For finales, it doesn’t get much more dramatic.
Amsterdam senior Brandon Lapi captured an elusive title in his last high school bout at Saturday’s state wrestling championships at the Times Union Center.
The 6-3 overtime win over Justin Cooksey of Section VIII in the Division I 138-pound title match was also a going-away present for his coach, Ken Benton, who announced before the year that this season would be his last.
It was also goodbye for Joe Bena. Though the 75-year-old coaching legend didn’t get a 14th and final individual state champion when Duanesburg junior Connor Lawrence lost in OT in the DII 160 final, he came off the mat to a stading ovation, less than two weeks after suffering a stroke.
Columbia senior Angelo Kress also got to the state final, as did Hoosick Falls senior Luis Weierbach and Nick Scott of Cohoes.
“There was a lot of pressure in this match,” said Benton of Lapi’s final high school match. “Second year in the finals, we wanted to stay focused.
“He was able to show the mental toughness he has and prevail. I’m awful happy for Brandon.”
Lapi and Cooksey have been teammates on several state teams in the offseason. That made their final a cautious affair that only opened up when Cooksey was hit with a penalty point in OT, after his third caution.
“They knew what I wanted to do, and it kind of slowed me down,” said Lapi, whose 264th and final high school win made him the new Section II career victory leader. “He jumped the whistle, then I took him down.
“This is the greatest feeling in the world. I wish I could have won it last year and been a two-time state champ. I just made this my goal and did whatever it took.”
Lapi finished as a five-time Section II champ and four-time state placer.
Lapi got to his second straight DI final with a 3-0 win, his 263rd varsity win, which tied him with three-time state champ Austin Meys for the most varsity wins in Section II history.
Lawrence came up one move short in his first state final, and Bena’s finale as a coach.
“I wish I could have been his final state champion,” said Lawrence, referring to Bena, who exits with 673 wins, 13 state champions and 37 state place finishers. Lawrence will enter his senior year with 177 career wins.
Lawrence battled through a 2-1 semifinal win against second-seeded Jordan Bushey of Peru, who had beaten him, 7-6, at the Eastern States Classic in January.
Kress scored a dramatic win in the semifinals, then ran into four-time top-three state finisher Shakur Rasheed in the DI 160 final.
He trailed Johnson City’s Zach Colgan, 6-4, as time wound down in their semi before taking the Section IV wrestler to his back for four points and an 8-6 win.
The semifinal round was not kind to either Section II team. The DI wrestlers were 2-for-4, their small-school peers went 3-for-7, but two of those were matches pitting section wrestlers against each other.
Lawrence’s little brother, Zach, took fifth at 99, winning by disqualification for the second time in as many days against Saranac’s Jacob Nolan.
Weierbach came within a point of closing stellar career as a two-time state champ, dropping a 5-4 decision to Brian Lantry of Section V’s Wayne in the DII 120.
Weierbach beat Albany Academy’s Matt Morris in the semis after losing their two previous matches, including the Section II final. After Morris tied the semi, 3-3, with an escape late in regulation, Weierbach got a penalty point when Morris was hit for stalling in the first 30-second OT.
SECTION II RESULTS
106 — No.2 Josh LoGiudice (Guilderland) wrestlebacks: lost to Jemone Carter (Niagara Falls-VI), 9-6, eliminated.
120 — Dominic Inzana (Saratoga Springs) semifinal: lost to No.2 Jesse Dellavecchia (East Islip-XI), 6-0; wrestlebacks: lost to Jon Errico (Byram Hills-I), 8-4; fifth-place bout: pinned by Mitchell Woodworth (Fulton-III), 1:49.
138 — No.1 Brandon Lapi (Amsterdam) semifinal: dec. Jake Einbender (Bethpage-VIII), 3-0; finals: dec. Justin Cooksey (MacArthur-VII), 6-3 (ot).
145 — No.4 Joey Butler (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) semifinal: lost to No.1 Vincent Deprez (Hilton-V), 6-0; wrestlebacks: pinned Ben Ettlinger (Fox Lane-I), 3:55; third-place bout: dec. Trevor Hoffmeir (Newark Valley-IV), 6-0.
152 — Jesse Porter (Shenendehowa) wrestlebacks: dec. Anthony Bell (Fairport-V), 6-3; pinned Zach Lugo (Deer Park-XI), 3:52; third-place bout: lost to Ryan Ferro (Warwick Valley-IV), 3-2.
160 — Angelo Kress (Columbia) semifinal: dec. No.3 Zach Colgan (Johnston City-IV), 8-6; finals: lost to Shakur Rasheed (Longwood-XI), 13-0.
170 — Jake Ashcraft (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) wrestlebacks: pinned by Joe Russo (Rocky Point-XI), 2:45, eliminated.
170 — Franky Nassivera (Queensbury) wrestlebacks: lost to Quinn Zsido (Cornwall-I), 5-2, eliminated.
195 — Wayne Burt (Colonie) wrestlebacks: pinned by Rob Kelly (Monroe-Woodbury-IX), 2:41, eliminated.
99 — No.2 Zach Lawrence (Duanesburg) semifinal: lost to No.3 Jonathan Gomez (Locust Valley-VIII), 12-2; wrestlebacks: vs. lost to Joe Sliwoski (Wayne-V), 7-2; fifth-place bout: win by DQ over Jacob Nolan (Saranac-VII).
120 — No.2 Matt Morris (Albany Academy) semifinal: lost to No.3 Luis Weierbach (Hoosick Falls), 4-3 (2ot); wrestlebacks: lost to Abdul-Fatah Alshawai (Lackawanna-VI), 4-0; fifth-place bout: lost to NIck Casella (Locust Valley-VIII), 2-0.
120 — No.3 Luis Weierbach (Hoosick Falls) semifinal: dec. No.2 Matt Morris (Albany Academy), 4-3 (2ot); final: lost to Brian Lantry (Wayne-V), 5-4.
126 — Dan VanDyk (Salem) wrestlebacks: dec. Cassidy Exum (Oyster Bay-VIII), 6-1; pinned by Rafael Mateo (Midlakes-V), 3:52; fifth-place bout: lost to Tristin DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson-XI), 5-2.
132 — Carter Merecki (Salem) wrestlebacks: dec. Austin Whitney (Mexico-III), 1-0; dec. Austin Acquard (Pioneer-VI), 5-3; third-place bout: dec. Cody McGregor (Tonawanda-VI), 2-0.
145 — No.4 Jason Hoffman (Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George) semifinal: lost to No.1 Andrew Shomers (Lewiston-Porter-VI), 8-2; wrestlebacks: dec. Corey Farrell (Warsaw-V), 3-1 (ot); third-place bout: lost to Nate Martin (Newfane-VI), 4-3.
152 — Cam Milliken (Albany Academy) wrestlebacks: dec. Tanner Phillips (Peru-VII), 5-1; pinned Dan Woughter (Alfred-Almond-V), 4:26; third-place bout: vs. Ryan Kromer (Lewiston-Porter-VI), 2-0.
160 — No. 3 Connor Lawrence (Duanesburg) semifinal: dec. No.2 Jordan Bushey (Peru-VII), 2-1; final: lost to Trevor Allard (Eden-VI), 3-1 (ot).
170 — No. 3 Geno Brancati (Hudson Falls) semifinal: lost to No.2 Ryan Marszal (Unatego-IV), 5-3; wrestlebacks: pinned by Triston Engle (Dolgeville-III), 2:03; fifth-place bout: lost to Kyle Ross (Falconer-VI), 4-2.
170 — Brad Perry (Granville) wrestlebacks: lost to Kyle Ross (Falconer-VI), 10-2, eliminated.
182 — No.3 Nick Gallo (Schalmont) semifinal: lost to No.2 Daniel Smith (South Jefferson-III), 3-1 (ot); wrestlebacks: dec. William Hilliard (Phoenix-III), 8-1; third-place bout: lost to Trey Duvall (Addison-V), 4-3.
220 — No.3 Logan Kunkle (Ravena) semifinal: lost to No.2 Jake Benedict (Sandy Creek-III) by injury default; lost to Miguel Perez (Eagle Academy-P) by forfeit.
285 — No.2 Marcus Ramundo (Schalmont) semifinal: lost to No.3 Nick Scott (Cohoes), 2-1 (utb); wrestlebacks: pinned by by Tyler Havener (Oneida-III), 1:38; fifth-place bout: dec. Austin Dean (Sidney-IV), 5-1.
285 — No.3 Nick Scott (Cohoes) semifinal: dec. No. 2 Marcus Ramundo (Schalmont), 2-1 (utb); final: lost to Connor Calkins (Alfred-Almond-V).