Weekend Recap: Garrett Earns MOW as Cornell Wins New York State Collegiate Title; Columbia Crowns Three Champions

 

This weekend, the focus of New York college wrestling was in Ithaca.

First, on Friday night, Cornell defeated Binghamton 30-7 in a rematch of the dual won on criteria by the Big Red a year ago in Vestal.  For full results of the meet between the Big Red and the Bearcats, see here.

On Saturday and Sunday, most of the Empire State’s squads across all divisions competed in the New York State Championships, with the varsity competition on the first day and the “B” event on Sunday.

For final brackets from Saturday’s event, see:

NYS Tournament Final Brackets

To watch a video replay of the championship matches, see here.

 

Here are a few quick observations from Saturday’s action:

Cornell Freshmen Didn’t Look Like Rookies

Craig Scott, Photo by BV

Without two defending NCAA champions (Kyle Dake and Steve Bosak) and a number of other starters, the Big Red won the team title on Saturday by more than 30 points.  Contributing significantly were freshmen such as Nahshon Garrett, Chris Dowdy and Craig Scott.  All three won their debuts in a Cornell singlet against the Bearcats on Friday night and they all followed up with strong showings in the tournament.

Nahshon Garrett, Photo by Boris V

Garrett earned Most Outstanding Wrestler honors after capturing the 125-pound title with a 13-9 victory over returning All-American Steve Bonanno of Hofstra.   It was the second week in a row on top of the podium for the California native, who won the Binghamton Open during the season’s opening weekend.

Scott beat NCAA qualifier Cody Reed of the Bearcats in the dual on Friday and then did it again, by a larger margin, on Saturday.  That victory put him in the finals, where he upended Tyler Beckwith to win the tournament a week after taking second at the Binghamton Open.

The finals of the Cornell wrestle-offs at 157 pounds featured Craig Eifert and Jesse Shanaman, but with both out due to injuries, Chris Dowdy made sure the Big Red remained strong at the weight class.  Dowdy notched a convincing 5-0 shutout in the meet against Binghamton and then fought his way to the finals on Saturday, where he took silver behind NCAA qualifier Jake O’Hara of Columbia.

The performances of the three first-year Cornell students bodes well for the future of the Ivy League squad, as does the work of 141-pounder Mike Nevinger who didn’t yield a point all day.  He recorded three pins and outscored his opponents 13-0 in his other two bouts to win the tournament.  Similarly dominant was 197-pounder Jace Bennett, who pinned his way to the championship match, where he notched a major decision.

 

Champions from Columbia

The Lions led the team race for portions of the day on Saturday and boasted three champions – Steve Santos (149), Jake O’Hara (157) and Stephen West (174).  There’s no question that the trio will make the Lions tough in the middleweights in 2012-13.  Santos and O’Hara both won multiple matches at the NCAA tournament last year and West was on the verge of receiving an at large bid. All three were in control throughout the day, but they weren’t alone in excelling for the Lions.  The New York City-based team also had other top four finishers — Penn Gottfried (fourth at 125), Joe Moita (fourth at 133), Josh Houldsworth (third at 165) and Nick Mills (second at 197).

 

Hofstra Takes Third

Luke Vaith, Photo by Boris V

Hofstra had one champion on the way to third place in the team competition, but it wasn’t one of the Pride’s returning 2012 NCAA qualifiers.  It was Paul Snyder, who breezed through the early rounds before a 3-1 decision over Buffalo’s Justin Heiserman in the title match.  Rob Anspach’s squad had five other representatives earn top four spots, with Steve Bonanno (125) and Jermaine John (174) taking second; Jamie Franco (133) and Luke Vaith (141) grabbing third; and Nick Terdick notching fourth.

 

Standout Performances for Cortland

Tyler Beckwith, Photo by Boris V

Only one non-Division I wrestler made the finals – Tyler Beckwith of Cortland at 184 pounds.  But Beckwith wasn’t the only grappler from the Red Dragons to impress.  Bobby Dierna took third at 149 with his only loss coming by a point to champion Steve Santos.  Jared Myhrberg  was fourth at 197 and Corey James rebounded from a first round loss to take fourth at 285.  Brad Bruhn’s squad finished sixth in the team standings, the highest finish for a non-Division I team.

Another DIII team, Ithaca, had some strong showings, including bronze finishes for both Jules Doliscar at 174 and Ricardo Gomez at 125.

 

Mark Lewandowski Knows How to Pile Up the Points

Photo by Boris V

You could say Lewandowski was dominant on his way to the crown at 165 pounds.  In his first four matches, he outscored his opponents by a combined 62-1 tally, winning each bout by technical fall.  Two of the matches ended in less than one period.  His prowess in winning by at least 15 points wasn’t surprising – he had the most technical falls in the nation last year.  But we saw first hand that if you look away for too long, you can miss a lot of points when the Buffalo senior is on the mat. (He won 12-6 in the finals).

Lewandowski’s teammates Andrew Schutt and Justin Heiserman also went to the championship bout before taking second.  None of Schutt’s matches went the distance.  He won his first three by fall and then was pinned in the finale by Cornell’s Mike Nevinger.

 

The “B” Tournament

Cornell had four champions on Saturday and another three on Sunday in the “B” tournament.  Ryan Dunphy (149), Michael Alexander (174) and Jacob Aiken-Phillips (285) all captured first place for the Big Red.

In addition, two more more Ithaca-based grapplers earned gold with Taylor Simaz (157) and Gabe Dean (184) winning for the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club.

Buffalo and Columbia each boasted a pair of victors. Sean Walton (133) and Dominic Montesanti (165) won for the Bulls while Robert Dyar (125) and Matt Idelson (197) were champions for the Lions.  Army’s Tyler Rauenzahn rounded out the champions as he stood on top of the medal stand at 141 pounds.

Final brackets for the “B” tournament are here.

 

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Watch LIVE on Saturday – The Finals of the New York State Intercollegiate Championships from Cornell

On Saturday, the Empire State’s top college programs will meet on the Cornell campus for the 44th New York State Intercollegiate Championships.  All of New York’s Division I teams – Army, Binghamton, Buffalo, Columbia, Cornell and Hofstra will be there, as will squads from Alfred State, Brockport, Cortland, Hunter, Ithaca, Jamestown, Mt. St. Vincent, Nassau, NYU, Niagara, Oneonta, Oswego, RIT, USMMA and Yeshiva.

We will be streaming the championship bouts LIVE on Saturday afternoon, starting at approximately 6 p.m..  

The live stream will be at this link:

NY State Championships at Cornell

 

 

Two-Time State Finalist Trey Aslanian of Edgemont Picks Princeton

Trey Aslanian, Photo by Boris V

The 2012-13 Princeton roster includes three New York wrestlers.

There will be at least one more next fall as Edgemont’s Trey Aslanian gave a verbal commitment to the Tigers on Thursday after also considering Harvard and Penn.

“Princeton is such a good academic school and that was important to me,” he said.  “But what really separated Princeton was that I fell in love with the coaches.  I felt really comfortable around them and I think they can take me to that next level.”

The Tigers have had recent success in the lower weight classes.  Last season, the squad sent Garrett Frey (125 pounds) and Adam Krop (141) to the NCAA tournament and in the offseason two-time NCAA champion Joe Dubuque joined the staff.

“It’s definitely a great environment for lightweights,” he said, adding that he plans to compete at 125 pounds. “I loved the intensity that I saw.   What really stood out to me was that the team was like a family. Everyone is so close to each other yet they were able to push each other during practice.  I could see myself fitting in really well.”

The future Economics major said he’s happy to have made his decision so he can fully direct his attention to his goal of winning his first state title after making the podium in New York each of the past three seasons (in addition to earning All-America honors at Fargo).

“Now I can focus that much more on getting better,” he said. “I’ve been putting a lot of time in on the mat, rolling around with my brothers, [Cornell recruit] Dylan Realbuto and working with Vougar Oroudjov.  I’m just sharpening my skills, getting ready.”

He’s getting ready to make a run at the top of the medal stand at 120 pounds after taking second at 103 and 113 the past two campaigns.  And then, it’s off to New Jersey.

“I definitely want to thank my parents who have helped me every step along the way,” he said. “Also, [Princeton head coach Chris] Ayers, who has been very welcoming and has helped throughout the process. I’m really happy with my decision. Once I took my visit to Princeton, I knew it was where I wanted to be.”

For more on Trey Aslanian, see this article from earlier in the fall.

New York Youth Stars Excel in Vegas and California on NYWAY Trips

 

This story covers recent NYWAY trips to both California and Nevada.  To read only about the Las Vegas trip, please skip down to Section 2 of the article.

 

Alcatraz.

When Michael LaPorte, the leader of the NYWAY trip to California last weekend followed up with the families of some of the team members over the past few days, the word ‘Alcatraz’ kept coming up.

“I called several of the parents to make sure everyone was doing okay,” LaPorte said.  “The parents who weren’t on the trip all said their kids couldn’t stop talking about how cool the trip to Alcatraz was and how they wanted to go back. But they all said the wrestling was good too.”

Indeed, it was.  For the second straight year a group of middle school/junior high New York wrestlers traveled to the Golden State through the NYWAY organization to meet some of the best in the West in both a dual meet event and an individual tournament (the Junior Mid Cals).

The squad began the journey by going 1-3 in the dual meets after forfeiting two weights due to injuries.  However, day two was a different story, according to LaPorte.

“On the first day, I think there was a little bit of an adjustment and we were getting used to each other as coaches and wrestlers since a lot of us hadn’t worked together before,” he said. “On the second day, everyone really turned it up and wrestled great.  I was extremely happy with how everyone competed.”

In fact, the squad came away with a third place finish at the Junior Mid Cals.

Courtesy of Michael LaPorte

Leading the way with 26 team points was a grappler who was very familiar with the tournament.  Alexander’s Dane Heberlein was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the event last year and his return visit was successful as well as he took second place at 90 pounds after winning three of his four bouts.

“Dane was undefeated overall on both days going into the finals,” LaPorte said.  “He had a couple of really good matches on the first day but came out on top every time.  He was winning in the finals pretty handily after the first period but seemed to run out of gas and the kid caught him and pinned him.  I think Dane was the better wrestler in the finals, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.”

Also earning the silver medal for New York was 160-pounder Antonio Cutrie.

“Antonio did a great job throughout,” LaPorte said. “He went up against a really tough kid in the finals who was a Middle School National champion in Greco Roman.  But he knew he wrestled well and he got us a lot of team points.”

When it came to team points, only Heberlein scored more than 85-pounder Dillan Palaszewski, who notched multiple pins on his way to third place.

“Dillan was like that silent killer.  His demeanor is so quiet, but he just goes on the mat and does his thing,” LaPorte said. “He’s a very methodical, patient wrestler who is very gifted.  He was 9-2 on the weekend and the two losses were to the same kid (who won the tournament). On the first day, he took a bit of a beating from the kid and on the second day it was a close match. He’s fun to coach and watch for sure.”

Joining Palaszewski in third were returning champion Orion Anderson (4-1 at 80 pounds) and Grant Cuomo (95 pounds).

“Orion lost a really, really tough one in the semis to the eventual champion,” LaPorte said. “He was up by two going into the third and got caught in a move and got put on his back.  He wound up losing by a point.  It was a heartbreaker.  The first day he had a tough go of it, losing a few times, but he showed great resilience in coming back and wrestling great on the second day.  Other teams definitely did their homework on him.  He was heavily watched throughout – a lot of people were asking about him because they knew how good he is.”

Meanwhile, Cuomo tallied a 3-1 mark on the way to his bronze.

“Grant’s father gave me a little cheat sheet on him which helped me a lot in coaching him,” LaPorte said.  “He was a little tentative on the first day, but totally different on day two. He let himself go and was relaxed on the mat and looked tough.”

Making the podium in fourth position was Anthony Cirillo at 100 pounds, who earned a technical fall and pin along the way.  Also competing at that weight was Steven Kapuscinski, who picked up a victory.

“Cirillo wrestled really well.  He had a lot of matches on the second day,” LaPorte said. “He wrestled tough, even toward the end where he was getting a little worn down.  And Steven Kapucsinski – he’s a fighter.  Conditioning wise, he was definitely one of the best on the team.  It was amazing – he was as fresh in the third period as he was in the first every time.”

A pair of New Yorkers grabbed fifth, with Isaiah Bailey (105 pounds) and Zachary Kornberg (115) notching identical 3-2 marks in their respective brackets.

“Isaiah is one of the more mature wrestlers I’ve been around,” LaPorte said. “He’s traveled quite a bit and he’s a super respectful kid.  He’s a really talented athlete and he showed maturity in how he handled his losses. He’s very cerebral in the sport.”

As for Kornberg, LaPorte was impressed with how he dealt with adversity.

“Zach had a great time.  He was the one kid on our team from Long Island and so much was going on there with the hurricane,” LaPorte said. “I think the tournament was a good distraction for him.  On the mat, he has a totally different style than most of the kids, but it was obviously effective.  He had a lot of energy and heart.”

The same could be said for Connor Fredericks, who wrestled at 120 pounds.

“Connor went up against tough kids, never complained and was ready to go every time,” LaPorte said. “He fought hard and enjoyed everything.  That’s all I could ask for.”

In his second trip to the Northern California event, Matthew LaPorte went 2-2 at 70 pounds while Michael Gonyea did the same at 75.  The two often wrestle against each other in events in the Empire State and the tournament was an opportunity for them to be teammates, instead of opponents.

“Matthew and Michael were in two of the largest and toughest brackets, with multiple state and national champions,” LaPorte said. “They have a very unique situation and they are very competitive with each other, so the fact that they bonded on this trip meant a lot to me.  They both stepped up and were in every match against excellent competition.”

Their efforts didn’t go unnoticed.   In fact, Matthew LaPorte earned the tournament’s Coaches Award.

Matthew LaPorte with his award

“That meant a lot to me,” Michael LaPorte said. “I had no idea it was coming. The award was for showing respect and good stewardship for the sport and for wrestling tough.  I was very proud.  If any of the kids on our team got that award, it would have been the highlight of the trip for me, but I was of course super excited that my son won.   It fit with what I kept hearing from people there.  They kept saying our kids were animals on the mat but polite and respectful off the mat to boot.”

Of course, there was another trophy – the third place team award, which LaPorte attributed to not only the team members, but the parents who came along.

“We were hoping to have a better showing than last year and I believe we did, especially with the team trophy,” LaPorte said.  “The parents who were there deserve so much credit and recognition for taking time out of their schedules and helping so much.  Thank you to Anthony Cirillo, Jason Hoffman, Mary Palaszewski, Jeff Gonyea and Jerry and Julie Kapuscinski. Without them, we couldn’t have done what we did in wrestling and outside of it.”

Although they didn’t have too much time outside of wrestling, they certainly took advantage, spending time at the Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street, Muir Woods, as well as other parts of San Francisco and, of course, Alcatraz.

“I think the kids got so much out of the sightseeing,” LaPorte said. “They really enjoyed that experience.  The kids made new friends and that alone was worth the trip. I think the thing that stands out was that people said we left a really positive impression and that we represented New York State well.  It was a blast.”

Vegas!

On November 1, another group of young wrestlers flew to Nevada as part of a separate NYWAY trip to compete at the NUWAY Southwest Kickoff.  Included was a pair of New York wrestlers who were looking for great competition from the West Coast . . . and wound up facing each other in the finals.

In the 55-pound bracket (7/8 year old division), Carson Alberti and Carter Schubert met for the title.  The two Empire State residents aren’t strangers.  They’ve wrestled a number of times, with Alberti coming out on top several times in the spring.  However, this time, Schubert earned the 2-0 victory and the championship after dominating his first several matches.

He began the tournament with a pin and then outscored his opponents 12-2 the rest of the way.

“When Carson and Carter wrestle, it’s always a tough match. It usually comes down to one takedown,” said Kevin Lucinski, who led the trip.  “I think that’s the first time Carter has beaten him, but it was another great match between them.”

Also making the finals for Team New York was Michael Gonyea at 70 pounds in the 11/12 year old division.  Gonyea began the event with two first period pins and then recorded an 8-1 decision before dropping the title bout to take second place.

“Mike wrestled really well,” Lucinski said. “He got caught in a pancake and that one move decided the match.  I think he learned something from that match and he showed that he’s a really good wrestler.”

Andy Lucinski won a pair of decisions on the way to a fourth place finish in the 9/10 year old competition at 61 pounds while Justin Hoffman was eighth at 100-110 pounds in the same age group.  Another Lucinski – Jakob – took the mat in the 5/6 year old competition at 37-40 pounds.

“Andy beat a NUWAY National Champion from Colorado in his first match and wrestled really tough, especially early on,” Kevin Lucinski said.  “As for Justin, he was expecting to wrestle at 100 pounds but it became a 100-110 bracket, which was a little bit of a tough break.  But he wrestled really hard.  Jakob’s a first year wrestler who might have been the lightest kid in the tournament at about 35 pounds.  I liked the way he went out and battled.”

Meanwhile, Caiden Mondore earned a 9-0 major decision in his opening contest at 80 pounds (11/12 year old).  Also competing at the 11/12 year old age group was Josh Gill at 70 pounds and in the 7/8 group Garrett Skeens took the mat and earned a major at 52 pounds.

In the 13/15 year old group, AJ Burkhart and Mitch Seaver both wrestled at 89 pounds, with Burkhart picking up a victory in his first match before dropping two close decisions.  Jason Hoffman, who wrestled for the varsity at Hadley Luzerne-Lake George as a seventh grader, lost his initial bout at 145 pounds but rallied to win four of his final five matches, including three pins, on his way to fifth.

“Jason battled all the way back,” Lucinski said.  “It wasn’t easy – his bracket was loaded. Actually, the 13/15 division was insane; just stacked top to bottom with absolute monsters.  At 89 pounds, both AJ and Mitch wrestled really well.  They were beaten by very good kids – they only lost to placers.  In AJ’s first loss, he battled hard against one of the top kids in the country, Zander Silva, and was in good position the whole time.  It was 1-0 late in the match.”

There was a point at which the trip seemed to be in doubt.  With the impact of Hurricane Sandy, it wasn’t clear that the wrestlers would get to Nevada in time.

“We didn’t know what to expect, but we really didn’t have any issues,” Lucinski said. “Half the kids flew from Buffalo to Washington and we were worried the flights would be cancelled.  But ours was one of the first flights they let out, so we were lucky.”

Once in Sin City, the group did more than just wrestle.  They had a great time visiting the aquarium, Mandalay Bay and walking around with some of the parents.  The M&M store was also a big hit.

“We had a great time.  The wrestling was great and so was everything else,” Lucinski said.  “I would definitely want to do it again.”

Eastern States Classic – Updates on TWITTER

 

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Binghamton Bound: Avon's Bryce Mazurowski Adds to the Star Studded Bearcat Recruiting Class

Bryce Mazurowski, Photo by Boris V

Bryce Mazurowski grew up hearing about the excellence of Nate Schiedel, a star at nearby Caledonia Mumford High School.  He now hopes to take the 197-pound spot in the Binghamton lineup, currently occupied by Schiedel, for years to come.

On Tuesday night, the Avon state runner up gave his verbal pledge to the Bearcats, adding yet another high New York state placer to the first recruiting class under head coach Matt Dernlan.  The CAA school also has commitments from state champions Kyle KellyZack Zupan and Nick Tighe as well as third placers (and All-Americans) Nick Kelley and David Almaviva.

“It’s good to see so much talent going to Binghamton,” Mazurowski said. “I think the team has a very bright future.  I definitely liked the coaching staff a lot.  The philosophy they talk about is perfect for me and the fact that it’s a great school that’s close to home is really important.”

The future business management major, who also considered Boston University, North Carolina State and North Carolina, has been competitive in the upperweights throughout his career in Section 5.  Back in 2010, he was the only freshman in the 189-pound bracket at the state tournament.

“I was kind of like a deer in the headlights that year,” Mazurowski said of his 0-2 showing.  “Being in the huge arena with so many high class wrestlers, I think I was a little nervous.”

He returned as a sophomore at the same weight and improved his performance, coming within one victory of making the podium, with his losses coming to the third and fifth place finishers (Zack Diekel and Kurt Shear, respectively).  That near miss provided a spark.

“I really wanted to place the second year and didn’t quite make it,” he said. “That got me so motivated.  I realized how much I wanted to be on top and how good I wanted to be.  I realized what I had to do to get there. It gave me the drive to work even harder and set everything up for last year.”

In 2011-12, Mazurowski had a stellar campaign at 195 pounds, compiling a 46-2 record with 43 wins by bonus points.  After a close setback to Shenendehowa state champion Tony Lock in December, he reeled off more than 30 consecutive triumphs, including a 4-2 win over the top seed in Albany, before dropping a decision to Diekel (currently at Lehigh), in the New York title bout.

“In my mind, I was going to win the tournament last year,” Mazurowski said. “It was great to get to the finals — it was a great experience.  But I’m definitely glad to have one more year to go at it and get that title.”

While he participated in track in the spring and football this fall, he has continued wrestling throughout.

“I’ve been working on refining my skills and lifting,” he said. “I’ve definitely gotten a lot more aware on the mat and I think I’m finding new ways to score points. I want to thank the Paddock family and Dee Gugel, who I’ve worked out with a lot and I want to thank the coaches at Avon for keeping me on track and giving me all the opportunities I’ve had.  And definitely my parents, who have supported me through everything and have helped me do what I wanted to do to get where I am.”

Where he is now is on the verge of another title run.  Schiedel won his New York state crown in his senior season before embarking upon a successful career in the CAA where he is currently ranked in the top 10 nationally.  Similarly, Mazurowski hopes to stand atop the podium in Albany in his final high school campaign before going to work in the upperweights for the Bearcats.

Section 11 Preview: Four State Champs Graduated, But Plenty of Talent Returns in Suffolk County, Led by Finalists Piccininni, Rasheed and Grimaldi

The dominance of Section 11 at the Division I state tournament last year was obvious.  In the team standings, Suffolk County outdistanced second place Nassau by 79.5 points.  Section 11 boasted nine of the 30 finalists (30%) and more than 25% of All-State wrestlers overall.  Suffolk had at least one placer at 14 of the 15 weight classes (113 being the exception), including five state champions.

Four of those gold medalists graduated as did eight of the others that made the medal stand in 2012 (and Nicky Hall of Longwood moved on to Wyoming Seminary). Both of the Division II All-State wrestlers graduated as well. However, there are still plenty of quality grapplers remaining.  The following is a look at some of the returning superstars, some wrestlers potentially ready for a breakthrough year and teams to keep an eye on as the season develops, both in Division I and Division II.

Division I

Returning Placewinners from 2012

State Champion: Nick Piccininni, Ward Melville (106 Pounds)

Second Place:  Corey Rasheed, Longwood (145 Pounds)

Second Place: Tyler Grimaldi, Half Hollow Hills West (160 Pounds)

Third Place: Alex Tanzman, Westhampton Beach (99 Pounds)

Third Place: Matt Leshinger, Sayville (120 Pounds)

Fourth Place: Joe Calderone, Walt Whitman (99 Pounds)

Fourth Place: TJ Fabian, Shoreham Wading River (120 Pounds)

Fifth Place: Nick Lupi, Huntington (220 Pounds)

Sixth Place: Gio Santiago, Sachem North (182 Pounds)

Sixth Place: Mike Hughes, Smithtown West (285 Pounds)

Other Returning State Qualifiers from 2012

99 Pounds: Steven Lee, West Babylon

113 Pounds: Corey Jamison, Huntington

Tyler Grimaldi, Photo by Boris V

Seniors to Watch

Tyler Grimaldi was highly sought after by many colleges before choosing Harvard, and with good reason. He earned All-America status at both the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach and at Fargo at 160 pounds.  The senior went all the way to the state finals match in 2012 and is a solid favorite to get back to the title bout – and this time come out victorious.

Matt Leshinger won perhaps the most challenging Sectional bracket in all of New York last year when he captured the crown at 120 pounds over state champions Sean McCabe, Mark West and All-State wrestler TJ Fabian.  The Columbia-commit, who took bronze in Albany, will look to climb a few notches higher in his senior year.

TJ Fabian, Photo by Phototrens http://www.phototrens.com

The previously mentioned Fabian, who was fourth in Albany, has entered numerous events in the spring and summer and has gotten his hand raised often in all of them.  He was an All-American at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach and a dominant winner at the Ken Lesser Memorial Summer Heat tournament.  Fabian also competed well against some of the Northeast’s top foes at the Journeymen Classic and the Iron Horse Invitational before placing in the top 12 at the Super 32 after winning seven in a row in the consolations.  All of his work figures to serve him well in February.

Upperweights Gio Santiago, Nick Lupi and Mike Hughes all participated in the fifth place match in Albany in brackets full of grapplers who have since graduated.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see any or all of them in the gold medal bout this time around.

On the lighter side of the scale, Alex Tanzman had a 46-2 season with 37 pins in which he lost a match in mid December and then rattled off more than 30 consecutive victories before losing to Jose Rodriguez, who has since moved to Ohio, in the state semifinals.  He will be no doubt be one of the contenders to earn another title for Section 11 at the end of the campaign.

That group of seniors is no doubt impressive.  But some believe that the best Suffolk wrestler may be a sophomore or junior.

Corey Rasheed, Photo by Boris V

Eleventh grader Corey Rasheed is already a two-time New York finalist and three-time placer with two full campaigns to go.  He has shown that he can compete with the best regardless of the weight class, as he first was a runner up in seventh grade at 96 pounds, took fifth at 112 as a freshman and then earned silver in 2012 up at 145.  He also was second nationally this spring when he made the finals of the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach.  Fellow junior Joe Calderone of Walt Whitman was fourth at 99 a year ago and will be a threat once again.

Nick Piccininni, Photo by Boris V

Several Suffolk fans believe that the top Section 11 wrestler is sophomore Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville.  Piccininni followed up a third place showing as an eighth grader with a perfect freshman season in which he went undefeated on his way to a state championship at 106 pounds.  While moving up in weight since then, he doesn’t seem to have skipped a beat, winning the Super 32 qualifier, going unbeaten at the Waterway Duals and taking first at the Journeymen Classic and the Iron Horse Invitational.  He also finished in the top 12 at the Super 32, losing only to the second and third place finishers and splitting matches with the country’s #1 ranked sophomore, Zahid Valencia of California.

But that’s not all Section 11 has to offer. Last year, Grimaldi, Leshinger and Fabian were among those who stood high on the podium in their first trips to the state tournament.  Who will make the medal stand in their initial appearance in Albany in 2013? Here are some of the many possibilities:

Let’s start with a very strong group of lightweights.  Jesse Dellavecchia of East Islip racked up 31 wins as a freshman at 99, including triumphs over state qualifiers Steven Lee, Josh Antoine and Hunter Dusold.  He lost two very tight bouts to New York state medalist Calderone (by one point and in sudden victory) and he stayed active in the offseason, winning the Ken Lesser Memorial Summer Heat and taking second at the Journeymen Classic in early October.  But Dellavecchia isn’t the only young lightweight to watch. One of the wrestlers to defeat Dellavecchia last season was John Busiello of Eastport South Manor, who garnered a 26-8 mark as an eighth grader. Huntington’s John Arceri, a freshman this year, picked up 28 wins last season and will be another impact player.

A little bit higher on the weight scale is Mike D’Angelo of Commack.  In his 33-3 season as a freshman at 106 pounds there was only one wrestler D’Angelo couldn’t beat – Nick Piccininni.  All three of the Commack grappler’s losses came against the undefeated state champion from Ward Melville.   He showed dominance throughout the season with 28 bonus point victories.

“D’Angelo had trouble with Piccininni but so did everyone else,” Rocky Point Elite Eagles coach Steven Ketcham said. “He is capable of placing at the state level.”

A few other names to keep in mind are James Szymanski from Shoreham Wading River and Matt Bradice from William Floyd.  Szymanski topped Dellavecchia, Busiello, Lee and CJ Archer a year ago and impressed in the offseason with a championship in his bracket at the Journeymen.  Meanwhile, Bradice, a 2012 Suffolk placewinner at 103, put together a 31-7 campaign as a junior at 113.  If he remains at that weight, contributor John Passaro believes he could make the Section XI finals as a senior.

Steven Bulzomi of Connetquot was fourth in the county as a junior at 113 pounds after posting a 34-5 record.   Three of his losses came against Hauppauge’s Chris Mauriello and another to Suffolk champion Corey Jamison.  He did record solid victories over Mauriello and state qualifier Santo Curatolo of the PSAL.  His 4-2 performance at the ultra-challenging Super 32 tournament in late October showed that he’s ready to go for his senior campaign.

Over the years there have been wrestlers who have made their marks on the national level before achieving All-State status in New York.  That looks like it could be the case with the following grapplers in 2012-13.

Chris Mauriello (Hauppauge) – Mauriello won a national title in the spring at the NHSCA Middle School championships in Virginia Beach after taking third at 113 in Section 11 as an eighth grader.  The Hauppauge wrestler compiled a 37-5 mark a year ago with three of his losses coming to state placers – (two to Mark Raghunandan and one to Brandon Lapi).  He will be looking to break further into the postseason as a freshman, possibly all the way up at 132, according to Ketcham.

Travis Passaro (Eastport South Manor) Passaro has a strong resume.  He was the Eastern States champion in 2011 and has been an All-American at NHSCA Nationals.  He has repeatedly tested himself, winning the Super 32 Shippensburg qualifier event, wrestling well at the Waterway Duals while up a weight class, taking second at the Journeymen Classic and making the top 12 at the Super 32 in North Carolina. In Suffolk, he was fifth in a loaded 120-pound class last year and will look to make a state tournament run like his brother Maverick did in 2012.

Thomas Dutton (Rocky Point) – Dutton made the medal stand at the NHSCA Nationals this year at 138 pounds and was also was an All-American at perhaps the top tournament in the country, when he took eighth in freestyle at Fargo. He’ll be seeking some wins in Albany after a fourth place showing at the County tournament at 132.

“Dutton has been all over looking to improve on last year’s finish,” Ketcham said. “His improvement from year to year has been very good and he can accomplish a lot this year.”

And watch out for the upperweights . . .

Carlos Toribio (Brentwood) – Toribio was third at 160 last year and 41-5 overall at 160 pounds.  He avenged an early season loss to Shaun Gillen and suffered his only other setbacks to state placers Anthony Pistone and Tyler Grimaldi (three times).  He looked dominant in the summer in his victory at the Ken Lesser Memorial Summer Heat tournament.  He will be among the favorites to earn a ticket to the Times Union Center.

Grimaldi is a state championship favorite, but he isn’t the only member of the HHH West squad who could make an impact in the postseason.  Teammates Joe Piccolo and Jagger Rebozo also appear ready for successful senior years.  Piccolo compiled over 35 wins at 170 pounds, including victories over state placers Rrok Ndokaj (twice) and Dylen Seybolt and qualifier Zach Colgan of Section 4.  Rebozo also had over 30 wins at 182 pounds.

Ronnie King (Islip) – As a sophomore 160-pounder, King placed fifth at the Section XI tournament.  This year, Passaro predicts that the Islip wrestler has a great opportunity to make the county finals at 170.

Chris Chambers (East Islip) – Chambers was fifth at 182 at the Section 11 event as part of a 31-7 season.  He looked strong in the offseason, however, winning the Ken Lesser Memorial Summer Heat.  In fact, he recorded an impressive victory over All-State grappler Gio Santiago, who had pinned Chambers last season.

Ryan Hughes (Islip) – Hughes had a strong season at 220 pounds, with just a handful of losses and a number of quality victories.  He topped state placer Nick Lupi in sudden victory in early February and will be a threat to go to Albany this year.

Cristian Nunez (Sachem East) – Nunez knows how to rack up points.  He was 36-3 at 195 pounds a year ago with two wins over state qualifier Dan Choi of Syosset and 30 victories by bonus.  He’ll be looking for a big year.

Don’t Forget About . . .

Mark West (Hauppauge) and Corey Jamison (Huntington) – West was a state champion in 2010 but hasn’t made a return trip to the big show.  He was right there with many All-Staters last year as he defeated three placers – Sean McCabe, TJ Fabian and Matt Leshinger (although he lost to them as well).  He’ll be looking to make a run in his last season.  Meanwhile, Jamison came to the Times Union Center as the number two seed after a season in which he defeated credentialed wrestlers such as William Koll and Brandon Lapi.  However, after advancing to Saturday’s action, Jamison didn’t compete on the second day in Albany.  He looks to take that next step as a junior.

Jackson Mordente (Sachem East) – Mordente went 35-8 in 2011-12 at 138 pounds, with five of his losses to champions/high state placers (Jamel Hudson, James Dekrone and Alexis Blanco).  He did well representing Long Island at the Waterway Duals and looks to carry that success through his senior year.  His teammates Conor O’Hara and Jakob Restrepo should also have a strong seasons.  O’Hara went 29-9 with wins over Mike Lofrese and state placer Gio Sanchez in 2011-12.  Restrepo looked good winning a title at the War at the Shore in the spring and is primed for a breakout postseason.

While many wrestlers have been discussed above, there are many more who could have been profiled.  We fully expect that there will be additional Suffolk wrestlers who excel at the county and state levels in 2012-13.

Team Race:

Sachem East offers a very strong group that looks ready to pile up tournament points.  Conor O’Hara, Cristian Nunez and Jackson Mordente earned All-County honors last season and will be in line to do so again.  In addition, the Flaming Arrows will likely add to their medal haul with wrestlers that came close to 30 wins a year ago such as Mark Tracy, Zach Nobre and Jakob Restrepo. Heavyweight Josh Edmonson will also be a key factor as will Connor Farrell and Anthony Messina.

Brentwood is the returning county championship team and one of the favorites again.  The squad graduated a number of Suffolk medalists, including second place finishers Eric Orellana and Alexis Blanco.  However, the team brings back two third placers – Carlos Toribio and Marc Gonzalez as well as Danny Murray, who was fourth.  In addition, BJ Jackson and Luis Rodriguez appear among those ready to contribute heavily.

Huntington can’t be overlooked.  County champion Corey Jamison will take the mat along with runner up Anthony Puca and All-Stater Nick LupiJohn Arceri will be in the hunt for the Suffolk title at 99 pounds and others are capable of winning some matches at the Section tournament, such as Joseph Puca.

Gio Santiago, Photo by Boris V

Yet another possible contender is Sachem North, which brings back finalists Gio Santiago (Suffolk champ and state placer) along with Section 11 runner up Steven Mills.  A large number of wrestlers also return after notching 20 or more wins last season, including Mike Falcon, Matt Stallone, Stephen Guardino, Matthew Marino, Nick Perez, Alec Ross and James Schreck.

When asked for potential team champions, another handful of squads were mentioned.  It wouldn’t be completely surprising if the county champ is none of the teams above.  That’s how the talent is spread across Section 11 this year.

 

 

Division II

 

Returning State Qualifiers from 2012

99 Pounds: Lucas Webb (9) Mattituck

106 Pounds: Michael Menzer (12) Center Moriches

113 Pounds: Hunter Hulse (10) Stony Brook

120 Pounds: Justin Underwood (12) Bayport-Blue Point

132 Pounds: Ryan Hake (12) Bayport-Blue Point

152 Pounds: Paul Cavanagh (11) Port Jefferson

170 Pounds: Tomasz Filipkowski (12) Mattituck

182 Pounds: Brian Loskamp (12) Babylon

195 Pounds: Chris Baglivi (12) Mattituck

220 Pounds: Kevin Giron (12) Hampton Bays

Both of the All-State wrestlers from Division II graduated (Harrison Desousa and Travis Baskerville), but some tough wrestlers return to try to give Suffolk representation on the medal stand in Albany.

Tomasz Filipkowski of Mattituck came within one victory of placing in February.   The Section 11 tournament Champion of Champions opened with a loss to NSHCA Nationals runner up Troy Seymour of Peru before earning two victories in the consolation bracket.  He then dropped a 3-1 overtime decision to Section 2’s Brad Burns to fall just short of the podium.  After a 34-4 campaign, he looks poised to finish as an All-State wrestler.

“He’s a high quality wrestler who came so close to placing,” Bayport-Blue Point head coach Rich Reilly said. “I don’t seem anyone challenging him in the DII Sections and I think he will be very competitive upstate.”

Ryan Hake of Bayport-Blue Point had 31 wins a year ago, including 18 pins.  He had a victory in Albany, while both of his losses were to placers.  2013 would be his fourth appearance at the state tournament and he hopes to break through to the medal stand.

“Ryan is my best wrestler,” Reilly said.  “He’s been up there three times.  He hasn’t had seeding criteria in the past and we’ve adjusted our schedule this year, which should help Ryan with seeding criteria.  He had an outstanding season last year and the opportunity will be there for him to place. He’s a tough kid who is technical and very smart on the mat. I really believe this is the time for him.”

Michael Menzer of Center Moriches is another wrestler Reilly points to as a threat to make the podium in the state capital.  Menzer went 29-9 overall, including 1-2 in Albany.

“He’s definitely a tough kid who will be in the mix no matter what weight he wrestles,” Reilly said. “He has the experience of being upstate and has a great chance to do very well there.”

Also Keep an Eye On . . .

Lucas Webb, Photo by Boris V

Lucas Webb (Mattituck) – Webb won the 99-pound crown a year ago before heading up to the Times Union Center, where he went 1-2.  He will look for a return visit to the state tournament, while the wrestler he defeated in the Section 11 title bout, Jake Palma of Bayport-Blue Point will look for his first journey upstate.  Palma, who may be at 113 this year according to his coach, has put in significant work and has shown improvement.

Joey Palma (Bayport-Blue Point) and Tristan DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson) – Last year’s second and third place finishers behind Menzer at 106 pounds both have the potential to do big things this year, according to Reilly.

“Joey has really impressed me in the offseason,” the coach said. “He gave up football to wrestle more because he took second two years in a row.  He felt like it was time to get to the next level.  He’s a kid I would bet on having a great year.  Joey beat DeVincenzo both times they wrestled last year, but the score wasn’t indicative of the matches.  They were really tough matches and DeVincenzo is a really tough kid.”

Justin Underwood and Dylan McGovern (Bayport-Blue Point) – Underwood traveled to Albany last year and faced a difficult path, dropping contests to state champion Sam Recco and fifth placer Zach Ayen.  When discussing Underwood, Reilly couldn’t help but mention teammate McGovern.  The two wrestlers battled back and forth last year, with Underwood earning a 6-4 decision in the Section 11 championship.

“Dylan hasn’t stopped in the offseason,” Reilly said.  “He’s tired of taking second. I don’t think they’ll be at the same weight class this year and I think they could both be at the top of the Section 11 podium.  Justin is probably more of a technical wrestler, very slick.  Dylan has that nastiness that you like to see.  We were pretty deep last year and there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room for them to get away from each other.  Things have opened up now and I think they may be at 126 and 132.  I believe both could win matches upstate.”

Hunter Hulse (Stony Brook) – Hulse racked up 30 wins in 2011-12, primarily at 113 pounds.  He lost his opening round match at the state tournament by one point before rebounding with a technical fall victory.  He was eliminated by multiple-time state placer Cody McGregor of Section 6, but looks to capitalize on his postseason experience.

“Hulse kind of came out of nowhere and had a great year,” Reilly said. “He didn’t place upstate but he did a good job.  He’s the kind of kid who will be in the mix because he’s tough and he knows he can compete.  In that same weight last year were two other very good kids, Peter Schneider of Smithtown Christian and Justin Engel from Bayport-Blue Point.  I think those two are capable of going upstate as well.”   

Chris Baglivi, Photo by Boris V

Chris Baglivi (Mattituck) – The state qualifier went 27-11 with 15 pins in 2011-12.  He had a pair of victories over Ryan Lewis of Center Moriches, including a 1-0 triumph in the Section final.  Lewis is someone to keep an eye on in the upperweights as well after a 28-9 campaign.

Returning state qualifiers Brian Loskamp (Babylon) and Kevin Giron (Hampton Bays) will look to return to Albany to pick up a few more victories after going 1-2 on the big stage in 2011-12.  Paul Cavanagh (Port Jefferson) will also aim to make a return trip after winning the 152-pound Section 11 title a year ago.

Team Race

Bayport-Blue Point won the team title a year ago by 17 points over Mattituck.  Those look to be the top squads again this season.  The Phantoms lost some key contributors including All-State heavyweight Harrison Desousa and Suffolk runner up Ralph Fabiani, but the squad returns champions Hake and Underwood and silver medalists Joe Palma, Jake Palma, Dylan McGovern as well as a trio of third placers.

Mattituck graduated only two All-County grapplers and looks to be a threat with returning state qualifiers Lucas Webb, Tomasz Filipkowski and Chris Baglivi as well as county runner up Brian Pelan and third placers Andre Vega and James Rugnetta.

Reilly believes there are a number of schools that will have a say in this year’s team competition.

“I wouldn’t say we’re the favorite,” Reilly said of his Bayport-Blue Point squad. “We have some holes although we return a lot of kids and are solid in the lower to upper middleweights. Mattituck will definitely be in the race.  Port Jefferson and Center Moriches kids have done a lot of work this offseason.  They’re tough and well coached.  You can never forget about Babylon. They’re always right there and won this thing not too long ago.  They’re rebuilding with some good wrestlers.”

In fact, he believes that some of the somewhat lesser known wrestlers may be the deciding factor.

“The way our section is designed, it could always come down to four or even five teams,” he said. “The parity in our division has gotten better over the past few years. A lot of teams will have their two or three champions and then it comes down to the other guys.  If you’re fortunate enough to have another guy in the weight who can take third or fourth, that’s where you win the tournament.  That’s been our success over the past few years, with guys like Dylan McGovern, second guys at the weight that pick up more points.  It should be an interesting tournament.”

Special thanks to all of the contributors to this story, in particular, Steven Ketcham, John Passaro and Rich Reilly.

 

More Season Preview Articles:

Section 1 Preview

Section 3 Preview

Section 4 Preview

Section 7 Preview

Section 8 Preview

Section 9 Preview

CHSAA Preview

PSAL Preview

Features:

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

Section 4 Feature: Looking for “Number Nine”: Reggie Williams Aims to Make History at Johnson City

Section 5 Feature: The “Miracle” Continues: The Return of Aaron Paddock

Section 9 Feature: Unstoppable: Vinny Vespa Wrestles Again After Confronting Cancer

Section 11 Feature: Nick Piccininni Looks to Continue Winning Streak

Keys to the City: A Look at the PSAL's Top Wrestlers and Teams in 2012-13

 

 

By Matt Diano

 

Division I

Returning State Qualifiers (From 2012):

113 Pounds: Santo Curatolo, Tottenville

120 Pounds: Keanu Thompson, Grand Street Campus

126 Pounds: Mike Gannone, Tottenville

132 Pounds: Saidyokub Kahramonov, New Utrecht

170 Pounds: Anatoliy Anchakov, Grand Street Campus

285 Pounds: Leon Gonzales, Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

Seniors to Watch

Santo Curatolo (Tottenville) – Curatolo is looking to win his fourth PSAL large school crown, making him the second to accomplish the feat in as many years (joining Jorje Jimenez who pulled off the achievement from 2009-2012).  In his first three trips to the state capital, Curatolo garnered an overall record of 1-6 (1-2 in 2012). Competing in the international styles, Curatolo had a breakout junior campaign, earning All-America honors at the Junior National Greco-Roman Championships, finishing sixth at the 120 pound weight.  While there remains some uncertainty as to whether he will remain at 113 pounds for a second consecutive year or move up to 120, the fact is that given his track record, Curatolo will be a significant favorite at whatever weight he competes at this season.

Keanu Thompson (Gianna Aragona)

Keanu Thompson (Grand Street Campus) – A runner up to Curatolo in 2011, last season Thompson made his debut in Albany, going 2-2, just missing the podium when he dropped a hard-fought 5-3 decision to eventual NYS fourth place finisher, TJ Fabian of Section XI. Competing in the international styles, Thompson has already tasted the glory of the top spot, winning the 2012 NYS Junior Greco-Roman title at 126 pounds.  An odds-on favorite to make a repeat trip to Albany, Thompson is expected to be competing at 126 pounds in 2013.

Leon Gonzalez (FDR) – A career heavyweight who showed a lot of promise as a freshman in 2010 when he placed third at the sectional tournament, Gonzalez experienced a bit of a sophomore jinx the following year, failing to place at the PSAL large school championships.  He more than made amends for his surprising 2011 effort, winning his first sectional crown last season with a narrow 2-1 decision in the finals.  At the NYS tournament, Gonzalez tallied a 1-2 record, pinning Section I representative, David Varian in the first round before ultimately dropping his next two matches to the wrestlers who finished third and sixth respectively (Cole Lampman of Section II and Mike Hughes of Section XI).

Anatoliy Anchakov (Gianna Aragona)

Anatoliy Anchakov (Grand Street Campus) – Joining Curatolo as the only multiple-time champion in DI, Anchakov has been a titlist the past two years for Coach John Zarcone. As he attempts to cap his career with a third championship, evidence would suggest that on paper, he might be the hardest person to dethrone.  He has cruised the past two years, recording bonus point victories in all of his PSAL tournament matches.  He also hopes to break into the win column in Albany, having been competitive in many matches, but going 0-4 in 2011 and 2012.

Bohang Liu (Townsend Harris) – A wrestler who has been on the cusp of breaking out the past two years, Liu finished third in the PSAL as a sophomore, before improving his spot by one slot in 2012, finishing as the runner-up at 106. Expected to remain at this weight class in 2013, his big match experience earned him the #1 ranking in the Gotham City Wrestling preseason rankings.  If Liu wrestles up to his potential, there is every reason in the world to expect that he will close out his scholastic career with his first berth to the NYS tournament.

Kevin Tynes (Brooklyn Tech) – Despite the obvious size difference, there are many career similarities between Liu and Tynes.  Like the person who precedes him in this preview, Tynes has been in title contention the last two years, notching third in 2011, followed by a second as a junior.  A battle tested student-athlete thanks in large part to the competitive schedule wrestled by Brooklyn Tech every year, should Tynes successfully navigate the PSAL (which is the anticipated outcome), he could very well be a sleeper to make the podium in Albany.

Shaquille Williams (Brooklyn Tech) -Despite the fact that he is still seeking his first All-City distinction, Williams is dangerous for the mere fact that last season, he stuck the eventual large school champion Leon Gonzalez on two separate occasions.  And, as the expression goes, “to be the best, you have to beat the best.”  Williams has demonstrated an ability to do just that, thus justifying his #1 rating in the preseason Gotham City rankings.  The victim of an ill-timed (no pun intended) sickness bug, those in the know feel that Williams could have easily been the defending champion if not for the health issue that rendered him unable to compete in the sectional tournament.

 

Also Keep An Eye On….

Saidyokub Kahramonov (New Utrecht) – After rumors that he may have moved out of the city following the conclusion of his sophomore season, a person in the know confirmed that the 2012 PSAL runner-up will be back for his junior campaign.   A finalist last season, losing to current Brown University freshman Ahmed Elsayed, Kahramonov got the call to represent the PSAL when the man who beat him was unable to compete.  In Albany, he went 0-2, but was competitive, losing 7-5 in his lone consolation match.  Now a year older and more experienced, he will be hungry to improve upon last year’s showing.

Alex Palmer

Alex Palmer (MLK) – Perhaps the most decorated and polished wrestler the MLK program has had in its short existence, Palmer has been one to watch since earning All-State honors on the Schoolboy level in 2010.  A two-time PSAL placewinner heading into his junior season, finishing fourth in 2011 and second last season, the coaches at the Manhattan based school are confident that this is the year he will put it together and ascend to the top spot of the podium.  Should Palmer win individual hardware, he would become the first wrestler in program history to qualify for the NYS tournament.

Soslan Gularov (Sheepshead Bay)—A wrestler who seemed to appear from out of nowhere, very little is known about Gularov.  In fact, until his showing at the 2012 NYS Junior GR & FS tournaments (he was a double champion), his was a name that many in NYC had not yet heard.  This anonymity has quickly become a thing of the past as Gularov opened many eyes when he came one victory short of being a Junior Freestyle All-American last July at the 220-pound weight class.  Armed with about as nasty a body lock as you will find in the Empire State, it is with good reason that aficionados are predicting a top-6 finish for him in Albany.  Everything will come down to how well he makes the transition to mat wrestling.

 

Team Race

With no one team bringing back more than four returning All-City wrestlers from 2012, it could be said that the battle for the top spot is as open as it ever has been in recent times.  The parity in talent in 2013 is so widespread that on any given weekend, any one of a handful of teams could get hot at the right time and reap the benefits.

A team that will certainly be there at the end is two-time defending champion Brooklyn Tech.  While graduation did hit hard as the squad lost a pair of NYS placewinners (Christian Masaya, sixth at 152 and Patryk Kopczynski, fourth at 220), Coach Bloom’s team still has the fortune of returning a quartet of sectional medalists.  Let by their hammer, Tynes, Brooklyn Tech will also get solid contributions out of Yaneev Hirsch (fourth at 99), Devon Hoyte (fourth at 113) and William Hernandez (fourth at 120).  Despite not being a returning placewinner, big man Shaq Williams is looked at as a title contender.

Matching the perennial NYC powerhouse in terms of total returning All-Section honorees is Wingate Campus.  Anchored by 2012 PSAL bronze medalists Kenton Greaves (120) and Cedrick Stephens (170), Wingate will also get huge efforts from their two fourth place finishers, Bertin Saimbeau (132) and Malik Francis (145).  Nicholas Bynoe, who came one win short of making top-4 last season will also prove to be a factor this season.

The team that bolsters the best 1-2-3 punch in the City is Tottenville.  Just like the classic Yankees had their murderer’s row, so too does the Staten Island-based school.  Starting out with Curatolo and ending with Gannone, Tottenville features 2012 120-pound finalist, Nick Azen in the middle.  With all three ranked #1 in their respective weight classes in the preseason rankings, if they do work, big numbers will follow.

Yet another squad that you can never sleep on is Grand Street Campus.  Tied for the lead with two returning sectional champions, the Zarcone-mentored team can expect to get mega efforts out of Thompson and Anchakov again in 2013.  Complementing the abilities of the two beasts will be Geudy Tavarez (99) and Justin Vasquez (152) who find themselves ranked in the top-4 in the preseason polls.

Continuing with the trend, James Madison is also a team that has to be considered in the hunt for the team title.  With a trio of returning studs, sectional finalist Marc D’Chiutiis (126), bronze medalist Konstantin Parfiryev (145) and fourth place finisher Javaughn Grant (220), if Madison can get a big effort from one of its 285-pounders, Mark Ifraimov or Kujtim Nikq, the team could be in business.

Finally, the student-athletes from Martin Luther King (MLK) are expected to enjoy the finest season in program history.  While Palmer may sit at the head of the table, the Knights possess quality all throughout their lineup.  Joining Palmer as the only other All-City wrestler from last season is 220-pound bronze medalist, Michael Diese.  Others who may not have found the podium yet in their scholastic careers but are well positioned to do so in 2013 are captains Danny “Omega” Amancio, the #2 ranked 120-pounder in the preseason rankings, and Johnny Alicea, the #4 rated 132-pounder.  Amancio came a single win short of the podium last season, but is fresh off an eye opening performance at the NYS Junior Freestyle tournament that witnessed him finish in the top-6.

 

Division II

2012 Returning State Placewinners

Second Place: Cheick Ndiaye (12), Brooklyn International, 106 pounds

 

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (From 2012):

99 Pounds: Dolan McColgan, Petrides

132 Pounds: Paul Schoenberg, Baruch

145 Pounds: Adis Radoncic, Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy

160 Pounds: Tyson Simon, Petrides

170 Pounds: Isaiah Blake, Baruch

182 Pounds: Nathaniel Rose, Eagle Academy

195 Pounds: Miguel Perez, Eagle Academy

285 Pounds: Elvin Gervacio, Brooklyn International

 

Seniors to Watch

Alpha Diallo (Brooklyn International) – A bridesmaid in 2012 at 113 (wrestled up to help the team) after finishing third as a sophomore, 2013 is the year that Diallo is finally expected to climb to the top step of the podium.  Ranked #1 at 106 points in the Gotham City preseason poll, Diallo will look to become the next in the growing line of Brooklyn International wrestlers to achieve success at the DII state tournament.

Cheick Ndiaye (Brooklyn International) – Hailed by former Beat the Streets coach Mike Torriero as a kid with the potential to be “the best the City has ever seen,” Ndiaye took a big step last season in turning this compliment into a reality, finishing second at the NYS DII tournament.  In doing so, he became the first PSAL wrestler in either division to make it to the state finals.  Already a two-time PSAL champion (after placing third in the section as a freshman), Ndiaye heads into 2013 as a near lock to add a third title to his mantel.  The only question that remains is whether he will earn the DII state crown to go with it. A multiple-time NYS placewinner in the international styles on the Cadet and Junior levels, the Brooklyn International student-athlete was recently named to the Honorable Mention portion of the top-10 New York senior list published on Intermat.

Paul Schoenberg (Baruch) – A 3x PSAL finalist (who owns a win over Ndiaye as a freshman), Schoenberg won titles as both a sophomore and a junior at 112 and 132 pounds, respectively.  Going 0-4 in his two trips to the state capital, Schoenberg will look to end his career by breaking into the win column.

Tyson Simon (Petrides) – Winning a bronze and a silver in his first two years at Petrides, Simon broke through as a junior, securing his first trip to the state tournament in grand fashion, pinning returning NYS qualifier Nigel Williams of Eagle Academy in the finals.  Simon posted an 0-2 record at the state tournament, but gained a wealth of experience; something he hopes to capitalize on as he attempts to repeat as a sectional champion in 2013.

Isaiah Blake (Baruch) – A three-time DII sectional placewinner, Blake seems to get better with age, as he has improved his position on the medal stand incrementally each year. Finishing fourth as a freshman, and then third as a sophomore, the stars all aligned for Blake in 2012 as he earned the first sectional crown of his scholastic career.  Running into the juggernaut that is Section V’s Burke Paddock in the first round, Blake struggled in his Albany debut, going 0-2.

Faheem Simpson (Eagle Academy) – The 2011 PSAL small school champion at 285 as a sophomore, Simpson struggled with injuries last season and was unable to participate in the sectional tournament.  Now back to full strength, he has the mental edge of knowing that the last time he faced the returning PSAL Champion (in the 2011 finals), he pinned him.  In his 2011 appearance in Albany, Simpson snuck in a win by fall in his first consolation match before being eliminated one round later to finish with a 1-2 record.

 

Also Keep An Eye On….

Dolan McColgan, Photo by Boris V

Dolan McColgan (Petrides) – The 2012 PSAL DII 99-pound champion after finishing third the previous year, McColgan picked up a victory at the state tournament, knocking off Alexis Bleau by a score of 6-1 in the consolation rounds.  McColgan concluded his debut in Albany with a 1-2 overall record, with both losses coming at the hands of 2013 wrestlers to watch, Alex Herringshaw and Tyler Aslanian.

Adis Radoncic (RKA) – On pace to be a four-timer in the PSAL, having won titles at 135 and 145 in his first two years at Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, Radoncic enjoyed a major jump in performance on the state level last year.  He erased the memories of an 0-2 record in his first trip to Albany by compiling a 2-2 mark last season, falling one win short of being a NYS DII placewinner.  A talented thrower, he is capable of putting anyone on his back in an instant.

Nigel Williams (Eagle Academy) – A two-time sectional runner-up, Williams does not know what it feels like to wrestle in a PSAL consolation match because he has never been in one thus far in his career.  This is a pattern that we see continuing in 2013 as the Eagle Academy junior will be intent on making his way back to Albany after serving as a 2011 replacement qualifier.  In his appearance two years ago, Williams took some typical freshman lumps, going 0-2 against older and more polished competition.

Nathaniel Rose (Eagle Academy) – A fab frosh last season, Rose wasted no time making himself a name to know on the NYC wrestling scene, winning the DII sectional title right out of the gate.  Most impressive was the fact that he made a compelling argument for the unofficial title of best freshman in the City, scoring bonus points in both of his sectional tournament bouts.  He was humbled a bit in Albany, though, going 0-2 against a predominantly upperclassmen field.

Miguel Perez (Eagle Academy)- Another diaper dandy in 2012, Perez joined his aforementioned teammate in winning a PSAL small school title as a freshman.  At the DII state tournament, he finished 0-2, but showed signs of growth, rebounding from a loss by second period pin, to make a respectable showing of himself in a 6-5 defeat in the consolation round.  As he continues to grow into body, look for those narrow losses to be transformed into close wins.

Elvin Gervacio (Brooklyn International) – A two-time PSAL finalist, Gervacio went from being the pinned to the pinner in the span of one year, ascending to the top spot and punching his own ticket to the Times Union Center.  He went 0-2 at the DII state tournament, but still has two years remaining to do damage.

 

Team Race

Having taken turns hoisting the hardware the past two years, all signs point to another epic battle for NYC DII supremacy between defending team champions, Eagle Academy and the 2011 top team, Petrides.  With less than 10 total teams in the PSAL DII ranks, both squads are loaded with returning placewinners from last season.

With at least one person indicated at every weight class in the preseason rankings, Petrides may have the most balanced lineup of any team in NYC.  If they do indeed put a person in the top-4 of all 15 weights, it is hard to imagine anyone being able to outscore them in tournament play. Led of course by the dynamic duo of returning champions, McColgan and Simon, the Staten Island-based school will also count on huge efforts from a number of other wrestlers to come up big during crunch time to regain the title.  These wrestlers include 2x PSAL runner-up Nate Musa (132 in 2012), 2011 finalist/third in 2012 Sean Caffrey (at 106), 145-pound fourth place finisher, Isiah Beckles, as well as runner-ups at 182 and 195 pounds, Christian Gioia and Joshua Ferlazzo.

Eagle Academy, very much attached to the championship trophy earned last season, has no intention of lying down as the squad also enters the new season with its share of weapons.  If it’s possible, on paper, Eagle might be more dangerous than Petrides as they possess as strong a backend as you will find in NYS (although 99 isn’t a weight class that includes a member of Coach John McGarry’s team).

With return of former state qualifiers at 182, 195, and 285, Eagle has the luxury of knowing that if they are within striking distance late in the evening, Rose, Perez, and Simpson will close strongly and bring home team gold.  Featuring a complementary front end that includes 2012 99-pound bronze medalist Rashid Powell, 106-pound sectional runner-up Jairo Pepin, and 120-pound third place and fourth place finishers, Randy Ramirez and Trevaughn Cummings, it’s seemingly in the cards that they will have the firepower to stay within reach of Petrides.  Throw in 2x finalist Williams and 145-pound third place finisher, Zimba Hamm, and it might give you the championship formula.

For more on the PSAL, including the preseason rankings mentioned above, check out www.gothamcitywrestling.com

 

More Season Preview Articles:

Section 1 Preview

Section 3 Preview

Section 4 Preview

Section 7 Preview

Section 8 Preview

Section 9 Preview

CHSAA Preview

Features:

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

Section 4 Feature: Looking for “Number Nine”: Reggie Williams Aims to Make History at Johnson City

Section 5 Feature: The “Miracle” Continues: The Return of Aaron Paddock

Section 9 Feature: Unstoppable: Vinny Vespa Wrestles Again After Confronting Cancer

Section 11 Feature: Nick Piccininni Looks to Continue Winning Streak

Coverage from the Binghamton Open: Match Video with Champions Vinson and Realbuto (and More) and Update with Steve Bosak

Donnie Vinson, Photo by Boris V

Check out some videos from the Binghamton Open, including the 149 and 157 pound champions – Binghamton’s Donnie Vinson and Finger Lakes Wrestling Club’s Brian Realbuto, respectively.  In addition, Cornell NCAA champion Steve Bosak provides an update on when he expects to get back on the mat.

 

 

 

Steve Bosak  – Update on His Return

 

Brian Realbuto  (FLWC) vs. Mike Simmons (Rutgers)

 

Donnie Vinson (Binghamton) vs. Curt Delia (Rider)

 

Mark Grey (FLWC) vs. Dan Riggi (Binghamton)

 

Jesse Shanaman (Cornell) vs. Zac Cibula (Rider)

 

Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State) vs. Garrett Frey (Princeton)

 

Mike Nevinger (Cornell) vs. David Batkowski (Penn State)

 

Gabe Dean (FLWC) vs Ophir Bernstein (NCAA qualifier, Brown)

Weekend Results Roundup – Binghamton Open, Oklahoma Gold, Michigan State Open and Hofstra Duals

It was a busy weekend for the New York Division I college teams.  Binghamton and Cornell competed at the Binghamton Open, while  Army and Buffalo took part in the Oklahoma Gold event.  Meanwhile, Columbia and Hofstra went to the Midwest, with the Lions wrestling at the Michigan State Open and the Pride taking on two Big 10 teams in dual meets.  The results are below.

Binghamton Open

The host Binghamton Bearcats crowned three champions at the West Gym on Sunday – Joe Bonaldi (141), Donnie Vinson (149) and Nate Schiedel (197) in a tournament that featured over 300 wrestlers. Also placing for Binghamton was Tyler Deuel, who was fourth at heavyweight.

New York also featured two other titlewinners – Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett at 125 and Finger Lakes Wrestling Club’s Brian Realbuto at 157.

Additional medalists for Cornell were: Bricker Dixon (fourth at 125), Nick Arujau (fourth at 133), Joe Stanzione (second at 141), Mike Nevinger (fourth at 141), Jesse Shanaman (sixth at 157), Duke Pickett (fourth at 174), Marshall Peppelman (sixth at 174), Craig Scott (second at 184), Billy George (fourth at 197), Jace Bennett (sixth at 197) and Stryker Lane.

In addition to Realbuto’s crown, the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club put the following wrestlers on the podium – Mark Grey (second at 133), Gabe Dean (fourth at 184) and Oney Snyder (at 285).

For full brackets see here

For video coverage see this link

Columbia Earns Three Titles at the Michigan State Open

The Columbia Lions were led by three champions at the Michigan State Open.  Steve Santos (149), Jake O’Hara (157) and Steve West (174) kicked off the 2012-13 campaign with the titles.  Also making the podium for the Lions were Chad Ryan, who was fourth at 157 and Nick Mills who earned fifth at 197.

Hofstra Drops Pair of Duals on Opening Weekend

Hofstra traveled to Big 10 country, taking on Minnesota and Wisconsin on the road to open the campaign.  The Gophers topped the Pride on Friday night before the Badgers earned a five-point dual win on Sunday.  For full stories, please see gohofstra.com.  The box scores are below:

#25 Wisconsin 18, #16 Hofstra 13
125 lbs.: #4 Steve Bonanno (HU) maj. dec. Matt Cavallaris (UW), 12-3
133 lbs.: #15 Jamie Franco (HU) dec. Tom Kelliher (UW), 9-7 in OT
141 lbs.: #3 Tyler Graff (UW) dec. #13 Luke Vaith (HU), 5-3
149 lbs.: Cole Schmitt (UW) dec. Matt Spataro (HU), 3-0
157 lbs.: Tyler Banks (HU) dec. Alex Yde (UW), 6-2
165 lbs.: Frank Cousins (UW) dec. Nick Terdick (HU), 9-7
174 lbs.: Jermaine John (HU) dec. Scott Liegel (UW), 3-2
184 lbs.: Dylan Iczkowski (UW) dec. Taras Luzhnyy (HU), 8-5
197 lbs.: Jackson Hein (UW) dec. Victor Pozsonyi (HU), 12-5
285 lbs.: Cole Tobin (UW) vs. Paul Snyder (HU), 4-3

#3 Minnesota 32, #16 Hofstra 6
125 – #11 David Thorn (UM) WBF #4 Steve Bonanno (HU), 3:00
133 – #6 Chris Dardanes (UM) dec. #15 Jamie Franco (HU), 9-5
141 – #13 Luke Vaith (HU) dec. #7 Nick Dardanes (UM), 6-4
149 – Matt Spataro (HU) dec. Tom Giamo (UM), 5-4
157 – Seth Lange (UM) dec. Tyler Banks (HU), 3-1 in SV
165 – #10 Cody Yohn (UM) tech fall Nick Terdick (HU), 15-0
174 – #6 Logan Storley (UM) maj. dec. Jermaine John (HU), 12-1
184 – #4 Kevin Steinhaus (UM) maj. dec. Taras Luzhnyy (HU), 10-0
197 – #11 Scott Schiller (UM) maj. dec.  Victor Pozsonyi (HU), 14-4
285 – #1 Tony Nelson (UM) dec. Paul Snyder (HU), 6-3

Oklahoma Gold (at Brockport)

Three New York teams competed at this year’s tournament, with Army taking third, Buffalo fifth and Brockport sixth.  (Oklahoma was the team champion).

The Black Knights were led by a trio of second place finishers – Daniel Young (149), Collin Wittmeyer (184) and Bryce Barnes (197) and a pair of bronze medalists – Jordan Thome (133) and Tyler Rauenzahn (141).

The Bulls also had a number of top three finishers, with Andrew Schutt grabbing second at 141 and Wally Maziarz (157), Angelo Malvestuto (197) and Justin Heiserman (285) taking third.

For full brackets see here