Lansing’s Jimmy Overhiser survived a bracket that included four former state champions, defeating two of them on Saturday en route to the Division II 120-pound title at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association wrestling championships.
Overhiser was one of five champions from Section 4 in the two-day tournament, held at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Norwich’s Tristan Rifanburg (Div. II, 145) and Frank Garcia (Div. II, 152) both successfully defended their 2014 state titles. Also winning state Division II crowns were Waverly’s A.J. Burkhart (99) and Sidney’s Austin Dean (285).
In Division I, Ithaca 138-pound senior Richie Burke fell one match short of reaching the finals, losing in the semis, 7-1, to top-seeded Frankie Gissendanner of Section 5 Penfield. Burke then fell in the third-place match to Brad Wade of Section 11 Islip, 3-0, and wound up fourth for the second straight year.
Overhiser was in perhaps the toughest weight class of the 30 in the tournament, as the bracket included 2014 champions Hunter Dusold of Section 8 Locust Valley and Matteo DeVincenzo of Section 11 Port Jefferson, as well as Spann, a champion at 99 pounds as a freshman in 2013, and Tony Recco, a 99-pound champ as a freshman three years ago.
“I knew it was a gauntlet to run through, but it was a challenge I was up for,” said Overhiser, a transfer to Lansing this year after spending last year at Wyoming Seminary Prep in Pennsylvania. Before that, he attended Corning West, where he was a two-time sectional champion. “(Winning) in a bracket like this, it means a lot.”
In the final, Overhiser jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the first minute of the match as both wrestlers came out active. The bout settled down from that point, as Overhiser didn’t collect his final two points till the third period.
Overhiser advanced to the final by defeating top-seeded DeVincenzo, 1-0, in Saturday morning’s semifinals. Overhiser cruised in Friday’s prelims, pinning Galway freshman Jordan Sartin in 2 minutes, 21 seconds, and shutting out Maple Grove’s Ryan Hetrick, 4-0, in the quarterfinals.
For Norwich’s Rifanburg, it was his third state title overall; in addition to last year’s 145-pound title, he won at 96 pounds as a seventh-grader in 2010. He completed a dominant run through this year’s tournament by defeating Camden’s Garrett Mitchell by technical fall, 15-0, in 5 minutes of their title match.
Rifanburg and teammate Garcia will take their five combined state championships to Binghamton University next fall.
Section 11 (Nassau County) won the team title in Division I, while Section 3 (Central New York) won it in Division II. Section 4 placed 10th out of 12 in Div. I, and was runner-up in Div. II.