CHENANGO COUNTY – Three Chenango County wrestlers were on the short end of close decisions in the 2013 Division II state wrestling finals. All three – Tristan Rifanburg and Frank Garcia of Norwich, and Christian Dietrich of Greene – are back for this year’s tournament, and have used last year’s disappointment as fuel for the fire.
“Tristan has been a champion and reaped the rewards of that, and he definitely wants it again,” said Norwich coach Terry Hagenbuch.
Let’s backtrack to last year. Rifanburg held a 1-0 lead over Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer until a late takedown gave Spencer the state title. Garcia, meanwhile, lost a 2-0 decision, and Dietrich fell by one point, 4-3.
This season, Dietrich’s record remains unblemished, and he enters the 182-pound division as the number one seed. Garcia’s lone defeats came at the Eastern States Classic, but he is remains the top seed at 152, while Rifanburg has but one defeat, and is the number three seed at 138 pounds.
There are no returning wrestlers at 152 pounds who placed in the state tournament last year, and only two in Garcia’s division who placed in the top six in other weight classes last season (Tyler Silverthorn, Section III, and Ryan Kromer, Section VI). Garcia has not met Kromer, but he beat Silverthorn earlier this season. “I think, in one sense, it was a relief for Frankie to get on the podium last year,” Hagenbuch said. “Frankie is okay with being the top seed. His ultimate goal, as it is with Tristan, is to finish on top of the podium; second place is not what they have trained for.”