February 28, 2011
State crown fits Marathon’s Malmberg
ALBANY — It all came down to one match.
After rolling through his first three opponents, only Ryan Snow stood between Marathon Central junior Lucas Malmberg and his ultimate goal —winning a state wrestling title.
So in Saturday night’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division II 96-pound championship match at the Times Union Center in downtown Albany, the aggressive Malmberg game plan did not change. He started quickly and claimed his first state crown in convincing fashion with a 12-2 major decision victory over General Brown freshman Snow from Section 3.
Malmberg becomes the second Olympian to earn a state title. Devon Brown won the Division I title at 119 pounds as a sophomore in 2007.
Malmberg caps his outstanding season with a single-season school-record 43 wins and just one loss. That lone loss came against Kyle Kelly from Chenango Forks, who won the Division I state title at 96 pounds on Saturday.
“It felt great,” Malmberg said of this state meet success. “I was a little surprised by the score, but like every other match I was 100 percent ready when I stepped on the mat.”
Malmberg got the quick takedown and scored a 3-point near fall to take a 5-0 lead in the first period. After deferring to start the second period, Malmberg was in the down position and scored a one-point escape and another takedown to lead 8-0.
What were his thoughts entering the third period? Should he play it safe and not get caught to somehow to lose the match or remain aggressive?
“The biggest thing was to stay on offense and keep him on defense,” Malmberg replied. “It was a big confidence builder getting that first takedown. I was able to build (momentum) from that.”
Malmberg chose the down position for the third period. Another escape and put him ahead 9-0, but Snow countered Malmberg’s shot and got his own takedown.
The Olympian didn’t panic. Malmberg quickly escaped and scored his third takedown of the match to seal the win.
“Lucas wrestled great from start to finish,” Marathon coach Jamie Bush said. “He got stronger and more confident with each win this weekend.
“Lucas had a goal and we all helped him. His coaches, teammates and parents all played big rolls in his success this season. Lucas made it all work out with his willingness to do what was needed as a teammate in duals where he wrestled three different weights to help his team win matches. At the tournaments we wrestled at, he wrestled the top kids, which helped him grow throughout the season.
“His ability to work hard in the classroom and on the mats makes coaching this young man a great pleasure and topping it all off with a state title was icing on the cake,” added Bush.
What will Lucas Malmberg do for an encore in his senior season?
“I’ll keep training with the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club in the off-season,” he replied, doing just that on Sunday after winning his state title. “I’ll compete in freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments. Greco-Roman helps me better prepare for high school matches, but wrestling is really wrestling no matter which style. Then, we’ll look for one more good season at school.”
Malmberg was one of three Section 4 champions in Division II, as Lansing’s William Koll was the 103-pound winner and Tioga’s Derak Heyman ruled at 140 pounds. From Section 3, Nick Tighe from Phoenix won his 119-pound weight class while Cato-Meridian’s Nick LaLonde was the champion at 189 pounds.
The Rochester-area Section 5 won the Division II team title, with Section 3 third and Section 4 fourth.
In Division I, Kelly and Johnson City’s Sean McCormick at 112 pounds were state champs out of Section 4. Section 11 took the team title, with Section 4 seventh and Section 3 in 10th place.
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