While it was nice that Corcoran senior wrestler Lamont Fleming made his way to the 160-pound Division I championship round at Saturday's Section III championship meet at Utica Memorial Auditorium, the fun was supposed to end there.
Fleming, the no. 2 seed with a 27-2 record, had beaten Mike Mannion (Fayetteville-Manlius) 8-0 and Antonio LeBron (Fulton) 5-0, not allowing a point. But he was a decided underdog in Saturday night's final against Watertown's Tom Capone, a perfect 40-0 for the season.
But Fleming thought -- and acted -- otherwise. He kept Capone from building on his early 2-0 lead, then executed a reversal in the third period to tie it, 2-2, putting the match in doubt.
In the final minute, Fleming made an aggressive move and, with a takedown, took a 4-2 lead. Though Capone escaped, Fleming held on to win, 4-3, and earn a trip to the Feb. 26-27 state championships at Albany's Times Union Center.
At meet's end, Fleming earned the Division I Most Outstanding Wrestler trophy, a token of respect for both his work during the tournament and the quality of opposition he beat.
Corcoran's team, a combination of wrestlers from all four of the city's major high schools, finished 11th in the Division I (large school) team standings with 57 points and would put two wrestlers into championship matches.
Junior Kavrin Cox, from a no. 3 seed, earned his way to the 189-pound finals. Cox started with a tough 3-1 decision over Nick Mieczkowski (Vernon Verona Sherrill) in the quarterfinals, then held on to beat Shane Bartrum (Oswego) 8-7 in the semifinal round. Cox then lost to Fulton's Zach Race 8-2 in the title match as his record went to 22-7.
Elsewhere, freshman Tial Thang impressed by going 3-2 at 152 pounds. After a first-round forfeit and a quarterfinal defeat to eventual champion Jacob Burke (Mexico), Thang beat Solvay's Mike Warne 11-8 and, after another defeat, toppled Zach Anderson (Jamesville-DeWitt/CBA) 5-2 to take fifth place.
Tremaine Williams (285 pounds) won a first-round match over F-M's Sam Wells 7-4, then lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual champion, Carthage's Pat Gibbons. Emmanuel Chanelo went 0-2 at 140 pounds. Kareeb Howard (130 pounds) and Kyle Gabriel (135 pounds) lost in the first round, too.