The 1974 UCLA Basketball Team (88 games); The 2004 De La Salle High School Football Team (151 games), Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh on the beach in 2008 (112-match)...And don't get us started on fictional arm-wrestler, Bull Hurley ("Over the Top")...
Time and time again in the realm of sports, we are taught and have witnessed with our own eyes that as the expression goes, "no winning streak lasts forever."....
And on Saturday, January 28th, 2023, it was the Spartans of Starpoint High School rising to the occasion and shocking the Evil Empire (but not themselves) when they halted New York scholastic wrestling's version of "the unbeatable" when they emerged with a 35-27 triumph over Minisink Valley in the finals of the 2023 NYSPHSAA Large School State Dual Championships!!
The victory under the roof of SRC Arena in Syracuse this past weekend not only denied the Warriors a three-peat, it also ended an in-state winning streak that spanned over four years (approximately 1,465 days)!!!
Winning eight of the 13 individual bouts en route to ascending to the top of the DI landscape, it would be the five-man murderer's row comprised of Matthew Caldwell, Jaron Barrientos, Kole Haseley, James Leuer Jr., and Caden Barrientos at 285-126 (dual started at 152) that ultimately stood and center in delivering the hardware to Mapleton Road!!!
Inheriting a 15-7 deficit after three consecutive match losses at 172-215, the quintet responded by peeling off five arm-raising efforts in a row to propel the program to a 29-15 advantage with just three weight classes unspoken for in the dual...
Igniting the rally when he bumped up from 215 pounds (ranked 8th) to 285 was the returning sectional bronze medalist, Caldwell, who while leading 3-0 (1st period TD; 2nd period escape), cinched in a power-half to turn and pin Aiden Gove (Honorable Mention in the polls) with 1:40 remaining in the 3rd period...
After finishing 4th and 3rd in S6 on behalf of Lewiston-Porter in 2022, there is no doubting the impact that the Barrientos siblings have made in their first season at Starpoint....
Jaron, presently sitting in the #3 spot of the polls at 102 pounds, put on a clinic from his feet, striking for seven takedowns (including four in the 3rd period alone), while adding a reversal + NF in the 2nd period to come away with a 19-5 major decision over MV freshman, Gabriel Simpson, that put the Spartans back on top, 17-15!
At 126, it was 2x sectional placer, Caden (#11 @118), registering takedowns in both the 1st and 3rd periods, coupled with a 2nd period reversal to record a 6-2 decision against 2022 S9 5th, Joseph Uhrig....Enjoying a 4-0 edge at the onset of the final 2:00, the 11th grade stud [Barrientos] iced the match when he secured the second of his two aforementioned TDs with 1:37 to go in duration...Uhrig got on the board with a reversal in the last half-minute, but was unable to turn his foe as the clock hit triple zeros...
Sandwiched by the outstanding and clutch performances of the dynamic Barrientos duo were the equally essential and invaluable finale appearances from Haseley at 110 and Leuer Jr. at 118 pounds!
The former [Haseley] announced his presence immediately, as he converted a counter takedown and then added a 2NF off of a cradle to seize a 4-0 lead a little over 1:00 into the opening period versus Stetson Terpak....History repeated itself late in the 2nd, as he again finished a takedown and then locked up a cradle to carry the 8-2 lead into the 3rd period...A power-double straight to the back would be responsible for his third TD of the match, and as he planted his foe, Haseley was able to catch the head, squeezing until the slap of the mat came at the 4:19 mark!
Leuer Jr., (#9 @118) a 2021 Journeymen State 5th, picked up one of the most significant wins of the finals session when he utilized one TD apiece in each of the three periods (including a snap + spin in the last :06 of the 3rd) to prevail 8-3 in a battle of 2022 NYS DI Qualifiers over returning Section 9 silver medalist/2022 NHSCA AA, Wyatt Boice!
Following a win by 39-second fall at 132 pounds from 2022 S9 titlist, Anthony Tresch (#11) over Coen Freundschuh that temporarily kept hope alive for the two-time defending champs, Griff LaPlante stepped onto the mat and inflicted the knockout blow!!
Engaged in a collision of 4th and 15th ranked competitors at 138 pounds, the 2022 NYS DI State 5th, LaPlante, established a 6-0 lead (two TDs, an escape, and a penalty point) before 2022 S9 runner-up, Zack McKernan, was forced to injury default at the conclusion of the 2nd period!!!....It was understandably not the manner in which either LaPlante or his teammates wanted to clinch the crown; but still, it cemented the outcome, as it brought the score to 35-21 with only one bout remaining on the card!!
The contributions of senior, Christopher Uptegrove (#11) & fab frosh, Zachary Caldwell (NYWN HM @152) also did not go overlooked or under-appreciated as they would successfully vault the Spartans to an early 7-0 lead via back-to-back wins to commence the dual at 152 and 160 pounds.
Firing out of the gate by accumulating 9 of his 15 points during the initial 2:00 of his match, the multiple-time S6 medalist, Uptegrove would finish two TDs and earn two separate sets of swipes to hold a 9-2 lead at the end 1st period against Zach Filip (ranked 2nd in S9)...Filip would fight back to draw as close as 10-7 with less than 1:00 to go in duration, but just as he started, Uptegrove closed strong, as he earned an E1, finished his third takedown of the match, and then used a power-half for 2NF in the last :50 to pull away and guarantee bonus points by way of a 15-7 major!!!
It was a case of "no takedowns, no problem" for Caldwell...After surrendering the first TD of the bout to S9 #2 ranked Quinten Morgan, :34 into the bout, the returning S6 5th [Caldwell] would dump his Warrior opponent off top for a reversal for 2+3 in the last half minute of the 1st to surge ahead, 5-2.....He executed his second reversal of the match :26 ticks into the 2nd and then rode out the rest of the middle stanza to enjoy a 7-2 cushion...A Morgan TD with 1:04 still showing on the clock in the 3rd accounted for the 7-4 result!
As cited above, handling their business and giving it their all in the loss were the backbone and/or heartbeat of the MV dynasty---Andrew Filip, Zack Ryder, and Ethan Gallo, who strung together wins at 172-189 that gave the Warriors that 15-7 edge..
Filip, a 2x NYS medalist (3rd in 2022), who entered the weekend ranked 2nd in his weight class, was a victor in what was undoubtedly the marquee match-up of the finals, as he followed-up a scoreless 1st period by breaking out for six points (E1, TD, NF3) during the 2nd on his way to a 6-2 decision over current #1 @160/2022 NYS 7th, Gage LaPlante....LaPlante was fresh off of winning a crown at the Eastern States Classic!!!
Ryder, the 4x NYS finalist/3x defending Champion/2022 UWW U17 World FS bronze medalist bound for Penn State, polished off a perfect 2022-2023 season debut (missed much of the season after being bitten by the injury bug) when he snapped and spun behind for a TD :07 into the 1st period and then instantly went to work on his staple cradle to stick Derek Kneeppel in 0:51...
Gallo, a 2x NYS finalist/defending DI State gold medalist, was just as domineering as his teammate/training partner [Ryder]....Racking up two takedowns and a count to lead 6-1, the three-sport student-athlete would lock up a bar for the pin at 1:16 over George Thompson!
#7 @145 pounds/2022 S9 champion, Luke Greiner, added the fifth win of the dual for the dethroned Warrior Kings in the last bout of the evening when he rolled across his own back to glue Tyler Scovazzo in a cradle 54 seconds into the 1st period!
The Barrientos brothers---Jaron (4-0)/Caden (3-0)---as well as Haseley (4-0), Griff LaPlante (4-0), and Zach Caldwell (4-0)/Matt Caldwell (4-0) all wrapped up the weekend unblemished for the Spartans!!
Tresch (4-0), Greiner (4-0), A. Filip (4-0), Ryder (3-0), and Gallo were perfect for Minisink Valley!!!
Starpoint-35; Minisink Valley-27 (2023 NYSPHSAA DI Dual Finals)
POOL D (Match #1): 54-18 over #21 Cicero-North Syracuse
Summary: Putting forth a dominant collective showing in which they won 10 of 13 bouts to commence their journey to Titletown, the Spartans received banner individual performances from the likes of Haseley (1:23 fall over NYWN Watch list member, Javone Dawkins), Leuer Jr. (9-0 major decision against #3 ranked in S3, Anthony Ciciarelli), Caden Barrientos (17-0 TF versus 2022 S3 5th, Drew Baker), Griff LaPlante (45-second stick of the #5 ranked in S3, Sean Aldrich), and Gage LaPlante (1:26 pin of Sectional 3rd ranked, Ayden Sprague)....
POOL D (Match #3): 36-35 over #12 Fairport
Summary: Establishing such a significant cushion that they were able to forfeit the final three weight classes of the dual and still emerge with the dub, Matt Caldwell (10-4 decision against 2022 S5 4th, Jeffrey Craddock) and Haseley (fall in 5:29 over 20+-match winner, Bennet Palmeri) starred in the triumph that solidified Starpoint's berth in the state semifinals!!!
SEMIFINALS: 36-26 over #3 Wantagh
Summary: Before the Spartans could even ponder the idea of slaying Goliath (Minisink Valley), they first needed to navigate their way past the returning DI State runners-up out of Nassau County, Wantagh....Trailing 14-9 after the first five weight classes were settled, Derek Kneeppel acted as a comeback catalyst, as he fought back from down 2-0 deficit entering the 3rd by earning a reversal :05 into the final period and then finishing a TD with 1:08 en route to a 5-3 decision over Daniel Pettinato....Kneeppel's heart sparked a four-match streak with Matthew Caldwell (pin in 0:55 over Andrew Perez), Jaron Barrientos (6-1 decision against Darren Santucci), and Haseley (trailing 2-0, turned and pinned Jonathan Cutrone 23 seconds into the 2nd period) all won to put Starpoint on top, 27-14....Wantagh was able to close to within 27-26 thanks to falls by the Clem brothers (#2 ranked/2x NYS placer, Anthony---0:32 fall over Sean McDonald; #6 ranked/2022 NYS DI bronze, Joseph---0:46 pin of Leuer Jr.)....But Caden Barrientos and Griff LaPlante shutdown any thoughts of a Warrior steal when they posted respective victories by way of 5-2 decision and 1:37 fall at 132/138 against Benjamin Burkhardt and Dominic Krug!