Greene sophomore Christian Dietrich carries the distinction of being one of two undefeated Section 4 wrestlers competing in this year’s state tournament.
It’s a distinction he would like to keep upon completion of competition Saturday night.
A state runner-up last year, Dietrich will join 39 other Section 4 wrestlers seeking state titles when the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships begin 10 a.m. Friday at the Times Union Center in Albany. The top seed in the Division II 182-pound weight class, Dietrich believes the time is now to realize his considerable promise.
“I just have to go in there and wrestle like I have been all year,” said Dietrich, who is 39-0, only seven of those matches going the full six minutes. “My confidence is the same as it was last year, I just can’t back down.”
Dietrich impressively placed sixth as a seventh-grader in the Division II 152 weight class in 2011, then missed the entire 2012 season with knee injuries.
He was the top seed last year in Division II 170, narrowly losing to Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy’s Adis Radoncic, 4-3, in the state final.
“I just wasn’t as focused as I needed to be, I wasn’t on top of my game,” Dietrich said. “It was a bad day last year.”
Dietrich is one of five Section 4 wrestlers to garner No. 1 seeds, all five competing in the Division II Tournament.
The other No. 1 seeds are Deposit/Hancock’s Dean Raymond (99), Lansing’s William Koll (132), Norwich’s Frank Garcia (152), Waverly’s undefeated Ryan Wolcott (220). Koll won his second state title last year, winning the 126 crown, while Garcia and Wolcott were runners-up at 145 and 220, respectively.
Three other Section 4 wrestlers received No. 2 seeds, Johnson City’s Reggie Williams (Division I 195), Newark Valley’s Derek Holcomb (Division I 160), and Unatego’s Ryan Marszal (Division II 170). Johnson City’s Zach Colgan (Division I 160), Newark Valley’s Bennie Baker (Division I 99), Ithaca’s Richie Burke (Division I 126), Norwich’s Tristan Rifanburg (Division II 138), Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton/Harpursville’s Chris Cirigliano (Division II 106) and Oxford’s Joe Nelson (Division II 113) are seeded third in their weight classes.
Rifanburg is the only other Section 4 wrestler aside from Koll competing in this year’s tournament who has previously won a state title, winning the Division II 96 title as a seventh-grader in 2010.
Section 4 has 16 wrestlers in the Division I Tournament and 24 in the Division II Tournament. Last year, Section 4 won the team title in the Division II Tournament.
Baker, the lone seventh-grader from Section 4 competing in the state tournament, is one of 21 first-timers.
The others in Division I are Corning’s Blake Abbey (106), Vestal’s Derek Osman (113), Johnson City’s Isaiah Colgan (120), Union-Endicott’s Xavian Hughes (132), Sammy Davis (182) and Isaac Eddings (285), NV’s Vinnie Darpino (170) and Larry Kasmarcik (152), and Chenango Forks’ Allan Michael Rios (220).
Division II first-timers from Section 4 are Watkins Glen’s Brandon Gould (113) and Ian Chedzoy (182), Odessa-Montour’s Joe Rorick (120), Walton’s Logan Robinson (120), Tioga’s Jesse Manuel (132), BGAH’s Jamie Griswold (145), Oxford’s Nik Hansen (160), Waverly’s Brandon Ellers (170), Sidney’s Kai Sabada (195) and Austin Dean (285) and Candor’s Tyler Hallett (285).