HAMPTON, Va. - In what continues to the be an astounding season, the #16 York College wrestling squad picked up the American College division championship at the 2011 Virginia Duals with two more victories on Saturday. #10 Chris Albright, who won each of his three matches including a pair of pinfalls, was named the division's Most Outstanding Wrestler.
As a team, the Green and White won the semifinal against Nassau Community College 21-16 and then captured the title with a 25-19 triumph over King College from Tennessee. The championship caps a tremendous two days for the Spartans as they improve to 11-1-1 on the campaign.
In what was an especially close match against Nassau, the Green and White found themselves down 16-11 with only three bouts remaining. Looking for much needed late triumphs, the Spartans received a trio of clutch performances from their three heaviest classes. Alex Martocello kicked off that late spurt with an 11-3 major decision victory over Anthony Lupi at 184 pounds. #9 George Saliba followed Martocello's win with one of his own as he snagged an important 6-4 decision over Musa Dereese at 197. Saliba's victory gave the York squad a slight 18-16 edge with one bout to go. That ensuing bout went to the Spartans' James Laughlin, who recorded the 285-pound win with a 7-2 decision over David Agu. Laughlin not only snags his fourth triumph of the season, to move to a flawless 4-0, but more importantly finished off the Green and White's tenth victory of the season.
Prior to Martocello, Saliba, and Laughlin, the Spartans received important wins from Jerrid Hartman (125 pounds), Albright (141 pounds), and Matt Heisey (165 pounds). Hartman led off the York effort with a strong 10-2 major decision over Jonathan Murray, which gave the Green and White a 4-0 lead. At 141, Albright notched a tight 3-2 decision, his first decision of the season, to move the Spartans into a 7-3 advantage. Heisey registered another major decision for York when he scored a 14-6 result in his 165-pound match.
York's championship match against King proved decidedly less tight as the Spartans raced out to a comfortable 22-3 advantage. The Green and White won five of the first six matches including four straight triumphs. Taylor Boyd started off the match with a forfeit win at 125. Albright then secured a pinfall at 141 as he now stands at a remarkable 17-1 on the season.
Heisey then captured four more team points for the Spartans with a 15-6 major decision in his 165-pound bout. The junior captain now has 16 wins on the season as he sets a new career high after posting 15 triumphs in each of his first two campaigns.
After a King win at 174, Martocello, another junior captain, picked up his third victory of the Virginia Duals with an 8-4 decision at 184 pounds. Martocello, who proved York's final victor, improves to an excellent 13-2 on the season.
The Green and White return to action on Tuesday, January 11, when they travel to nearby Elizabethtown, Pa. There, the Spartans will take on a pair of top-15 squads as they face #9 College of New Jersey and #15 Centenary. The wrestling action is slated for a 2:00 pm start.
PHOTO: Chris Albright wrestles during the 2010 New Standard Corporation Invitational hosted by York College on December 4. Courtesy of Zach Clabaugh - www.sharpedgefoto.com