ALBANY — For a good 20 minutes before taking the mat Saturday night for his Division 1 113-pound final at the New York state wrestling championships, Stevo Poulin was a metronome, pacing behind the mat, blocking out any distractions and locking himself in a rhythm.
When Poulin’s match finally began, the Shenendehowa junior stayed right in rhythm, keeping a pace that no opponent in the state has ever managed to keep up with.
Poulin racked up points against Jeremiah Echeverria of Long Beach in clinical fashion, keeping up his businesslike demeanor as he won by technical fall in five minutes, 39 seconds to claim his third consecutive state title. It’s an achievement matched by only four other wrestlers in Section II history, yet Poulin’s only acknowledgment of the feat was a series of curt nods after he finished the match at 24-5.
Business as usual.
“Just as planned,” Poulin said. “Get my third title, and I took every match just like how I imagined in the beginning.”
Shenendehowa entered Saturday night at Times Union Center with a chance to crown two state champions, but junior 182-pounder Brock DelSignore was denied in his final, dropping a 4-2 decision to Matthew Rogers of Wantagh.
Poulin joins Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s Jon Cardi (1981-83), Salem’s Frank Fronhofer (1987-89), Shenendehowa’s Austin Meys (2005, 08-09) and Schuylerville’s Orion Anderson (2016-18) in Section II’s three-time state champion club. Anderson and Poulin, who are second cousins, are the only Section II wrestlers to win state titles at three different weight classes.
But for Poulin, a third state championship and a second straight undefeated season — he’s now 132-1 for his three-year high school career — only scratches the surface of his wrestling ambitions.
“I’ve got higher goals than this weekend,” Poulin said. “This is just a stepping stone.”
“Stevo’s proven himself in that position,” Shenendehowa coach Rob Weeks said. “It’s what you expect, and he performs.”
Poulin’s biggest goal Saturday night was to stay within himself and avoid the trap he nearly fell into the year prior when he beat Minisink Valley’s Zack Ryder in the 106-pound final but did so in far from his normally dominant fashion, scratching out a 4-3 win.
This time around, there was no such drama. Poulin nearly pinned Echevarria with a cradle in the first 15 seconds, led 10-1 after the first period and carved out his lead before clinching the tech fall with a five-point move in the third period.
“I had to stay at my pace through the whole match,” Poulin said. “Last year, I got caught up in the crowd and wrestled the other kid’s match. This year, I had to stick to my game.”
DelSignore entered the 182-pound final on a 27-match winning streak, having outscored his opponents in the state tournament 42-12 over a trio of major decision wins to reach the final.
But, the junior found himself stonewalled by Wantagh’s Rogers in the championship match, never able to get the score in his advantage.
“I don’t really know,” DelSignore said. “I couldn’t really get to my offense.”
Down 5-2 in the final minute of the third period, DelSignore got a takedown with 40 seconds left to get within a point. He immediately cut Rogers loose, going down 6-4 but giving himself more time to try for the tying takedown.
However, Rogers fought off DelSignore’s final double-leg attempt as time expired, ending the Plainsmen standout’s season with a 44-5 record.
“This’ll bother him for a while, but he’s a worker,” Weeks said. “He’ll recover and get right back at training, get ready for the offseason and come back and make a run for it next year. … He may be the best kid I’ve been a part of as a coach in regards to just a holistic individual. He’s a kid you want your daughter to marry, and it’s because he’s such a good human being. Sometimes, good human beings come up short, and that’s what happened tonight.”
DelSignore was distraught after the match, but said he’s determined to return to the state tournament for a fifth time in 2021 and end his career atop the podium.
“Senior year would be great to get a championship,” he said.
ON THE PODIUM
In addition to DelSignore and Poulin, five other Section II wrestlers earned Division I podium finishes, led by Ballston Spa junior Nick Palso taking third at 106. Shenendehowa’s Colden Dorfman was fourth at 160 after falling in the semifinals to eventual state champion Cooper Kropman of Penfield on Saturday morning. Mohonasen’s Jake Deguire fell in the semifinals at 138 and ended up with a fifth-place finish. Rounding out Section II’s medalists were Michael Altomer of Columbia taking fifth at 195, Niskayuna's Peter Meshkov finishing seventh at 170 and Sean Malenfant of Averill Park finishing seventh at 152.
DRIVE FOR FIVE
Hilton’s Greg Diakomihalis became New York’s fourth five-time state champion, beating Chase Liardi of Massapequa, 8-2, in the Division 1 120-pound final.
It’s the third straight year a five-time state champion has been crowned. Adam Busiello of Eastport-South Manor completed his quintet in 2019, while Jacori Teemer of Long Beach earned his fifth consecutive championship in 2018. Troy Nickerson of Chenango Forks was the first to win five state titles, capturing them from 2001 to 2005.
113: Stevo Poulin (Shenendehowa) tech fall Jeremiah Echeverria (Long Beach), 5:39 (24-5). 182: Matt Rogers (Wantagh) dec. Brock DelSignore (Shenendehowa), 6-4.
113: Stevo Poulin (Shenendehowa) pinned Anthony Surace (Webster Schroeder), 1:46. 138: Ryan Burgos (Hilton) major dec. Jake Deguire (Mohonasen), 14-0. 152: AJ Kovacs (Iona Prep) major dec. Sean Malenfant (Averill Park), 13-4. 160: Cooper Kropman (Penfield) dec. Colden Dorfman (Shenendehowa), 6-1. 182: Brock DelSignore (Shenendehowa) major dec. Ethan Gallo (Minisink Valley), 10-1.
106: Nick Palso (Ballston Spa) by forfeit. 160: Jack Spahn (Islip) dec. Colden Dorfman (Shenendehowa), 4-0.
138: Jake Deguire (Mohonasen) pinned Ben Rogers (Wantagh), 4:14. 195: Michael Altomer (Columbia) dec. Anthony Cascen (Harry S. Truman), 6-2.
152: Sean Malenfant (Averill Park) pinned Wenchard Pierre Louis (Brentwood), 1:48.
170: Peter Meshkov (Niskayuna) dec. Max Gwertzman (Brooklyn Tech), 3-0.
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected] or @Adam_Shinder on Twitter.