Shen wrestlers dominate class A field

The outcome of Saturday's Section II, Class A wrestling tournament was decided long before the finals.

Seven out of the eight Shenendehowa wrestlers that reached the finals won their bouts to help the Plainsmen cruise to the team title with 294.5 points, 117 points ahead of runner-up Ballston Spa.

It was the fourth consecutive Sectional title for Shen and its sixth in the last decade.

One of the things I talked about to the team the other day is at what point do you become a dynasty, said Shen coach Rob Weeks. "I talked about the time (several years ago) when Niskayuna was leading by 100 points going into the finals, and coach (Joe) Bena had his grandson on his knee during the finals. I don't think we're at that point yet, but we're close."

The other class A coaches had already conceded the team title to Shen before the finals. Instead, they focused on sending as many of their kids to this weekend's state qualifier in Glens Falls.

"I'm getting all you could ask for," said Guilderland coach Korey Rogotzke, whose team had three individual champions. "We brought two seniors with us today. We are competing largely on the strength of underclassmen. If we have a good off-season like we did last year, we will be in a much better position to contend next year."

The finals started with a bang for Shen, as Nick Kelley (96 pounds) and Luke Popolizio (103) pinned their opponents in the first period. Juliano Pabon followed his teammates by scoring a majority decision over Ballston Spa's Toby Barnes for the 112-pound title, and T.J. Popolizio defeated Colonie's Jason Chudzinski for the 119-pound championship.

Matt Cubillos and Robert Romeo then gave the Guilderland fans something to cheer about. Cubillos quickly pinned Columbia's Lou Angelo for the 125-pound title, and Romeo scored a second period fall against Columbia's Brian Latham to claim the 130-pound championship.

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