shs header picture

Dennis Voltz '79

Alesha & Breanna; SON Jordon
Dennis Voltz

It would be easy to drag out some cliches when an athlete who is smaller and lighter is the focus, but we'd rather use one of Tom Robertson's favorite quotes that "it's not the size of the dog in the fight, rather it's the size of the fight in the dog". Here is an amazing story of wrestling excellence, supplemented with the diversity of fall and spring sports - cross country and baseball.

Dennis was a typical kid who loved all sports and even liked basketball But as he caw his older brother Rusty start to wrestle and heard his dad talk about the tradition of Sidney wrestling, he turned his attention to that sport based on successes of the Payne brothers, Jim Wilson, Rob Cole, Ken Doi, and Roy Reed. And of course, there was this coach he'd heard about, Tom Robertson.

So he cut his teeth at the junior high level and by freshman year (1975-76) got to join Rusty on the varsity and experience the coaching legend for himself. Despite a frame two inches below five feet tall and 70 pounds, Dennis competed at 91 lbs. By his sophomore year, when he reached five feet and 80 pounds, this littlest Warrior always gave his best and usually helped get Sidney the early lead. Coach Robertson put Dennis at 98 lbs for dual meets while 91 lbs remained his tournament weight.

The 1977-78 season was when it all came together, for Sidney and for Dennis. The Warriors went 10-0-1 in dual matches. Dennis finished 31-0 with a New York State title at 105 lbs. While his finals victory, 11-7 over a Long Island wrestler, earned Dennis the trophy, he cited the defining moment in that tournament as the semifinal match.

His opponent was Carl DeStefanis, one of a powerful trio of brothers from Locust Valley, each of whom won two state titles over their careers. Carl already had the reputation, while Dennis considered himself the "dark horse". In that semifinal match, Dennis was taken down twice in the first period...more than in any other match all season....though he escaped both times. So trailing 4-2, he started that period in the down position, escaped once again, and then it happened. DeStefanis tried a third takedown move but one for which Coach Robertson drilled a counter move into his team during daily practice. It worked! He countered with the "down leg cradle" and soon pinned his favored opponent. And for the record, DeStefanis went on to win the NYS championship in 1979 and 1980 as well as a national championship with Penn State after that.

Senior year was spent at 105 lbs. and netted a second Section IV title but he was upended along the state tournament path. Still, Dennis was a highly sought after wrestler and found his collegiate home at Mohawk Valley CC. There, he won two Region III tournaments, was voted Most Outstanding in one, and attended, but did not place in both national meets. His efforts were rewarded in 1992 with election to the National Junior College Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Dennis was also a cross country runner in the fall, where his best finish in a varsity meet was 14th, in familiar surroundings of the Sidney Invitational. Springtime, he patrolled center field for the baseball team, with excellent range and a strong arm. He earned eight letters during his scholastic athletic career.

For nearly 30 years, Dennis has been employed in the human services, working with individuals who have disabilities. It's a side of his character that friends and family admire.

His introduction for 2014 inductee Tony Ferrara was memorable. Tonight, they reverse roles as we welcome Dennis Voltz into the Sidney Alumni Sports Hall of Fame.