FREEDOM PLAINS – For Randy Earl, Saturday was more of a blessing than an inconvenience.
On account of the impending inclement weather, all rounds of the Section 1 Division I wrestling tournament were held in one day, at Arlington High School. The tournament was originally slated to be held over two days: the first leg of the tournament on the Admirals’ home mat on Saturday, and the finals at Clarkstown South High School in West Nyack on Sunday.
But the condensed format didn’t seem to hinder some of the locals much as Earl captured the 126-pound title, despite short rest. The John Jay senior earned an 8-0 major decision over Matt Kramer of John Jay-Cross River.
Earl’s teammate Tyler Albis won the 120-pound title and Kyle Davis of Beacon earned the 195-pound championship. They qualified for the state tournament, which will be held Feb. 24-25 at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Cross River won a second straight team title, finishing ahead of Arlington, 176.5 to 161. Roy C. Ketcham finished seventh, John Jay was 11th and Beacon took 15th.
That trio of Earl, Albis and Davis were among seven area wrestlers who earned a berth in the tournament finals. Earl and Arlington wrestler Chris Gresis insisted that holding the entire tournament in one day was advantageous for a number of reasons — not having to trek to Rockland County being at the top of the list.
“I hate traveling to Clarkstown,” said Earl, who had beaten Mount Vernon’s Najashi Sharpe to advance to the final. “The highway seems like it never ends… It’s a plus. You can just go out there and finish it earlier.”
Albis topped Arlington’s Ulises Olmedo in a 4-3 decision to win at 120 pounds. Davis beat Johnny Santos (Fox Lane) in the 195-pound final.
Arlington freshman Dennis Robin fell short in the 99-pound final, losing to Port Chester’s Ivan Garcia. Teammate Jacquez Poole lost 2-1 in overtime to Cross River’s Benji Grecaj in the 285-pound final. And Gresis lost, 3-2, in his final to Mike Criscione of North Rockland.
Still, Gresis said, it was a boon to have the tournament carried out at one site on one day. To him, the chance to become a section champion on his home mat was thrilling.
“I actually like this,” said Gresis, who had beaten Brice Artrip of Suffern, 8-2, to advance to the final. “Personally, I like it because it’s our gym.”
This was the final Section 1 tournament for Arlington coach Fred Perry, who plans to retire at the end of the season.
It was also the first time since 1996 the Section 1 finals were contested at Arlington, Perry said. He, too, didn’t mind the last-minute change.
“It’s fantastic and I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Perry said. “The kids were excited about it, wrestling at home. It’s real nice, for the parents, as well as the wrestlers.”
A.J. Martelli: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports