Junior Zach Diekel scored his best finish ever Saturday, taking third place in the state Division II wrestling championships at the Albany Times-Union Center.
This was the third state tournament appearance for Diekel, who has won four straight Section II, Division II titles. He did not place in the state tournament when he was an eighth-grader at 136 pounds. He wrestled at 171 the last two years and was fifth last year and fourth the year before.
He won his opening round match by pinning Ogdensburg’s Kurt Folsom 14 seconds into the third period.
His quarterfinal bout was tied at 0-0 going into the third period. Diekel started the period on top, but Nick Lalone of Cato-Meridian scored a reversal and hung on for the 2-0 victory, sending Diekel to the consolation brackets, where he won four straight matches for the third-place finish
Lalone went on to beat Ryan Todd of Lansing, 11-2, in the championship match.
After the loss, Diekel scored an 18-4 decision of Pawling’s Craig Durkin to stay alive into the tournament’s second day.
He started Saturday with a 12-4 victory over Bryce Mazurowksi of Avon and posted a 12-4 to move into the consolation semifinals against John Treen of Illion. He won that match, 6-4, to advance to the consolatiuon finals, where he topped David Woolley of Letchworth, 4-1, to take third.
Whitehall’s other two wrestlers lost in the first round. Section II champion Al Aubin lost by technical fall to Lyndonville’s Sam Recco in 3:46. The wrestler Aubin upset in the sectional finals, Zach Marcel of Corinth, ran into second-seeded Abdulgawi Mohamed of Lackawanna and was pinned in 4:41. Aubin went on to win his next match, 2-1, over Paul Schoenberg of Baruch College Campus, but lost in the next round, 15-5, to Drew Longo of Ardsley.
John Diekel, like Aubin a sophomore, was pinned by Peru’s Alex Pugh 26 seconds into the second period. Noah Valastro, who beat Diekel in the sectional championship match, won by decision over Kyle McGovern of Bayport-Blue Point, 6-0. He lost his second match, this time a very close one, 4-2, to Jeff O’Lena of Rochester.