Waverly's Wolcott wins fourth straight sectional title
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Senior Ryan Wolcott became the first four-time champion in the storied history of the Waverly program Sunday evening at the Section IV, Division 2 wrestling championships at the Events Center here at Binghamton University.
The Wolverines also had a pair of runners-up in senior Brandon Ellers and 8th-grader A.J. Burkhart, while sophomore Jesse Manuel finished second to lead seven Tioga wrestlers to the podium Sunday.
Junior Jesse Fiske placed third, while senior Zach Kelsey was fourth, seniors Kaleb Stone and Luke Hoose both finished fifth and seniors Aaron Shipman and Dan Hosking both placed sixth.
Norwich won the team title with 109.5 points, while Bainbridge-Guilford / Afton / Harpursville was second with 97.5 points, Deposit was third with 90 points and Tioga was fourth with 89 points. Waverly finished tied for ninth with 60 points.
Wolcott pinned his way through the tournament. After advancing to the finals with three first-period pins, he decked Deposit's Zach Gifford in 5:20 in the championship match.
Waverly coach Charlie Hughes was impressed with Wolcott, who is also Waverly all-time leader in wins.
"It's a big accomplishment. He's the first four-time Section IV winner from Waverly and we've had a lot of winners - that puts him in a very lofty position."
"He has 203 wins, with four more to go," said Hughes. "That's his goal - four more wins without a loss."
Ellers advanced to the finals with a pair of pins and faced Unatego's Ryan Marszel, who handed Ellers both his losses this season.
It was a typical bout for the two standouts, battling to a 2-2 tie until Marszel registered a takedown with 3 seconds remaining in the bout. Ellers scored an escape at the final buzzer in a 4-3 loss.
"Brandon (Ellers) and Ryan Marzsel is a one-point match every time they wrestle," said Hughes.
"We thought coming into the match whoever got the first two-point move was probably going to win the match and that's basically what happened," he added.
Burkhart, who advanced to the finals with a 2-0 decision over Norwich's Ty Rifanberg, ran into top-seeded Dean Raymond of Deposit-Hancock.
Raymond, who handed Burkhart a 12-0 loss in the finals of the Windsor Tournament in December, built a 10-0 lead before putting his shoulders to the mats at 4:42.
"A.J. just got overpowered tonight," said Hughes. "He had a great tournament up to that point â¦ he was down 2-0 and we had to take down to try and score points, then he got turned and once (Raymond) got the momentum going, he just overpowered him."
Like Burkhart, Tioga's Manuel ran into a top seed who's had his number. Two-time state champ William Koll, who spent 2 1/2 minutes on the mats in three matches on his way to the finals, beat Manuel, 19-8, last week at the Class C finals.
It looked like it would be more of the same in the first period Sunday as Koll took Manuel down five times in building a 10-4 lead.
Manuel escaped to start the second period to cut the deficit to 10-5 and the score remained that way until Koll scored a takedown at the final buzzer to secure a 12-5 win.
Tioga coach Josh Roe said Manuel wrestled Koll much tougher this week.
"He neutralized the back points, he didn't get turned and he earned his 1s (escapes)." "(Koll) is a kid you have to wrestle a few times to figure out - he's so technical," said Roe. "There was a lot of growth in a week, from 19-8 to essentially a 10-5 match."
"I'm very pleased with his performance for the whole tournament," added Roe.
Fiske also ran into a defending Section IV champ in the semifinals. Greene's Christian Dietrich pinned Fiske in 3:32.
He bounced back with a 5-2 win over Windsor's Austin Orshal in the consolation semifinals, then beat Chenango Valley's Reed Grunder, 5-1, to claim third place.
"He's unbelievable," said Roe. "It's amazing how much desire to win trumps the lack of technique - just good old-fashioned desire to compete. He likes to compete."
"Even against (Dietrich), he lasted more than half the second period - that's longer than most of the kids (Dietrich) wrestled at the Eastern States Classic," he said.
"It's all about battling and being tough for him," added Roe. "I was really pleased with his performance."
Roe noted his five seniors all bounced back from losses to earn medals.
"I'm really happy that (Kaleb) Stone, (Dan) Hosking and (Zach) Kelsey got on the podium," he said. "All three of them have some sour tastes in their mouths with the way things ended, but all three are three-time place-winners."
"They really represented their families, team and school district very well," said Roe. "They did not bail after they lost, they battled back. I'm very proud of them."
"Luke Hoose had a good season and bounced back to get on the podium as well."
"And Aaron Shipman, a first-year wrestler, gets on the podium. It was an awesome job."
"For the most part, we did our job at this tournament, other teams just did better," added Roe.