Garcia, Rifanburg doing all the right things

You can't talk about one without mentioning the other. Seniors Tristan Rifanburg and Frank Garcia will remain inexorably linked in the annals of Norwich High School sports history.

Before they became teammates on the varsity team in seventh grade, they were pee wee wrestling partners and occasional opponents on the grueling youth wrestling circuit.

It's been perhaps a 10-year journey together as their high school careers wind down with just the state wrestling championships left on the docket.

And make no mistake; those two will leave a lasting impression on the Times Union Arena mats as they vie for five combined New York State titles on Feb. 27-28.

In the 50-year history of the state wrestling tournament, only three other Norwich wrestlers had reached a state championship match. Not counting this year, Rifanburg and Garcia have doubled that total.

"It's going to be bittersweet, and both just completed their careers wrestling in the Section IV Tournament," said Norwich head wrestling coach Terry Hagenbuch. "I know they wanted to cherish the moment, but I also know they're still looking forward to the state tournament."

If you're a high school wrestler in New York State, ultimately, the goal is to reach the state tournament. For Rifanburg and Garcia getting to the state tournament has been a mere formality. Last Saturday at the Floyd L. Maines Memorial Arena, Rifanburg tied a section record with his sixth championship, while Garcia closed his sectional career with his third straight crown.

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