A .500 wrestler this season coming into this weekend, Chenango Forks’ senior Seron Mullings now is one victory from a Section 4 title.
Mullings avenged earlier-seasons losses twice Saturday, notably with a stunningly lopsided 13-3 decision against top-seeded Nick Bidwell of Johnson City, to reach the finals of the Division I 182-pound weight class at the Section 4 Wrestling Championships.
On an otherwise largely upset-free day at Binghamton University’s Events Center, Mullings was the lone wrestler to knock off a No. 1 seed. He had lost to Bidwell, 7-4, at the Southern Tier Athletic Conference Championships two weeks ago at Union-Endicott, but had no trouble this time around.
Earlier, Mullins defeated Vestal’s David Gardner, 8-4, in the quarterfinals after losing to him in both their previous meetings this season. Not bad for a guy who was Forks’ second entry in the weight class behind Section 4 champion Isaiah Zimmer, who ultimately was unable to compete due to a knee injury suffered at the STAC Championships.
“Seron is without a doubt the toughest worker in our room,” Forks coach Rick Gumble said. “He’s very close to Isaiah, and he tried to duplicate his style. For him to be in the Sectional final, it’s incredible.”
Forks had two other finalists, Carl Rouse (132) and Allan Michael Rios (220), the later pulling a surprise when he pinned last year’s Section 4 Division I 285 champion Andrew Brinser of U-E in 55 seconds of the semifinals.
The day was a breath of fresh air for Forks after its worst season in many years, one that reached its lowest depths when the Blue Devils failed to place a single wrestler at the Windsor Christmas Tournament in December.
“Obviously for the season we haven’t impressed,” Gumble said. “But our guys have never quit. They have always continued to fight.”
Union-Endicott had a Division I-best six finalists, with Newark Valley, Vestal and Johnson City next with five each. The Division II semifinals take place today when wrestling resumes at 12:30, with the championship finals scheduled for 5 p.m.
U-E, which held a 2½-point lead over JC in the Division I team standings had Mikey Carr (120), Anthony Noce (126), Xavian Hughes (132), Zack Bendick (138), Sammy Davis (182) and Isaac Eddings (285) all advance to the finals. All are seeking their first Section 4 titles.
For Johnson City, a trio of reigning Section 4 champions in Reggie Williams (195), Zach Colgan (160) and Tyler Brazinki (113) are among its five finalists, joined by Isaiah Colgan (120) and Niko Cejic (285). Vestal’s five finalists are Dan Brunette (106), Derek Osman (113), Robert Mastronardi (145), Owen Jarrold (160) and Pat Carlin.
Newark Valley’s Trevor Hoffmier (145) and Derek Holcomb (160), both Section 4 champions, were joined in the finals by Bennie Baker (99), Larry Kasmarcik (152) and Vinnie Darpino (170). The Holcomb/Zach Colgan final will be one of the most-anticipated today.
In Division II, all the major contenders advanced to the semifinals, though Whitney Point’s Andrew Barnhart did survive a scare in the quarterfinals.
Barnhart, the top seed at 195, trailed early in the third period against Unatego’s Andrew Barnhart before seizing control late and getting the pin at 5:59. Not as fortunate was the second seed in that weight class, Maine-Endwell’s Matt Brozovic, who lost 3-1 in overtime to Delhi’s Bryan Ingram in the quarterfinals.
Norwich’s Tristan Rifanburg, seeking a fifth Section 4 title, easily rolled into the 138 semifinals as did teammate Frank Garcia (152). The Purple Tornado hold a slim three-point lead over Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton/Harpursville in the Division II team standings with many other teams bunched closely behind.
Waverly’s Ryan Wolcott (220), vying for a fourth Section 4 title, reached the semifinals, as did Greene’s Christian Dietrich (182). Bother, along with Rifanburg and Garcia, were state runners-up a year ago.