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

New York Teams Spend Successful Father's Day Weekend at Ragin Raisins Duals in PA

It may not have been the traditional Father’s Day with special breakfasts and backyard barbecues, but it was a great weekend nonetheless for several New York wrestling dads at the Ragin Raisins Duals in Erie, PA.

For the combined Superior Wrestling Academy/Finger Lakes Wrestling Club (FLWC) Red and Gold teams, it was an opportunity for over 20 families to camp out and enjoy swimming and other activities in the great outdoors.

And of course, there was the action on the mat as well.

G2 World Wrestling Academy co-owner Adam Burgos said the fathers on his squad were happy with the present they were given.

“We had a great weekend of wrestling and as an added bonus the fathers at G2 received a second place finish from our wrestlers and sons,” Burgos said.

G2 earned runner up status in the youth division after facing Georgia’s undefeated Team Minion, which featured state finalists at every weight, in the championship dual. The Rochester-area squad went 6-2 overall on the way to the finals, despite yielding seven forfeits in each meet.

“We got pins when we needed to get them,” Burgos said. “We were fortunate the kids came through the way they did.  Everybody just battled and battled tough all weekend long.”

According to Burgos, Frankie Gissendanner and the Diakomihalis brothers, Yianni and Greg, all picked up seven wins for G2 while the Kropman trio – Parker, Cooper and Max –  registered five victories apiece.

Like G2, another Empire State squad compiled a 6-2 mark on the weekend – Superior/FLWC Red.

“We saw some really tough competition, which is what we wanted,” said coach Gary Ferro.  “Our only losses were to the first (Team Minion) and third (Ragin Raisins Green, PA) place teams and we beat the second place team (G2), which was a great win for us.  I’m really proud of the kids – they worked really hard and when you add in the fun we had camping together as families, it was a great, great experience.”

While the coach emphasized that the squad competed well throughout the lineup, he mentioned standout performances from Theo Powers (six wins at 108 pounds), Kelan McKenna (undefeated) and Ethan Ferro (seven victories at 68).

“There’s so much I could say about Theo,” Ferro said. “He showed mental toughness and stepped up against some very good competition throughout the weekend.  And I was very impressed with Kelan as usual.  He brought it like he always does.  Ethan had a big 10-5 win over a good kid from Journeymen who is a few years older than him.  He really enjoyed that one.”

While G2, Superior/FLWC and Journeymen all enjoyed competition in the youth division, Cobra Wrestling Academy entered teams in both the youth and high school brackets, taking fourth and fifth overall, respectively.

“We were looking to get some quality matches in and we definitely accomplished that,” said Cobra Executive Director Keith Maute.  “There was some great wrestling. We weren’t the only team missing guys, but we had to forfeit a lot of matches – 7 forfeits (in 20 weighs) on our youth team and five on the high school side.  That didn’t help, but the kids we did have obviously wrestled really well to make up for it.”

Maute noted that three of his grapplers — Carson Alberti, Kellen Devlin and Dakota Gardner —  went unbeaten on his younger squad, while Dylan Caruana and Nick Mitchell each lost a single bout in the high school division.

Also participating in the high school action were an additional trio of Empire State teams – Falconer, WRCL and Excelsior United.

“A few years ago, Cobra was the only New York team at this event,” Burgos said. “There were quite a few this year.  It’s great to see that even in the summer New York is sending teams out to compete and improve.  It was a phenomenal weekend.”

For dual-by-dual results, see below (NY teams in bold italics):



Superior/FLWC Red 60 – Mountain Grapplers 23

RRWC Green 57 – Journeymen 22

Team Minion 42 – AWC 37

G2 45 – RRWC TD 24

Cobra 61 – Superior/FLWC Gold 21


Team Minion 63 – Superior/FLWC Red 22

AWC 62 – Mountain Grapplers 21

G2 36 – Cobra 24

Lancaster 46 – FLB 33

RRWC TD 58 – Superior/FLWC Gold 28


RRWC Green 57 – Superior/FLWC Red 34

Lancaster 50 – Superior/FLWC Gold 31

Gladiator 50 – FLB 24

Journeymen 52 – Mountain Grapplers 22

Team Minion 51 – Cobra 16


G2 37 – Lancaster 26

Journeymen 59 – Superior/FLWC Gold 21

Cobra 42 – FLB 21

RRWC TD 48 – Gladiator 42

RRWC Green 38 – AWC 34


Cobra 41 – Lancaster 27

RRWC Green 52 – FLB 21

G2 38 – Gladiator 34

AWC 52 – Journeymen 31

Team Minion 81 – Mountain Grapplers 3


Cobra 54 – RRWC TD 27

FLB 43 – Superior/FLWC Gold 26

Gladiator 46 – Lancaster 27

RRWC Green 63 – Mountain Grapplers 18

Superior/FLWC Red 42 – G2 22


Gladiator 59 – Superior Gold/FLWC 18

G2 32 – FLB 12

Superior/FLWC Red 60 – Journeymen 16

AWC 44 – Lancaster 24


G2 46 – Superior/ FLWC Gold 21

Lancaster 51 – RRWC TD 32

Gladiator 48 – Mountain Grapplers 38

Team Minion 54 – RRWC Green 36


Team Minion 56 – J-Men 18

RRWC TD 48 – FLB 27

Superior/FLWC Red 40 – AWC 30

Cobra 42 – Gladiator 37


Mountain Grapplers 45 –FLB 19

RRWC TD 39 – Journeymen 33

Superior/FLWC Red 48 – Lancaster 30

AWC 51 – Gladiator 28


Team Minion 56 – G2 13

RRWC Green 51 – Cobra 26




AWC 63 – FLB 6

Lake Country 51 – RRWC Purple 15

Quest 43 – Cobra 12


FLB 42 – Falconer 27

RRWC Purple 47 – WRCL 15

RRWC Pink 43 – House 15


Alleghany Mountain 23 – House 22

Quest 46 – E United 9

Cobra 43 – WRCL 19


Quest 33 – Lake Country 18

Alleghany Mountain 42 – Falconer 15

AWC 54 – House 6


E United 38WRCL 19

RRWC Pink 52 – FLB 15

Cobra 40 – RRWC Purple 16


Lake Country 49 – E United 3

RRWC Pink 54 – Falconer 9

AWC 50 – Alleghany Mountain 6


Lake Country 49 – WRCL 6

RRWC Purple 42 – E United 16

AWC 83 – Falconer 3

Alleghany Mountain 30 – FLB 15


Quest 52 – WRCL 9

AWC 34 – RRWC Pink 22

Lake Country 40 – Cobra 6

House 40 – Falconer 18


Quest 45 – RRWC Purple 9

Cobra 28 – E United 12

House 30 – FLB 24

RRWC Pink 42 – Alleghany Mountain 12


E United 24Falconer 24

Cobra 27 – House 18

WRCL 39 – FLB 21

Alleghany Mountain 35 – RRWC Purple 31


E United 18 – FLB 6

Quest 42 – RRWC Pink 15

Falconer 36 – WRCL 24

AWC 31 – Lake Country 24


Cobra 28 – Alleghany Mountain 19

RRWC Purple 43 – Lake Erie House 18

Quest 50 – AWC 12

RRWC Pink 30 – Lake Country 26

Reminder: Victory 4 Vinny Challenge at Gaglione Strength This Weekend To Benefit Vinny Vespa

This Sunday the Victory 4 Vinny Wrestling Strength Challenge will take place at Gaglione Strength in Farmingdale.  The proceeds will go to Monroe Woodbury’s Vinny Vespa as he battles Stage 4 cancer.

“I am not sure what people know about cancer, but there is no Stage 5,” John Gaglione said when discussing the origin of the event. “Vinny Vespa needs your help.  The battle with cancer is going to be his toughest battle yet and he needs our support.”

To show your support (and your strength), see all the essential details below:

When: Sunday June 24th at 9 a.m. (Check in).  The event starts at 9:15 sharp and will be finished before 11:45 a.m.
Where: Gaglione Strength, 32 Allen Boulevard, Farmingdale, NY, 11735. Additional Parking available on Baiting Place Road
What: Three Strength Challenges (see more information below) to support Vinny Vespa

$20 Registration Fee; Additional donations will be accepted and ALL proceeds will go to aid Vinny’s fight

T-Shirts to All Competitors
Prizes for Contest Winners
Limited to the first 40 who sign up

What are the strength challenges?  Learn more about them here:

Monkey Bar & Pull Up Challenge Max Distance

Must perform a pull up at every rung. At the turn you must perform a pull up before and after the turning point. Max distance wins. In the event of a tie, the heavier body weight will win.
-Chin must clear the bar at every rung
-Excessive kipping, heaving or swing of the legs is not allowed
-Chalk is allowed; no other grip aids will be permitted

Weighted (4 Chains) Push Ups for Max Reps in a Minute

The athlete will perform weighted push ups with an external resistance of 80 pounds (4 chains). Full depth and lockout will be required. Highest number of reps wins. In the event of a tie, the heavier body weight will win.
– All reps must be full locked out
-All reps will be performed with a full range of motion
-Dumbbells will utilized for push up handles. No other aids will be allowed

48kg Kettlebell Goblet Box Squat Max Reps in a Minute

The athlete will cheat clean (use two hands) a 48kg (106 pounds) kettlebell into the goblet position and perform box squats to a 14 inch box. The maximum number of repetitions will win the event. In the event of a tie, the lower body weight will win.
-Lifter must fully establish control and lockout their hips and knees after every rep
-Lifter must sit onto the box every rep and not crash onto the box
-No lifting belts or aids are allowed for this event

To sign up, go to the link below:


First Lessons to the Top of the Class: The Story of Whitehall's Paul and Zach Diekel

Zach Diekel After Winning the State Title

In honor of Father’s Day, the following is the story of a successful New York father-son combination, Paul and Zach Diekel.

2012 New York State champion Zach Diekel remembers his first wrestling workouts from when he was three or four years old, practicing with his sister in the living room.

Soon afterward, it wasn’t his sister but another member of his family, his father Paul, a former Junior World Freestyle Silver Medalist, spending a considerable amount of time on the mat with him.

Zach, now a senior about to graduate from Whitehall High, calls the sessions with his father friendly but competitive.

“If I do something he wasn’t expecting or I catch him with a headlock, we’ll crack a smile at each other,” he said. “But we definitely go hard. I think he’s a lot stronger than I am, but I’d say I’m quicker at times.  When we go live, I don’t know if I ever truly score on him, or if he just lets me.”

According to Paul Diekel, his son underestimates himself.

“He pushes me a lot harder than I want to work.  I really have to exert myself to stay with him,” Paul said.  “I probably have 25 pounds on him, but I don’t know if I really have a strength advantage anymore.  He’s a lot better than I was at that age.”

That’s saying quite a bit.

After winning a state title as a senior at Whitehall, Paul moved on to the University of Oklahoma where he was excited about the plethora of high quality workout partners such as Mark Schultz, Dave Schultz, Melvin Douglas and Andre Metzger.

But he realized early on that he wasn’t entirely pleased as a Sooner and transferred to Lehigh, a school he had considered during the recruiting process.

“I was a little nervous about the academics at Lehigh,” he said. “I didn’t know if I would be able to handle the workload.”

He did, majoring in psychology with a minor in biology and continuing on to chiropractic school following graduation.

On the mat, Paul Diekel had a distinguished career wearing the Brown and White, with a 77-9 record including three All-American finishes (sixth, third and fifth) and a trio of EIWA crowns at 190 pounds.

When asked about his fondest memories in the sport, he recalls some of those achievements but said Zach’s accomplishments, especially his performances this February at the New York State tournament, were equally significant.

Zach Diekel came into the semifinals match at the Times Union Center against an opponent, Phoenix’s Austyn Hayes, who had beaten him by a wide margin earlier in the campaign at the Eastern States Classic. (Hayes also had defeated Diekel at the 2010 state tournament). In a tight bout decided by a late reversal, Diekel came out on top 7-5 to earn his first trip to the Saturday night finals.

The four-time New York placewinner took advantage of the spotlight, putting on a dominant display in his last high school appearance, defeating Avon’s Bryce Mazurowski 9-3 at 195 pounds. Like his father, Zach Diekel went from a bronze finish in the Empire State as a junior to a champion as a senior.  After the final whistle, he immediately went over and gave a bear hug to his father and to Whitehall’s head coach (and his uncle), Bob Diekel.

“I don’t know how to explain how I felt after I won,” Zach said. “I almost can’t remember it, it was so crazy.  I have a hard time describing it, but it was amazing.”

“After the semis match, I was speechless,” Paul Diekel added. “My legs and knees felt weak – I was just so happy for him to make the finals.  When he won it, it was a big, happy feeling of relief.  It was a special ending to his high school career and I was so proud of him.”

But Paul Diekel stressed that there’s something else about his son that makes him even more proud – the fact that Zach is the top student in Whitehall’s Class of 2012.  As in many schools, the valedictorian makes a speech at graduation, something Zach is preparing to do.

“I’m honored to be asked to speak, but it’s kind of scary for me,” he said. “I’d rather be in my singlet, wrestling in front of any number of people than speaking.  But it’s a different kind of pressure and something I’m getting used to.”

He has dealt with pressure before. As soon as he strapped on his headgear and took the mat for Whitehall, he felt the weight of the expectations.

“I knew I had big shoes to fill and people thought I would do great things because of what my father did,” Zach said. “But I made a big effort to overcome that.  I made the best of it and used it to motivate me.  I tried to conquer the pressure and not let the pressure conquer me.”

He will once again be walking the same path as his father when he begins the next chapter of his career as a 197 pounder in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania this fall.  While Paul Diekel admits that he was excited about the possibility of his son joining the Mountain Hawks, he wanted to be sure it was Zach’s selection.

“When he was being recruited, my wife and I stayed out of the decision,” he said. “We wanted to expose him to different places and we went with him on visits to Princeton, Cornell and Harvard.  We told him he couldn’t go wrong with any of the choices.”

“I was introduced to Lehigh at a young age,” Zach added. “I went to camps there and watched the varsity team wrestle.  When I started looking at colleges, it seemed like a perfect fit for me.  Engineering is their specialty and that’s what I want to do. The campus reminds me of my hometown a little bit.  It just fit for me.”

Diekel will arrive at the EIWA institution as part of a highly-touted recruiting class. When he does take the mat, fans may recognize the familiar wrestling style.

“By all means, I think he wrestles a lot like me. When you practice together every day you develop similar thought processes and techniques,” Paul said. “I’ve always believed it’s important to be able to attack the legs. Some wrestlers like to be defensive and score off mistakes.  We think if you keep offensive pressure up you will eventually wear your opponent down and outscore them by being aggressive.  It’s critical to do that to be successful at the next level.”

“People tell me that we are similar and we definitely both like the neutral position,” Zach added. “But people tell me he was a lot meaner on the mat; a little rougher with his opponents. He’s taught me at least 99% of what I know in wrestling.”

Much of that teaching came from the matside where Zach said he believes his father has been in his corner for all but “maybe three or four” competitions over the years.

While he won’t be as close to the action going forward, Paul made it clear that he will still be there.

“My goal was to stay healthy enough to be able to wrestle with him until he went to college,” Paul said.  “At the next level, Zach’s training partners will be taken care of.  But we’ll still be there for him – my wife and I now plan to follow Zach in his college career.  I think he’ll do very well in wrestling, but regardless of what happens on the mat, he has his priorities straight.  He understands that school comes first and wrestling comes second; a close second.  I’m so proud of him. If he keeps doing the things he’s always done, he will continue to be very successful down the road.”