P rior to the start of its wrestling match against rival Granville last week, Head Coach Bob Diekel described Brandon Steves as an outstanding wrestler and the team’s unquestioned leader. Steves then went out and backed up his coach’s talk.
With his team trailing by four points entering the final match, Steves pinned Anthony Arbuckle at 195 pounds to send Whitehall to a 36-34 win over the Golden Horde.
The match was the final time Steves, a senior, would wrestle in the Railroaders’ gymnasium and he made sure it was memorable.
“Brandon is a good student and a very good wrestler, but more importantly, a fine young man,” Diekel said.
Granville jumped out to an early 12 lead after picking up a forfeit at 220 pounds and decisions at 285 and 99 pounds.
Tyler Martel cut into the lead with a 12-5 decision at 106 pounds and Whitehall took the lead with a forfeit at 120 pounds and a Josh Bressette pin at 126 pounds.
Daegan Jones picked up Granville’s only pin at 132 pounds and Nathaniel Palmer picked up the forfeit at 138 pounds.
Damian Duffy and Julian Barber wrestled perhaps the most competitive match of the night with Duffy claiming a 6-4 decision.
Trailing by seven points, Cody Garner, wrestling up one weight class, earned a gutsy 7-2 decision at 182 pounds over Jody Hermance to put Steves in position to win the match.
Afterwards Diekel said the team is starting to show improvement.
“We have too many forfeits but the kids keep working,” he said.
On Saturday, Whitehall traveled to Hoosick Falls where it was defeated 40-31.
Whitehall fell into an early hole but fought its way back into the match before a pair of forfeits at 182 and 195 pounds did the Railroaders in.
Barber and Steves won by fall at 152 and 182 pounds respectively and Tyler Martel (106) and Jake Gregory (152) picked up wins for Whitehall. Lucas Morse lost a narrow 4-3 decision at 145 pounds.
The Railroaders will compete in the Section II Class D Sectionals on Saturday in Warrensburg. The tournament kicks off at 10 a.m.