February 27, 2012
Marathon senior wins 2nd state title —
Malmberg reigns again on mats
ALBANY — When Lucas Malmberg looks back at the past two seasons, it will be with a lot of pride. With 89 wins over that span, the Marathon Central senior wrestler has proven himself the best in Section 4 and in New York State.
Malmberg’s high school career came to a close Saturday night against Brooklyn International junior Cheick Ndiaye representing Public School Athletic League from New York City in the 50th New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division II Wrestling Championships in Albany.
Malmberg posted his 46th win this season and claimed his second straight state title with an 11-0 major decision in the 106-pound title match. Malmberg had just two losses this season and has a final career record of 131 wins against just 11 losses.
“It’s been great,” Malmberg said after receiving his second gold medal. “It’s really been a total blessing. God has given me this great ability. I couldn’t ask for anything better.
“I went out and wrestled my way,” he continued. “I completely dominated the match. I did my set-ups, my shots, my work on top or bottom. It all worked out.”
“What can you say about Lucas,” Marathon head coach Jamie Bush said. “He is an outstanding kid and an outstanding wrestler. Lucas wrestles hard every match from the opening whistle. The circle is his. He wrestles from the middle right out to the edge. He’s done that from the very beginning of his career. He has set the bar very high for future Marathon students.
“He faced a very tough kid in Ndiaye,” he added. “After watching him a couple of days we knew he was a good wrestler. He was all about scoring points and he kept advancing all the way through to the finals. Lucas went right out there and took the offense to him and didn’t give him a chance to get going.”
Having scouted Ndiaye over the last two days at the Times Union Center, Malmberg took nothing to chance and aggressively scored a takedown just seven seconds into the match. After trying to turn his opponent, Malmberg finally got a quick near-fall for another two points with 15 seconds left in the opening period.
“My whole plan was to go out quickly and get the first takedown,” Malmberg said. “I wanted to try and break him mentally if I could. I wanted to take him out of the game right away. I think that is what happened.”
Malmberg was in the down position to start the second period. In 12 seconds, he had a two-point reversal and, 30 seconds later, a three-point near-fall to build a 9-0 cushion.
The final period was a formality. Ndiaye chose to start in the neutral standing position and it would be Malmberg with the takedown with 1:15 left in the match. Though he couldn’t get Ndiaye on his back again, it didn’t matter. The state title was Malmberg’s for a second time and the highlight of the past two years, having won at 96 pounds as a junior.
“This year’s title is definitely sweeter than last year,” Malmberg said. “Last year, it was unexpected. A lot of people expected me to win this year. I didn’t count out any of the other competitors, so to come back and win again is really indescribable.”
For Ndiaye (31-7, 81-19 career), it was a tough loss, but this junior is truly a winner thanks to the “Beat the Streets” program that has helped a lot of young men escape the troubles of New York City life.
“Beat the Streets has really helped me since I was a freshman,” Ndiaye said. “Without them, especially my coach (Ben Walsh), I would not be here right now. He was the one who made me wrestle as a freshman.
“I came into the tournament wanting to win a state title,” he added. “I had a chance because I made the final. I wanted to do better. I will do better next time.”
Malmberg reached the finals with a 4-1 decision over Olean junior Drew Marra from Section 6. It wasn’t an easy match, but Malmberg did take a 2-0 lead with a first period takedown.
Neither wrestler collected a point in the second period. In the third period, Malmberg got a reversal for two points and a 4-0 lead. Marra earned a point late when Malmberg was whistled for stalling, but it didn’t matter as Malmberg was on his way to a second championship match appearance.
MALMBERG’S MARATHON teammate Dillon Hurlbert saw his shot to earn a medal come to an end with his first wrestleback match. Hurlbert dropped a 7-1 decision to Holley junior Mike Silvis from Section 5.
Silvis scored a takedown in the final seconds of the first period for a 2-0 lead. Hurlbert began the second period with an escape, but injured his leg in the process. The Olympian junior wrestled the final 1:48 of the second period and the third period in pain, but kept battling. Silvis scored a takedown in the second period before recording an escape and takedown in the third.
Hurlbert caps his junior season with a 40-8 mark and his 100th career win.
“Dillon had a real nice run after getting here as a wild card,” Bush said. “He had a goal of making the top eight, which he did, and he got his 100th win. He’s happy and we are very happy for him.”
— Malmberg was one of four wrestlers from Section 4 to win titles. Chenango Forks’ Kyle Kelly was the 99-pound winner in Division I, while in Division II Lansing’s Connor Lapresi at 132 and Greene’s Kyle Stanton at 220 were champs.
Out of Section 3, a pair of Phoenix wrestlers claimed two Division II titles as junior Nick Tighe won at 126 and Tyler Button at 145. Canastota junior Zack Zupan ruled in the 170-pound weight class in Division II.
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