Suhr vs. Habecker: survival of fittest in state qualifier
By LEO ROTH, Times Union
Spencerport's Rick Suhr and Marion's Tim Habecker are two wrestlers at the top of their sport. Suhr is 29-1 while Habecker is 31-1 this season. Each is a two-time Section 5 champion.
A dream of a state high school championship lives in both seniors but after tomorrow, only one will have a shot at it.
In the Super Sectional state qualifier at Brockport State, only one wrestler classes gets to advance to next weekend's state meet.
Nowhere will the pressure be as great as in the 155-pound weight class. Barring an upset, Suhr and Habecker will square off in the finals.
That's the heavyweight fight," Spencerport Coach Bill Jacoutot said.
"It's Suhr and Habecker in the finals, then toss a coin," sectional coordinator Don DeBadts of Geneseo said.
Suhr and Habecker have never met in a high school match but have wrestled each other during summer freestyle tournaments. Suhr leads those confrontations 2-1.
Habecker, however, is the slight favorite tomorrow. He won last year's state qualifier and finished sixth in the state at 155 pounds.
"I've learned that pressure is something you bring upon yourself," said Tim, whose career record is 128-13-1. "I don't think about it much anymore. I do know that I have to win three matches before I even get to face Rick in the finals. I'm thinking about every one of those guys too."
So is Suhr. He learned his lesson last year when he lost in the semifinals and never got to meet Habecker. He was wrestling with a bad knee.
"I learned that you have nothing won until you win it," said Rick, whose career mark is 95-9-1. "Habecker is in my mind just like last year, but I also have that first kid in my mind to. I'm taking it one match at a time."
Suhr, whose brother John was the 145-pound state champ two years ago, wrestled most of the season at 167 pounds but elected to drop to 155.
"I planned going 155 all along," he said."I wasn't going to sidestep Tim. I have no fear about wrestling the kid. I respect him. I know he's real good. But at this particular time of the year, I don't care who I wrestle or where, I'm going to do my best to win."
What are the factors surrounding a match when both wrestlers are good?
"Rick has the ability to beat Habecker just like Habecker has the ability to beat him," Jacoutot said. "It's going to come down to who is on mentally that night."
"I know I have to go after him," Habecker said. "But I think it's going to come down to who gets the breaks."
"Added Suhr, "We're both warriors. We're not going to back down. I can guarantee it'll be the best match of the night."
TOMORROW'S action begins at 10 a.m. Semifinals start at 2 p.m. and finals at 7:30.
"The state meet isn't half as much pressure as this weekend." Spencerport's Jacoutot said. "These wrestlers haven't been able to sleep this week."
A weight-by-weight look:
91 pounds - Class A champ Mitch Stern of Brighton is a big favorite who should meet freshman wiz Shawn Knisley of Waterloo in the semifinals. Letchworth's Chris Bannister or Bath's Tim McKee should advance to the finals from the lower bracket.
98 pounds - Canandaigua Class A champ Kerry Foster, a freshman, is favored in a loaded weight class. He has an easier road to the finals in the top bracket. The bottom bracket includes Class B champ Sean Rucker of East Rochester, a finalist at 91 last year, C champ Phayvanh Chanthysack of Sodus, Class A runner up Dan Sobol of Brighton and Waterloo's Tom Finnerty, last year's 91-pound champ.
105 pounds - Bishop Kearney Class A champ Dave Konzel should meet D champ Dale Chapin of Campbell in the finals but neither is a shoe-in. Konzel should meet B champ Steve Marcoccia of ER and Chapin has to hurdle past C champ Lucas Dobbins of Lyons .
112 pounds - Hilton's Dave Pitoni (29-2-1), a two-time Class A champ, is the favorite but he must get by two-time Class C champ Don Read of Byron Bergen to reach the finals. That would set up a possible match with Class B champ Jim Hopkins (27-1) of Bath in the finals.
119 pounds - A balanced class. Two-time Class B champ Brian Read of Byron-Bergen should meet Spencerport's Ray LeChase in the finals but there are plenty of challengers. Among them are LeRoy's Bill Dempsey (36-5), Hilton's Pat Serafino (103 career wins) and East Ridge's Fritz Zagorski (29-2) .
126 pounds - Two-time Class B champ and last year's runner-up Ron Gross (29-1) of Wayne is the favorite. He should meet Avon's unbeaten Pete Vonglis (32-0) in the semis and probably two-time D champ Jason Loughlin of Geneseo in the finals. Spencerport's Tom Billone is the darkhorse.
132 pounds - Look for Penfield's Marcus Barnes to meet Brockport's Jim Lupisella in a rematch of last week's Class A final for the title. Barnes won last week by pin. Others to consider are Sodus' Vaughn Peterson and Batavia's Kelly Boyle .
138 pounds - Spencerport's Mike LoPresti, runner-up last year at 132, is the man to beat. He should meet ER's rugged Chad Rucker in the semis with darkhorse Jeff Perrigo of Kendall or Webster's Chris Yengo waiting in the finals .
145 pounds -Nobody has been able to beat Brighton's Greg Lechner (32-0) all season and it's doubtful they will tomorrow. Lechner could meet Brockport's Rob Fuller for the title in a rematch of last weeks Class A final won by Lechner 6-0.
155 pounds - Suhr or Habecker. Dark, darkhorses are Fairport's Jacques Monte and Canisteo's Steve Woodworth .
167 pounds - Brighton's Class A champ Ben Weinthal is favored and should meet either Class D champ Greg Leitten of Pavilion or B champ Greg Payne of Penn Yan in the finals.
177 pounds - Sectional champs Todd Mirabella of Brighton and Mike Rossi of ER should meet in the upper bracket semis with the winner favored in the finals. Addison's Gary Hively, Edison's Bill Cronmiller and Spencerport's Mark Ventress all have a shot.
215 pounds - Bishop Kearney's Mike Fusilli is the perfect heavyweight, tall and strong. He is 31-1 - unbeaten against Section 5 competition - and a prohibitive favorite.
Unlimited - The big boy class is a tossup. Leading contenders are Gates Chili Doug Schroth, Alfred-Almond's Clint Hadsell, Newark's Scott Pieters, ER's Warren Brant and Kendall's Charles Spinks.