Schoharie wrestling coach Dave Russell had one of his more enjoyable jobs Wednesday.
After a couple of nights of numbers crunching and finger crossing, he got to tell Alexis Bleau the good news. Not only was the eighth-grader going to the state wrestling tournament, she was going as her school’s first representative.
Bleau, the runner-up in the Division II 99-pound weight class at last weekend’s Section II championships, was one of 22 Capital Region wrestlers to get an at-large berth in next weekend’s tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Bleau got one of eight Section II wild cards in Division II, a group that also included 2011 Section II champs Dallas Mesick (182 pounds) of Duanesburg and Al Aubin (126) of Whitehall, both beaten in the finals last weekend.
“I thought she had enough points,” said Russell, referring to a formula that determines the final four spots in each 16-man bracket for the state tournament. “But, you can never be sure until you get the call that confirms it.”
Bleau will take a 41-3 record into the state tournament.
“She had this big smile when I told her,” said Russell. “But this is something she’s worked hard for. She’s been wrestling since she was in elementary school.”
Shenendehowa, which had six champions from nine finalists in winning the DI team championship last weekend, saw two of its runners-up also receive good news.
Senior Cole Lampman will get a chance to better his fifth-place state showing of a year ago in the 285 bracket. Freshman Jesse Porter (113 pounds) will make his first trip to the states. Shenendehowa took seven wrestlers to the states last winter.
Columbia had sectional finalist Brendan Morgan (132) and 285-pound third-place finisher El Shaddai Gilmore-VaHoesen added to their trio of champions — seniors Matt Greene (126) and Evan Wallace (145) and 10th-grader Angelo Kress (152).
Also picking up DI at-large spots were Saratoga Springs freshman Dominic Inzana (106), who was also a wild-card entry in 2011; Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake sophomore Joey Butler (132); Amsterdam senior Mike Garrison (160); and Schenectady senior Gus Clark (138), the first state rep from his school since 1993.
Queensbury had four Section II finalists added: Casey Jones (120), Josh St. John (126), Mike Hewitt (170) and Alex Pontiff (220).
Section II at-large qualifiers
106 — Dominic Inzana (Saratoga Springs); 113 — Jesse Porter (Shenendehowa;) 120 — Casey Jones (Queensbury); 126 —Josh St. John (Queensbury), Drew Oligney (Lansingburgh); 132 — Joey Butler (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake), Brendan Morgan (Columbia); 138 — Gus Clark (Schenectady); 152 — Thomas Carta (South Glens Falls) ; 160 — Mike Garrison (Amsterdam); 170 — Mike Hewitt (Queensbury); 220 — Alex Pontiff (Queensbury); 285 — Cole Lampman (Shenendehowa), El Shaddai Gilmore-VanHoesen (Columbia).
99 — Alexis Bleau (Schoharie) ; 106 —Jerome Gladney (Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk); 120 — Al Aubin (Whitehall); 145 — Connor Lawrence (Duanesburg); 160 — Brandyn Ainsworth (Johnstown); 170 — Mike Green (Cobleskill-Richmondville), Matt Casullo (Berne-Knox-Westerlo); 182 — Dallas Mesick (Duanesburg).