By Greg Klein
---- — After winning a Section Three Division II wrestling title on Feb. 9, Mikey Boyle became just the fifth Cooperstown wrestler to compete in the state tournament.
Boyle, a senior who wrestles at 120 pounds, went 1-2 last weekend in the Division II state tournament in Albany. He lost in the first round on Friday to eventual state champion John Aslanian of Edgemont, 12-2.
In the consolation bracket, Boyle beat Mohammed Guernah of Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy by a pin at 3:49. In his final match, on Saturday, he lost to Sean Ballard of Whitney Point, 6-4. Ballard finished in sixth place.
“When you get to the state tournament, everyone is already a champion,” Cooperstown wrestling coach Micaiah Abts said.
Boyle said he was excited to represent Cooperstown.
“This is a big deal for all of us,” he said. “It has been a while for the team.”
Brendan Hill was the last Cooperstown wrestler to make states. He placed second in 2004 and 2005. Packy Burke, who won a state title in 1998, also made the tournament in 1997 and finished second. Tom Murphy and Mike Phillips also made the state tournament, with Phillips winning a state title in 1970.
Boyle, who had a record of 29-10 this season and 75 wins in four years, won the Class D Tournament on Feb. 2 and the Section Three Division II tournament a week later. He also placed second in the Clyde Cole Tournament on Nov. 11, fourth in the CNY Tournament on Jan. 12 and fourth in the Center State Tournament on Jan. 26.
“He’s got college level technique,” Abts said. “He does some things stylistically that people don’t expect and are not able to defend.”
Boyle followed his older brother Connor into wrestling. Connor, who graduated from Cooperstown in 2011, had a solid senior season that included placing fourth in the Section Four Class D tournament, but did not have the same level of success as his little brother.
“You see that a lot actually,” Abts said. “Little brothers end up getting into the sport sooner because they are following their big brothers around. As a result, they end up having more success.”
Connor made it to the section finals to cheer on his brother.
“I don’t want to get him in trouble,” said assistant coach Peter Sobera, “but when Mikey won the tournament; Connor had tears in his eyes.”
Although he was the only one to make the state tournament, Boyle wasn’t the only Redskins senior to have a good wrestling season. Kevin Segit (220 pounds) also won the Class D tournament, while Jacob Miller (145 pounds) won the Center State Tournament.
“It was like having three assistant coaches on the team,” Sobera said. “One of our big goals this year was to get championships for those three guys. We’re really pleased that everything broke right for them to go ahead and do it.”
In addition, four other Cooperstown wrestlers made it to the section tournament in what is likely Abts last year coaching the team.
“It is a good way for him to go out,” Boyle said. “We were his freshman class when he started here four years ago. It is nice to see he’s made us into something bigger.
“He’s probably the best coach I have ever had,” he continued. “He’s smart and he goes slow with you. He’s very good at helping you one-on-one. Wrestling wise he really knows what he is doing.”
Abts sounded just as impressed with Boyle.
“He’s a very hard worker,” he said. “He comes ready to work every day. He’s a good kid too. I’ve even had him watch my kids a couple of times, and obviously that means he is someone I can trust.”
Boyle said he plans to go to State University College of Technology at Delhi to get an associate degree in nursing. While his wrestling career is over, he said he is happy with his results.
“It has always been a goal of mine to made states,” he said. “I am really happy with where I have gotten.”