Whitehall’s John Diekel won a close decision in the finals of the Saratoga Invitational Wrestling Tournament Saturday and three other Whitehall wrestlers finished in the top four of their respective weight classes.
Diekel defeated Queensbury’s Brian Stevens 5-4 to take home top honors in the 138 pound weight class.
Diekel held a 5-1 lead in the second period, but Stevens scored two points on a reversal and cut the lead to a single point with 15 seconds left in the match, but Diekel held on for his 17th win of the season.
“It was a good match for John. The matches at Sectionals and states are all one and two point matches,” head coach Bob Diekel said.
Fellow senior Al Aubin (120) finished second, falling 1-0 in the finals, and Chad Amerio (113) and Jake Gregory (145) both finished fourth.
“Everyone wrestled well. We wrestled tough. They went in with the attitude that they were going to win matches,” Diekel said.
Gregory had a strong tournament finishing the day 4-1. His only blemish was a 2-0 loss to the number one ranked wrestler in Section IV.
Because he had wrestled five matches—the most that is allowed—he received an automatic loss in the consolation round. Diekel said Gregory likely would have won the match had he been allowed to wrestle.
“He really came out of his shell and wrestled well,” Diekel said.
As a team Whitehall finished eighth out of 15 teams despite several athletes being unable to attend because of illness.
“Some of the kids really gave up some weight but they wrestled their tails off. I was pleased with all the kids,” Diekel said.
The team recorded seven forfeits and four pins as it cruised past Fort Ann 66-12 last Wednesday.
Amerio (113), Aubin (126), and John Diekel (138) each pinned their opponents in the first half of their matches. Logan Dudley (220) also recorded a pin, dispatching his opponent in just under three minutes.
Fort Ann only had six wrestlers that could compete. Dylan Donlon (285) had the only pin for the Cardinals.
Neither team had a wrestler in the 99 and 195 pound weight classes.
John Diekel, Aubin, Amerio and Brandon Steves will head to Eastern States this week, a tournament their coach described as three to five times more difficult than states.
“It’s good experience for them,” Diekel said.