PLATTSBURGH — Fifteen wrestlers from Section VII will be looking to make a name for themselves this weekend.
The NYSPHSAA Division I and II Wrestling Championships will be held Friday and Saturday at the Albany Times-Union Center.
Action will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday and continue through the finals, which are set to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Section VII, which only has five wrestling schools, will be competing in Division II.
“We always have a chance,” Peru co-coach Mike Hogan said. “We’re a little short on experience this year, with only seven wrestlers competing who had won sectional titles prior to this year.
“This is a chance for our wrestlers to go and make a name for themselves. You need a mindset of not having to keep putting it off. Some of our wrestlers drew the top seed in their weight class and some others got a better draw. But you’re eventually going to have to beat the top seeds to become the best.”
How determined the area wrestlers are following a loss in the double-elimination event is key to coming back to place.
“If you lose a match, it’s all about how you bounce back,” Hogan said. “What happens after a loss is about determination.
“Wrestling is about momentum and you can see what happened when (Beekmantown’s) Hayden Head got on a roll last year and pinned his way to the 285-pound title. You just have to keep working.”
Champlain Valley Athletic Conference and Section VII champion Peru will be represented with six wrestlers, followed by Saranac with four, Northern Adirondack three and Beekmantown two.
Kyler Agoney (113), Ethan Feazelle (120), Nick Forget (126), Jordan Bushey (138), Troy Seymour (170) and Luke McKee (220) comprise the Peru contingent.
Seymour, a senior who became the first Section VII wrestler with 200 varsity wins this season, finished fourth in the state a year ago at 170 and will be making his fourth trip to the states.
Seymour has lost only twice this year and his goal is a state title. There are, however, obstacles along the way.
“I’m happy with the season I’ve had,” he said. “I would have liked to have done better, however, at the Eastern States Tournament this year where I lost two matches — one to a Division I wrestler and one to a Division II.
“This is my last high school tournament and I don’t want to lose. This is my fourth time here and I want to become a state champion. I feel I’m better on my feet now because of the way I’ve drilled.
“I’m the second seed in my weight class and the top seed beat me, 3-2, at the Eastern States this year. I didn’t feel I wrestled that well in that match and know I can do better.”
Carrying the hopes for Saranac are Johnny Devins (99), Austin LaTulip (132), Codie Gillette (145) and James Black (160).
A more focused LaTulip, who is 37-2 on the season, is making his first trip to the states as a senior.
“This is fifth year on the varsity and it was an accomplishment for me to win the sectionals,” he said. “I really wasn’t into it as much as I needed to be until my senior year. But everything turned around for me this year. I wrestled my hardest in every match and it was exciting to win the sectionals.
“Going to a camp for wrestling helped me during the summer. I know a lot of kids in my weight class and feel I have a good chance.”
Northern Adirondack is counting on Austin Trombley (106), Matt Lashway (195) and Scott Guerin (285).
Lashway, a junior, is also making his first trip to the states.
“I made it to the finals before in the sectionals and I felt confident this year,” he said. “I’m going to go as hard as I can at the states and not give up. I haven’t heard about any of the kids in my weight class and need to concentrate on what I do well.
“I’m good on my feet and I’ve improved on the top. If something happens and I lose a match, I know I’m still in it and have to keep my head up.”
Beekmantown’s Zach Myers (152) and Gage Bourdeau (182) round out the Section VII squad.
“I have the top seed right away in the opening round,” Myers said. “I’m going to give it my all, hold nothing back and do the best I can. I’ve talked to some of the wrestlers who have been there before. If I don’t win my first match, there’s still the opportunity to come back through the wrestlebacks.
“I’m a senior and it was important for me to win the sectionals and get to go down there. In the sectional final, I was able to beat someone (NAC’s Hunter Carpenter), who had beaten me three times during the season.”
Included on the Section VII team is five seniors, six juniors, one sophomore, one freshman, one eighth-grader and one seventh-grader.
99- Johnny Devins (VII-Saranac seventh-grader) vs. Hunter Olena (V-East Rochester freshman).
106- Austin Trombley (VII-Northern Adirondack eighth-grader) vs. Nico Riccio (II-Galway senior).
113- Kyler Agoney (VII-Peru senior) vs. Andrew Shomers (VI-Lewiston-Porter sophomore).
120- Ethan Feazelle (VII-Peru freshman) vs. Sean Peacock (V-Midlakes junior).
126- Nick Forget (VII-Peru junior) vs. Daniel Padulo (PSAL-Baruch College Campus junior).
132- Austin LaTulip (VII-Saranac senior) vs. Nate Muse (PSAL-Petrides junior).
138- Jordan Bushey (VII-Peru sophomore) vs. Joey Love (X-Gouverneur junior).
145- Codie Gillette (VII-Saranac junior) vs. Robbie Bell (X-Gouverneur junior).
152- Zachary Myers (VII-Beekmantown senior) vs. Rowdy Prior (III-Phoenix senior).
160- James Black (VII-Saranac junior) vs. Burke Paddock (V-Warsaw junior).
170- Troy Seymour (VII-Peru senior) vs. Collin Fox (V-Midlakes senior).
182- Gage Bourdeau (VII-Beekmantown senior) vs. Tyler Veno (VI-Portville senior).
195- Matt Lashway (VII-Northern Adirondack junior) vs. Wyatt Albanese (III-Canastota senior).
220- Luke McKee (VII-Peru junior) vs. Michael Silvis (V-Holley senior).
285- Scott Guerin (VII-Northern Adirondack junior) vs. Matt Abbott (IV-Windsor senior).