Individual and team champions will be crowned Saturday at the Section 4 Class B, C, and D Tournaments, but for many area wrestlers, the emphasis will be on simply getting to next weekend’s Section 4 Championships at Binghamton University’s Events Center.
The top four place-winners in each weight class from the Class B Tournament at Norwich, the Class C Tournament at Greene, and the Class D Tournament at Odessa-Montour automatically advance to the Section 4 Division II Tournament. The class tournaments begin at 10 a.m.
Last year’s team champions were Maine-Endwell (Class B), Greene (Class C) and Oxford (Class D).
All Section 4 Division I and II champions earn automatic berths into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships Feb. 28-March 1 at the Times Union Center at Albany.
Waverly’s Ryan Wolcott and Chenango Forks’ Isaiah Zimmer both carry significant Section 4 title hopes, but both suffered injuries last week that could dampen such chances.
According to Forks coach Rick Gumble, Zimmer dislocated his knee cap during his 182-pound title match against Johnson City’s Nick Bidwell at Saturday’s Southern Tier Athletic Conference Championships. Zimmer, who had missed all but the last month of this season with an ankle injury, was ahead 7-3 in the third period at the time of the injury.
A Section 4 Division I champion at 170 last year, Zimmer hopes to learn today whether he’ll be able to give it a go at the Section 4 Championships next weekend.
“We’re just trying to find out where he’s at,” Gumble said. “I’ve had enough situations where I can be optimistic, but until we get the MRI, we don’t know for sure.
“I think it’s a 50-50 proposition. Tough thing is, he wrestled a great semifinal match and he had command of that last match. It’s certainly been an eventful senior year for him.”
Things are looking considerably more favorable for Wolcott, a three-time Section 4 Division II champion and state 220 runner-up last season, who was held out of the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Championships on Saturday after injuring his shoulder during practice earlier in the week. Waverly coach Charlie Hughes said even if Wolcott isn’t able to wrestle Saturday at the Class C Tournament he should be fine for the Section 4 Championships.
Wolcott would most assuredly receive a medical exemption into the Section 4 Championships if forced to opt out of competition this weekend.
“We’re not making a big deal out of it right now, he’s been doing a lot of conditioning and training,” Hughes said. “We’re not sure if he’s going to wrestle this week, our plan is to be cautious, the big matches are next weekend (at the Section 4 Championships) and the state meet.
“We’re just going to wait and hear what the trainer says (about this weekend).”
Breakthrough for Deposit/Hancock
Deposit enjoyed considerable success under the leadership of Section 4 Hall of Fame coach Stan Elinsky, who from 1960-94 had the Lumberjacks annually among the better teams in Section 4.
A league title, however, had eluded the program. Until now.
Deposit/Hancock captured the MAC Championship on Saturday on home turf at Deposit, narrowly finishing ahead of runner-up Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton/Harpursville, 214-197. Dean Raymond (99) and Dan Babcock (285) won individual titles for D/H.
“We had some young kids that did well,” said Daly, using eight-grader Cooper Hall’s fourth-place finish at 113 as an example. “They were happy, it’s a steppingstone for our program. They’ve had their eyes on the end of the year prizes, it was definitely something we talked about.”
Owego’s Bell excels
He came up short of a STAC title last Saturday, losing in the 145 final to M-E’s Zak Garrehy, but Owego senior Nate Bell has enjoyed a fine scholastic career.
Bell’s 155 varsity victories are tops in school history. He is seeded second behind Garrehy at this weekend’s Class B Tournament and figures to be in the title mix at the Section 4 Division II Tournament next weekend.
The 2014 class for the Friends of Section 4 Wrestling Hall of Fame has been announced, with the inductions to take place March 6 at Ford Hill Country Club in Whitney Point.
This year’s class includes Dave Auble, Brandon Lehman, Joe Privitere, Mark Stephens, Earl Stermer and Marty Wyckoff.
Auble, an Ithaca High and Cornell University graduate, was a former Section 4 champion and two-time NCAA Champion (1959-60) as well as a 1964 U.S. Olympian. Lehman, also an Ithaca High graduate, was a three-time New York state champion and four-time Section 4 champion.
Privitere, a Johnson City High and Binghamton University graduate, was a two-time Section 4 champion and was an NCAA Division II All-American. Stephens, an Elmira Southside High graduate who died in December, was a former state champion as well as a coach, official and contributor to wrestling.
Stermer, of Elmira Free Academy, was a two-time Section 4 champion and former state runner-up. Wyckoff was an NCAA Division III All-American and winner of 17 Empire State Games medals, including six gold medals.