Lucas and Reece Mariacher have a lot in common beside the fact the Iroquois seniors are identical twins.
Besides having a tendency for knowing what the other is thinking without uttering a word, they had experienced the agony of defeat the past two seasons in championship bouts in the Section VI large school state-qualifying wrestling tournament.
The twins have even more in common today. They know what it feels like to be a Section VI champion.
The third time proved to be the charm Saturday as they earned coveted bids to the state tournament before an estimated crowd of 1,000 in the University at Buffalo's Alumni Arena.
Lucas, who is five minutes older than Reece, won the 135-pound title over Sweet Home's Nic Stella, 5-2. Reece broke through at 140 pounds with a convincing 11-2 triumph over Orchard Park's Scott Mang.
Both wrestlers, along with younger brother and 119-pound champion Matt Mariacher, entered the state qualifier ranked first in their weight classes in the Western New York poll. Now all of them know they're truly No. 1.
"It's just great that we finally won," said Lucas Mariacher, who carries a 42-4 record into the states Friday and Saturday at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, L.I. "It all just came down to putting it all on the mat because the rankings really don't matter. It's whoever wrestles the best at this tournament."
Matt, who captured a 10-2 decision from North Tonawanda's Rory Bruce and previously went to states at 103 and 119 pounds, said the trip will be more enjoyable because of the presence of his brothers.
"It's better knowing you have people you work with the whole year going with you," said Matt, who is 38-4 and placed second at states at 103 two years ago. "We worked for this our entire lives, and it's nice that we finally got it."
Lucas came out a winner after taking control in the third period, scoring on an escape and then a takedown to break a 2-2 tie.
"I'm happy I finally won. I was sick of losing in the finals," he said.
"I feel so happy for both of us but mostly for him because we practice together and both push each other," said Reece, who is 33-1 and lost the previous two years in double overtime. "I'm also happy I won because it was my last chance."
The man who pinned a pair of losses on Lucas Mariacher in previous state qualifiers, Brian Marmo of Starpoint, lost an entertaining 130-pound final to Clarence's Dan Audy in overtime, 6-4. Audy scored on a takedown with 28 seconds left in the period, thwarting a spin move Marmo used earlier in the match to score a takedown. Marmo previously went to states at 119 and 125.
Audy, who is 36-1 and beat Marmo for the second time this season, wrestled with a shoulder injury in last year's Class AAAA meet to earn a spot in the state qualifier, but the ailment prevented him from wrestling.
"It motivated me that much more," he said. "Just being able to compete in the state tournament is a great honor."
Other large school winners were Lancaster's Clint Schaefer (96) and Dereck Welch (112), Cheektowaga's Jared Messina (103), Niagara-Wheatfield's Zech Lange (125) and Jake Koshinski (171), Lockport's Matt Cinelli (145), Clarence's Alex Sidlecki (152), Starpoint's Sean Becker (160) and Kyle Gibas (189), Pioneer's Randy Colling (215) and West Seneca East's Cory Mental (275).
In the small schools state qualifier, Barker's Mike Aris earned a chance to defend his 130-pound title by beating Glen Dickerson of Falconer in overtime, 4-2. In a 112 bout between last year's state participants in different weight classes, Jarred Lemke of Alden pinned Matt Metzler of Salamanca in 5:05.
Other small school winners included Fredonia's Chris Conti (96), Kenny Betts (119) and Rob Dahn (215), Eden's Rob Broda (103) and Mike Bunn (125), Medina's Derrick Adams (135), Barker's Vince Aris (140), Ripley's Mike Gresh (145), Roy-Hart's Steve Farrell (152), Southwestern's Mikel Bush (160), Falconer's Brian Gunnell (171), Gowanda's John Maybee (189) and Akron's Doug Bruning (275).