By Dean Russin
The Daily Star
---- — BINGHAMTON — Boom, boom, boom, boom.
That’s pretty much how fast four area wrestlers won their championship matches Saturday during the Section Four Division II Tournament at the Broome County Arena.
Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton’s Mark Viviano and Unatego’s Ryan Marszal maintained their top seeds, Walton’s Dylan Wood beat an upset-minded teammate in his final, and B-G/A’s Chris Cirigliano overthrew the top seed in his weight class to secure automatic berths to the Division II state championships, which run Feb. 22-23 at the Times Union Center in Albany.
The differences in all four title bouts came in a matter of momentum-turning seconds.
Viviano’s was easily the quickest, almost immediately throwing second-seeded Andrew Barnhart of Whitney Point to his back in their 195-pound final. Viviano made sure that became the point of no return for Barnhart, who somehow managed to keep his left shoulder off the mat. That was until Viviano deftly changed his grip to a vice-like squeeze of Barnhart’s head and shoulders for a 58-second pin.
“I really wanted this one because I was here last year and it was embarrassing to be pinned in the first period,” said Viviano, who earned an at-large berth to the 2012 state tournament despite getting pinned in 1:02 by Lansing’s Ryan Todd in the 195-pound sectional final last season. “That match changed my whole career. I just realized I could go farther, worked real hard in practice, worked hard lifting in the summer, and all those pieces just came together.”
Marszal put everything together in the last 30 seconds of his 182-pound final against Walton’s Mike Beers, who also reached the 2012 state tournament as an at-large selection.
Beers escaped with 1:03 left to tie the score at 1 in the third period, but Marszal responded with a big throw about 30 seconds later. Marszal slipped to the back of Beers to complete a two-point takedown, then let his opponent up with about 10 seconds left.
Marszal seemed content with his 3-2 lead, but Beers was anything but.
“There wasn’t much time left, so I kind of expected it,” Marszal said of Beers’ last-second charge. “Usually when it comes down to the last couple seconds, kids get sloppy and shoot their arms open. Then you just pancake them.”
Marszal dodged the attack and countered with a strong takedown that led to back points and a 7-2 victory by decision for his first state berth.
Perhaps the most intriguing match of the D-II tournament, which ran concurrently with the D-I championships, was Walton vs. Walton for the 113-pound title. That materialized when third-seeded Wood and fifth-seeded Logan Robinson scored huge upsets in the semifinal round. An at-large state pick last season, Wood edged Maine-Endwell’s Kobe Garrehy with a 6-4 overtime decision. More surprising, though, was Robinson’s third-period pin of Oxford’s Joe Nelson, the top seed who placed third at states last season.
Robinson seemed to ride a wave of confidence into the final against Wood, who headed into the final with a 3-1 season record against his frequent sparring partner.
“It was weird,” said Wood, mired in a 1-0 deficit for the majority of the match before scoring the decisive points on a reversal from the down position with about 30 seconds left. “He’s a lot tougher out here on the mat; a lot tougher. He was really good on top.”
True, but Robinson made a crucial mistake toward the end.
“I probably shouldn’t have done what I did,” he said. “I hooked on him the wrong way and I should have just rode him out the last little bit. I’ll be thinking about that for a long time.”
Wood didn’t have all that much time to think about anything before the big move.
“I just knew that I had to go,” he said. “With that much time left, I had to go and get that win. I just got hand control and just kept circling and then just flipped him over.”
Wood tacked on back points after the reversal en route to a 5-2 victory as Robinson earned a point with a last-second escape.
“It’s kind of hard when you practice all year with him,” said Robinson, who remained hopeful that his upset of Nelson would be enough to earn an at-large berth this season. “I’ll come back harder next year, but hopefully, I get a wild-card for states this year.”
Cirigliano had little trouble finishing off top-seeded Joe Rorick of Odessa-Montour, scoring the last six points of his 8-2 victory in the 106-pound championship match.
The first period of this fast-paced final ended in a 2-all tie, but Cirigliano scored four straight points in the second to take command. He also sidestepped a near takedown in the third to set up his final points, which came after he lifted Rorick and dropped behind him for a late takedown.
“He was undefeated this year and I was watching his ankle pick,” said first-time state qualifier Cirigliano. “Since he’s really tall, he’s a scary guy to wrestle. … I was trying to set up my shot and he kept hanging on to my arm, so I was having trouble setting up my shot. I don’t really know exactly what happened, but I’m pretty sure I got a reversal and a couple takedowns.”
Robinson and Beers were two of seven area runner-ups, all of whom are waiting to hear whether they will receive at-large berths to the state tournament.
Austin Ryan, Kevin Thayer and Leland Slawson advanced to the championship round to help Unatego to a second-place finish in the 33-team tournament. Ryan dropped a 17-5 major decision to Lansing’s William Koll at 126 pounds; Thayer fell, 9-7, to Chenango Valley’s Kyle Halladay at 152; and Slawson gave up the only point of his 1-0 loss to Greene’s Mike Beckwith on a second-period escape.
All three finals appearances, along with Marszal’s title, led Unatego to 105.5 team points for second place. Greene won the team crown with 127 points, and B-G/A finished third at 103.
The Bears also received a second from Jesse Griswold, who was pinned in 51 seconds by Norwich standout Tristan Rifanburg in the 132-pound title match.
Austin Dean of Sidney rounded out the area runner-ups. He also lost by pin, to Windsor’s Matt Abbott 3:48 into the 285-pound championship.
Sidney finished seventh with 78.5 points, Walton was 16th (47), Unadilla Valley placed 22nd (25), Delhi was 24th (19), Oneonta placed 25th (18) and Edmeston tied for last with zero points.
Boyle wins 120 title
Cooperstown senior Mikey Boyle earned his first state-tournament berth with a 4-2 victory over Cazenovia’s Dylan Evans in the 120-pound championship match during the Section Three Division II Tournament at Onondaga Community College.
“He’s got a chance to surprise some people at states,” said Cooperstown coach Micaiah Abts, whose program has its first state-tournament qualifier since Brendan Hill made his second straight appearance in 2005. “He’s a little unorthodox in his style, so that’s always nice with people you haven’t seen. They can’t really scout you out, so I think that’s in our favor.”
Second-seeded Boyle jumped to a 3-0 lead before Evans scored on a reversal just as the two fell out of bounds in the third period. Boyle then took the down position and scored the final point on an escape.
Boyle advanced to the title match with a 4-3 semifinal decision over Dolgeville’s Ben Nastovski. Fourth-seeded Evans upset the No. 1 seed in the other semifinal, Abts said.
Senior Jacob Miller and sophomore JP Gertz contributed sixth-place finishes for the Redskins, who were 15th in the 33-team tournament with 39 points.
South Jefferson won the team title with 146.5 points, followed by Phoenix (112.5) and Holland Patent (97.5).
Dean Russin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 215.