A fter losing the Section II title to Hudson Falls’ Noah Valastro for the second straight year, sophomore John Diekel was disappointed and honest.
“He flat-out outwrestled me and beat me,” Diekel said after the 10-2 decision in the 119-pound championship match. “I am not going to stand here and make excuses.”
Despite last year’s loss, Diekel got an at-large bid to the state tournaments, and the same thing happened this year. He will be in the field for the Feb. 25 and 26 state championship meet at the Times-Union Center in Albany.
The two finalists know each other well, and Valastro said he was surprised at the final score.
“I didn’t think the score would be that high,” he said. “I thought it would be a two-point match. I caught him a couple of times on takedowns. He’s always one of the toughest wrestlers I face.”
Bob Diekel, who coaches his son, said he thought the match was closer than the score made it seem. “(He) had a couple takedowns that took John to his back,” Diekel said. “And John had him in a cradle, but they went out of bounds.”
He said Diekel was effective in keeping Valastro from tilting him for back points. “That was something we worked on.”
Diekel noted his son took the loss hard.
“He hasn’t taken losses this year too badly,” Diekel said. “He took this one badly. He’s been here before. John can beat a lot of wrestlers, even guys in higher weight classes. He just couldn’t beat Noah.”
Diekel had a 6-0 victory over Cobleskill’s Chris Rosa in the quarterfinals, then went in to score a pin over Schuylerville’s Jake Anderson in 4:15 in the semifinals.