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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, February 10, 2011
Bulldogs and Blackbirds put dent in Class D wrestling field
By Jordan J. Michael
Voorheesville and Berne-Knox-Westerlo turned quite a few heads at the Class D Championships on Saturday in Whitehall.
Also, the two teams turned each other, going head-to-head in five different matches throughout the day. Despite being from neighboring school districts, both head coaches contended that they didn’t know much about each other’s teams.
“We didn’t really know anything because there’s a lot of distance between us,” said BKW Head Coach Jeff Vogel, whose team came in third with 156 points. “Our kids are spread out. We have more ties with Schoharie and Duanesburg.”
“We wrestle in different leagues, but I knew they were tough,” said Voorheesville Head Coach Matt Robinson on Monday. His team forfeited five weight classes, but still placed eighth with 104 points.
The highlight on Saturday was the 140-pound final between senior Spencer Glaser of the Blackbirds and senior returning champion Vince Pasquini of the Bulldogs. Glaser, coming in with a 28-4 record, scored on Pasquini early and held onto the lead, winning 4 to 3.
“He was going for my legs, but I like that because I can switch them,” Glaser recalled on Monday. “I switched him around and that gave me a lead. I rode it out after that and played it safe.”
Glaser got called for a stall, giving Pasquini points, but Glaser eventually got Pasquini in a cradle. Pasquini escaped with 40 seconds left in the match but he didn’t realize the score. “His mother was yelling, ‘Look at the clock,’ but it was too late,” said Vogel. “Glaser had a good defense.”
“I didn’t prepare well enough,” Pasquini said, recalling the match. “I had some sloppy shots. It’s disappointing, but second place isn’t bad.”
Robinson said that Glaser was more like a first-year wrestler this season because he had only 10 matches last year. During a contest against Brian Walsh of Watervliet last year, Glaser got his arm torched, he said, ending his season.
Glaser joined the Titan Wrestling Club two months after his injury and started working towards 2011. He will attend New York University next fall for wrestling and academics.
“They showed me what to do,” Glaser said. “It really helped. I’m wrestling my best right now.”
“He did a lot of work with the club,” Robinson said of Glaser. “It’s impressive. He’s got good balance and he’s just aggressive enough.”
BKW had its greatest finish in the Class D Championships on Saturday. Vogel told The Enterprise that his team “broke the inner sanctum” with the effort.
Pasquini, Matt Casullo (152 pounds), Blake Whitbeck (130), Derek Struck (135), Ben Becker (145), and Josh Richards (160) will be attending Friday’s Section II Tournament.
“The focus is to wrestle as hard as we can,” said Vogel. “They wrestled like men in close matches. Extremely aggressive.”
Vogel is proud of what the wrestlers are doing on the mats, but also with what they’re doing in the classroom. Everyone on the team has been academically eligible this season. “That says something,” he said.
Class D is one of the toughest wrestling classes in Section II and now BKW is in the discussion with the likes of mainstays Duanesburg, Salem, and Warrensburg. BKW started its program seven years ago.
“Now, we must work on what to do next because people are talking about us,” Vogel said. “We take all the talk as a compliment.”
“We taught each other to become better,” said Pasquini, who will chose to study environmental sciences or engineering in college next fall. “It’s like a really encouraging family.”
Voorheesville has been on a steady climb ever since Robinson became the head coach three years ago. He said that the program was in a “funk” before he arrived. Robinson implemented a “tough, but simple mentality” and started a modified team.
“We haven’t completely turned around, but the quality is better,” Robinson said. “I won’t be fully happy until we fill every weight class.”
The Blackbirds will be bringing half of its team to the Section II Tournament on Friday at the Glens Falls Civic Center: Glaser, Quinn Treadgold (130 pounds), Caleb Cummings (145), Brian Katchman (215), and Don Case (285).
“They wrestled smart and got a lot of compliments,” said Robinson. “People are beginning to respect us more. We have small numbers, but you’re going to get a tough match.”