In Doug Hartman's farewell season as East Syracuse-Minoa's wrestling coach, Brett Adams and Mick Letcher have given him the best possible finale -- namely, a trip to the state tournament.
Adams, at 215 pounds, and Letcher, at 140 pounds, both won Section III Division I (large-school) titles last Saturday in a full and busy day of activity at Utica Auditorium and will represent the section at the March 3-4 state meet in Albany.
All attempts to qualify for the sectional meet had been abandoned, thanks to relentless snow the past two weeks that drove class meets out of venues like Central Square, Indian River and Chittenango.
So, instead of setting up 12-man fields in each weight class, all Class AA and A wrestlers came to Utica on Saturday, including a big ESM contingent.
Letcher began his journey to the top with an opening-round pin over Tim Mosher (Baldwinsville) in 1:12. In the quarterfinals, Letcher took even less time -- 53 seconds, to be precise -- to pin Todd Hagger (Cicero-North Syracuse).
Of all his matches, Letcher's semifinal proved to be the toughest, as Jake Bohn (Watertown) took him to the wire before Letcher, by a 5-4 margin, survived to reach the title match.
There, Letcher confronted Fulton's Dillon Shue, unbeaten in 2006-07 going into this match. After allowing the first takedown, Letcher took over, zooming in front and using a series of deft moves to beat Shue, 11-4, and secure his place in Albany.
Unlike Letcher, Adams arrived in Utica carrying the role of favorite. But he didn't flinch from that part, pinning both Brian Carlson (Central Square) and Jon Scheiderich (Rome Free Academy) in the first period in the early rounds.
Adams needed 3:01 to pin James Chaplin (Fowler) in the semifinal round, setting up a title match against Fulton's Connan Ingham.