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Fleming earns third place at state wrestling meet

Maybe a point or two more, and Corcoran wrestler Lamont Fleming would have something more to celebrate from his appearance at last weekend's New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship meet at Times Union Center in Albany.

As it was, Fleming ended up in third place in the Division I 160-pound category,, tying East Syracuse-Minoa's Dustin Moss (171 pounds) for the best finish of any Section III wrestler in the large-school division.

Two weeks earlier, Fleming had stunned Watertown's Tom Capone (unbeaten for the season) to win the 160-pound sectional final at Utica Memorial Auditorium. That earned him the trophy as the meet's Most Outstanding Wrestler.

When the state meet started on Friday, Fleming had every intention of earning the top prize here, too, as he dominated his first-round match against Cornwall's Tyler Lawlor, working his way to a 12-2 decision.

This set up a classic quarterfinal between Fleming and Huntington's Louis Puca. They traded points until the second period, when Fleming used a pair of takedowns to move ahead 8-4.

Just as quickly, though, Puca caused a reversal and nearly pinned Fleming. That, combined with an escape early in the third period, left Fleming behind 10-8.

Fleming roared back with his own takedown, tying it 10-10, but then Puca escaped to back in front. Try as he could, Fleming could not answer in the final minute, and by a narrow 11-10 margin, his quest for a state title had ended.

Now Fleming faced the consolation bracket. In the four matches that followed, the senior turned extreme disappointment into positive action that earned him a high spot on the awards podium.

It began when Fleming held off Raleigh Defields (Iroquois) 4-2. Gaining momentum, he was more emphatic in an 11-5 victory over James Holden (Curtis) that clinched a top-six podium finish.

When Fleming survived a 3-2 battle with St. Anthony's Brandon Meisner, he earned a berth in the consolation-bracket final against Jericho's Joe Chamish. With a swift move midway through the third period, Fleming put Chamish's shoulders on the mat and earned his lone pin of the tournament.

For the season, Fleming had a record of 33-3, neatly capped off, numerically speaking, by his third-place finish in Albany.

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