FOR VIDEOS FROM THE EASTERN NATIONALS, SEE BELOW
The championship featured the same two clubs. The end result was the same, too.
Two weeks ago in Lake Placid, X-Cel met Apex in the finals of the Pop and Flo National Duals with the Long Island squad coming out on top by a 25-24 score.
This weekend, the two teams squared off again for the title at the Eastern Nationals at Eastport South Manor High School. X-Cel was once again victorious, this time by a much larger margin, against an Apex team with several lineup changes from the Pop and Flo competition.
One of the holdovers from the Apex team that competed in Lake Placid, Rutgers-bound Tony Pafumi, was named the event’s Most Outstanding Wrestler by vote of the coaches. The St. Peter’s Prep (NJ) standout notched several impressive victories on the weekend, including decisive wins over New York placewinners Gio Santiago of Sachem North and Dylen Seybolt of Longwood. (Match video of Pafumi is available below, along with several other bouts).
“Pafumi is very, very tough,” X-Cel coach and event leader Nick Garone said. “He definitely impressed a lot of people, especially on his feet. It says a lot to win the MOW when you aren’t on the championship team.”
X-Cel’s title squad also boasted several top-notch performances and a host of undefeated wrestlers. Rather than singling out any individuals, however, Garone preferred to talk about X-Cel as a unit.
“The team we put out there could have competed with anyone in the country,” Garone said. “The kids were spectacular and I’m very proud of them. It’s phenomenal for us as a club to win Pop and Flo and now this event; it shows that we’re doing things right and getting guys to compete at a high level.“
Another group competing at a high level, according to Garone, was the squad from Sachem East, which defeated nearby Sachem North in the third place dual.
“East was tough; they were right there in the mix with Apex, but Apex had just enough to overcome them,” he said. “Most of the teams here were club teams with kids from lots of different schools, but Sachem East mostly came as their high school team, with a few fill-ins. It’s darn impressive to place in an event like this as a high school team. I give them a lot of credit.”
There were a lot of people Garone wanted to give credit to following the event. He mentioned great refereeing and the work of Dean Zenie, Kim Leo, Darren Goldstein and Teddy Fabian, among others. He also was grateful to MSG Varsity for agreeing to provide television coverage of both the championship and third place bouts (on July 2).
“It’s very difficult to get somebody to agree to air wrestling,” he said. “MSG came on board and stepped up to the plate. It adds credibility and exposure for the kids and we’re really excited it will be on TV.”
Garone also expressed his excitement about X-Cel winning its second title in the past three weeks. And he is thrilled about the future of the Eastern Nationals.
“We’re trying to provide a platform for the kids in this area to wrestle in a high profile event without having to get on a plane or travel far and spend so much money,” he said. “We were up against some obstacles this year like proms and SATs which made the number of teams a little lower than we wanted, but we will work on that and find a better date next year. We believe this event will grow into something tremendous that will allow our Long Island wrestlers to wrestle the best competition without having to go far from home.”
Below are some of the videos from the Eastern Nationals 2012.
T. Pafumi (Apex) vs. G. Santiago (Sachem North)
J. Rodriguez (X-Cel) vs. DiBartolo (Smithtown East)
C. Rasheed (X-Cel) vs. Greenberg (Smithtown East)
Nick Garone Talks Eastern Nationals 2012 and Team X-Cel
D. Salkey (X-Cel) vs. Smithtown East
Dante Salkey on X-Cel and What’s Next
Sean McCabe Headed to Rutgers
S. McCabe (X-Cel) vs. Forca (Smithtown East)
N. Hall (X-Cel) vs. Outcault (Smithtown East)
T. Fabian (X-Cel) vs. Truncale (Smithtown East)
N. Piccininni (631 Elite) vs. O’Connell (KT Kidz)
C. Ladd (Sachem North) vs. P. Merzbacher (Apex)
Milo (Sachem North) vs. Voelker (Apex)
Z. Mullen (X-Cel) vs. Kipkowski (Port Jefferson)
S. Schwartzapfel (X-Cel) vs. Cavanagh (Port Jefferson)
J. Sanzone (Sachem North) vs. D. Fried (Apex)
J. Szymanski (X-Cel) vs. Cummings (Smithtown East)
Calderone (631 Elite) vs. Kane (KT Kidz)
M. Marino (Sachem North) vs. M. Barber (Apex)
A. Marino (Sachem North) vs. Balboni (Apex)
M. Stallone (Sachem North) vs. M. Seitz (Apex)
A. Nunziatta (Sachem North) vs. Burkert (Apex)
Perez (Sachem North) vs. Russo (Apex)
Sparacio (Sachem North) vs. Cancellieri (Apex)
Mazzella (631 Elite) vs. Davis (KT Kidz)