Weekend Recap: Windsor, Teike Bernabi, Massapequa and So Much More

There has been a tremendous amount of high quality wrestling around the Empire State over the past few days. For a quick recap of some of the many events, read on.

 

Kelly Earns Fourth Windsor Crown, Jamison Picks Up OW Honors as Huntington Wins Team Title

Chenango Forks senior Kyle Kelly joined an exclusive club on Friday when he earned his fourth Windsor Christmas Tournament championship. He didn’t waste any time getting his hand raised, winning by fall in the first period against Dylan Wood of Walton.

Huntington traveled from Long Island to Section 4 and the trip was worthwhile as the Suffolk squad won the team title  with four champions.  Leading the way was 126 pounder Corey Jamison, who took home Outstanding Wrestler honors for the second consecutive year at this event.  He defeated Lansing’s William Koll 3-1 in the title bout in one of the deepest brackets.  (The other Huntington titlewinners were John Arceri at 99, Brandon Mendez at 145 and Anthony Puca at 285).

In addition to 126, another weight with a lot of firepower was 220. Waverly’s Ryan Wolcott continued his strong start to the season by upsetting Huntington’s nationally-ranked Nick Lupi 2-1 for the crown.

Photo by BV

Greene, which finished in second place overall, boasted a pair of champions in Christian Dietrich at 170 and Mike Beckwith at 160. Beckwith was one of five repeat champions from 2011, along with Kelly, Jamison, Puca and Norwich’s Tristan Rifanburg, who completed a dominant tournament with a first period pin in the 132 pound finals.

Host Windsor put a wrestler on top of the podium as Nate Hayes won a 4-0 decision at 120 pounds. Additional champions included Corning’s Jimmy Overhiser (106), Lansing’s Connor Lapresi (138), Chenango Valley’s Kyle Halliday (152), Walton’s Mike Beers (182) and BGA’s Mark Viviano (195).

For more information, see here.

 

Connetquot Captures Massapequa Holiday Tournament; Koo Grabs MOW Honors

Vespa, Phototrens.com

The second oldest holiday tournament in the state (after Windsor) also finished up on Friday and Suffolk County’s Connetquot took home the Massapequa Holiday Tournament title, led by four champions.

120 pounder Steven Bulzomi edged Hauppauge’s Austin Munro 1-0 to notch first place and after Munro’s teammate Mark West took the crown at 126, Connetquot won three championships in a row – Gino Titone at 132, Greg Chery at 138 and Brendan Dent at 145. In fact, the squad had another finalist at 152, however, the tournament’s MOW, Chris Koo of Great Neck South, ended the T-Birds streak of gold medals when he defeated Steve Schmit by 20-5 technical fall.

Finishing in second was Section 9’s Monroe Woodbury which continues to show strength throughout its lineup. The Crusaders featured four titlewinners – Vinny Vespa (99), Evan Barczak (106), JP Vandercliff (160) and AJ Voelker (170).

Long Beach sported a pair of champions (Steven Sewkumar at 113 and Zamarr Allen at 195), as did Section 5’s Pittsford (Chad Howard at 182 and Tyler Schaefer at 220). Host Massapequa also was represented at the top of the podium as Tim Gungor captured the heavyweight crown.

For more information, see here

 

Shenendehowa Wins Teike-Bernabi With Four Champs; Spencerport Boasts Three Title Winners

With seven finalists and four champions, Shenendehowa cruised to the team title at the Teike-Bernabi Tournament hosted by Spencerport.  The Plainsmen were led by co-Most Outstanding Wrestler Nick Kelley (138) as well as fellow gold medalists David Almaviva (145), Zach Joseph (152) and Ali Hashimee (170).

Taking runner up honors for the Section 2 school were Kevin Parker (120), Jesse Porter (132) and Justin Noble (182).

Sharing OW accolades with Kelley was Lockport’s 113 pounder Anthony Orefice, who won a battle of state placers with Gouverneur’s Dillon Stowell, 7-1.

Williams, Photo by BV

Orefice wasn’t the only Lockport grappler to make the top of the podium. Teammate Marshall Taylor grabbed the 220 pound crown. In addition, a number of fellow Section 6 wrestlers won titles, including Clarence teammates Jake Weber (160) and Brandon Glaubner (126) as well as Cheektowoga returning state runner up Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (132), Lancaster’s Steve Michel (120) and St. Joseph’s Collegiate’s Garrett Baugher (99 – CHSAA).

The hosts from Spencerport were led to third place in the team standings by a trio of champions – Jon Haas at 106, Trent Egenlauf at 182 and Austin Coleman at 285.  Another Rangers wrestler, Collin Pittman, also made it to the finals but dropped a tight contest to two-time All-Stater Reggie Williams of Johnson City at 195.

For more information, see here.

 

Also in Section 5 . . . Midlakes Unbeaten at Dick Vincent Duals, Edges Warsaw 43-42

Peacock, Photo by BV

At the Dick Vincent Duals at Letchworth High, two teams stood above the rest. In the end, one point separated them. Midlakes finished the event 9-0 while Warsaw compiled an 8-1 mark with the difference being the Screaming Eagles 43-42 dual victory over the Tigers.

Interestingly, 12 of the 15 bouts in the dual were decided by pin. For Midlakes, it was Cody Maher at 152, Jeryd Graham at 182, Hammond Raes at 99, Rafael Mateo at 120, Sean Peacock at 126 and Derian Woodard at 132 who picked up six points with falls. Tyler Smith won by major at 220 and Will Raes by decision at 106.

Palmyra Macedon went 7-2 during the event.

 

Three Teams Go 7-1 at the Holley Holiday Duals; Devlin and DePrez Get Top Billing

A trio of squads – Brockport, Hilton and Webster Schroeder all finished the Holley Holiday Duals at 7-1. Brockport was declared the event’s winner based on tiebreaking criteria. The first place team’s loss was to Webster Schroeder, whose only loss was to Hilton. In turn, Hilton was defeated by Brockport.

Kellen Devlin of Amherst and Vincent DePrez of Hilton were named “MVP”s in the tournament summary. For the dual scores and the All-Tournament Team, see here.

 

Fairport Dominates Kenneth Haines Memorial Tournament With Six Champions

Section 5’s Fairport traveled to SUNY Oswego and put on an impressive performance in taking the team title at the Kenneth Haines Memorial Tournament. The Red Raiders finished almost 100 points ahead of runner up Fulton. Fairport had 10 finalists and six champions, including five straight winners from 106 to 132 pounds (Bryan Ruggeri, Zach Barker, Andy Pieri, AJ Pesci and Les Brown). Colton Kells added the last crown at 195 pounds.

While Fairport took control in the lightweights, Mexico did the same in the middleweights, capturing titles at 138 (Jay Kisselstein), 145 (CJ Loomis), 152 (Trevor Allard) and 170 (Jacob Woolson). Derek Owen (220) and Brennan Roberge (285) earned first place for runner up Fulton.

For more on the tournament, see here

Penfield Goes Undefeated at the Mountain Duals; Nasoni Notches Upset Victory 

Penfield went 8-0 at the 16-team Mountain Duals at Dolgeville. Two of the many wrestlers to lead the way were 120 pounder Matt Langenskamp and seventh grade standout Frankie Gissendanner (126/132). In the eighth round of action, Penfield topped General Brown 37-27, handing the Lions their only loss of the event.  Also going 7-1 was Burnt Hills (which lost to General Brown).

While Penfield’s performance was a headline from a team perspective, another discussion topic was the upset victory of Baldwinsville’s Joe Nasoni over Canastota’s Zack Zupan by fall. Canastota’s returning state champion was wrestling up a weight against Nasoni and held a lead at the time of the fall. However, Nasoni continued his impressive start to the season and showed he is one to watch in the upperweights this year.

For more information, see here.

Sachem East Wins Five at the Long Island Challenge

Sachem East swept five opponents at the Long Island Challenge at MacArthur High. The squad picked up wins over Clarkstown South, Kellenberg, Half Hollow Hills West, MacArthur and Islip with the smallest margin of victory a 12-point win over the host Generals. A number of videos from that dual, as well as some other battles between top Long Island wrestlers such as Tyler Grimaldi vs. Steven Schneider at 160 and Carlos Toribio vs. Joe Piccolo at 170, are available here.

Leading the way for Sachem East were Conor O’Hara (138), Jackson Mordente (145), Cristian Nunez (220) and Josh Edmondson (285), who were unbeaten during the event.

Islip went 5-1 while Brentwood put up a 4-1 mark.

Commack Takes Six Titles at the Sal DiFazio Holiday Tournament at Half Hollow Hills East

Tanzman, Photo by 27east.com

Commack was the big winner at Half Hollow Hills East with six champions and a team title by over 60 points.  The Cougar titlewinners were Champion of Champions CJ Labate (145), Mike D’Angelo (126), Brian Gully (113), Mark Milo (152), Dan Fiorvanti (182) and Ali Halimi (285). A number of wrestlers ranked in our first New York State rankings for the 2012-13 season also took titles, including 106 pounder Alex Tanzman of Westhampton Beach, 120 pounder Robert Person of Bellmore JFK and 132 pounder Matt Leshinger of Sayville.

For more information, see here.

John Glenn Comes Out on Top at the Raider Invitational 

A young team from John Glenn captured the title at the Raider Invitational at Patchogue-Medford, with Wantagh taking second.

John Glenn was paced by champions Zach Ancewicz (99), Matt Porrello (145) and Anthony Pino (195) as well as runners up Chris D’Amico (120), Arman Akhund (132) and Bryan Smith (220).

Wantagh’s Chris Araoz was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler and he was joined on top of the medal stand by teammates Kyle Quinn (113), Vinny Turano (138), Connor Contorno (152), Dan McDevitt (170), James Corbett (182) and TJ Ragusa (220).

 

Sachem North Undefeated at Joe Davidson Memorial Duals

On their home turf, the Sachem North wrestlers went unbeaten at the Joe Davidson Memorial Duals, an event that included 10 teams. The Flaming Arrows were led by 182 pounder Gio Santiago and 132 pounder Sean O’Hagan, who both picked up victories in each of the duals.

Yorktown Captures Mid-Hudson Tournament With Four Champions

Yorktown came out on top at the Mid-Hudson Tournament with championship showings by Joseph Mastro (152), Thomas Murray (182), Steven Sabella (195) and David Varian (285).  A number of teams had a pair of titlewinners. For Pine Bush, it was Chris Cuccolo (99) and Johnny Stramiello (113), for Ketcham it was Danny Murphy (132) and Brad Marvin (145) and for Ossining it was Alex Delacruz (126) and Trent Lofaro (220).

For more on the tournament, see here.

 

Phoenix Represents the Empire State; Takes Fifth in Louisiana

Tighe, Photo by BV

While there was a lot of great action in the Empire State, Phoenix traveled to Louisiana for the Deep South Bayou Duals.  On the first day, the squad cruised to first place in Pool A, defeating teams from the host state plus Florida and Oklahoma.  The closest meet was a 33-point win by the Firebirds over Fontainbleau, Louisiana.

Then, it was on to the championship bracket. After a 36-33 loss to Jesuit, the New York team won three in a row to earn fifth place and an overall 7-1 mark.  Nick Tighe, Rowdy Prior and Justin Rhodes led the way on Day 2, combining for 12 wins – 11 by pin and one by technical fall.

 

More results to be added . . . to report results e-mail newyorkwrestlingnews@gmail.com

Binghamton's Donnie Vinson Takes Second at the Midlands Tournament at 149 Pounds

Binghamton’s Donnie Vinson has accomplished quite a bit in the past few years.  A third place finish at the NCAA tournament. The CAA Wrestler of the Year honors. A win over Cornell’s Kyle Dake.

But there was a wrestler who got the best of Vinson in both his sophomore and junior seasons – Columbia’s Steve Santos.

This weekend, Vinson got another chance at Santos and took full advantage. In the semifinals of the prestigious Midlands tournament, Vinson topped the Lion wrestler, 6-1.

In the finals, Vinson dropped a 3-1 decision to Virginia Tech’s Nick Brascetta, who had an extraordinary tournament, defeating former All-Americans Nick Lester of Oklahoma and Montell Marion (a post grad from Iowa) prior to the title bout.

Against Vinson, Brascetta jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening period with a takedown with less than 45 seconds left. The wrestlers traded escapes in the second and third periods to result in a 3-1 decision for the Hokie wrestler.

Vinson was the only finalist from the New York State Division I squads at the 50th Annual Midlands, but not the only placer. Santos took fourth at 149 while Buffalo had a pair of medalists – Mark Lewandowski (sixth at 165) and John-Martin Cannon (fourth at 174).

 

New York State Rankings #1 for 2012-13 Season

Here we go . . . the first and probably most difficult rankings of the year.  Soon, wrestlers will settle into their weights, more top wrestlers will go head to head and others will be back from injuries. Rankings, especially at this time of year, are subjective and we’re sure there are some wrestlers not included who will make an impact.  They are the opinions of those who collaborated on this project and are meant to generate conversation. We will seriously consider all of your feedback . . . as long as it’s done respectfully.  So, have at it.

Special thanks to Mike Carey for his incredible work to make these rankings happen.

Diakomihalis, Photo by BV

99 Pounds:

  1. Yianni Diakomihalis, Hilton (5)
  2. Vito Arujau, Syosset (8)
  3. Jesse Dellavecchia, East Islip (11)
  4. Peter Pappas, Plainview (8)
  5. Ryan Hetrick, Southwestern (6)
  6. John Arceri, Huntington (11)
  7. John Busiello, Eastport South Manor (11)
  8. Vinny Vespa, Monroe Woodbury (9)

A Few Notes: There are some terrific young wrestlers in this weight, but #1 is Hilton’s Yianni Diakomihalis, who has been extremely impressive not only on the mat for Hilton thus far but all over the country over the past several months.  Before this high school campaign began, he captured the Junior High Championship at the Super 32 Challenge in North Carolina. On his way to that title, Diakomihalis defeated Syosset eighth grader Vito Arujau (who took third). Arujau has been dominant thus far, both at 106 and 99. Suffolk county will have quite a battle in this class.  Over the holidays, Jesse Dellevecchia edged John Busiello in a very close and entertaining match while Arceri won the Windsor Christmas Tournament with a technical fall in the title bout.

106 Pounds:

  1. Alex Tanzman, Westhampton Beach (11)
  2. Jimmy Overhiser, Corning (4)
  3. Tony Recco, Lyndonville (5)
  4. Andrew Flanagan, Holley (5)
  5. Kyle Quinn, Wantagh (8)
  6. Jake Yankloski, Wayne (5)
  7. Jonathan Haas, Spencerport (5)
  8. Steven Lee, West Babylon (11)
A Few Notes: Tanzman took bronze at 99 a year ago, and started the season up at 113 (where he dropped a decision to state champion Nick Piccininni). Overhiser took fourth at this weight a year ago and has picked up where he left off, including a title at the Windsor Christmas Tournament.  Recco, a state champion in 2012, and Flanagan, a placer, have done well up a weight after competing at 99 a year ago. Yankloski caught our attention when he defeated qualifier Bryan Ruggeri of Fairport by technical fall early in the year.  He won his first 16 bouts.

 

Piccininni, Photo by BV

113 Pounds:

  1. Nick Piccininni Ward Melville (11)
  2. Kyle Kelly, Chenango Forks (4)
  3. Anthony Orefice, Lockport (6)
  4. Bryan Lantry, Wayne (5)
  5. Dillon Stowell, Gouverneur (10)
  6. Nick Barbaria, New Rochelle (1)
  7. Johnny Stramiello, Pine Bush (9)
  8. Cheick Ndiaye, Brooklyn International (P)

A Few Notes: This is one of two weights where there was a lot of back and forth on who is #1 and who is essentially 1A. We expect Piccininni and Kelly to settle things on the mat in the finals at the Times Union Center.  Two years ago, Kelly defeated Piccininni in the state semifinals and neither has lost in the state of New York since.  The Ward Melville wrestler’s outstanding performances against top competition outside the state, and a victory over the nation’s top sophomore, Zahid Valencia, gave him the edge.  Of course, Kelly’s many achievements are extremely impressive, including two state titles and placements at Fargo and Virginia Beach.  Anthony Orefice also has had a lot of success both inside and outside of the Empire State.  He was 40-2 a year ago, with his losses coming to Piccininni and Jimmy Overhiser (by default) and he registered a solid 7-1 win over Stowell over the holidays. Like Orefice, Bryan Lantry was fifth in 2012 in the state capital.  After a slow start at the Madison Square Garden title bout, Ndiaye gave Kelly a tough match a few weeks ago, dropping a two point decision.

Person, Photo by BV

120 Pounds:

  1. Robert Person, Bellmore JFK (8)
  2. Rocco Russo, Frontier (6)
  3. Steve Michel, Lancaster (6)
  4. Mike D’Angelo, Commack (11)
  5. Sean Peacock, Midlakes (5)
  6. Trey Aslanian, Edgemont (1)
  7. Kellen Devlin, Amherst (6)
  8. John Muldoon, Pearl River (1)

A Few Notes: Person, a two-time placer out of Section 8 is looking to make the finals for the first time after placing multiple times in the past. A number of these wrestlers have met this year.  Russo defeated Michel early on and then Michel beat Peacock.  Meanwhile, in last year’s state finals at 113, Peacock topped Aslanian.  The Edgemont grappler, headed to Princeton, is on a mission to win a state title after two runner up finishes in Albany.  Mike D’Angelo may not be a familiar name to those outside of Long Island but he suffered only three losses last year – all to Nick Piccininni.  In fact, Piccininni had only four regular decisions prior to Albany and three were against D’Angelo.  Truthfully, D’Angelo won’t have an easy time in Section 11 this year, because a pair of wrestlers who made it to the Round of 12 at the Super 32, Connetquot’s Steven Bulzomi and Eastport South Manor’s Travis Passaro, are also very strong.

Realbuto, Photo by BV

126 Pounds:

  1. Dylan Realbuto, Somers (1)
  2. TJ Fabian, Shoreham Wading River (11)
  3. Chris Araoz, Wantagh (8)
  4. Corey Jamison, Huntington (11)
  5. William Koll, Lansing (4)
  6. Blake Retell, Shaker (2)
  7. Dakota Gardner, Fredonia (6)
  8. Antonio DeLuco, Rome Free Academy (3)

A Few Notes:  Realbuto captured a state title a year ago and will have a challenging group to beat to repeat. Fabian took fourth last season at a deep 120 pound weight and has impressed so far for Shoreham Wading River, as he did while winning seven straight after an opening round loss at the Super 32.  Chris Araoz knows about long winning streaks at national events as he took the 120 pound NHSCA National title last spring. Meanwhile, former state gold medalist William Koll has made the move up a few weights.  He took second this weekend at the Windsor Christmas Tournament behind Corey Jamison, who came into Albany as the number two seed last year but didn’t compete the second day.

Rodriguez-Spencer, Photo by BV

132 Pounds:

  1. Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, Cheektowoga (6)
  2. Matt Leshinger, Sayville (11)
  3. Tristan Rifanburg, Norwich (4)
  4. Sam Melikian, Fordham Prep (C)
  5. Cody McGregor, Tonawanda (6)
  6. Brandon Lapi, Amsterdam (2)
  7. Vinny Turano, Wantagh (8)
  8. Ben Ettlinger, Fox Lane (1)

A Few Notes: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer is currently ranked nationally at this weight and has a boatload of achievements in the international styles. Last year, he took second in Albany behind Nick Tighe in an entertaining, back and forth, match. Future Columbia Lion Matt Leshinger of Sayville, a returning bronze medalist, went through one of the state’s toughest brackets (Section 11, 120 pounds) just to get to the Times Union Center last season.  Rifanburg, McGregor and Lapi have made a number of appearances on the medal stand and Melikian came within one match of joining them a year ago.

Kelley, Photo by BV

138 Pounds:

  1. Nick Kelley, Shenendehowa (2)
  2. Nick Tighe, Phoenix (3)
  3. Connor Lapresi, Lansing (4)
  4. Tom Dutton, Rocky Point (11)
  5. Vincent DePrez, Hilton (5)
  6. Eric Lewandowski, Lancaster (6)
  7. Codie Gillette, Saranac (7)
  8. Derrick Gray, Indian River (3)

A Few Notes: A pair of Binghamton-bound wrestlers are the favorites to capture titles at this weight in 2013. On the Division I side it’s Kelley, who is looking for his first crown to cap off a terrific career. On the other hand, Tighe is aiming for his third straight championship in Albany. Tighe may have to battle returning 132 pound gold medalist Connor Lapresi, who will wrestle for Bucknell in the future. On the large school side, Tom Dutton had a stellar offseason, placing at both the NHSCA Nationals and Fargo after a successful regular season in Section 11. DePrez and Lewandowski have both competed in the Saturday night finals in the past and will look to get back there this February.

Almaviva, Photo courtesy of Anthony Almaviva

145 Pounds:

  1. David Almaviva, Shenendehowa (2)
  2. Louis Hernandez, Mepham (8)
  3. Isaiah Riccio, Beaver River (3)
  4. Dan Reagan, Lewiston Porter (6)
  5. Jude Gardner, Fredonia (6)
  6. Joey Butler, Burnt Hills (2)
  7. Jackson Mordente, Sachem East (11)
  8. Colby Kash, Clarkstown North (1)

A Few Notes: Almaviva, an All-American, lost some matches this year but did so while making the Round of 12 at the prestigious Reno Tournament of Champions. After taking bronze in Albany last year, he’ll be looking to get to the finals this time. A number of other wrestlers on this list have solid experience at the Times Union Center, such as All-Staters Riccio, Reagan and Gardner. Hernandez made the trip to the state capital last year and wrestled with a severe injury. Now back in form, he dominated tough competition in and outside of the Empire State in the offseason and is looking for big things in a return trip.

Rasheed, Photo by BV

152 Pounds:

  1. Corey Rasheed, Longwood (11)
  2. Tom Grippi, Fox Lane (1)
  3. Drew Hull, Royalton Hartland (6)
  4. Angelo Kress, Columbia (2)
  5. Tyler Spann, Adirondack (3)
  6. Chris Koo, Great Neck South (8)
  7. Rowdy Prior, Phoenix (3)
  8. Kyle Halliday, Chenango Valley (4)

A Few Notes: Rasheed is a three-time placer and two-time runner up going into his junior year.  He took second at 145 in D-I last season while Drew Hull, a two-time medal winner, was the silver placer in the small school tournament.  Tom Grippi handed our #1 at 145 David Almaviva his only loss in Albany last year and finished one match from placing.  He already has over 20 wins.  Kress pinned his way through the PSAL Holiday tournament and racked up a number of wins in offseason events in the international styles. At the state tournament last season, he lost to nationally ranked Nicky Hall in the opening round before winning three straight in the consolations.  Chris Koo has been an All-American twice in Virginia Beach but has yet to travel to the state capital.  He has the ability to not only qualify but go far at the Times Union Center. He most recently was the Outstanding Wrestler at the Massapequa Holiday Tournament. Prior had a 32-3 season last year but two of his setbacks came in the Section 3 tournament (including to Spann).  He has been on fire this year thus far.

Grimaldi, Photo by BV

160 Pounds:

  1. Tyler Grimaldi, HHHW (11)
  2. Burke Paddock, Warsaw (5)
  3. Brendan Goldup, LaSalle (2)
  4. Jake Weber, Clarence (6)
  5. Mike Beckwith, Greene (4)
  6. Nick Gallo, Schalmont (2)
  7. Tyler Silverthorn, General Brown (3)
  8. Austin Weigel, Onteora (9)

A Few Notes: Speaking of 1 and 1A back at 113, Grimaldi and Paddock are both in the national rankings.  Some have Grimaldi higher and some have the reverse. We expect both to stand on top of the podium in Albany in their respective divisions.  Why do we have Grimaldi higher?  He defeated Paddock at the New York State Freestyle championships this year and placed at Fargo while both were in the same bracket. Needless to say, Paddock has a plethora of achievements over the years and will be difficult to beat. Mike Beckwith encountered a number of setbacks a year ago but with very little practice under his belt won Section 4 and a match in Albany.  He has blistered through the competition this year. Silverthorn was one of the few non-senior medalists in either division at 160 in 2012. Gallo came within a bout of the podium as a freshman and Goldup, a former All-Stater, is off to a great start. Weigel was one bout from the All-State status at 170 and will be a handful down at 160. [Dale White has been out injured].

170 Pounds:

  1. Troy Seymour, Peru (7)
  2. Dan McDevitt, Wantagh (8)
  3. Carlos Toribio, Brentwood (11)
  4. Zack Buckley, Fredonia (6)
  5. Christian Dietrich, Greene (4)
  6. Johnny Vrasidas, St. Anthony’s (C)
  7. Joe Piccolo, Half Hollow Hills West (11)
  8. Andrew Voelker, Monroe Woodbury (9)

Seymour, a national runner up and fourth placer at the state tournament last year, stands on top of 170.  Behind him are a number of talented competitors, none of whom have tasted the podium yet at 170.  However, McDevitt was on the medal stand as a fifth placer in 2012 — down at 138. After a growth spurt, he is up several classes and after beating some tough customers this summer, he’s looking like a solid bet to medal again. Johnny Vrasidas made it to the top 8 in Albany in February.  Toribio has started off the year on fire in Section 11, beating All-Stater Gio Santiago and returning qualifier Matt Roberts, both while wrestling up a weight. He also handled Piccolo this past week at the Long Island Challenge. An interesting wildcard is Deitrich, who medaled at 152 as a seventh grader in 2011 and who looked overpowering as he cruised to the Windsor Christmas Tournament title.

Zupan, Photo by BV

182 Pounds:

  1. Zack Zupan, Canastota (3)
  2. Shayne Brady, Carthage (3)
  3. Tim Schaefer, Warsaw (5)
  4. James Corbett, Wantagh (8)
  5. James Benjamin, Vestal (4)
  6. Trent Egenlauf, Spencerport (5)
  7. Gio Santiago, Sachem North (11)
  8. Levi Ashley, Shenendehowa (2)

A Few Notes: Zack Zupan, the top ranked recruit in New York, stands at #1 while fellow Section 3 wrestler Shayne Brady, the Division I runner up a year ago comes in at #2.  The two met in the finals of the Herkimer Invitational, which ended quickly after some good early action when Brady injury defaulted.  Tim Schaefer, a multi-time state placer, is off to another great start for Warsaw after taking third at this weight in 2012.  Benjamin is back after his All-State showing out of Section 4 and fellow medalist Gio Santiago returns to the rankings. Above him is Wantagh’s James Corbett, who has impressed during his undefeated start, including a solid win over the Sachem North wrestler. Egenlauf has won multiple tournaments so far this campaign including the Teike Bernabi.

Williams, Photo by BV

195 Pounds:

  1. Reggie Williams, Johnson City (4)
  2. Bryce Mazurowski, Avon (5)
  3. Dan Choi, Syosset (8)
  4. Tyler Smith, Midlakes (5)
  5. Colton Kells, Fairport (5)
  6. Tyler Morris, Salem (2)
  7. Collin Pittman, Spencerport (5)
  8. Nick Weber, Kings Park (11)

A Few Notes: Reggie Williams conquered all challengers as a sophomore at 195 with the exception of four losses to state champion (and now graduated) Tony Fusco of Shenendehowa. Williams is the favorite to win his first state title.  Next up is another state silver medalist, Bryce Mazurowski of Avon, a future member of the Binghamton Bearcats.  Two 2012 fourth placers also sit here, Tyler Smith of Midlakes (at 195) and Tyler Morris of Salem (at 182). Colton Kells finished in the top 8 in Division I at 195 a year ago while Choi did the same at 182. Pittman gave Williams a lot to handle in the finals of the Teike Bernabi tournament despite a previous setback.

 

Bacon, Photo by BV

220 Pounds:

  1. Zack Bacon, Hornell (5)
  2. Ryan Wolcott, Waverly (4)
  3. Mike Silvis, Holley (5)
  4. Nick Lupi, Huntington (11)
  5. Dan Breit, Nanuet (1)
  6. Chris Saden, Fredonia (6)
  7. Joe Sprung, Berne Knox (2)
  8. Richard Sisti, Monsignor Farrell (C)

A Few Notes: Zack Bacon of Hornell, currently ranked #16 in the country by Intermat, leads the way. Bacon is familiar with Silvis and they are sure to meet this year again. Lupi also earned a spot in the national polls (by Amateur Wrestling News). The Huntington wrestler was upset in the Windsor Christmas Tournament finals by Ryan Wolcott, a returning Top 8 wrestler (at 170). Breit, Sprung and Sisti all made appearances at the Times Union Center in 2012.

Van Hoesen, Photo by BV

285 Pounds:

  1. El Shaddai Van Hoesen, Columbia (2)
  2. Mike Hughes, Smithtown West (11)
  3. Matt Montesanti, Medina (6)
  4. Alex Soutiere, Ravena (2)
  5. Brandon Fayle, Lowville (3)
  6. James O’Hagan, Seaford (8)
  7. David Varian, Yorktown (1)
  8. Anthony Puca, Huntington (11)

El Shaddai Van Hoesen earns the top spot with his absolute dominance thus far as a senior after taking second in 2012.  Another silver medalist, Alex Soutiere, has followed up his run at the Times Union Center with an unbeaten start.  A pair of sixth place finishers are also included, with Smithtown West’s Mike Hughes and Medina’s Matt Montesanti in control just about every time they’ve stepped on the mat.  Brandon Fayle of Lowville fell one bout short of placing in 2012 and has put up solid results again, with the one blemish on his record via disqualification.  Rounding out the rankings are Seaford’s James O’Hagan, an NHSCA Nationals third place finisher who went 31-3 last year and who has lost only to Hughes this campaign (the only match Hughes hasn’t won by fall).  Anthony Puca of Huntington and David Varian of Yorktown, a qualifier out of Section 1, round things out.

* Results based on NWCA Scorebook

Live Stream to Begin at 5 for Windsor Christmas Tournament; Finals Matches Set

The live stream is now complete.  Thank you for your attendance.

Finals Results:

99 Pounds: John Arceri (Huntington) TF Collyn Shippos (Ithaca), 16-0

106 Pounds: Jimmy Overhiser (Corning) fall Kyle Mock (Huntington) :45

113 Pounds: Kyle Kelly (Chenango Forks) fall Dylan Wood (Walton) 1:12

120 Pounds: Nate Hayes (Windsor) dec Anthony Colon (Chenango Valley), 4-0

126 Pounds:  Corey Jamison (Huntington) dec William Koll (Lansing), 3-1

132 Pounds: Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich) fall Jesse Griswold (BGA), 1:52

138 Pounds: Connor Lapresi (Lansing) dec Justin Cirigliano (BGA), 8-4

145 Pounds: Brandon Mendez (Huntington) maj Trevor Parrish (Greene), 11-1

152 Pounds: Kyle Halladay (Chenango Valley) dec Dan Dickman (Greene), 3-2

160 Pounds: Mike Beckwith (Greene) dec Leland Slawson (Unatego), 4-0

170 Pounds: Christian Dietrich (Greene) TF Ryan Marszal (Unatego), 16-0

182 Pounds: Mike Beers (Walton) dec Andy Martinez (Liberty), 4-0

195 Pounds: Mark Viviano (BGA) fall Matt Brozovic (ME), 1:38

220 Pounds: Ryan Wolcott (Waverly) dec Nick Lupi (Huntington), 2-1

285 Pounds: Anthony Puca (Huntington) dec Andrew Brinser (Union Endicott), 3-0

Final Team Scores

1. Huntington 168

2. Greene 123

3. Canandaigua 115

4. Union Endicott 111

5  BGA 106

 

Check Out Videos of Grimaldi, Cooksey and Other Stars from the Long Island Challenge at MacArthur

On Thursday, MacArthur hosted Day 1 of the Long Island Challenge dual event, including teams from Brentwood, Clarkstown South, Half Hollow Hills West, Kellenberg and Sachem East. A recap of the results will come after the tournament is completed. However, for now, check out action including some top Long Island wrestlers such as returning state silver medalists Tyler Grimaldi and Justin Cooksey as well as two of the top 170 pounders in the state – Carlos Toribio and Joe Piccolo.

 

Tyler Grimaldi (Hills West) vs. Steven Schneider (MacArthur) – (Special thanks to Frank Grimaldi)

Carlos Toribio (Brentwood) vs. Joe Piccolo (Hills West)

Justin Cooksey (MacArthur) vs. Anthony Messina (Sachem East)

Steven Schneider (MacArthur) vs. Tim Friedman (Sachem East)

Jackson Mordente (Sachem East) vs. Sal Randazzo (MacArthur)

Chris Cataldo (MacArthur) vs. Michael Abbondanza (Sachem East)

Michael Pistone (Sachem East) vs. Michael Marrero (MacArthur)

Ryan Hughes (Islip) vs. James Golder (Kellenberg)

Chris Reilly (Hills West) vs. Kevin Rivas (Brentwood)

BJ Jackson (Brentwood) vs. Ferro (Hills West)

 

(Special thanks to Frank Grimaldi)

Windsor Christmas Tournament Features Several State Title Contenders – Watch LIVE STREAM of the Finals

 

 

To watch the live stream of the Windsor Finals, see HERE.

————————————————————————-

For over a half-century, some of the best in the state have traveled to Section 4 at the end of December for the oldest organized tournament in New York.

The Windsor Christmas Tournament will once again boast talent from around the Empire State and beyond, including squads from at least five Sections and from Pennsylvania.

Last year’s field included four 2012 state champions as well as more than 13 state placewinners, according to Windsor head coach Jeffery Nolan.

A number of those wrestlers will be back, including two-time state champion Kyle Kelly of Chenango Forks, who will be looking to add to his storied career.

“Kyle Kelly has won three times,” Nolan said. “In all these years we’ve only had five wrestlers win four titles. It would be special if he joined that pretty elite group.”

Kelly is one of six returning champions from the 2011 event, along with Suffolk County’s Corey Jamison and Anthony Puca of Huntington, Greene teammates Mike Beckwith and Joel Roselle and Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich.

Fans can watch these wrestlers try to get on top of the podium again as for the first time in the tournament’s history, the finals will be available to watch via livestream.

“We take a lot of pride in this tournament,” Nolan said. “When I started here, it became one of my biggest priorities right away. We’ve tried to make small improvements, mostly technological. We are excited for the opportunity to livestream our finals, which is something we’ve wanted to do in the past but hadn’t pulled the trigger.”

The title bouts are scheduled to begin on Friday, December 28 at 5 p.m.  However, given the developing weather situation in the area, that time may change.  Stay tuned.

The link to the livestream is : HERE

Those finals should feature state title contenders at a number of classes.

“There is quality depth at a lot of weights,” Nolan said. “A few stand out right away. 126 should be interesting and 220 is shaping up to be a heck of a weight.”

William Koll, Photo by BV

At 126 pounds, entrants include former state champion William Koll of Lansing, defending champion (at 120) Corey Jamison of Huntington (the number two seed in Albany a year ago) and qualifier Jake Green of Chenango Forks. Green, who recently won a tough class at the PSAL Holiday tournament at Madison Square Garden, split matches with Jamison a year ago.  Additionally, a pair of state qualifiers — the currently undefeated Richie Burke of Ithaca and Austin Ryan of Unatego — will add to the competitiveness at 126 as will Susquehanna Valley’s Ian Lupole.

Another bracket to watch will be at 220 pounds, led by nationally-ranked Nick Lupi of Huntington. The Section 11 wrestler dropped a one-point overtime decision to 2012 state champion Kyle Stanton of Greene in the Windsor title bout last December. Lupi will see some great matches with returning Section 4 champion Ryan Wolcott of Waverly, Matt Abbott of Windsor (third at this tournament in 2011), Canandaigua’s Tyler Ordiway and Union Endicott’s Lucas Depofi in the mix.
In all, more than half of the wrestlers ranked in the top two of their weight classes in the Section 4 rankings are scheduled to be in attendance at the tournament.

Last year, Section 2’s Colonie took the team title by 20 points over Suffolk County’s Huntington. Less than 10 points behind were squads in third to sixth place – Greene, Norwich, Towanda and Union Endicott.  This year, Nolan calls the field “wide open” and believes last year’s ninth place finisher, Unatego, will have an impact on the tournament with wrestlers such as Austin Ryan, Leland Slawson, Codie Nichols, Kevin Thayer and Ryan Marszal.

Action will begin at 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 27, weather permitting.

This year’s participating teams:

Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton, Canandaigua, Chenango Forks, Chenango Valley, Corning, Greene, Huntington, Ithaca, Lansing, Liberty, Maine Endwell, Norwich, Saratoga Springs, Southern Cayuga, Susquehanna Valley, Towanda PA, Union Endicott, Unadilla Valley, Unatego, Walton, Waverly, Windsor

Top 5 Seeds at Each Weight

99 Pounds:

  1. John Arceri (Huntington)
  2. Richard Schrade (Saratoga Springs)
  3. Colyn Shippos (Ithaca)
  4. Jake Lehr (Chenango Valley)
  5. Grant Gannon (Union Endicott)

106 Pounds:

  1. Jimmy Overhiser (Corning)
  2. Cole Rifanburg (Norwich)
  3. Kyle Mock (Huntington)
  4. Jared Lines (Towanda)
  5. Declan Levine (Ithaca)

113 Pounds:

  1. Kyle Kelly (Chenango Forks)
  2. Dominic Inzana (Saratoga Springs)
  3. Kobe Garrehy (Maine Endwell)
  4. Dylan Wood (Walton)
  5. Mikey Carr (Union Endicott)

120 Pounds:

  1. Hunter Rumpf (Saratoga Springs)
  2. Nate Hayes (Windsor)
  3. Logan Robinson (Walton)
  4. Ryan Castle (Greene)
  5. Kyle Hughes (Union Endicott)

126 Pounds:

  1. William Koll (Lansing)
  2. Corey Jamison (Huntington)
  3. Richie Burke (Ithaca)
  4. Jacob Green (Chenango Forks)
  5. Ian Lupole (Susquehanna Valley)

132 Pounds:

  1. Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich)
  2. Jesse Griswold (BGA)
  3. Brock Post (Maine Endwell)
  4. Terrick Vargason (Towanda)
  5. Carl Rouse (Chenango Forks)

138 Pounds:

  1. Connor Lapresi (Lansing)
  2. Justin Cirigliano (BGA)
  3. Zak Garrehy (Maine Endwell)
  4. Austyn Bostick (Waverly)
  5. Vinny Romeo (Canandaigua)

145 Pounds:

  1. Codie Nichols (Unatego)
  2. Trevor Parrish (Greene)
  3. Evan Vershay (Canandaigua)
  4. Brandon Mendez (Huntington)
  5. Joey Peters (Waverly)

152 Pounds:

  1. Dan Dickman (Greene)
  2. Kyle Halladay (Chenango Valley)
  3. Kevin Thayer (Unatego)
  4. Brandon Hamilton (Maine Endwell)
  5. Ian VanValen (Ithaca)

160 Pounds:

  1. Mike Beckwith (Greene)
  2. Leland Slawson (Unatego)
  3. Brandon Ellers (Waverly)
  4. Justin Hunsinger (Towanda)
  5. John Mallouk (Huntington)

170 Pounds:

  1. Ryan Marszal (Unatego)
  2. Christian Dietrich (Greene)
  3. Nathan Bomysoad (Union Endicott)
  4. Isaiah Zimmer (Chenango Forks)
  5. Robert Woodward (Chenango Valley)

182 Pounds:

  1. Andy Martinez (Liberty)
  2. Mike Beers (Walton)
  3. Seth Gordon (Windsor)
  4. Tristian Roche (Susquehanna Valley)
  5. Riley Hanrahan (Unatego)

195 Pounds:

  1. Mark Viviano (BGA)
  2. Matt Brozovic (Maine Endwell)
  3. Gustavo Loarca (Saratoga Springs)
  4. Danny Dillon (Canandaigua)
  5. Jeff Klossner (Waverly)

220 Pounds:

  1. Nick Lupi (Huntington)
  2. Ryan Wolcott (Waverly)
  3. Matt Abbott (Windsor)
  4. Tyler Ordiway (Canandaigua)
  5. Lucas Depofi (Union Endicott)

285 Pounds:

  1. Anthony Puca (Huntington)
  2. Steve Kerrigan (Susquehanna Valley)
  3. Jim Helin (Saratoga Springs)
  4. Austin Lamb (Canandaigua)
  5. Andrew Brinser (Union Endicott)

 

Grapplers from All Over NY (Plus Michigan, Ohio and PA) Gearing Up for the NYWAY Kickoff Classic on Jan 6

Last year, the inaugural NYWAY Kickoff Classic brought several hundred youth wrestlers from five to 14 years old to the campus of Cornell University.  Many of the standouts from that event continued to make names for themselves throughout the season, including some at the varsity level.

A few examples: Penfield’s Frankie Gissendanner was named MOW at his first varsity tournament and won the prestigious Top Hat event in Pennsylvania at 126 pounds– as a seventh grader.  Alexander’s Dane Heberlein has already made an impact at 99 pounds in Section 5 while Michigan’s Devin Schroder, who won the NYWAY Kickoff a year ago at 105-110 pounds, went on to take All-America honors at the FloNationals in April at 106 as an eighth grader.

The second annual NYWAY Kickoff Classic on January 6 promises to be another top notch event, this time at Niagara County Community College (NCCC) in Sanborn, New York.  NCCC head coach Keith Maute, who is also the Director of Cobra Wrestling Academy, will serve as Tournament Director.

Around 100 wrestlers from Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania have already committed to attend and enrollment from New York has been strong.  In fact, the expectation is that over 400 youth wrestlers between the ages of five and 14 will compete.

“We are hoping to make this a true New York state championship with registration from all around the state,” said Kevin Lucinski, NYWAY’s Far Western Director. “Having top kids from other states just adds to the competition.  We want people to know that it will be professionally paired with New York certified referees and full mats.  We’re hoping it will be a flagship event for NYWAY and Section 6.”

The champion in each of the 59 weight classes will receive custom Cage Fighter shorts (pictured) and the top four finishers in each bracket will earn medals.

Lucinski notes that there has been a change to the registration process.  Rather than signing up online, all registration must be done using the mail-in form, which is here: 2013-NYWAY-KICK3

Please send the registration to:

Cobra Wrestling Academy

351 Pine St

Lockport, NY 14094

If you have already registered and paid online, please confirm your registration by e-mailing Kevin Lucinski at kslucinski@yahoo.com.

 

Rob Koll's Cornell Update After the Grapple at the Garden

 

By Rob Koll

Happy holidays to all!  Here is my Grapple at the Apple update.

Nahshon Garrett deserves a great deal of credit for competing this weekend. Nahshon sprained his ankle on Thursday and I was informed by Chris Scarlata, our trainer, that there was virtually no way he would be capable of wrestling on Sunday. A day later he was hobbling around in a boot and on crutches. The following day he snuck into the Friedman Center at night so he could try to get used to the pain. By Sunday he was wrestling. The problem is he wasn’t able to work out, and thus he had to cut all his weight the morning of the match. He looked horrible in the Missouri match, not because of the injury, but because he had not recovered from the weight cut. By the time we wrestled Oklahoma State, he had recovered, and he looked more like himself. Nahshon is one tough customer. He is also the consummate team player. His only problem is he is chronically late for everything. Travis Lee had this same malaise so I can only assume these guys have their clocks set on West Coast time. He is going to be left at the hotel the next time he shows up late. Of course if he keeps winning I might hold the bus a couple extra minutes!

Nick Arujau finally got back into the lineup but was less than impressive. Nick was one dimensional on his feet, listless on bottom and desperate on top. His performance was particularly disappointing because he has such impressive moments in the practice room. The Southern Scuffle will give us an opportunity to see both Bricker Dixon and Nick in action at the same time. The tournament results will serve as a barometer for choosing our starter at this weight class.

Mike Nevinger did not have one of his finer performances against Missouri but bounced back against Oklahoma State. I am going to give Cornell Engineering finals the benefit of this defeat. Although this was not an ideal time for our guys to be competing, coming directly off finals, I believe it might have affected Mike the most. He did not have a great week of training and it showed. I am confident we will see a vastly improved Nevinger in Chattanooga.

Chris Villalonga went 1-1 on the day winning an overtime victory over #15 Drake Houdashelt of Missouri but was defeated by #1 Jordan Oliver of OSU.  Chris frustrates his coaches when he wrestles from the tie. He is not an overpowering wrestler so when he gets tied up, he is much less effective. It seems to be a sort of safety blanket for him. He is very tough on top so he doesn’t need to score a lot on his feet but he has to score more if he hopes to get to the NCAA podium.

Jesse Shanaman returned to the lineup after a five week layoff caused by an injury. Jesse defeated a very tough Missouri opponent. Unfortunately he pulled his hamstring in the first match. We knew he hurt his hamstring but he assured us it was nothing. When he could barely defend himself against OSU we knew the injury was more than “nothing”. Although I respect Jesse for his toughness, and desire to compete, he needs to do a better job of allowing us to protect him from himself. If we let him he would bring a sleeping bag into the Friedman Training Center. He is a tireless worker but we need to make sure he is healthy in March.

Kyle Dake was named the Outstanding Wrestler for the day going 2-0 with victories over two nationally ranked opponents.

Marshall Peppelman and Duke Pickett both wrestled hard, but neither was able to come up with a victory. I am interested to see both of these wrestlers compete at the Southern Scuffle if for no other reason than to see who takes control of this weight class.

Steve Bosak returned to the mats after a two month hiatus. Steve is not at his best but still came away with victories against two nationally ranked opponents. Steve will quickly work himself back into shape and should be close to 100% for the Southern Scuffle.

Sixteen of Jace Bennett‘s nineteen matches have ended by either fall or major decision. Although this is impressive, five of these matches have ended in a negative fashion. Jace has shown great potential but giving up pins is unacceptable. Jace is great on top but gets far too reckless with his legs. Billy George and Jace will be battling in Tennessee to see who will represent the Big Red going forward.

Stryker Lane faced the 2nd and 3rd ranked wrestlers and although he wrestled hard he was unable to pull off a victory. Stryker has made significant improvements from last year and is a consistent performer for the Big Red.  He is currently ranked #1 in the EIWA at 285.

Up Next: The Southern Scuffle @ Chattanooga, TN, 1/1- 1/2

All the best, Rob

Next Generation of Studs Shine at the PSAL Holiday Tournament

 

By Matt Diano

With many of their collegiate wrestling heroes competing directly next to and/or across from them, the student-athletes from nearly 40 schools, spanning everywhere from Long Island, the five boroughs, and New Jersey proved that it will not be long before it is them participating in the main event at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.

Having earned the right to take part in the historic Grapple at the Garden (the first college wrestling event ever hosted by the 34th Street Mecca of sporting events) by surviving an elimination tournament the previous day at Harry S. Truman High School, the top 8 grapplers in each weight class excitedly took their turns creating lifelong memories. Whether they won or lost their respective placement matches, no one will ever be able to take away the fact that their legacies are forever carved into foundation of the building that knows no equal and needs no introduction. And, in the end, hand raised or not, there were no losers. We (fans, competitors, media, etc.) all won because we got the experience the best of both worlds; we were privy to seeing the best of the present, while equally mindful that we were getting treated to a rare and unmatched look at the future. For every Dake/Caldwell or Garrett/Waters match, there was a scholastic equivalent, such as Kelly/Ndiaye, Roberts/Rose, or Thompson/Green. While only 26 (including the ladies) individuals would leave as titlists, all entered and exited as champions.

Getting the party started at 99 pounds would be freshman phenom John Busiello from Eastport South Manor in Suffolk County. A decorated wrestler on the youth level, Busiello, who was a 20+ match winner for the varsity as an 8th grader, entered the Garden as the #3 ranked wrestler in his weight class in Section XI. If he wrestles the rest of the season the way he did this weekend, there is every reason to foresee him moving up a few spots on that totem pole. Going 3-0 between the two day affair, Busiello recorded bonus points in all of his bouts, outscoring his first and last victims by a combined tally of 31-3, sandwiched around a third period fall in the semifinals. He would claim the hardware with a 19-3 technical fall over fellow Long Islander Matt Maquet, of Long Beach in Section VIII.

Brooklyn would be in the house at the 106-pound weight class as defending NYS Private School Champion, Noah Malamut of Poly Prep, would score one for the five boroughs when he bested Maquet’s teammate, Charlie Spada, in a high scoring finals battle. Jumping out to the early lead, including a pivotal tilt for near-fall points, the junior from PP would have to contend with a late rally from his opposition, showing strong defense down the stretch to emerge with the 11-8 decision. Malamut would be the only individual champ for Poly Prep, leading the hometown favorite to a top-10 (8th) finish in the team standings.

Kelly vs. Ndiaye, http://www.phototrens.com

113 would be one of the highlight bouts of the afternoon as Chenango Forks’s two-time defending NYS DI Champion, Kyle Kelly, would be pitted against the 2012 NYS DII runner-up, Cheick Ndiaye, of Brooklyn International. With points expected to be at a premium in such a hotly contested battle of returning Empire State finalists, it would be the Binghamton University bound Kelly that struck in a big way, locking up a cradle and taking it over to gain the early lead. He would not look back, fending off the athletic and immensely polished Ndiaye 6-4. For the weekend, Kelly went 3-0, with Ndiaye being the only foe who was able to make it out of the first period against him.

Two weight classes later, it would be Kelly’s teammate, Jake Green, making it 2-for-2 for Forks over opponents from Brooklyn. Regarded as a slight underdog in the 126 pound title bout after his opponent, 2012 PSAL Large School Champion, Keanu Thompson (Grand Street Campus), defeated NHSCA All-American Travis Passaro (ESM) 7-3 in the semifinals, Green refused to be intimidated, scoring the only takedowns of the match to win a hard fought 4-2 decision. This victory should serve as a major confidence booster for Green as he looks to repeat as a Section IV champion and earn his first All-State placement in 2013. For Thompson, who prior to the loss had been on a hot streak (including a win over Ndiaye earlier in the season), the goal is to put the loss behind him and get back on track. The senior captain from Grand Street Campus came one victory short of the podium last season in Albany.

Getting Staten Island in the win column was standout extraordinaire, Santo Curatolo. A senior who is seeking his fourth career PSAL DI title, Curatolo might be among the fastest growing prospects in the Empire State. After falling to place in Albany for the third straight season, the Tottenville student-athlete has been on a tear, commencing with an All-American finish in Junior Greco-Roman in Fargo this past summer. Curatolo would show no mercy on the field this weekend, pinning two of his opponents and adding a 13-1 major decision to reign supreme at 120 pounds. His finals win, a 1:38 fall via cement mixer (I call it a Billman Mixer in tribute to former Pennsylvania great, Jamarr Billman, who hit a similar variation of the move in the 1997 AAA state finals his senior season) came over Wingate’s Kenton Greaves in what could potentially represent a preview of the 2013 NYC finals.

After watching two of his PSAL peers fall short of their championship goals, one wrestler who had no intention of kowtowing to Coach Rick Gumble’s mighty Forks squad was New Utrecht 132 pounder, Saidyokub Kahramonov. A runner-up in 2012 to current Brown University freshman, Ahmed Elsayed, Kahramonov is a heavy favorite to make his second consecutive trip to the state capital after being an injury placement last season. He certainly had his “A” game on full display 72 hours ago, finishing a perfect sweep of pins when he stuck returning Section IV bronze medalist, Carl Rouse, with 24 seconds remaining in the second period. Kahramonov also had falls over 2012 USA Wrestling Schoolboy Greco-Roman All-American, Leonard Merkin (Poly Prep), and 2012 Catholic High School Athletic Association returning placewinner, Ralph Maio, of Monsignor Farrell.

Starting a trend that would see his school take the titles at three of the next four weight classes was Long Branch’s Nick Menkin. A winner of just under 30 matches as a sophomore, the wrestler who missed out on the chance to compete at the New Jersey State tournament when he finished 4th at the regional qualifier, was not in a generous mood on Saturday and Sunday. 4-0 on the weekend, Menkin did not have a match closer than six points (his 9-3 win in the finals over Farrell’s Karl Weisner), pinning one of his opponents, teching another, and major decisioning the third (15-4) en route to the title bout and the eventual hardware. Complementing the efforts of their teammate were a pair of Georges (cousins). Striking first in the battle for ultimate family bragging rights would be 145-pounder, Nick, who after hanging on for a 6-4 decision in the semifinals over two-time PSAL runner-up, Nigel Williams of Eagle Academy, really poured it on in the finals, controlling all of the action and scoring the only takedowns of the match, defeating Columbia High School’s (Section II) Jim Devine 8-2 in the championship bout. Not to be outdone, at 160, it was Jake, whose older brother, William is a wrestler at Cornell University, making it an even 2-for-2 for the family when he made it back-to-back victories over foes from Columbia (their third consecutive finalist), outlasting Chris Morrissey, 7-5 in overtime. 220-pounder, Vincent Roselli, would also win in overtime, 5-3 over Paul Okeke of Clarkstown South, to account for the fourth and final individual gold for the eventual team champs from across the bridge.

Preventing Columbia from dropping three straight championship matches was Angelo Kress at 152 pounds. A state qualifier at this weight last season as a sophomore, Kress finished 6th (in the adjusted placements that do not include CHSAA or PSAL representatives). If he wrestles in Albany the way he did in the Big Apple, it is almost a surefire guarantee that the defending Section II champion will move up a few rungs on the proverbial ladder. Pinning his first two opponents in an average time of 2:22, Kress must have had big plans on Sunday afternoon as he wasted no time at all coming, seeing, and conquering. Pitted against 2012 PSAL Large School bronze medalist, Konstantin Parfiryev, from James Madison, Kress would put leave no doubt as to who the best of the best was, pinning his finals opponent in 54 seconds, the quickest fall of the championship round. One of two champs on the day for Columbia (the other coming in the last bout of the tournament), Kress would lead his team to a runner-up finish in the final polls.

Having gone four straight weight classes without some local flavor taking home a title, junior Adis Radoncic of RKA, would nip the issue in the bud, snapping the streak with 10-4 decision over Long Branch’s Nick Pappayliou at 170 pounds. Already a two-time PSAL Small School champion (on pace to be a four-time NYS DII qualifier), Radoncic just missed placing at the Times Union Center in 2012, falling one victory short of the podium. A lethal thrower, next to Ndiaye, Radoncic is considered the best medal threat for the PSAL in the Division II ranks. Pappayliou, who transferred to the Garden State perennial powerhouse for his senior season after competing for Ocean Township the first three years of his scholastic career, finished 4th in the district tournament in 2012.

Matt Roberts, Photo by Philip Rufo

Winning a war of returning NYS qualifiers was Monsignor Farrell’s Matt Roberts at 182. Trailing 2-0 early on in his title match against Eagle Academy’s Nathanael Rose, the 2012 CHSAA State Champion, Roberts, did what he does best, utilizing his deep gas tank to claw his way back into the match. Pushing the pace against Rose, who won the PSAL DII title as a freshman last season, Roberts would ascend to the top step of the podium following an 8-5 victory. The senior leader would be the lone champion for the Staten Island program who for the first time in history (after dominating the Mayor’s Cup since its inception) finished behind a fellow five borough school (Brooklyn Tech) in a major city wide tournament.

Speaking of B’Tech, the Todd Bloom led program would not be shutout this weekend, getting on the scoreboard at 195 with senior Kevin Tynes. A PSAL runner-up last last season to McZiggy Richards (the wrestler who finished 3rd in NYS and is currently attending St. Benedicts Prep), Tynes may be one of the hungriest wrestlers in the city this season after seeing the success of the man who beat him in last year’s Large School finals. Cruising in his first three matches (pin, 16-1 TF, 10-1 MD), Tynes would get his first test of the tournament in the finals when he faced the twin brother of the 170 pound runner-up, Chris Pappayliou. A 3rd place finisher at the district tournament, the Long Branch transfer would make his NYC counterpart work for every point, leading to perhaps the most entertaining and competitive title bout. In the end, the home court advantage would be too much for the Jersey boy to overcome as he dropped the bout 7-6 to Tynes.

El Shaddai VanHoesen, Photo by BV

Closing the show in emphatic fashion would Columbia’s other champion, returning NYS DI runner-up, El Shaddai VanHoesen. A full sized heavyweight who makes his impact felt every bit as much on the football field as he does on the wrestling mat, VanHoesen has every reason in the world to want to end his grappling career on top. Having suffered an injury early in the football playoffs, the big man had the misfortune of having to watch as his team was eliminated, powerless to do anything about it. A student-athlete with championship dreams, with one door having been closed, you can bet he will not let anything stop him from going all the way on the mat. He seemed every bit the proverbial man on a mission, notching four straight pins (including two in under 1:00) to stream roll his way to the last title of the afternoon. While not sure if it would be considered a benefit or a curse, the wrestler who found himself in the position of being the final notch on the belt of the VanHoesen locomotion was Tynes’s teamamte, Shaq Williams. The top-ranked 285 pounder per the GCW rankings, Williams will be looking for revenge when the calendar hits February.

Turning our attention to the fairer sex, leading the group of 10 champions for the young ladies was All-American Rosemary Flores of Curtis. A double freestyle champion in Fargo two summers ago, you name it and Flores has seemingly won it at some point in her career. An ASICS 1st Team honoree last year, Flores had little trouble adding another trophy to her growing collection, spending a combined 90 seconds on the mat in pinning two opponents to earn the the 132 pound crown. While she is by far the most well known, Flores is not the only elite philly in the Curtis stable as he was joined on the top step of the medal stand by teammates Leslie Schoberl (120) and Shannon Henry (138). In similar fashion to Flores, Shoberl and Henry would never see the third period as the three blue chippers combined for seven falls in seven matches. Curtis was the only program on the ladies side to have three gold medalists. Other champions in the women’s tournament included the following: 99- Kim Cardenas (Petrides), 106- Ana Salazar/160- Karina Lozano of Grover Cleveland, 113- Jennifer Juarez (Robert Wagner), 126- Sarah Andresen (Hunter), 145- Idalis Graciano (Springfield), and Wingate’s Destane Garrik at 170 pounds.

To see the full results from both the male and female varsity tournaments, please click the following links: 2012 Boys; 2012 Girls

For more information on New York City wrestling, visit Gotham City Wrestling

Columbia's El Shaddai VanHoesen: By "Almighty", Refuse to Lose

When your name translates to “God Almighty”, high expectations have been set from birth.

New York’s top high school heavyweight, El Shaddai VanHoesen, isn’t intimidated.

VanHoesen, Photo by BV

“I have ‘God Almighty’ tattooed on my forearm,” VanHoesen said. “My mom is very religious and always instilled me with confidence. My mom and dad said they were thinking of a bunch of names and that’s the one they felt was right for me.  They wanted me to live up to it.”

The Columbia High School senior, who was second at the state tournament in 2012 and who has earned accolades in competitions both in the Empire State and nationally over the years, is pushed by more than living up to his name.

In fact, he draws a lot of his strength from his 13-year old sibling.

“When my brother was younger, he needed a liver transplant,” VanHoesen said. “He was living a normal life for a couple of years after that.  But right before the postseason last year, his liver failed again. He needed another transplant and not just for his liver. He had to go out to a hospital in Nebraska and before he left he told me wanted to see me keep winning. He gave me inspiration.”

That inspiration helped VanHoesen go on a tremendous run in the season’s most important event. After taking third at the Section 2 championships, VanHoesen earned the last wildcard spot in the 285-pound draw for the state tournament.  He wanted to make the most of it, despite dealing with a high ankle sprain.

“It’s rare that three wrestlers get in from the Section,” said Columbia head coach Anthony Servidone, noting that Section 2 champion Cory Quintana and All-State wrestler Cole Lampman got bids as well. “We felt that [Van Hoesen] had a great opportunity and he took advantage.”

After wins in his first two matches, VanHoesen was set to face a familiar foe, Lampman, in the semifinals.  Earlier in the season, the Shenendehowa wrestler (now starting at Princeton), defeated VanHoesen, 5-1.

It was a different story at the Times Union Center as VanHoesen came out on top, 4-2, in what he called the biggest win of his wrestling career.

“Beating Lampman made me realize what I could do if I put my mind to it,” VanHoesen said. “I was wrestling to the level of my competition before, wrestling not to lose. When you go out there, you need to fully believe that you’re the better guy. The coaches have always pounded into my head that I work hard and I should win. I realized that I am a top level guy and I need to wrestle like a top level wrestler.”

So while he fell a point short in the New York title bout against Syosset’s Evan Kappatos, his belief carried through to the offseason where he earned All-America status for the third straight year at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach and also registered quality victories at the Disney Duals in Florida and at the Freestyle Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota.

“After the state tournament, he took just one day off,” Servidone said. “On Monday, he wanted to drill. He wanted a partner to start getting ready for nationals.  That’s when I knew he was really focused.  I see a big difference in him this year all the way around from work ethic to overall attitude toward the sport. He committed to wrestling this past spring, summer and fall.”

And he’s committed to having wrestling as a part of his future. He is being pursued by four Division I programs, but hasn’t completed his official visits yet. VanHoesen said he isn’t sure on the timetable for his college decision as he’s focused on making the most of this season first.

That focus has been significantly enhanced by the addition of a new workout partner in the Columbia wrestling room — former New York state champion and Sacred Heart grappler Brandon Lapp.

“Bringing [Lapp] in has really paid dividends,” Servidone said. “Last year [VanHoesen] was wrestling guys half his size sometimes. It was difficult to find anyone who was big enough and could challenge him.”

“It’s probably made the biggest difference of anything in my career,” VanHoesen added. “[Lapp] is the perfect size where he forces me to move and work on my speed, positioning and leverage.  I wrestled with a lot of smaller guys before who couldn’t really push me. Having a partner like this is huge for me.”

With that extra push in practice on a daily basis and a boost from feeling better at around 270 pounds, VanHoesen expects to not only win every time he takes the mat, but to win with dominance.

VanHoesen, Photo by BV

So far, he’s done just that, capturing all but one of his matches this season by pin.  (The other victory was by technical fall).

In fact, this past weekend, VanHoesen pinned his way through the PSAL Holiday Tournament and only had to wrestle into the second period once.

The title in New York City was significant for a number of reasons.  First, he collected a milestone win and second, he became the first-ever high school wrestling champion crowned at Madison Square Garden. (The finals of the event started at heavyweight).

“It definitely wasn’t a bad place to get my 100th win,” VanHoesen said with a laugh. “I tend not to let big stages get to me.  I just try to focus and take care of business. So before the match, I wasn’t really thinking about the fact that I was wrestling at Madison Square Garden.  But after the match, it was like, ‘wow’.  It really hit me that I was the first person to win a high school tournament there.”

It’s likely that there will be a number of other titles for VanHoesen this year, however, the senior’s accolades on the mat aren’t the only things that impress Servidone.

“With his brother in the hospital in Nebraska, his mother has to spend a lot of time there,” Servidone said. “He’s a high school student living a young adult life.”

“My mom spends a lot of time out there [Nebraska],” VanHoesen added. “It’s tough for my little brother and two younger sisters who are here.  But we have a strong support system with my grandmother and I feel like I stepped up as the older brother. We all take on a lot of roles and a lot of responsibilities.  But along with that comes a lot of rewards too.  And I feel like I have two families. Columbia wrestling has been with me the whole way. Coach Servidone takes care of all of us and the Columbia parents show me every bit of love they can. Everyone is so supportive.”

That support will continue. In February of 2013, VanHoesen expects that a special guest will help him in his quest to get to the top of the podium at the Times Union Center.

“I think my brother will be back from Nebraska for the state tournament this year — I’m confident about that,” he said. “He’s making progress, getting better every day. He’s the toughest kid on the planet. With the transplants and everything going on, he’s always positive and he refuses to give up.  That’s my mentality in wrestling – refuse to lose. It’s sad that he can’t wrestle because he has the spirit for it.  So I feel like I’ll keep doing it for him.”

And he’ll keep working to live up to his name.