Rams wrestling team has success in “the pit”

The Amsterdam High School wrestling team finally played on their home floor yesterday. And while the temperature dropped well below freezing Wednesday night, things were heating up inside Lynch Literacy Academy as the Rams got key wins in the middle weight classes to pull away from Glens Falls 63-15 in a key Foothills Council match up.

The 2014-2015 wrestling campaign had begun in late November for the Rams and following the postponement of a December 10 match against Johnstown, AHS had to wait nearly a month later to open on its home floor, known as “The Pit”. The cold temperatures didn’t deter the visiting Glens Falls Indians from making the trip.

“Their coach (Dan Perry) said we’re not afraid of the cold,” said Amsterdam head coach Ken Pfeiffer. “All the kids did a very nice job tonight.”

Amsterdam built a 21-0 lead on the strength of a pin by Chris Velazquez over Lucas Hoag at 113 lbs., and a 3-2 decision by John Companion over Brent Peelor at 126 lbs. The Rams received forfeits in the 106 lbs. And 120 lbs. weight classes and appeared in control early, but Glens Falls got on the board and cut into the lead with a pair of wins.

Amsterdam’s Luis Quinones was working on a decision over Dylan Wielt at 132 lbs. With a 6-2 lead in points entering the third and final period. Wielt turned the tables however and picked up a pin in the second minute cutting the Rams lead to 21-6. Glens Falls senior Kyle Bradley pinned Monty Carmona in the 138 lbs contest narrowing the margin to 21-12. The Rams next four grapplers featured a combination of youth and experience that decided the match.

Amsterdam senior John Rivera (145 lbs.) earned a hard fought third period pin over Chad St. John to begin the string of wins. Fellow AHS senior Brian Swank (152 lbs.) wasted no time in gaining a first period pin over Oliver Lovera to push the Rams lead to 33-12 and inching them closer to the win.

“We’re aiming for a Foothills Council championship,” Swank said. “We’re not taking any team lightly, practicing hard, and taking it day to day.”

Amsterdam freshman Kyle Taylor (160 lbs.), and junior Nelson Quinones (182 lbs.) were next up for AHS. Taylor copied Swank’s result with a first period pin over Tristan Dupois, and was one of three underclassmen on the Rams squad to earn wins joining Companion and Daniel Montalvo (99 lbs.).

“Even the young kids are picking it up,” said Coach Pfeiffer. “Kyle Taylor did a nice job in his match. The kids are listening to each other and even coaching each other on the mat.”

Nelson Quinones was on the mat with Chris LaRock in an effort to give AHS an insurmountable lead.

Quinones kept his opponent down on the mat long enough to pick up key points in the third period and earn the 4-1 decision.

“Nelson Quinones has learned how to hold a guy down,” Coach Pfeiffer said. “He’s trying to learn how to wrestle from both left and right sides and turn an opponent over. Nelson’s doing a nice job. He’s jumped up a bit in weight class, and we can pick an choose where to put him in. He’s got a winning record.”

Nelson Quinones was originally scheduled to wrestle at 170 lbs., but Glens Falls didn’t enter at that weight class and AHS picked up a forfeit there and at 195 lbs. Quinones’ win combined with the two forfeits gave AHS a commanding 54-12 lead. Rams’ junior Chris Garrison (220 lbs.) earned a 6-0 decision over Joe Goldson before Glens Falls next win at 285 lbs where Lucas Sanders bested Joe Kelly in a 11-5 decision. Montalvo picked up a pin in the second period over Tyler Cass to finish the match.

“They work very hard and we want to keep this going,” said coach Pfeiffer, who took over as head coach this season following the retirement of Ken Benton. Pfeifer looks to lead Amsterdam to its first Foothills Council title in the footsteps of coaches like Benton and Pat Reilly who built the Amsterdam wrestling team into perennial champions of the Big 10 conference .

“Champions find ways of winning,” said Coach Pfeiffer.

Amsterdam hosts South Glens Falls on Wednesday, January 14 2015 at Lynch Literacy Academy for their next home meet. The Rams will also host former rival Schenectady on Thursday, January 22, before Schuylerville makes a trip to Lynch on Wednesday, January 28. The match against Johnstown has been rescheduled for the next day, Thursday, January 29. All matches are scheduled to begin at 6pm.

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.