It’s been a long and winding high school wrestling journey for Hector Colom. His travels have included a two-year stop at St. Francis, after attending Dunkirk Schools, before ending up where he said he feels most at home in Fredonia.
Wherever he’s gone, though, Colom has found success on the mat.
In addition to being a former state Catholic champion, Colom became a three-time Section VI title-holder by repeating as the 132-pound champion at the Division II State Qualifier Saturday at Lake Shore.
After Colom scored a last-second, one-point escape to send his match with Randolph’s Matt Evans into overtime, a takedown earned him a hard-fought 4-2 win.
When the two wrestled earlier this season, Evans sprang a late reversal on Colom to earn the win. Evans did the same thing in the third period Saturday to go up, 2-1, but Colom got the needed point to force overtime.
“As he did that to me, it threw me back to the match where it happened before,” said Colom, who won his first title at 106 as an eighth-grader at Dunkirk. “I thought about my family and friends that came out to see me wrestle and saw 14 seconds left on the clock and I knew I needed to go.”
His next goal is winning a state championship. He finished second last season. He’ll get that chance Feb. 23-24 at the Times Union Center in Albany. All winners from Division II and select wild cards will advance to the state championships.
Springville freshman Mikey Evans and Falconer senior Dan Torres joined Colom as second-time champions.
At 106, Evans earned a first-period pin of last year’s champion in the weight class, Pioneer’s Doug Ciszak. Evans, who won at 99 last season, had beaten Ciszak twice before Saturday.
“I knew he was a tough kid but I was just confident in all of the moves I’ve been working on,” Evans said.
After winning at 152 last year, Falconer senior Dan Torres came from down three early in the match for a 5-3 win over Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Panama’s Bryce Rowe at 160.
Tonawanda junior Zach Braddell bounced back from a dissappointing loss in the finals last season to win his third Section VI title. He won, 10-2, over Alden-Akron’s Owen Kissell at 126. A past sectional champion at 99 and 106, Braddell finished fourth at states last season and said anything less than a title “won’t cut it.”
“That loss last year definitely hurt a little bit but I used it as fuel to get better and better,” Braddell said.
Second-seed Zach Brown, a senior from Newfane, pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the night, with a first-round pin of Falconer’s Dylan Ingrao, the state’s top seed at 152. Brown, who had lost by pin to Ingrao at the Section VI Class C Championships only the week before, earned Most Outstanding Wrestler.
“I figured I would just go for it,” said Brown, who lost in the 132-pound final last year. “It was pretty amazing.”
In a rematch of last year’s final at 182, Falconer senior Corey Keefe turned the tables on 2017 champion Zak Trim, a senior from Maple Grove, with a 7-2 win at 195.
Keefe, who had also lost to Trim at a tournament earlier in the season, said it wasn’t about revenge.
“I just knew I had to go out, give it my all and wrestle hard just like any other match,” Keefe said.
East Aurora junior Johnny Putney also bounced back from a finals loss last season to win at 138, defeating Fredonia’s Giovani Russo, 6-2.
Southwestern senior Giuseppe Hoose avenged a loss in the finals last season by earning a 3-0 win over Newfane’s Julian Nixon at 182.
Pioneer junior Mike Rigerman, who was also a sectional runner-up last season, cruised to a 12-0 win over Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Panama’s Ben Szymanowski at 220.
At 170, Falconer junior Robbie Penhollow scored an escape in the third overtime to defeat Alden-Akron’s Jacob Sarow, 5-4.
Sarow, a senior, had a two-point takedown awarded to him in the first overtime overruled.
Lackawanna eighth grader Mohamed Alshawai scored a 9-2 win over Lake Shore’s Julian Martin in the 113 final. At 145, Iroquois junior Cory Day pulled away from Pioneer’s Caleb Riordan, 8-2.
Also in the finals, Newfane freshman Andrew Lucinski defeated Maple Grove’s Luke Tomlinson, 10-2, at 99; Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Panama sophomore Brendon Ramsey outlasted Newfane’s Ryan Nugent, 5-2, at 120; and Starpoint senior Anthony Robinson bested Cheektowaga’s Kiar Parker, 5-2, at 285.