We’re just three days away from the start of the NYSPHSAA wrestling championships at the Times Union Center in Albany. My hotel is booked and I’ll be heading up to follow all 42 state qualifiers from Section 1 (plus a few other locals from the CHSAA). But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s go over some of the basic information that you, the fans, need to know.
First of all, there’s this: I’ll be hosting our final #lohudwrestling live chat of the season at 8 p.m. on Thursday. They’ve been a lot of fun, and with all of the buzz about states, this one should be no different. Please stop by and join the conversation if you can.
Then there’s this: I visited the Section 1 wrestling practice at John Jay H.S. on Monday, where the vast majority of state qualifiers were rolling around together to prepare for the big dance. Afterward, I wrote a column for today’s paper that examines how good the team that Section 1 will be sending to states could be. Many coaches I’ve spoken with believe it could be among the deepest state teams in Section 1 history. There aren’t any locals who enter as overwhelming state title favorites, but there are probably a dozen who feel that they’re in the mix.
Harrison coach Vin Nicita was kind enough to do some research and passed along information to provide historical context. As I wrote in the column, Section 1 has never finished first at states in either Division 1 or Division 2, but Nicita points out that the section has finished second three times — 1985, 1989 and 2011. The all-time high for state champs from Section 1 was five in 2011, when Arlington’s Jimmy Duckham, Fox Lane’s Steven Rodrigues, Somers’ Brian Realbuto, New Rochelle’s Malcolm Allen and North Salem’s Ryan Osleeb all won. Duckham, Rodrigues, Realbuto and Allen won in D1, which gave Section 1 its most recent second-place finish in that division. Could they make it into the top two again this year?
Two other numbers to watch are 18 and 12 — 18 is the most All-State wrestlers Section 1 has ever had in D1 and D2 combined (in 2010 and 2013), and 12 is the most the section has ever had in D1 (that happened in 2014). In order to achieve All-State status, a wrestler must finish in the top six. I think that Section 1 has a shot at those records this year, particularly 12 placers in D1. We’ll find out in a few days.
For those who plan to attend the state championship tournament, admission will be $12 for each day. You can also purchase a premium package for both days at $38, which includes premium seating for the finals.
Here is the schedule for both days:
Friday, Feb. 26
First round — 10 a.m.
Quarterfinals — 2 p.m.
Wrestlebacks — 4 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27
Semis — 10 a.m.
Wrestlebacks — 12:30 p.m.
Consolation finals — 2 p.m.
Finals — 6 p.m.