Vinny Gallo makes a statement for unseeded wrestlers with runner-up finish

Schalmont's Vinny Gallo and Greene's Tyler Beckwith sat next to each other in the Times Union Center's stands following their 171-pound final at last Saturday's New York State Wrestling Championships, at ease with their accomplishments.

While Beckwith claimed the Division II (small school) crown with a 7-0 victory, Gallo was hardly disappointed with his second-place finish. After all, he came into the weekend as an unseeded outsider.

It's a big accomplishment, said Gallo. "To lose in the Sectional finals (one week earlier), get the last at-large berth and to place second is pretty special."

Gallo hardly wrestled like an unseeded wrestler at states. He knocked off the No. 6, No. 3 and No. 2 seeds to get to Beckwith, with two of the three bouts going the full three periods.

"I just worked my butt off," said Gallo. "I wanted to see how far I could go."

By contrast, Beckwith cruised into the final. The junior pinned his first opponent in 56 seconds and won his semifinal match in a technical fall.

If there had been a betting line on the championship bout, Beckwith would have been a heavy favorite based on his pin against Gallo at the Eastern States finals two months earlier in Westchester County. Still, Beckwith knew he was going to be in for a battle against Gallo.

"At Eastern States, I was on fire when I came in," said Beckwith. "This time, I wasn't on fire. I knew it was going to be a tough match."

Gallo and Beckwith battled for a solid minute to see who would get the first takedown. Eventually, Beckwith gained mat control and spun around to pick up his first two points of the championship bout. Gallo spent the next three minutes trying to score an escape against Beckwith, but Beckwith kept Gallo on the defensive through the second period.

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