Too bad it's not a leap year.
Six area wrestlers were selected as ''wild card'' entries for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association wrestling tournament at Albany for today and Saturday, making a total of 13 from the region.
Carlene Sluberski of Fredonia (96 pounds), Ben Haas of Salamanca (125), Thom Betts of Westfield (140), Jon Strong of Frewsburg (152), Dave Richter of Gowanda (171) and Pat Langworthy of Southwestern (285) were chosen to participate. All finished second at the Division 2 state qualifier.
They will be making the trip along with sectional champions Kevin Strong (103) and Dalton Scalf (125) of Frewsburg, Josh Micek of Maple Grove (145), Kenny Betts (152) and Corey King (189) of Fredonia, Josh Becker of Salamanca (160) and Aaron Kroll of Gowanda (285).
This is the third year that wrestlers have been selected to fill out the brackets, joining the sectional champions who claimed automatic berths.
The seedings for the state tournament were not available at press time.
Three of the group have previous state tourney experience. Kenny Betts, who captured his fifth sectional title last weekend, was the runner-up at 145 pounds in 2008. He took the crown at 140 in 2007, and was second at 103 pounds in 2005. He qualified, but did not place, in 2006.
It will be the third trip for Micek, who finished second at 140 a year ago, and also qualified in 2007.
Also looking to improve on last year is Becker, who qualified at 152 last year, then moved up a slot this season.
See WILD CARDS, Page B4
Sluberski, a senior, won the sectional championship last year, but chose to travel to Europe for competition, so this will be her first trip to states. She finished second to Eden's Tom Page at both the Class AA and state qualifier, and has a record of 47-4.
At 103, Kevin Strong qualified by defeating Lackawanna's Abdulqawi Mohamed in the finals last weekend. He is a freshman with a record of 38-6.
Both finalists at 125 will be making the journey, although it's the freshman, not the senior, who has previous experience at states. Haas (36-9) was selected a year ago as an eighth grader at 96 pounds. Having moved up several rungs, he fought several battles with Scalf throughout the season, all ending in close decisions in Scalf's favor. Scalf (41-3) will be making his first trip.
Westfield will send senior Thom Betts, who lost 1-0 to Medina's Dominic Montesanti, at 140 pounds.
At 145, Micek rolled through the state qualifier, winning twice by technical fall, then defeating Eddie Sarcione of Eden 7-2 in the finals. Sarcione was also selected as a ''wild card.'' Micek has a record of 37-1 on the season.
At 152 comes the third pair of finalists to make the journey. Betts is 53-3 on the season, and has 265 career victories. Jon Strong, a senior, is 36-6, and will be making his debut at states. Betts won the final at the state qualifier 7-0.
Becker, a senior, is 39-2 on the season. He defeated Southwestern's Eric Mazgaj 6-1 to claim the automatic berth.
At 171, Gowanda will be represented by Richter, who was edged 3-2 by Allegany-Limestone's Kyle Roosa in the finals at the qualifier tourney. Richter is a senior.
As the 189-pound champion, King will be the third member for the Hillbillies going. He is a senior, who is 40-12 on the season. He defeated Southwestern's Drew Merchant 1-0 to earn the berth.
Finally, at 285 pounds, the fourth set of finalists from Section 6 will be in the mix. Gowanda's Aaron Kroll, a junior, defeated Langworthy 8-1 in last weekend's finals. Langworthy, who was seeded fifth, upset top seed Andrew Pingitore of Cassadaga Valley in the semifinals.
Records for Thom Betts, Richter, Kroll and Langworthy were not available at press time.
The tournament, which is being held at the Times-Union Center, will get under way Friday at 10:30 a.m. The opening round and quarterfinals, along with early consolation rounds, will be held Friday. On Saturday, action starts at 10 a.m. with semifinals. The finals are scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.