New York crowned six All-Americans in Junior Freestyle on Friday. The placement matches will take place on Saturday as the tournament comes to a close. The Empire State All-Americans are:
Wrestling for the Championship: Quinton Murphy (Holley), 138 Pounds (Took 2nd)
Wrestling for 3rd: Nick Kelley (Shenendehowa), 132 Pounds (Took 4th)
Wrestling for 3rd: Brian Realbuto (Somers), 152 Pounds (Took 4th)
Wrestling for 3rd: Dylan Palacio (Long Beach), 160 Pounds (Took 4th)
Wrestling for 5th: Tyler Grimaldi (Half Hollow Hills West), 160 Pounds (Took 6th)
Wrestling for 7th: David Almaviva (Shenendehowa), 145 Pounds (Took 8th)
Quinton Murphy finished third at Fargo in Junior Freestyle last year and was looking to cap off his high school career this July with a National Championship. But after losing a match on Thursday, he knew he would have to go on a long winning streak to reach that goal.
He was able to do just that, reeling off five straight victories on Friday to earn his spot in the finals against Bryce Brill of Illinois at 138 pounds.
Friday began on the right foot for Murphy as he pinned Walker Damewood of Oregon in less than 30 seconds. However, in his next contest, he dropped the first period 6-0 to Davey Dolan of Oklahoma before responding with a fall midway through the next stanza for another win.
From there, Murphy defeated the other three All-Americans in his pool, Darick LaPaglia of Missouri, Justin Arthur of West Virginia and Hayden Tuma of Idaho to reach the title bout. Against Tuma in the decisive match, Murphy lost the initial period 8-0 before taking the next two by the scores of 5-3 and 5-1.
Last year, Murphy handed eventual champion Ben Whitford a loss in pool action and then watched the Michigan grappler take the title. This time, Murphy hopes to be the one holding the trophy before beginning his college career at Indiana.
Beginning their college careers soon in Ithaca, NY will be Brian Realbuto and Dylan Palacio. But before they do, they will look to pick up third place medals at Fargo.
Realbuto won the crown in North Dakota last summer and breezed through the early stages of the tournament, recording two pins and two technical falls in his first five matches. In his sixth bout against Keilan Torres of Oklahoma, Realbuto dropped the first period 1-0 and fell behind 4-0 in the second while aggravating an injury sustained at the Junior Duals. However, he was able to overcome the deficit to eventually win the middle stanza 6-5 and then wasted little time in racking up seven points in the third to end the match quickly.
The Somers graduate then defeated California’s Jake Elliott and won the first period against Yoanse Mejia of Florida 4-0 before taking a full injury timeout. After the action resumed, Mejia grabbed a 0-4, 5-0, 6-0 decision.
On Saturday, Realbuto is slated to meet Oliver Pierce of Texas for third place.
Realbuto’s future teammate with the Big Red, Dylan Palacio will also battle for the bronze. Palacio was in total control of his first seven bouts during which he didn’t lose a single period and yielded more than one point in just one match (his 2-0, 6-2 triumph over Seth Williams of Ohio).
“He just looks phenomenal,” said coach Craig Vitagliano of Ascend Wrestling in Long Island, after Palacio moved to 7-0 on Friday afternoon. “He had a tough draw, but he kept rising to the occasion. He’s shown everything. He can handfight, he wears people down, he works the line and knows when to go offensive and when to go defensive. He’s such a gamer.”
The “gamer” went undefeated during the high school season, won the NHSCA Senior Nationals in Virginia Beach and went unbeaten at the Disney Duals. His streak came to an end on Friday night when he lost a battle to California’s Isaiah Martinez, one of the nation’s top rising seniors.
Palacio will square off against Matt Gray of Wisconsin on Saturday for third.
Joining Palacio as an All-American in the 160-pound bracket is Tyler Grimaldi, who will compete for fifth. The Half Hollow Hills West wrestler showed his composure throughout the tournament, coming back from deficits on numerous occasions.
Grimaldi cruised to wins in his initial two bouts, but then lost the first period in his next four matches. All four times, he bounced back to take the last two stanzas, outscoring his opponents 33-11 over the last two periods in those bouts.
“Tyler isn’t as experienced in freestyle as a lot of other guys, but he makes up for it with mental toughness,” Vitagliano said on Friday afternoon. “He’s totally coachable and fights tooth and nail for every point. He lost some of those first periods but he is so good at making adjustments mid-match. He’s also so well conditioned so he wears guys down. If you’re not as experienced in freestyle but you’re good on your feet and you understand par terre defense, you can do well here. All those things have put Tyler in the position he’s in now.”
That position is a battle for fifth with Idaho’s Austin Dewey on Saturday after Grimaldi topped Chris Lattner and lost to Gray and Nick Wanzek on Friday evening.
More Medals for Shenendehowa
Earlier in the week, Shenendehowa was well represented on the podium as Alexis Porter earned a pair of national titles and Jesse Porter placed in Greco. Now, the Plainsmen have another two All-Americans to add to an impressive 2012 Fargo event – training partners Nick Kelley (132) and David Almaviva (145).
Kelley compiled an impressive 7-1 mark to earn a slot in the third place bout against Robbie Mathers of Arizona. The 132 pounder started the day with a hard fought win over California’s Ali Naser. Although Naser won the first period 4-0, Kelley grabbed the next two, 5-0 and 1-1 to move forward. The multi-time state placer from Section 2 then defeated George Fisher of Illinois and Jared McKinley of Indiana to run his record to 7-0 before dropping a bout against finalist Zain Retherford of Pennsylvania.
Almaviva went 5-0 on Thursday and added another victory over Phil Downing to begin day two in a three period match. He was then defeated by Brandon Sorensen and Austin Eads but will meet Brian Murphy of Illinois, a runner up at this weight a year ago, for seventh.
Placement matches begin at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday.
The Conclusion of Cadet Freestyle
A pair of rising sophomores earned eighth place medals for New York on Friday afternoon as the Cadet Freestyle event came to an end.
Thomas Dutton captured the first period of the seventh place tilt by a 6-2 tally against Pennsylvania’s Chris Weiler, but his opponent came back to pin him in the second. Dutton will return to Rocky Point next year after winning over 40 matches as a freshman 132 pounder in 2011-12.
Chris Tangora, a student at Bethlehem Central, also took eighth after losing to Matthew Olauson of Maryland in his final bout. Tangora won more than 25 matches during the 2011-12 campaign at 182 pounds.
The Full List of New York All-Americans in All Competitions at Fargo
106 Pounds: Kyle Kelly, 7th Place Greco
113 Pounds: Josh Antoine, 8th Place Greco
120 Pounds: Santo Curatolo, 6th Place Greco
132 Pounds: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, 3rd Place Greco
152 Pounds: Brendan Goldup, 5th Place Greco
160 Pounds: Connor Sutton, 5th Place Greco
182 Pounds: McZiggy Richards, 4th Place Greco
182 Pounds: Chris Loew, 7th Place Greco
132 Pounds: Nick Kelley, 4th Place Freestyle
138 Pounds: Quinton Murphy, 2nd Place Freestyle
145 Pounds: David Almaviva, 8th Place Freestyle
152 Pounds: Brian Realbuto, 4th Place Freestyle
160 Pounds: Dylan Palacio, 4th Place Freestyle
160 Pounds: Tyler Grimaldi 6th Place Freestyle
94 Pounds: Chris Cuccolo, Cadet Greco 5th
132 Pounds: Jesse Porter, Cadet Greco 4th
132 Pounds: Sam Ward, Cadet Greco 7th
182 Pounds: Benjamin Honis, Cadet Greco 7th
138 Pounds: Thomas Dutton, 8th Place Freestyle
195 Pounds: Chris Tangora, 8th Place Freestyle
Women – Cadet
143 Pounds: Alexis Porter, Cadet Freestyle Champion
143 Pounds: Kennedie Eddings, Cadet Freestyle 6th
172 Pounds: Yuneris Diaz, Cadet Freestyle 3rd
Women – Junior
112 Pounds: Hanna Grisewood, 2nd Place
130 Pounds: Rosemary Flores, 3rd Place
139 Pounds: Alexis Porter, Champion
159 Pounds: Mary Westman, Champion
172 Pounds: Yuneris Diaz, 5th Place