The workouts are a little more intense, the coaches are a little more demanding, the moves are executed a little more crisply.
Little things in the workout room that the seniors on the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake wrestling team home to translate into postseason success.
“It’s different,” said 182-pounder Anthony Papa, one of four Spartans who won a Division I, Class II — formerly known as Class B — championship a year ago. “Now, you’re really working toward something.”
Burnt Hills completed a 28-6 dual-meet season Thursday, beating Colonie to finish 7-1 in the Suburban Council. The Spartans will be in today’s Big 10 Invitational at Albany High School, as will their chief competition for next weekend’s class tournament, which they will host.
“Everything is more intense now,” said returning state bronze medalist Joey Butler. “Every match means more. You want to be as sharp as you can be.”
Nate Sisler, the team’s 160-pounder, also knows the importance of each match after the Spartans were edged by Queensbury for team honors last winter.
“When you’re winning, you want to get a major or a pin, get the extra points for the team,” he said. “You want to see how far you can go, individually, but if you win, you’re helping the team.”
Nico Fragale knows something about the postseason. A mainstay on the football team which won a state title in 2012, Fragale was a sectional champ last winter and was one win away from getting to the state tournament.
“You know you can get out of some tough situations and be successful, but I try to separate the two sports,” Fragale said. “Now, it’s wrestling season, and you focus on that.
“This time of the year, I think it’s more intense. It’s more mental.”
Two seniors will be experiencing the postseason for the first time.
“Even though this is my first year, I can tell the difference between now and the beginning of the year,” said 285-pounder Roz Warren. “The room is more intense, the workouts might not be a long, but they’re definitely more intense.”
Abdellah Campbell got his chance when the more experienced wrestlers around him settled into their weight classes. But he earned his spot with a pin of Section II champion John McHugh that helped the Spartans win their league match with Columbia.
“At the beginning of the season, I had to prove to myself that I was as good as I was,” said Campbell. “That match, I knew he was very good, but I didn’t know he was a sectional champion.
“Coach [Steve Jones] told me we needed it to win the match. Not a lot of people know me, and I’m not the most intimidating-looking wrestler. But I try to go as hard as I can from the start of the match.”
The seniors are looking forward to their final home competition.
“I like that it’s going to be here,” said Sisler. “It gives your family and friends a chance to come and watch.”
“I like that I won’t have to get up early to come here and get on a bus,” said Butler. “I think we’ll all be more comfortable, and be more into our routines.”
LAPI TO BUFFALO
Four-time Section II champion Brandon Lapi of Amsterdam became the third area standout to decide on Buffalo as his college choice when he committed to the Bulls earlier this week.
Lapi joins Shenendehowa state finalist Levi Ashley and Shaker’s Blake Retell to opt for a chance to wrestle at an in-state DI program.
Schalmont junior Nick Gallo became the latest Section II wrestler to record his 200th win when he scored a pin in Thursday’s match with Watervliet. He joins Lapi, Butler, Retell and Columbia’s
Angelo Kress as active wrestlers with 200 or more wins.
Columbia today at 1:30 in the regular-season finale for both SC Division champs. The match will be preceded by a college match pitting Springfield and Wesleyan at noon.