Big moments in Section 2 wrestling championships
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
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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.