BINGHAMTON – As special as its first Section 4 Dual Meet Tournament title three weeks ago was, for Newark Valley it paled to what transpired Saturday night at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.
The Cardinals had three wrestlers win Section 4 titles, the last of those coming in dramatic fashion courtesy of David Crow, to edge Vestal by one point for the Division I team title at the Section 4 Championships.
NV finished with 209 points to Vestal’s 208. Crow’s pin of Elmira’s Matt Burge with 28 seconds left in the Division I 182-pound final provided the team title for the Cardinals, who also got title-winning efforts from Benny Baker (99 pounds) and Vinnie Darpino (160), the title for Baker his second straight.
“What a year,” NV coach Eric D’Arcy said. “It was kind of surprising with what we lost year, this was supposed to be a bit of a rebuilding year.
“We found a way many times this year to win the big matches we had to win.”
Norwich easily defended its Division II team title, the Purple Tornado finishing with 1591/2 points to Unatego’s 1261/2.
Not surprisingly, leading the way for Norwich was the duo of Tristan Rifanburg and Frank Garcia, who won Sectional titles at 145 and 152, respectively, as they move on to what they hope will be state title repeats in two weeks at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship in Albany.
Rifanburg became the second wrestler to win six Section 4 titles, easily dispatching of Whitney Point’s Nate Grubham by a 12-2 decision. Former Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton standout Eric Decker had won six Section 4 titles from 2001-06.
Garcia won the 152 title with a workmanlike 5-0 win over Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton/Harpursville’s Madison Hoover.
“The first time was easier, we just popped up on the radar,” said Norwich coach Terry Hagenbuch, comparing last year’s team title to Saturday’s. “Now we’re the hunted.”
All 30 Section 4 champions crowned Saturday — 15 each in Division I and II — earned automatic berths into the state tournament in Albany.
There may not have been a more unexpected one than Spencer-Van Etten’s Joe Judge. Not that he wasn’t worthy, Judge was the top seed in the Division II 160 weight class, but things looked bleak when he trailed Walton’s Dawson Beers, 8-0, entering the third period before turning Beers on his back for a pin with 90 seconds remaining for his first Section 4 title.
“It was almost heartbreaking,” Judge said. “But I knew not to give up, I knew there was still time on the clock … all it takes is one second to turn things around.”
Chenango Valley’s Caleb Wiggins also overcame a third-period deficit to pull out a dramatic win, pinning Deposit/Hancock’s Brandon Macumber in 4:15 after trailing 4-0 through two periods.
In addition to NV and Norwich, seven other teams had multiple individual champions, with Johnson City and Unatego having three each.
For JC, Isaiah Colgan (132) and Tyler Brazinski (126) won their second titles and Niko Cejic (285) won his first. Colgan won his second straight, defeating NV’s Cole Ford by a 4-0 decision. Brazinski, who lost in the finals last year after winning in 2013, defeated NV’s Gianno Silba, 9-2, in the 126 final.
“It felt awesome to do it again,” Brazinski said. “I’ve made some strides since last year.”
Cejic got a takedown in overtime for a 3-1 win over NV’s John Williams.
Unatego’s three champions were Austin Ryan (126), Ryan Marszal (182) and Riley Hanrahan (195).
Ryan, a loser in his three previous Section 4 finals appearances, defeated Susquehanna Valley’s Ian Lupole by a 13-7 score. Lupole had upset previously unbeaten Brandon Gould of Watkins Glen by pin in 5:56 in the semifinals to set SV’s all-time victory record at 165.
Marszal, a Division II state runner-up a year ago, won his third Section 4 title with a 3-1 decision over Watkins Glen’s Ian Chedzoy and Hanrahan pinned Candor’s Devin Hills in 3:20.
“It was awesome,” Unatego coach Mike Hamilton said of his team’s performance. “If you were to ask me if we would have been second in the Section 4 (Division II) team standings, I would have said no. The guys wrestled unbelieveably.”
In Division I, Vestal, Chenango Forks, Elmira and Ithaca had two champions each.
Vestal’s Derek Osman won his second title, defeating Union-Endicott’s Grant Gannon by a 9-5 decision at 120, while senior Rob Mastronardi earned his first title in dominating fashion with a 9-1 victory over U-E’s Shalik Napoleon.
“I’ve been doing this six years (on the varsity) and I finally got it done,” Mastronardi said. “This is the year I felt like a leader on this team, I’m able to show if you put the work in you can be a champion.”
Forks’ two champions were Allan Michael Rios (220) and Caleb Gould (195). Rios won his second title, defeating Elmira’s Reese Harriel, 14-7.
Elmira’s champions were Tommy Mackay (170) and Noah Carpenter (113), while Ithaca’s champions were Richie Burke (138) and Julian Korfine (145). Burke, who won his fifth Section 4 title via a 14-3 decision over JC’s Corey McCormick, was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler for the Division I Tournament.
In the Division I 106 final, U-E’s Rick Chastine avenged a loss by pin to Vestal’s Dan Brunette at the Southern Tier Athletic Conference with a 9-6 victory.
Sidney had a pair of champions in Division II, with Austin Dean repeating as 285 champion and Nick Jump winning his first title by defeating WG’s Josh Burge, 5-2, in the 170 final.
Winning a third Section 4 title was BGAH’s Chris Cirigliano, albeit in less-than-desired fashion as D/H’s Dean Raymond had to default with a knee injury in the first period of their Division II 113 final. D/H coach Mike Daly was hopeful Raymond — who is almost assured an at-large berth into the state tournament — would be good to go in two weeks.
Also winning Division II individual titles were Waverly’s A.J. Burkhart (99), Lansing’s Jimmy Overhiser (120), Walton’s Dylan Wood (132), Groton’s Darren Ostrander (138) and Oxford’s Garyn Huntley (220). Ostrander, who defeated Maine-Endwell’s Kobe Garrehy, 4-2, in the 138 final to give Groton its first Section 4 wrestling champion since 1979, was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler for the Division II Tournament.