The first Suburban Council wrestling matches are in the books, as the season began Wednesday, Nov. 30, with four league duals.
Columbia and Shenendehowa cruised to victories in their season debuts. Columbia handled Bethlehem 63-18, while Shen eased past Schenectady 65-15. Averill Park and Saratoga Springs also won against Mohonasen and Niskayuna, respectively.
Here is a team-by-team look at the Suburban Council and who some of the Section 2 title contenders are.
Heavyweight Tyson Jones leads the list of returning starters for the Falcons this season. Jones (33-17 career record) is looking to improve upon his third-place finish at last year’s Section 2 Class A tournament.
Averill Park Warriors
Heavyweight Charlie Olson, lightweight Patrick Leahey, and middleweights Alex McCullen and Jacob White are all back for the Warriors after placing at last year’s Section 2 Class B tournament.
Ballston Spa Scotties
Junior Tyler Barnes looks to take another shot at a state title after winning the Section 2 Class B and Division 1 championships last season. Barnes heads up a strong list of returning wrestlers including fellow heavyweight Jake Cook, middleweight William Mather and lightweight Kyle Northrup.
Senior middleweight Rowan Braga and sophomore lightweight Anthony Canova are among the key returning wrestlers for Bethlehem. Braga placed second at the Section 2 Class A tournament last year, while Canova finished third in Class A and fourth in Division 1 at Sectionals.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Spartans
Two-time defending Sectional champions Jake Warren and Christian Gramuglia are back to lead the Spartans this season. Gramuglia is coming off a 2015-16 season in which he placed fourth at the state tournament. Danny Jada, who won the Class B Sectional title last year, is also back.
The Brothers are a one-man show, as Addison Groesbeck returns for his senior year. The heavyweight took second place at the Class B Sectionals and finished sixth in his weight class at the Division 1 tournament.
Colonie Garnet Raiders
Senior lightweight Jake Kimball returns to action for Colonie after posting a 28-8 record last year that included the 99-pound division title at the Class A Sectionals and a third-place finish at the Division 1 championships. Middleweights Saad Hafeez and Liam Mooney are also back, as is heavyweight Tyler Briggs.
Columbia Blue Devils
The Blue Devils’ roster features four defending Section 2 champions — lightweights John Devine, Michael Gonyea and Trent Nadeau, and heavyweight Dylan Dubuque. Devine made it as far as the state finals last season, and he should be one of the favorites to get back to states this year.
Though the Dutchmen have seven returning starters this season, only two placed at Sectionals last year — heavyweight Taylor Mooney and middleweight Kevin Ochs. Being in Columbia’s division in the Suburban Council — along with Averill Park, Bethlehem, Colonie and Mohonasen — will make it difficult for Guilderland to gain much ground in the standings.
Mohonasen Mighty Warriors
Mohonasen has six wrestlers who placed at last year’s Class B Sectionals as underclassmen. Keep an eye on heavyweight Matt Miller, who finished third at the Class B tournament.
Niskayuna Silver Warriors
The Silver Warriors have 10 returning wrestlers, led by two-time Section 2 champion Eoghan Sweeney and defending 152-pound division champion Anthony Laniewski.
Saratoga Blue Streaks
After getting to states as a wildcard last year, lightweight Jordan Sartin is looking to win a Sectional title, which would be Saratoga’s first individual title since Kyle Denis in 2007. Sartin leads a long list of returning starters for the Blue Streaks.
The Patriots lost Sectional champion Antonio Zamora and state tournament participants Josh Reed and Collin Derboghossian to graduation. Still, they have several returning starters to help them, led by Sectional runners-up Deyker Edwards and AJ Melendez.
Shaker Blue Bison
This year’s team is heavy on underclassmen with 21 freshmen and sophomores on the roster. Veterans to watch include heavyweights Josh Bennett, Spencer Clements and Ethan Hartlage.
The Plainsmen lost state champion Kevin Parker to graduation, but they have a formidable lineup once again with the return of six wrestlers who placed at Sectionals last year. Middleweight Kiernan Shanahan, who took the Class A and Division 1 sectional titles last year at 126 pounds, leads the list of veterans.
Associate editor/sports editor