I?m sure by now most of you have heard the awesome news: Cliffton Wang is a New York State Champion!
He joins Trey Aslanian ?13 as Edgemont?s second wrestler ever to earn this prestigious achievement!
I lost count of all the emails, texts, Facebook and Twitter messages we got congratulating Cliff and our program - you guys are awesome! Thank you so much!
I know a lot of you wanted to be there and couldn?t so figured we?d give you the next best thing and walk you through his tournament!
Fist off, you can check out the final? brackets here. Cliff?s at Division 2 - 182 lbs.
You might notice Cliff looks a little small relative to a lot of his competitors - he was actually 7 pounds under weight!
Cliff opened up his tournament in the Round of 16 vs. Mike Sabella of Mt. Sinai (Section 11):
Sabella is strong and did a great job of holding position, making it hard to get to offense against him. Cliff eventually opened him up in the 3rd period for the the 7-0 decision.
In the quarters, Cliff faced John Deridder of Carle Place-Wheatley (Section 8). Deridder is a little unorthodox. He likes to hit a lot of low singles, Granbys on bottom and throw in legs on top. We had him scouted perfectly and Cliff did a terrific job executing on our game plan to take him out of his strengths.
Cliff was able to scramble out of Deridder?s low single attempt in the 2nd period and lock up and roll through with a suicide cradle for the pin. It was the exact same scramble situation Cliff used to win the Section his first time freshman year!
This win guaranteed Cliff his 2nd career All-State finish and advanced him to Day 2.
Saturday morning, Cliff faced Chance Lapier of Ausable Valley (Section 7) in the semifinals. Like everyone else in the bracket, we scouted Lapier thoroughly and knew he was a big upper body guy. His best scores were from underhooks. Cliff did a great job keeping him out of his strong positions and getting to his own offense.
With the 12-0 major decision over Lapier, Cliff advanced to the finals on Saturday night.This was the 5th time Edgemont has ever had a finalist! Genta Murayama in 2009; Trey in 2011, 2012 and 2013; and now Cliff!
Cliff would be facing Doug Simmons from Canastota (Section 3). Having scouted and game-planned for every wrestler in the bracket (You guys would be impressed - we had a 8 page typed Google Doc shared amongst our coaching staff with a game plan to beat each kid!), before the tournament even started, we felt that Simmons presented the biggest threat to Cliff?s State Championship hopes. We were happy when the brackets came out that Simmons was on the opposite side, as we really believed these were the two best kids at the weight class.
Simmons is very strong with great and very heavy hips. He?s also really unorthodox on bottom, hitting a lot of Granby?s and elevator rolls and constantly looking to back hook elbows or jump back over the top of opponents from bottom. Cliff wrestled Simmons once, earlier in the season in the quarters of Eastern States. In that meeting Simmons reversed Cliff twice, once to his back for 5 points.
This created a little bit of a style mismatch for us. Cliff is great on top and can turn almost anyone, most notably with his Jantzen tilt from a crab ride. The problem here is that doesn?t give Cliff great control of his opponent?s hips which is exactly where Simmons thrives. We had spent the last 10 days leading up to the tournament putting Cliff in various scenarios and positions he would likely see against Simmons and working some alternatives on top that gave Cliff greater control of his opponents hips. We also put him in situation after situation against each of our coaches rolling around on bottom like Simmons, trying to catch his hips on the mat or reverse him. We felt Cliff was the better wrestler and were confident he could beat Simmons in any position and didn?t need to rely on his crab ride. We even worked on just letting him go if he started rolling around too much, conceding the escape if the situation warranted it.
Cliff made some really great adjustments this last week and we felt he was ready for anything Simmons would throw at him.
Here?s the match:
Just as Cliff made some great adjustments since their first meeting, Simmons did as well. Cliff had some of the best handfighting and set-ups to his leg attacks I?ve ever seen from him. Simmons did a great job though slowing down Cliff?s offense by keeping his head in the way really well, tying up Cliff with his Russian, and using his heavy hips on his sprawl to force stalemates.
Cliff kept it interesting for us, deciding to wait until Double Overtime to win. Taking a 1-1 score into Double Overtime, Cliff managed a two-point switch with 6 seconds left in the first 30-second tie-breaker. In the 2nd 30 -second, with Simmons on bottom, he went back to where he was best and started rolling around. Knowing he had a two-point margin, Cliff let Simmons go when he tried to Granby, giving him a one-point escape with 17 seconds left. Cliff knew he had a stall warning and was not about to get called for stalling. He spent the last 17 seconds hand fighting and faking more aggressively than I?ve ever seen him. Simmons managed to get in on the leg with about 7 seconds left and although a little dicey, Cliff held him off with a great scramble as time expired to win 3-2!
Here are some pics from the match, the celebration and the medal stand!
Here?s the cover of Sunday?s Journal News!
Here?s a link to the full article!
Hope you guys enjoy! I?ll be back with a little more reflection in a few days!
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