Lansing High’s William Koll was among three Section 4 athletes to win state Division II titles at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association wrestling championships Saturday night at the Times Union Center.
Koll, whose father is Cornell University wrestling coach Rob Koll, won his second state championship in three years with 6-2 decision against Fredonia’s Dakota Gardner. Koll, who defeated Nick Forget of Peru (Section 6) 2-1 in the semifinals, seized control of the match during the second and third periods en route to the title.
The junior placed third last year at 113 pounds, following his win at 103 pounds in 2011.
Koll’s Bobcats teammate, Connor Lapresi (138), also advanced to the championship match at his weight class but fell to top-seeded Nick Tighe of Phoenix (Section 3), 3-1. It was the third state title for Tighe, who got a takedown with about 20 seconds left to break a 1-all tie.
In Division I, Ithaca High sophomore Richie Burke lost his opening-round match on Friday and was relegated to the wrestlebacks, where he pinned West Genesee’s Connor Grome in 2:03 on Friday and defeated Sachem East’s Conor O’Hara on Saturday, 2-1, before being eliminated by Saidyokub Kahramonov, 6-4. Kahramonov went to place sixth.
Brandon Lapi, who defeated Burke in Friday’s opening round, finished second, losing in the finals to top-seeded Matt Leshinger of Sayville (Section 11), 4-2.
Windsor’s Matt Abbott (220) and Unatego’s Kevin Thayer (152) also won state Division II titles for Section 4, which finished third in the team championship with 213.5 points. Section 5 (Rochester area) won with 230 points, five points better than runner-up Section 6 (Western New York).
While Abbott, Thayer, and Koll all prevailed, six other Section 4 wrestlers came up short in the finals.
That included Chenango Forks senior Kyle Kelly, whose quest for his third state title was denied with a 14-4 loss to Ward Melville’s Nick Piccicinni in the Division I finals at 113. Kelly had won 110 consecutive matches entering the final, among those victories a 6-4 semifinal win two years ago over Piccininni en route to the 96-pound state Division I title.
But Piccininni had not lost since that match, winning the 106 state title last year and moving into the national rankings at 113 this season. He took control early against Kelly, getting a takedown and a pair of two-point nearfalls in the first period for a 6-0 lead.
“It was a bitter ending to my career, but it’ll be a motivator for me at the next level,” said Kelly, who will attend Binghamton University next fall. “I had a great high school career, and I know my family is proud of me.”
While Kelly lost decisively, Norwich sophomore Tristan Rifanburg led Cheektowaga’s Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer by a point late in the 138 final before giving up a takedown in the waning seconds for a 2-1 loss.
In the Division I team race, Section 4 placed seventh with 84 points; Section 11 (Suffolk County, Long Island) won with 312.