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Brian Walsh places sixth in first trip to states

Brian Walsh made his first trip to the New York State Wrestling Championships a memorable one.

The Loudonville Christian sophomore took sixth place in the Division II (small school) 135-pound weight class at last weekend's tournament at Albany's Times Union Center.

It was great, said Walsh. "The whole experience was a lot of fun, and to place I wasn't really expecting it."

Walsh won his first-round match against Ethan Olavarria 13-3 before meeting Palmyra-Macedon's Alex Ekstrom in the quarterfinals. Walsh put up a good fight, but Ekstrom pinned him with 18 seconds left in the second period to advance to the semifinals. Ekstrom eventually won the 135-pound division title and was named the Division II Outstanding Wrestler.

Walsh didn't let the loss bother him. He picked up a 9-1 victory over Sandy Creek's Jared Soule and an 8-2 win against East Aurora's Phil Czapla to get to the consolation semifinals. There, he met Letchworth's Bucky Hendrickson, who shut out Walsh 10-0 on his way to a third-place finish.

Walsh dropped into the fifth-place bout, where he battled Ardsley's Danny Manley for six minutes before losing 11-7.

Walsh said the competition was as strong as he expected. "All the kids here are studs. There isn't going to be a weak kid in your class," he said.

Walsh's 3-3 run through the state tournament capped a 2008-09 season in which he finally got to be part of a true team after wrestling as an individual the past two years. Walsh trained and wrestled with Watervliet while still representing Loudonville Christian.

"Being on a team was great," said Walsh. "It was really good because I got a lot more matches in. I was part of dual meets, which I'd never had done before."

Colonie seniors Eliah Golding and A.J. Monin wrapped up their wrestling careers at the state tournament. Golding finished with a 2-2 record in the Division I (large school) 152-pound weight class, while Monin had a 2-1 record in the 215-pound weight class.

Both Golding and Monin won their first-round bouts before losing in the quarterfinals. Golding won one consolation bout before being eliminated, while Monin fell in his only consolation round match.""

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