The 30 champions and 18 wild card entries gathered at Cicero-North Syracuse earlier this week for Media Day, followed by a practice in the Northstars' wrestling room. I asked a few of them about how they prepared for this weekend.
Hunter Richard, Holland Patent, 2015 Division II state champ at 138 pounds, going for the title at 145: "Last year doesn't matter, it won't help at all. It puts a target on your back. You have to treat this like any tournament."
Alex Herringshaw, Holland Patent, two-time Division II state champ, 170 pounds: "You wrestle four matches your style. I've been through so many tournaments, I just try to handle the pressure." (Alex is on the left in the photo on the left above.)
Noah Handy, Dolgeville (photo on the right), Division II wild card at 138: "I'm approaching it like any other tournament. I've been running and working out at the YMCA (in Johnstown). I've gone with my coach to Adirondack, to work out with those guys. It's about an hour each way."
Brett Finch, Camden (photo on the left, pictured at right), Division II wild card at 182: "It's a big opportunity and I'm seeded 8th. I feel confident but it doesn't mean much because you have to take matches one at a time."
One good thing about the guys working out at C-NS was the reminders of past state contenders on the wall above: Cicero's Pat Greene (twice third in the state at 126, 1972 and 1973) and North Syracuse's Kurt Honis (third at 167, 1979), Mike Catania (third twice, 119 and 126), Jim Markert (fourth at 215, 1973) and John Janiak (second at 138, 1973). And others, stretching down the room, both before and after the two high schools combined in the 1980s. Ron Roch (North Syracuse) and Jack Williams Sr. (Cicero) had some good teams.