|SECTION IV WRESTLING: ALPERT PUNCHES TICKET TO STATES WITH D-2 GOLD — EAGLES FINISH SIXTH (24 PHOTOS) (2018-02-10)
By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
WATKINS GLEN — Senior Grady Alpert won Section IV gold, while his classmate Bryant Sexton dropped a hard-fought decision in the finals Saturday, to lead SVEC to a sixth-place finish at the Section IV, Division 2 wrestling championships here at the Field House.
In all, the Eagles had six wrestlers reach the podium — freshman Parker Sexton won a third-place medal, while junior Mark Mullen, and freshman Hunter Cleveland placed fifth, and senior Kyle Christmas finished six — and placed sixth in the team standings.
Tioga repeated as Section IV champ with 209 points, while runner-up Norwich tallied 196, BGAH was third with 136.5, Windsor was fourth with 129 points, and Walton-Delhi was fifth with 125.5. SVEC tallied 123.5 points, and Susquehanna Valley was seventh with 89 points.
“We wrestled well,” said SVEC coach Eric Knolles, who coached the Eagles to a third-place finish here last year.
Alpert started his day with an 11-4 win over Tioga junior Zac Warner in the semifinals.
He finished the day with his hand raised as the 170-pound Section IV champ by the same official who ruled that his opponent, top seed Ty Rifanburg of Norwich, was unable to continue after a pair of injury stoppages.
“Grady (Alpert) wrestled an outstanding match,” said Knolles. “There were two close line calls we didn’t get that I thought we should have.
“Grady kept his head in the match, and always maintained contact in the match,” he noted. “He kept looking over and telling us ‘I’m all right,” and continued to grind on (Rifanburg).
“Grady kept grinding and grinding, and I think he wore (Rifanburg) down,” added Knolles.
Rifanburg used his quickness to build a 6-2 lead midway through the second period.
About midway through the period, Alpert and Rifanburg both slammed hard into the mat on the outside line. Alpert then spun free, and lunged for a takedown, but the official awarded no points.
At that point, Rifanburg, who appeared to hit his head during the scramble, asked for injury time and used about 70 seconds.
When the match continued, Rifanburg controlled on top for another 30 seconds until Alpert scored an escape with 14 seconds remaining to trim the deficit to 6-4 entering the third period.
With 48 seconds remaining in the third period, Rifanburg was whistled for “locked hands,” and seconds later Alpert escaped to tie the bout at 6-6.
In the final seconds of the bout, Alpert deadlocked Rifanburg and the two crashed to the mat at the buzzer.
After more injury time, Rifanburg appeared ready to resume the match, but the official stopped the bout.
Knolles agreed with the official’s call.
“I think (Rifanburg) was hurt in that scramble at the end of the second period,” he said. “He’s a tough kid, and a tough competitor. He said he was all right, and went back out there.
“At the end of the third (period), Grady headlocked him again, and at that point, the official felt he couldn’t continue.
“He made the right call, you don’t put a kid in danger at a high school athletic event,” added Knolles.
Bryant Sexton started the Saturday with a dominant 12-1 major decision over Windsor’s Langdon Sibley in the semifinals.
In the finals, top seed Daniel Koll of Lansing scored a takedown midway through the first period, and an escape early in the second period in a 3-0 win over Bryant Sexton.
“Bryant (Sexton) wrestled a good match,” said Knolles. “He stayed in contact the entire match.
“Bryant just couldn’t get off bottom, and with Daniel (Koll), if you can’t get off bottom, he’ll ride you until the cows come home,” he noted.
“I think Bryant’s a lock for a wild card, considering he’s a returning Section champ,” added Knolles.
At 120 pounds, Parker Sexton, who lost in the quarterfinals, went 4-0 Saturday to finish third.
Sexton opened the day with a win by injury default over Unadilla Valley’s Jarrett Thayer in the second round of wrestlebacks, then beat Whitney Point’s Brennan Roe, 6-4, in the “blood round.”
In the consolation semifinals, Parker Sexton blanked Windsor’s Mike McDaniels, 6-0.
In the third-place match, Parker Sexton built a 14-2 lead on Chenango Valley’s Dan Tester before finishing it off with a pin at 4:06.
“Parker Sexton showed some grit,” said Knolles.
“He’s been a little up-and-down this year, but he had a great tournament,” he noted. “He lost in the quarters, and wrestled the whole way back.
“He was dominant, he really controlled the matches,” added Knolles. “In the third-place match, he was up big when he got the pin.”
Junior Mark Mullen was 1-2 on the day to finish fifth.
After a scoreless first period, Mullen notched an escape midway through the second period, but 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.
“I’m a little disappointed, I thought (Mark) Mullen would get to the finals, but he lost a real tough semi-final match to Max Johnson.
“He just couldn’t recover after that loss,” said Knolles. “Losing in the semi-finals is the toughest match to come back from.”
Mullen dropped a 10-5 decision to O-M’s Josiah Lynch in the consolation semifinals, then closed out the tournament with a 9-7 decision over Owego’s Cam Bundy in the fifth-place match.
At 113 pounds, Cleveland, who lost in the quarterfinals, went 3-1 Saturday to finish fifth.
Cleveland opened action Saturday with a 48-second fall over Moravia’s Andrew Hatch in the second round of wrestlebacks, and followed it up with a 15-2 major decision over Waverly’s Rylan Laforest in the "blood round."
In the consolation semifinals, Cleveland dropped a 4-1 decision to Norwich’s Nick Glanville. He received a forfeit from Oneonta’s Cameron Neer in the fifth-place match.
At 106 pounds, Christmas was 0-3 on the day to finish sixth.
Christmas opened the day with a 10-3 loss to eventual champ Cooper Rice of Oxford in the semifinals.
His next two bouts were a 5-0 loss to Jordan Taft of Greene in the "blood round," and a loss by fall in 2:41 to Dylan Decker of BGAH in the fifth-place match.
At 220 pounds, junior Mandell Davis, who lost in the quarterfinals, was 1-1 on Saturday.
In the second round of wrestlebacks, Davis registered a pin of M-E’s Matt Raleigh in 1:51, but he was eliminated in the "blood round" with a 6-1 loss to Lansing’s Nick Bashta.
At 99 pounds, sophomore Kamren Lehman, who lost in the opening round Friday, was 1-1 on Saturday.
Lehman pinned Chenango Valley’s Dominic Napoli in 2:49 in the opening round of wrestlebacks, but lost via fall in 2:47 to Unadilla Valley’s Josh Meade in his next bout.
At 195 pounds, freshman Jacob Campolito, who lost in the opening round Friday night, was 1-1 on Saturday.
Campolito opened with a wild 11-9 win over Whitney Point’s Carter Stone. Campolito built a 9-4 lead though two periods, then scored a reversal midway through the third period to take an 11-4 lead. Stone reversed Campolito to his back with 6 seconds remaining, but he was able to survive six seconds until the buzzer to preserve the win.
Campolito was eliminated via a 7-0 decision to Edison’s Brandon Snyder in the "blood round."
At 138 pounds, sophomore Alex Morse, who lost in the quarterfinals Friday, dropped a 6-0 decision to Oxford’s Daren Law in his only bout Saturday.
At 126 pounds, freshman Morgan Myers, who lost in the opening round, lost his only match Saturday via first-period fall to Edison’s Tyler Lewis.
At 152 pounds, senior Igor Leal, who lost in the opening round Friday, lost via first-period fall to Norwich’s Dakota Powers in the first round of wrestlebacks.
Saturday also marked the end of Knolles time at the helm of the SVEC wrestling program. He’ll be assuming his role as Superintendent of Schools at Waverly on Wednesday.
“I haven’t really given myself a lot of time to think about it, but it is bittersweet,” said Knolles. “It’s good to go out with a Section champ, and having won the Sportsmanship Award again.
“It’s a classy group of kids, a classy group of coaches, and a classy administration,” he added. “I’ll miss them a lot.”
IN PHOTO 1: SVEC’s Grady Alpert and Norwich’s Ty Rifanburg. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY,