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Local News

February 25, 2013

Parade lauds achievements of two Unatego wrestlers

WELLS BRIDGE — Kevin Thayer wrestled his way to a state championship Saturday — and the applause continued Sunday.

With horns blasting and lights flashing, 11 trucks from the Otego, Wells Bridge and Unadilla fire departments entered the grounds of Unatego High School in Wells Bridge shortly after 1:30 p.m. carrying senior Thayer and sophomore Ryan Marszal.

More than 50 fans cheered Thayer, the Division II State Wrestling Tournament champion at 152 pounds, and Marszal, who at 182 pounds placed fifth in the event in Times Union Center in Albany on Saturday.

Thayer and Marszal rode in the lead engine, driven by Scott Secor, first assistant chief of the Otego Fire Department. The trucks started from the Otego station and followed a route along state Route 7 to the village of Unadilla, he said. Then the lineup turned around and went back along the highway to the high school, where clusters of students, parents and others waited in brisk winter winds.

Thayer’s description of winning the championship and riding in the parade was an echo.

“It felt pretty good,’’ he said while standing in the crowd outside the school Sunday afternoon. “It’s amazing that everyone I know supports me. They’ve been supporting me since I was little.’’

“Little’’ means just that, according to his mother, Dawn Thayer of Otego. She said he walked out onto a wrestling mat at 7 months old to see an older brother, and then at age 3, he was in his first official match.

When considering Thayer’s achievement Saturday, she was tongue-tied with pride.

“Amazing,’’ she said. “No words.’’

The Otego Fire Department hadn’t been out for a sports victory parade in years, firefighters said Sunday.

Matt Beames, assistant chief of the Otego Department, said the beauty of a small community was that he was able to call fire departments in the school district and crews turned out on short notice to honor Thayer and Marszal.

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