What a difference a week made for the Johnson City wrestling team.
After getting throttled by Union-Endicott at the Section 4 Dual Meet Tournament last weekend, the Wildcats bounced back in impressive fashion on Saturday at U-E with a successful defense of its Southern Tier Athletic Conference championship.
With a tournament-high five individual champions, Johnson City pulled away from host Union-Endicott, finishing with 214 points to the Tigers’ 196. Vestal was a distant third with 149.5 points, with Norwich (137.5) finishing fourth and Maine-Endwell (134.5) taking fifth out of 16 teams.
Isiah Colgan (120), Zach Colgan (160), Dominic Taylor (170), Nick Bidwell (182) and Reggie Williams (195) all won titles for Johnson City, which was decisively beaten by U-E, 57-24, in the semifinals of the Section 4 Dual Meet Tournament last weekend.
“We went into the Duals down two to three weight classes, which made it tough,” Johnson City coach Jordan Glenn said.
“But we had some revenge matches go our way, and the guys came in here thinking we can win this.”
One of those revenge matches came at 120, where Isiah Colgan eked out a 2-1 decision over U-E’s Mikey Carr in the title match.
A week earlier, Carr pinned Colgan in 5:04 at the Section 4 Duals.
Colgan took the lead with a reversal midway through the second period after working out of a cradle attempt by Carr.
“I practiced all week working on getting out against the cradle,” Colgan said.
“My brother Zach and (teammate) Tyler Brazinski are really good with the cradle, so I worked out with them.”
Zach Colgan and Williams both won decisively in securing their fourth STAC titles. C
olgan defeated Ithaca’s Ian VanValen by a 6-0 decision in the 160 final while Williams cruised to a 16-5 win over Windsor’s David McKee in the 195 final.
Taylor won his first STAC title, using a headlock to pin Oneonta’s Kirkland Dolan in 1:25 of their 170 final.
“When I pinned him, I loved hearing the sound of the crowd roar,” said a beaming Taylor, who has battled injuries the past two seasons, including a concussion earlier this season.
“I owe it to Reggie, he’s my workout partner and he really prepared me for this.”
Bidwell’s title win came in unfortunate fashion, as he won by injury default over Chenango Forks’ Isaiah Zimmer at 182.
Zimmer led 7-3 midway through the third period when he crashed to the mat screaming in pain with a right knee injury and could not continue. He left the gym shortly afterward to have an MRI done on his knee.
Johnson City was one of four teams with multiple champions, as Norwich had three and both U-E and Vestal won two.
Among Norwich’s champions was Tristan Rifanburg, who earned the Sarge Award — named after former U-E coach Frank Sorochinsky — as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Rifanburg won his fourth STAC title, defeating Elmira’s Curtis Grant, 8-3, in the 138 final in a showdown of multi-time state tournament participants.
When the two met in late December at the Owego Duals, Rifanburg eked out an 8-6 victory. It was a far more dominant effort by the Norwich junior on Saturday, as he took command with a two-point near fall and later a takedown in the second period to build a 7-3 lead.
“He’s quick, fast on his feet,” Rifanburg said. “He’s got a fast low single-leg takedown, and this time I was able to take that away and control the match.”
Also winning titles for Norwich were Frank Garcia and Dalen Geislinger. Garcia won the 152 title with a 12-4 decision over Vestal’s Owen Jarrold while Geislinger defeated teammate Ty Rifanburg by fall in 3:12 to take the 99 title.
The Geislinger/Rifanburg final was one of two on Saturday featuring teammates.
In the 132 final, U-E’s Xavian Hughes defeated teammate Anthony Noce by a 5-2 decision. Isaac Eddings also won an individual title for U-E, defeating JC’s Niko Cejic, 2-1, at 285.
Vestal senior Pat Carlin remained unbeaten. The first-year varsity wrestler edged Union-Endicott’s Andrew Brinser, 3-1, to win the 220 title, breaking a 1-all tie when he spun around for a takedown just as time expired in the match.
“He was trying to score (late) and I was just being defensive,” Carlin said. “I thought the longer the match went on, the better the chance I had of winning.
“I didn’t expect this, it’s awesome.”
Derek Osman (113) was Vestal’s other champion. He got a takedown midway through the first overtime period to secure a 4-2 victory over Brazinski.
Maine-Endwell’s Zak Garrehy (145) was the lowest-seeded wrestler to win a STAC title.
The fourth-seeded Garrehy, who defeated top-seeded James Longo of Oneonta by technical fall, 15-0, in the semifinals, overcame an early deficit to pin Owego’s Nate Bell in 3:08 of their title match.
Also winning individual titles were Ithaca’s Richie Burke (126) and Corning’s Blake Abbey (106).