|SECTION IV WRESTLING: WORTHING, JOHNSON WIN DIVISION 2 GOLD — TIOGA REPEATS AS TEAM CHAMPION (48 PHOTOS) (2018-02-10)
By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
WATKINS GLEN — Senior Max Johnson overcame a season-long battle with injuries, and junior John Worthing avenged a loss last week to win Section IV gold here Saturday evening at the Division 2 championships at the Watkins Glen Field House.
Johnson and John Worthing were two of 10 Tigers to reach the awards’ podium, leading Tioga to its second consecutive team championship.
Junior Austin Lamb, sophomore Brady Worthing, and senior Trey Floyd earned second-place medals, while junior Stephen Taylor and sophomore David MacWhinnie placed third, 8th-grader Emmett Wood finished fourth, 8th-grader Mason Welch earned a fifth-place medal, and junior Zac Warner finished sixth.
“We have a great group of kids, and I have great assistance coaches — that’s what it comes down to,” said Tioga coach Kris Harrington. “This wasn’t easy this year. We had a two-week lay-off at the start because of football. It’s been a roller-coaster of a season.
“We were without Max (Johnson) for part of the season, and we were without (Jacob) Welch in the postseason,” noted Harrington. “It’s quite an accomplishment for this program.
Harrington is not surprised by this team’s success.
“With this program’s pedigree, there’s an expectation,” said Harrington. “On the door of our wrestling room there’s a sign that reads “2018 Section IV Champions — 18 individual champions.”
“This is a place where you’re expected to win, and where the kids expect to win,” added Harrington. “So, no I’m not surprised.”
Tioga won the team title with 209 points, while runner-up Norwich tallied 196 points, and third-place BGAH had 136.5. Windsor was fourth with 129 points, while Walton-Delhi was fifth with 125.5 points, and SVEC was sixth with 123.5 points.
“Look at Max (Johnson), he has a broken hand, and missed parts of the season,” said Harrington. “We had some crazy scheduling just to get him eligible.
“It’s a testament to a kid who wanted something, and he went out and took it,” noted Harrington. “Now, he’s headed to States.”
Johnson, who notched his 100th career victory last weekend, opened the day with a hard-fought, 5-4, win over SVEC junior Mark Mullen.
After a scoreless first period, Mullen notched an escape midway through the second period. Johnson scored a takedown at the buzzer for a 2-1 lead heading into the final two minutes.
Johnson upped his lead to 3-1 with an escape early in the third period, but Mullen tied the bout at 3-3 with a takedown with 48 seconds remaining.
Mullen was called for stalling with 18 seconds remaining, and then “cut” Johnson loose to make it 5-3. Johnson was whistled for stalling in the closing seconds to provide the final margin.
In the finals, Johnson faced top-seed Mike Wilmot of BGAH, and forged a 7-3 decision.
Johnson led 3-0 at the end of the first period, thanks to an escape with 7 seconds remaining, and a takedown at the buzzer.
Wilmot registered an escape midway through the second period and trailed 3-1 heading into the final two minutes.
Johnson started the third period on the bottom, and WIlmot rode him, but was unable to turn him. With four seconds remaining, Johnson reversed Wilmot to his back in a four-point move to secure the win.
“Max (Johnson) wrestled the perfect match (in the finals), said Harrington. “Great body fakes to keep (Wilmot) off balance, and leg-attacked when he needed to.”
John Worthing, a two-time state place-finisher, registered his third first-period fall of the tournament in the semifinals, decking teammate David MacWhinnie in 1:10.
In the finals, John Worthing avenged a 3-2 loss to Walton-Delhi’s Chandler Merwin, with a 2-0 decision, thanks to a takedown late in the first period.
“Any time a guy beats you, you need to come back and put it on him,” said Harrington. “He controlled the match from whistle to whistle
“Three in a row is quite an accomplishment,” he added.
Harrington says Worthing will be working hard the next two weeks.
“We have some work to do at 113,” said Harrington. “We need to get on the leg attacks, there just weren’t enough. If he wants to be a state champ, he needs more leg attacks.
“He has as good of a chance as anyone to win it all, if he leg attacks,” he added.
Perhaps the low-point of the weekend for the Tigers was sophomore Brady Worthing’s third-period loss by fall in the finals to Walton-Delhi’s Caleb Robinson.
Brady Worthing, who had beaten Robinson handily twice this season, scored an early takedown, and two sets of three near-fall points in the first period to take an 8-0 lead.
He extended his lead to 10-0 with a reversal off the second-period whistle, and rode Robinson until the W-D standout scored a reversal with 18 seconds left to cut the deficit to 10-2 heading into the third period.
The two stayed on their feet for the first 48 seconds of the third period, then Robinson caught Brady Worthing in a standing headlock, and tossed him to his back for a pin at 5:02.
“Brady’s loss was a really tough one,” said Harrington. “He dominated for five minutes, but matches are six minutes long. It’s unfortunate.
“Hopefully, he’ll get a wild card,” added Harrington. “I think he’s one of the top four wrestlers in the state.”
Brady Worthing advanced to the finals with a 12-4 major decision over Windsor’s Mike McDaniels.
At 138 pounds, Lamb, the second seed, topped Deposit-Hancock’s River Burgess, 3-0. Lamb beat Burgess 1-0 in the Class B finals last weekend.
In the finals, Lamb dropped a 1-0 decision to top-seed Ben Bivar of BGAH. Bivar notched the only point of the match with an escape early in the second period.
At 195 pounds, Floyd decked Oneonta’s Richie Serafin in 2:34 to reach the title match.
In the finals, unbeaten top-seed Richie Knapp of Susquehanna Valley scored a fall early in the second period to take the 195-pound title.
Only the champions earn “automatic berths” to the state tournament, but second- and even a select few third-place finishers (if the second-place finishers earns one first) can go to state via a “wild card.”
“I think Austin (Lamb) is a lock, with a Section IV championship, and a place-finish at States,” said Harrington. “I think Brady (Worthing) is in good shape, but he’s not a lock.
“Trey (Floyd) finished third here last year, so he has a chance,” added Harrington. “Heck, (Stephen Taylor) may have a chance, I don’t know.”
MacWhinnie’s day started on a rough note with a loss via fall to John Worthing in the semifinals, but he bounced back with two wins to finish third.
In the consolation semifinals, MacWhinnie pinned Oneonta’s Carter Neer in 3:29.
In the third-place match, MacWhinnie trailed Norwich’s Nick Glanville 3-0 in the third period, when he turned the tables with a reversal into a fall at 4:16.
“He may have sealed up the team title for us.
“He was losing, fought through it, got his head across, and got the pin, and the bonus points,” said Harrington.
At 285 pounds, Taylor dropped a 4-2 decision to eventual champion Leroy Williams of Oneonta in the semifinals, but bounced back with two wins to place third.
Taylor pinned Chenango Valley’s Shane Follette in 42 seconds in the consolation semifinals, then scored a 4-1 decision over O-M’s Dylan Houseknecht.
“Stephen (Taylor) beat two kids who beat him during the year,” said Harrington. “You want growth and improvement from kids, and he had a growth mind-set, and did it.”
At 145 pounds, Wood took the long way to fourth place.
After losing in the quarterfinals to eventual runner-up Brady Hope of Chenango Valley, Wood started Saturday in the consolation bracket.
After a 3-1 win over Norwich’s Dakota Powers in the second round of wrestlebacks, Wood pinned Whitney Point’s Weston Underwood in 2:51 to advance to the consolation semifinals.
Wood forged a 6-0 decision over Greene’s Harrison Stone in the consolation semifinals, but lost via first-period fall to third-seed Reese Lockwood of Groton.
Harrington was impressed with Wood’s performance.
“Soon, Emmett Wood will be the face of our program, there’s no doubt in my mind about that.
“He outworks kids as an 8th-grader, and to place fourth at 145 as an 8th-grader, what an accomplishment,” said Harrington.
After losing in the quarterfinals, Welch went 3-1 Saturday to finish fifth at 99 pounds.
Welch opened the day with an 11-2 major decision over Greene’s Lyric Libbey, then topped Windsor’s Troy Hayes 3-1 in the “blood round.”
In the consolation semifinals, Welch dropped a 2-0 decision to Norwich’s Andrew Brown.
In the fifth-place match, Welch beat the final buzzer with a pin of Unadilla Valley’s Josh Meade in 4:59.
“Mason (Welch) did a nice job for us, after a tough loss (Friday),” said Harrington.
It was a rough day for Warner at 170 pounds.
Warner’s day started with a loss via fall in 5:41 to eventual champion Grady Alpert of SVEC.
Warner dropped a controversial 8-6 decision to Sus. Valley’s Chris Harold in the consolation finals, and was pinned in the second period by Moravia’s Joe Shoemaker in the fifth-place match.
Tioga had five wrestlers that did not place, led by 7th-grader Emily Sindoni, who won a pair of matches Saturday.
Sindoni, who lost in the opening round Friday night, scored a pair of quick takedowns, and then a fall in 1:37 over Whitney Point’s Chris Nilsson in the opening-round of wrestlebacks.
In her next match, Sindoni pinned M-E’s Alex Wilber in 1:56.
Sindoni’s run came to an end with a 10-2 major decision loss to Owego’s Jacob Morris in the “blood round.”
“Emily (Sindoni) wrestled really well this weekend,” said Harrington.
“She's under-sized at 106 pounds, but she goes as hard as anyone in our wrestling room,” he noted. “Next year, if she gets back to 99, she’ll be a force, there’s no doubt about it.”
At 126 pounds, freshman Broderick Hill, who lost in the quarterfinals, pinned Walton-Delhi’s Brody Silcox in 1:39 in the second round of wrestlebacks.
In the blood round, Hill lost via 51-second fall to fourth-seed Cooper Hall of Deposit-Hancock.
At 152 pounds, junior Vinny Sullivan, who lost in the opening round Friday night, dropped a 7-1 decision to Oneonta’s Dylan Breed in the opening round of wrestlebacks.
At 182 pounds, junior Joe Lloyd, who lost in the opening round Friday night, dropped a 8-0 major decision to Windsor’s Brandon Butler in the second round of wrestlebacks.
At 220 pounds, junior Matt Babcock, , who lost in the opening round Friday night, lost via fall to Lansing’s Nick Bashta in 1:41 in the second round of wrestlebacks.
(CLICK HERE TO SEE 24 MORE PHOTOS — FROM SEMIFINALS / CONSOLATION BRACKET.)
IN PHOTO 1: Tioga’s Max Johnson (left) and John Worthing. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.