BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
ALBANY - Trentyn Rupert's quest for a state title came to a heartbreaking finish at the 2019 NYSPHSAA Division II Wrestling Championships at the Times Union Center here Saturday night.
The Newark Valley senior dropped a 4-2 overtime decision to OM / WG's Dylan Houseknecht in the 285-pound final.
There was nothing unusual about the fourth clash of the season between the two. There was plenty of "heavyweight dancing" - a lot of tie-ups, and pushing and pulling.
Of course, depending on which wrestler you were pulling for, Houseknecht was either backing toward the edge of the mat or Rupert was pushing him toward the edge of the mat.
With 52 seconds left in the first period, Houseknecht was warned for stalling.
He chose bottom in the second period and would get to his feet, but Rupert forced him out of bounds. Then, with 1:19 remaining in the period, as Houseknecht was working up to his feet, Rupert got slightly off balance and Houseknecht scored a reversal.
Houseknecht's 2-0 lead wouldn't last long as he was called for stalling again with 29 seconds left in the period, giving Rupert a penalty point. Down, 2-1, Rupert attempted a switch just before the buzzer but received no points. Following a conference with the side ref, the referee awarded Rupert a point to tie the match at 2-2.
Rupert was warned for stalling with 1:11 left in the third, but no further stalling was called on either wrestler although neither changed his style in the final minute.
"I guess we shouldn't be aggressive is what that teaches us, which is not the right answer for wrestling, for the sport of wrestling, for the fans," NV head coach Mike Daly said. "It's really hard to hit a moving target and when someone's allowed to be a moving target without moving forward for about four out of the six minutes.
"I don't mean that to take anything away," Daly said. "It's an issue that I have with the sport. It's called very differently at heavyweight and that was the explanation afterwards that I was given about heavyweights. The rule book doesn't change for heavyweights. For some reason in referees' eyes it does. That's unfortunate, unfortunate for us tonight. The difference was we made offensive attempts that we weren't able to capitalize on I guess, but it's tough when you are on ice skates."
"They had a good game plan because they were allowed to do it, so I'm not trying to take anything away from that kid or his team or the accomplishment. It's just something that I don't like about the sport when different weight classes are allowed to wrestle differently, and that definitely happens."
In the one-minute overtime, Rupert went for the legs in a takedown attempt, but Houseknecht was able to force him down and spin behind for a 4-2 victory.
"It's tough to sum up," Daly said. "Beyond the wrestling program he's been a great athlete, and in the wrestling program, had he won the title tonight he would have been the most successful kid we've had. We've had one in high school history and it was about time for another one, but it didn't happen tonight. He's definitely one of the greatest wrestlers in our school history -150-some wins and 100 pins is unreal.
"It's tough to sum it up right now. His heart is broken and my heart is broke, and his parents' hearts are broken. It was a tough match and we just wrestled back to what we were comfortable with compared to what we had done all tournament. We made some adjustments and he did a great job with those adjustments all tournament.
"The nerves got to us a little bit at us and we went back to doing some of the things that we weren't necessarily successful with in the past and that's the bummer. I wish we could have turned the nerves off, but we couldn't.
"Congratulations to them and too bad for us, but Trentyn will bounce back."
Rupert ended his season with a 36-3 record.
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