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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 10, 2011

Bates a champ
Guilderland wrestling team sends six to sectionals

By Jordan J. Michael

 GUILDERLAND –– After finishing in second place as a sophomore and third as a junior, Kevin Bates, now a senior, won a Class A wrestling title for the Dutchmen. It was his fourth attempt.

“I always came up short,” said Bates this week after beating Corey Southard, 3 to 0, at 119 pounds on Saturday in Saratoga. “I decided to reverse the curse.”

Bates reached Guilderland’s 100-win club a few weeks ago and will now carry his 30-7 record into Glens Falls on Friday as the number-one seed in the Section II Tournament.

Head Coach Don Favro said that Bates is an “oddball” during a match.

“His style is very unorthodox and he can contort his body like no one I’ve ever seen,” Favro said of Bates. “Sometimes you can’t name his moves. He relies on mixing it up with technique and other odd stuff.”

Bates, who will attend Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island for culinary arts next fall, could only agree with his head coach. “That’s just the way I wrestle,” he said. “I keep things close and always try to find a way to win. I feel it out.”

Comparing the preparation of a meal to a wrestling match is a stretch, but Bates, a part-time cook at Creo’ in Stuyvesant Plaza, feels pressure from both exercises. “You always have to be on your feet, aware of the situation, and quick,” he said.    

Joining Bates on Friday at the Glens Falls Civic Center will be senior Christian Kernozek (152 pounds) and juniors Nick Haluska (140), Mike Morawski (125), Jesse Futia (160), and Jimmy McLaughlin (171).

Kernozek came in second place on Saturday after a close 2-to-0 loss to Alex Espina of Niskayuna. Favro said Kernozek trained to beat Dan Duffy of Shenendehowa, and he did, 6 to 0, in the semifinals.

“He can go with Espina, but he’s got to work on getting off the bottom,” Favro said. “The next step is not giving up any points because he didn’t score any.”

Haluska lost to Codey Staulters, 3 to 2, in the third-place match after beating him earlier in the quarterfinals. “That was a good battle to watch,” said Favro. “Nick is always in a match because he’s got this one great move.”

McLaughlin, Morawski, and Futia all lost early in the tournament, but all three wrestled up against higher seeded opponents to extend their seasons, while getting some added experience.

“They really had to battle for it,” Favro said. “Seeding doesn’t really matter because there’s a lot of anxiety right now. Kids get knocked off.”

The Guilderland wrestlers will most likely run into some of the same opponents on Friday. “It could be good for some, but bad for others,” Favro said. “You learn from each match.”

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