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Will East's Cohen, Lancaster's Michel lead strong showing

His lip was bloodied, but all Williamsville East senior Dylan Cohen wanted to do was go in the stands.

"I am going to go hug my parents," Cohen said.

With a third-period rally, Cohen moved on to the second day of the New York State wrestling championships with a 9-5 upset win over Division I 132-pound top seed Dan Ventura from Fox Lane (Section I). Cohen's upset made him one of several Section VI wrestlers to make it to the semifinal round of the two-day tournament at the Times Union Center.

"It is all mental. It is all up here," Cohen said while tapping his temple. "You can't be tired. This is it. This is what everything you do, every second of extra work, is for."

Cohen, who made the tournament as a wild card this season, holds the school record in wins with 149 and gets a chance for No. 150 at 10 a.m. today against Nick Cegelski of Penfield (Section V).

"State semis going to win that. State finals going to win that," Cohen said trying to catch his breath after the quarterfinal win. "Never give up. Always keep wrestling."

Cohen's rally wasn't the only made by a Western New York on Friday.

Lancaster junior Steve Michel, who had torn the meniscus in his left knee at the start of this season and had surgery, also tore the meniscus in his right knee the day before sectionals. Nevertheless, with a technical fall victory over Keanu Thompson from Grand Street Campus (PSAL) Michel is in the Division I 120-pound semifinals.

"I have been here three times and it is the greatest feeling," said Michel, a three-time sectional champion. "The knee gets tight, but I felt like I was supposed to make it this far. I did it. I made it."

Michel faces Sean McCabe from Connetquot (Section XI) in the semifinals. It is the first time that Michel has reached the semifinal in the three trips he has made to Albany.

"I have so much more confidence in what I do now," Michel said about his third state tournament experience. "I am going to get a lot of sleep. I am going to be ready for [today] for sure."

Other Section VI Division I wrestlers to advance to the semifinals included Anthony Orefice from Lockport (106 pounds) and No. 1 seed James Kloc from Iroquois (145). Niagara-Wheatfield's Max Antone pinned his way to the 220-pound semifinals, where he will face Derek Dalton from Section III's Indian River.

In Division II, Medina junior Matt Montesanti held on for a 4-3 win over Brandon Fayle of Lowville (Section III) in the 285-pound division. Montesanti had the inside of his lip split open in the third period. His teeth were covered in blood after the win.

"It happens every match," Montesanti said about the injury. "I just had to keep him down. It was one of the hardest things to do to win. Now I get to go to the semifinal. It was worth getting my face beat in."

Montesanti faces Hayden Head from Section VII's Beekmantown in the semifinal.

Also making the semifinals in Division II were Drew Marra from Olean (106), Dan Reagan of Lewiston-Porter (138) and Royalton-Hartland's Drew Hull (145). Top seed Nick Mitchell of Frewsburg (170) had a pair of technical falls to make it through the first day, while fellow No. 1 see Tony Luck of Pioneer (182) picked up a pin and a technical fall in reaching the semifinals. Salamanca's top-seeded Ben Haas and Medina's Tristan Hamner are also both 152-pound semifinalists.

Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer of Cheektowaga made the semifinals when he sprang an 8-6 overtime upset of No. 2 seed Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich (Section IV) in the 126-pound weight class.

Semifinals begin at 10 a.m. today, with the finals at 6 p.m.