Jumping up and down, Anthony Laniewski threw short jabs at an imaginary target in front of him. A red Niskayuna wrestling jacket wrapped atop a hooded sweatshirt made sure his sweat was going. He was ready for his Division I 152-pound title bout at the Section II Wrestling Championships.
He also had 90 minutes to wait until his meeting with La Salle Institute’s Ryan Moore.
That was nothing for Laniewski. The junior had waited an entire year to get back to the Glens Falls Civic Center, the site of his demise in 2015. That’s when he’d entered the sectional tournament as a third seed and with a single loss to his name, and somehow left it with three defeats in four matches.
Laniewski’s driving goal throughout his junior season was to make up for that sixth-place showing. With a 3-1 victory against Moore, Laniewski made good on his wish.
“It was all about realizing what I could do differently,” Laniewski said.
That meant wrestling smarter this season, like he did against Moore. After building a 3-0 cushion through two periods, he went conservative in the final session and never let himself get put in a dangerous position.
“I tried to stay smart. I knew I could get up from bottom [position], I’d done the work to do that,” Laniewski said. “It was a chess match … and I had to move the pieces into the right spot.”
“We knew nobody was going to let him take the title easily,” Niskayuna head coach Shaun Neely said. “He was ready for a war.”
Laniewski’s training partner Eoghan Sweeney — who won a Division I title at 160 pounds with a 6-3 decision against Shenendehowa’s Anthony DiNallo — had sensed throughout the week that Laniewski was primed to peak during the two-day sectional tournament.
“We were pushing it, pushing each to the very last bit other all week in practice,” Sweeney said. “We were going 100, 110 percent every time. You could tell he was prepared.”
Laniewski gave the credit for that preparedness to Neely and assistant coach Mark Hitchcock. What the wrestler himself provided was the drive to succeed.
“It was about getting to the mountaintop and peaking at the right time,” Laniewski said. “I was halfway there last week [at the Class A tournament].
“Now,” he finished, “I’m at the top.”
THREE-PEAT FOR GRAMUGLIA
Seemingly seconds after the finish to his match, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake junior Christian Gramuglia did some climbing of his own. After topping Averill Park’s Max Tempel with a 7-4 win at 132 pounds for his third consecutive Division I sectional title, Gramuglia was quickly off the wrestling surface and halfway up Section A of the Glens Falls Civic Center’s spectator seating.
“I had a whole bunch of family up there,” Gramuglia said with a laugh.
Gramuglia had lost to Tempel last weekend at the Class B tournament. He fell behind early in Sunday’s championship match, too, but didn’t panic. He turned a 3-1 deficit early in the second period into a 6-4 lead heading into the final session, and held on for the win.
“I just stuck to the game plan,” Gramuglia said. “I’d worked all week after practice, working on some moves [for Tempel]. I knew I’d have something in my back pocket. … I knew it was going to be him [against me in the finals] all along. I practiced to beat him.”
Also from Burnt Hills, Joe Messare (220 pounds) and Jake Warren (285 pounds) took solo titles.
In Division I, Columbia took the most solo titles with four, while four teams — team-champion Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, Whitehall/Fort Ann, Schoharie, and Schuylerville — each had two individual champions at the Division II level.
Not everyone gets to be a champion, but those who won their final match were not the only winners from the championship round.
After coming in sixth place two years ago and third last year, Mohonasen senior Shiva Bhoge said he felt like he’d won this year’s tournament before his championship match ever started against Columbia’s Trent Nadeau.
“My goal was to get to finals,” Bhoge said. “Everyone wants to win, but getting here is the hardest journey.”
Nadeau — undefeated at 45-0 — pinned Bhoge after 3:01, a little after the midway point of the second period. The Mohonasen senior said he had no regrets after surviving several rounds to make it to the final.
“[Everyone] puts up the biggest fight here that they can because they know it’s the end,” Boghe said. “Everyone knows this it, so nobody holds back.”
Like Josh Reed, a Schenectady senior. An underdog going against Shenendehowa’s Kiernan Shanahan in the 126-pound championship, Reed gave the top-seeded Shanahan all he could handle before falling 7-5.
“I just tried to relax and play off him,” said Reed, whose teammate Antonio Zamora won a title at 145 pounds. “After the first period, I got my confidence.”
As a defending state champion, Shenendehowa’s Kevin Parker has had to deal with some unique things in his senior year. The latest was the level of affection he received from the Section II wrestling community — specifically, opposing coaches and wrestlers — throughout Sunday’s competition, from which Shenendehowa emerged with its 10th Division I team title in 11 years.
Whether he rested on a seat away from the action or stood near the mat as one of his three teammates — DiNallo, Kevin Guardino, and Shanahan — wrestled in their championship matches, it was rare that Parker went more than a few minutes without someone coming up to him to shake his hand and wish him luck.
“Kevin’s a politician,” Shenendehowa head coach Rob Weeks said with a smile. “He does not have an aversion to being the good guy that everyone knows and respects. But, when the whistle blows, he’s a different person and goes on the attack.”
Parker — named the Most Outstanding Wrestler for Division I at the tournament — pinned Ballston Spa’s Jake Cook in 1:32 to win his third Section II title. Parker had won a sectional title last year at 170 on his way to a state title, and also as an eighth-grader at 99 pounds.
“It’s still exciting,” Parker said. “You never lose the emotion attached to winning something like this, even if it was easier this time than when you were 96 pounds and having to fight for everything you got.”
Weeks said he did not waste much energy worrying about making sure Parker’s well-wishers detracted from the wrestler’s concentration.
“He knows what he’s doing. He’s got a focus and a prep [routine] for a match that’s unparalleled,” Weeks said. “In the world of wrestling, there’s not too much too worry about with Kevin Parker.”
Shenendehowa 209.5, Burnt Hills 155, Columbia 137, Queensbury 116, Schenectady 111.5, Averill Park 101.5, Amsterdam 90.5, Ballston Spa 74, Albany Academy 78, Saratoga 69.5, Niskayuna 57, South Glens Falls 53, Mohonasen 49, Colonie 42.5, Bethlehem 36, La Salle 35.5, Shaker 16.5, Guilderland 16, Albany 14, CBA 7.
99 — Trent Svingala (Albany Academy) dec. Brock Delsignore (South Glens Falls), 4-2; 106 — Michael Gonyea (Columbia) pinned Antione Grace (Queensbury), 1:14; 113 — Trent Nadeau (Columbia) pinned Shiva Bhoge (Mohonasen), 3:01; 120 — John Devine (Columbia) pinned Jordan Sartin (Saratoga), 4:10; 126 — Kiernan Shanahan (Shenendehowa) dec. Josh Reed (Schenectady), 7-5; 132 — Christian Gramuglia (Burnt Hills) dec. Max Tempel (Averill Park), 7-4; 138 — Matt Saville (South Glens Falls) dec. Kevin Guardino (Shenendehowa), 9-6; 145 — Antonio Zamora (Schenectady) dec. Kyle Jasenski (Albany Academy), 4-2; 152 — Anthony Laniewski (Niskayuna) dec. Ryan Moore (La Salle), 3-1; 160 — Eoghan Sweeney (Niskayuna) dec. Anthony DiNallo (Shenendehowa), 6-3; 170 — Tyler Barnes (Ballston Spa) dec. Collin Derboghossian (Schenectady), 3-2; 182 — Kevin Parker (Shenendehowa) pinned Jake Cook (Ballston Spa), 1:32; 195 — Dylan Dubuque (Columbia) default over Marcus Torres (Amsterdam), win by injury; 220 — Joe Messare (Burnt Hills) dec. Garreck Golish (Ballston Spa), 2-1; 285 — Jake Warren (Burnt Hills) dec. Chris Garrison (Amsterdam), 10-2.
99 — Jake Kimble (Colonie) dec. Cody Deuel (Shenendehowa), 5-0; 106 — Daniel Montalvo (Amsterdam) dec. Ryan Encarnacion (Saratoga), 14-11; 113 — Lucien Loeper (Averill Park) dec. Anthony Canova (Bethlehem), 8-3; 120 — Caiden Mondore (La Salle Institute) dec. Andrew Dennis (Averill Park), 2-1; 126 — Danny Jada (Burnt Hills) dec. David Wolanski (Guilderland), 4-0; 132 — Dietrich Hartman (Shenendehowa) dec. Deyker Edwards (Schenectady), 15-5; 138 — Nick Robbins (Queensbury) dec. Joe Cauwenberghs (Averill Park), 9-7; 145 — Jon Law (Queensbury) dec. Vincent Pedone (Burnt Hills), 9-5; 152 — Jared Bruno (Queensbury) pinned Andrew Fountain (Averill Park), 0:53; 160 — AJ Melendez (Schenectady) pinned Zach Zebrowski (Albany Academy), 1:45; 170 — Nico Mattia (Queensbury) dec. Nick Joseph (Shenendehowa), 7-5; 182 — Brandon Barbagelata (Burnt Hills) pinned Jake Rodecker (Amsterdam), 3:25; 195 — Dustin Bruhns (Shenendehowa) dec. Nelson Quinones (Amsterdam), 3-2; 220 — Joe Galusha (Mohonasen) dec. Tyson Jones (Albany), 9-1; 285 — Shane Walpole (Shenendehowa) pinned Spencer Wickert (Saratoga), 4:37.
Ravena 129, Duanesburg 117, Hadley Luzerne/Lake George 109.5, Schuylerville 94, Cobleskill-Richmondville 86, Schoharie 83, Salem/Cambridge 80, Whitehall/Fort Ann 78.5, Hoosick Falls 73, Watervliet 69, Tamarac 69, Cohoes 61, Mechanicville/Stillwater 59, Granville 58, Greenville 58, Berne-Knox-Westerlo 56, Warrensburg 54, Hudson Falls 51, Coxsackie-Athens 49, Galway 40, Glens Falls 23, Schalmont 21, Johnstown 18, Ichabod Crane 13, Corinth 8, Fonda-Fultonville 6.5, Rensselaer 4, Canajoharie/Fort Plain 4, Lansingburgh 3, Catskill 3, Maple Hill 3, Taconic Hills 3.
99 — Matt Laporte (Hoosick Falls) dec. Greg Hotaling (Cobleskill-Richmondville), 6-1; 106 — Orion Anderson (Schuylerville) pinned Ryan Allman (Ravena), 1:30; 113 — Dylan Callahan (Schoharie) pinned, Brendon Van Vlack (Duanesburg), 1:39; 120 — Dillan Palaszewski (Galway) dec. Connor Paige (Hudson Falls), 4-1; 126 — Brandon Merchant (Cobleskill-Richmondville) pinned Raffaele Masi (Greenville), 0:39; 132 — Zachery Lawrence (Duanesburg) pinned Jason Ashline (Whitehall/Fort Ann), 4:51; 138 — Josh Bressette (Whitehall/Fort Ann) dec. Devin McGill (Berne-Knox-Westerlo), 11-4; 145 — Collin O’Brien (Watervliet) dec. Richie Conte (HL/LG), 5-0; 152 — Dillon Warner (Schoharie) default over Logan Brunick (Tamarac); 160 — Jason Hoffman (HL/LG) technical fall over Rob Haas (Berne-Knox-Westerlo), 16-0; 170 — Tyler Green (Schuylerville) dec. Ryan Harper (Duanesburg), 10-1; 182 — Dave Ingraham (Ravena) dec. Mike Sutliff (HL/LG), 6-2; 195 — Daniel Hayner (Mechanicville/Stillwater) dec. Naphtali Steward (Ravena), 11-7; 220 — Jacob Gregory (Whitehall/Fort Ann) pinned Jody Hermance (Granville), 5:26; 285 — Keith Houghtaling (Ravena) pinned Lucas Sanders (Glens Falls), 3:35.
99 — Brandon Mogul (Ravena) dec. Aiden Cullen (Greenville), 3-2; 106 — Gabe Fischer (Hoosick Falls) pinned Dwayne Compton (Cohoes), 3:53; 113 — Frank Darwak (Mechanicville/Stillwater) pinned Garrett Cummings (Salem/Cambridge), 2:01; 120 — Austin Lints (Schoharie) dec. Gideon Jardine (HL/LG), 10-5; 126 — Anthony Cardinuto (Schuylerville) dec. Luke Davison (Ravena), 5-0; 132 — Cody York (HL/LG) dec. Xavier Jones (Schuylerville), 4-3; 138 — Charlie Grygas (Duanesburg) dec. Brandon Gardner (Ichabod Crane), 4-2; 145 — Jake Wideman (Berne-Knox-Westerlo) dec. Matt Osborne (Schalmont), 5-3; 152 — Ethan Cooper (Cobleskill-Richmondville) pinned Ethan Huguley (Hudson Falls), 3:48; 160 — Ryan Martin (Schoharie) dec. Nate Giller (Cohoes), 8-4; 170 — Ryan Sencer (Cohoes) dec. Bailey Daigle (Granville), 8-3; 182 — Josh LaLonde (Johnstown) pinned Matt Reedy (Salem-Cambridge), 0:44; 195 — Colton Dean (Salem-Cambridge) dec. Ryan Cornelius (Duanesburg), 13-8; 220 — Jake Karandy (Duanesburg) dec. Michael Gaudette (Mechanicville/Stillwater), 2-0; 285 — Mason Osborne (Coxsackie-Athens) dec. Derrick Therrian (Greenville), 8-3.