Shenendehowa's John Belanger and Adam Geleta topped the Section II, Class A wrestling awards podium for the first time, and they can thank Austin Meys for helping them get there.
Belanger won the 119-pound weight class, while Geleta edged Ballston Spa's Van Huyben for the 285-pound title at last Saturday's Class A Sectional tournament at Columbia High School.
Both Belanger and Geleta have direct contact with Meys, who claimed his fifth Class A championship with a technical fall over Ballston Spa's Chris Ohnsman in the 189-pound final. Belanger is Meys' stepbrother, while Geleta is one of Meys' training partners.
He's worked out with Meys, which helps. And he's worked out with (heavyweight Mike) Almaviva that helps," Shen coach Rob Weeks said of Geleta.
Belanger and Geleta needed late moves to pull out their championship bouts. Belanger got a third-period takedown against Columbia's Evan Wallace to earn a 5-3 victory, while Geleta scored a late takedown against Huyben to grab a 6-4 win.
"It was time to kick it up a notch," said Geleta. "That's the way we drew it up."
Huyben pulled off one of the most stunning moves of the night in the second period when he picked up Geleta " who weighed nearly 40 pounds more than Huyben " and scored a two-point takedown to give him a 4-2 lead.
"I honestly don't remember it because I was so focused on my match, but it must have happened because a number of people asked me how my flight was," said Geleta.
Geleta came back with a one-point escape and earned a penalty point to tie the match at 4 early in the third period before scoring his winning takedown.
There was much less suspense with Meys' championship bout against Ohnsman. The senior dominated from start to finish as he recorded his technical fall by the end of the second period.