LOCH SHELDRAKE – Nikko Walsh rolls out a 2-foot by 6-foot wrestling mat in his living room looking for an extra workout.
Walsh’s family attempts to watch television as the Rondout Valley freshman shadow wrestles.
“They have to deal with it,” said Walsh, who advanced to the 99-pound quarterfinals with two wins in his first Eastern States Classic. “It gets my family annoyed.”
Half of Walsh’s garage has been converted to a gym. The extra workouts have helped Walsh emerge as the one of Section 9’s top 99-pounders. Walsh won the Mid-Hudson tournament, defeat Cornwall’s Christian Prokosch in the final last month.
Now, Walsh, 14, seeks a medal (top eight) when wrestling resumes at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at New York’s premier high school tournament. Walsh scored a takedown 50 seconds into his 3-2 round-of-16 win over Palmyra Macedon’s Jace Schafer.
“It (the Mid-Hudson) gave me a moral boost,” Walsh said. “I beat some good guys there. I knew if I wrestled my match, nobody could beat me. … I’m really humbled by just the experience of wrestling at such a great tournament.”
Newburgh Free Academy senior Greg Fischer advanced to his second straight Eastern States quarterfinal in dramatic fashion with his first career overtime pin. Arlington’s Dennis Robin attempted to throw Fischer. Fischer caught Robin, the No. 8 seed, recording a fall 27 seconds into the extra session.
“I knew in these tough matches, it’s going to come down to who wrestles smarter,” said Fischer, the ninth seed. “I just wrestled a little smarter.”
Valley Central junior 220-pounder Marc Crisfield knocked off two seeded wrestlers on his way to a quarterfinal berth in his first Eastern States Classic. Crisfield eliminated eighth-seeded James Bellucci of Pawling, 3-2, in the round of 32 and pinned Peru’s Cole McGee, the ninth seed, in 4:41 in the round of 16.
“I really wasn’t looking for the pin (against McKee),” Crisfield said. “I was looking for the win. The pin was a bonus.”
Minisink Valley coaches practice defensive pins every so often in practice just in case the situation presents itself in matches. Senior Dom Vetrano never thought he would use the move to pull out a win. But, locked in a 6-6 tie with New Cannan’s Tyler Sung, a 2017 Connecticut state finalist, Vetrano recorded a pin with two seconds left in the round of 16.
“We just do it for fun (in practice),” Vetrano said. “If it’s the final seconds of the match, you have to get desperate. It was a win-win pretty much.”
Minisink Valley’s Joey Yanis, the second seed at 182, and Andrew Fenner, the No. 5 seed at 285, Monroe-Woodbury junior 120-pounder Marco Vespa, Newburgh Free Academy sophomore 195-pounder Maxx DeCapua, Cornwall junior 220-pounder Will Leonard and Onteora senior 170-pounder Dillon Ross all advanced to the quarterfinals.