ALBANY – After tremendous effort in the qualifiers, all local teams were well-represented in the NYSPHSAA Wrestling State Championship held at Times Union Center in Albany.
Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton/Harpursville, Norwich, Oxford/Greene, Sherburne-Earlville, and Unatego/Unadilla Valley had at least one wrestler compete throughout the weekend. Out of all these prestigious teams in Chenango County, there was one wrestler who won it all; Darren Florance from the BGAH Bears.
Darren, along with Joey Florance, are not new to the states wrestling mat. Both have been contenders throughout their high school careers. Darren is a back-to-back states champion after winning last year at 102 pounds. Since then, he bulked up to 110 with the same result.
Darren started off with a bye before taking down Nanuet’s John Pariski in 48 seconds. He won his final three matches on decisions, including a close 8-7 decision over Shoreham-Wading River’s Gavin Mangaro to complete his day on top. The two-time state champion finished his junior season with a 36-1 record.
Joey Florance finished second in the 118 pound weight class with a hard loss in the finals match. This was Joey’s fourth time at states with back-to-back second place finishes. He started off with a bye as well before two big pins and a win by decision. He lost the final match to Copenhagen’s Chase Nevills in a major 9-1 decision. Joey finished his final season as a BGAH Bear with a 32-5 record.
Darren looks to come back for his senior year to only add on to his BGAH legacy.
The Norwich Purple Tornado brought three top wrestlers who have been striving all season long. Coach Bob Hagenbuch hoped all three would make the podium in their respective weight class, which was a hard case to make.
Maverick Beckwith had the best performance on the weekend with placing third in the 102 weight class. Mason Edwards had a strong beginning with a hard ending to take sixth in the 172 weight class. Yanni Drapaniotis fell in all three matches he competed in. -
Maverick Beckwith started off with a bye before winning two big decisions. In the semifinals, he lost a tough 5-4 decision that should’ve gone his way, but the call was overturned. But, he got back on his feet and won the consolation semifinals and defeated Newfare’s Jakob Lucinski in a 2-0 decision to finish third.
Edwards achieved sixth place by starting out his day with two takedowns, including a :53 fall against North Rose Wolcott’s Alan Anthony and a 3:33 pin vs Jesse Mullis from Hudson Falls. Edwards would then lose on a 8-4 decision to Southwestern’s Tavio Hoose and fall due to injury in the final two matches. Mason finished his final season as a Purple Tornado with a 23-4 record.
Sherburne-Earlville’s Landon Andrade made his mark at states after a phenomenal 2022-2023 season. The sophomore finished the regular season strong at 29-3 and came in third in sectionals to make it to his first state competition. However, Andrade did not place and went 3-3 on the weekend in the 285 weight class.
Andrade started out strong with a 2:39 pin on John H Glenn’s Melkin Alfaro-Chavez before falling in the next match to Bolivar-Richburg’s Trent Sibble. He fought his way back in the next two matches but fell in the fourth consolation round, which marked his final match of the day.
Senior Hunter Page attended his second states event, representing Greene High School on the Oxford/Greene Blackhawks. In 2022, he finished in eighth place in the 172 weight class. This time, in the 189 class, he did one better and came away with seventh place. Page started out with a bye before defeating Waverly’s Matthias Welles in a 7-6 decision. He then lost the quarterfinal match by technical fall. But that didn’t stop him from going back to work on winning a 6-2 decision over Hendrick Hudson ‘s Kyle Peske. He lost the next match before achieving another 6-2 decision in the final match over Maple Grove’s Matt Trim. Page finished his final season with a 32-6 record.
Caleb Cole and Wyatt Meade represented the Unatego/Unadilla Valley wrestling team at states. Both Sophomores made their second states appearance after doing well in sectionals. Cole achieved fourth at last year’s event while Meade took fifth. Cole came away with fourth again this year while Meade was consistent with another fifth place finish.
Cole, in the 110 weight class, received a bye before taking down Jovanni Nazario from Horace Mann with a 1:02 pin. He then won a major 8-0 decision before falling to Shoreham-Wading River’s Gavin Mangano 7-0. Cole picked himself back up to win a 7-1 decision against Cobelskill-Richmondville’s Ashten Haley to earn his spot in the third place match. He lost in a 5-3 decision vs Groton’s Aiden Shufelt.
Meade, who picked up his 100th career victory in sectionals, started off strong in the 138 weight class, with two big decision wins. He then fell in a close 4-3 decision vs Hackley’s Cole Joseph. Meade went on to win the next two matches, both in 5-4 decisions before losing by technical fall. He had another chance with Cole Joseph in the fifth place match and pinned him in 2:44 to make the podium.
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