Norwich) dec. Caleb Svingala (Maple Hill), 3-0.
152 — Zack Lawrence (Duanesburg) dec. Mike Squires (Norwich), 4-3.
106 — Caleb Svingals (Maple Hill) dec. Joe Sparacio (Bayport-Blue Point), 6-1.
132 — Brady Worthing (Tioga) dec. Trent Svingala (Maple Hill).
152 — Zack Lawrence (Duanesburg) dec. Johnny Putney (East Aurora), 7-0.
160 — Cory Day (Iroquois) SV-1 Charlie Grygas (Duanesburg), 5-3.
170 — Jacob Nolan (Saranac) tech fall Ethan Cooper (Cobleskill-Richmondville), 2:42 (16-1).
182 — Ross McFarland (Phoenix) dec. Cody York (Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George), 3-1.
195 — Robbie Penhollow (Falconer) dec. Devon Shader (Coxsackie-Athens), 9-7.
220 — Mike Rigerman (Pioneer) dec. Jeff Crooks (Cobleskill-Richmondville), 5-2.
285 — Dylan Houseknech (Odessa-Montour) dec. Craig Sawyer (Hoosick Falls), 3-0.
132 — Trent Svingala (Maple Hill) pin Gage DeNatale (Locust Valley), 3:38.
160 — Charlie Grygas (Duanesburg) dec. Gaven Bell (Cold Spring Harbor), 10-4.
170 — Ethan Cooper (Cobleskill-Richmondville) SV-1 Dempsey Carroll (Copenhagen), inj. 4:17.
182 — Cody York (Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George) pin Anthony Rasmussen (South Jefferson), 1:55.
195 — Nate DeGroff (Warsaw) dec. Devon Shader (Coxsackie-Athens), 8-2.
220 — Karl Osomo (Clarke) SV-1 Jeff Crooks (Cobleskill-Richmondville), 7-5.
285 — Craig Sawyer (Hoosick Falls) dec. Steven Taylor (Tioga), 6-1.