ALBANY - Wantagh's Joe Kavanagh has an uncanny knack for pinning people.

The 189-pounder generally does it in short order, sporting nine pins in less than a minute during the season.

In the state Division I wrestling championship finals at the Times Union Center, it took him a bit longer, 3:35, to pin Mt. Sinai's Frank Abbondanza.

"It's so awesome being able to do what I did tonight," Kavanagh said. "It hasn't really set in yet, but I'm sure it will later on."

He was in control of the match throughout, building an 8-0 lead before putting the finishing touches on the Suffolk runner-up.

The match against Abbondanza was a microcosm of Kavanagh's entire tourney run. Leading up to the finals, his state championship included two decisions by a combined 11 points and a technical fall.

Kavanagh (38-0) ended this match the way he has done so many others, with his opponent defenseless on his back. But this was no ordinary opponent. Abbondanza (41-3) is committed to wrestling at the University of North Carolina next fall.

Pins, at this juncture don't matter. Winning is the name of the game. But this final pin was an added bonus.

More than anything, it proved to be sweet redemption for Kavanagh, who placed second at 171 pounds at last year's tournament.

"It's winner-take-all out here, so I just went out there and put everything I had out on the mat," Kavanagh said.

In the 103-pound finals, Long Beach's Mark Raghunandan held an 8-6 lead in the match's waning seconds before Arlington's Jimmy Duckham pulled off the reversal and two back points to take a 10-8 win.

It was a stunning reversal of fortune for Raghunandan, who appeared to have the match in hand.

"He needed to ride the guy out, and the kid switched him," Long Beach coach Ray Adams said.

"He did everything in his power to be a state champ. Unfortunately, he fell a little bit short. There's no doubt in my mind that he will be back."

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