GF & HF both have brothers wrestling in NYS tourney

By Ben Westcott, Chronicle Staff Writer

Violence and Skyler Sturdevant of Glens Falls wrestle at 215 and 170 pounds respectively.
Lots of brothers are willing to go to the mat for each other, as the saying goes. But four local boys will take it to the next level this weekend at the NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships at MVP Arena in Albany on Feb. 23 and 24.

Skyler and Violence Sturdevant of Glens Falls and Jesse and Justin Mullis of Hudson Falls all advanced to states with strong performances at the Section II Division II Championships at Cool Insuring Arena on Feb. 10.

Skyler (170 pounds) and Violence (215) both took second-place in their weight class, helping Glens Falls win the overall D-II team championship for the first time in program history.

For Hudson Falls, Jesse (190 pounds) and Justin (131) both won the D-II section titles. Jesse pinned Whitehall’s Chad Monty in 2:19 to take the 190-pound crown. Justin won with a 7-2 victory over Duanesburg’s Scott Nicoella.

Justin and Jesse Mullis of Hudson Falls wrestle at 131 and 190 pounds respectively.
The Sturdevant brothers of Glens Falls both started wrestling in third grade and wrestled on mats in their basement growing up. Two older Sturdevant brothers also wrestled.

Skyler, a senior who plans to wrestle at Vermont State University Castleton Campus after high school, is 34-3 this season. Violence, a junior named after his dad’s friend who passed away at a young age, is 33-6.

Going into the sectional championships, Skyler said, “My mindset was good, and I felt like I had pretty good strength. I had my personal best bench [recently] and I felt really strong coming in.”

He said the feeling when he realized he was going to states was “unimaginable.”

“I haven’t gone to states my whole high school career, and now it’s finally my year where I’m actually going there and actually completing and doing stuff that I haven’t done,” he said.

To prepare, he said he’s “working more on my speed than my strength right now, because I feel like I could have gone a lot faster in those matches and taken higher paced shots.” He added that “my conditioning could have been a little better as well.”

Violence said he’s been working on “keeping a high tempo throughout the entire match.”

Skyler noted that his goal for states is to make the podium and have a good time. Violence said “I didn’t expect to get this far, so I’m just going to go as far as I can.”

Skyler said that “It’s good to see that we’re going places together and improving as a team and as brothers.”

Head Coach Dan Perry described the brothers’ contrasting styles.

“Skyler’s technique is unbelievable, and he’s got a killer instinct,” Perry said. “Violence is more sneaky. He feels what to do, and he catches guys. He’s won a lot of matches where kids didn’t even know what he did to them.”

Also going to states for the Black Bears is senior Jakob Pregent, who won the 285-pound division at sectionals by pinning Dalton Cooper of Duanesburg-Schoharie in 2:14.

For Jesse and Justin Mullis of Hudson Falls, wrestling is a big deal.

“It’s just constant talk about wrestling,” Jesse said of the brothers. “That’s basically all we talk about.”

And not just talking. “We’ll spar sometimes. I’ll beat him up sometimes,” the 59-pounds-lighter Justin said jokingly.

Head Coach Aaron Dudley said the brothers “mesh so well, push each other, and are there for one another on and off the mat. They just have a real passion for the sport, which is hard to come by. Their priorities are wrestling. It’s not video games. It’s not the normal stuff that a lot of other kids are doing these days.”

Jesse, a senior, has committed to wrestle at North Carolina State next season.

“He’s really well prepared to move onto the next step,” Dudley said.

Jesse is 42-4 this season, and is looking to improve on his fifth-place finish at states last year.

“I’m just going to take it one match at a time,” he said. “I think if I do that, I’ll end up alright.”

Jesse decided to give wrestling a shot back in seventh grade after doing jiu jitsu. That inspired younger brother Justin to take up the sport as well.

“He said it was pretty fun to do, so I decided I’d just follow in his footsteps and wrestle,” Justin said.

A sophomore, Justin lost in the sectional finals the past two years (he was on the high school team as an eighth grader) before finally winning the title this season. He didn’t place at states last year, but did win two matches.

This year, with a 38-9 overall record, he’s aiming high. “I’d like to dominate most of my matches and hopefully get to the finals,” he said. “I’m really focusing on being precise with my movements, getting to shots, and being aggressive. Really being aggressive is what my main thing is going to be this year.”

Dudley, a first-year head coach, has already noticed a lot of progression from the Mullis brothers. “Just from last spring until now, I think that they’ve doubled their talent,” he said.

“They’re really quick, and they know that their moves are like a catalog, so they can just move from one to the next.”

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