BINGHAMTON – This past weekend all across New York State, some of the most top-notch wrestlers took to the mat, vying for a sectional title and a chance to represent there section at the New York state wrestling tournament in Albany.
Chenango County had five Schools send athletes to the section IV tournament held at Floyd L Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton. BGAH, Norwich Greene, Oxford, and Unadilla Valley all had athletes either win or place this past weekend.
Sherburne-Earlville sent athletes to the section III tournament held at Onondaga Community College in the Syracuse area.
Jack Buell from Sherburne-Earlville at 195-pounds will be heading to Albany to represent Section III, Buell is almost a lock for the first seed come the State Tournament. Section IV will be represented by 113-pounds Chris Cirigliano of BGAH, 126-pounds Ty Rifanburg of Norwich, 160-pounds Austin Carr of BGAH, 195-pounds Braxton Howell of Greene, and 220-pounds Garyn Huntley of Oxford.
•BGAH walked away claiming the second overall finish as a team at the Section IV tournament with a 183.5-point finish, just less than twenty points from first place Deposit-Hancock.
“Wrestled well overall had a couple of bad matches which cost us team title but can't really complain when we sent 12 and nine made top four,” said BGAH head coach Brandon MacNaught.
Headlining the BGAH squad with senior Chris Cirigliano, at 113-pounds and junior Austin Carr at 160-pounds.
Cirigliano for the fourth time in his high school career, stood atop the top podium as a Section IV champion. It should be noted that Cirigliano won three of his four matches on the weekend by technical fall and the fourth coming by way of a pin.
“I owe it all to my mom, my coaches, Mr. MacNaught, Mr. Kelly, Steve Spratley and family, Tony Ferarra, Mr. Marks, and my teammates,” said Cirigliano. “it’s My senior year, I’m hoping to win it(State title).”
While Carr claimed his first sectional title for the Bears with a 5-0 shut out of his opponent in the finals.
“I’m very excited for states. As far as how I wrestled I got the job done, I wrestled smart in didn’t risk anything,” said Carr. “My teammates, coaches, and my father all are reasons for my success. Without them pushing me and my teammates wrestling with me it’s hard as they can, I wouldn’t have been able to win.”
BGAH would have eight wrestlers in the semi finals, with four of them advancing to the finals round. Madison Hoover and Dylan Mondore would suffer losses in the finals, but could be in line for a wild card selection to the state tournament due to prior credentials.
Ben Bivar at 138-pounds and Mitchell Weist at 195-pounds would both scratch their way back to a third place finish. While Brody Oleksak at 99-pounds, Austin Eggleston at 106-pounds and Shane Hoover at 145-pounds all finished with a fourth place finish.
•Norwich finished in third place, behind fellow Chenango County team BGAH, as they boasted a 149.5-points on the weekend.
Norwich will more impressively be sending at least one representative to Albany for the State Tournament.
Ty Rifanburg at 126-pounds defeated Mike Bryden of Walton 7-1 in the finals to claim a Section IV title for the Tornado.
“I’m really excited for states it’s a big achievement, what I’ve been working for for a long time. Sectionals is awesome but I plan on having more victories to come,” said Ty. “I’ve been doing well, but there’s always room for improvement that’s what I have to do if I want to be successful of the state tournament, because the competition is at a whole new level there.”
Ty pinned his way to the finals, racking up three pins on the weekend before the 7-1 finals victory.
Norwich was sitting pretty coming into the second day of the tournament, as they had six wrestlers in the semifinals and in good positions to advance.
It was only Ty and Eli Rodriguez who would get wins and advance. Despite a loss for Rodriguez to Tioga’s John Wothing, he may be headed to Albany if he receives a wild card like many believe he may.
“Solid turnout this year, we actually placed one more than last year,” explained Norwich head coach Bob Hagenbuch. “Individually we had some disappointments, got caught in some stuff. Dalen Geislinger wrestled back for third, its always tough to wrestle back after a loss like he and Cole Rifanburg both had. It says a lot about them, a lot of kids give up at that point once they lose. Hopefully that’s enough to get us the wildcard to the state tournament.”
With Cole Rifanburg and Dalen Geislinger claiming the third place spots at their weights of 145-pounds and 120-pounds respectively. The Tornado also placed Zach Mills of 132-pounds at fourth place along with Mike Squires at 99-pounds, Nick Glanville at 106-pounds, Brennan Slater at 170-pounds and Jake Franklin at 182-pounds all finished in fifth place.
“Our goal was to win the section tournament, and have a couple champions. Unfortunately we fell short of a couple goals, so hopefully we can make up for it with sending at least Ty to the state tournament,” said Hagenbucg. “Ty is a great athlete, he’s tough on his feet, he’s tough on the mat. He could win the State tournament, he is in a tough weight class, but he can do it.”
•Greene will be sending one wrestler to the State Tournament, Braxton Howell at 195-pounds.
“Senior wrestler Braxton Howell led our team, coming in as the number one seed and winning all four of his matches by fall. He has worked hard with my assistant coach, Tom Voorhis all season and was well prepared coming into the Arena,” said Greene head coach Jason Goldman.
Howell did not let a match extend beyond the first period, until the finals match against Devin Hills of Candor. Howell still would earn the pin fall in the finals, however not until 4:07 into the match.
“I feel like I wrestled very well this weekend, took a lot of hard work and was well worth it, it has been a great accomplishment and I am extremely excited to be able to wrestle in the state tournament,” said Howell. “I put in a lot of time in practice, worked hard, but I couldn't have done it without my coaches and support from my family to push me harder to succeed.”
Goldman explained that the first first night of Sectionals was pretty scripted, things more or less went as planned, with all but one wrestler returning to fight the second day.
“But the woes of day 2, we had heartbreaking losses at 132 and 152 in the semi-final round. Senior wrestlers Ryan Castle and Nate Banks both lost to season rivals, whom they both had 2-1 records over,” said Goldman.
Although both Castle and Banks hunt for a sectional title was cut short, both wrestled back tough and finished third.
Greene would place ninth as a team with only seven wrestlers, they earned 78-points edging out Chenango Valley by two-points.
“We are very excited to have a representative from Greene competing at this year's State Tournament in Albany,” said Goldman.
•Oxford will be sending junior Garyn Huntley to the State Tournament for the second year in a row.
“I'm glad I had enough in the tank to come out on top,” said Garyn Huntley.
Despite a late start to his season Huntley came into the Sectional tournament as the top seed at the 220-pound slot.
Huntley would obviously go 4-0 on the day, with his finals match being the most notable. Garyn defeated BGAH's Dylan Mondore 8-2, in the finals to earn the right to advance to Albany in two weeks.
Oxford would impressively finish in sixth with 90-points as a team, riding on the backs of the Huntley brothers and Garett Sylstra.
Senior brother of Garyn, Kordell Huntley at 285-pounds was searching for his ticket to Albany and fell one win shy of this when he lost to Deposit-Hancock's Zach Gifford by pin at 5:09.
Sylstra at 182-pounds pinned his way all the way into the finals against Ian Chedzoy of Watkins Glen. Chedzoy would earn a 9-1 win over Sylstra.
Sylstra and Kordell Huntley will now be awaiting word on who receives wild card tickets.
•Sherburne-Earlville had almost a sure fire lock walking into the Section III tournament with Jack Buell at 195-pounds.
Buell subsequently manhandled his competition, earning three pins, en route to earn not just a Section III championship title but also a most outstanding wrestler award to go along with more than likely a a first seed come the State Tournament.
It was a great match, we never doubt Jack. But this kid was big he was really good, he had the wins he hadn’t lost all year, he had pins,” said SE coach Brian Hicks. “The thing with Jack is you cant make a mistake. Jack is such great shape that he wrestled so much, that you make one mistake, hes going to catch you.”
Coach Hicks was referring to the finals match, where Buell faced off against previously undefeated Joe Benedict of Sandy Creek. Although this matchup received a lot of hype as Benedict was looked at as the one man who could possibly unseat Buell at the tournament, Jack would earn the pin fall, just like the three previous, at 3:34 into the match.
“He will be the one seed, I would say he will be the one seed. We just have to worry about his first match, hopefully we’ll get our first chance in 28-years that’s what we’re aiming for,” said Hicks.
Despite Buells expected dominance, SE would earn a ninth place finish with 61-points at the Section III tournament with surprisingly only three wrestlers earning points for the team.
Hunter Owen at 152-pounds would go 2-2 on the day earning a fourth place finish, while Cole Mikalunas at 285-pounds would lose his finals match only, going 2-1 on the day.
Mikalunas would suffer a 5-2 defeat in the finals to Jakob Beckwith of General Brown.
“In route to his finals match, Cole first upset the fourth seed, then pinned the first seed in the semi-finals. Waiting to hear about a wild card,” said Hicks.
•Unadilla Valley would subsequently send four wrestler to the Section IV meet and see three walk on the podium as award winners. Unfortunately no champions were crowned this year from UV.
Caleb Simmons at 126-pounds and Curtis Wilson at 220-pounds would each go 2-2 in the tournament, earning fourth place finishes each.
While Morgan Lakin 113-pounds would earn a sixth place finish for the Storm.
The New York State Tournament will be held at the Albany Times Union Center on February 26, and 27.
Official seeds for all wrestlers will be released sometime this week.