Area schools will be well represented at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany beginning Friday.
For the first time in program history, the Corning wrestling team will send three wrestlers to the state tournament. This breaks the past record set in 2012 when Jimmy Overhiser and Dillon Franco earned nods.
“It’s huge to get three guys to go and break our record,” said Hawks head coach Cam Daudelin.
This year, senior Matt Kline will be joined by Drew Witham and Chase Daudelin.
Kline (36-1) will be making his second appearance at the state tournament and first appearance at 145 pounds, after wrestling at 152 pounds last season. He went 0-2 last season at states, but is looking to rebound in his last chance.
“Last year, I freaked out,” said Kline. “It’s a big place with a lot of lights and a lot of people. I just want to end my high school career on a high note, I just want to be satisfied. I don’t want to leave thinking I could have done more.”
His opponent will be Brockport’s Troy Ferris, who sports a 41-3 record on the season.
“My coaches are doing some homework on him, just to make sure I know what I have to do to be successful,” said Kline.
Corning’s other representatives, sophomore Witham and freshman Daudelin will look to Kline for guidance during their first times at the state tournament.
“I’m probably going to be nervous, and he can help me with that,” said Witham.
Witham at 113 pounds (34-2) will face off against North Babylon’s Sean Carter of Section XI while Daudelin (27-4) is matched up against Section V’s Eli Simms from Rush-Henrietta at 126 pounds.
As the youngest member of the three going, Chase knows there's nothing like the state tournament.
“I’ve been to some big tournaments, but they didn’t count as much as this one,” said Daudelin. “This one’s going to be a little bit more nerve-racking.”
Coach Daudelin believes all three wrestlers should perform well, given how much time they’ve put in to their craft.
“My expectations for them are to go and do the best they can,” Cam Daudelin said. “They’ve been working very hard, are prepared, and all have a good chance of getting on the podium.”
In addition to the Hawks, Horseheads will send four representatives and Elmira will send three.
For the Blue Raiders, Devin Woodworth (120 pounds) makes his third appearance in states and takes a perfect 31-0 record into the tournament and will face-off against Fairport’s Austin Seargent.
Jacob Sciebeck (132 pounds) will make his second appearance in states. Sciebeck brings a 24-7 record and will face Rafael Lievano of Ward Melville.
Jesse Johnson (160 pounds) at 27-6 will battle Shaun Burgos from Pine Bush in his first state tournament and Chris Eames (170 pounds) takes a 30-3 record in to his first round bout with Dan Emblidge from Grand Island in his third appearance.
Elmira will be led by senior Charlie Mahon (182 pounds), who has a 25-4 record this season and is making his third state appearance. Mahon will take on Jake Logan of New Rochelle in the first round.
Blake Brooks (99 pounds) and Benjamin Howe (132 pounds) will both be heading to their first state tournament. Brooks’ record is 26-10 and he will take on Josiah Encarnacion from Wantagh and Howe comes into states at 31-8 and battles Danny Jada from Burnt Hills in the first round.
Wrestling will begin Friday at 10 a.m. with the preliminary rounds.