A number of teams hoisted trophies over Memorial Day weekend at the Albany Academies Field House, but perhaps the true winner was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. That’s because the fifth annual “Match Against Leukemia” tournament raised $10,380 for the organization.
The event, hosted by the New York Titan Wrestling Club, featured 12 teams from states such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire. Each squad had an action-packed weekend, with seven dual meets.
“The competition was pretty fierce with a lot of high level wrestlers,” said event organizer Jefferson LaMountain. “There were at least 30 wrestlers who placed at their state tournaments.”
Coming out on top was the host team, Titan Red, followed by the Canastota Raiders from Section 3 in second place. Right behind them in the Gold Division in third and fourth were the Silverback squad from Connecticut and the North Jersey Warriors. (Rockland Force took top honors in the Silver competition, while Excelsior did the same in the Bronze bracket).
But there were many other awards in addition to the trophies awarded to the top squads. A Most Outstanding Wrestler and Coaches Award were selected for each club. (For the championship Titan Red squad those honorees were Tyler Moses and Nolan Foster, respectively).
And the biggest trophy of them all went to Ironman Wrestling of Dutchess County, for raising the most money for the cause ($2100).
“Ironman, under Jim Baker, has been here since Year 1 of the event and we appreciate their support,” LaMountain said.
Helping to make the event successful were around 50 volunteers, doing everything from running the concession stands to ensuring that every match was recorded and posted on the Flowrestling website.
And the weekend included more than wrestling. On Saturday night, the competitors enjoyed a dinner full of pizza, wings and more. Each participant also received a t-shirt with the leukemia ribbon on the back and his club name on the front. There was even a therapist on hand to provide massages for the wrestlers when they weren’t on the mat.
“It went really well with a good number of kids and strong donations,” LaMountain said. “Everyone loved the event – I got 40-45 e-mails from parents saying they enjoyed it and that the community service component makes it special. Most of the time tournaments raise money for clubs or teams, but this is different.”
It’s different because it is held in memory of the late Sol Kahn, a founding member of the New York Titan Club, who passed away from an aggressive form of leukemia as a high schooler. (He was set to attend the University of Rochester). According to LaMountain, his story was read at the beginning and end of the event.
“Sol possessed more than a willingness to help others; it would be better described as a desire to help others,” the event website said. “He helped his friends, family, teachers and coaches whenever necessary and also went out of his way to help people he did not know. He was committed to his community and his dream was to work in the field of Law Enforcement.”
His community and wrestlers from all over the East Coast showed their willingness to help (and compete) on the holiday weekend.
“Although fierce rivals on the mat, these clubs are working together off the mat to defeat leukemia,” the event website said. “This is a great example of the local wrestling community coming together to support the fight against blood cancers while honoring and remembering one of their own.”
To learn more about the Match Against Leukemia or to contribute, see this link.
To watch the action on Flowrestling, see this link.
The results of the event:
- Titan Red (NY)
- Canastota Raiders (NY)
- Silverback (CT)
- North Jersey Warriors (NJ)
Rockland Force (NY), Ironman (NY), Pin2Win Combat (NY), Gate City (NH)
Excelsior United (NY), Colonie Raiders (NY), Titan Black (NY), Ravena Fury (NY)
LaMountain wished to thank many people for the success of the event. They include:
Club President Ken Walberg
Strength and conditioning coach/club spokesperson George Featherstonhaugh
Gabrielle LaMountain, the communications director and business manager who organized the corporate sponsors
Frankie Tangora, the head of concessions
Tournament director Bill Shell
Jim Romanski, who ran the film crews and made sure all the matches were placed online