On Friday and Saturday, Monroe-Woodbury High School hosted the Section 9 Division 1 Wrestling finals.
The two-day tournament featured wrestlers from 15 schools in 15 weight classes with the winners advancing to the state finals to be held Feb. 28-29 in Albany.
The Warriors of Minisink Valley had the highest team score with a 369 points. The Crusaders finished second with a 217.5 points and Middies of Middletown scored 217 to take third place.
The Crusaders placed nine wrestlers into the semi-final round of the tournament:
Crusader Luis Paulino took fourth place at 160 lbs.
Dan Downs at 138 lbs., Mike Zrelak at 152 lbs., Max Wernicki at 170 lbs. and Frank Hernandez at 285 lbs. all captured third-place finishes in the two-day event.
The Crusaders placed place wrestlers into finals on Saturday afternoon with two claiming Section 9 Championships.
Crusader Santos Ocasio came in second place at 120 lbs. after dropping a hard fought 2-1 OT battle in the finals with Nick Picariello of Minisink Valley.
Crusader Marcus Brown at 170 lbs. advanced to the finals and finished in second, dropping a 8-3 decision to Joe Velasquez of Middletown. Brown also received the Patrick Michael D’Aliso Most Improved Wrestler Award before the start of the finals on Saturday.
Freshman Jordan Brown gave the Crusaders the Section 9 Championship at 99 lbs. He recorded a pin in 56 seconds in the quarterfinal round and then won a 20-5 Tech-fall in the semi-finals before beating Alex Greco of Warwick 3-0 to take the 99 lbs. title.
Senior Crusader Joe McGinty made sure there was no doubt about who was the best Section 9 wrestler at 160 lbs. as he swept his way to the title. He pinned his quarterfinal round opponent in 56 seconds, then pinned his semifinal round opponent in 4:15 before he pinned Jace Hirsch of Minisink Valley in 4:37 in the finals to take his second consecutive Section 9 title.
- William Dimmit