Find a sectional wrestling champion, and often, you will also find a teammate also standing on the podium.
Schalmont coach Brian Faulisi hopes that the day-to-day battles three of his upper weights wage in the workout room pays off this weekend.
“A lot of times, with a sectional champions, you get another one when they’re close in weight,” said Faulisi. “Hopefully, we’ll see that at the Section II tournament.”
The Sabres got some favorable spots when the top seeds for this weekend’s Section II Division II tournament were drawn Wednesday. The top four finishers in each weight from last weekend’s three small-school tournaments were drawn into brackets for this weekend’s tournament — which serves as a state tourney qualifier — as were the top six from the two large-school tourneys.
Returning state finalist Nick Gallo, as expected, got the No. 1 spot at 182 pounds. Tim Flower was put atop the 195 bracket, and 285-pounder Marcus Ramundo drew a No. 2 spot. They bang on each other every day in the team’s second-floor workout room.
Gallo and Flower won the Division 2, Class 1 tournament last weekend, with Ramundo second. Senior Alex Lambert was second, and got the No. 2 seed for the state qualifier.
“We push each to the limit every day,” said Flower, who was paired with Colonie 285-pounder Austin DiCerbo during a Wednesday workout.
“They do,” agreed Faulisi. “They go at it, trying to make each other better.”
The Sabres came up short of their goal of winning the Colonial Council title this season, and placed third last weekend. With the focus now turning to individual competition, the Sabres have set new goals.
“I feel confident. I’ve just got to focus more when I’m out on the mat,” said Ramundo, who, along with Gallo, was a key player on Schalmont’s state finalist football team. “There’s things I’ve got to do to create situations, take shots that are going to help me go where I want to be and that’s the state finals and, hopefully, a state championship.”
“My focus is trying to get back to where I was before,” said Gallo, an 11th-grader who takes 207 career wins into the weekend. “I’m not looking past this weekend, but my goal is to win a state championship. This year, I’m not going to let anyone get in the way.”
Flower doesn’t have the big-game experience his workout partners do, but a strong offseason of wrestling has him close to getting to the state tournament.
“If I didn’t do the offseason wrestling, or go to tournaments like Eastern States, I probably wouldn’t be the wrestler I am, because that competition makes me better,” said Flower.
“Timmy has worked hard. He did a lot of work in the offseason, really dedicated himself to it,” said Faulisi. “He went to a ton of tournaments, and the experience you gain, getting different competition, it pays dividends. And he’s probably the hardest worker in the room.
Lambert and his brother, Paul, could also have good tournaments.
“Paul’s in the tougher of the two weight classes,” Faulisi said of his 126-pounder. “Paul’s at 106, and he’s a senior, so he’s got the experience. He’s just got to be mentally prepared.”
Gallo wasn’t the only wrestler with a state tourney place finish to get a top seed Wednesday.
Amsterdam senior Brandon Lapi, his school’s career wins leader with 257, got the top seed at 138 in the DI event. He was second at states last winter, and has three top-six finishes in four trips.
Shenendehowa senior Levi Ashley, another 2013 state finalist, was made the favorite at 195 in DI, and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake senior Joey Butler is the top seed at 145 in DI.
The lone returning state champ in Section II, Hoosick Falls senior Luis Weierbach, was seeded second to unbeaten defending sectional champ Matt Morris of Albany Academy in the DII 120 brackets.