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6 FL wrestlers heading into state semifinal round

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ALBANY — General Brown seniors Ryan Snow and Tyler Silverthorn spend about three hours on an average day pushing each other with one goal in mind.

Logan LaFlamme and Daniel Smith, also seniors, do the same thing at South Jefferson.

Both sets of drill partners — along with Carthage senior Trevor Gibbons and Sandy Creek senior Jake Benedict — have the opportunity to make it all pay off with a state championship today.

Each of those six Frontier League wrestlers advanced past Friday’s preliminary rounds of the state wrestling tournament at Times Union Center and will compete in the semifinals at 10 this morning.

The finals are slated for 6:30 tonight in the same location.

“It’s good to have that (drill partner) where, they’re constantly pushing you,” South Jefferson coach John Babcock said. “Maybe there’s a day you’re not feeling like you want to work super hard, but they do, and you got to be at your best. Otherwise, they’re going to pound you.”

Snow scored 9-0 and 7-0 decisions in the Division II 126-pound bracket to reach the semifinals for the third time in four years. He advanced to the finals as a freshman, but suffered a semifinal loss as a sophomore and lost in the quarterfinals last season.

“I feel like this is just another tournament and I belong here,” Snow said. “It’s been a part of my life the last four years. … I’ve been (to the finals) once before and unfortunately I got beat pretty bad. So to get back there is definitely my next step and after I make it, just focus on winning.”

Silverthorn, who won both of his matches by major decision at 152, made the semifinals for the second time in three attempts. He placed fifth last year and sixth as a sophomore.

Mike Kampnich is the only General Brown wrestler to win a state title. He won back-to-back championships in 2006 and ’07.

LaFlamme and Smith each have a chance to become the first state champion in South Jefferson history.

Smith (182 pounds) won his early-round matches by pin, the first with 30 seconds left and the latter in the first round. He beat his semifinal opponent, Nick Gallo of Section 2’s Schalmont, 2-1, in triple overtime at the Eastern States Classic tournament on Jan. 10.

LaFlamme (195) started the day with a first-round pin then captured a 13-5 decision in the quarterfinals. He suffered an overtime loss at that same January tournament to his semifinal opponent, Nathanael Rose of Eagle Academy.

Benedict (220) experienced both extremes in his Friday matches. The Sandy Creek senior claimed a hard-fought 10-8 decision in the first round then scored a pin in just 40 seconds in the quarterfinals.

“Going into the match I knew I was going to be bigger and stronger and quicker than the guy, so I just took advantage of that,” Benedict said. “I did what my coaches call the ‘Oh (shoot) factor’ and pinned him right away.”

Gibbons will enter today’s semifinals with a perfect 26-0 record after scoring two pins on Friday. He will face top-seeded James O’Hagan of Section 8’s Seaford in the 285 semifinals.

O’Hagan beat Gibbons in the first round of last year’s state tournament.

No wrestlers from Section 10 made it past the quarterfinals, but Malone’s Jamiel Stapleton (145) came as close as one would get.

He led for the majority of his quarterfinal match against Alex Herringshaw of Holland Patent but Herringshaw picked up two points in the closing seconds to win a 4-3 decision.

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