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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, January 12, 2012
Guilderland and Voorheesville wrestlers show strength at Saratoga
SARATOGA Blood was seeping from Jesse Futia’s mouth after the 160-pound Guilderland wrestler won his quarterfinal match on Saturday at the Saratoga Invitational. He didn’t seem to mind.
“I’m just trying to be tough,” Futia said. His opponent’s head had smacked into his face while he was lifting him up. “This is the most alpha-male sport around; nothing like it. The toughest guy wins.”
Voorheesville senior Don Case had also drawn some blood from his Fort Ann opponent in the 285-pound quarterfinals before eventually clamping his neck for the pin. Case, an All-State football player, easily pinned his Saratoga challenger in the semifinals on his way to a second-place finish.
“This is an aggressive sport, so you’ve got to deal,” said Case, who usually waits for his opponent to make a mistake. “You do whatever it takes.”
The Saratoga Invitational featured 13 Section II teams and three from out of the area. The Dutchmen had six place finishers (fourth or better) for fourth overall, and Voorheesville placed 11th overall despite having only three athletes in the competition.
“This is a pretty big tournament,” said Voorheesville Head Coach Matt Robinson. “It’s an important day. You come here, get knocked around a little bit, and get yourself ready for sectionals.”
Guilderland’s Nick Haluska (145 pounds) and Josh Loguidice (99 pounds) both made it to their respective finals, but both lost hard-fought matches. Mike Lainhart took third place for the Dutch at 106 pounds after pinning his Bethlehem opponent. Futia, Mike McGill (220 pounds), and Jesse Mesick (285 pounds), and John Stuto (113 pounds) all had a respectable day.
“Only tough people wrestle,” said Guilderland Head Coach Don Favro, once a wrestler himself. “They’re focusing on themselves, advancing, and getting better.”
The only Guilderland wrestler to place first at the Saratoga Invitational, which has occurred annually since 1990, is Steve Haggerty at 140 pounds in 1999. The Blackbirds have never had a winner here.
On Saturday, Voorheesville freshman Tristan Welton was fourth at 99 pounds after losing to Garret Fields of General Brown, 8 to 7. Senior Quinn Treadgold lost his 132-pound semifinal match to Adam Erno of Mechanicville after Erno got a reversal late in the third round. Treadgold was rather displeased after the match; he had gotten injured.
“You have to have great hips for this,” said Case, a muscular young man. “There are quality athletes out here.”
The Berne-Knox-Westerlo wrestling team is off to its best start in school history with a 12-2 record. Head Coach Jeff Vogel is expecting top-six finishes from all of his athletes at the Class D sectionals.
“It’s a lofty goal, but achievable,” Vogel said. “That’s what we’re shooting for. We have a really strong team.”
Those high expectations were backed up by a 48-to-27 win over Class AA Albany on Tuesday. Dominic Woodmansee (145 pounds), Derek Struck (152 pounds), Ben Becker (160 pounds), Josh Richards (170 pounds), and Matt Casullo (182 pounds) all pinned their opponents. Struck’s match was over in 46 seconds and Casullo’s in 1:29.
Last Thursday, the Bulldogs dominated Green Tech, 60 to 12. Anthony Pasquini (126 pounds), Cody Fisher (138 pounds), Struck, Richards, Casullo, Joe Sprung (220 pounds), and Jesse Montasano (285 pounds) all ended their matches with pins.
Vogel told The Enterprise that the senior class of Struck, Becker, Richards, Casullo, and Montasano has been “mowing the competition down.” Nine BKW wrestlers made the podium at sectionals last year.
Casullo, described as a “physical specimen” by his coach, is a defending Class D finalist and Section II third-place winner. Casullo scored a pin over defending Class D champion Billy Pine of Hoosick Falls, to whom he lost last season.
At the Canajoharie Dual Tournament, which BKW won, Vogel said one of Casullo’s opponents refused to wrestle after taking a look at him before the match. “He can wrestle anyone, anywhere,” said Vogel. “He’s a pocket version of Lou Ferigno. He just wants to go out and beat someone.”
By Jordan J. Michael