ALBANY From an injury one season ago that prevented an all-out pursuit for the biggest prize of the winter, CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt wrestler Ben Honis made quite an impression in his return to the state championship meet last weekend at Albany’s Times Union Center.
All that Honis did was go 4-1 on the weekend and snare a third-place finish in Division I at 195 pounds, matching Carthage’s Trevor Gibbons (285 pounds) for the best Section III effort of the meet in the large-school category.
Honis had plenty of motivation for his second state meet appearance, as a torn rotator cuff suffered just before he went to Albany in 2013 led to a quick exit. Now fully healed, he expected, at the very least, a deep run, possibly to the finals.
Meeting Monsignor Farrell’s Michael Newman in his opening-round bout, Honis battled through a scoreless first period, and then used an escape and takedown in the second period to grab a 3-0 lead. Within seconds, Honis had Newman’s shoulders on the mat, and earned the pin in 3:13.
This gave Honis a quarterfinal bout against Kings Park’s Nick Weber, and while he couldn’t pin Weber, Honis remained in top form, pulling away late to earn a 9-3 decision and advance to Saturday afternoon’s semifinal bout against Union-Endicott’s Reggie Williams.
Trailing 5-0 in the second period, Honis used a reversal, takedown and escape to tie it, 5-5, by the third period, but Williams’ late takedown proved too much to overcome as Honis lost, 7-5, to the man who eventually beat Andrew Grella (Beacon) for the state championship.
Guaranteed a spot on the awards podium, Honis pinned Trent Egenlauf in exactly four minutes to reach the consolation bracket final, where against Plainedge’s Robert Oliver, Honis was in total command, using a series of deft moves to prevail 8-2 and earn that third-place spot, finishing his season with a record of 34-2.