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Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018: Teemer inches closer to fifth wrestling crown

   Leading off today: It's two down and two to go for Jacori Teemer in the Long Beach senior's bid for "one for the thumb."

   Teemer pinned both his opponents in a combined 1:12 Friday on the opening day of the NYSPHSAA wrestling championships in Albany and advanced to the 152-pound semifinals in Division I. Two more victories would give the Arizona State commit five state championships.

   Teemer's opponent in the semis will be Rocky Point's Corey Connolly, who scored a takedown with three seconds left to earn a 3-2 win against Yorktown's Connor Thomas in the quarterfinals.

   Teemer and Connolly are two of 27 competitors from the Long Island sections still alive for Division I crowns. Another eight remain in the hunt in Division II. Wantagh moved four competitors through to the semis.

   Among those in Division I is three-time defending state champ Adam Busiello of Eastport-South Manor, who won his two matches at 126 by technical fall and pin.

   Section 11 placed three wrestlers -- seniors Deonte Wilson (Amityville) and Tim Nagosky (Smithtown West) and junior Joey Slackman (Commack) -- into the 285-pound semifinals in Division I by means of four pins and a pair of decisions.

   One of the best story lines of the tournament remains intact. Elijah Rodriguez was 38-0 as a Long Beach junior a season ago and a candidate to make some real noise in Albany until he fractured an ankle just days before the meet. He wrestled anyway and actually won a match before being eliminated.

   Rodriguez won twice at 220 pounds on Friday to improve to 42-4 for the season.

   "Right now, I feel great," he said. "I have my health. I feel powerful and I'm ready to go."

   More wrestling: You've got to love Ian McKenna's persistence. McKenna, a New Hartford senior, was 0-6 in three career trips to the state meet until yesterday, when he registered two pins in the 138-pound class to make the semis -- one of a startling 16 Section 3 wrestlers to do so in Division II.

   McKenna is 41-2 this season.

   "I've been visualizing this for a long time," he said. "Now, I know what to do here, where to go, and what to expect, and I've put in a lot more work in the offseason."

    • Penfield's Frankie Gissendanner remained alive in a bid for his fourth state title. The top-seeded senior at 145 pounds in Division I captured his two victories via technical fall and pin at the Times Union Center.

   Gissendanner appears on course for a championship-bout rematch with Shenendehowa's Kiernan Shanahan.

   "I hear everyone talking about how good he is," Shanahan said. "But I always just say, 'I want to wrestle that kid again.'"

   Sophomore Greg Diakomihalis of Hilton, already a two-time state champion, spent only 2:23 seconds on the mat in recording two pins at 113 pounds in Division I.


    • Norwich has four wrestlers alive in hunt for the Division II championships, including 170-pound senior Ty Rifanburg after an 8½-minute ordeal against Alden-Akron's Jacob Sarow for a 5-4 victory. The match was briefly halted with :06 left in the final OT when Rifanburg was mistakenly called for a second stalling warning, which would have given Sarow a match-ending point.

   "It's all heart right there," Rifanburg said. "I was dog tired. One last shot and I did everything I could do. I'm happy to come out on top. He's a great wrestler and that was a fun match. Definitely a brawl."

   Girard does it again: Junior Joe Girard III scored 60 points in Glens Falls' 87-78 win over Schuylerville in a Section 2 Class B quarterfinal.

   Girard scored 38 in the second half, including five 3-pointers. He finished 18-for-19 at the free-throw line in matching his season and career high for points in a game.

   Nick Budesheim scored 30 and Stratton Sherman added 26 for Schuylerville.

   Milestone: Chautauqua Lake senior Devin Pope passed the 2,000-point mark for his career by scoring 29 in a win against Salamanca in the Section 6 Class C quarterfinals.

   Boys hockey sectionals: Junior Kyle Foresta's wrap-around goal 1:30 into overtime was the decider in Suffern's 3-2 win over Brewster/Yorktown in the Section 1 Division I semifinals.

   Suffern advanced to its fifth consecutive sectional final, where it will face North Rockland on Saturday afternoon. North Rockland eliminated Mamaroneck 2-0.

   Saturday's Division II final will pair John Jay against red-hot Horace Greeley (13-9), which has won 10 of its last 11 games.

   Greeley advanced via shootout after playing Pelham to a 1-1 tie through regulation and four overtimes. Dylan Mutkoski scored in round 6 of the shootout to advance the Quakers to their first hockey final.

Freshman goalie Arye Wolberg made 45 saves in the win.

   Pelham appeared to have won in the fourth OT, only to gave Connor Evans' scoring shot waived off by a goalie interference call.

   Quick thought: Sleet and snow in the region caused numerous postponements Thursday across Section 1, and the hockey semifinals were pushed back to Friday.

   As a result, last night's winners are all back on the ice Saturday in a doubleheader beginning at 12:15 p.m. That would be demanding under any circumstances, but having Greeley back on the ice at 12:15 after a grueling game that ended less than 15 hours earlier is particularly unpalatable.

   I respect the fact that it's not always simple to adjust on the fly, but I would hope that the section at least tried to push the finals back to Sunday or Monday.

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