Wrestling 4 Vinny's Victory: More Than 350 To Participate in Takedown Tournament To Benefit Vinny Vespa

Vinny Vespa Poster; Phototrens.com

Last weekend, Vinny Vespa attended the Adam Frey Classic in Pennsylvania where in addition to receiving the Courageous Wrestler Award, he saw some of the nation’s best wrestling talent compete to benefit the Adam Frey Foundation.

On Saturday June 30, he will once again get an opportunity to watch great wrestling, but this time, it will be to support him in his battle with Lymphoma at the Victory 4 Vinny Takedown Tournament at Monroe Woodbury High School, beginning at 8 a.m.

“The thing I’m most excited about is for Vinny to see how many supporters he has,” said Michael Vespa, Vinny’s older brother. “It will be awesome when he walks in and sees how many people came out to benefit him and how many people are on the mats wrestling just for him.”

Indeed, the mats will be busy, as close to 400 wrestlers signed up, according to one of the event’s organizers, Bob Voelker.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Voelker said. “Registration really exploded over the last week – it’s fantastic.”

The registration includes a wide range of competitors.  There are accomplished grapplers like Hofstra’s Jamie Franco, former junior college All-American Nick Rausenberger and at least five 2012 New York State placers.  And on the other end of the spectrum, there are a number of people like Voelker’s son Troy, a former high school football player who doesn’t have experience on the mat.

“Troy hasn’t wrestled before but he wants to help; wants to do something to be a part of the event,” Bob Voelker said.  “There are a bunch of people like that.  They just want to show support to Vinny.”

The variability in registrants goes beyond experience in the sport.  There are youth wrestlers participating as well as seven entrants over the age of 55.  In addition, at least five states will be represented, with one Monroe Woodbury alum flying up from Florida to take part.

While Vinny Vespa won’t wrestle, his brothers Michael and Marco (a NHSCA Middle School National Champion) will.  For Michael, who took some time off after high school, it’s an ideal opportunity to return to competition.

“Honestly, it’s amazing,” Michael Vespa said. “It will be my first time back on the mat in years and it’s for my brother at my high school, wearing a singlet that says my brother’s name on it.  It’s inspiring.”

But the event will offer much more than just wrestling action. There will be family fun activities such as a dunking booth, bounce castles and face painting as well as a barbecue and a number of raffles. In addition, other entities, such as Cookies for Cancer, will be selling goods to benefit the Vespa family.

“The unbelievable amount of support has overwhelmed me,” Voelker said. “It has restored my faith in people.  It amazes me how many people have come forward. The support and love of the wrestling community has been truly remarkable.”

Michael Vespa believes that support and love will be on full display on Saturday.

“I think there will be something for everyone,” he said. “I hope people will come out to see my brother and enjoy a day of fun with some great wrestling.  I know that it will mean a lot to Vinny in his battle.”

For more information, please see the event flyer:



Team New York Earns 6-2 Record at Greco Junior National Duals

Team New York went 6-2 overall on Wednesday and Thursday at the Greco Roman Junior National Duals in Oklahoma City to capture third place in the Bronze/Copper pool.

Columbia-bound Connor Sutton led the way with a perfect 8-0 record at 160 and 170 pounds while two other wrestlers, Uniondale’s Dante Salkey (5-0) and Cheektowaga’s Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (4-0) were also unbeaten in the competition.  Also picking up at least five victories for the Empire State were Santo Curatolo (7-1), Jessy Williams (6-2), Matt Greene (5-2) and Sutton’s future Ivy League teammate Chris Loew (5-2) of Wantagh.

The squad compiled 3-1 records on both days of the competition.  On Wednesday, the New Yorkers scored convincing wins over South Dakota (55-14), Utah (32-16) and North Dakota (37-23) and a one-point setback to Oklahoma Red (32-31), which led to a third place finish in Pool B.  That performance put the Empire State team into the Bronze/Copper Pool for Thursday’s action.

The team got off to another strong start on Day 2, with a 39-20 triumph over Missouri before falling against California.  However, the group rebounded to win a three-point dual with Texas before defeating North Dakota for the second time at the event, this time for third place in the Bronze/Copper bracket.

The Empire State squad will return to the mat on Friday as the Freestyle tournament begins.

Full Results

Pool B:

Match #1: New York defeated South Dakota 55-14
100 – Jesse Dellavecchia (New York) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
106 – Nick Cassella (New York) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
113 – Matt Morris (New York) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
120 – Santo Curatolo (New York) over Marshall Swanson (South Dakota) Pin 1-3,0:43
126 – James Ronca (New York) over Gene Trimble (South Dakota) Pin 6-0,0:50
132 – Jessy Williams (New York) over Josh Manning (South Dakota) TF 10-4,6-0
138 – Quinton Murphy (New York) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
145 – Matt Green (New York) over Alex Davies (South Dakota) TF 6-0,8-0
152 – Regan Bye (South Dakota) over James Mclean (New York) Dec 3-3,6-0
160 – Connor Sutton (New York) over Bailey Konvalin (South Dakota) TF 7-0,6-0
170 – Troy Seymour (New York) over CJ Warren (South Dakota) Pin 0:54
182 – Mason Bender (South Dakota) over Chris Loew (New York) Dec 0-3,2-0,3-0
195 – Eugene Martin (South Dakota) over Levi Ashley (New York) TF 6-0,8-0
220 – Nathan Rotert (South Dakota) over Soslar Gularov (New York) Dec 1-2,4-1,6-3
285 – Dante Salkey (New York) over Collin Jensen (South Dakota) Pin 0-3,8-1,1:47

Match #2: Oklahoma Red defeated New York 32-31
100 – Jesse Dellavecchia (New York) over Matt Maxwell (Oklahoma Red) Dec 2-0,4-1
106 – Kaid Brock (Oklahoma Red) over Nick Cassella (New York) Pin 1:03
113 – Cody Karstetter (Oklahoma Red) over Kyle Kelly (New York) Dec 0-1,7-0,1-0
120 – Santo Curatolo (New York) over Joe Smith (Oklahoma Red) Dec 4-0,3-0
126 – Cub Yeager (Oklahoma Red) over James Ronca (New York) Dec 2-1,1-0
132 – Brian Crutchmer (Oklahoma Red) over Jessy Williams (New York) Dec 2-0,0-2,6-1
138 – Dakota Head (Oklahoma Red) over Quinton Murphy (New York) Pin 1:53
145 – Matt Green (New York) over Tanner Bailey (Oklahoma Red) Pin 2-2,0:41
152 – Keilan Torres (Oklahoma Red) over Leland Slawson (New York) Pin 3-0,0:39
160 – Burke Paddock (New York) over Ricky McCarty (Oklahoma Red) TF 7-0,6-0
170 – Connor Sutton (New York) over Kyle Ash (Oklahoma Red) Dec 5-0,6-0
182 – Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma Red) over Troy Seymour (New York) TF 7-0,8-0
195 – Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma Red) over Bryce Mazurowski (New York) Dec 6-0,5-0
220 – Soslar Gularov (New York) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
285 – Dante Salkey (New York) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf

Match #3: New York defeated Utah 32-16
100 – Brock George (Utah) over Jesse Dellavecchia (New York) Dec 4-0,3-1
106 – Kohl Tolbert (Utah) over Nick Cassella (New York) Dec 5-0,6-0
113 – Kyle Robison (Utah) over Matt Morris (New York) Dec 2-0,3-7,7-0
120 – Santo Curatolo (New York) over Antonio Meikel (Utah) Dec 0-3,5-1,4-3
126 – James Ronca (New York) over Matt Findlay (Utah) Dec 4-6,1-0,3-0
132 – Jessy Williams (New York) over Brenden Turner (Utah) Dec 7-0,5-0
138 – Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (New York) over Morgan Bogue (Utah) Dec 5-0,5-0
145 – Matt Green (New York) over William Chavez (Utah) Pin 1:03
152 – Grant LaMont (Utah) over Leland Slawson (New York) Pin 5-0,1:16
160 – Connor Sutton (New York) over Jesse Carlisle (Utah) Dec 0-7,3-2,2-0
170 – Burke Paddock (New York) over Nick Sorenson (Utah) Dec 5-0,2-0
182 – Jon Wixom (Utah) over Chris Loew (New York) Dec 2-0,1-1
195 – Bryce Mazurowski (New York) over Johnathan Larson (Utah) Dec 4-0,2-0
220 – Soslar Gularov (New York) over Joe Flores (Utah) Dec 1-0,2-0
285 – Dante Salkey (New York) over Roy Nash (Utah) Dec 4-2,0-3,3-2
Utah’s team score was adjusted by -1.000 for unsportsmanlike conduct on a coach

Match #4: New York defeated North Dakota 37-23
100 – Austin Rust (North Dakota) over Jesse Dellavecchia (New York) Dec 1-0,0-2,5-4
106 – Kael Knowlen (North Dakota) over Nick Cassella (New York) Dec 4-3,2-1
113 – Kyle Kelly (New York) over Reed Cronin (North Dakota) Dec 3-0,6-0
120 – Santo Curatolo (New York) over Adam Blees (North Dakota) Pin 4-0,0:48
126 – Trevor Kringlie (North Dakota) over James Ronca (New York) Dec 1-0,4-0
132 – Jessy Williams (New York) over Patrick Freeman (North Dakota) Dec 5-3,7-0
138 – Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (New York) over Weston Dobler (North Dakota) Dec 4-0,2-0
145 – Matt Green (New York) over Reed Beckman (North Dakota) TF 7-0,7-0
152 – Leland Slawson (New York) over Zane Braun (North Dakota) Dec 0-1,1-1,2-1
160 – Connor Sutton (New York) over Bryce Fish (North Dakota) Pin 0:37
170 – Troy Seymour (New York) over T.J. Poole (North Dakota) Dec 3-0,1-0
182 – Chris Loew (New York) over Kip Jangula (North Dakota) Dec 2-0,0-6,3-0
195 – Levi Ashley (New York) over Briley Crissler (North Dakota) Dec 3-0,3-1
220 – Brandon Larson (North Dakota) over Soslar Gularov (New York) Pin 7-5,1:18
285 – Tommy Sease (North Dakota) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf

Bronze/Copper Pool:
Match #1: New York defeated Missouri 39-20
100 – Jesse Dellavecchia (New York) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
106 – Nick Cassella (New York) over Matthew Barmann (Missouri) Dec 2-1,6-0
113 – Andrew Wallace (Missouri) over Kyle Kelly (New York) Dec 3-0,9-1
120 – Santo Curatolo (New York) over Noah Teaney (Missouri) Dec 1-3,5-1,1-0
126 – Lemuel Johnson (Missouri) over James Ronca (New York) Dec 1-0,3-0
132 – Tate Robinson (Missouri) over Jessy Williams (New York) Dec 2-1,3-1
138 – Quinton Murphy (New York) over Grant Leeth (Missouri) Dec 3-1,7-0
145 – Matt Green (New York) over Michael Cutberthson (Missouri) Dec 9-3,6-5
152 – Brennan Johnson (Missouri) over Leland Slawson (New York) Dec 3-1,1-0
160 – Connor Sutton (New York) over Trevor Engle (Missouri) Dec 7-0,1-0
170 – Burke Paddock (New York) over Morgan Fitzgerald (Missouri) Dec 7-0,1-0
182 – Chris Loew (New York) over Michael Boyd (Missouri) Dec 4-0,4-0
195 – Bryce Mazurowski (New York) over Daltan Sweet (Missouri) Pin 4-0,0:19
220 – J`Den Cox (Missouri) over Soslar Gularov (New York) TF 7-0,6-0
285 – Dante Salkey (New York) over Jimmy Sellers (Missouri) Pin 6-0,1:14

Match #2: California defeated New York 45-15
100 – Sean Nickell (California) over Jesse Dellavecchia (New York) Dec 6-0,3-0
106 – Joey Cisneros (California) over Nick Cassella (New York) TF 6-0,5-0
113 – Matt Morris (New York) over Daniel Ruiz (California) Dec 2-0,0-8,5-1
120 – Zahid Valencia (California) over Santo Curatolo (New York) Dec 1-0,2-0
126 – Tommy Yozzo (California) over James Ronca (New York) Dec 2-1,6-0
132 – Jessy Williams (New York) over Adrian Panduro (California) Dec 3-0,5-0
138 – Elijah Davis (California) over Quinton Murphy (New York) 0-1,Inj
145 – Richard Martinez (California) over Matt Green (New York) Pin 1-2,0:44
152 – Mike Longo (California) over David Almaviva (New York) Dec 8-3,6-4
160 – Connor Sutton (New York) over Miguel Ruiz (California) Dec 7-1,1-0
170 – Lukas Basham (California) over Burke Paddock (New York) Dec 5-4,3-0
182 – Chris Loew (New York) over Zach Hanson (California) Dec 2-0,0-3,2-0
195 – Mason Kumashiro (California) over Tim Schaefer (New York) Pin 1-0,0:43
220 – Daniel Chaid (California) over Bryce Mazurowski (New York) Dec 5-0,1-0
285 – Hildev Manzur (California) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf

Match #3: New York defeated Texas 31-28
100 – Alex Minor (Texas) over Jesse Dellavecchia (New York) Dec 3-2,6-0
106 – Nick Cassella (New York) over Joseph Gomez (Texas) Dec 1-0,6-1
113 – D`Andre Brumfield (Texas) over Kyle Kelly (New York) Dec 1-0,5-1
120 – Santo Curatolo (New York) over Cody Moss (Texas) Dec 7-0,2-0
126 – Jacob Rubio (Texas) over James Ronca (New York) Dec 2-0,2-0
132 – Jessy Williams (New York) over Gus Kortemeir (Texas) Pin 7-0,0:46
138 – Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (New York) over Colton Stowe (Texas) TF 7-0,7-0
145 – David Almaviva (New York) over Jack Ohlabor (Texas) TF 7-0,7-0
152 – Oliver Pierce (Texas) over James Mclean (New York) Pin 7-0,0:25
160 – Connor Sutton (New York) over Travis Bradford (Texas) TF 6-0,7-0
170 – Burke Paddock (New York) over Julius Holmes (Texas) Dec 4-0,6-0
182 – Greg Wilson (Texas) over Tim Schaefer (New York) Dec 1-0,1-0
195 – Chris Loew (New York) over Cody Lindberg (Texas) Dec 2-0,1-0
220 – Nick Mabry (Texas) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
285 – Ivan De Leon (Texas) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf

Match #4 3rd Place Match: New York defeated North Dakota 48-17
100 – Jesse Dellavecchia (New York) over Austin Rust (North Dakota) Forf
106 – Kael Knowlen (North Dakota) over Nick Cassella (New York) TF 9-0,6-0
113 – Matt Morris (New York) over Adam Blees (North Dakota) Dec 6-1,1-0
120 – Santo Curatolo (New York) over Thomas Walton (North Dakota) Forf
126 – Jordan Sherer (North Dakota) over James Ronca (New York) TF 6-0,6-0
132 – Jessy Williams (New York) over Patrick Freeman (North Dakota) TF 7-0,6-0
138 – Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (New York) over Weston Dobler (North Dakota) Forf
145 – Ryan Blees (North Dakota) over Matt Green (New York) Dec 1-0,4-3
152 – David Almaviva (New York) over Shane Undem (North Dakota) Dec 1-0,6-3
160 – Connor Sutton (New York) over Bryce Fish (North Dakota) Dec 1-0,3-0
170 – T.J. Poole (North Dakota) over Troy Seymour (New York) Dec 0-1,5-0,1-0
182 – Tim Schaefer (New York) over Drew Kary (North Dakota) Forf
195 – Chris Loew (New York) over Briley Crissler (North Dakota) Dec 7-3,2-0
220 – Soslar Gularov (New York) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
285 – Dante Salkey (New York) over Tommy Sease (North Dakota) Forf

Clemente and Merkin Earn All-America Honors at Kids Nationals in Utah

Only two New York wrestlers made the trip to Orem, Utah for the Kids Freestyle and Greco Roman Nationals this week, but the pair made a big impact in the Schoolboy competition, with Joseph Clemente finishing in the top four in both styles at 136 pounds while Leonard Merkin grabbed seventh in Greco action before coming within one victory of placing in Freestyle in the 128-pound bracket.

The event began with Greco on Tuesday and both Empire State wrestlers ended the day on the podium.

At 136 pounds, Clemente took fourth, notching a pair of pins along the way.  The LaSalle wrestler opened with a fall over Trey Waltz of Arizona in less than a minute before dropping his next bout to eventual champion Ashton Seely of Utah.  Clemente followed with his second pin over Haydn Maley, before falling in the third place tilt against Hayden Bates of Oregon.

On the same day, Merkin compiled a 4-2 record in Greco on the path to seventh at 128 pounds.  Bronze medalist Nicholas Vestal of Florida defeated Merkin in Round 1, but the Brooklyn grappler responded with three consecutive victories, including falls against California’s Sergio Leal and Michael Peters of Illinois.  After New Mexico’s Clayton Arellano downed Merkin in the consolations, the outstanding New York City middle school wrestler finished his day on a high note with a pin of Ricardo Gonzalez of the Golden State for seventh.

On Wednesday in Freestyle, Merkin once again faced a tough first round task, this time squaring off with eventual finalist Owen Webster in a three-period affair won by the Minnesota grappler.  Merkin rebounded after the setback, racking up two dominant wins over New Jersey’s Michael Ilic and California’s Ronnie Guerrero before dropping his final match to Idaho’s James Fisher in the “Round of 12”.

Meanwhile, Clemente opened with two bonus point victories before dropping his semifinal match.  He battled back, however, notching a first period pin over New Mexico’s Kyle Snelling and a 5-0, 7-0 technical fall over Wisconsin’s Jordan Meyer to capture third.

One More Time: Justin Accordino Granted Sixth Year of Eligibility for Hofstra

Justin Accordino at the 2012 NCAAs; Photo by Boris Veysman

It’s official — Justin Accordino will be in a Hofstra singlet for the 2012-2013 campaign.

“Justin has been approved for his sixth year,” Pride head coach Rob Anspach said on Tuesday.

After redshirting as a true freshman and qualifying for the NCAAs in his second year, the Wilkes Barre, PA native missed nearly two full seasons, 2009-10 and 2010-11, when he suffered knee injuries that required surgery.   Despite the long rehabilitation processes following the procedures, Accordino said there wasn’t any doubt that he would return to the lineup.

“Not coming back was never going through my mind,” Accordino said in an interview during the 2012 NCAA tournament. “This is something I love to do.  The coaches asked me if I wanted to keep wrestling and it was always, yes.  I really worked through my rehab as hard as I could.”

It showed.  Accordino made a successful return to the mats last fall, culminating in All-America honors after a sixth place finish at the NCAAs in St. Louis.  Overall, he compiled a 26-14 record and a second place showing at the CAA tournament in 2011-12.

The Coughlin High School standout said earlier in the week that he expects to remain at 149 pounds.  Six of the eight grapplers that made the podium at that weight in 2012 return, including Dylan Ness (Minnesota, 2nd), Donnie Vinson (Binghamton, 3rd), Cam Tessari (Ohio State, 4th), Accordino, Scott Sakaguchi (Oregon State, 7th) and Nick Lester (Oklahoma, 8th).

After winning his bout at the Adam Frey Classic on Sunday, Accordino said he will spend the summer on the Hofstra campus, training and preparing for another run at the podium and the ultimate goal of a national title.



–Special thanks to M. Diano


Accordino and Nevinger Notch Victories, Discuss the Experience at the Adam Frey Classic

Justin Accordino at NCAAs 2012, Photo by Boris Veysman

Prior to the fourth annual Adam Frey Classic on Sunday, organizer Josh Liebman (see video below) said he wanted the atmosphere at Grace Hall on the campus of Lehigh to resemble a reunion.  For Hofstra’s Justin Accordino, it was exactly that.

The 149-pound All-American was thrilled to be able to participate in the event, which benefits the Adam Frey Foundation, especially since he and Frey wrestled together years ago.

“I knew Adam pretty well,” Accordino said. “We were on a couple of national teams together.  It was meaningful for me to be part of the event to support the Foundation. I was also happy to see Adam’s parents and his brother because I’ve known them for a long time.”

In addition to catching up with the Freys, Accordino got to spend time with longtime friend Jake O’Hara of Columbia – including five minutes on the mat.

The former youth teammates faced off in one of the 17 main event matches, with Accordino earning a 5-3 victory on the strength of takedowns in the first and third periods.

“We’re pretty good friends,” Accordino said of his opponent. “He’s a tough kid and even though we were on the same elementary school team I think it’s the first time we wrestled in a match.  I think all the guys just wanted to go out and give the crowd a good show.  It was an exhibition match so it was a chance to wrestle and have some fun.”

Accordino had fun taking in the action throughout the afternoon, including viewing the 8-2 victory of Penn State NCAA champion Ed Ruth over Lehigh’s Robert Hamlin in the feature bout.

“It was great watching Ed Ruth.  He’s such a technical wrestler and he looked really good,” Accordino said. “He’s also a kid I’ve known for a while from Pennsylvania.  It was a great chance for me to see so many people I haven’t seen in a while.”

Ruth, Hamlin and Accordino were among the nine All-Americans who took the mat on Sunday.   In a matchup of two 141-pound medalists from the 2012 NCAAs, New York native Mike Nevinger squared off against Cal Poly’s Boris Novachkov, who finished in the top three at nationals twice.

Mike Nevinger vs. Adam Krop at NCAAs, Photo by Boris Veysman

After battling to a 2-2 deadlock in regulation, Nevinger notched the only takedown of the bout in overtime to capture a 4-2 victory.

“There were some good scrambles,” Nevinger said. “It was an exhibition, but I like opportunities to compete against the best guys.  It was great to get a competitive match in the offseason and I’m obviously happy with the win.”

Nevinger was also pleased to get an invite to the event, and while he said he didn’t know Frey personally, he felt a connection with the former Big Red wrestler.

“It was a lot of fun for a good cause,” Nevinger said. “I was really happy to be there to represent Cornell.”

As the only Big Red grappler taking part in the festivities on Sunday, Nevinger had some fun with the crowd, which included a large number of Lehigh and Penn State supporters.

“It was pretty funny when the fans were asking me what the big ‘C’ on my shirt stood for,” he said. “There were some jokes thrown my way, all in good fun.”

When asked about the match that stood out, both Accordino and Nevinger cited the 11-9 overtime tilt won by Kent State’s Ian Miller over Lehigh’s Shane Welsh.

“They both had some throws and there was a lot of action all the way through.  It was great to watch,” Nevinger said.

“There were lots of big moves,” Accordino added. “That match was really entertaining.”

For Liebman, bringing entertainment to the spectators was one of the main goals of the day.

“It was important to Adam when we were setting [the Foundation] up to not only do successful fundraisers but to put on a great wrestling events that promote the sport and do it the right way.  There was a great crowd, great matches.  I was proud to be a part of it.”

To find out more about the Adam Frey Foundation, visit adamfrey.us

Watch Josh Liebman discuss the 2012 Adam Frey Classic:

Results (Wrestlers with NY Ties in Bold)

Chuck Zeisloft (Rider) over Billy Watterson (Brown, John Jay HS)

Vinny Fava (Rider) over Tyler Small (Kent State)

Ian Miller (Kent State) over Shane Welsh (Lehigh)

Mark McKnight (Buffalo/Penn State) over Patrick Hunter (Binghamton)

Justin Accordino (Hofstra) over Jake O’Hara (Columbia)

Joey Napoli (Lehigh) over Lorenzo Thomas (Penn)

BJ Young (Newberry) over CJ Cobb (Penn)

Chance Marstellar (Kennard Dale HS) over Johnny Sebastian (Bergen Catholic HS)

Steve Mytych (Drexel) over Nic Bedelyon (Kent State)

Mike Nevinger (Cornell, Letchworth Central HS) over Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly)

Josh Asper (Maryland) over Nestor Taffor (Boston)

Jim Resnick (Rider) over Nate Brown (Lehigh)

Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) over Ricky McDonald (Brown)

Andrew Campolattano (Ohio St.) over Christian Boley (Maryland, Brockport HS)

Ryan Tomei (Pitt) over Nick Gwiazdowski (NC State, Duanesburg HS)

Max Wessell (Lehigh) over Cody Reed (Binghamton, Walton HS)

Ed Ruth (Penn State) over Robert Hamlin (Lehigh)

Iowa Dual Highlights 2012-13 Buffalo Schedule

Courtesy of http://www.buffalobulls.com

BUFFALO, NY – The Buffalo Bulls wrestling team announced its 2012-13 schedule, with another season highlighted by aggressive scheduling against some of the top talent in the nation. This season, the Bulls will bring perennial powerhouse Iowa to Alumni Arena for its fourth annual Takedown Cancer event on Dec. 17. Additionally, the Bulls will be hosting the 2013 Mid-American Conference championships on March 10.

The Hawkeyes finished third in the 2012 NCAA national championships and had six All-Americans and one national champion. This will be the first meeting ever between the two teams, and it is the first of two scheduled duals between the two programs, as Buffalo will face Iowa on the road in the 2013-14 season.

“Having Iowa come here – and us going to Iowa next year – is a huge step in the right direction for our program,” said head coach Jim Beichner. “It’s something that’s hopefully not just exciting for our team, but for Western New York and all of our alumni and friends of the progam.”

Before that, the season will kick off on Nov. 4 with the UB Invite, marking a slight change in format to the standard season-opening tournament. While in the past it was an open tournament, this season, the UB Invite will offer team scoring in a competition that will feature the region’s top teams and wrestlers. Unattached wrestlers will also compete, but this season, each team will field a group of starters to compete to win a team championship.

Following the UB Invite, the Bulls will again travel to Brockport, NY for the Oklahoma Gold Classic (Nov. 10). Then another significant change will be in store for the team, as the New York State Collegiate championship will be next up on Nov. 17. Usually held in the last part of the season, the championship will move up into November to offer a more fiercely competitive and exciting event. Hosted by Cornell, the tournament will bring together the very best college teams in New York.
In the final of the four straight tournaments to open the season, the Bulls will go to Penn State for the Nittany Lion Open. Hosted by the two-time defending national champions, the tournament will again offer the team a challenging tournament chock full of premiere national talent.
Following that, the team embarks on a streak of six duals and two tournaments in just over a month, starting with its MAC opener at Central Michigan on Dec. 9 that has tremendous historical impact for UB. That dual will be the 1,000th dual in program history, and the 276th in the career of head coach Jim Beichner. That is followed up one week later with the team’s home opener against Iowa.

The team will then hit the road again for three straight road events, starting Dec. 18 at Bloomsburg. Then, the Bulls will split up the squad for a pair of tournaments to close out 2012. On Dec. 29, the team will send a select few wrestlers to the Midlands tournament at Northwestern University. Widely regarded as the most prestigious in-season tournament in the country, the Midlands will celebrate its 50th year in 2012. Last season, John-Martin Cannon earned Buffalo’s highest individual finish after placing fourth. UB wrestlers who are not competing at the Midlands will participate in the Lock Haven Invite on the same day.

Buffalo opens the new year at Binghamton on Jan. 2 before coming home on Jan. 6 to take on Edinboro. The following Friday, the team will head down to the mid-Atlantic region for the Virginia Duals. This will be the third season in the duals tournament, and after placing in the past two season, the Bulls will strive for a team title against numerous national powerhouses.

A quartet of MAC duals soon follows, with UB hosting Eastern Michigan (Jan. 18), Kent State (Feb. 3), and Northern Illinois (Feb. 16), and battling Ohio on the road (Jan. 26).

Another new event for the team will be held on Feb. 23, with the Regional Duals hosted by Franklin and Marshall in Lancaster, PA. Featuring Lock Haven, Purdue, Duke, Rider, and the host Diplomats of F&M, the duals event will feature at least two dual matches for the Bulls to close out the regular season.

The Bulls will then host the MAC tournament championship for the first time since 2007, with head coach Jim Beichner excited to show just how much the young UB squad has grown from last season.

Following that, the team hopes to send another handful of wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, hosted this season in Des Moines, Iowa at the Wells Fargo Arena.

“We made a commitment years ago that our schedule would get better and tougher every year,” Beichner said. “When you do that, you take more risks, but we hope the rewards come with these risks. Unless you make a schedule where you wrestle the best, you won’t ever get to the level of the very best.”

Top Talent Comes Together for Fourth Annual Adam Frey Classic On Sunday

Adam Frey

It’s hard not to be excited about the Adam Frey Classic this year.  Just ask Penn State National Champion Ed Ruth.

According to Adam Frey Foundation Board Member Josh Liebman, Ruth was in the middle of a special family occasion when he was contacted about the event.

“Ed had a lot going on, but he called back right away and said he definitely wanted to do it,”  Liebman said. “It was on his mind enough that he couldn’t wait until the next day to call.”

In the fourth annual event for the Adam Frey Foundation, Ruth will square off against Lehigh’s two-time All-American Robert Hamlin in the feature bout in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

“We were trying to think of matchups that would be really exciting for wrestling fans and we knew [Hamlin] would be involved,” Liebman said. “He and his family have been really supportive of the Foundation and with the event being at Lehigh this year, it was a great fit.”

Ruth has posted first and third place finishes at NCAAs, while Hamlin has taken second and fourth.

After holding the first three Adam Frey Classics at Rider, Liebman is excited for the new location at Grace Hall on Lehigh’s campus.

“So far, it’s been nothing but great,” he said. “Everyone has been very supportive and interested in being part of the event and helping it grow.  The sports marketing staff has helped out and the coaches have too. I really wanted to get Pennsylvania involved since Adam was from there.  It’s like he’ll be closer to home, at least for a year.”

Besides the new arena, another addition in 2012 is a match of high school stars with the top rising junior in the country, Chance Marstellar, taking on New Jersey state champion Johnny Sebastian.

“We’ve never done a high school vs. high school match before,” Liebman said. “Last year, because of an injury, [Blair Academy’s] Brooks Black stepped in to wrestle Zach Rey.  But this year, Marstellar really wanted to be a part of it.  The college kids weren’t in a hurry to wrestle him, but [Sebastian] was excited.  He loves to test himself.  I expect Johnny to start next season ranked in the top 5 or 10 at his weight, so I think it’s a premiere matchup.”

It’s one of many bouts Liebman is looking forward to viewing.  (The full lineup is listed below). He believes the tilt between 141 pound All-Americans Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly) and Perry, NY native Mike Nevinger (Cornell) will be one to watch.

“That match may not jump out at people, but I can’t wait for it,” Liebman said. “They’re both so tough on top and a little funky on their feet.  I think it could steal the show.”

While heavyweight battles aren’t typically the most entertaining affairs, Liebman is anticipating 2012 All-American Nick Gwiazdowski’s meeting with former Pittsburgh Panther Ryan Tomei. He predicts good action and “not a lot of the hanging on you often see at heavy.”

Liebman added that having Gwiazdowski, a former star at Duanesburg High, in the event is exciting for another reason.  When he was a senior in high school, the recent NC State transfer participated in the New York-New Jersey Charity Challenge, which benefitted the Adam Frey Foundation.  In fact, Gwiazdowski’s pin sealed the victory for the Empire State.

“It’s something I’d like to have on a regular basis — having guys be a part of an event in high school and staying involved with our organization in college.  It feels like watching guys grow up through your peewee program,” Liebman said. “That’s what’s great about the wrestling community.  Everyone, even if they didn’t know Adam personally, wants to know his story and get involved.”

Adam Frey’s alma mater, Blair Academy, has been very involved from the start.  This year, the event will be set up as a dual meet between Blair and Angry Fish with several alums of those squads coaching and competing.  As a bonus, Monroe Woodbury’s Vinny Vespa, who is fighting Stage 4 cancer, may serve as an honorary coach.

Nevinger and Gwiazdowski won’t be the only representatives from the Empire State.  All-American Justin Accordino of Hofstra will take the mat, as will John Jay graduate Billy Watterson (Brown), Brockport native Christian Boley, Columbia’s Jake O’Hara, Cornell’s Caleb Richardson and Binghamton’s Pat Hunter and Cody Reed.  In addition, Beat the Streets (BTS) wrestlers from New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore will participate in exhibition bouts between 1 and 2 p.m. before the main event begins.

“I’m really excited about having BTS,” Liebman said. “It’s a chance for kids to get outside the city.  One of the important parts of the BTS program is for kids to strive for a college education, even if it’s outside of wrestling.  This is a great chance for the kids to visit a college campus and see that it’s something they may want.”

What Liebman wants is to fill Grace Hall as close to capacity as possible.  He wants the wrestling community to come together to support the Foundation and celebrate Adam Frey’s life.

“In the past, our events have had a fun atmosphere,” he said. “Top talent comes but since it’s not a pressure situation, the guys go out there and relax and wrestle.  It’s more open, more fun. It quickly becomes a feeling of reunion rather than a somber event where we’re memorializing Adam.  Adam wouldn’t have wanted that; he wouldn’t want a moment of silence.  He’d rather have everyone having a good time.”

Exhibition Matches 1-2 p.m. – Beat the Streets New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore

Main Event Matches, Beginning at 2 p.m.

Chuck Zeisloft (Rider) vs. Billy Watterson (Brown)

Nic Bedelyon (Kent State) vs. Steve Mytych (Drexel)

Mike Nevinger (Cornell) vs. Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly)

Tyler Small (Kent State) vs. Vinnie Fava (Rider)

Caleb Richardson (Cornell) vs. Pat Hunter (Binghamton)

BJ Young (Newberry) vs. CJ Cobb (UPenn)

Justin Accordino (Hofstra) vs. Jake O’Hara (Columbia)

James Fleming (Clarion) vs. Joey Napoli (Lehigh)

Ian Miller (Kent State) vs. Shane Welch (Lehigh)

Chance Marsteller vs. Johnny Sebastian*

Bekzod Abduakhmanov (Clarion) vs. Josh Asper (Maryland)

Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) vs. Jimmy Resnick (Rider)

Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) vs. Ricky McDonald (Brown)

Christian Boley (Maryland) vs. Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State)

Nick Gwiazdowski (NC State) vs. Ryan Tomei (Pitt/ OTC)

Max Wessell (Lehigh) vs. Cody Reed (Binghamton)

Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) vs. Ed Ruth (Penn State)**

*High School match

**Featured bout

***Match-ups provided by Josh Liebman

To purchase tickets in advance: http://ev6.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetEventList?groupCode=S&linkID=global-lehigh&shopperContev6.evenue.net

For more information, please visit adamfrey.us