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Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020: State wrestling tournament at-large berths announced

   Leading off today: Grand Island senior Adam Daghastani has been given a reprieve, extending his career to the state wrestling tournament.

   Daghastani was awarded one of the at-large berths in the 170-pound division in the NYSPHSAA tournament Feb. 28-29 in Albany after not being allowed into the Section 6 state qualifier.

   Daghastani was kept out of the state qualifier because an on-site doctor wouldn't clear him due to a skin irritation. The Buffalo News reported that a dermatologist later diagnosed the irritation as a non-contagious bug bite. Daghastani returned to the tournament site with a note verifying the diagnosis, but tournament rules give the on-site doctor final authority.

   Typically, only wrestlers who finish second or third at the state qualifier receive consideration for at-large berths, but NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas ruled Tuesday that all wrestlers with enough accumulated points are eligible to be selected.

   "I'm happy the state made the correct decision," Vikings coach Craig Hoplight said. "It'd be a real travesty for someone with that talent not to compete at the state level, especially because of a misdiagnosis."

   Daghastani had blitzed through the Section 6 Class a tournament field this month with four pins in a cumulative 2:07 to raise his season record to 38-2.

   Four Fredonia wrestlers land bids: Fredonia was among the big winners Wednesday when the wrestling committee released its list of 135 wildcard entries into the state tournament.

   The team's David Ball (113 pounds), Ceric Kristin (182), Alex Christy (220), and Jake Skinner (285) were all granted spots in the Division 2 tournament to help fill out 16-competitor brackets.

   Sherburne-Earlville landed a trio of berths, with Morgan Lakin (160), Ethan Eldred (182), and Alex Thompson (220) moving on to Alnaby the last weekend of the month.

   Five Division 1 schools landed three wildcards:

  • Clarkstown North: James Sullivan (132), Ryan Stern (138), and Salvatore Iodice (285).
  • New Rochelle: Cameron Burrell (145), Steven Burrell (160), and Nicholas Thomas (182).
  • Fulton: Andru Walts (120), Cole French (132), and Cuinn Burlingham (152).
  • Spencerport: Sean Cullen (106), Mason Wersinger (145), and Jake Aina (182).
  • Ward Melville: Christian Lievano (99), Daniel Cassera (160), and James Araneo (170).

   The recipients of at-large berths included 42 competitors with 40 or more wins this season. Topping the list are Falconer's Bryce Baglia, who'll carry a 50-4 mark into the Division 2 152-pound bracket) and Canisteo-Greenwood's Ryder Slayton, who'll bring a 48-4 record into the Division 2 160-pound bracket.

   Canisteo-Greenwood's Gavin Bob (9 pounds) and Commack's Gavin Dammasco (Div. 1, 138 pounds) won 45 matches apiece.

   At the other end of the spectrum, Attica/Batavia's Josh Barber got into the Division 1 220-pound bracket with a 15-1 record and Jalees Briggs of Farmingdale was added to the Division 1 220-pound bracket with a 20-5 record.

   In all, the 135 wildcard recipients won 4,754 matches this season.

   Leading the list of wrestlers on the outside looking in are Caleb Sweet (106) and Lindenhurst's Jeff Perez (220), who

won 39 matches apiece this season but will need someone to withdraw in the next week in order to be added to the field.

   Preliminary brackets will be released this weekend.

   They may have a point: Milesplit wondered out loud last week whether North Carolina State's 2020 women's distance-running recruiting class is the best in college history.

   The question is relevant in our neck of the woods since three of the Wolfpack's recruits are New York seniors: Katelyn Tuohy of North Rockland, Claire Walters of Fayetteville-Manlius and Jenna Schulz of Liverpool. Coach Laurie Henes has additional commitments from Mar- lee Starliper (Pennsyl- vania), Alyssa Hendrix (Florida), and Gionna Quarzo (Pennsylvania).

   The question is whether as many as half of them can even crack the lineup in the fall. N.C. State projects six cross country returnees next fall, including Saratoga Springs' Kelsey Chniel, who had an outstanding freshman season in helping the team to fifth place in the NCAA Division I meet.

   Mount Vernon getting stadium: The new $25 million stadium in Mount Vernon could be built in time for the 2021 high school football season, Westchester County Executive George Latimer said.

   Latimer unveiled plans for Memorial Field last week. Westchester County has committed $20 million to the project and the state will provide $5 million. In addition to a football field and eight-lane track, Memorial Field will get a skate park, seating for 3,900 and room for three tennis courts.

   The existing stadium on the site fell into disrepair years ago and hasn't been used in more than a decade.

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