The addition of at-large wild-card bids to the state tournament has filled out brackets and allowed high-caliber wrestlers – who didn’t win their sectional tournament – an opportunity to remedy that loss. Unadilla Valley’s Tyler Peet is a perfect example of a wild-card choice making the most of his second chance.
Peet wasn’t making his first state tournament appearance last year, so despite a sectional finals loss to Tioga’s Derak Heyman, his at-large bid was a virtual certainty. Peet, now wrestling in college at Alfred, amended his earlier loss to Heyman to win UV’s second-ever state title, and one of three for Chenango County athletes last year.
For the 2011 tournament, scheduled Friday and Saturday at the Times Union Center in Albany, the state tournament committee awarded Section IV seven wild-card choices in division two this year, and five of those young men attend Chenango County schools. Of the Section IV Division II wrestlers competing in the state tournament, 10 of those are located with the borders of our county. An 11th young man, Sherburne-Earlville’s Greg DuVall, won a Section III title lifting our area total of state qualifiers to what we believe is a record of 11.
Later this week, we will preview each wrestler and his respective tournament bracket. We may not see three state champions this year, but it is likely we will see the majority of those wrestlers place among the top six and take a spot on the award stand.
We weren’t able to attend Bainbridge-Guilford’s Midstate Athletic Conference championship game at Oneonta Saturday nigh, but did catch much of the game’s play-by-play on WCDO-FM. After tuning in early in the first quarter, Harpursville was already in command. The Hornets went on to a 76-36 romp fueled by a 29-2 first quarter and a 46-11 halftime lead.
B-G’s leading scorer this season, Shania Vandermark, was held scoreless, and only the only B-G starters to turn in respectable offensive performances were Dani Conway (16 points) and Corrine Riegel (nine points). Bobcats head coach Bob Conway was unable to return our phone message before deadline, but did phone in a message later on. He was pointed in his post-game comments uttering the word “disappointed” a few times. “We just didn’t play very well,” Conway said summing up the night.
Fortunately, the Bobcats’ season is not over. B-G begins its Class C tournament tonight when it hosts Unatego Tuesday night at 7 p.m.. Harpursville, also in the Class C tourney, is in the bottom half of the bracket, and a B-G-Harpursville clash would not take place again unless each team advances to the sectional finals.
Also appearing in the Class C tournament are Greene, the number 10 seed, who play at Walton. Oxford, the number eight seed, drew Groton (seeded nine), and will play its first-round game at home. All first-round sectional playoff games start Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Norwich will host back-to-back Class A sectional playoff games Friday night. The boys, the number two seed, will meet Johnson City at 6 p.m. It’s the fourth matchup this season between the two schools with JC winning the last two. The Wildcats most recently beat Norwich in a STAC Central Division tiebreaker, and went on to win the Southern Tier Athletic Conference championship last weekend. Following the boys’ game, Norwich’s girls entertain Owego at approximately 7:45 p.m. It’s the third meeting between the Indians and Tornado girls with Norwich owning a pair of single-digit victories.