By Betsy Veysman
When competitors from the G2 Wrestling Academy need a scouting report on an upcoming opponent, they know what to do. They need to find seventh grader Yianni Diakomihalis.
“Yianni is an encyclopedia of wrestling,” said G2 co-owner Adam Burgos. “I’ll ask him about kids a whole age group younger and a bunch of weight classes lighter and he’ll know. He’ll point out which kids are good; who likes the low single. He has a plethora of knowledge. Between his matches, Yianni is matside, soaking everything in. His passion for wrestling is what makes him so successful.”
He couldn’t have been much more successful this spring. Diakomihalis has competed in a number of events since mid-March – the NYWAY Regional Qualifier, NYWAY State Championships, Gene Mills Eastern Nationals, Empire Nationals, Ohio Tournament of Champions and Pop & Flo Mini-Men. He has won the championship at each and every one of those tournaments, all at weight classes around 100 pounds.
According to Burgos, the Rochester area resident won most of this matches comfortably. At the NYWAY State championships, for example, he had a pair of pins and a technical fall. At the Empire Nationals, he again won only by bonus points.
However, the one bout that stands out in Burgos’s mind is one of the few close ones. In the finals of the prestigious Ohio Tournament of Champions, Diakomihalis faced Eric Hong, who according to the coach, was a four-time champion at the event.
“[Hong] is a very, very good wrestler; a Pennsylvania state champ,” Burgos said. “I looked out at the crowd and it went 10 deep surrounding the match. It’s probably the largest crowd I’ve seen on an individual match all season. All the New York parents were rooting him on. He got the takedown in overtime to win it. Yianni isn’t very expressive out there, but he had a little fist pump and a big smile. It was a great end to that weekend.”
There have been a lot of good weekends for Diakomihalis. He competed for the Hilton High varsity squad this fall as a seventh grader and compiled an impressive 35-3 record at 99 pounds, with two of his losses to Jonathan Haas of Spencerport (the number two seed at States) and the other to Bryan Lantry, the eventual fifth place medalist in Albany.
“Yianni had a really good year,” he said. “I think he’ll have an even better year in eighth grade. He’s having fun and training hard.”
One of the grapplers he’s training hard with, Frankie Gissendanner, has had a similar run over the past several weeks. A sixth grade student, Gissendanner also captured titles at each event he entered in the spring, beginning with the NYWAY Regional Qualifier and ending with the Ohio Tournament of Champions, where he was the 125-pound gold medalist in the Junior division.
Both Gissendanner and Diakomihalis have other workout partners at G2, but when they wrestle each other, it’s something to see, according to Burgos.
“When they battle, they battle pretty hard,” he said. “It’s always entertaining; there’s always a highlight reel moment. For their age and weight, they’re the best I’ve seen. But because of the weight disparity between them, we don’t have them wrestle that often.”
When competing against foes his own weight, Gissendanner has had little trouble. He pinned his way through the NYWAY State Championships at 120 pounds.
“Frankie has dominated on his feet,” Burgos said. “He’s also done really well turning opponents. Because of his athleticism and strength advantage, he’s done extremely well.”
He hopes to carry over that success to the scholastic scene next winter when he competes for Penfield.
“Frankie will be wrestling juniors and seniors next year at 120 or 126 or wherever he wrestles,” Burgos said. “I think he’ll do well, but it will be a different speed, pace and strength with the older kids. When we wrestle our duals, he always wrestles up against eighth graders and he rarely loses. It will be an adjustment, but he’ll do well. He understands the sport and is very competitive.”
He is certainly competitive when the whistle blows. But off the mat, his style is different.
“Frankie is like our G2 ambassador,” Burgos said. “He’s like the mayor. He’s very social, saying hello to everyone and high fiving all the kids. He seems to bring out the best in everyone.”
When the two wrestle in the G2 room, they bring out the best in each other. It helped them both take on the best competition this spring, from New York to Ohio, and come out on top time after time.
Diakomihalis won the title last weekend at the Pop & Flo Mini Men Nationals. The other results from that event, featuring many New York placers, are below:
48: Myles Gronowski (Cobra) dec Michael Santore (Journeymen), 6-0
Third: Jared Weinhaus (Sachem East)
52: Carter Schubert (Superior) dec Dagen Condomitti (Eckloff), 7-0
Third: Cooper Curtis (Newtown YWA)
56: Carter C. Schubert (Superior) over Tanner McKenna (Journeymen), 9-0
Third: Jashon Holmes (Journeymen)
60: Alex Marshall (Sidewinders) dec Jimmy Harrington (Tyngsborough), 10-5
Third: Jack Richardson (Marcaurele)
70: Nicholas Rogers (IHC Cavaliers) over Ethan Gallo (Minisink Valley), 8-0
Third: Wilder Devine (Vergennes Area)
53: Stevo Poulin (Journeymen) pin Joseph Manno (Apex), 3:47
Third: Evan Maag (Weaver Elite)
58: Ryan Crookham (Neshaminy) dec Gregory Hotaling (Journeymen), 4-0
Third: Nico Provo (Team Tugman)
63: Ethan Ferro (Finger Lakes Wrestling Club) dec Joe Cangro (Apex), 7-2
Third: Jagger Condomitti (Eckloff)
73: Michael Cetta (Apex) dec Dean Shambo (Mexico), 3-1
Third: Nicholas Kayal (Apex)
78: James Lunt (Northeast Elite) pin Samuel Bergin (Northeast Elite), 3:10
Third: Nick Marshall (Sidewinders)
83: Jackson Defayette (Journeymen) dec Hunter Adams (Fisheye), 10-7
Third: McKenna Hunter (Journeymen)
89: Keegan Coon (Catamount)
105: Sampson Wilkins (Catamount) pin David Tomasek (Journeymen), 3:18
Third: Charlie Tibbitts (Vvs)
58: Wil Guida (NJ Scorpions) pin Jacob Marselli (Silverback WC), 1:28
Third: Dylan Allman (Journeymen)
62: Michael Gonyea (Journeymen) pin Greg Diakomihalis (G2), 3:06
Third: Michael Esposito (Scorpions)
67: Dylan Ryder (631 Elite) dec Brandon Larue (Scorpions), 4-0
Third: Sean Johnson (Silverback WC)
72: Jo-Jo Aragona (Scorpions) dec Tyler Sung (Apex), 5-0
Third: Craig Manno (Apex)
77: Adam Busiello (631 Elite) dec Dillan Palasewski (Journeymen), 6-3
Third: John Deridder (631 Elite)
82: Jake Silverstein (631 Elite) over Ryan Luth (P40), 13-0
Third: Benny Baker (JGold)
87: Matthew Cabezas (Smitty’s Barn) over Devin Rivet (Marcaurele), 10-0
Third: Zachary Lawrence (Journeymen)
93: Josh Stillings (Sepa) dec Dominic Paar (Dark Knights), 6-0
Third: Jonathan Loew (631 Elite)
99: Aaron Carter (Sepa) dec Shane Connolly (Olympic), 3-2
Third: Eoghan Sweeney (Journeymen)
106: Darby McLaughlin (Northeast Elite) pin Gabriel Cruz (Journeymen), 1:04
Third: Tyler Riggs (Clcf)
125: Tyler Barns (Journeymen) over Jack Bokina (Mattituck), 12-0
Third: Jake Cook (Ballston Spa)
140: Nolan Mcneill (Warrensburg)
75: Ryan O’Grady (Nazareth) dec Ashdin Shaefer (Catamount), 4-2 SV
Third: Thomas Cox (631 Elite)
80: Abe Bloom (Marcaurele) over Trent Nadeau (Cobra), 8-0
Third: Gianno Silba (Johnson City)
85: Jason Renteria (Bebee Trained) dec Peter Pappas (631 Elite), 4-1
Third: Brian Courtney (Athens)
90: Avery Shay (P40) over Jonathan Soto (Marcaurele), 13-0
Third: Dean Raymond (Deposit)
96: Yianni Diakomihalis (G2 Wrestling Academy) over Michael Venosa (Victor), 8-0
Third: Brandon Gould (Watkins Glen)
102: John Arceri (Huntington) dec John Busiello (631 Elite), 1-0
Third: Isaiah Bailey (Marcaurele)
110: Taylor Shay (P40) pin Kevin Parker (Journeymen), 1:16
Third: Shane Sosinsky (Olympic)
119: Garrett Derosia (Catamount) dec Jake Colonna (631 Elite), 5-0
Third: Bryan Rojas (Northeast Elite)
140: Marcus Torres (Journeymen) dec Josh Lalonde (Journeymen), 8-3
Third: Alexander Stavola (Newtown YWA)
150: JP Puca (Huntington) dec Alex Perez (Silverback WC), 7-4
Third: Benton Whitley (Northeast Elite)
180: Calvin Hayford (Colchester Cobras)
230: Austin McMullen (Journeymen) dec Zach Gifford (Deposit), 7-3
Third: Damian Prosser (Warrensburg)