December 6, 2021

Sorenson 5th, Willard 6th at states

NYSPHSAA Division II Wrestling

Wrestling stock illustration

ALBANY — Two local wrestlers reached the second day of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division II Wrestling Championships Saturday and both stood on the podium at the end of the day.

Homer Central’s Sam Sorenson finished fifth at 220 pounds in Albany at the Times Union Center.

Groton’s Kyle Willard had to settle for sixth place at 126 pounds.

Sorenson began day two in the semifinals against the top seed, and eventual state champion, Jeff Crooks from Section 2. The Cobleskill-Richmondville junior scored a pinfall at the 3:09 mark to relegate Sorenson to the consolation bracket. Crooks (17-0) would score a 6-2 decision in the finals to claim the championship after he placed fourth one year ago at 220 pounds.

Sorenson would face Port Jervis senior James Oosterom from Section 9. The seventh-seed Oosterom pinned Sorenson at the 2:45 mark to reach the consolation final, where he lost to place fourth and end his season with a 40-3 record.

Sorenson was now in the fifth place match and he faced Olean senior Connor Walsh from Section 6 for the second time in the tournament. Sorenson won a 3-1 decision over the sixth seed in Friday’s quarterfinals. This time, it was a 3-2 decision for the fourth-seed Sorenson over Walsh to claim fifth place. Walsh ends the season at 37-7.

Sorenson wraps up an impressive freshman season with a 38-5 record, tying for the third best single season record with Toby Reese, who posted the same record in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. Sorenson’s two-year record is 70- 18, one spot behind Denny Wright 70-16 who is 26th overall.

Other highlights, Sorenson’s fifth place finish is the best finish since Reese who was sixth in 2003-04. He is the eighth Trojan wrestler to place in the state tournament and the third fifth-place finisher.

Sorenson won the Section 3 Division II Championship earlier this season, becoming the first Homer wrestler to win a Division II sectional title since Reese in the 2004-05 season.

Groton senior Kyle Willard was still alive though the sixth seed at 126 pounds was in the consolation bracket after going 2-1 Friday.

Willard began Saturday with a 7-4 decision over Red Hook senior Matt Morris from Section 9. Morris is the seventh seed in the weight class and finished 38-8.

Next, Willard dropped a 6-4 decision to fellow Section 4 competitor junior Cody Merwin from Walton-Delhi in the consolation semifinals. Merwin was the fifth seed and he placed fourth with a final season record of 35-8.

In the fifth place match, Willard dropped a 4-1 decision to sophomore Jordan Soriano (23-2) from Clarke in Section 8, the ninth seed.

Willard capped a solid season in sixth place and posted a final record of 39-7.