GLENS FALLS — Ryan and Dylan Sleezer wrestle each other every day. It’s always close, always competitive, always a workout, and never heated.
So when the identical twins from Queensbury met Saturday night in the Division I 113-pound final of the Section II Wrestling Championships, it was just another day in the practice room for the seniors.
Dylan Sleezer got the better of Ryan this time, taking the early lead and holding on for a 6-5 victory. It was the third time they squared off in the finals of a tournament this season, with Ryan winning the first two meetings by narrow margins.
“We just wrestle hard,” Dylan Sleezer said. “I just wrestled a little harder than he did.”
“It’s tough because I wrestle him every day, so I know what he’s going to do, he knows what I’m going to do,” Ryan Sleezer added.
Also Saturday, the long wait for a Section II title ended for South Glens Falls’ Vinny Santilli (126 pounds) in Division I and Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George’s Cody York (182) in Division II. They were joined as Section II champs by Corinth’s Alec Richards (138) in D-II, and Saratoga Springs’ Brant Robinson (195) in D-I.
The winners earned berths in the New York State Wrestling Championships, set for Feb. 22-23 at the Times Union Center in Albany. At-large bids for runners-up for the state meet will be announced on Tuesday.
Ryan Sleezer had experienced a Section II championship last year at 106, but Dylan was fourth at 113. Because double-entries have been allowed in sectionals for the last few years, the twins decided before the season to compete in sectionals at the same weight to increase their chances of going to states together.
“I told them before the match that they’ve got their toughest opponent right there,” Queensbury head coach Bob Winchip said. “Four years of battling each other in the room — it’s always a point difference every time, back and forth. I’m so happy for both of them, they work so hard.”
Santilli savored his first Section II title with unbridled joy, hugging everyone he could find after a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Niskayuna’s Ben Catrambone at 126.
“This is unreal,” the senior exclaimed after his win. “Last year I had Brock (Delsignore) and Logan (Barody) in my class, so I bumped up two weights. That took a toll on my confidence because I thought I could do better, but I proved it this year.”
With the score tied 2-2 to start the third period, Santilli escaped off the bottom. Then, when Catrambone called a second injury timeout, by rule Santilli was awarded choice of position. He chose bottom again and scored another escape point, then held on for the win.
“He looked confident and locked into his match,” South High coach Charlie Dickens said. “His style is to get hand control on his feet and take whatever leg is available, and he stuck to his game plan. His mindset is ‘nobody is gonna ride me.’”
York improved his season record to 40-0 with his pin in 1:25 of Cobleskill’s Hunter Edwards for the D-II title at 182. The Hadley-Luzerne senior had placed third, second and fourth in Section II the previous three seasons.
“I’m happy but I’m not satisfied,” York said. “I’ve been waiting for this forever, but two weeks from now is when it matters — go to states and give it my all for a state title.”
Richards looked impressive in an 8-2 victory over Cobleskill’s Greg Hotaling at 138, finishing strong with a five-point move in the final 10 seconds. He is Corinth’s first Section II champ since three Tomahawks won in 2013.
“I was just trying to keep pushing the pace,” said Richards, a sophomore who was second in the section in 2017 and third last year. “I worked on my technique all year, so it paid off.”
“That was probably the deepest weight class is Division II, and Alec has had a lot of great individual matchups all season — those types of matches prep you for this meet,” Corinth coach Dick Whitaker said. “The more movement that goes on, the more Alec seems to thrive in those scrambles.”
Robinson pulled out a 5-2 double-overtime win over Shaker’s Ryan Stein at D-I 195.
Warrensburg senior Nolan McNeill, a returning Section II champ, lost by injury default to Devon Shader of Coxsackie-Athens in the D-II 195-pound final. Burghers teammates Hunter McKenna (145) and Chris Wilson (220) also lost in the finals.
Other local wrestlers finishing second were Hudson Falls’ Chris Petteys (106) and H-L/LG’s Logan Duers (152) in D-II. Taking second in D-I were Queensbury’s Dan Brady (132) and Saratoga’s Doug Cooper (220).
Queensbury’s Trevor Robbins took third in D-I at 126, as did Saratoga’s Eric Griskowitz (138) and Devin Crowe (182). Queensbury’s Seth Guay (195) was fourth.
Finishing third in D-II were Warrensburg’s Dylan Winchell (113), Tanner McKenna (120) and Zach Carpenter (126), while the Burghers’ Zack Davis (138) and Jacob Clear (285) finished fourth. Also taking third in D-II were Corinth’s Conor Eversole (152) and Nate Warrington (170), and Whitehall-Fort Ann’s Brendan Covey (195). Covey defeated Granville’s David Regimbald 8-6 for third place.
Former South Glens Falls wrestler Brock Delsignore, now a sophomore at Shenendehowa, won his third straight D-I title, at 145.