SLATE HILL — Port Jervis coach John Foley said "this season has been one to remember."
That can be agreed upon by many.
The Minisink Valley wrestling team won its fifth consecutive Section 9 wrestling Div. I dual meet championship at Minisink Valley High School on Wednesday night. In Div. II, Port Jervis bested New Paltz, 38-30 for a third straight championship.
Both Minisink Valley and Port Jervis will be headed to SRC Arena and Events Center in Syracuse for the dual meet state championships on Jan. 29
The top-seeded Minisink Valley Warriors would take down No. 4 Newburgh Free Academy in the semifinals, 58-6. They would continue to dominate, as they beat second-seeded Monroe-Woodbury, 57-6 to win it all.
“It feels great," Minisink Valley interim coach Scott Hendershot said after the win. "It’s a little weird that we won it without Coach [Kevin] Gallagher here, because he’s a little under the weather right now. Look at those kids right there, that’s what it’s about right there. Those kids are awesome kids.”
Minisink Valley senior Sofia Macaluso contributed in a big way on her team's path to the championship. She would win the quarterfinals on Tuesday and earn a 3-0 decision at 118 lbs. in the championship over Maxim Javorsky.
“I’m feeling awesome," she said. "I beat the top seed in the section, Alex Greco of Warwick in the quarterfinals, so I’m feeling like I’m on top of the world right now, to be honest. This is my dream. I want to win sections, I want to be the first girl to win Div. I sections in Section 9. I’m ready for it.
“Today before my match I always tell myself ‘don’t stop;" she added. "I know I have the better cardio. I know I want it more, I know I have more grit. I trained my whole life for this and I know I deserve it and I know just to not stop. I never stop.”
Junior Ethan Gallo won by pin in both matches at 215 lbs. Michael Altomer would win both matches at 189. Andrew Filip picked up a victory in the championship at 285. Eric Teague was victorious at 152 with a first-round pin in the final round.
Monroe-Woodbury's Jonathan Subocz (138) and Jordan Brown (145) earned wins by decision for the Crusaders in the championship. The Crusaders beat third-seeded Middletown, 47-12 in the semifinals.
The Merli brothers, Jackson (145) and Cooper (102) were the only winners in the semifinals for the Goldbacks, in their first year together on the varsity team.
“Honestly it’s one of the most fun things I’ve ever done," senior Jackson Merli said. "It’s exciting. Him and I were the only ones who won tonight, so it was kind of nice having him there with me to enjoy this ride.”
Jackson mustered out an exciting 8-6 win over Luke Greiner at 145 lbs. in extra time.
“I got ahead early," Merli said. "I kind of gave up a few points at the end, but I pulled down and finished and that’s what mattered.”
On the opposite mat, Foley said Port Jervis was "consistent" which is a mantra he has told his team all season.
Port Jervis sophomore Ryan Ross said "it's crazy" and it is good to be back after being a part of a championship team as an eighth-grader. He won his championship match by major decision, 12-5, over Justin Coiteux.
In a final four that featured three female wrestlers, Port Jervis eighth-grader Charlie Wylie took care of business early, pinning Garrett Thompson only 16 seconds into the match. At 118, New Paltz's Rebecca Brennan recorded a win over Port Jervis' Alyssa Reed.
“I was just going to go out there and wrestle how I normally do, with the blast double and then the cradle," Wylie said. "I always do that.”
This article originally appeared on Times Herald-Record: Section 9 wrestling: Minisink Valley wins fifth consecutive title