Seniors Curtis Grant of Elmira and Ryan Wolcott of Waverly are among seven wrestlers from the Elmira-Corning area who will compete in the New York State Wrestling Championships this weekend at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Grant finished sixth in the state in Division I at 138 pounds last season and Wolcott was the Division II runner-up at 220. Both are in the same weight classes this year.
Corning senior Blake Abbey will join Grant in Division I (large schools) at 106 pounds. Other Division II wrestlers include Watkins Glen sophomores Brandon Gould (113) and Ian Chedzoy (182), Odessa-Montour junior Joe Rorick (120), and Waverly senior Brandon Ellers (170).
Grant, Wolcott, Abbey and Rorick won Section 4 titles. The other three advanced to the state meet as wild cards.
Competition begins at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
The unseeded Grant opens against second-seeded Matt Caputo of North Rockland, who beat Grant 10-3 last year in the fifth-place match at states. Grant lost both of his matches at states two years ago.
Grant (34-4) has been tested this season, losing twice by decision to five-time Section 4 champion Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich and facing his share of state-caliber wrestlers.
“I think Curtis needs to execute his game plan,” Express coach Dave Guyette said. “He needs to play to his strengths. As long as he wrestles to his capabilities, he should be in every match he wrestles.”
Guyette said Grant has gotten stronger as the season has progressed, and that continued during the nearly two-week break between sectionals and states.
“I’ve seen a kid who has worked his tail off,” Guyette said. “He had a great couple of weeks of preparation and great workout partners. He’s probably in as good a shape as he has ever been in and he’s ready to roll.”
Wolcott is unbeaten this season and has not been slowed since missing the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Championships with a shoulder injury. He is seeded first and opens against Paul Herrea of Saranac. Wolcott lost in last year’s finals, 1-0, to Hornell’s Zack Bacon, who graduated.
This will be the second trip to states for Rorick, who lost both of his matches there last season. His opening match is against Daniel Mullin of Gouverneur.
“I’m looking to at least place this year,” Rorick said. “Last year when I lost (at sectionals), because it was the first time I lost all year, it just kind of ruined all of my momentum for the state tournament. This year coming off this big win (at sectionals), it’s just going to boost it even more.”
This will be the first appearance at states for Abbey, who takes on Monroe-Woodbury’s Vinny Vespa in the opening round.
“I’m confident. I’ve wrestled many of the kids that I’ll have there,” Abbey said.
This will also be the first state appearances for Gould, Chedzoy and Ellers. Gould is paired with second-seededTito Colom of Dunkirk in his opening match; Chedzoy will face Schalmont’s Nick Gallo and Ellers wrestles Eagle Academy’s Roshane Gray.