Story by Ken Cohen
ALBANY February 22, 2013 Three Sullivan County wrestlers will be competing at the State Wrestling Tournament today and Saturday at the Times Union Center in Albany. The championship trio includes Tri-Valley’s Kevin Palko, Liberty’s Andy Martinez, and Eldred/Fallsburg’s Jesse Corcoran.
Palko, a senior, will be wrestling at 152 in his first trip to the states. His season record is 22-5 and he is 39-12 career. “Over the past few weeks Kevin has been working hard at the Section IX team practices,” said Tri-Valley wrestling coach Michael March.
“He is very strong, he shoots a nice double-leg and he pummels well in tie-ups,” March added.
Palko will be facing No. 2 seed Kyle Halladay (29-1) of Chenango Valley in the opening match.
“He’s just going to have to wrestle his match,” said March. “It’s difficult when you don’t know your opponent, but he’s wrestling at his natural weight so he won’t be dehydrated or malnourished, and he wont have to put on weight right before weigh-in.”
Liberty senior Andy Martinez will be making his third consecutive trip to the state championship at 182 pounds. After a rough rookie showing, Martinez placed sixth last year and says he’s going into this year’s tournament feeling confident.
“I am wrestling at 100 percent health at the tournament for the first time, and my willpower and endurance has improved greatly,” said Martinez.
Martinez, 21-7 on the season and 78-22 career, will be facing Chris Roufanis (15-21) of Cold Spring Harbor in his opening match.
“I dont wrestle names, I wrestle who’s in front of me,” said Martinez.
“He’s good on top, he’s good on the mat, and he escapes well,” said Liberty coach John Lennon about Martinez. “His mental ability and footwork are also very strong, allowing him to strategize and manage time well.”
Wrestling in at 220 pounds is senior Jesse Corcoran of Eldred/Fallsburg.
“Were expecting to see Jesse make some noise in the state tournament, it will be the culmination of 11 years of hard work,” said Corcoran’s father and Eldred-Fallsburg co-coach Jim Corcoran.
“Jesse is a good defensive wrestler who’s tough on top,” Corcoran added.
Corcoran was a finalist for the Section IX title as a freshman in 2010 and sophomore in 2011. He was also the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 220 pounds last year in both Division 1 and 2. Unfortunately, his season ended prematurely when he suffered a broken leg while wrestling in a tournament in Marathon, NY in December.
“ We are thrilled to have him win the sectionals this season and to have him representing our merged wrestling program at the states in this, his senior year,” Eldred/Fallsburg co-coach Tim Bult added.
Corcoran is 19-1 on the season, 94-19 for his career. He will be wrestling undefeated Dan Brelt (36-0) of Nanuet in his opening match. Brelt dealt Corcoran his only loss of the season.
“We’re hoping that Jesse has made some adustments throughout the year,” said Jim Corcoran. “We’re sure that he has. He throws himself into whatever he does.”