Queensbury bests AHS to win Foothills wrestling title

It all came down to the final match of the season Thursday night when the Amsterdam High School wrestling team welcomed the Queensbury Spartans to “The Pit” at Lynch Literacy Academy. Both teams arrived sporting unblemished 6-0 Foothills Council records. But, there could only be one league champion, and the Spartans defended their title with a 52-18 victory over the Rams.

Queensbury (16-2 overall, 7-0 Foothills), strung together wins in 10 straight weight classes beginning with Dawson LaLuna’s 14-0 decision over Evelio Homs at 120 pounds, and ending with James Fiorini’s last second decision win over Nelson Quinones at 182 pounds. Along the way the Spartans got pins from Derrick Finnegan (126 lbs) over Adam Tatun, Will Hughes (132 lbs) over John Companion, Jon Law (145 lbs) over Jose Fernandez, and Jared Bruno (152 lbs) over Randy Faria. The Spartans also got decision wins during the run from Sam Linendoll (138 lbs) 19-4 over Monty Carmona, Dom Nassivera (160 lbs.) 12-2 over Serge Desbiens, and Nico Mattia (170 lbs) 8-4 over Jake Rodecker. Bruno’s win at the middle of the run gave Queensbury a 42-6 lead and the title.

“We’ve been looking forward to this match,” Queensbury head coach Bob Winchip said. “Amsterdam is a tough team. There were a couple of close matches that went our way. We knew they (Amsterdam) would be tough, and we wrestled well.”

“They’ve got depth all the way through,” added Amsterdam coach Ken Pfieffer about a Queensbury team that for the second straight year had to beat Amsterdam for the league title. “We wrestled well tonight. Our freshman, our younger boys are doing well.”

One of those younger AHS wrestlers, Nick Rodecker, an eighth grader, picked up one of the Rams wins early in the match. Rodecker grappled with Queensbury’s Nate Angell at 113 lbs with the Rams trailing 9-3. The match went into overtime tied at 6-6 where Rodecker executed a take down giving the Rams reason to celebrate. Rodecker’s 8-6 overtime win kept the Rams in contention 9-6 on the scoreboard.

“They’ve gotta find ways of not getting into overtime,” Coach Pfieffer said. “We need to finish in regulation. Nick did well tonight and Serge (Desbiens) was ready, he’s a tough young kid as well.”

Serge Desbiens trailed Dom Massivera 12-0 late in the second period of their match at 160 pounds, but Desbiens had the strength and stamina to flip his opponent on his back picking up two points and nearly got the pin. The two minute period ended with Desbiens in control, but not a pin. Desbiens and Nassivera battled to a stalemate in the third period with Nassivera getting the decision.

Amsterdam also got wins from Chris Garrision (285 lbs) a 5-0 decision over Jame Lafarr giving AHS its only lead 3-0, at the start of the match, and Francisco Alejandro (220 lbs) a first period pin over Travis Stiles at the end of the match producing the final score. The Rams came close in Daniel Montalvo’s match with Antoine Grace at 106 pounds. Montalvo used and escape move to pull close at 7-6 after the second period, but Grace used an escape and a reverse to win the match 10-7. Nelson Quinones led James Fiorini 4-3 as the seconds ticked away in their match at 182 pounds before a reverse and near pin by Fiorini in the final two seconds turned the match in his favor. Queensbury also got a forfeit win at 99 lbs by Dylan Sleezer. Amsterdam picked up a forfeit win by Marcus Torres at 195 pounds.

Amsterdam (17-11 overall, 6-1 Foothills) now heads to tournament season. Up next for the Rams is the Big Ten Invitational at Albany this Saturday. The meet will serve as a tune up for the Class B sectionals at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School the following weekend on February 6, and the Section 2 Championships February 13-14 at the Glens Falls Civic Center. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Championships are scheduled for February 26-27 at the Times Union Center in Albany.

“I’m proud of this team,” Coach Pfieffer said. “Now they know how hard they have to work. Hopefully they now have that fire in their belly as we head into tournament season.”

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.