BETHLEHEM -- Niskayuna junior wrestler Jack Schiavo saw his chances at a Section II Class A vanishing before his eyes as he looked up at the ceiling of the Bethlehem High School gymnasium while in the clutches of Shaker's Austin Sill during the 120-pound final Saturday night.
Sill had a takedown, and then attempted to control Schiavo's movement beside him, hoping for a quick pin in the closing minute of the first period.
"I was petrified, I was scared out of my mind," Schiavo said. "Every wrestler, depending on if they are really good or mediocre, they can get caught almost instantly."
If not for the continuous efforts of Schiavo to keep both shoulder blades from hitting the mat simultaneously, along with an experienced referee on top of the action, the match could have ended quickly.
"It could have been called a pin, and there wouldn't have been anything I could say against it because it was close," Niskayuna coach Shaun Neeley said. "I couldn't have argued it.
"That kid is an explosive wrestler that he wrestled, he hits a lot of big moves. Jack got caught, and that's going to happen from time to time."
Schiavo managed to escape Sill's grasp with 15 seconds left.
"Getting pinned, to me, I would almost rather die than get pinned," Schiavo said. "I just don't want to get pinned."
Then he got to work, hitting a reversal on Sill 25 seconds into the second period to cut the lead, 5-3.
With Sill taking the bottom position for the third session, Schiavo was able to keep his opponent onto his back twice, earning two sets of back points, the latter with 38 seconds left to secure the title, 7-5.
"It means that a lot of hard work and dedication, it totally pays off," Schiavo said. "It's a sense of relief and just feels really good at the end of it."
Niskayuna’s Ben Catrambone earned the 132-pound final in an easier fashion – a 12-2 major decision over Guilderland’s Marcus Berroa.
Teammate Peter Meshkov gave up a forfeit to Shenendehowa's Samuel Bergin at 170, and James Murphy ran into another Plainsmen, Brock DelSignore, losing by technical pin fall in the third period
"Peter had the flu last week, and he's nursing an ankle injury," Sheeley said. "We didn't want to risk making the injury worse or him getting sick again, so we decided to sit that one out."
Murphy will have a week to regroup and prepare for DelSignore and the other top five place-finishers in the Class B tournament are combined with the Class A group next Saturday at Cool Insuring Arena for the Section II Division I championships. The top three finishers in Class C, CC and D will be grouped in Division II or small school event at the same time in Glens Falls.
"Murphy has to make sure that he's done everything he can to be prepared and he should be in the finals with Brock again at sectionals," Sheeley said "We'll see what happens."
Shenendehowa saw seven out of eight finalists take home Class A titles Saturday, along with the team title. Shaker had two champions crowned to go with the Bisons' second-place finish. Saratoga saw Griffin Biviano at 138 and Eric Griskowitz at 145 crowned champions for the third-place Blue Streaks. Guilderland was fourth, and Niskayuna finished fifth.
"I think as a team they wrestled well, which they have been for a month now, so we're happy with their performance," Shenendehowa coach Rob Weeks said. "We had kids wrestle back and place, that's how you win tournaments and that's how they get to sectionals."
Shenendehowa 273.5, Shaker 239, Saratoga Springs 185.5, Guilderland 129, Niskayuna 127, Bethlehem 95, Colonie 90, Albany 59, Schenectady 53.
99: Deuel (Shen) pinned Anderson (SS), 4:29. 106: Grembocki (Shen) maj. dec. Pratt (SS), 12-3. 113: Poulin (Shen) pinned Griskowitz (SS), :59. 120: Schiavo (N) dec. Sill (Shak), 7-5. 126: Santore (Shak) dec. Robles (Shen), 7-0. 132: Catrambone (N) maj. dec. Berroa (G), 12-2. 138: Biviano (SS) pinned Sameer (Shak), 5:59. 145: Griskowitz (SS) dec. Disanto (C), 8-2. 152: Leavey (Shen) def. Stanton (Shak), 8-3. 160: Dorfman (Shen) pinned Rezek (Shak), 1:42. 170: Bergin (Shen) by forfeit over Meshkov (N). 182: DelSignore (Shen) tech. fall Murphy (Nisk), 4:51. 195: Chehade (Shak) dec. Durant (G), 11-4. 220: Stein (Shak) pinned Barmore (Sch), :54. 285: Garrity (Shak) dec. Roe (C), 3-1 SV-1.