TIGERS HAVE 11 PLACE-WINNERS
By TIM BIRNEYValley Sports Report
WINDSOR - Senior Austin Lamb, a two-time state place-winner, won his second title, and junior Brady Worthing, a state runner-up last year, won his first here Saturday, and the Tigers had 11 wrestlers earn top-six finishes to run away with their third consecutive Section IV, Division II title.
Tioga amassed 218 points, well ahead of runner-up Windsor, which had 162.5 points, and third-place Norwich, which had 158.5 points. BGAH finished fourth with 140.5 points, Walton-Delhi was fifth with 111, Owego was sixth with 106.5, and SVEC was seventh with 86.5 points.
Senior John Worthing was denied his fourth consecutive title and finished second, along with 7th-grader Gianna Silvestri.
The Tigers also had five third-place finishers - seniors Zac Warner and Stephen Taylor, junior David MacWhinnie, who notched his 100th career win, and freshmen Mason Welch and Emmett Wood - one fourth-place finisher in 7th-grader Caden Bellis, and one sixth-place finisher in freshman Justin Hopkins.
It marks the first time in school history Tioga has won three consecutive Section IV titles.
"I'm really proud of the kids, they wrestled really well this weekend," said Tioga coach Kris Harrington. "We peaked at the right time.
"We had a heartbreak at the State Duals, and for the kids to re-group and show out like this in two weeks is pretty great," noted Harrington.
"Eleven place-finisher has to be close to a record, I would think," he added.
At 145 pounds, Lamb, the top seed, registered a fall over fourth-seed Matt McKewin-Bates in 3:14 to advance to the finals. He followed that up with a first-period pin of Waverly's Ethan Stotler in the finals.
"Austin dominated," said Harrington. "He's as prepared for the state tournament as I've seen him in his career. I'm excited for him."
Lamb scored a takedown 20 seconds into the semi-final bout, then locked in a cradle for two near-fall points and a 4-0 lead.
In the second period, Lamb scored a reversal for a 6-0 lead, then cinched in a cradle to put McKewin-Bates to his back.
In the finals, Lamb squared off with Stotler, who advanced to the title tilt with three first-period pins.
Lamb scored a takedown with 1:20 remaining in the first period, and quickly locked Stotler in a trade for a fall at 1:08.
At 132 pounds, Brady Worthing, the top seed, forged a 12-2 major decision over eighth-seeded Deekon Flint in the semifinals.
Brady Worthing scored a five-point move early in the bout and led 5-1 at the end of the first period. He scored three takedowns to sew up the win.
In the finals, Brady Worthing built a 6-1 lead on SVEC sophomore Parker Sexton, then held on for an 8-5 win.
Worthing scored a takedown early in the first period for a 2-0 lead. After being penalized for "locked hands," he scored a pair of near-fall points at the buzzer for a 4-1 lead. He upped his advantage to 6-1 with a reversal with 5 seconds remaining in the second period.
After Worthing was penalized for stalling with 47 seconds remaining in the third period, Sexton recorded an escape to cut the deficit to 6-3.
Worthing scored a takedown with 4 seconds remaining, but Sexton quickly reversed him to his back, but the buzzer sounds before near-fall points could be awarded.
"Brady got an early lead, and kind of hung out on that early lead ... you have to get a lead and build on it," said Harrington. "If you don't try to build on your lead, things like that can happen.
"It's his first Section title ... he's ready to go," added Harrington. "We just have to make some little adjustments."
At 138 pounds, John Worthing, the top seed, decked fifth-seed Nathan Lehr of Chenango Valley in 2:29. Worthing led 5-0 at the time of the fall.
In the finals, lost a 3-0 overtime decision to BGAH standout Brody Oleksak, who scored three near-fall points on a tilt in the first of two 30-second overtime periods.
"John took zero leg attacks in the first period and he's wrestling a guy (Brody Oleksak) who is a punishing rider," said Harrington. "It takes the energy out of you. You have to be aggressive, you can't let people dictate to you.
"It's tough to beat a guy three times," noted Harrington. "You have to tip your cap to Brody, he looked great this weekend.
"Hopefully, John gets a wildcard, and he should," added Harrington.
At 99 pounds, Silvestri advanced to the finals with a 4-2 win over Bellis.
Bellis scored a takedown in the opening moments of the bout, but Silvestri escaped midway through the first period to trim the deficit to 2-1.
Silvestri knotted the scored at 2-2 with an escape in the second period, then rode Bellis for the entire third period, before turning him for two near-fall points at the third-period buzzer.
In the finals, top-seed Joey Florence scored a first-period takedown and made it stand up for a 2-0 win over Silvestri.
"Gianni (Silvestri) wrestled really well this weekend," said Harrington. "He got a little out-bigged in that match. He weighs 94 pounds and the weight is 101, so he's giving up a significant amount of weight.
"He had a bar sunk in at the end of the match," noted Harrington. "I think with a little more experience, maybe he gets a tilt there.
"I hate to always lump Gianni and Caden (Bellis) together, but I'm really proud of our two 7th-graders," he added.
Bellis bounced back in the consolation semifinals with a win over Norwich's Max Morris, but dropped a 6-5 decision to Owego's Matt Laubach in the third-place match.
At 113 pounds, Welch, the fourth seed, dropped a 13-2 major decision to top-seeded Cory Merwin of Walton-Delhi.
Welch bounced back in the consolation semifinals with a pin of Unadilla Valley's Josh Meade in 3:57.
In the third-place match, Welch edged Norwich's Andrew Brown, 4-3.
Brown scored a takedown with 1 second remaining in the first period for a 2-0 lead, but Welch erased the deficit with a four-point move with 18 seconds left in the second period. Welch rode Brown until he escaped with 34 seconds remaining in the third period, then was able to fend off his takedown attempts to preserve the win.
"Mason (Welch) put in a great summer," said Harrington. "To see him go from fifth to third here, I'm really proud of him. He just has to start believing that he's pretty good."
At 126 pounds, MacWhinnie, the second seed, dropped a 5-4 decision to third-seeded Mike McDaniels of Windsor in the semifinals.
MacWhinnie scored an early takedown, but McDaniels rallied to take a 3-2 lead. MacWhinnie scored another takedown early in the third period to take a 4-3 lead, but McDainels registered a reversal with 48 seconds remaining, then fended off MacWhinnie to advance to the finals.
MacWhinnie bounced back with a 53-second fall over Greene-Oxford's Brady Smith in the consolation semifinals - his milestone 100th career win, then decked Owego's Avery Middendorf in 2:08 in the third-place match.
"I think the pressure got to him in the semifinals, he didn't wrestle a great match," said Harrington of MacWhinnie. "He really rebounded, though, and came back with two falls.
"He might be in line for a wild card, with a fourth-place and two third-place finishes here the last three years," noted Harrington. "I'm optimistic he may sneak in."
At 152 pounds, Wood, the sixth seed, dropped a 6-2 decision to second-seeded Reese Lockwood of Groton in the semifinals.
Wood bounced back with a win over fifth-seed Reed Scott of Sidney via injury default in the consolation semifinals, then forged a 5-2 decision over fourth-seed Tony Giovagnoli of Oneonta in the third-place match.
"Emmett (Wood) had a great tournament," said Harrington. "Beating two seniors the way he did, and he overcame some adversity.
"I don't know what's going to happen with the wild card. I don't know if he has enough points, but he's wrestling like a guy who belongs at the state tournament," noted Harrington.
"It was a coming out party for him," he added.
At 160 pounds, Warner, who lost in the quarterfinals Friday, pinned Marathon's Dan McDonald in 2:01, then forged a 12-3 major decision over Newark Valley's Connor Jacobson in the "blood round."
After receiving a medical forfeit from Windsor's Gabe Monroe in the consolation semifinals, Warner avenged his quarter-final loss to Newark Valley's Cam Carrier with a pin at the third-period buzzer in the third-place match.
""To see Zac Warner finish his career with a win makes me feel really good," said Harrington. "He's a hard worker, and a program kid. He's been around forever, and to see him finish on a high note is really great.
"He's been really sick, and he overcame a lot of adversity today just to wrestle through it," noted Harrington. "We would have pulled him if it wasn't Sectionals, and it wasn't his last tournament."
At 285 pounds, Taylor, the third seed, scored a takedown early in the second period to take a 2-0 lead, but Newark Valley standout Trentyn Rupert rallied to win a 5-3 decision in the semifinals.
Taylor bounced back in the consolation semifinals with a 32-second fall over Oneonta's Jeremiah Morris, then edged second-seed Tyler Rice of Norwich, 1-0, thanks to a second-period escape.
"I don't know why Stephen wouldn't get a wild card," said Harrington. "He's ready. I think he can go with anyone in the state. He's peaking at the right time."
At 120 pounds, Hopkins opened his day with a wild 15-12 win over Waverly junior Rylan Laforest, then edged Whitney Point's Aidan Rosa, 4-2, in the "blood round."
Hopkins dropped a 9-2 decision to Waverly freshman Garrett Skeens in the consolation semifinals, then lost via fall to M-E's Payton Bennett in the fifth-place match.
"Hopkins outwrestled his seed," said Harrington. "To place here as a freshman, I think it's a great building block for him."
At 170 pounds, senior Vinny Sullivan, who was 1-1 Friday, dropped a 3-1 decision in overtime to Walton-Delhi's Scotty Barnhart in his first wrestleback match.
At 182 pounds, junior Dom Wood, who lost 8-3 to top-seeded Mark Mullen in the opening round Friday, lost 8-1 to third-seed Brandon Butler of Windsor Saturday in his first wrestleback match.
At 195 pounds, senior Joe Lloyd lost his first bout Saturday and was eliminated.
IN PHOTOS 1-5: Tioga's Austin Lamb. IN PHOTOS 6-10: Tioga's Brady Worthing. IN PHOTOS 11-15: Tioga's John Worthing. IN PHOTO 16: Tioga's Gianni Silvestri. IN PHOTOS 17-20: Tioga's Gianni Silvestri and Caden Bellis. IN PHOTOS 21-24: Tioga's Emmett Wood. ... PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.
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