A whole bunch of wrestlers will be facing a rocky road toward New York State Public High School Athletic Association titles this weekend in Albany.
Actually, make that a Rocky Point road after the Eagles landed a trio of top seeds in the annual championships Friday and Saturday at Times Union Center. Stephen Dutton, the 135-pound champion in Division I a year ago, is seeded first at 140, Anthony Volpe holds the honor at 160 and Billy Coggins is seeded No. 1 at 171.
Dutton recently became Long Island’s leader in career victories, eclipsing the mark of Shoreham-Wading River great Jesse Jantzen, who went on to earn an NCAA championship for Harvard in 2004. He is 223-12, having last lost in the 2008 state semifinals while representing Hauppauge as a sophomore, and has 33 pins in 45 matches this winter.
Volpe was third at 145 pounds and Coggins fifth at 160 a year ago. They are part of a Suffolk County delegation that holds six No. 1 seeds.
Besides Dutton, there are seven champions from a year ago in the Division I field: Kings Park’s Mike Soria (96 pounds last season), seeded first at 103; Somers’ Brian Realbuto (103), seeded second at 112; St. Anthony’s Grany Greene (112), seeded first at 119; Syosset’s Nick Arujau, who’ll defend from the top spot at 125; Central Islip’s Andy Rodriguez (140), seeded first at 145; Wayne’s Vinnie DiGravio (130), seeded fourth at 145; and Pioneer’s Kyle Colling, who won 215 in Division II a year ago and will be in the same weight class in Division I this time around.
Soria could face his twin brother Max in the semifinals in a repeat of last year’s highly unusual situation. As a way of maintaining peace in the household, the brothers do not wrestle each other in competitions, so Max forfeited at states last year and settled for third place. Mike returned the forfeit favor two weeks ago in the Section XI state qualifier; it’s not clear who – if anyone – would forfeit this time in the state semifinals.
The Division II field is loaded with stars from Section V, with the Rochester and Finger Lakes region holding down six No. 1 seeds, including Holley’s Quinton Murphy at 125 pounds and teammate Kacee Sauer at heavyweight.
Returning champions in the field are Peru’s Jacob Goddeau (96 pounds a year ago), seeded second at 103; Peru’s Arik Robinson (103), seeded first at 112; Tonawanda’s Jordan McGregor (112), ninth at 119; Greene’s Nick Wilcon (125), first at 130; Tioga’s Derek Heyman (130), seeded No. 1 at 140; and Greene’s Tyler Beckwith, defending his 171 crown from the top spot.
Robinson is a two-time defending NYSPHSAA champion, having earned the 96-pound crown as a freshman in 2008 after placing fourth for Peru at that weight as an eighth-grader.
One other noteworthy No. 1 seed is Austin Dwyer of Hornell at 152 following a state championship and Class B football player of the year honors at running back last fall.
More state championships
Wrestling shares center stage over the weekend with the NYSPHSAA swimming and diving championships at Erie Community College in Buffalo and the organization’s girls gymnastics competition at Cold Spring Harbor High School on Long Island.
The winter championship schedule actually commences Tuesday and Wednesday in Section V with the alpine and Nordic ski meet at Bristol Mountain and Harriet Hollister State Recreation Area, respectively. The mood there, though, is likely to be quite somber following a weekend tragedy.
Peter Cannon, an 18-year-old Honeoye Falls-Lima senior, died Saturday, a day after a two-car accident in Richmond, Ontario County.
Cougars athletic director Brian Donohue said Cannon was en route to Harriet Hollister for a tune-up session for HF-L, which has long been one of the powerhouses in the sport. Cannon was the leadoff man this month as HF-L won the Section V 12-kilometer relay and he also placed ninth in the 10K individual race that was won by teammate Steve Mangan. Cannon placed 14th individually in the 2009 NYSPHSAA meet.
"This was an outstanding young person," HF-L Superintendent Michelle Kavanaugh told the Democrat and Chronicle, "not only in school and athletics, but church and community activities also."
Girls basketball: PSAL rolls out revised seedings
All but admitting that they did not put their best Chuck Taylors forward in their first attempt at seeding the event, PSAL officials revised pairings for the girls basketball tournament that kicks off this week. They moved Lewis from the No. 4 seed to No. 2, dropping JFK (Bronx) and South Shore (Brooklyn) down a notch apiece to address an obvious injustice.
The new seedings will keep Lewis and Bergtraum, the only PSAL teams to go undefeated within the league, in separate halves of the bracket until a potential meeting in the final at Madison Square Garden. Bergtraum is the 11-time defending PSAL champion.
"I think, for the girls, the main thing is they felt they deserved this from the beginning," Lewis coach Steve Tsai told The New York Post. "Speaking on behalf of them, if it is indeed the case we’re appreciative that the PSAL and especially (league director) Donald Douglas was able to review and find that Francis Lewis was deserving of the two seed."
JFK coach O’Neil Glenn said he was already prepping for the teams he would have seen as the No. 2 seed.
"I said all along that (Lewis was) deserving of the second seed," he said. "But I also believe that what’s done is done. I think they should have just let it be. They should have stuck to their guns."
More basketball: Heroes and highlights
* Rachel Coffey scored 34 points to pass former teammate Lynsey Timbrouck for the Kingston girls career scoring record at 1,451 during a 61-32 rout of Middletown. Coffey also holds the Kingston mark with 221 career 3-pointers.
* Speaking of 3s, Williamsville South junior Joe Licata made 13 of them in 22 attempts to set a Section VI record and finished with a school-record 41 points in a 108-84 win over Iroquois. Guard Mark Coppola also set a school record with 20 assists. The record of 12 3-pointers was set by Bennett's Trevor Ruffin in 1988, then tied by Ritchie Campbell of Burgard in 1990 and Williamsville South’s Greg Kingston in 1998.
* Lawrence Woodmere Academy beat The Browning School 74-63 to give 22nd-year coach Jeff Weiss his 400th career victory.
Two notes on longevity
There was a changing of the guard recently in one of the state's lesser-known varsity sports as South Lewis ended Central Square's run of more than 40 straight Section III rifle championships.
Led by Leanne Higby (287), Aarron Weaver (280), Emily Anderson (250) and Ian Wilson (238), the Falcons put up a smallbore total of 1,055 to fend off the Red Hawks (1,052). The Falcons also repeated as air-rifle champions and will advance to the state competition March 6 at West Point.
Also, an obituary for William "Champ" Guiry, who died Feb. 9 in Loudonville at the age of 72, reminded track and field observers of a rather amazing accomplishment.
Back in the spring of 2003, Felipe Reyes of Albany CBA went 24 feet, 3 3/4 inches in the long jump to break Guiry's Section II record by 4 inches. Amazingly, Guiry set that mark for Albany High in 1957, meaning his record held up for 46 years. To this day, his mark still ranks as No. 2 in Section II.
Interestingly, Larry Byrne's "Bluebook," the authoritative track and field record book for New York high schools, does not list Guiry's mark – likely over some question regarding whether it was wind-aided or if the landing pit was unnaturally sloped. But if you accept Guiry's mark as legit, then it is worth noting that it also held up as the state record until 1965, when the legendary Bob Beamon went 25-3 1/2 (legal) and 25-6 3/4 (wind-aided) for Jamaica High.
Beamon, the hero of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, has now owned the state record for 44 years.
Odds and ends
* Clarence pulled off the first surprise of the hockey postseason with a 4-3 win in overtime over Orchard Park, ranked 13th in Division I by the New York State Sportswriters Association. Tim Godin blasted home the gamer from the point.
* Gatorade selected Alex Bramall of state Class AA champion Newburgh Free Academy as its New York boys soccer player of the year. He's set to play for St. John's in the fall.
John Schiano, who has written about high school sports in western and central New York for more than 25 years, covers New York for MaxPreps. He may be reached at email@example.com.