NISKAYUNA — Peter Meshkov went through his normal pre-match routine of envisioning all the moves he wanted to make.
The Niskayuna High School freshman wrestler only needed one.
Meshkov pinned his 152-pound opponent from Tamarac Saturday in five seconds, the fastest fall ever for a Niskayuna wrestler, in one of the seven victories he recorded at the meet.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting it,” Meshkov, a three-year varsity wrestler, said. “The pin was mostly instinctual. We shook hands and it happened.”
That’s three seconds faster than the old — very old — Niskayuna record, held by a future Olympian.
“You don’t have to know anything about wrestling to know it’s spectacular,” Niskayuna coach Shaun Neely said of Meshkov’s record-setting pin at the Columbia Dual Meet Invitational. “Amazing.”
“It was a bit of the luck factor, and a certain amount of skill.”
It happened so fast that some of his teammates never saw the pin.
Eoghan Sweeney, who set the Niskayuna career wins record at the meet, was among them.
“I turned around and heard the [match-ending] whistle,” Sweeney, a 160-pound senior, said. “I turned around and saw Peter getting his hand raised. He’s coming off the mat and I was like, ‘What just happened.’ ”
Neely said Meshkov’s pin of William Kasperek was the result of a perfectly executed move.
“It’s close to impossible to pin someone that fast, but I saw it with my own eyes,”
Niskayuna’s ninth-year varsity coach said. “It was one fluid motion. Step, throw, and the ref was there to call it. Both shoulders touched the mat for two seconds. Everything worked out. The other kid got caught. It’s like a 5-second KO in boxing. I’m sure it could never be duplicated.”
Meshkov began his attack as soon as the whistle blew to start the match. Just like that the whistle blew again to signal its end.
“I didn’t know the kid. I prepared like I would for any other match. I calmed down and thought of moves I wanted to do,” the 14-year-old Journeymen Wrestling Club member said. “We shook hands and stepped forward. I got an underhook and felt the kid wasn’t giving any pressure back. I stepped through and hip-tossed him. I had weight on his chest. I put my chest on his and went for the pin.”
In 1977, future two-time Olympian and Niskayuna wrestling hall of famer Andy Seras recorded a pin in 8 seconds for the Niskayuna record that Meshkov broke. A poster of Seras hangs in the Niskayuna wrestling room.
“The fastest [pin] I ever heard of around here was Seras,” Neely said.
“I had no idea there was a record,” Meshkov added.
Meshkov’s seven wins at the Columbia meet included two decisions and five pins, two of them coming in 35 and 43 seconds. He was selected Niskayuna’s most outstanding wrestler.
“He had a great offseason,” Neely said of the fourth-place finisher at the 2017 Section II Division I meet. “He went to a bunch of meets and even went to Italy to train with a club team there. He did everything you need to do to get a 5-second pin.”
Meshkov’s performance was part of an eventful meet for the Silver Warriors, who went 6-1 and won five of those matches by over 30 points. Sweeney, with seven pins, and Willie Thacker also went undefeated.
Picking up six victories was Matthew Whelan and James Murphy, and five-bout winners were Jack Schiavo, Ben Catrambone, Alex Ammon and Reggie Melvin.
“We’re coming into the season feeling pretty good. We’re getting settled in,” Sweeney said. “I can see us having a very strong season, especially at sectionals.”
Sweeney boosted his career win total to 181 in moving into the top spot on Niskayuna’s list. Anthony Laniewski, who often went head-to-head with Sweeney in training sessions, closed out his career last season with 179 wins and is Niskayuna’s only significant loss to graduation.
Sweeney won his third straight Section II Class A title last season before placing second at the Section II Division I meet. The senior, who has committed to play lacrosse at Salisbury University, won Section II Division I titles in 2015 (138) and 2016 (160).
“I lost by one point in the Division 1 final last year,” Sweeney said. “That is pushing me to work hard. I want to get to the top of the podium again.”
At Columbia, Niskayuna defeated fellow Suburban Council representative Guilderland (56-21), Whitehall/Fort Ann (56-13), South Glens Falls (52-18), Tamarac (53-22), Beekmantown (63-18) and Maple Hill (57-30) and lost only to Newburgh Free Academy by one point (37-36).
“We are currently ranked No. 1 in Section II and poised for a breakout year,” Neely said.