Spurgeon brings title home to Plainedge
ALBANY, NY -- Plainedge senior Dan Spurgeon does not have superhuman athleticism or a flashy skill set that jumps off the mat.
Spurgeon has a little bit of everything, and most importantly, an innate ability to take control. This time, Spurgeon took control when it mattered most, winning the 170-pound state wrestling championship with a 6-3 win over Carthage's Shayne Brady at Times Union Center Saturday.
His final record: 50-0.
"Undefeated season with a state championship. I'd take that any time," Spurgeon said.
Spurgeon could not help but reflect upon his years in the Red Devils' wrestling program, back when he was a seventh-grader and looking at the older varsity guys as superheroes.
He watched as accomplished Plainedge wrestlers such as David Ng placed at states but could not bring home the title. Now, for the first time since 1990, when Craig Vitagliano won at 98, the Red Devils have a state champion.
"There have been a lot of great kids come through Plainedge over the past few years," Spurgeon said. "There were guys who took fifth or sixth in the state that I thought could win. These guys were unbeatable to me, so when they lost at states, I was shocked. I didn't think it was possible."
Now, Spurgeon is the older guy, one a new crop of Red Devils wrestlers can emulate.
"That's a weird feeling," Spurgeon said. "It feels like yesterday that I was looking up to them. Now I'm here."
Glenn's Nick Bellanza (39-3) won the 182 final with a 9-6 decision over Scarsdale's Jacob Berkowitz. Earlier in the day, he dashed Plainedge's hopes of having two state finalists with a 3-2 semifinal win against Andrew Jones.
"Everyone says there is no greater feeling than being a state champion, and it's true," Bellanza said. "I was picturing it all day, and then to actually do it was incredible."
Longwood sophomore Corey Rasheed lost in the 145 final to Iroquois' James Kloc, 7-4. Somers' Brian Realbuto knocked out the Lions' other finalist, Nicky Hall, with a 16-6 major decision at 152.
Wantagh freshman Jose Rodriguez saw his perfect season fall one win short, losing, 6-3, to Chenango Forks' Kyle Kelly at 99 pounds. Rodriguez fell to 44-1, and Kelly took home his second straight state crown.