Wrestling, BH-BL fall teams top stories of 2007

Before we take down the 2007 calendar and hang the 2008 edition, let's look back at the year in Capital District sports season by season.

January through March

Topping the list is Section II's banner day at the New York State Wrestling Championships in Albany, where one team dominated the competition and three area wrestlers took home individual titles.

Let's start with Shenendehowa's weekend, where, thanks to the efforts of the Meys and Popolizio brothers, the Plainsmen won the team title in the large school division.

It feels great to get it at home, said Shen coach Rob Weeks.

Hunter Meys led Shen " and, for that matter, the Section II team " with a breakthrough performance in the 171-pound weight class. Meys pinned all four of his opponents in a combined time of 6:54 to win his first state title in three attempts and earn the Most Outstanding Wrestler award.

"My goal coming in was to win (the state title)," said Meys. "I didn't expect this to happen."

Luke (96 pounds) and T.J. Popolizio (112) nearly joined Meys at the top of the podium. The two lightweights reached the finals of their respective weight classes before losing. Meys' younger brother Austin finished fifth in the 140-pound division.

Two more area wrestlers needed overtime to win state titles. Christian Brothers Academy's Michael Chaires was pushed into an extra period before defeating Spencerport's Bryan Bourne 5-1 for the large school 160-pound title, and Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk's Nate Graham defeated two-time state champion Colin McDonald of Waverly 8-5 for the small school 171-pound title.

"It feels good," said Graham, who became R-C-S's first state wrestling champion. "I get my name on the mat."

Chaires " a Scotia native " became only the eighth Section II wrestler to win two state titles with his championship bout victory over Bourne.

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