LOCH SHELDRAKE – In one of the biggest tournaments held during the season, five members of the Norwich Purple Tornado wrestling team returned home as sixth place finishers after the 17th annual Eastern States Classic.
A tournament which features 174 teams from nine different states saw approximately 575 wrestlers in two days of action on the mats.
Norwich’s Dante Geislinger, who made an appearance at the tournament last season, placed second – the highest of the five Tornado wrestlers.
Geislinger met Shenedehowa’s Stevo Poulin, a wrestler from Section II who holds the No.1 ranking in the country, in the finals. Poulin, undefeated on the season, picked up his 19th win with the 11-0 major decision against Geislinger.
The Norwich 106 pounder didn’t have an easy path to the finals though. Chase Liardi of Massapequa was a Division-I runner up last year at the New York State Championships. Geslinger defeated Liardi by a 5-1 decision.
The Tornado junior squeezed out the win over Warsaw’s Muskan Monger by 5-4 decision and pinned Jyden Rampolla of Arlington as the second period ended in the earlier matches of his journey to the finals. Another match he had was against Cooperstown’s Avery Leonard.
Prior to the match, Leonard was a perfect 22-0 for the season but Geislinger ended that with a 15-0 tech fall, ending the match just over a minute and half into the second period.
Geislinger made his first appearance at the Eastern States Classic a year ago and placed fourth, losing to Liardi in the consolation finals by a 5-2 decision. This year, he improved his place and got revenge on the Massapequa wrestler.
The Purple Tornado’s Mikey Squires racked up a pin and two tech falls in the early rounds of his tournament field, defeating Brewster’s Jack Muentener, Wallkill’s Kraig Thomas and Petride’s Mike DiForte.
Squires’ next match was against a familiar opponent – Saranac’s Bryce Smith. The Norwich wrestler defeated Smith in the fifth-place match at the Division-II State Championships a season ago and won with a 3-0 decision.
In the meeting at Easterns, Squires bettered his scored against Smith, sending him to the wrestleback rounds with a 5-0 decision.
Squires met Poly Prep’s David Berkovich in the next round. Berkovich wrestled at the Prep Nationals tournament earlier this year and placed fifth. However, the Purple Tornado junior earned a sudden victory win.
Squires and Berkovich finished the three periods tied at 1-1, forcing the overtime action. Squires was able to get a reversal on the Poly Prep stand-out ending the match. The Norwich 152 pounder moved into the semifinals against Duanesburg’s Zachery Lawrence – the 2018 third place finisher at states.
Lawerence, who ended up as the 152 pound Eastern States Classic champion, handed Squires his first loss of the tournament by a 7-3 decision.
In the consolation finals, Squires faced Stefan Major of Kings Park. Major took the match with a 8-2 decision and Squires stood on the podium at the fourth spot.
Tyler Rice of Norwich also faced a tough field at 285 pounds. Rice’s lone loss of the tournament came in the semifinals match against Newark Valley’s Trentyn Rupert.
A New York State Division-1 third place winner a season ago, Rupert battled with the Tornado Sophomore in the semifinals match but was able to come out the winner of the 6-0 decision...