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Valley Sports Report
BINGHAMTON - Sophomore Troy Beeman won his first Section IV, Division 2 title, and freshman Matthias Welles was a runner-up for the second year in a row here Saturday at the Visions Memorial Arena to punch their tickets for a return trip to the New York State Championships in two weeks.

The Wolverines had two other wrestlers reach the podium in 8th-grader Drayton DeKay, who finished fourth, and 7th-grader Avery Bowman, who placed sixth. They finished sixth in the team standings with 66 points, well off the pace of Tioga, which won its seventh straight Section IV title with 253 points.

Waverly had six wrestlers qualify for the Section IV, Division 2 Championship, but only five competed as freshman Rhylee Stotler did not make weight.

"The goal was to place all six, and get three to States," said Waverly coach Devan Witman. "We fell a little short, but I’m super-proud of the guys we had wrestling today, and I’m proud of their progress.

"We didn’t have anyone older than a sophomore here today … so these same six kids are coming back next year, and they’re only getting more experience.

"I’m pleased," he noted. "A couple more place-winners would have been nice, but we have two moving on, and some more experience for our young guys.

"And, everyone is coming back next year, and the year after," Witman added.

Witman believes Beeman and Welles being there before will help them at the state tournament on Feb. 23-24.

"Both of them are experienced in Albany, and I think that is going to play a huge factor in going back this year."

Beeman, the top seed at 285 pounds, was 3-0 with a pair of pins to advance to the finals.

Beeman opened the day with a pin of eighth-seeded Ryan Stoss of Deposit-Hancock in 3:09 in the quarterfinals, then decked fourth-seeded Patrick White in 3:47 in the semifinals.

In the finals, Beeman edged second-seeded Gabe Soundararaj, 1-0.

After a scoreless first period, Beeman chose bottom in the second period, and scored a quick escape. The duo remained on their feet for the final 1:40 of the period.

Soundararaj chose neutral in the third period, despite being down 1-0, and could not pierce Beeman’s defenses.

"This was a great tournament Troy," said Witman.

"(Soundararaj) is up in weight, Troy (Beeman) outweighs him by quite a bit, so it was a smart decision not go down under Troy," noted Witman. "For as light as he is, I give him a lot of credit for the pace he pushed, but Troy was just too much for him.

"Troy keeps perfect position almost all of the time," he added. "That was a well-wrestled 1-point match for heavyweight."

Welles, the second seed at 215 pounds, scored a pair of falls to reach the finals.

Welles decked seventh-seeded Patrick Croft of Schuyler in 1:56, then pinned third-seeded Jayden Zakala of Oneonta in 2:22 in the semifinals.

In the finals, Welles dropped a 5-0 decision to top-seeded Dominic Weaver of Windsor, who is 4-0 this season against Welles, including wins in the finals of the STAC Championships, and last week’s Qualifier B.

"Weaver is a very good wrestler," said Witman. "We game plan a lot for our bottom work … we weren’t able to get off bottom, but we weren’t getting turned like we did a week ago.

"The game plan going in was not exactly what we executed," he added. "I think if we get back in the room and continue to work on our execution, I think that’s one we could possibly win in two weeks."

DeKay, the fourth seed at 108, was 2-2 on the day to finish fourth.

DeKay opened with a pin of fifth-seeded Gavin Nordberg of Unatego-Unadilla Valley in 4:47 in the quarterfinals, then dropped a 9-0 major decision to Norwich’s top-seeded Maverick Beckwith in the semifinals.

DeKay bounced back with a hard-fought, 2-0, decision over Walton-Delhi’s Hayden Robinson, but dropped a 3-0 decision to third-seeded Kadin Cole of Tioga in the third-place match.

"Drayton (DeKay) was probably in the toughest bracket in the tournament," said Witman.

Bowman, the sixth seed at 101 pounds, was 1-3 on the day to finish sixth.

Bowman dropped a 6-0 decision to third-seeded Brogan LeFever of Unatego-Unadilla Valley in the quarterfinals.

Bowman bounced back with a 6-0 win over Sidney’s Dylan Webb in the "blood round," then dropped a 15-1 major decision to fourth-seeded Dylan Newman of Windsor in the consolation semifinals.

In the fifth-place match, Bowman dropped a 5-0 decision to fifth-seeded Clayton Ritter of Oneonta.

"Avery (Bowman) being a 7th-grader just did an amazing job for us," said Witman.

Larson, the ninth seed at 152 pounds, lost via fall in 1:12 to Walton-Delhi’s Travis Houck in the opening round, then dropped a 3-0 decision Windsor’s seventh-seeded Anthony Weaver in the first round of wrestlebacks.


IN PHOTO 1: Section IV champ, Waverly’s Troy Beeman. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.

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