PHILADELPHIA — Getting one wrestler into a weight class at the New York state wrestling tournament is an achievement. But Carthage gets to double its fun this year’s event.
Both Shay Sinitiere and Landon Copley will compete for the Comets in the Division I tournament at 126 pounds at the NYSPHSAA championships Friday and Saturday at MVP Arena in Albany.
Ryan Munn, who is an unbeaten 35-0 at 102, will complete the Carthage contingent this weekend.
The pair at 126 illustrates the Comets’ depth this season where it took the Frontier League “A” Division and tournament titles, as well as the Section 3 Class A crown.
Carthage has often placed multiple wrestlers in the finals of tournaments this season and the Section 3 tournament was no different.
The duo confirmed that longtime Comets coach Don Dorchester lets the pair sort it out on the mat.
“He just kind of sits to the side and lets us wrestle,” said Sinitiere, who is 35-5 this season. “We’re both experienced wrestlers, so we kind of know what situations to go in and what positions to go in.”
Having two wrestlers face off against each other in a final creates an interesting situation for Dorchester. He experiences both the highs and the lows in a single match.
“It’s great that we have two high-caliber kids that are pretty much at the same level,” Dorchester said. “At the same time, it’s such a brutal aspect as a coach to have to watch that because one kid is going to win and one kid is going to lose.”
Sinitiere and Copley, who are both juniors, wrestled each other five times, with Sinitiere winning four times. He defeated Copley via a 12-1 major decision in the Section 3 state qualifier Feb. 11 at SRC Arena in Syracuse. Copley would have liked to have won the Section 3 title for himself, but he was glad that his teammate was the one to get the sectional honor.
“I wanted to win, but at the end of the day, we’re both going to states and that’s all that matters,” said Copley, who is 33-12 this season.
The door to the state tournament opened for Copley when a few sections, including Sections 7 and 10, didn’t field a representative at 126.
Copley was glad when that news was made official that he won a wild-card berth into the tournament.
“I was pretty confident that I’d get into states,” Copley said.
The two may be rivals, but they are also close friends. They practice against each other as well. Not many athletes have the luxury of practicing against a state-level competitor.
“Being in the room with him helps me a 100%,” Sinitiere said. “It helps me learn better skills and better technique against these high-level opponents.”
Both wrestlers have tough first matches in the state Division I tournament. Sinitiere is the ninth-seed and will take on Camryn Howard of Section 11’s Bellport in the round of 16. Copley, who is the No. 11 seed, battles sixth-seeded Taylor Beaury of Section 2’s Saratoga Springs. Both Sinitiere and Copley are hoping for a podium finish.
“I’d like to see them in the top eight on that podium,” Dorchester said. “That would be a successful weekend for them.”
A total of 13 Frontier League wrestlers across the two tournaments will represent the circuit.
The Northern Athletic Conference will bring a total of 15 for states. Opening-round matches start at 10 a.m. Friday. Saturday’s semifinals will start at 10 a.m. and the championship matches are at 6 p.m.
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