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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Sports > General

Look Back At Sports: Monticello, L.J-Y pin down Wrestling Goals

Jan 11, 2021

By Barry Lewis

By: Democrat File Photo | Photo by Barry Lewis
Monticello's Kevin Allen looks to pin Liberty's Jim Collins during Saturday's Monticello Invitational Tournament.
Published January 12, 1988

MONTICELLO - The hosts finished a disappointing fifth, while the only other local team placed seventh among the nine competing squads. But the respective wrestling coaches for both Monticello and L.J-Y (a combination of members from Liberty and Jeff-Youngsville) see their showing at Sunday's 7th Annual Monticello Invitational Tournament as a step towards building a wrestling future in Sullivan County.
Cornwall easily outdistanced second place Rondout Valley 179-137.5, with Delhi placing third with 127 points.
Locally, Monticello ended with 97 points, with sophomore Kevin Allen defeating Ben Lombardi of Wallkill 8-3 in the 126 pound division for the Panthers lone victory.

L.J-Y finished with 41 points, and had their finest outing from senior Tom Brennan, who placed second in the 250 pound division, being pinned by Sam Morales of Ellenville in just 36 seconds.
Honored at the tournament was Lee Bolger of Delhi, who was named Most Valuable Wrestler in the 91-to-132 pound division, Dave Turner of Chenango Valley was named Most Valuable Wrestler for the 138-to-250 pound division.
Monticello's T.C. Hutchins, who competed in the 138 pound division won the Aggregate Pins award for the most pins in the fewest times.
The Champion of Champion award, chosen by the winning wrestlers in each division went to Joe Petit of Rondout Valley, who decisioned Eric Bregman of Delhi in the 167 pound finals.
“The main reason that we've had the tournament is to make wrestling a visible sport in the area,” explained Ed Kaufman, head coach for Monticello. “I don't think a lot of people in this area understand the sport, and by showing it to them, they get a better idea of what's going on.”
Monticello, which competes in the Orange County League finished with a 5-5 league mark last season, 8-5 overall, having lost sectional runner-up Walt Saunders.
“Except for Walt, we pretty much have everyone back, and we are looking for a good year,” added Kaufman, whose squad is currently 1-2 overall.
Expected to lead the Panthers are Allen, 19-9 in the 119 pound class last season and Gordan Jackson, who finished in the OCL championships.
Tom Kikendall moved up from 119 to 132 pounds, and hopes to duplicate his 23-8 mark of a season ago.
Things are a bit more uncertain for L.J-Y coach John Lennon, who enters his seventh season at Liberty, but second for the still developing L.J-Y squad.
“From the beginning the kids worked well together,” explained Lennon, who was encouraged at the prospects of merging teams, despite last year's 1-6 record in the Mid-Hudson Athletic League (MHAL), 1-10 overall.
A trio of seniors are expected to head the team, among them Scott Robisch at 177 or 215 pounds, Joe Decker at 155 or 167 pounds and Brennan competing at 215 or 250 pounds.
Lennon is also looking for a good outing from senior Kyle Mangan (145 lbs.) and junior Jim Collins (126 lbs.)
“This year we had a good turnout from both schools, but then after one or two practices, we had the usual problems. People don't understand that wrestling isn't a one year sport. You can't come in and be a hero. You've got to keep after it,” added Lennon.
Kaufman notes the same problems for his squad. “Wrestling is a 24-hour a day sport, and parents at home don't realize that. The kids have to maintain their weight constantly, and what kid is going to turn down a hamburger for a piece of fruit.”
L.J-Y is currently 0-1 in the league, 0-4 overall, but Lennon believes those numbers could easily be reversed. “We're making lefts instead of going right. It's a matter of doing one or two things differently. I've seen a lot of promise, but the kids' attitude for the sport has to change. It's an old expression, but what they put into it is what they'll get out of it.”
Besides the Monticello Tournament the area will also see some fine wrestlers late next month, when Liberty hosts the MHAL championships.

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