JOHNSON CITY – Norwich is already ahead of last season's pace, and the 2013-2014 season was a pretty good one for the Tornado grapplers.
Norwich captured its first STAC championship in 24 years winning three individual titles and placing nine wrestlers among the top five.
Tristan Rifanburg (145), a finalist in all six of his STAC tourneys, won his fifth league title and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler. Rifanburg won by pin or technical fall en route to his crown, and blasted U-E's Tristan Martin, 16-0, win by technical fall in just 3:25 for the crown. "It was typical Tristan – he didn't make mistakes," said Norwich coach Terry Hagenbuch. "It was a very deserving honor."
Frank Garcia (152) captured his third STAC title, and Dalen Geislinger (113) shook off a dual meet loss from earlier in the week to nail down a trio of NHS championships.
Just a season ago, Norwich came up short in this event, but followed that up with Class B and Section IV Division II titles. The first leg of this triple crown is already in the books, and Norwich is likely the favorite to repeat the next two weeks.
"There are different dynamics between dual meets and tournaments, and things have to happen that are out of your control," Hagenbuch said. "I think this team is definitely a better tournament team than a dual meet team, but we're still a good dual meet team. (This win) is definitely satisfying, and any time you beat the Triple Cities teams, including the defending champions, it's good for our program."