BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
ALBANY - Mark Mullen's back was against the wall at the 2019 NYSPHSAA Division II Wrestling Championships at the Times-Union Center here Friday
The SVEC senior had dropped his first round match and was trailing John Glenn's Justin Vega, 4-0, entering the second period - and it appeared Vega was about to extend his lead to six points.
Instead, Mullen dug down deep, fought off the takedown attempt, and threw Vega to his back with an underhook-overhook combination. And even though Mullen had to wait a few seconds for the referee to get into position, he would tighten his grip and pick up the fall in 1:24.
"I think he realized that he just needed to start pushing the pace," said SVEC assistant coach Jesse Buck. "You've got leave it all out there because every one might be the last one. You can't let a couple points from the other guy get you down, get you in a slump. You've just got to go right back after it."
The win advanced Mullen to an elimination match with Susquehanna Valley's Mitchell Knapp, the wrestler he fell to at sectionals two weeks earlier.
Mullen's first experience at states let a bitter taste as he dropped his debut to third-seeded Nick Meglino of Edgemont on a 15-0 technical fall in 5:31.
"We knew he was going to be tough coming in," said SVEC head coach Ernie Marilley. "We didn't really get to our offense as much as we do. We kind of let him take the shots and we didn't really capitalize on what we're good at with our shots.
"It's a new experience for the guys, but we've just got to wrestle tough and come back."
And that he did when he took on Vega.
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