LAKE GEORGE - Three years ago, a group of athletes at Lake George seeking to keep in shape during the off-season for football, teamed up with Hadley-Luzerne to form a wrestling team.
Competing against well-established wrestling programs elsewhere, they had their work cut out for them.
In only two seasons, they made their mark, under the mentorship of legendary 40-year coach Jack LaBombard and the talented Larry Rounds of Hadley-Luzerne.
In February, the War-Eagles team placed an admirable fourth in the Section II Class CC tournament, competing against some established powerhouse teams.
On top of this feat, no less than seven War-Eagle wrestlers qualified for the Section II finals. Heavyweight Jack Clark, in the 285-pound weight class, placed third in Section II and qualified for the state tournament. Clark, Hunter Hamilton, Jason Yard and Dan Jardine all made it to the Glens Falls Civic Center. Clark was beaten only by the wrestler who continued on to become the state champion, LaBombard recalled.
"We shocked everybody," he said.
Clark, Hamilton and Yard are returning along with Kyle Bachem - these four have been active in the program for its entire existence - plus outstanding Hadley-Luzerne wrestlers Zach Olson at 130 pounds and Joe Plante at 125.
Bachem competes at 171 pounds, Clark at 285, Hamilton at 140, and Yard at 189.
These experienced wrestlers are joined by returning juniors Casey Bills at 112 pounds, Lee McCabe at 285 and sophomores Art Barber at 165 or so, and Dan Jardine at 119.
New to the program and showing promise are senior Curtis McCoy at 116, junior Robert Ford at 171, sophomore Jamie Dolan at 130, and seventh grade sensation Forrest Kubricky at 105.
LaBombard said he's expecting his experienced veterans to set the tone for the newcomers.
"Jack Clark is a powerful wrestler - he's built like a ox, and when the whistle blows, he comes out like a firetruck," he said.
Jason Yard also received LaBombard's praise.
"Jason's the best pure athlete on team - he's extremely athletic, and he's got a good work ethic - he can do anything," he said.
LaBombard said his 2010-11 squad is geared up to propel the program to new heights.
"The team as a whole has a great work ethic," he said, noting the team will be very strong in the lower weight classes as well as the upper weight classes.
*Editor's Note: The LGCS War Eagles were inadvertantly ommitted from an Adirondack Journal Winter Sports Preview printed last week. We apologize for the oversite and have printed the preview in its entirety here.
2009-10 Lake George - Hadley-Luzerne
"War Eagles" Wrestling Schedule
Dec. 8 Bethlehem Central Away 6:00 p.m.
Dec. 11 GlensFallsTourney Away 10:00 a.m.
Dec. 15 Corinth Central Away 6:00 p.m.
Dec. 18 Canajoharie Trny Away 10:00 a.m.
Dec. 21 Whitehall Central Home 6:00 p.m.
Dec. 23 Granville Central Away 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 30 Qby Holiday Fest Away 10:00 a.m.
Jan. 8 WarEagle Duals Home 10:00 a.m.
Jan. 12 Salem Central Home 6:00 p.m.
Jan. 20 Warrensburg Lk.Geo. 6:00 p.m.
Jan. 22 NAC Tourney Away 10:00 a.m.
Jan. 26 Schuylerville Home 6:00 p.m.
Jan. 29 Wasaren Lge. Trny Away 10:00 a.m.
Feb. 5 Class CC Tourney Hud.Falls 10:00 a.m.
Feb. 11 Section II Finals Civic Ctr. TBA
Feb. 12 Section II Finals Civic Ctr. TBA
Feb. 25 NYS Finals T.U. Ctr, TBA
Feb. 26 NYS Finals T.U. Ctr. TBA
2009-10 Lake George - Hadley-Luzerne
'War Eagles' Wrestling Roster
• Lake George wrestlers •
Kyle Bachem Sr.
Jack Clark Sr.
Jackson Davis Sr.
Hunter Hamilton Sr.
Curtis McCoy Sr.
Jason Yard Sr.
Casey Bills Jr.
Robert Ford Jr.
Lee McCabe Jr.
Art Barber So.
Jamie Dolan So.
Daniel Jardine So.
Jacob Baird 8th
Patrick Barber 8th
Dylan Bachem 7th
Forest Kubricky 7th
Matthew Sawyer 7th
Coaches: Larry Rounds, Jack LaBombard
Manager: Quincie Kubricky