Beekmantown's Hayden Head has his arm raised as NYSPHSAA state champion at 285-lbs. Saturday, Feb. 25.
Beekmantown senior wrestler Hayden Head a state champion at 285-lbs.
Head, in his New York State Public High School Athletic Association state championship match against Alex Soutiere of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk.
In the match, started the match with a scoreless first period against Soutiere. Head started the second round in top position, and Soutiere earned an escape at the 1:22 mark for a 1-0 lead. Head then scored a takedown with 10 seconds left in the period to take a 2-1 lead.
In the third, Head started in the bottom position, and scored a two-point reverse 15 seconds in for a 4-1 lead. Head then turned Soutiere onto his back at the 1:22 mark and earned the pin with 1:18 remaining.
Head, who was ranked second in the weight class, started his tournament with a pin of Robert Salinas (Carle Place, Section VIII) 43 seconds into the second period. Head opened the match with a takedown and back points for a 4-1 lead heading into the second period. Head started the second period on top, working to turn Salinas and get the pin.
“I’m pumped,” Head said immediately following the match. “I expected to come here and win, but I did not expect to do it with four pins.”
Head said that he used the first period to his advantage and, while not scoring any points, he was able to tire out Soutiere.
“He was very aggressive,” Head said. “I tried to keep him going and tire him out so I could use my conditioning to find holes later in the match.”
As Head started to pursue the championship-winning move, he knew he was in a good position.
“As soon as I felt his head tuck underneath, I sat back and pulled down hard. As soon as I heard the refs hand hit the mat, I was pumped.”
“I thought he was going to his back as soon as I saw that Hayden had him moving,” Eagles head coach Len Gadway said. “This is a great win for Hayden and for Beekmantown.”
For Head and Gadway, it was the first state championship.
“I am happy that we finally got one, but I am more happy for Hayden,” Gadway said.
“It’s an awesome feeling to be the first,” Head said. “Coach really helped bring this program along and he needed a state champion under his belt.”
In the quarterfinal round, Head faced seventh-seeded Dan Ognibene (Alexander, Section V). Head scored a takedown 15 seconds into the match and almost earned a pin in the period, but ended leading 5-1 heading into the second. Head then pulled further away in the second period, leading 9-2 in entering the third period, where he took down Ognibene for the pin 1:21 into the final period.
Head also went into the third period against his semifinal opponent, Matt Montesanti (Medina, Section VI). Head scored a takedown in the first period and a reversal along with a penalty point in the second to lead 5-0 heading into the final two minutes, starting the period in the top position and pinning Montesanti 18 seconds in.
Head entered the state tournament with a record of 37-2, having won his third straight sectional title to advance to the state championship tournament.