BY MICHAEL KELLY
CLIFTON PARK — Ranked first in Section II and the state, Shenendehowa wrestling senior Kevin Parker was again dominant in the Plainsmen’s 58-18 win Jan. 13 against Ballston Spa.
In the reigning state champion’s match against Jake Cook, Parker produced a workmanlike 16-0 technical fall at 182 pounds. Throughout his Section II season, Parker has been similarly untested, leaving Shenendehowa head coach Rob Weeks to say that the Plainsmen’s main concern with Parker is just making sure he gets to the postseason in top physical shape.
“There’s nothing to fix,” Weeks said.
Parker — who committed last year to wrestle in college for Princeton University — said he still wants to get better. While there are no major changes he needs to make to his championship-winning style, his focus is on continuing to perfect his technique in his remaining non-postseason matches.
“Each match is a lesson,” Parker said. “You have your specific style and you work hard to perfect it. Each match, I’m trying to replicate what I want to do as best I can.”
READY TO DEUEL
Last season, Shenendehowa freshman Cody Deuel lost more than 75 percent of his matches.
This season? Through his victory by pin against Ballston Spa at 106 pounds, Deuel has a winning mark and a 7-1 record against Section II foes.
“We knew he was going to get better,” Weeks said. “His losses last year weren’t a result of inability, just size and maturity.”
Deuel — who has mainly wrestled at 106 pounds so far this season, but will transition to 99 pounds for the postseason — spent last season fighting an uphill battle in Section II’s 99-pound scene. Smaller than his opponents, he often could not overcome the strength gap he faced.
“It’s a lot easier now,” Deuel said. “I’m not 10 pounds lighter than the other kids.”
Deuel, ranked No. 5 in Section II at 99 pounds, is one of several Shenendehowa wrestlers — besides Parker — who could contend this season for a sectional title. Other highly-ranked Plainsmen include freshman Kiernan Shanahan (No. 1, 126 pounds), senior Dietrich Hartman (No. 5, 132 pounds), senior Kevin Guardino (No. 2, 138 pounds), sophomore Parker Brooks (No. 4, 145 pounds), sophomore Gabe Cruz (No. 5, 152 pounds), senior Anthony DiNallo (No. 2, 160 pounds), and senior Nick Joseph (No. 4, 170 pounds).
Taking on one of Section II’s top heavyweights was not what concerned Shenendehowa junior Shane Walpole prior to taking on Ballston Spa’s Matt Smith.
It was having to have his match, the 285-pound offering, open the competition.
“I’ve never done that,” Walpole said. “This is my first year.”
A varsity rookie who last wrestled as an eighth-grader, Walpole impressed against Smith, taking a 3-1 decision against Section II’s second-ranked wrestler at 285 pounds.
Walpole — who has been unranked — was one of the top juniors this past fall with the Shenendehowa football team. A lineman, Walpole joined the wrestling team, in part, to get himself in better shape for his senior gridiron campaign.
“Losing weight, that’s been the hardest part,” Walpole said. “At the end of football season, I was over 300 pounds. Now, I’m almost down to 270.”
Shenendehowa wrestling 58, Ballston Spa 18
99 — Andrew Colla (S) by forfeit; 106 — Cody Deuel (S) pinned Jeffery Weeks, 5:47; 113 — Mike Dimonda (S) pinned Kyle Northrup, 1:26; 120 — Nick Hotaling (S) dec. CJ Delph, 5-0; 126 — Kiernan Shanahan (S) major dec. Will Gorman, 16-4; 132 — Dietrich Hartman (S) major dec. Wyatt Gorman, 12-0; 138 — Corey LaQue (B) pinned Kieran Kaufman, 2:33; 145 — Kevin Guardino (S) pinned Nick Lewandusky, 3:22; 152 — Gabe Cruz (S) pinned Joe Mather, 1:16; 160 — Anthony DiNallo (S) dec. Colby Harblin, 12-5; 170 — Tyler Barnes (B) pinned Nick Joseph, 4:55; 182 — Kevin Parker (S) technical fall over Jake Cook, 16-0; 195 — Dustin Bruhns (S) pinned Aaron Lohaus, 2:24; 220 — Garreck Golish (B) pinned Tyler Comito, 3:39; *285 — Shane Walpole (S) dec. Matt Smith, 3-1.