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NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Championships Roundup

The NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Championships returned in a big way on Saturday highlighted by dominate performances from Division I champion Minisink Valley (IX) and Division II champion Tioga (IV). The 4th edition of the state championship tournament brought together twenty-four teams from across NYS and with it the excitement and glory of the event that was so badly missed in 2021.

For the second time in the history of the event, Section VI entered four teams – Lancaster and Starpoint in Division I and Newfane and Falconer/Cassadaga Valley in Division II. The only other region to send four teams in one year was Section IV in 2018. And just like the Section IV entries in 2018, all four 2022 Section VI teams achieved at least one victory at the Duals.

Out of all of the teams that have advanced to the semifinals in the four years of the tournament, only four sections have advanced two teams to the semifinals in the same season. This weekend, Section VI made history as the first section to have two teams in the semifinals in tournament history (2019 Niagara Wheatfield and Falconer) in separate years when Falconer made its third straight semis appearance and Starpoint its first, both as unseeded squads. The six combined wins between all four Section VI teams on Saturday tied Section XI’s 2018 entries for the most all-time in one tournament by one section. While Section VIII teams lead the state with 18 combined wins at the state duals by its entered teams in the four tournaments thus far, Section VI is tied with Section XI with 16 total dual wins in the first four state duals.

Lancaster (1-1)

The Legends’ third appearance at the state duals finally resulted in the team’s first victory in the tournament. Unseeded Lancaster’s second match of the day in pool action resulted in a 36-30 victory over Section I wildcard Arlington. Junior heavyweight Tommy Carlsen put the match officially out of reach for the Admirals by securing a late third period pin at 285-pounds for a 36-18 Lancaster lead with only two bouts remaining. Four other Legends earned pins against Arlington out of their seven individual wins including Kaleb Schurkus, Carter Tadusz, Michael Schaefer, and Even Stencel. Myles Gronowski added a crucial decision win over one of Arlington’s key contributors. Just over the dual’s halfway point and after seven bouts, Arlington led 18-15. However, the brutal stretch run of Schaefer, Stencel, Sam Judasz, and Carlsen overtook the Admirals and put the match out of reach courtesy of Carlsen’s pin with three pins and a decision in those four matches.

Lancaster’s first match of the day put the Legends against 3-seeded Section VIII champion and eventual large school runner-up Wantagh. The high powered Warriors flexed their muscle at most light and middle weights, however Lancaster put up one of the team’s toughest performances at the Duals even in a 36-20 loss. Compare the Legends’ 36-20 loss to Wantagh up against the Warriors’ 37-21 win over Section XI’s Brentwood in the semifinal round. In both of their Saturday duals, the Legends flexed their own muscle by winning all four matches in a row from 172 to 285 courtesy of Schaefer, Stencel, Judasz, and Carlsen. Gronowski and Tadusz also went 2-0 on the day and earned back to back wins at 132 and 138-pounds, respectively, against Wantagh. Gronowski, especially, won two possible state tournament level bouts.

Starpoint (2-1)

The unseeded Spartans were one of the big surprises of the weekend. Starpoint unseated 4-seed Section I champion Fox Lane and 5-seed Section III champion Indian River to go 2-0 in the pool and advance to the semifinal round. In their first match of the day, Starpoint took down the four-time Duals competitor Fox Lane, 39-27. Starpoint earned seven head to head wins with six enormous pins, perhaps none more crucial than Matt Caldwell’s pin at 215-pounds. With three results remaining the Spartans clung to a 33-15 lead. Caldwell’s pin officially put the match out of reach for the Foxes with two bouts left now leading by the insurmountable score of 39-15.

Starpoint had to refocus for Section III champion Indian River’s highly talented squad that has excelled this season despite two forfeits in every single dual. After nine weights, Starpoint jumped out to a 31-15 lead. However, three pins in a row from 215 to 102 gave the lead back to the Warriors, now 33-31. In the final match of the dual, 8th grader Coen Freundschuh was the hero the Spartans needed as he overcame a 9-point second period deficit to earn the match sealing pin at 110-pounds for the 37-33 final score. Freundschuh’s legendary pin may be one of the biggest (if not the biggest) in program history. Starpoint earned seven wins to IR’s six including two forfeits and three pins. Freundschuh, CJ Uptegrove, Griffin LaPlante, Gage LaPlante, and Peyton Lyness all went unbeaten in the two pool matches.

The Spartans’ run to the state semifinals came to an end at the hands of top seeded and eventual champion Minisink Valley. New York’s top high school team were 55-7 winners over the Spartans. JR Leuer and Griffin LaPlante were the Spartans’ lone winners against the Warriors. Starpoint’s run to the state semifinal was another in a season of firsts and impressive performance for the program.

Newfane (1-1)

The Panthers made the most of the program’s first appearance at the state duals and as the 8-seed in the small school tournament after the bracket was redrawn. Newfane met unseeded Section IX champion Port Jervis in the second round of pool action and dominated in a 59-11 victory. The Panthers built a 50-0 lead after nine weights and then won two of the last four bouts to introduce themselves to the state tournament field & fans. Aden Harris, Ayden Buttery, Cade Miller, Simon Lingle, and Charles LaRose all pinned against Port Jervis while Aidan Gillings and Camden Rowles added major decisions. Brayden Kellison-Neglia added a decision at 102.

Newfane took on top seeded Section IV champion and eventual state champion Tioga in the third pool round. While the Panthers brought a great deal of talent to the match, Tioga’s five returning state tournament competitors and four placers including 2020 state champion Gianni Silvestri was too much for the Panthers this time as Tioga advanced 47-16. In loses, Buttery and Adam Huntington especially challenged very talented Tigers wrestlers while Aidan Gillings’ 4-3 loss to fellow returning state place winner Caden Bellis may have offered a preview of a future matchup to come in Albany next month. LaRose, Lingle, and Kellison were the lone winners for Newfane against Tioga.

The scrappy Panthers gave the 17-0 Tigers their second closest match of the season, second only to Tioga’s 36-27 win against Section II large school champion Burnt Hills. The Panthers’ 31 point deficit was a closer margin than Tioga’s 50-7 win over Canisteo-Greenwood (V) in the small school final which caught the attention of wrestling fans on both the big and small school sides.

Falconer/Cassadaga Valley (2-1)

State tournament regular Falconer did what they do best in Syracuse by lighting seeds on fire on the way to the team’s third straight appearance in the NYS semifinals. FCV started the tournament unseeded and was drawn in against 4-seed Section X champion Gouverneur and 5-seed Section I champion Edgemont. In two out of the three state semifinal appearances, Falconer started the day unseeded. And, in their run to the 2020 small school state title, FCV entered the tournament as only the 6-seed in Division II. Very few staffs find a way to win better than head coach Drew Wilcox and crew.

Starting at 110-pounds, Karsen Lundgren got the Golden Cougars on the board first with a pin. After five weights, FCV built a 21-5 lead however Gouverneur won four out of the next five bouts, briefly interrupted by a Brodie Little pin at 160, to make the score 27-20 still in favor of Falconer with three matches left. However, Devyn Morrison went out at 215 and dominated in a first minute pin to put the Golden Cougars head by thirteen points, 33-20, an insurmountable lead for FCV (unless of course they were to lose a team point and tie). David Stein made sure there would be no possible tie when he followed Morrison up with another first period pin at 285. Falconer stayed alive in the pool with a 39-24 victory in their first ever meeting with Wildcats.

In FCV’s second match, the Golden Cougars cruised past first time Duals participant Edgemont, 41-24. The Panthers held the first lead after the very first bout but FCV led after four weights. Edgemont responded with two more pins at 145 and 152-pounds for an 18-12 lead after six weights. However, Falconer surged back into the lead winning four straight matches between 160 and 215 for a 29-18 lead. In that stretch, Little and Morrison earned critical decisions while Kyle Keefe secured an important pin with a minute to go in the 189-pound match. After an Edgemont pin at 285, FCV was down to a 29-24 lead with only three bouts left. Dylan Newman’s pin at 102 gave FCV some breathing room, 35-24, but Gabe Lundmark’s enormous pin at 110-pounds sealed the victory for Falconer who would go on to win 41-24. Falconer earned nine wins in the dual but all four of Edgemont’s were pins.

Despite only having four unbeaten wrestlers in the two pool matches (Vinnie Bloomberg, Karsen DePasquale, Little, and Morrison) the Golden Cougars once again found ways to win and further added to their impressive Duals legacy as one of only six 4-time participants in the tournament and one of only four programs to make three semifinals appearances.

The Golden Cougars met Tioga in the semifinals and fell by a score of 59-12 to New York’s top small school team. Stein and Keefe were the lone winners against the high powered Tigers.

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