SYRACUSE — In its third appearance at the event, the Shenendehowa wrestling team finally picked up its first victory at the State Dual Meet Championships.
Two of them, in fact. But that’s where the road ended.
Shenendehowa advanced to the semifinals of Saturday’s Division 1 tournament at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena in dramatic fashion, with 285-pounder Sebastian Underwood’s last-second takedown giving the Plainsmen a wild win against Spencerport. But a similar rally didn’t materialize in the semifinals, where top-seeded Minisink Valley won the final four weight classes to seal a 47-27 victory.
"Any teams that are going to do well here, they have a good kid at every weight class,” Shenendehowa coach Rob Weeks said. “You can’t find a weakness. You’ve got to have good kids that can counter them. We were a couple kids short.”
In Division 2, Cobleskill-Richmondville fought through a pair of tough matches, going 1-1 against WT Clarke and Port Jervis, but the Bulldogs were eliminated during the pool-play round.
Shenendehowa opened its day in round-robin competition with a 52-20 win over Chenango Forks — the team’s first-ever win at the state duals after going 0-2 each of the last two years — then needed to survive a tough match with Spencerport to reach the semifinals.
Spencerport led 26-15 with five matches to go, but Shenendehowa answered with a tech fall from Colden Dorfman and pins from Sam Bergin and Brock DelSignore to take a 32-26 advantage. A major decision win by Silas Egenlauf brought Spencerport within 32-30 heading to the final match between Underwood and Michael Nanna at 285 pounds.
The deciding match was nip-and-tuck throughout, with Underwood trailing 3-2 in the final seconds and needing a takedown to send Shenendehowa forward.
“You’ve got to shoot [for a takedown],” Underwood said. “You’ve got to do something, but not sacrifice just going out there and flopping to the ground.”
Underwood scored the takedown with 10 seconds to go as the Shenendehowa bench erupted in glee.
“When matches like those happen, it’s not the last match that won it,” Underwood said. “It’s the whole team not giving up bonus points. It’s every other match that led up to that.”
“Sometimes, those victories feel so good and you get so elated that you’re a little flat afterwards. We weren’t,” Weeks said. “The kids responded.”
Shenendehowa raced out to a 14-0 lead through three matches in the semis against Minisink Valley, but the Section IX-champion Warriors reeled off the next 26 points. Wins by Dorfman, Bergin and DelSignore put Shenendehowa up 27-26 with four weight classes to go, but Minisink Valley swept all four of those matches on the way to the finals.
“Minisink’s a little bit better of a team right now and they showed it,” Weeks said. “They’re the team that belongs in the finals from our end.”
BULLDOGS HANG TOUGH
Coming into the Division 2 tournament unseeded in a group with No. 2 seed WT Clarke and No. 7 Port Jervis, Cobleskill-Richmondville scrapped its way to a 1-1 record in a pair of close matches. The Bulldogs dropped their opening match to Clarke, 39-33, then posted a come-from-behind 42-39 win against Port Jervis in the second round.
“The first match was a winnable match for us. They just had a couple guys get some big wins, unfortunately for us,” Cobleskill-Richmondville coach Justin Kimball said. “I thought we wrestled really tough, we just didn’t get the matches that we needed.”
Against Port Jervis, Cobleskill-Richmondville erased a 39-27 deficit with three matches to go. Ethan Cooper started the comeback with a pin at 182 pounds, Hunter Edwards won a decision at 195 and Masen Cooper’s pin gave the Bulldogs the win.
“It’s been a fun year with those guys up top,” Kimball said.
Due to an unsportsmanlike conduct point incurred against Clarke, Cobleskill-Richmondville faced long odds to advance even if Port Jervis forced a three-way tie at 1-1, but that drama was put to bed with Clarke’s 51-27 win to take the group outright.
Minisink Valley won the Division 1 championship, beating Section III's Fulton in the final, while the Division 2 title went to Section VI's Falconer with a win over Mount Sinai.
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Shinder.