Thursday, February 18, 2010

Retel snaps Shaker's dry spell

Shaker Junior High School's Blake Retel takes a breather during the Section II wrestling practice Thursday afternoon at Shenendehowa High School. An eighth grader, Retel won the Section II Division I championship last week in Glens Falls, becoming the first wrestler from Shaker to qualify for the state meet since the 1996-97 season. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Blake Retel isn't waiting his turn, which is just fine with Shaker wrestling head coach Dan Gibson.

The No. 3 seed in the 2009-10 Section II Division I tournament at 103 pounds, Retell had a long road if he wanted to reach the finals.
First, he pinned South Glens Falls' Josh Schiedecker in 0:33 seconds.
Second, he pinned Columbia's Usman Hafeez in 4:51.
In the semifinals, he scored a 9-7 overtime decision over Queensbury's Josh St. John to advance to the finals against No. 1 seeded Cody Mosley of Averill Park.
In the finals, Retel rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to post a 6-4 decision, becoming the first wrestler from Shaker to advance to the state meet since the 1996-97 season.

"If there has been a wrestling program in the area, he’s gone to it," Gibson said. "He started off wrestling at Colonie in their youth program. He’s gone to East Greenbush and their youth program. North Colonie. Mini Men. Wherever they let him in, he’ll wrestle."

Thursday afternoon, he practiced with the best of the best from Section II at Shenendehowa as they prepared for the state meet together. Retel may be much younger than most of his counterparts, but Gibson thinks he's already matured in the mental aspect of the sport.

"I’ll tell you one thing: he’ll have no regrets," Gibson said. "Whatever he does, he’ll go after everybody. He won’t take a backseat to anybody. Eighth grade or not, he goes after people."

La Salle's Brendan Goldup (left), the Section II representative at 96 pounds a season ago, grapples with Shaker's Blake Retel during Thursday's practice at Shenendehowa.

--
This is the first in a series of posts featuring the local high school wrestlers who have qualified for the NYSPHSAA meet in Albany on Feb. 26 and 27. We will try to have a story in the paper (and some notes here on the blog) every day from now until Friday the 26th, day of the opening ceremonies.

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