With six varsity wrestlers out due to eligibility problems, injuries and a flu bug, things didn’t look good for the Berkeley High team going into Thursday’s match against powerful Albany. And it only got worse once the actual matches started.
Albany won the first four varsity matches, including two by pin and one by technical fall (wrestling’s version of the slaughter rule) on their way to winning 69-9. The Cougars went through the short BSAL season undefeated at 3-0, and are heavy favorites heading into the league-wide meet on Feb. 17.
After the junior varsity matches were completed, the varsity matches quickly turned against the Yellowjackets (1-2 BSAL). Berkeley’s Sarah Ravera fought hard but was pinned in the second period by Steven Pressnall, and the rout was on. Albany’s David Yeaman made quick work of Yellowjacket Antal Polony, needing just 1:36 to pin Polony’s shoulders to the mat.
Eric Aki was the first ’Jacket to last the entire three rounds, but was shut out 8-0 by Joey Seltzer. Kris Austin was next, and he managed to hold out until the second period before bowing out at a 17-1 deficit to Brian Mitchell.
The Yellowjackets pulled back some pride with Parker Robinson, as he was ahead 10-0 with less than a minute left before his opponent, Eric Blaisdell, withdrew with a shoulder injury. Tsehaya Banfidagne outpointed Albany’s Ramses Alvarez, 7-2, but that was all the victory Berkeley could muster.
Karl Moore pinned Owen Gould in the final match of the night, followed by a long series of forfeits by Berkeley, seven in all.