Alex Soutiere won’t be taking anybody by surprise at this year’s state wrestling championships.
The Ravena-Coey-mansSelkirk heavyweight is the No. 1 seed in the Division II (small school) 285-pound weight class for this weekend’s tournament at Albany’s Times Union Center.
Last year, Soutiere surprised the field when he knocked off three of the top four seeds on his way to a second-place finish.
“I was on a roll, I guess,” said Soutiere. “I kept going on to the next match.”
Now, Ravena coach Henry Mormile said Soutiere has to be prepared to be the one everyone else in his division is looking to beat.
“Instead of being unknown, it’s now reversed,” said Mormile. “Everybody knows about him and are gunning for him.”
Soutiere rolled through the Section II championships Feb. 9 in Queensbury to win his second straight title. He defeated Taconic Hills’ William Baker in the finals to punch his ticket to Albany.
Soutiere said he hopes to do better at this year’s state tournament.
“In our (wrestling) room, we have a banner for all of the state qualifiers, and then we have two banners for our state champions,” said Soutiere. “I look at those banners as motivation for me.”
Guilderland is sending two lightweights to this weekend’s state tournament – Division I (large school) 99-pound champion Josh LoGiudice and 106-pound wild card Mike Lainhart. LoGiudice pinned South Glens Falls’ Anthony Sgorrano at Sectionals to win his title, while Lainhart placed second to Colonie’s Golan Cohen.
“Going to states together is going to be very cool,” said Lainhart. “We’ve wrestled together since the third grade.”
Both Guilderland wrestlers said they expect the competition to be tough.
“I’ll have to battle to win each match and get as much experience as I can,” said Lainhart.
“Just battle repeatedly and hopefully place,” added LoGiudice.
LoGiudice meets Syosset’s Vito Arujau in his opening round bout at states, while Lainhart faces Wantagh’s Kyle Quinn Friday morning.