Area wrestlers qualify for states

Some familiar faces and some new faces will be representing Section II at next weekend's New York State High School Wrestling Championships in Albany.

The familiar faces include Shenendehowa's John Belanger, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake's Zeal McGrew and Schalmont's Vince Gallo all of whom won their weight classes at last Saturday's Section II Championships in Glens Falls.

Belanger defeated LaSalle's Jon Clemente 4-1 in the Division I (large school) 135-pound weight class final to punch his ticket to the Times Union Center. He'll be joined by Shen teammates Nick Kelley (119 pounds) and Seth Hazelton (140), who won their weight classes.

McGrew had little trouble in his title bout, handling Averill Park's Alex Boudreau 14-5 to win the 285-pound weight class. Another BH-BL heavyweight, John Acors, earned a spot on the Section II team by beating Shen's Mike Almaviva 3-1 for the 215-pound title.

Gallo who reached the state finals last year " earned his first Division II (small school) championship by defeating Mechanicville's Tim Fensterer 9-3 in the 189-pound title bout. Gallo received an at-large bid to last year's state tournament.

Among the first-time state tournament participants is Shaker's Blake Retell. The lightweight edged Averill Park's Cody Moseley 6-4 in the Division I 103-pound finals to become the first Blue Bison in this century to qualify for states.

Colonie's Zach Zovistoski is also heading to the state tournament for the first time. Zovistoski shut out Ballston Spa's Steve Paniccia 5-0 to claim the Division I 160-pound title.

Zovistoski will be joined by Colonie teammate Jason Chudzinski, who pulled out a 13-9 victory over Shen's Max Miller in the Division I 130-pound title bout.

Niskayuna's Alex Espina had the most impressive championship-round performance. Espina pinned Mohonasen's Anthony Paturso in 25 seconds to win the Division I 145-pound title.

Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk's Andy Lyman qualified for the Division II tournament by beating Duanesburg's Gus Clark 7-2 in the 130-pound finals.

Five more area wrestlers are heading to states with at-large berths. The list includes Almaviva, Colonie's Steve Anson, Loudonville Christian's Brian Walsh, Ballston Spa's Chris Ohnsman and Voorheesville's Taylor Treadgold.

The New York State High School Wrestling Championships take place next Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and 27, at the Times Union Center.""

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