Advertisement
 
Friday, May 22, 2015
Amsterdam, NY ,

 

Advertisement

Benton's parting gift: A state champion

Sunday, March 02, 2014 - Updated: 1:28 AM

By ADAM SHINDER

adam.shinder@recordernews.com

ALBANY -- Ken Benton's last match as the varsity wrestling coach at Amsterdam High School didn't end without more than its fair share of drama, but when it was all over, Benton could pinpoint the moment he knew his career would end in celebration.

When Amsterdam's Brandon Lapi received a penalty point to take a 4-2 lead in the second 30-second overtime match of his 138-pound final against MacArthur's Justin Cooksey Saturday at the Times Union Center, Benton could sense that in his final match, a state champion was crowned under his watch.

"It starts to become a little academic at that point, strategically on the mat," Benton said.

Benton's storied coaching career that featured 334 dual-meet victories had a storybook ending Saturday night, as Lapi's 6-3 championship victory gave Benton his second state champion in a career that spanned nearly 30 years, joining Giuseppi Lanzi in 2010.

After it was over, Benton could only relay his gratitude to the wrestlers, coaches and community members who have been a part of his career.

"I've been pretty fortunate to have some great people," he said. "I appreciate everyone's support all these years."

One of only two head coaches in the nearly 50-year history over the AHS wrestling program along with Pat Reilly, Benton said it was fitting that his career came to a close with the crowning achievement of Lapi, a lifelong product of the Rams' program who went from a young wrestler to the most decorated grappler in Amsterdam history.

"I can remember when he was young, coming up through the program, and he looked up to many of the older wrestlers." Benton said. "My wife and I were just talking the other day about how the roles have turned now. Now, the kids in the pee-wee program are here watching him, and he's inspiring these young kids that are going in the pee-wee programs and the younger levels.

"He's been an inspiration even for all the coaches. He's a leader, he's a force, he's a presence in the room."

Lapi, a frequent hunting and fishing partner of Benton's, was happy to be able to bring his coach's career to a close in the best possible fashion.

"He's worked so hard, too," said Lapi, who was the only Section II wrestler to win a state championship this weekend. "All my coaches have worked really hard, and they deserve everything. I'm just thankful I had great coaches."

A few years ago, the Rams' practice space at Lynch Literacy Academy was dubbed the Patrick H. Reilly Hall of Fame Wrestling Room.

At some point, they might need to find some room to stick another name on there.

Follow ADAM SHINDER on Twitter at twitter.com/RecorderShinder

     

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Advertisement
Montgomery County Research Report

 

The Recorder Sports Schedule

 

The Recorder Newscast

Most Popular

    Players' union asks to hold NFL's Goodell in contempt
    Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    Sawyer Fredericks' mom reflects on son's fame
    Thursday, May 21, 2015

    Voters approve school budgets
    Tuesday, May 19, 2015

    The voice of a nation
    Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    Prom season: In a variety of ways, students inject their personalities into a most memorable night of their young lives
    Saturday, May 16, 2015

    Letters to the editor
    Saturday, May 16, 2015

    Four seek pair of seats on GASD school board
    Saturday, May 16, 2015

    F-MCC celebrates its 50th commencement
    Saturday, May 16, 2015

    Amsterdam Spring Fling makes a triumphant downtown return
    Monday, May 18, 2015

    Honoring the fallen: Two troopers who died in the line of duty are memorialized
    Saturday, May 16, 2015

Advertisement

Copyright © Port Jackson Media

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook