For the third consecutive year, the Section 1 Dual Meet Championship will come down to Pearl River and Putnam Valley in the small school division. The two well-run programs have formed a real rivalry since the Pirates dropped down from the large school ranks in 2014 and Wednesday could represent another memorable chapter.
The Tigers outlasted Pearl River for the title in 2014, but it was the Pirates who came out on top last year. Which team will make it two out of three? We’ll find out on Wednesday at Put Valley High.
Must-see match: 132 pounds, Putnam Valley’s Kyle Sams vs. Pearl River’s Dylan Urban — In a rematch of last year’s 113-pound sectional final, we’ll get to see if Urban has closed the gap. Sams won a 9-3 decision that day for his second straight title, but he had a humbling loss on Saturday, getting pinned by John Jay-East Fishkill’s Randy Earl. Let’s see how he responds.
Key swing match: 285 pounds, Putnam Valley’s Constantine George vs. Pearl River’s Tyler DiLorenzo — Two years ago, George was a section champion as a sophomore. But at this time last year, he wasn’t even on the Tigers’ roster. He decided not to wrestle as a junior to concentrate on football, but now he’s back for his senior year and he could be a wild card for Put Valley. It’s reasonable to expect some rust, but he has a chance to make a statement here against the defending champ in DiLorenzo. The winner will be established as the guy to beat this season.
Strategic move to consider: From 113-138 pounds, you could argue that Put Valley is the best team in the section, regardless of school size. Four of those weight classes will be occupied by former section champs – Sams, Mikey Bruno, Satoshi Abe and Jared Eliopoulos. That’s the area where the Tigers will need to do damage, specifically with pins, in order to unseat the Pirates as champs. Put Valley might even consider bumping Eliopoulos up from 138 pounds to 145 to offset one of Pearl River’s best, senior Sean McGarvey.
Coach speak: “(Pearl River) is an outstanding team and certainly a strong dual meet team because they field a full lineup with kids that are competitive. We will have some holes, giving them a cushion, so we will need to compete and win at almost every weight we send out to have a shot at beating them. Bonus points will be critical and I doubt we can beat them without them.” — Putnam Valley coach Will Carano
Prediction: Pearl River 39, Putnam Valley 38 — Even with the Tigers looking like they’ll give up three forfeits, I still think this one will come down to the wire. The strength of Put Valley’s lineup mirrors that of Pearl River, except I believe the Tigers will win many of those light-to-middle weight matches. It’s nice to have five former champs in your lineup. In the end, though, I think the Pirates will be able to score enough points from 145 pounds up to pull this one out. Getting All-State senior Anthony Malfitano back over the weekend from his sprained knee was huge for Pearl River.