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COLONIE: Lone Eagle rises to the top

Brian Walsh isn't just Loudonville Christian's best wrestler. He's the entire team.

The eighth-grader attends practices at either Shenendehowa, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk or Colonie Central high schools. His father Dennis coaches him. He goes to invitational tournaments, but doesn't compete in dual meets.

It's OK. I get to hang out with other teams, but I don't get the opportunity to have other guys push me, said Brian.

"I'm thankful to Loudonville Christian School for giving him the opportunity, and I'm very thankful to Shen, Ravena, Colonie and all the coaches in Section II for recognizing what he's trying to do," added Dennis.

Brian's invitational perfor-mances have been impressive. He placed second in the 103-pound weight class at last month's Linda Stuart Memorial Tournament in Colonie and earned his first championship by beating Tamarac's Tom Fuller 12-2 at Satur-day's R-C-S Tournament.

"It feels great. I feel like I finally finished a job this time," said Brian following Saturday's championship bout.

Brian rose to the occasion against Fuller. He fended off a pair of early takedown tries by Fuller before scoring his first takedown midway through the first period. Brian remained on the attack the rest of the match, turning Fuller on his back several times to seal the victory.

"I really felt like I had my intensity, and I had to keep grinding out my match," said Brian.

"Tom Fuller is a tough kid, and he's strong," said Dennis. "I didn't feel comfortable until it was over."

Brian is hoping his invitational performances will help him do better at this year's state qualifier after placing fifth in 2006.

"I'm looking forward to it," Brian said. "I'm looking forward to fighting my way through and coming out on top."

And if some other Loudonville Christian students want to try wrestling, Dennis said he'd welcome them. "There's no plan for (a full team), but if there's a kid at Loudonville Christian School who wants to wrestle, we'll try to give him an opportunity," he said.""

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