Eleven Dutch grapplers pin down spots in section meet

GUILDERLAND — Saturday proved to be a busy but fruitful day for the Guilderland wrestling team, even if the wrestlers did not accomplish everything they wanted.

With their sights set on second place at the Class A Section II meet at Albany High School, the Dutchmen came up just short but still had 11 wrestlers place in the top six in their weight classes to advance to the Section II large-school competition at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Friday and Saturday.

Guilderland finished third with 174 points. Shenendehowa ran away with the team title with 294.5 points and Ballston Spa was second with 177.5 points.

Guilderland also had three finalists and all three brought home a Class A championship.
"Our philosophy is that we want everybody to contribute," said Guilderland Coach Korey Rogotzke. "We want everybody to do their part and contribute and that happened. Even though wrestling is an individual sport, they showed that, in essence, it can also be a team sport."


Juniors Matt Cubillos and Devan Van Auken and senior Robert Romeo won Class A titles after ripping through their respective weight classes.

Cubillos won the 125-pound weight class to win his second Class A title. He also went to the state tournament last year as a sophomore.

Cubillos pinned Lou Angelo of Columbia with eight seconds left in the first period of their championship bout.
"I would’ve been disappointed if I didn’t get it," Cubillos said after his match. "I’m looking forward more to next weekend."

Romeo earned his first Class A title in the very next match. Romeo pinned Brian Latham of Columbia with 1:32 left in the second period of their 130-pound match.
"I wanted it bad this year," said an excited Romeo after his match. "This is my senior year and this is one of my last times I would be able to get it. I gave it my all."

Romeo was a runner-up at the Class A meet last year.

Van Auken’s 285-pound weight class match was much closer than his teammates’. He won by a 4-2 decision over Andrew Jones of Schenectady High School.
"I’ve been training real hard for this," Van Auken said. "I have to credit my coaches. Everyone’s been pushing me real hard. I feel I have better conditioning than the others. With that and if I stay focused, there is no reason I can’t win the tough matches."
"I don’t think Romeo’s as good without Cubillos," Rogotzke said. "And Van Auken without the coaches. We train with Devan. Kyle Hussey and Ryan Serafin have come back to help. If those alumni don’t come back to practice with him, he doesn’t improve. Everybody contributes, parents, alumni. The wrestlers can’t do it themselves."

Consolation finals

The Dutchmen had four wrestlers reach the consolation finals, but all finished in fourth place.

Kevin Bates finished fourth in the 103-pound weight class. Matt Hart was fourth in the 135-pound class, Eugene Sellie finished the same in the 140-pound weight class, and Josh Sawyer was fourth in the 171-pound class.

David Taylor finished fifth in the 145-pound weight class and Brendan Ruddy finished the same in the 215-pound class. Travis Wolanski also finished fifth in the 112-pound class.

Matt Miler finished sixth in the 160-pound weight class to qualify for the Section II meet.
"David Taylor is not seeded and he finishes fifth," Rogotzke said. "And Ben Moon has a 2-0 lead over Chudzinski who is 30-6. Moon is 7-20 this year and he beat a guy that was 18-7 in the first round."

"Name on the wall"

The goal for the Dutchmen is to get several wrestlers to the state meet and to get even more to place at the sectional meet.
"Our goal is to have three guys in states," Rogotzke said. "Last year, we got three and we had seven sectional place finishers. We want to get as many names on the wall this year."

Getting his name on the wall is the main goal of any Guilderland grappler who enters the doors of the wrestling room.
"It’s real important to them," Rogotzke said. "They want to get their name on the wall. That’s a permanent place in Guilderland wrestling history. Any wrestler that comes in here believes they can get their name up there and is willing to put the work in to do that."

Three wrestlers will already have their names added to the wall for 2008.
"It’s nice," Van Auken said. "It made the day worth it. And it makes all the work you put in worth it. When you win, it makes you realize all the work you put in the room is worth it and it makes you work even harder."

Van Auken plays football in the fall, but some of his teammates spend the off-season working to achieve success on the mat. Some have even spanned the globe to improve.
"I wrestled in Italy for a week with their national team," Romeo said. "I also wrestle for the Journeymen Club and the Black Widow Club in Guilderland. The most I took off was two weeks. During the off-season, I wrestled every week."
"I did a lot of new stuff," Cubillos said. "I competed in nationals in Fargo, N.D. It was tougher competition. When I wrestle in tournaments during the season, I’m used to it."

The dedication of the three classification champions has rubbed off on the younger Guilderland grapplers.
"The junior varsity guys are watching these wrestlers and they now understand what it takes in the room every day," Rogotzke said. "These guys have a tremendous work ethic."
"We’re a family"

The work paid off as the Dutchmen also had a successful regular season. They finished with a 10-5 record in dual meets, which is good for a team usually known for being better suited for tournaments.
"We’re typically a tournament team," Rogotzke said. "But 10-5 in dual meets is awesome. We probably had the third-best record in the Suburban Council. We finished third in the Class As and last year we were fourth. We were so close to second and that is important. We didn’t have guys wrestle nervous."

The competitiveness of the athletes comes from the coaches and the support of families.
"We pride ourselves, with four coaches, to be able to give a lot of individual attention," Rogotzke said. "Coaches Mahan, Favro, and I wrestle a lot with the kids and that translates to teaching individually. We’re a family. You could see how loud the parents were on Saturday. They support us and go everywhere with us and that matters."

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