ALBANY – After six years and 470 combined wins, the two most distinguished wrestlers in Norwich history completed their high school careers as the best in the state.
Tristan Rifanburg (145) set the stage for back-to-back state titles in as many years Saturday evening at the Times Union Arena winning his third state championship. One weight class later, Frankie Garcia (152) captured his second straight championship.
Rifanburg amassed a remarked 249-12 career record over six seasons, and Garcia – who missed some time with an injury as a junior – compiled a 221-21 record in the same time frame. The twosome will go down as the most prolific winners in Norwich wrestling history with nine combined sectional championships and five combined state titles.
Their high school exploits are now over, and neither spent much time reflecting on what they had done until their final six minutes on the mat expired. “When you’re out there, you’re always in the moment,” Garcia said. “It started to hit me when I knew I had six more minutes left (in the finals).”
Rifanburg was complimentary of his longtime practice partner (Garcia), whom he grew up wrestling with – and against – since the pee wee wrestling days. Rifanburg made six trips to the state tournament and placed all six times. “You try to win every one and that didn’t happen,” Rifanburg said. “But you just keep training, get better one percent every day, and try to get to the top of the podium every time you can.”