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Wrestling: SWR pair earn All-State from ‘blood round’

It’s one of the more grueling aspects of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships. When a wrestler loses an early-round bout, he drops into the consolation bracket and finds himself in the so-called “blood round.”

“If you win, you’re All-State; if you lose, you get nothing,” said Shoreham-Wading River coach Joe Condon.

Two of his wrestlers, seniors Tristan Petretti and Craig Jablonski, found themselves in that position Saturday, following losses Friday, and persevered to earn All-State status. Petretti finished fifth in the Division II 132-pound weight class and Jablonski was eighth at 138. Both were seeded fifth.

“It’s really tough. It’s a lot of pressure,” Condon said. “It takes a lot of mental toughness. It takes a lot of character, you know, and you just can’t give up. These guys didn’t. They came back strong.”

Petretti won two bouts in the consolation stage. He pinned Chatauqua Lake-Westfield’s Trent Burchanowski in 44 seconds and scored a 3-1 decision over Warrensburg/Bolton’s Tanner McKenna before his bid for third place was lost with a 9-4 loss to Newfane’s Aiden Gillings. Petretti then defeated Canisteo-Greenwood’s Colton Havens by a pin at 2:47 in the bout for fifth place.

Petretti had opened his first state tournament by pinning Saranac’s Alex Clancy at 1:25, but then ran into Mattituck’s Joe Sparacio in a quarterfinal. Sparacio, the eventual champion, won, 10-4.

“He went out there and wrestled really well, very aggressive,” Condon said of Petretti, a four-time All-County wrestler who went 36-5 this season, finishing with a career record of 115-50. “He went out there to win and battle every match and I thought he did an outstanding job.”

Jablonski earned his medal and place on the podium by virtue of a 4-3 consolation victory over Eden’s Shane Walczyk. Following that, Jablonski dropped an 11-2 major decision to Bolivar-Richburg’s Ethan Coleman.

Jablonski had defeated Coleman in his first bout of the tournament in sudden victory, 4-2. Then an 8-6 sudden-victory loss to Bayport-Blue Point’s Kyle Barber sent Jablonski into the consolation bracket.

“He did well,” Condon said of Jablonski, who went 31-9 this season to bring his career mark to 111-32. “I mean, he had some tough draws and some very close matches, and you know, it’s tough  All those middle weights are highly competitive weights.”

Jablonski made All-State for the second time, the first being in 2020 when he took fifth place.

The state tournament wasn’t held last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SWR’s Joe Steimel (25-13), a county champion this year as a junior, also competed in Albany. Steimel lost both of his matches at 145 pounds. He was beaten by Newfane’s Adam Huntington, 7-0, and pinned by Dryden’s Josh Rowland at 2:09.

The state tournament can be a jaw-dropping, intimidating experience for first-timers.

“It’s the biggest thing,” Condon said. “It’s what every single wrestler trains for in New York State. I mean, the national championships are great. That’s unbelievable as well, but the state title is the dream of every New York wrestler. And it’s extremely difficult. Even if you’re good enough, you don’t always get it. And it’s the mecca. There was a huge crowd there, the lights.”

Time for New York’s best to shine.