LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY – The Eastern States Classic – known for attracting some of the toughest, most prolific wrestlers from all over Northeast – saw six Norwich Purple Tornado wrestlers step onto the mat this past weekend, with two coming away as medalists.
Norwich elected to bring six wrestlers to the weekend tournament in Loch Sheldrake this past weekend – Mikey Squires 106 pounds, Eli Rodriguez 113 pounds, Ty Rifanburg 145 pound, Cole Rifanburg 152 pounds, Jake Franklin 160 pounds, and Brennan Slater 170 pounds – to which Ty and and Squires emerged with a eighth place medal each.
“Eastern States is tougher than the New York State tournament. It's a tournament where only a few slots per team are available. We had six this year and chose to
fill all six,” said Norwich varsity wrestling head coach Bob Hagenbuch. “The tournament is full of strange champions and state place finishers. You have athletes there that are ranked number one in the country, and others in the top five. The competition is unbelievable.”
Despite the increased competition, and subsequent losses when faced with a higher caliber of wrestlers, Hagenbuch is hoping that his wrestlers take their lumps now and learn from the losses as they go forward in search of potential state titles come February.
• 106 pounds: Mikey Squires, a freshman for Norwich, climbed his way through the wrestling ranks to stand at eighth overall when the two-day tournament was complete. Squires earned a solid 12-0 victory in the round of 32 over Hunter Brown of Warwick Valley. Advancing to the round of 16, Squires then was faced with an 11-2 loss to John Charles of Central Valley Academy.
Squires avenged this loss when he demolished Luis Perez of Springfield Valley by a score of 15-1 in the first round of wrestle-backs. Squires then strung together back-to-back wins over Logan Sciotto of Rocky Point at 4-0 and Greg Fischer of Newburgh at 6-2 – as Squires advanced to the placing rounds of wrestle-backs. Failing to climb any higher than eighth on the day, Squires fell victim to Carlos Negrete of Wyoming Seminary, by a score of 6-1 before suffering another loss to Matthew Griffin of Jamesville-Dewitt by a score of 3-0. Squires claimed the hard-fought eighth place spot going 4-3 on the weekend.