February 24, 2011
Malmberg striving to bring back state medal
MARATHON — This was a trip that got derailed a year ago, which provided the extra incentive Marathon Central junior Lucas Malmberg needed this wrestling season.
After finishing fourth at the Section 4 Division II Tournament at the end of the 2009-10 campaign, the Olympian grappler set his sights on a sectional title and a trip to the New York State Division II High School Championships being held at the Times-Union Center in downtown Albany this winter.
Malmberg won his first-ever Section 4 Class D Championship at 96 pounds back on Feb. 5 and followed up with the Division II crown a week later to secure a trip to Albany. He brings a 39-1 record to the state meet.
Though he isn’t one of the top eight seeds, Malmberg (80-9 career record) continues the quest for a state title Friday with his first-round match against Section 5 runner-up Andrew Flanagan, a sophomore from Holley Central School.
“It feels good,” Malmberg said of earning a trip to Albany. “I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot this season and I look forward to competing at states.”
Malmberg is the third child of Eric and Sue Malmberg to achieve a sectional championship. Older brother Tyler was a 2007 wrestling champion while sister Marta claimed four sectional titles and three state championships in field hockey.
“There hasn’t been any pressure to follow them,” Malmberg said. “I just worked hard to be successful. I think I’ve done that.”
Though Malmberg knows that winning four matches to earn a gold medal is a tall order at this event, he still has earned the right to become the best in New York state this season.
“Winning the state championship would be the ultimate goal,” Malmberg said. “After not winning sectionals last year, I had a goal of winning that title this year.”
As for Albany?
“I’d like to place,” he stated. “I told myself I should be able to finish in the top three.”
“Lucas has put the time into becoming a section champion and his goals are to finish on top at the state tournament,” Marathon coach Jamie Bush said. “He has the ability to wrestle at the state level as he has shown all season the energy to be in any match with any wrestler he will face at states. If he stays focused he should be okay and have a good tournament.
“I know that this is where he wanted to be last year, but he was just too small for the weight class,” he continued. “This year he is at the weight and not having to put on weight just to wrestle. He was able to wrestle as high as 112 this season and that was great for the team as well as Lucas. We found him good matches all year and he got a lot more mat time this year.”
“It hasn’t been that difficult to make weight,” Malmberg said of competing at the lightest of the 15 wrestling weight classes.
Among his accomplishments this season, Malmberg led the Marathon team with the most tech-falls (10) and many other stats he has led the way all season as well. With his 39 wins, he could surpass his brother school record of 41 wins in a season. Other noteworthy achievements during the 2010-11 season: Malmberg placed first at the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Duals, first at Marathon Duals, first at Cuneen-Doane Tournament in Walton as well as first at IAC League Tournament, plus his two big post-season championships.
Malmberg’s only loss on the season came against Section 4, Division I Champion Kyle Kelley of Chenango Forks in the Windsor Christmas Tournament finals. Kelly is the number one-ranked 96-pound wrestler in New York State.
They both practice a lot with each other in the off season,” Bush said. “It would be great to see them both on the podium at the state tournament as was the case at sectionals.”
Both Malmberg and Kelley have been part of the Shamrock Wrestling Club and the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club during the off-season.
Malmberg doesn’t compete in any other sports at Marathon. He has tried other sports over the years, but he has certainly found his niche in competitive sports.
“I feel content with just one sport,” Malmberg explained. “I’ve tried other sports, but I’m happiest with wrestling. It’s just a different feeling when I step on the mat.”
“As a student athlete, Lucas is always a pleasure to coach,” Bush said. “I never have to worry about grades, homework or eligibility. He is a role model to the younger wrestlers and his teammates on and off the mat. Teachers talk to me often about our wrestlers and Lucas is always getting an A-plus for effort and ability, much the same as the remarks I receive from fellow coaches throughout the year about Lucas.”
The composed, pleasant Malmberg has a lot of support from the Section 4 wrestling fraternity, as well as the support of his family for the weekend. It could be enough to land the junior a state championship.
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