Grapplers fall short at state tournament


A l Aubin and John Diekel fell short of their goals of becoming state champions.

The seniors, who were competing at the high school level for the final time, both saw their championship aspirations come to an end with losses in the first round of the New York State Division II Championships, held Friday and Saturday at the Times Union Center in Albany.

“They wrestled well, but not great. I’m happy they wrestled as well as they did but the competition was very stiff. The state tournament was what it’s supposed to be, the best kids,” head coach Bob Diekel said.

Aubin and John Diekel both came into the tournament as the fifth seeds at 120 and 138 pounds, respectively, and both were considered threats to reach the podium. Each, however, dropped a close decision to their opening round opponent.

John Diekel dropped a 7-4 decision to Taylor Jones of Palmyra-Macedon. The match was close throughout and John Diekel trailed 4-2 in third period when he scored two points on a near-fall with less than 30 seconds remaining in the match. However, with only seconds remaining in the match, John Diekel was called for locked hands and then gave up a reversal to end the match.

Aubin was even with Smithtown Christian’s Peter Schneider in the second period when he gave up a reversal and near-fall to fall behind 7-3. He cut the lead to 7-6 with an escape and take-down later in the period but was unable to take the lead in the final period.

Both wrestlers fared better in the first round of wrestlebacks. Aubin stayed alive with a 3-2 win over Addison’s Dylan Deuel while John Diekel pinned Daniel Dornbaum of Baruch College Campus with 11 seconds remaining in the first period.

The win, however, would be John Diekel’s last as a high wrestler as he lost a 6-4 decision to Drew Longo of Ardsley.

Aubin posted another win, defeating Windsor’s Nate Hayes 3-1 before falling to eventual third place finisher Kellin Devlin 11-2 in the second round of wrestlebacks.

“We knew strength was going to be a factor and it played out that way,” said Diekel. “They wrestled well but they weren’t as physically strong as their opponents. Unfortunately we didn’t have anyone big enough to go against him (John Diekel) in practice. He made Al better but we didn’t have anyone to make him better.”

Both wrestlers wrapped up what were outstanding high school careers.

Diekel finishes with 218 wins, including a 42-8 record this year and will wrestle for the Air Force Academy next year while Aubin finishes with a 33-12 record and 149 victories.

“They both had a great ride and many great years,” Diekel said. “They started as the young guys who used to get beat up by the older guys and then they became the older guys and really helped some of the younger members of the team. They did a wonderful job in leadership roles this season.”

He said both wrestlers will be missed and lamented the end of his time coaching his son, John.

“I’m depressed because it’s an end to coaching John. I’ve really enjoyed watching him grow as an athlete, student and young man,” Diekel said. “I just feel a little depressed today.”

 

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