Warrensburg will be a part of state wrestling history Saturday when it opens the inaugural State Dual Meet Championships at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse.
The Burghers, 24-0 overall and ranked second in the state, face No. 1-ranked Locust Valley of Section VIII at 9 a.m. in Division II (small school) pool play. Peru, from Section VII, is also in Warrensburg’s pool.
There are 12 teams in each division, organized into four three-team pools, wrestling at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon. The pool winners advance to semifinals at 2:30 p.m., with the championship finals set for 6 p.m.
Shenendehowa, coached by Queensbury native Rob Weeks, represents Section II in the Division I (large school) tournament.
“They’re excited — at this point, they’re not intimidated by anyone,” Warrensburg head coach Mark Trapasso said of his wrestlers. “They believe that they belong there. ... We’re excited to wrestle as a team in a state-level event.”
In Locust Valley (16-6), the Burghers square off against a Long Island power that regularly faces larger schools.
“It’s perfect timing — we get them first thing in the morning,” Trapasso said. “They don’t know us, we don’t know them, we can just wrestle.”
Warrensburg has already beaten Peru, 54-18 last month, so the Indians are a more familiar opponent. They are scheduled to meet in the third round of pool play at noon.
“You have to watch out for them,” Trapasso said. “We handled them last time, but they had a couple of kids out and we won a couple of close ones.”
Warrensburg is a rare small-school team that can fill all 15 weight classes with very good wrestlers, and the Burghers have only five senior starters. Nine Burghers have 25 or more wins this season: Tanner McKenna (99 pounds), Dylan Winchell (106), Trevor Winchell (132), Zack Davis (138), Hunter McKenna (145), Dan Monthony (170), Nolan McNeill (195), Jack Binder (220) and Gary Hill (285). Binder is 25-0 this season, while Hill is 30-1 and Davis is 31-2.
But even wrestlers with less-impressive records will compete in this state meet, which Trapasso is certainly excited about.
“It opens a door for more kids to experience a state-level event, and be able to make a difference in a dual meet, where every point is so big,” Trapasso said. “It can benefit anybody who competes at this level. ... Every team will have good wrestlers up and down the lineup.
“Our kids seem to like their chances,” Trapasso added. “We’re not going there to place fourth, we’re going there to win it.”
After Saturday, the season continues for Warrensburg — the Burghers wrestle at Queensbury on Wednesday, then compete in the Class D sectional tournament on Feb. 3 at Cambridge. The individual Section II state qualifier meet is set for Feb. 10 at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls.