Spartans rule the mat

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake wrestling team was in mid-season form at Saturday's Lee Van Slyke Memorial Tournament.

Four Spartans won their weight classes, and four more reached the finals to help BH-BL cruise to the team title with 249.5 points. Corinth was a distant second with 162 points, and Guilderland finished third with 156 points.

We're feeling positive about our results so far, said BH-BL coach Steve Jones, whose team has won two tournaments and two Suburban Council dual matches.

The key to the Spartans' success has been a group of wrestlers who have been coming through the BH-BL Youth Wrestling Club, including lightweights Max Miller, Evan Burchhardt and Nick Thomas.

"It's a bunch of young wrestlers who are getting involved in the community of wrestling early, so they are more prepared when they come up (to varsity)," said Jones.

Miller led the Spartans with an impressive performance in the 112-pound weight class. The freshman pinned all of his opponents, including Guilderland's Travis Wolanski in the first period of their championship bout.

"As a youth wrestler, we were amazed with his attitude toward the sport," Jones said of Miller, who won a Section II title as an eighth grader. "He's just happy-go-lucky, and he's fun to be around."

Thomas also won his weight class by beating Guilderland's Kevin Bates 9-6 for the 103-pound title. Middleweight Kyle Vuillaume beat Corinth's Pat Marcel 9-4 to earn the 135-pound championship, and Ethan Wilson dominated Corinth's Brian Mann 16-5 in the 152-pound final.

Dylan Clarke (140 pounds), Paul Martin (145), Mike Matrazzo (171) and Spencer Miller (215) placed second for BH-BL. Burchhardt (96) placed third after winning in the consolation finals, and Chester Haner (189) finished fourth.

BH-BL's early dominance puts it in line to be Shenendehowa's primary challenger for the Suburban Council title, but Jones said there is a lot to be done before the neighboring schools meet next month for their only head-to-head match.

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