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Sunday, March 1, 2020: Diakomihalis earns fifth state wresting championship

   Leading off today: Hilton's Greg Diakomihalis wrapped up his high school career with his fifth consecutive NYSPHSAA wrestling championship Saturday in Albany.

   Diakomihalis won the Division 1 120-pound title with an 8-2 win over Massapequa junior Chase Liardi at Albany's Times Union Center. That raised the Cornell-bound standout's career record to 219-2 and gave him one more New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship than his brother Yianni, a two-time NCAA Division I champion.

   "The idea of being a five-timer, I don't know if that's why, but all weekend I'm usually terrified before I wrestle. Usually before state semis I'm near tears before all of my matches, but this weekend I was super happy," Diakomihalis said. "I've been in a super good mood.

   "I'm just so blessed to be here, and I'd like to thank my parents, my coaches, my practice partners just for everything."

   Diakomihalis only wrestled half the year in his final scholastic season after suffering a knee injury last March that required a lengthy rehabilitation.

   He is the fourth competitor to win five state championships, joining Chenango Forks' Troy Nickerson (2001-05), Long Beach's Jacori Teemer (2014-18) and Eastport-South Manor's Adam Busiello (2015-19).

   As good as Diakomihalis was in his career, he never achieved what P.J. Duke accomplished. The Carmel standout became the first seventh-grader in the history of the meet to go home as a state champion. Duke recorded a 23-8 technical fall 5:12 into his final against Herricks freshman Joseph Manfredi.

   Duke's four weekend tournaments left him at 45-0 for the season. He did not surrender a single offensive point throughout the entire postseason beginning with sectionals.

   "It's just like every other tournament," he said. "I need to get back to work, try to win it next year, and just keep practicing."

   Said Carmel coach Seth Harrison: "He hit a gear and level that we hadn't seen yet. It even surprised us, as we've been in his corner the whole way. Honestly, I think the bigger the stage, the better he is."

   Four for Noto: Honeoye Falls-Lima senior Anthony Noto became a four-time state champion by winning the Division 2 120-pound class with a pin in 5:27 against Cooperstown's Avery Leonard. His weekend performance earned him the Division 2 outstanding wrestler honor for the second consecutive year.

   Noto, who's headed to North Carolina State next fall, finished his career with a 174-6 record. His previous state titles were at 99, 106, and 113 pounds.


   Three-peat performances: Dante Geislinger of Norwich made it three state championship when he won the Division 2 113-pound final over Max Gallagher of Bayport-Blue Point with a 3-2 decision.

   He reached the final with two pins and a technical fall.

   "All the hard work and everything you put in, you feel like you achieved it, you've achieved your goal," said Geislinger, who won at 99 pounds as a sophomore and 106 last year. ‚ÄúThere's not much more you could have done, you made it to the big stage and won it three times. That's a good career right there."

   The Division 1 113-pound championship went to Shenendehowa's Stevo Poulin, who registered a 24-5 technical fall over Jeremiah Echeverria of Long Beach with 20 seconds remaining. Poulin, a junior, won titles at 99 pounds in 2018 and 106 last winter.

   "Just as planned," Poulin said after raising his career record to 132-1. "Get my third title, and I took every match just like how I imagined in the beginning."

   One more Division 1 repeater: Willie McDougald of Niagara Falls earned his second state crown in three years with an 8-2 decision over Lee Mauras of Hempstead at 145 pounds.

   Other defending champs reaching their respective finals weren't as fortunate. Ryan Burgos of Hilton lost at 126

pounds and A.J. Kovacs of Iona Prep fell in the 152-pound final.

   Zach Redding made it two state crowns in three years with a 4-2 decision vs. Jayden Scott of Rush-Henrietta at 132. Redding, an Iowa State recruit, went 52-0 for the season.

   "I waited 365 days to make this happen, for this moment," said Redding, who finished third last season. "I was so hungry for another title shot. And redemption is so sweet, the best feeling."

   More Division 2 repeaters: Jace Shafer of Palmyra-Macedon made it two straight with a 4-1 decision over Andy Lucinski of Newfane at 106 and Jordan Titus of Center Moriches completed an unbeaten season with a 9-2 decision over Lowville's Micah Roes at 126.

   Tioga's Brady Worthing came within one win of repeating but fell to Carter Baer of Gouverneur 6-4 in the 138 final.

   Overturned: Bay Shore senior Elijah Rivera and Chenango Forks freshman Tyler Ferrara were tied 4-4 with :01 left in the 106-pound final in Division 1 when >Rivera, who'd just executed a reversal, kneeled behind Ferrara and adjusted the Velcro strip covering the straps on one of his shoes.

   The referee called Rivera for a stall which, combined with a previous stall warning, gave Ferrara the 5-4 lead.

   Bay Shore coach Alex Porcelli appealed, resulting in a discussion by the state rules committee. The call was overturned on the grounds that Rivera was making an equipment adjustment and the match was sent to overtime, where Ferrara went in for a single leg takedown but Rivera countered with a cradle for a 6-4 triumph.

   Rivera became the first Bay Shore state champion since Rob Hubbard in 1983.    More notes from Albany: Brock Conway of Perry completed a 55-0 season by becoming his school's first state champion, scoring a 6-4 decision over Ethan Cooper of Cobleskill-Richmondville in the Division 2 182-pound final.

    • Penfield junior Cooper Kropman was projected to wrestle at 152 pounds this season but couldn't get there in time after more than six months of rehab for a torn lateral collateral ligament. It worked out anyway as he won the 160 final in Division 1 over Joey McGinty of Monroe-Woodbury with an 11-3 decision to finish the season undefeated.

    • Copiague senior Malik Leftenant had to dig his way out of a 6-2 deficit en route to an 8-6 win over top seed Alex Semenenko of McKee-Staten Island Tech to capture the Division 1 220-pound class. Leftenant registered the go-ahead takedown with :38 left.

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