Section 9 Preview: Stramiello and Martinez Look to Make All-State Again, While Fans Await the Return of Vinny Vespa

 

By Mike Carey, sectionixwrestling.com

 

Division I

Returning State Placewinner:

Sixth Place: Johnny Stramiello, Pine Bush, 106 Pounds

 

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Gerard Daly, Minisink Valley

99 Pounds: Vinny Vespa, Monroe Woodbury

106 Pounds: Michael Raccioppi, Minisink Valley

160 Pounds: Dan DeCarlo, Port Jervis

195 Pounds: Deon Edmond, Kingston

220 Pounds: Connor Leavell, Warwick

Wrestlers to Watch . . .

Johnny Stramiello, Photo by Boris V

Johnny Stramiello, Pine Bush – The three-time defending Section 9 champion placed sixth at the state tournament last season.  His offseason work at Apex Wrestling plus his appearance at tough events such as the Journeymen Classic will greatly improve his chances of ascending up the podium.

Michael Raccioppi, Minisink Valley – Raccioppi is as tough as they come.  Last season, he finished 39-7, was a state qualifier and took seventh at the Eastern States Classic.  His “offseason” has included a fourth place finish at the MAWA Eastern Nationals, a 10-day J. Robinson Intensive Camp and an appearance at the Journeymen Classic.

Dan DeCarlo, Port Jervis – DeCarlo is as strong and athletic as any wrestler in the state but he typically only wrestles four months of the year.  His skill and technique are improving each season, so don’t be surprised if you see him on the podium in Albany.

Gerard Daly, Minisink Valley – As a first year varsity wrestler, Daly recorded impressive wins over state qualifiers Steven Sewkumar of Long Beach (Section 8), Kevin Parker of Shenendehowa (Section 2) and Josh Antoine of the PSAL.  He also earned sixth at the Eastern States Classic.  Daly went 1-2 at the state tournament and was eliminated when he dropped a closely contested 8-5 bout to fourth place medalist Joe Calderone of Walt Whitman (Section 11).

Deon Edmond, Kingston – Edmond is talented, hard working and well coached.  He was one win from making All-State last year when he went 2-2, including an impressive victory over Mike Spinelli from Mahopac in Albany.  Edmond has set his goals very high for his senior campaign.

Also Keep an Eye On . . . 

AJ Voelker, Monroe Woodbury – Talented and self-motivated; he can “taste” it

Travis Edwards, Port Jervis – Wrestled hard all summer; very athletic

Terrence Cheeks, Newburgh Free Academy – Has the ability; defeated Ethan Stanley (New York State fourth placer) in 2012

Brett Johnson, Cornwall – May surprise some opponents; on the cusp of the next level

Donald Brown, Middletown – Explosive wrestler with lots of “upside”

Bryan Mongiello, Washingtonville – 2012 Section 9 finalist looking for his first trip to Albany

Dylan Booth, Port Jervis – Will his 10-day stint at the J. Robinson camp put him over the top?

Team Vinny V

In the hearts and minds of the entire Section 9 wrestling community, the most anticipated moment of the upcoming season will be when Monroe Woodbury sophomore Vinny Vespa steps on the mat for the first time.  Vespa, a New York state qualifier last season, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma this past spring and has been undergoing treatments for several months. Those who know Vinny can attest to the following statement — it’s a matter of “when”, not “if” he returns to the mat in a Monroe Woodbury singlet.

Team Race

Although they graduated five state qualifiers, two-time defending tournament champions Warwick Valley cannot be discounted. However, on paper, Monroe Woodbury and Minisink Valley seem to be the favorites going into the 2012-2013 season.

All three teams finished last season ranked in the top 20 in New York State.  Monroe Woodbury, the 18th ranked team a year ago, returns nearly its entire lineup.  Expect the Crusaders to be led by AJ Voelker, Vinny Vespa, PJ Smoot, Rob Kelly, JP Vandercliff and Drake Barczak.

Minisink Valley also returns the majority of last year’s team which finished the season as the 20th ranked team in the state.  The Warriors are expecting big things from qualifiers Gerard Daly and Michael Raccioppi as well as returning starters Chris Truglio, Nick Truglio, Nick Wentland and Josh Bonneau.

Although hit hard by graduation, last year’s 19th ranked team, Warwick Valley, is expecting another solid year.  The Wildcats will be led by returning state qualifier Connor Leavell as well as Joe Ginley, Thomas Wightman and Andy Sliter.

Several other teams have the potential to be in the hunt for the team title in Section 9.  Cornwall, led by New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame coach Don Blaine, is always tough.  This year’s squad will be no different and has several wrestlers who can make a splash at the sectional tournament including Brett Johnson, Sean Sweeney, Luke Zsido and Quinn Zsido.  NFA is always a solid team, however this year’s squad will have to contend with the loss of Hall of Fame coach Jeff Cuilty, who stepped down from his position in August. Port Jervis, Middletown, Valley Central and Washingtonville are ever-improving and may surprise some teams.

 

Division II

Returning State Placewinner:

Sixth Place: Andy Martinez, Liberty, 182 Pounds

 

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Dean Stanton, Tuxedo

106 Pounds: Austin Ingraham, Highland

113 Pounds: Declan Dwyer-McNulty, Red Hook

120 Pounds: Eric Januszkiewicz, New Paltz

160 Pounds: Austin Weigel, Onteora

170 Pounds: Mike Rauch, Red Hook

195 Pounds: Dustin Mackenzie, Onteora

285 Pounds: Anthony Tufano, New Paltz

Wrestlers to Watch . . .

Andy Martinez (12) Liberty – Martinez is determined to prove that last season’s sixth place finish in Albany was no fluke.  The gritty and talented senior went 2-3 at the Times Union Center including a 7-5 victory over eventual fourth place finisher Tyler Morris of Section 2’s Salem.

Austin Weigel (12) Onteora – The senior was 2-2 at the state tournament last year.  His hard fought 3-1 loss to eventual third place finisher Hayden Wagner of South Seneca prevented Weigel from making it to the medal stand.  A busy offseason schedule including frequent trips up the Thruway to Journeymen Wrestling Club have continued his progress.  At the Super 32 qualifier in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, Weigel took second at 170 pounds, outscoring his opponents 14-3 to make the finals where he dropped a two-point decision to nationally ranked Garrett Peppelman.  He followed that up by winning his bracket at the Journeymen Classic. The podium is looking like a solid possibility this year.

Austin Ingraham (11) Highland – Prior to the beginning of last season, Ingraham made a commitment to improve his skills and become a competitive wrestler at the state level.  His work paid off.  The Highland junior had a great regular season and was one victory away from placing in Albany.  This year, he has his sights set on the podium.

Eric Januszkiewicz (12) New Paltz – Januskiewicz almost pulled off a huge upset in the first round of last year’s state tournament when he narrowly lost 4-3 to finalist Jeff O’Lena of East Rochester.  The New Paltz senior plans to take home his fourth Section 9 title this year and then cap off his high school career with a trip to the medal stand.

Also Keep an Eye On . . . Jesse Corcoran (12) Eldred – Placed at Eastern States, season ended early due to injury

Team Race

Expect a three-way race in Section 9 D2 between Onteora, Red Hook and Rondout Valley.  Onteora and Red Hook both return two state qualifiers from last year’s squads and neither team was decimated by graduation.  Rondout Valley graduated three Section 9 champs, however coach Dave Hodes always seems to have a competitive team take the mat.  New Paltz returns two state qualifiers and may sneak up on some teams.

 

More Season Previews:

Section 1 Preview

Section 1 Feature:  Aslanian and Realbuto, All-State Wrestlers and Workout Partners, Seek to End Their Careers on Top of the Podium

Section 3 Preview

 

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