BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
ALBANY — Newark Valley has assured himself another trip to the podium, albeit in a different division this year.
The senior standout dominated both opponents at the 2019 NYSPHSAA Division II Wrestling Championships at the Times-Union Center here Friday to qualify for Saturday’s semifinals.
Rupert, third in Division I last year, controlled the temp on the opening round too defeat Waterloo’s Jake DeWall, 5-1, then dominated Oyster Bay’s Jake Rankin, 8-1, in the quarterfinals.
“He was the aggressor and that’s what we weren’t two weeks ago,” said NV head coach Mike Daly, referencing Rupert’s sectional loss to OM / WG’s Dylan Houseknecht. “We were out there just trying to wrestle instead of trying to score points.”
A takedown in the first period is all Rupert would need against DeWall, although he tucked on a reversal and stalling point in the second period.
“There’s no doubt he went out in that first period and was the aggressor and got the kid hit for stalling, and 40 seconds later he took him down,” Daly said. “That’s where we want to be. We want to be pushing the pace, pushing the guys, getting the guys to the edge of the mat so they have a choice to make, make a mistake or get a stall and that’s what they did.”
He was called of stalling in the third period, but was in no danger following the call.
“He was smart. He usually is. He’s a smart person,” Daly said.
Rupert and Rankin battled through a scoreless opening period.
The NV stalwart locked up a crossfire cradle early in the second and put Rankin to his back for a 3-0 lead in the second.
Rankin chose the bottom in the third period in hopes of scoring some points, but found himself getting cradled again, giving Rupert a 6-0 cushion.
Rankin would escape early in the final period. Trailing by five late in the match, he attempted a headlock, but Rupert ducked his head and took his opponent to the mat with three seconds remaining to secure an 8-1 victory.
Rupert faces a familiar foe, Tioga’s Stephen Taylor, in Saturday morning’s semis. Rupert won by fall in a dual meet and by a 5-3 decision at the sectional tournament.
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