I had my first opportunity to cover the wrestling state championships last season, and one of the things that really struck me was the way that all of the Section 1 athletes pulled for each other. For just about every match featuring a Section 1 wrestler, a crowd of others from around the section seem to form. After seeing these wrestlers compete against each other all season, it was a bit of an odd sight. But it was also a refreshing display of sportsmanship and friendship.
I had an opportunity to visit a full Section 1 team practice at John Jay Middle School last Thursday, and it was apparent that all of the state qualifiers from the section have flipped the switch from enemies to teammates once again. John Jay coach Bill Swertfager, who runs these practices, and the rest of the coaches from Section 1 have worked hard to develop that camaraderie, and the proof is in the pudding. Last season was an historic showing for Section 1, and now we’re just a couple of hours away from the start of the 2012 tournament. Here is my full story on how Section 1 becomes one big team at this time of year.
I’m about to get on the road to Albany, but you can follow the action right here. I’ll post results and videos on the blog as often as I can, but the best place to track the action from home will be to follow me on Twitter @vzmercogliano. Wrestling begins at 10 a.m. today, with the quarterfinals scheduled for 2 p.m.
Good luck to all of the Section 1 wrestlers!