Thayer capped a 4-0 run state-tournament run with a 6-5 decision over Phoenix senior Rowdy Prior, the top seed.
Thayer fell behind, 5-4, in the third period when Prior secured a cradle that led to three back points. But late in the period, Thayer broke free and scored a two-point reversal before riding out Prior for the final 20 seconds.
“I may be a little biased, but I thought that was the most exciting match of the night by far,” Unatego coach Mike Hamilton said. “He just showed a lot of heart. He worked hard and he’s in great shape. He wasn’t tired after the match. He could have wrestled another six minutes. That kid loves wrestling.”
It capped a 39-3 season for the senior.
Thayer joined Andrew Sherman (171-pound D-II title in 2005), John Leech (130 D-II title in 2004) and Nick Muzashvili (overall 177 title in 1995) as Unatego wrestlers to win state titles.
Ford’s state championship seemed nearly as unlikely as Thayer’s.
She injured her left ankle while clearing a school-record height of 5-foot-4 1/4 in winning the high jump in Cooperstown’s Don Howard Invitational on May 4. Ford spent the next two weeks in a walking boot.
Ford cleared 5-2 at the Section Three State Qualifier to get into the state meet at Middletown.
The junior was successful on her first two heights at the state meet, but missed on her first two attempts at 5-2. Ford cleared the height on her final attempt and then got over the bar on her second attempt at 5-4.
That left two D-II competitors — Ford and Middleburgh’s Amanda Roney.
Ford then cleared a school record 5-5 on her first try. Roney failed to make the height as Ford became the first Cooperstown girl to win a state title in track.
“It’s still sinking in,” Ford said a day after the competition. “It’s really exciting and I’ve gotten a lot of congratulations.”
Rob Centorani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.