|AROUND THE STATE
by Jim and Tony Nordland
| Johnson City-4 (26-0) still sits atop the state rankings as they recently captured the Section Four Dual Meet Championships with a 46-15 victory over Chenango Forks. The JC squad was led by pin winners; Leigh Tobias (103), Ben Whitbeck (130), top-ranked Josh Glenn (152) and Ryan Kuzel at 171 pounds. In a feature bout at 125, JC's Steve Wiktorek posted an exciting 9-6 verdict over CFork's Ben Whitbeck at 125 and teammate Joe Sacco scored a technical fall at 145 to pace the team.
At the Newburgh Duals, it was host Newburgh-9 claiming the title, as they upended Geneva-5, 45-39. Gaining falls for Newburgh were Phil Szumlaski (119), Tom Sands (135), and the Callahan brothers, Greg at 160 and Jesse at 189 pounds. Chaminade-CHSAA finished third as they defeated Albany-2, 51-21. Coach George Dlugolonski, now in his 30th season, was happy with his team's performance as they were without three starters due to recent injuries. The Flyers were led by the McMenamin brothers, Ian (96) and Brian (145), along with Anthony LaRocca (112), Chris Memoli (130), Chris Calderone (140), Ernie Chisena (152) and Andrew Grasso at 189 pounds.
Two-time state champion Ryan Needle (28-0, 223-12 career) of Newfane-6 has a chance to become the second wrestler in Section Six history to win three state titles. Needle hopes to share that distinction with the heralded Jeff Prescott (Olean) who claimed three state championships from 1985-1987. Needle recently became the winningest wrestler in Section Six history as he eclipsed the mark of Salamanca's Vic Arena (217-17 career). Needle won his first state title as an 8th grader in 1999 at 96-pounds and claimed his second crown last year in the 130-pound class. In winning both titles he went 42-0 on the respective seasons and defeated rival Trevor Chinn of Canandaigua-5. Currently they are both competing at 140 and could meet in the final for a third time at the 2003 state meet. Needle is considered one of the most affable champions in the state and is respected by all opposing coaches. Head coach Dick Lang has had many outstanding grapplers during his 25-year tenure at Newfane, but none as talented as Needle. He has an outside chance to break the state record for career victories, set last year by Matt Herrington (243-9 career) of Troy LaSalle-2, who now competes at the University of Pennsylvania. Before Needle heads off to Ohio State next year, he has a few more goals to attain, garner his fourth state medal and become the Empire State's eleventh three-time champion.
Huntington-11 defeated Islip-11, 25-24, in a dramatic Long Island dual meet showdown before a standing room only crowd of 1,254. Huntington (9-0) ran their dual meet streak to 71 and snapped Islip's (10-1) streak at 26 matches. Veteran official Sean Brocking oversaw the action between two of the premier wrestling teams in the state. Many wrestling experts felt it was the best match they've seen in the past 20 years.
The dual meet hinged on the 145-pound final bout with the Blue Devil's Chuck Guttilla preventing Islip's all-county Dan Petroro from gaining a major decision by escaping with six seconds remaining to drop an 8-1 decision. Guttilla, a senior, said, "I was very nervous but knew I had to get the escape and help the team win.'
In the feature match of the dual, two state-ranked wrestlers squared off in the 119-pound bout. Huntington's Shawn Riley scored two key takedowns to post a solid 5-3 victory over returning state runner-up Tom Magnani. Huntington was also led by sophomore Jack Sullivan (189) who used three double leg takedowns to record a 10-3 decision and state-ranked Pierre Delva (215) who secured a fall at the 1:09 mark. Other Blue Devil winners were Dan Kapner (103), Jon Wagner (125), all-county junior Shaheim Bradshaw (140) and Randall McCoy at 171 pounds.
|Chuck Guttilla had his home town Huntington crowd on their feet as he works to get a last second escape from Dan Petroro(Islip). Guttilla got the escape and helped his team win 25-24.|
|Shawn Riley (Huntington) with one of his two takedowns over Tom Magnani (Islip). Riley won this 119 lbs. bout 5-3.|