By Jordan J. Michael
GUILDERLAND –– Josh LoGiudice and Mike Lainhart may have hoped for more wins at the state wrestling tournament, but at least the two Guilderland juniors know what to expect the next time they make the gifted field.
Lainhart (106 pounds) and LoGiudice (99 pounds) have been training partners for a long time. Each kid can tell when the other is feeling great or feeling bad. They’re friends off the mat, too.
“I’d rather have it be him than anyone else,” LoGiudice said of Lainhart this week. “We want to get back there next year.”
The two Dutch wrestlers each lost his first-round match at the Times Union Center in Albany last Friday. LoGiudice lost to eventual second-place finisher, Vito Arujau, of Syosset, 8 to 0, and Lainhart was pinned by eventual 106-pound champion, Kyle Quinn, of Wantagh.
“I thought I did pretty well,” Lainhart said this week. “It was really awesome to be there, and it was a great experience to share with Josh. I didn’t wrestle too bad.”
However, LoGiudice and Lainhart didn’t seem too pleased after the first round of matches. Head Coach Don Favro said that they had set goals for a top-six placement.
“Upsets are what the state tournament is all about,” Favro said. “They tried to knock people off, but it didn’t happen. It’s a big arena with a lot of wrestlers, so you may drift away from the usual mentality.”
LoGiudice was stuck under Arujau for most of the match. LoGiudice looked to be in pain as Arujau dominated with his leverage.
“He was very technical and strong, so it was hard to capitalize,” LoGiudice said of Arujau. “There weren’t enough chances to score. It wasn’t too bad. I was calm.”
Lainhart made a shot at Quinn during the beginning of his first-round match, but got caught, and Quinn reversed for a score. Quinn eventually got another takedown for points, and then pinned Lainhart with 1:22 left in the match.
“He put me in a three-fourths Nielsen, and I have two bad shoulders, so I was forced onto my back,” said Lainhart of Quinn. “I thought maybe I’d be beat more because he was known and I wasn’t.”
Lainhart didn’t think Quinn would win the entire tournament. “He’s really strong, so he used that as an advantage,” he said. “The kid was jacked up. There was a difference between Quinn and the kids I usually wrestle from around here.”
Favro placed fifth in the state tournament in 1998 as a wrestler for Averill Park. Although, back then, information about wrestlers wasn’t on the Internet. Websites like matburn.com and armdrag.com make the lead-up to States pretty intense.
Do the wrestlers read the statistics and analysis?
“Yeah, they read it,” said Favro. “It’s easily accessible. They’ll read something and think, ‘Oh, well, this guy is tough, so he’s supposed to beat me.’ There’s a lot of talk out there.”
Websites keep track of every wrestling tournament throughout the season.
“The caliber is ridiculously good,” LoGiudice said of the wrestling talent at States. “Everyone deserves to be there. It’s a good experience.”
At the state tournament practice session last Thursday, Favro said that having Lainhart and LoGuidice competing at States meant a lot to Guilderland. The last Dutch wrestler to reach that level was Matt Cubillos in 2009, before Favro was coach.
“You just have to take it all in,” Favro said. “Focus on the little things.”
The lightweights wrestle at a faster pace, and there are fewer tie-ups during a match. “There is never a boring match,” said Favro. “It goes from one move to the next, and to the next. There are some nice flurries and counters.”
After the first-round loss, LoGiudice and Lainhart moved to the losers’ bracket. LoGiudice beat James Kelly, of Pearl River, 8 to 4, and then lost to Chris Cuccolo, of Pine Bush, 3 to 1, in overtime. Lainhart lost to Adam Gomez, of Benjamin Cardozo, 8 to 6.
“I made some normal mistakes,” Lainhart said. “I was out of position.”
“You do anything to win a match,” added LoGiudice.
Favro said that the friendship between Lainhart and LoGiudice is very close. The two have become family. Favro expects them to be at States next year.
Lainhart said that training hard during the off-season is the only ticket back to the state tournament. He watched the rest of last weekend’s tournament, and pictured himself still on the mat.
“It was a really great experience for these guys,” said Favro. “Mike is more aggressive than Josh, but Mike is starting to rub off on him. It could get dangerous.”