Joe Bena is in. Levi Ashley is out.
And that’s just part of what happened Friday on a strange first day of the state wrestling tournament at the Times Union Center.
The 75-year-year-old Bena suffered a stroke last Wednesday, three days after coaching three of his Duanesburg wrestlers to Section II titles. He was released from the Sunnyview rehabilitation facilty in Schenectady, and was in the corner of his wrestlers Friday. Bena stayed long enough to see the Lawrence brothers — seventh-grader Zach and junior Connor — advance to today’s 10 a.m. Division II semis.
Ashley, the top seed and returning finalist at 195 pounds in the DI event, was felled not by an opponent on the mat, but by illness. He withdrew after struggling through a 3-2 opening-round match.
“He really wanted to be here, and he got clearance from his therapists Thursday,” said Bena’s wife, Lois. “He still has some weakness on his left side, and he’s going to need more threrapy as soon as he’s able.”
Bena’s middle son, John, served as his father’s chauffeur, both from the family home to the arena, but also to and from the mat.
“It means a lot for him to be here,” said Connor Lawrence. “He said he wanted to get out, and be here for us.”
Lawrence had quite an emotional day. Not only did he reach the semis for the first time, but he watched his little brother lay on the mat for several minutes in his 99-pound semi, a match he eventually won when his opponent was disqualified.
“He says his ribs are bothering him a little,” said the older brother.
Shenendehowa had a day to forget. Not only did Ashley withdraw from the tourney, Jesse Porter lost his 152 semi on a locked hands penalty point in the second OT, and Kevin Parker was eliminated in the wrestlebacks.
“He had been sick, and we let him wrestle one match at a time to see how he felt,” Shenendehowa coach Rob Weeks said of Ashley. “He squeaked through one victory. He just didn’t feel like he had anything left in the tank. I’m more concerned about his health than anything else.”
On the mat, Saratoga Springs junior Dominic Inzana pulled one of the biggest surprises. Two weeks after being dominated by Guilderland’s Mike Lainhart in the 120-pound Section II final, Inzana pinned Lainhart in the quarterfinals.
“I guess I didn’t mess up this time,” said Inzana, who was put to his back by Lainhart in the Section II finals. “I was really prepared mentally. I felt like I could win this time. I kept my head on straight.”
He also didn’t repeat the mistake of letting the physically stronger Lainhart dictate the match.
“He’s a real strong kid, so I wasn’t going to go upper body. I was sticking to my stuff, legs, and of course, the spladle,” Inzana said
There were some expected results, as seniors Brandon Lapi (138) of Amsterdam and Joey Butler (145) of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake got to the DI semifinals, as did Schalmont’s Nick Gallo (182) and Marcus Ramundo (285) in DII.
“I feel I got the job done,” said Lapi, a three-time placer, returning finalist and top seed in his weight. “It’s tough, because some of these guys like to stall on the bottom, but I did what I could. I have all the confidence in the world I’m going to win my next match. Nothing is going to stop me.”
Butler, the fourth seed, survived a 6-3 battle with Trevor Hoffmeir of Newark Valley to get to this morning’s semi with top seed Vincent Deprez of Hilton.
Butler’s training partner and teammate, Jake Ashcraft, is alive in the 170 wrestlebacks. The third Spartan, 99-pounder Christian Gramuglia, went 1-2 and is out.
Gallo and Ramundo got to the semis within minutes of each other. Their teammate, 195-pounder Tim Flower, was eliminated in the consolation round.
Gallo, a 2013 runner-up, got past Trey Duvall of Addison, 6-4, in a physical quarterfinal to set up a semi with Daniel Smith of South Jefferson, who handed the third-seeded Gallo one of his two losses this season.
“This is one of the greatest feelings of my life,” said Gallo, who like Ramundo, was a key member of Schalmont’s state finalist football team last fall. “My goal this season was just to get up on the podium. I’ve reached that goal, and everything from here on out is gravy.”
Ramundo, the second seed, got a first-period pin, then a 4-0 win to move into the semis against a familiar foe, Nick Scott of Cohoes.
Ramundo and Scott have split four matches this year, two going to OT.
Columbia senior Angelo Kress (DI 160), who has secured his first top-six finish in his third state event, is the only other DI semifinalist among the locals.
Section II results
99 — No. 4 Christian Gramuglia (Burnt Hills) dec. Dylan Arena (Clarence-VI), 9-6; lost to Anthony Sparacio (Pine Bush-IX), 5-3; lost to Derek St. James (Gates Chili-V), eliminated.
99 — Anthony Sgorrano (South Glens Falls) lost by fall to No. 1 Kellan McKenna (New Hartford-III), 2:48; pinned by Jonathan Loew (Wantagh-VIII), 2:58, eliminated.
106 — No. 2 Josh LoGiudice (Guilderland) lost to Peter Papas (Plainview JFK-VIII), 8-1; dec. Ryan Brown (Canton-X), 7-2; dec. Alex DeAngelo (North Rockland-I), 6-1.
106 — John Devine (Columbia) lost to Yianni Diakomilhalis (Hilton-V), 17-4; dec. Malik Grant (Curtis-P), 8-2; lost to Matt Stallone (Sachem North-XI), 5-4, eliminated.
113 — No. 5 Golan Cohen (Colonie) dec. Derek Osman (Vestal-IV), 6-0; lost to No. 4 Jay Albis (JJEF-I), 6-2; pinned by Andrew McFarland (Carthage-III), 3:17, eliminated.
120 — Mike Lainhart (Guilderland) dec. No. 3 Dylan Booth (Port Jervis-IX), 8-6; pinned by Dominic Inzana (Saratoga), 1:56; lost to Donny McCoy (Niagara Falls-VI), 8-1, eliminated.
120 — Dominic Inzana (Saratoga) dec. Tristan Almeter (Iroqoius-VI), 4-3; pinned Mike Lainhart (Guilderland), 1:56; in semis vs. No. 2 Jesse Dellavecchia (East Islip-XI).
126 — Blake Retell (Shaker) lost to No. 5 Ricky Stamm (Levittown Division-VIII), 9-0; lost to Dempsey King (New Hartford-III), 1-0, eliminated.
132 — Eric St. John (Queensbury) pinned by No. 4 Frankie Gissendanner (Penfield-V), 5:20; lost to Chris Truglio (Minisink Valley-IX), 7-3, eliminated.
138 — No. 1 Brandon Lapi (Amsterdam) dec. Liam Erickson (Brewster-I), 11-1; dec. Kevin Paul (Baldwinsville-III), 12-1; semis vs. Jake Ebinder (Bethpage-VIII).
138 — Kevin Parker (Shenendehowa) pinned by Kevin Paul (Baldwinsville-III),3:00; lost to Liam Erickson (Brewster-I), 4-1, eliminated.
145 — No. 4 Joey Butler (Burnt Hills) pinned Steven Kim (Cardoza-P), 5:43; dec. Trevor Hoffmeir (Newark Valley-IV), 6-3; semis vs. No.1 Vincent Deprez (Hilton-V).
145 — Jim Devine (Columbia) lost to Thomas Wightman (Warwick Valley-IX), 6-2; lost to Vinny Romeo (Canandaigua-V), 5-2, eliminated.
152 — No. 5 Jesse Porter (Shenendehowa) pinned Dylan Lundmark (Jamestown-VI), 3:53; lost to Blaise Benderoth (North Rockland-I), 4-3 (OT); pinned Larry Kasmarcik (Newark Valley-IV), :31.
160 — Angelo Kress (Columbia) dec. Ryan Gerena (William Floyd-XI), 10-1; dec. Nick Didio (North Rockland-I), 9-4; semis vs. Zach Colgan (Johnson City-IV).
170 — No. 3 Jake Ashcraft (Burnt Hills) pinned Richie Jones (St. Joseph’s Collegiate-C), 4:26; lost to Erik Adon (East Islip-XI), 6-5; dec. Sonny McPherson (Indian River-III), 8-3.
170 — Franky Nassivera (Queensbury) pinned by Erik Adon (East Islip-XI), 3:52; vs. Richie Jones (St Joseph’s Collegiate-C); dec. Josh Goodman (Gates Chili-V), 10-4.
182 — Isaiah Cooks (Colonie) lost to Maleke Cunningham (Wingate-P), 10-5; lost to John Lauretti (Seaford-VIII), 9-2, eliminated.
195 — No. 1 Levi Ashley (Shenendehowa) dec. Robert Oliver (Plainedge-VIII), 3-2; withdrew.
220 — Wayne Burt (Colonie) dec. Marshall Taylor (Lockport-VI), 6-1; lost to No. 2 Tyler Schaefer (Pittsford-V), 4-2; dec. Joe Nasoni (Baldwinsville-III), 5-0.
285 — Austin DiCerbo (Colonie) pinned Isaac Eddings (Union-Endicott-IV), 5:51; pinned by Michael Manni (Tappan Zee-I), 4:32; pinned by James Louison (Hauppauge-XI), 2:49, eliminated.
285 — Matt Holton (Saratoga) lost to Sam Weinger (Washingtonville-IX), 3-0; lost to Edwin Rubio (John Glenn-XI), 6-0, eliminated.
99 — No. 2 Zach Lawrence (Duanesburg) dec. Joe Slowoski (Wayne-V), 7-1; wins by disqualification over Jacob Nolan (Saranac-VII); in semis vs. Jonathan Gomez (Locust Valley-VIII);
106 — Anthony Cardinuto (Schuylerville) pinned by Hunter O’Lena (East Rochester-V), 4:42; lost to Cameron Searles (Malone-X), 6-4, eliminated.
113 — Nolan Foster (Hoosick Falls) dec. Tanner Lapiene (Ogdensburg-X), 4-2 (ot); lost to No. 2 Tito Colom (Dunkirk-VI), 4-0; lost to Adam West (Palmyra-Macedon-V), 6-5, eliminated.
120 — No. 2 Matt Morris (Albany Academy) pinned Abdul-Fatah Alshwai (Lackawanna-VI), 3:25; Joe Rorick (Odessa-Montour-IV), 6-0; semis vs. Luis Weierbach (Hoosick Falls);
120 — No. 3 Luis Weierbach (Hoosick Falls) pinned Dylan Baker (Ausable Valley-VII), 1:28; dec. Bradley Bihler (Maple Grove-VI), 6-3; semis vs. Matt Morris (Albany Academy).
126 — Dan VanDyk (Salem) dec. Kobe Gerrahy (Maine-Endwell-IV), 5-3; lost to Hunter Richards (Holland-Patent-III), 4-0; dec. Rafael Rivera (Saranac-VII), 14-3.
132 — Carter Merecki (Salem) lost to Corman Green (Port Byron-III), 2-1; pinned Andrew Sulieman (Highland-IX), :52; dec. Jesse Manuel (Tioga-IV), 13-0.
138 — Sam Delarge (Albany Academy) pinned by No.4 Lake Cook (Cenrtal Valley-III), 2:47; lost to Colin Royce (Warsaw-V), 9-0, eliminated.
145 — No. 2 Andy Mollevik (Duanesburg) lost to Nate Martin (Newfane-VI), 15-7; lost by forfeit to Jamie Griswold (BGA-IV), eliminated.
145 — No. 5 Jason Hoffman (Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George) dec. Robert Welgoss (Petrides-P), 10-0; dec. Jay Oakes (Peru-VII), 6-5; semis vs. Andrew Shomers (Lewiston-Porter-VI);
145 — Steven Culbert (Galway) lost to No. 3 Alex Herringshaw (Holland-Patent-III), 8-1; lost to Matt Norris (Homer-III), 3-2, eliminated.
152 — Cam Milliken (Albany Academy) pinned Bailey Phelps (Ogdensburg-X), :21; lost to No.1 Frank Garcia (Norwich-IV), 7-3, dec. Josh Griffin (Warsaw-V), 10-2.
160 — No. 3 Connor Lawrence (Duanesburg) dec. Ryan Coveny (Warsaw-V). 8-0; default over Nicholas Koelmel (Watertown IHC-III); semis vs. Jordan Bushey (Peru-VII).
170 — No. 3 Geno Brancati (Hudson Falls) pinned Willie Messenger (Putnam Valley-I), 1:20; dec. Brandon Ellers (Waverly-IV), 5-2; semis vs. Ryan Marszal (Unatego-IV).
170 — Brad Perry (Granville) dec. Joe Turono (Clarke-VIII), 8-6; lost to No. 2 Ryan Marszal (Unatego-IV), 9-3; dec. Colby Staley (Saranac-VII), 3-2.
182 — No. 3 Nick Gallo (Schalmont) pinned Ian Chedoy (Watkins Glen-IV), :51; dec. Trey Duvall (Addison-V), 6-4; semis vs. No.2 Daniel Smith (South Jefferson-III).
195 — Tim Flower (Schalmont) lost to No. 1 Nathanael Rose (Eagle Academy-P), 13-2; pinned Kai Sabada (Sidney-IV), 4:45; lost to Ward Hively (Addison-V), 3-2, eliminated.
220 — No. 3 Logan Kunkle (Ravena) dec. Alek Pavloff (Croton-I), 8-1; pinned Garrett Duvall (Sherburne-Earlville-III), 4:17; semis vs. Jake Benedict (Sandy Creek-III).
285 — No. 2 Marcus Ramundo (Schalmont) pinned Kenny Rivera (Ausable Valley-VII), 1:46; dec. Evan Gervasio (Brooklyn International-P), 4-0; semis vs. Nick Scott (Cohoes).
285 — No. 3 Nick Scott (Cohoes) dec. Jordan Hamilton (Waterloo-V), 4-3 (sd ot); dec. Tyler Hallett (Candor-V), 1-0; semis vs. Marcus Ramundo (Schalmont).