My photos above show the Copenhagen/Beaver River team after its championship, Sandy Creek sophomore Joe Benedict in the final at 195 pounds, and CBR's Greg Virkler battling Dolgeville's Jonathan Handy in the 145 title bout.
I tend to think of these small schools as loaded with guys from the country -- the small villages, hamlets and just plain back roads -- where the sport always attracted tough kids who worked hard and came from not much wealth.
Ask Jesse Fendryk, coach for Otselic Valley, if he has farm boys. He'll answer not really, just blue-collar guys from that region where Chenango and Madison counties come together. This is the fourth year for OV's team. The program has the support of Dan Henner, superintendent of schools, who helped coach wrestling at Port Byron.
Otselic Valley ended up with a champion, Nathan Purtell at 99 pounds.
I spoke briefly with Benedict, who overpowered his two opponents with pins. He said he learned a lot from older brother Jake, Section 3 Division II champ at 220 in 2014, now at Springfield College.
Cato-Meridian alumnus Scott Terpening, who I knew back in about 1981, said filling lineups at small schools is tough but they keep plugging away.
The team title went to Copenhagen/Beaver River over South Lewis by 11 points. CBR had only one champion, Virkler at 145 (there's a Beaver River name) but had enough other place winners to edge the Falcons, who had four champs: Kyle Greene (120), Morgan Seller (152), Jacob Olmstead (170) and Kyle Fitzgerald (285). South Lewis had two runners-up.
The tournament was graced by the presence of Section 3 wrestling coordinator Brad Hamer and officials coordinator Fred Brown, who once again visited all five class tournament sites.
I spent much of the afternoon speaking with Port Byron senior 106-pounder, Katherine Sumner, about her passion for wrestling and her college aspirations as the number of women's teams has grown. She placed fourth to qualify for the state qualifier. I'll have a story in a couple of days.