W hitehall’s wrestling team saved its best for last.
The team, which has consistently wrestled in tournaments featuring much larger schools, showed everyone what it could do against similarly sized schools, finishing fourth at the Section II, Class D Championships Saturday in Warrensburg.
The Railroaders finished tied with Albany Academy and were only a half point behind third place finisher Warrensburg.
Whitehall had eight wrestlers finish in the top four of their respective weight classes, automatically earning a berth in this weekend’s Section II championships at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
“I was extremely pleased with how we wrestled,” said head coach Bob Diekel. “I think the kids are starting to realize their potential.”
John Diekel won his second consecutive Class D Championship at 138 pounds and fifth overall (he’s won 112 pounds twice and 119 once) with a 9-0 dismantling of Albany Academy’s Sean Romanski.
Diekel said he was pleased with how he wrestled but said he’s concentrating on the Section II tournament this weekend and the state championships later this month.
“That’s the goal,” he said.
Al Aubin lost a close bout to Salem’s Carter Merecki in the 120 pound championship.
Merecki scored a takedown with 16 seconds left in the match to pull out a 3-2 victory and avenge a loss to Aubin last month.
Aubin and Merecki spent most of the match tied 1-1 but Merecki was able to get behind Aubin and take him down. Aubin scored a point on the escape with two seconds remaining in the match.
Austin Rich (106), Brandon Steves (160), and Dominic Gregory (195) all won their consolation matches to finish in third place. Rich pinned his opponent in 20 seconds for the win.
Ryan Love (113) and Julian Barber (152) both finished fourth.
All eight wrestlers advance to this weekend’s Division II, Section II Championships.
Diekel will be looking for his second consecutive championship and may square off against Romanski for the second consecutive week.
Aubin and Merecki may also square off again.
The preliminaries are scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m. on Friday. The finals will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday.