A large contingent of southern Saratoga County wrestlers will be in Albany for this weekend’s state tournament at the Times Union Center.
Six Shenendehowa grapplers and three Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake wrestlers are competing for state titles beginning with Friday’s opening round.
The Shen contingent is led by middleweights Nick Kelley and David Almaviva. Kelley is the No. 1 seed in the 138-pound division, while Almaviva is the No. 2 seed in the 145-pound weight class.
“He’s definitely battle tested,” Shen coach Rob Weekes said of Kelley. “This will be his sixth trip to the state tournament, so he’s definitely been through this before. He’s pretty relaxed.”
Corey Ali (113 pounds), Ali Hashimee (182) and Levi Ashley (195) are also representing Shen as reigining Section II cham-pions. Zach Joseph (152) earned a wild card berth to the state tournament.
BH-BL’s Jack Hatton is making his state tourna-ment debut after winning the Sectional title at 170 pounds. But Hatton knows what the atmosphere is like, having competed in national and international judo tournaments with the Jason Morris Judo Center.
“I think there is less pressure for me because I’ve already seen that level and beyond,” said Hatton.
“He has a different style than any of our other guys,” said BH-BL coach Steve Jones. “He has judo skills and wrestling skills, and he’s very good at bringing his judo skills to the mat.”
Joey Butler (138 pounds) and Jake Ashcraft (152) are also representing BH-BL at the state tournament. Both wrestlers earned wild card berths.
The state tournament runs through Saturday at the Times Union Center.