Rams wrestling team bests Schenectady on points

Wrestling is a unique sport. It’s one where a team can lose the majority of the individual matches and yet win the overall match on points. That happened Thursday night at Lynch Literacy Academy as Amsterdam dropped 8 of its 15 weight class match-ups with the Schenectady Patriots, but came away with a 39-31 victory over their former Big 10 rival on the strength of five pins and a crucial overtime decision by Monty Carmona.

The Rams earned first period pins from Chris Garrison (220 lbs.), Joe Kelly (285 lbs.), and John Rivera (145 lbs.), and second period take downs from seventh grader Nick Rodecker (99 lbs.), and eighth grader Daniel Montalvo (106 lbs.) to score 25 of their 39 points. Each pin was worth six points. A forfeit win by Chris Velazquez (113 lbs.) also earned six points. Meanwhile, the Patriots recorded most of their wins by decision getting three or four points per win.. It was a determined effort by the Rams squad to keep their shoulders off the mat at ‘The Pit’ that was crucial to the victory.

“We preached all day to them that they have to take the match out further than the pin,” Amsterdam head coach Ken Pfieffer said. “They all battled well.”

Amsterdam fought to maintain a 30-18 lead as Schenectady picked up decisions in three straight matches by Josh Reed 13-8 over Adam Tatun (120 lbs.), Deker Edward 7-6 over John Companion (126 lbs.), and Darian Bigelow 5-0 over Luis Quinoes (132 lbs.). Tatun’s match was of particular concern when the junior Ram was flipped by his opponent and landed on his head during the second period. Time was called as trainers and coaches looked at Tatun who was able to continue. Tatun fought back to tie his match at eight point apiece before dropping the decision in the final two minutes.

“Adam Tatun did well tonight against Josh Reed, a very accomplished wrestler,” Coach Pfieffer said. “He battled back. We were telling him to watch out for the arm drag and that’s what won it for Reed. I think Reed could be a coach one day.”

John Companion had a difficult match with Deker Edwards. Companion led 6-4 heading into the third period, but a reverse and an escape by Edwards put him in front. Companion tried to stand up and stay on the mat to get one point to tie four times before time expired, but Edwards forced Companion out of bounds on each try for the 7-6 win.

“ It was a well wrestled match,” Coach Pfieffer said. “It was frustrating for John. He was trying to stand up and stay in bounds.”

Luis Quinones avoided nearly being pinned in his match with Darian Bigelow. The 5-0 decision drew the Patriots to 30-18 before Carmona’s match with Alex Wagonbaugh at 138 lbs. Carmona took a 1-1 tie into overtime and used a move that he did successfully earlier in the season to get the win.

“I used a claw ride that I had used to win in Galway,” said Carmona who picked up three points in the first 30 second overtime. “I got hold of his knee and pulled him over on his back.”

Carmona had to survive a pin attempt by Wagonbaugh in the second 30 second overtime period and escaped with a 5-3 decision.

“I knew I had to get out of that,” said Carmona on his opponents attempt to pin. “I was happy I did.”

Carmona’s win put Amsterdam up 33-18. The longest match of the night was followed by the shortest when John Rivera needed only 46 seconds to pin Elijah Marshall. Rivera’s win put AHS ahead 39-18, and gave them the lead for good.

“I don’t really care when he (Carmona) does it as long as he gets the win,” said Coach Pfieffer. “I would rather see him score early than take it into the overtime period.”

Schenectady won the last three contests to produce the final 39-31 score. Michael Norwood pinned Kyle Taylor (160 lbbs.), and Antonio Zamora decisioned Brian Swank (152 lbs.) 6-1. Swank showed he had the guts and heart to stay in the match after suffering a leg injury early on. Ditaye Douglas earned a 10-2 win over Nelson Quinones (170 lbs.).

The event began with the 182 pound match and the Patriots won the first two contests of the night getting a decision by Colin Vandermark, 6-2 over Tyrell Smith (182 lbs.), and a second period pin by Collin Derboghossian over Francisco Alejandro (195 lbs.) for a 9-0 lead. Amsterdam then went on a run picking up wins in the next five matches for a 30-9 advantage.

Garrison’s pin over Christian Capitummino, and Kelly’s pin over Gabe Camilla put Amsterdam in front 12-6. The Rams light weights then went to work as Rodecker pinned Shatique Trantham, and Montalvo pinned Jacob Cafariella boosting the Rams lead to 24-9 in front of Velazquez’s forfeit win.

“I told them before the match that they (Schenectady) are strong where we are strong,” Caoch Pfieffer said. “Our light weight classes did it tonight.”

Amsterdam had five pins, one win by forfeit, and one win by decision to equal their 39 points. Schenectady had two pins and six wins by decision for their 31 points. The Rams next head to the Guilderland Tournament on Saturday, and then return home for a pair of matches at Lynch; next Wednesday against Schuylerville, and Thursday for senior night against Johnstown. The later two matches wrap up Amsterdam’s first Foothills Council season. Both are scheduled to begin at 6pm.

(Photos by Scott Mulford)

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.