Lawrence’s big comeback began before state meet

PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER Anthony Laniewski of Niskayuna wraps up Garrett Gibbons of Massapequa Friday at the state public high school wrestling championships at Times Union Center.PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER Anthony Laniewski of Niskayuna wraps up Garrett Gibbons of Massapequa Friday at the state public high school wrestling championships at Times Union Center.

Gazette Sportswriter

ALBANY — Luck had nothing to do with how Duanesburg sophomore Zack Lawrence advanced Friday through the initial rounds of the wrestling state championships.

Yes, he needed to make a comeback in both his opening-round match and quarterfinal at Times Union Center to get to today’s Division I 145-pound semifinals — but the sophomore didn’t mind that.

“He’s a worker,” said John Conway, Lawrence’s coach.

But Lawrence sure needed some luck to make sure he got the chance to show that this season. Really, just to have a wrestling season at all.

It was about five months ago when Lawrence woke up in the middle of the night. The pain in his right elbow — where “something like a zit” had appeared a couple days earlier — had become too much.

“So I woke up at about three in the morning,” Lawrence said, “and I couldn’t move my arm.”

He looked down. It didn’t look right. He couldn’t remember going to sleep that night with a football, but it looked like one was resting on his right arm. The swelling had gotten that bad.

Hours later, when he got to his family’s doctor, Lawrence started to realize something was . . . well, something was up.

“The doctor went to go touch it and he pulled his hands back right away,” said Lawrence, laughing at the memory. “He said, ‘I’m not touching that, and you’ve got to go to Albany Medical Center.’”

Lawrence did, the start of several days he spent there as his severe Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection was first treated with medicine before he eventually had to go undergo surgery.

“It had just kept getting bigger and bigger,” Lawrence said. “It went from about two inches up from my wrist up to my shoulder.”

The infection and the recovery from it ended up costing Lawrence more than a month of training right before his wrestling season started, but it almost took more than that from him.

“The doctor told my mom I had a chance to lose my arm if it [had gotten] worse,” said Lawrence, who now sports an inch-long scar on his right arm from the ordeal.

Lawrence had to spend several days in the hospital, then had to wait a couple weeks before his stitches could be removed. Three weeks later, he was able to resume wrestling activities — right in time for the start of preseason practices — but his arm was weak.

“I couldn’t lift anything more than five, 10 pounds with that arm,” he said.

Months later, Lawrence said the strength in his right arm is almost all the way back.

“And it looks like it is [back] with the way he wrestles,” Conway said.

For Lawrence — whose older brother Connor was once a state finalist — this year’s trip back to the state tournament was his fourth. He finished in fifth place as a seventh-grader and in fourth the next year before not placing in 2016.

Lawrence won his first match Friday with a first-period pin after falling behind 5-0 before grinding out a 7-5 decision in the semifinals. He takes on No. 1 Tanner Cook of Section X’s Gouverneur today in the semifinals for a chance to wrestle later in the day for a state title.

The sophomore from Duanesburg said he’ll be ready to make the most of his chance back at Times Union Center.

“Having people cheer me on, that boosts me up a bit,” Lawrence said. “I’m hoping to make some noise, too.”

Schuylerville junior Orion Anderson and Ballston Spa junior Tyler Barnes, Section II’s only No. 1 seeds, got through their opening two rounds
Friday without too much trouble.

Anderson, who won a Division II 106-pound state championship last season, is wrestling at 120 pounds this season. He pinned his opening-round opponent in 1:48 before taking an 18-7 decision in the quarterfinals.

“It’s about getting to tomorrow,” Anderson said. “You never know who you’re gonna wrestle here. This tournament’s tough, so you got to wrestle hard.”

Barnes, the top-seeded Division I 170-pound wrestler, pinned his first opponent in 54 seconds. Undefeated this season, Barnes advanced into the semifinals with a 9-4 decision victory.

Besides Anderson, Barnes and Lawrence, five other Section II wrestlers qualified for today’s semifinals.

At the Division I level, that group includes Shenendehowa sophomore Kiernan Shanahan (No. 3, 145 pounds) and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake senior Jake Warren (No. 7, 285 pounds).

Qualifying from Division II were Maple Hill sophomore Trent Svingala (No. 2, 106 pounds), Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George senior Jason Hoffman (No. 3, 170 pounds) and Glens Falls senior Lucas Sanders (No. 8, 285 pounds).

Shanahan will face a No. 1 seed in his semifinal, while Sanders knocked off his bracket’s top-rated wrestlers in the quarterfinals. Sanders won a 9-8 decision against Clay Watts of Section VII’s Beekmantown to advance to the semifinals.

Matt Laporte, an unseeded sophomore from Hoosick Falls, knocked off the No. 1 wrestler in the Division II 113-pound bracket in the opening round. Laporte then lost an 8-1 decision in the quarterfinals. . . . After quickly falling behind 2-0, Schenectady senior Deyker Edwards recovered well enough in his first trip to the state tournament to make a match of it. He ended up losing his opening-round match 5-3. . . . Nine Section II wrestlers won their opening-round match but failed to advance to the semifinals.

Section II results
Division I
99 — No. 3 Brock Delsignore (South Glens Falls) tech. fall Sam Searles (Malone-X), 3:24; lost by dec. to No. 6 Terry Adams (Monsignor Farrell-C), 10-5; lost by dec. to Christian Gannone (Eastport South Manor-XI), 6-4; eliminated.
106 — Antoine Grace (Queensbury) los tby fall to No. 7 Dylan Earl (Monroe-Woodbury-IX), 3:09; pinned Joe Becker (Lynbrook-VIII),  4:34; dec. CJ McMonegal (North Rockland-I), 7-2.
113 — Michael Gonyea (Columbia) lost by fall to No. 2 Justin McDougald (Niagara Wheatfield-VI), 5:26; pinned Nathan Recore (Malone-X), 0:33; dec. No. 8 Matt Romano (Valley Central-IX), 7-1.
120 — Trent Nadeau (Columbia) pinned No. 8 Matthew Mina (Brooklyn Technical-P), 5:16; lost by maj. dec. to No. 1 Adam Busiello (Eastport South Manor-XI), 11-1; lost by fall to Matt Genau (Williamsville South-VI), 2:37.
126 — No. 5 John Devine (Columbia) dec. Darren Rich (Ithaca-IV), 7-1; lost by dec. to No. 4 Randy Earl (John Jay East Fishkill-I), 8-1; dec. No. 3 Michael Killard (Wantagh-VIII), 6-2.
132 — Deyker Edwards (Schenectady) lost by dec. to No. 3 Mike Venoso (Victor-V), 5-3; dec. Robert Satriano (Valley Central-IX), 10-3; lost by fall to No. 5 Matt Maquet (Long Beach-VIII), 1:24; eliminated.
138 — No. 4 Christian Gramuglia (Burnt Hills) lost by dec. to James Trezza (Smithtown East-XI), 4-1; maj. dec. Alfred Macneil (Malone-X), 10-0;  dec. No. 6 Cooper Kropman (Penfield-V), 1-0.
145 — No. 3 Kiernan Shanahan (Shenendehowa) pinned Gavin Perrine (Massena-X), 1:18; dec. Jonah Cavallo (Jamesville-DeWitt-III), 9-4; in semis vs. No. 7 Gianno Silba (Newark Valley-IV).
152 — No. 5 Anthony Laniewski (Niskayuna) dec. Garrett Gibbons (Massapequa-VIII), 3-2; lost by dec. to No. 4 Evan Barczak (Monroe-Woodbury-IX), 3-0; lost by OT dec. to Billy Sims (Lindenhurst-VIII), 3-1; eliminated.
160 — No. 8 Eoghan Sweeney (Niskayuna) maj. dec. Tyler Tambini (Malone-X), 16-2; lost by dec. to No. 1 Ryan Ferro (Warwick-IX), 4-2; lost by fall to Kyle Jasenski (Albany Academy), 1:43; eliminated.
160 — Kyle Jasenski (Albany Academy) lost by fall to No. 2 Grant Cuomo (Brewster-I), 2:44; dec. No. 7 Dom Crouse (Sweet Home-VI), 7-1; pinned No. 8 Eoghan Sweeney (Niskayuna), 1:43.
170 — No. 1 Tyler Barnes (Ballston Spa) pinned Feras Zedeia (W.C. Bryant-P), 0:54; dec. No. 8 Jacob Ferreira (Horace Greeley-I), 9-4; in semis vs. No. 5 Jacob Smeader (Hamburg-VI).
182 —  Jake Cook (Ballston Spa) dec. No. 7 Brandon Vancooten (Sewanhaka West-VIII), 10-1; lost by fall to No. 2 Matt Ciccio (Niagara Wheatfield-VI), 2:46; lost by dec. to Max Emond (Central Square-III), 5-1; eliminated.
195 — No. 7 Dylan Dubuque (Columbia) pinned Michael Gardner (Massena-X), 1:16; lost by OT dec. to No. 2 Greg Hodulick (Islip-XI), 6-4; dec. Dillon Knoll (Hamburg-VI), 3-2.
220 — Jake Stangle (Ballston Spa) lost by fall to Matt Defrancis (Eastport-XI), 4:25; lost by dec. to Mark Rivera (Long Beach-VIII), 3-2; eliminated.
285 — No. 7 Jake Warren (Burnt Hills) pinned Nicholas Greer (St. Anthony’s-C), 3:15; dec. Mike Spicer (Baldwinsville-III), 12-6; in semis vs. No. 3 Deonte Wilson (Amityville-XI).
Division II
99 — Caleb Svingala (Maple Hill) lost by fall to No. 8 Marek Bush (Central Valley Academy-III), 1:17; lost by dec. Carter Schubert (Williamson/Marion/Sodus-V), 1-0; eliminated.
106 — No. 2 Trent Svingala (Maple Hill) pinned Pat Ross (Onteora-IX), 1:10; OT dec. No. 7 Bradley Cheek (Canisteo-Greenwood-V), 4-2; in semis vs. No. 6 Len Balducci (Pleasantville-I).
106 — Gabe Fisher (Hoosick Falls) lost by dec. to No. 6 Len Balducci (Pleasantville-I), 6-2; lost by dec. to Doug Ciszak (Pioneer-VI), 5-1; eliminated.
113 — Matt Laporte (Hoosick Falls) dec. No. 1 Eli Rodriguez (Norwich-IV), 10-4; lost by dec. to Matt Campo (Mount Sinai-XI), 8-1; dec. Bryce Smith (Saranac-VII), 4-2.
120 — No. 1 Orion Anderson (Schuylerville) pinned Victor Perlleshi (Pleasantville-I), 1:48; dec. No. 8 Carson Dobozy (Peru-VII), 18-7; in semis vs. No. 4 Cahal Donovan (Phoenix-3).
120 — Frank Darwak (Mechanicville/Stillwater) lost by maj. dec. to No. 4 Cahal Donovan (Phoenix-III), 15-1; pinned Hector Rodriguez (Eagle Academy Bronx-P), 1:20; dec. No. 6 Zach Braddell (Tonawanda-VI), 4-2.
126 — Daniel Motta (Mechanicville/Stillwater) lost by tech. fall to No. 8 Satoshi Abe (Putnam Valley-Haldane-I), 5:22; lost by dec. to Daniel Koll (Lansing-IV), 6-4; eliminated.
132 — Jason Ashline (Whitehall/Fort Ann) lost by fall to No. 1 Dane Heberlein (Alexander-V), 0:59; dec. Bryant Sexton (SVEC-IV), 3-1; lost by maj. dec. to No. 7 Jared Eliopolous (Putnam Valley/Haldane-I), 12-0; eliminated.
132 — Gideon Jardine (Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George) lost by tech. fall to No. 3 Hector Colom (Fredonia-VI), 4:14; lost by dec. to Kaedan Peryea (Beekmantown-VII), 9-5; eliminated.
138 — Dillan Palaszewski (Galway) lost by dec. to No. 5 Emerson Block (Pal-Mac-V), 6-2; pinned Mike Diforte (Petrides-P), 2:29; lost by dec. to No. 3 Jack Ward (Locust Valley-VIII), 4-0; eliminated.
145 — No. 5 Zack Lawrence (Duanesburg) pinned Derick Stowell (Gouvernneur-X), 1:40; dec. No. 4 Dustin Joy (Lyndonville-V), 7-5; in semis vs. No. 1 Tanner Cook (Central Valley Academy-III).
152 — No. 7 Collin O’Brien (Watervliet/Heatly) dec. Thomas Hoeg (Mattituck-XI), 3-0; lost by maj. dec. to No. 2 Ross McFarland (Phoenix-III), 12-0; lost by dec. to Dan Torres (Falconer-VI), 7-1; eliminated.
152 — Charlie Grygas (Duanesburg) lost by dec. to No. 4 Shvunte Searcy (Marathon-IV), 3-1; dec. Tevrett Covedill (Fillmore-V), 7-1; dec. No. 6 Mason Compton (Attica-Batavia-V), 5-4.
160 — Fritz Scheffler (Tamarac) maj. dec. No. 5 Caleb Beach (South Jefferson/Sandy Creek-III), 14-6; lost by dec. to Madison Hoover (BGAH-4), 5-0; dec. Dustin Hinckley (Lyndonville-V), 11-9.
170 — No. 3 Jason Hoffman (Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George) dec. Micah Miller (Maine-Endwell-IV), 9-7; dec. No. 6 Trevor Snow (General Brown-III), 6-4; in semis vs. No. 2 Sean Mosca (Carle Place-Wheatley-VIII).
170 — Ryan Slater (Salem/Cambridge) lost by dec. to No. 7 Anthony Malfitano (Pearl River-I), 6-5; lost by dec. to Trevor Micek (Maple Grove-VI), 3-1; eliminated.
182 — No. 3 Mike Sutliff (Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George) lost by dec. to Dylan Dunham (Whitney Point-IV), 8-4; pinned Tanner Donaldson (Gouverneur-X), 1:13; lost by dec. to No. 5 Brennan Slater (Norwich-IV), 6-1; eliminated.
182 — No. 7 Dillon Warner (Schoharie) lost by dec. to Corey Keefe (Falconer-VI), 1-0; forfeit win; maj. dec. John Deridder (Carle Place/Wheatley-VIII), 12-4.
182 — No. 8 Naphtali Steward (Ravena) lost by fall to John Deridder (Carle Place/Wheatley-VIII), 5:57; lost by dec. to Mike Sabella (Mount Sinai-XI), 5-3; eliminated.
195 — No. 4 Jake Pine (Hoosick Falls) lost by dec. to Brandon Gracey (Mexico-III), 8-6; lost by fall to No. 5 Jody Hermance (Granville), 6:00; eliminated.
195 — No. 5 Jody Hermance (Granville) lost by dec. to Anthony Buffolino (Clarke-VIII), 6-3; pinned No. 4 Jake Pine (Hoosick Falls), 6:00; lost by dec. to No. 6 Jeff Uveino (Perry-V), 6-0; eliminated.
195 — Ryan Harper (Duanesburg) lost by tech. fall to No. 2 James Hoeg (Mattituck-XI), 3:38; pinned Eoghan Murphy (Hastings-I), 2:15; dec. Sean Ahern (Saranac-VII), 9-5.
220 — No. 7 Michael Gaudette (Mechanicville/Stillwater) lost by fall to George Williams (Waterloo-V), 4:55; pinned Justin Lorenzo (Petrides-P), N/A; lost by dec. to Garyn Huntley (Unatego-IV), 10-7; eliminated.
220 — No. 8 Jack Binder (Warrensburg/Bolton) lost by fall to Garyn Huntley (Unatego-IV), 3:50; dec. Cole McKee (Peru-VII), 4-3; lost by fall to George Williams (Waterloo-V), 2:15; eliminated.
285 — No. 8 Lucas Sanders (Glens Falls) dec. William Sutherland (Rondout Valley-IX), 7-5; dec. No. 1 Clay Watts (Beekmantown-VII), 9-8; in semis vs. Jacob Morrison (Unatego-IV).
285 — Daniel Hayner (Mechanicville/Stillwater) lost by fall to No. 3 Laith Alsous (Lewiston Porter-VI), 1:12; pinned No. 6 Kyle Fitzgerald (South Lewis-III), 2:15; lost by fall to Brendan Marsocci (Byron-Bergen-V), 0:35; eliminated.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Michael Kelly at 395-3109,, or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.