Canajoharie/Fort Plain wrestler Douglass wins state title with last-second takedown

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Canajoharie senior Reed Douglass raises his hands after capturing the NYSPHSAA Division II 172-pound title with a dramatic 3-1 win over La Salle’s Ray Hutton Saturday, February 26, 2022 at MVP Arena.

ALBANY — Time was on Reed Douglass’ side.

The Canajoharie/Fort Plain senior wrestler had a reminder set on his phone for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022 with a note: “State Champion.”

Douglass became Canajoharie/Fort Plain’s first-ever NYSPHSAA state wrestling champion with his last second takedown for a 3-1 victory over La Salle’s Ray Hutton in the Division II 172-pound final at MVP Arena.

“Every single night before I went to bed I said, ‘I’m going to win a state championship,’” Douglass said. “I won the sectional championship and I put Ray’s name in my head, and a whole bunch of other kids that were in my weight [class] that were good. I would say, ‘I’m going to beat you, I’m going to beat you,’ every single night.”

Douglass defeated Hutton in the Section II Division II championship final two weeks ago, but it was a different type of match as Douglass fell behind early.

“Last time I tried to club him hard and he just dodged it and shot right at me, two points in the first 10 seconds,” Douglass said.

The Canajoharie/Fort Plain rebounded in that match, earning a 6-4 overtime win and the area title. Hutton advanced to the state tournament as the runner-up.

“When you go against a really good guy, he and I know everything we do, you really want to slow the pace down,” Douglass said. 

In Saturday’s rematch, after a scoreless first period Hutton managed to escape from the clutches of Douglass one minute into the second session for a 1-0 lead.

In the third period, it was Douglass’ turn to escape from Hutton’s grasp as the two grappled in headlocks looking for leverage or an opportunity to take their opponents legs out for a takedown as time ticked down.

Douglass made his move in the waning seconds of the match.

“I knew I had to score,” Douglass said. “I knew it was either going to be on or overtime, short time, so I’m like OK go for it. We were both tired and I decided to blow by and pick the leg.”

Douglass managed to get Hutton onto the mat at the perimeter in the closing seconds for two points, a 3-1 lead and the title.

Douglass was the first Canajoharie wrestler to sign a National Letter of Intent to compete at a Division I program — Presbyterian College in South Carolina — in January. Now he is the program’s first-ever state wrestling champion.

“I don’t know what I’m going to say when I get back home because I accomplished my goal before I go to bed,” Douglass said.

“Good night, state champion,” seems fitting.

QUEENSBURY’S SCHELL WINS DIVISION I 172-POUND TITLE

On the opposite mat from Douglass, Queensbury’s Dylan Schell defeated Minisink Valley’s Mikey Altomer in the Division I 172-pound final with his own dramatic takedown with one second remaining, earning Section II a pair of titles in the same weight class. All four 172-pound finalists had Section II connections, as Altomer wrestled at the 2020 state tournament for Columbia before transferring to Minisink Valley as a junior.

Top-seeded Warrensburg/Bolton junior Tristen Hitchcock captured the 285-pound Division II state title in overtime against General Brown’s Nick Rogers.

Shaker senior Ryan Stein fell behind top-seeded Ethan Gallo from Minisink Valley in the Division I 215-pound final. Gallo took down Stein and had him on his back earning five points in the opening 28 minutes of their match. Gallo earned another point in the second period, escaping 16 seconds into the session. 

Stein chose to start the third period upright and facing his opponent in the neutral wrestling start position but couldn’t find leverage to catch Gallo and put him onto the mat.

In the Division II 102-pound championship final Berne-Knox-Westerlo/Middleburgh’s 10th-seeded Gabe English lost a 5-0 decision to Section IV’s Darren Florence, representing Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton.

By Stan Hudy

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