When Adam Fenner, a sophomore and the 15th and final wrestler in Minisink Valley’s rotation, looked his opponent, Preston Havison, in the eyes, one word came to mind: revenge. He had lost to Havison earlier this season, but this time, it was Fenner’s turn to close out a grueling, dominant performance against Monroe-Woodbury.

Minisink Valley’s 48-24 victory over Monroe-Woodbury Wednesday in the Section 9 Duals Division I final pitted two teams against one another that have been in this same position before. It showed, in matchups that pushed wrestlers from both sides to their limits, signifying not only what they were willing to sacrifice, but also what they knew they had at stake.

The crowd in the Minisink Valley gym, a majority of them home fans, offered chants of approval to the No. 1-seeded team that won nine of 15 matches, but also stayed quiet through the back-and-forth tussles, creating a sense of tension that the competition meant more than a number in a win-loss column.

The Minisink Valley wrestlers could sense the importance of the moment as well. When Zack Ryder swung his opponents’ legs from underneath him in the 106-pound weight class to send him toppling to the ground, his supporters roared as he secured Minisink Valley's first pin of the night. When Sean Savacool pinned his opposition in the 138-pound match, he rose from his feet and pinballed off his coaches as he exited the mat in a combination of exhaustion and exuberance.

After Nick Albornoz’s victory in the 152-pound match was over, he made a beeline for the trash can and heaved into it.

“It felt great,” Albornoz, a senior, said of the win. “We’ve been working all season for this. We knew they were going to fight tough against us. I felt like we just went out, wrestled strong.”

Monroe-Woodbury struck first, with Richie Toledo giving his team an emphatic lead in the 99-pound match. Minisink Valley clawed out the next three matches, however, and Monroe-Woodbury was unable to fully recover.

Hardly any decision came without struggle, and though Albornoz was confident in his team’s preparation, no one on Minisink Valley was under the impression that Monroe-Woodbury would go down easily.

“We’ve been battling with Monroe every year back and forth, so we knew it was going to be tough,” head coach Kevin Gallagher said.

Monroe-Woodbury's head coach, John Gartiser, is encouraged by his team’s effort and how, despite trailing a majority of the match, the never-quit attitude was evident late. With his team trailing 45-14, Sam Santander notched Monroe-Woodbury six points after winning by fall in the 195-pound weight class,

“They’re tough top to bottom,” Gartiser said. “Well coached. Great program. I expect nothing less from them. I’m grateful for the opportunity to lose and learn.”

Although it was a nearly insurmountable lead by this point, Monroe-Woodbury was set up to take the final three matches. That is, until Fenner decided he wanted his team to end the match with an exclamation point.

“Stay focused on winning,” Fenner said. “You can’t stay focused on losses. Stay under control and know what you have to do to get revenge. It feels great.”

Fenner got his individual revenge, and now, Minisink Valley is ready to exact revenge on last year’s state final loss to Wantaugh. Beating Section 9 rival Monroe-Woodbury was worthy of celebration, but for the Warriors, who pride themselves on tireless preparation and lofty expectations, the state championship — still weeks away on Jan. 26 at the SRC Arena in Syracuse — is already on their minds.