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STATE WRESTLING HISTORY FOR CARMEL’S DUKE

John Jay’s Albis Brings Home Title In Coach Weaver’s Last Match

ALBANY – It was a historic, emotional night for Hudson Valley wrestlers at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association wrestling championships.

Saturday proved to be a day to remember for four young men from the Hudson Valley Sports Report coverage area, four grapplers who won state championships at the Times-Union Center in Albany, each with a wonderful back-story.

Carmel’s P.J. Duke, John Jay’s Tyler Albis, Minisink Valley’s Zack Ryder and Pine Bush’s Tommy Askey each stood atop the podium and brought home the hardware on Saturday night.

“Surreal,” Askey said after taking the Division I (large schools) title at 152 pounds. “Just surreal.”

That probably sums it up for everybody but, then again, that’s probably the most apt description when you achieve a dream.

For Duke, it was a dream with a note of history. The Carmel product became the first seventh-grader to ever win a state wrestling championship, beating Joseph Manfredi of Herricks in the finals.

For the most part, Duke was non-plussed about the victory but that’s just part of his makeup, which is far more mature than his age.

“It’s just like every other tournament,” he said. “I’m going to get back to work and try to win next year.”

Duke finished the season at 45-0.

“I felt like I knew I could win if I performed to my full potential,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a tough one but I knew I could pull it out.”

Asked how he planned to attack Manfredi, Duke said “I just tried to break him and push the pace in the first period,” which he did when he jumped out to an 8-3 lead. “I tried to get him broken in the first period.”

Post-match plans?

“I’m going to have fun tonight, and then it’s back to practice tomorrow.”

 

For John Jay’s Albis, it was, finally, after coming thisclose in the past, a triumphant walk into the sunset in his last high school match.

A walk made with coach Jamie Weaver.

In a highly anticipated match, Albis beat Fox Lane’s Quincy Downes, 9-1, at 170 pounds in an all-Section 1 final.

“I’m sure tomorrow morning I’ll wake up feeling great,” Albis said. “I just wanted to wrestle my ass off. You just have to be the best that you can be. Whoever wants it more is going to get it. I went out here with the mindset to let it fly.”

It was Albis last match because of graduation. It was Weaver’s last match because of choice. The longtime coach announced early in the season that this would be his last year coaching the Patriots.

“He told me when we were hugging that it was always his goal to coach a state champion,” Albis said. “I was able to fulfill his goals. I love him so much. He’s done so much for me. He’s a great guy.”

Tyler Albis, with coach Jamie Weaver on the left

Askey, Pine Bush’s 152-pound standout, won in dramatic fashion, getting a late takedown in the closing seconds for an 8-5 victory over defending state champion AJ Kovacs of Iona Prep.

“I just wanted to push the pace,” Askey said. “I knew I could get him in the third.”

Askey finished the year undefeated.

Ryder’s match wasn’t so dramatic. The 126-pound Minisink Valley star pinned Syosset’s George Oroudjov in 4 minutes, 35 seconds to wrap up the title.

“I was ready for it and I came out on top,” he said. “I came in with so much confidence. I know how much work I put in and I just had to trust myself.”

 

 

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