PLATTSBURGH — PLATTSBURGH — Of the 15 Section VII wrestlers competing at this year’s NYSPHSAA Division II Wrestling Championships, only five have been to the states before and there are no place-winners returning.
But that doesn’t mean the potential for doing something special isn’t there.
Section VII’s finest have gone out of the local area to compete in tournaments during the regular season, which helps prepare them for what is ahead.
“We have some experienced wrestlers going and some younger ones going,” Section VII wrestling chairman and Peru co-coach Gary Edwards said.
“It’s a great experience for all the wrestlers and the younger wrestlers will get to know what it takes. We do, however, have the potential for some place-winners. We’re sending a pretty young, but a good team.”
The Section VII contingent is a mix of five seniors, two juniors, four sophomores, two freshmen, one eighth-grader and one seventh-grader.
The state championships will be held Friday and Saturday at the Times-Union Center in Albany.
Wrestling will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday in the double-elimination event and continue throughout the day.
The semifinals will be held on Saturday, with the championship matches in both Division I and II to start at 6:30 p.m.
Newly-crowned Champlain Valley Athletic Conference and Section VII champion Saranac will be well represented with six wrestlers in all.
They include Jacob Nolan (99 pounds), John Devins (106), Rafael Rivera (126), Codie Gillette (138), Colby Staley (170) and Paul Herrera (220).
Gillette, a senior, will be making his third trip to the state tournament and is considered one of Section VII’s best threats. He has compiled a 39-0 record this season. In his previous two appearances at states, Gillette has won his first match.
“I have one of the toughest weight classes, and I’m seeded fifth in it,” Gillette said. “I don’t expect to lose — I’m going there to win.