While seven Section 4 wrestlers advanced to the championship finals Saturday at the Times Union Center, Johnson City’s Zach Colgan and Oxford’s Nik Hansen would probably tell you that number should have been nine.
The pair lost semifinal matches in heartbreaking fashion, both squandering leads in the waning seconds at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships.
Colgan lost 8-6 to Columbia’s Angelo Kress in the Division I 160-pound semifinal. Colgan overcame a 4-0 second-period deficit, eventually taking a 6-4 lead early in the third period with an escape.
It appeared Colgan was in good shape until Kress managed to force him backward to his back, getting the takedown and two-point nearfall just before time expired for the stunning victory.
“On this level, when you get into the semifinals, any mistake you make you will pay for significantly,” JC coach Jordan Glenn said. “I thought he wrestled a pretty good match, but at the end he stood up straight, and being 6-foot-4, it allowed the other guy to inside trip him.”
Hansen endured a 4-3 loss to Mexico’s Trevor Allard in the Division II 160 semifinals. Hansen led 3-1 when Allard got an escape with about five seconds left, then ducked around for a takedown just before the match ended.
“Five minutes and 55 seconds,” Oxford coach Craig Tefft said. “Every second counts and that’s a perfect example of it. I mean, he controlled the match … we’re still at a loss.”
Three other Section 4 wrestlers lost in the semifinals as well, Deposit/Hancock’s Dean Raymond (Division II 99), Ithaca’s Richie Burke (Division I 126) and Sidney’s Austin Dean (Division II 285).
Raymond lost 4-0 to Alexander’s Dane Heberlein. A first-period takedown and second-period reversal provided all the points for Heberlein.
Burke lost in the semifinals to Ossining’s Alex Delacruz by a 9-1 decision. Delacruz had takedowns in the each of the first two periods to take a 4-0 lead, and Burke never seriously threatened afterward.
Dean came up just short against top-seeded Connor Calkins of Alfred-Almond, losing 14-13 in a wild match. After falling behind 10-0, Dean managed to wear down Calkins, nearly pinning him earlier in the third period before running out of time.
Hoffmier finishes in style
He had failed to place in his two previous state tournament appearances, and this year’s tournament didn’t start too well for Newark Valley’s Trevor Hoffmier with a quarterfinal loss Friday.
However, the senior rallied back nicely after the loss, winning three straight matches in the wrestlebacks before settling for a fourth-place finish in the Division I 145 weight class with a 6-0 loss to Burnt Hill’s Joey Butler.
It was a satisfying finish for the three-time Section 4 champion, who will wrestle collegiately next year at the University at Buffalo.
“My goal obviously was to come and win (a state title),” Hoffmier said. “I had a pretty tough bracket, the top two seeds were very tough … but it’s my senior year so I wanted to finish with a bang.
“It means a lot to me, my family, my coaches, everybody. I fell short the past couple of years but I’ve been working hard to get on the podium, and I finally got it done.”
Hoffmier wasn’t the only NV wrestler to place in Division I, as Derek Holcomb (160) placed fourth and Bennie Baker (99) placed sixth.
Headed to the podium
In addition to the seven finalists, eight other Section 4 wrestlers placed in the top six in their respective weight classes.
In addition to Hoffmier, Holcomb and Baker, other Division I place-winners were Colgan (fifth at Division I 160) and Burke (fourth at Division I 126).
Division II place-winners were Raymond (third at 99), Hansen (fourth at 160) and Dean (sixth at 285).