Saturday, February 13, 2010

Obzud does it again - news and notes from the Section II wrestling championships

Lansingburgh High School senior Chad Obzud make wrestling history again for the Knights Saturday night, becoming the first grappler in school history to win a Section II individual title. (Photo by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Chad Obzud, the No. 2 seed, faced upset special Joe Shell, the No. 5 seed from South Colonie, in Saturday's Division I 171-pound final.
Shell defeated No. 1 seed, Saratoga Springs' Ford Plowman, in the semifinals.

Obzud's only loss in the weight class this season was to Plowman and he was looking forward to a rematch ever since winning the Section II Class B title a week ago. But his eyes widened when he learned Shell was marching in the final match.

"I was looking forward to wrestling Plowman again, but I knew this kid was better than Ford Plowman," Obzud said. "I knew he was. When I saw him get it, I wasn’t surprised. I was looking forward to a tougher match."

Shell, who carried a 46-5 record into the match against Obzud's 42-3 mark, battled Lansingburgh's finest every step of the way. Obzud led 3-2 after one period, scoring one point late in the period. Obzud was millimeters away from a pin on two occasions in the second period, but the official did not grant him the opportunity, so the 3-2 score carried over into the third.
Obzud went up 5-2 thirty seconds in, but a Shell reversal made it 5-4 with 1:24 remaining. Obzud scored a quick two points at the 1:05 mark, but Shell scored one at 0:50, making it 7-6. Shell scored again with 14 seconds left, making it a 7-6 match. Off the ensuing setup, Obzud scored two points, making it 9-6 and he just rode it out for the victory.

"Every weight in the world is lifted off these shoulders," he said. "I’m way up in the clouds and I’m not coming down."

Not only were his Lansingburgh coaches thrilled, but so were the Shaker High coaches, who saved Obzud as a seventh grader at Cohoes. Cut from the basketball team, the wrestling team picked him up....and now you know the rest of the story.

"They used to be my coaches at Cohoes and they still coach me," he said. "They’re just as close to me as my Lansingburgh coaches. They’re like my second coaching staff. It’s like I have 15 coaches. It’s awesome to have that support. Everyone is wishing me good luck and it’s impossible to miss it."

In addition to Obzud, Lansingburgh's Will Richards made the finals at 112 pounds. He lost for the second straight week to La Salle's Brandon Goldup, but the Knights aren't ruling out an at-large bid for Richards. Austin Schnapp, the third member of Lansingburgh's 100-win senior trio, placed fourth in the 160-pound bracket.

"We actually had most of our guys here today," said Lansingburgh head coach Dan Bechand. "Most of the parents brought their kids up for most of the day and they’re great. The three guys that made the finals are all seniors. Will faced a tough guy in the finals, one he faced last week, and Austin finished fourth and he did a nice job for his senior year. The cherry on top of the ice cream right now is that Chad is going to states."

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association meet will be held in downtown Albany on Jan. 26 and 27.

At-large bids will be announced Tuesday or Wednesday.

I wasn't able to take notes on every single match, and there are some out-of-the-way schools relative to Rensselaer County I didn't see, but here is a blow-by-blow of the final round.

Division I
(96) Lapi (Amst) dec 4-0 Berman (Alb)
Lapi was up 2-0 most of the match and gained two more points late in the third period.

(103) Retel (Shaker) dec 6-4 Mosley (AP)
Mosley took an early 2-0 lead, but it was 4-3 Retel after two periods. Retel gained a 6-3 advantage at one point and held on for the victory.

(112) Goldup (LSI) dec 8-2 Richards (‘Burgh)
Goldup scored two points in the final second of the first period and had Richards trapped for the entire final 60 seconds of the second period, but couldn't finish the pin. He led 5-0 heading into the third and played it safe, winding up with the 8-2 decision.

(119) Kelley (Shen) dec 12-3 Bates (Guild)

(125) Sutton (LSI) dec 4-2 S.Anson (Colonie)
It was a 0-0 tie after one period. Sutton took a 4-0 lead, Anson scored two points in the third, but Sutton had done enough as time expired, hanging on by the skin of his teeth.

(130) Chudzinski (Colonie) dec 13-9 Miller (Shen)

(135) Belanger (Shen) dec 4-1 Clemente (LSI)
I wish I had the real-time stat for this match, because it was stopped early and often for blood time as Belanger was bleeding from his forehead. Belanger led 2-0 after two periods and ground out a 4-1 win through blood time delays in the third to move on.

Hazelton (Shen) dec 8-1 Palmerino (Amst)

(145) Espina (Nisky) pin 0:25 Paturso (Mohon)
This was the quickest pin of the night - drawing shocked gasps from the Civic Center crowd.

(152) Lanzi (Amst) pin 1:23 Lashway (Q’by)
Another quick pin here.

(160) Zovistoski (Colonie) dec 5-0 Paneiccia (B.Spa)

(171) Obzud (‘Burgh) dec 9-6 Shell (Colonie)
See above.

(189) Fusco (Q’by) de c3-2 Ohnsman (B.Spa)

(215) Acors (BH-BL) dec 3-1 Almaviva (Shen)
Acors, a two-time first team All-Area football selection by The Record, scored two points with 18 seconds remaining in the third period to cap a thrilling last-second victory.

(285) McGrew (BH-BL) dec 14-5 Boudreau (AP)
The other Burnt Hills big man shined in front of former Olympian Jeff Blatnick, a BH-BL coach, grinding out a win over Averill Park's Alex Boudreau as workers ripped up the Division II mat behind them and fans streamed for the exits.

Division II
(96) Delaney (‘Vliet) pin 1:43 Ballard (C-D)
See more on Delaney in the Watervliet roundup below the Division II results.

(103) Marcel (Corinth) dec 7-0 Pechette (RCS)

(112) Valastro (Hud.Falls) dec 6-1 J.Diekel (Whitehall)

(119) Radliff (C-R) pin 0:57 Rowley (Duanes)

(125) Thompson (White) dec 3-1 OT Borst (Duanes)
Some folks were calling this the match of the day and it certainly drew the biggest cheers - and jeers. I was watching Connor Sutton over on the Division I mats and missed the action, but someone made a move with one second left to force overtime, I believe.

(130) Lyman (RCS) dec 7-2 Clark (Duanes)

(135) Nicholson (Corinth) dec 16-6 White (Duanes)

(140) Palmer (Gran) dec 3-2 Walsh (‘Vliet)
See the 'Vliet brief below.

(145) Dudley (Hud.Falls) dec 5-0 Oswald (Tam)
Oswald just never mustered any offense in this one, although he was on the attack all through the second period, only to see Dudley score a reversal with five seconds left in the second. Dudley just wore out the defending 140-pound champion and played it safe.

(152) Harrison (Mech) dec 7-0 Ainsworth (B-P)

(160) Beayon (White) pin 3:28 Kohls (Mech)

(171) Z.Diekel (White) pin 2:59 Hallock (Cohoes)
Hallock fell behind 4-1 almost instantly, trailed by 5-1 and was pinned midway through the second period. Even if he wasn't pinned, he had a long way to go to catch Diekel with three minutes left.

(189) Gallo (Schal) dec 9-3 Fensterer (Meceh)
A Super Bowl title and now a Section II individual title for Schalmont's Vinny Gallo.

(215) Gwiazdowski (Duanes) pin 3:34 Gebo (White)

(285) Chase (Mech) dec 2-1 Albrecht (Hud.Falls)

Here are your Coaches of the Year:
Class A - Dan Gibson, Shaker
Class B - Rory Johnson, Queensbury
Class CC - Dennis Lane, Watervliet
Class C - Erick Roadcap, Tamarac
Class D - Joe Bena, Duanesburg

Sportsmanship awards:
Division I - Queensbury
Division II - Watervliet

It was a great day for the Watervliet wrestling team, as Dennis Lane was named Coach of the Year, the entire team was reward as sportsmanship winners and senior John Delaney punched his third ticket to the state meet, this his first as a Section II champion.

Delaney pinned Cairo-Durham freshman Casey Ballard in 1:43, barely breaking a sweat.

Brian Walsh, the defending Section II Division II 135-pound champion, lost a rematch against Granville's Karl Palmer, who lost in last year's final. Walsh was hobbled with a caught ankle Friday morning and it clearly bothered him Saturday evening, but he rallied from a 3-0 deficit to score two points with 30 seconds left in the match. It wasn't enough, however, as Palmer scored the revenge victory, this time at 140 pounds.

Lane thinks Walsh is a great candidate for an at-large bid. Those bids will be announced Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

We're supposed to be getting video cameras from The Record soon, so I thought I would experiment with setting up a YouTube channel yesterday at the wrestling championships.

This is just the beginning - I wanted to see if I could figure it out. I'm looking forward to posting videos from the upcoming Section II basketball playoff games, so please leave me ideas on how to make these better in the future.

In the meantime, you can sign up to subscribe to my videos by clicking here:

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