Randy Earl was told to write down his goals and look at them every day.
Since his freshman year, the 126-pound wrestler from John Jay High School had one objective: To win a New York State title. Earl, now a senior, has a chance to accomplish the feat that has eluded him.
“(Winning a state title) would mean everything,” Earl said after winning a Section 1 Division I championship on Feb. 11. “This is my fourth year, my last chance to do it. It was my goal from the beginning, so it would mean everything to win.”
Earl will be among 11 area wrestlers competing at the state tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany this weekend. The opening round and quarterfinals will be held on Friday, with the semifinals and championship matches taking place Saturday.
Last year, Earl placed fifth at the state, and will enter this year’s tournament as the fourth seed. He said he has been wrestling this season with the mindset of “facing every opponent like the state title is on the line.” He will open with a match against Jayden Cardenas of Grand Street Campus.
Teammate Tyler Albis (120 pounds), who also won a Section 1 Division I title, is unseeded and will start Friday against Farmingdale’s Joseph Simmons.
Beacon’s Kyle Davis, the Section 1 Division I champion at 195 pounds, is seeded fourth in the state tournament. He will begin against Jack Rosen, another Farmingdale wrestler.
Bulldogs coach Ron Tompkins said preparation has been key for Davis.
“He’s focused on what he has to do,” Tompkins said. “He’s made huge improvements since the beginning of the year. He does a lot of stuff outside the (wrestling) room. He’s ready.”
Arlington’s Dennis Robin, Ulises Olmedo (120) and Jacquez Poole (285) each lost their respective Section 1 Division I finals matches. However, each earned wild card berths into the state tournament.
Robin, the fourth seed at 99 pounds, will face Eastport’s Christian Gannone. Olmedo is unseeded at 120 pounds and is up against Farmingdale’s Kevin Depalma. Poole, also unseeded at 285 pounds, will open against William Bolia of Fairport.
This weekend marks the final state tournament for Arlington coach Fred Perry, who is retiring.
“They all have a good shot at placing,” Perry said. “They’ve had a very good two weeks of practice. That’s going to be a big difference and I think it’s going to help them an awful lot.”
Jack Wrobel (138) and Alex Santana (99) of Pawling both won Section 1 Division II championships to clinch berths into the state tournament. Both unseeded, Wrobel will take on Jack Ward of Locust Valley, while Santana faces third-seeded Jordan Titus of Center Moriches.
“I expect both of them to have a good tournament,” Tigers coach Joe Amuso said. “Jack is really going 100 percent — a lot of hard work and dedication. He goes to his wrestling club for extra practice. Alex is taking it day by day. His goal is to go up there and give it his best shot.”
Matt Malheiro (138) of Highland, Jeff Kiluba (170) of Red Hook and Ben Cuppett (182) of New Paltz each won Section 9 Division II championships and each are unseeded. It will be Malheiro and Kiluba’s first trip to the state tournament and Cuppett’s third.
“I have some nerves, obviously, but I’ve been working pretty hard,” Malheiro said. “I expect to go out and wrestle hard. I’ll never give up, try my best in every match.”
Malheiro is matched up with Colin Hogan of Peru in the first round, while Kiluba is pitted against Trevor Snow of General Brown. Cuppett will open against Canastota’s Doug Simmons.
A.J. Martelli: email@example.com, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports
State wrestling championships
When: Friday, 10 a.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.
Where: Times Union Center, Albany
Dennis Robin (99), Arlington
Ulises Olmedo (120), Arlington
Jacquez Poole (285), Arlington
Tyler Albis (120), John Jay
Randy Earl (126), John Jay
Kyle Davis (195), Beacon
Jack Wrobel (138), Pawling
Alex Santana (99), Pawling
Matt Malheiro (138), Highland
Jeff Kiluba (170), Red Hook
Ben Cuppett (182), New Paltz