Big mo­ments in Sec­tion 2 wrestling cham­pi­onships

The Record (Troy, NY) - - SPORTS - On­line: Visit www.troy­cord/com/sports for our photo gallery from Satur­day’s ac­tion. By Stan Hudy [email protected]­gian.com @StanHudy on Twit­ter

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. >> Big mo­ments led to even big­ger wins Satur­day night for Sec­tion 2 wrestlers at the Di­vi­sion 1 (large school) and Di­vi­sion 2 (small school) cham­pi­onships at the Cool In­sur­ing Arena.

Some wins were for in­di­vid­u­als and credit to all the hard work they put in and some for were for fam­ily as a hand is raised af­ter a few min­utes, a few pe­ri­ods or some­times seem­ingly never end­ing over­time cri­te­ria, but each cham­pion sa­vored their mo­ment and award of au­to­mat­i­cally ad­vanc­ing to the New York State Pub­lic High School Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion tour­na­ment in two weeks at the Times Union Cen­ter.

Aver­ill Park sopho­more Sean Malen­fant did some-

thing he had never done be­fore – win a Sec­tion 2 ti­tle and pay his coach the high­est com­pli­ment in the sport, leap­ing into his arms af­ter shak­ing the hands of the op­pos­ing coaches.

It was a mo­ment that was made epic in that it was his father, Mike Malen­fant, who caught his son af­ter the 152-pound ti­tle was de­cided by a take­down by the younger Malen­fant with just seven sec­onds left for the dra­matic 5- 4 fi­nal.

“He’s been wait­ing long, he’s been wait­ing for it,” Coach Mike Malen­fant said. “He took sec­ond, he took third the last cou­ple years and he’s worked re­ally hard.”

Be­ing in the cor­ner, his role was that of coach first and dad sec­ond, but each in­struc­tion was about en­cour­age­ment and lead­ing for the hope­ful out­come.

“It’s def­i­nitely a dif­fer­ent feel­ing, stress­ful, a dif­fer­ent feel­ing, but what­ever the out­come it was how it was sup­posed to un­fold,” Mike Malen­fant said.

Af­ter two un­suc­cess­ful years at the sec­tional tour­na­ment, the younger Malen­fant was fo­cused if not con­sumed about win­ning a ti­tle this year.

“I’ve thought about it my whole life,” Sean Malen- fant said. “He would al­ways show me the video of him win­ning the sec­tion on like VHS tape and I’d watch it and I would fan­ta­size and go to bed and fan­ta­size about it. I was think­ing about it ev­ery day the whole sea­son, be­fore sea­son, I was com­pletely ob­sessed with it.”

Sean Malen­fant earned a take­down in the first pe­riod, but was put on his back at the hands of Ed­wards mid­way through the sec­ond pe­riod giv­ing up three points and the lead. He would es­cape from the clutch of the Blue Devil wrestler with nine sec­onds left to knot the match and three points apiece.

Ed­wards took the lead again, escaping from un­der Malen­fant mid­way through the third for a 4-3 lead be­fore the sopho­more War­rior earned a take­down near the edge of the cir­cle with 14 sec­onds left.

“All I could think about was re­venge,” Sean Malen­fant said. “I lost to him last year, he pinned me and I just knew I had to go and it was so sat­is­fy­ing. I can’t ex­plain my­self it’s so crazy.”

That loss to Ed­wards be­came his fuel for this sea­son.

“It was so heart­break­ing to be just short, tak­ing sec­ond and third, but it pushed me so much harder to fi­nally reach it to­day,” Sean Malen­fant said. ‘ It’s re­ally hard to fathom, it’s un­real just how it feels, fi­nally reach­ing it.”

He isn’t done as he will join the other sec­tional cham­pi­ons and named wild cards later in group prac­tices pre­par­ing for the state tour­na­ment.

“I want states too, I want it all,” Sean Malen­fant said. “I’m go­ing to go for it. What hap­pens, hap­pens, but I’m go­ing for it and I’ve got two more years and I’m go­ing to keep on chug­ging.”

Aver­ill Park team­mate Nik Koch re­peated as a Sec­tion 2 cham­pion, earned a ma­jor­ity de­ci­sion over Saratoga Springs se­nior Doug Cooper, 13- 0.

Saratoga Springs se­nior Brant Robin­son be­came the first Sec­tion 2 cham­pion for the Blue Streaks since 2007, need­ing ev­ery minute and sec­ond of three pe­ri­ods and two full over­times be­fore turn­ing a two-point stale­mate into a 5-2 ti­tle win in the third over­time cri­te­ria, escaping from the grasp of Shaker fresh­man Ryan Stein with 30 sec­onds left and earn­ing a take­down in the closing sec­onds for the 5-2 win at 195-pounds.

One out­come that sur­prised few, if any fans at the Cool In­sur­ing Arena, was Shenen­de­howa sopho­more Stevo Poulin cap­tur­ing his sec­ond straight Sec­tion 2 ti­tle, poised as a threat for a sec­ond- con­sec­u­tive NYSPHSAA ti­tle with his 40-0 win­ning streak in­tact.

Shenen­de­howa sopho­more Brock Del­sig­nore cap­tured his third straight Sec­tion 2 Di­vi­sion I ti­tle, but this time in a dif­fer­ent sin- glet. He earned a 7- 4 de­ci­sion over Columbia fresh­man Michael Al­tomer to win the 145 pound ti­tle. His pre­vi­ous two ti­tles came as a stu­dent-ath­lete at South Glens Falls.

There was no lack of ex­cite­ment in the small school di­vi­sion as the Svin­gala brothers, ju­nior Caleb Svin­gala and se­nior Trent Svin­gala re­peated as Sec­tion 2 cham­pi­ons at 106-pounds and 132-pounds re­spect­fully.

Caleb Svin­gala pinned Hud­son Falls wrestler, Chris Petteys 68 sec­onds into their match with Trent, out-point­ing Hoosick Falls’ 20-5 for a tech­ni­cal pin­fall.

Gal­way sopho­more Jake needed ev­ery minute of time and all of his skill to cap­ture the 113-pound ti­tle Satur­day. He was un­able to score a point against Hoosick Falls’ se­nior Gabe Fisher through three pe­ri­ods of reg­u­la­tion and the first two over­times. He man­aged to keep Fisher on the mat and not chang­ing from the bot­tom po­si­tion in the third over­time ses­sion for the win.

Corinth sopho­more Alec Richards earned an 8-2 de­ci­sion over Cobleskill-Rich­mondville’s Greg Ho­tal­ing for his Di­vi­sion 2 ti­tle at 138-pounds.

The sea­son may still con­tinue for sev­eral of the Di­vi­sion 1 and Di­vi­sion 2 fi­nal­ists as the NYSPHSAA tour­na­ment awards wild- card spots within each wrestling di­vi­sion based on past per­for­mance and a stan­dard­ized point sys­tem. That list­ing is ex­pected to be re­leased later this week.

Sec­tion 2 fi­nals Di­vi­sion 1 Large Schools

Fol­low Stan Hudy on Twit­ter @StanHudy.

Aver­ill Park Coach Mike Malen­fant catches and em­braces his 152-pound Sec­tion 2 Di­vi­sion 1 cham­pion and son, Sean, af­ter his dra­matic win at the Cool In­sur­ing Arena Satur­day night.

Aver­ill Park ju­nior Nik Koch looks to the ref­eree dur­ing a pin­ning com­bi­na­tion against Saratoga Springs se­nior Doug Cooepr duirng the Sec­tion 2Divi­sion 1220-pound fi­nale at the Cool In­sur­ing Arena.

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