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,

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.

Buffalo Raises over $14,000 at Takedown Cancer Dual; Drops Matches to Iowa and Bloomsburg

Courtesy of

BUFFALO, NY – A crowd of over 1,700 fans came out to Alumni Arena for the fourth annual Takedown Cancer fundraiser and dual on Monday evening to open the home schedule, as the Bulls (0-2) hosted the fifth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. The event, which raised over $14,000 for cancer research for the day, was marked with explosive offense between the two teams, with the Hawkeyes (10-0) prevailing 39-3. Mark Lewandowski earned a win at 165 pounds for the team’s lone win.

“What people don’t see is the controlled steady pace that Iowa wrestles,” head coach Jim Beichner said. “They’re consistent and put the pressure on you. We need to do the same in return, but today we faded. We scored a lot of takedowns, but ultimately you need to win those battles and win those matches. You have nothing to lose against a team like Iowa, but when you’re aggressive you need to have a big gas tank to go with it.”

Lewandowski, who came into the night ranked in the low 20s at his class by most media outlets, was a slight underdog in his match against Iowa’s Nick Moore. The senior started with a takedown in the final minute of the first period and rode Moore out. He scored another takedown in the second period and led 4-2 going into the final two minutes of the match. He made a quick escape, then took Moore down and earned a riding time point for the 8-3 win.

“Mark was in control tonight, and that comes with experience,” Beichner said. “He dominated from start to finish and was able to get an important win. We want him to be on the All-American podium at the end of this season, and if he keeps wrestling like this he’ll get there.”

After only one wrestler scored more than five points in the season-opening dual against Central Michigan, the Bulls were able to be more liberal on offense for the night, case in point with the 149 pound bout between Blake Roulo and Mike Kelly. In the first 20 seconds of the match, Roulo scored a big takedown and turned Kelly for two near-fall points. Kelly would squeeze away and it would spark off a first period that saw an 8-8 tie after just the first three minutes. Kelly would ultimately take advantage of Roulo’s aggression, turning a handful of errant scoring attempts by Roulo into takedowns and earned a 21-13 win.

RESULTS: Iowa 39, Buffalo 3
141 – #11 Mark Ballweg (IA) major dec. Andrew Schutt (UB), 12-3; 4-0
149 – Michael Kelly (IA) major dec. Blake Roulo (UB), 21-13; 8-0
157 – #1 Derek St. John (IA) major dec. Wally Maziarz (UB), 21-7; 12-0
165 – Mark Lewandowski (UB) dec. Nick Moore (IA), 8-3; 12-3
174- #7 Mike Evans (IA) major dec. John-Martin Cannon (UB), 14-1; 16-3
184 – #7 Ethen Lofthouse (IA) major dec. Tony Lock (UB), 12-4; 20-3
197 – Nathan Burak (IA) major dec. Angelo Malvestuto (UB), 12-4; 24-3
285 – #5 Bobby Telford (IA) pinned Justin Heiserman (UB), 1:36; 30-3
125 – Matt Gurule (IA) dec. Max Soria (UB), 15-10; 33-3
133 – #3 Tony Ramos (IA) pinned Erik Galloway (UB), 4:27; 39-3

Bloomsburg 18, Buffalo 15 (Tuesday)

BLOOMSBURG, PA – The Buffalo wrestling team rallied strong from its Monday night loss to Iowa, but could not close the deal for its first win of the season on Tuesday and lost 18-15 to Bloomsburg. The Bulls (0-3) and Huskies (7-2) won five matches apiece, but Bloomsburg scored a technical fall and major decision to boost it to the win.

The Bulls took three of the first four matches of the night, starting with Mike Soria‘s 6-4 win over Sean Boylan. Filling in for his brother Max, who was hurt early in his match against Iowa last night, Mike was able to get the win in his first-ever start in a dual meet and start the team off on the right foot. After a loss at 133, Andrew Schutt scored a 7-2 win over Matt Rappo after cruising to a 6-1 lead after just the first period.

His win was followed by Blake Roulo, who won 2-1 at 149 after neither wrestler could manage to take the other down. He was able to get a third period escape and used riding time to get the win and pad the UB lead. It would come in handy, as the Huskies earned a tech fall at 157 and Mark Lewandowski lost 3-2 to Josh Veltre in a battle of two top-20 ranked wrestlers at 165 pounds.

Bloomsburg’s lead would be short-lived, as John-Martin Cannon rebounded strong from a frustrating loss to Iowa and won 9-4 thanks to a quartet of takedowns against Chris Smith. He was followed by a tremendous effort from true freshman Tony Lock, who earned his first career dual meet win in a big spot. He beat Andre Petroski 4-2 thanks to a pair of points in the third period to break a 2-2 tie that had held since the first period. The win would give the Bulls a 15-11 lead in the dual, but a major decision loss at 197 pounds and a win for the Huskies in the final match of the night would provide the 18-15 final.

Now after two matches in just over 24 hours, the team will have an extended break for the Holidays before returning to action. Next up will be The Midlands Championship Tournament and the Brute Invitational on Dec. 29, when the team will send selected wrestlers to each event to compete against some of the very best in the country. Full results from each tournament will be available through

RESULTS: Bloomsburg 18, Buffalo 15

125: Mike Soria (UB) dec. Sean Boylan (BU), 6-4; 3-0
133: Nick Wilcox (BU) dec. Erik Galloway (UB), 9-4; 3-3
141: Andrew Schutt (UB) dec. Matt Rappo (BU), 7-2; 6-3
149: Blake Roulo (UB) dec. Simon Kitzis (BU), 2-1; 9-3
157: Frank Hickman (BU) tech. fall Wally Maziarz (UB), 22-6, 5:48; 9-8
165: Josh Veltre (BU) dec. Mark Lewandowski (UB), 3-2; 9-11
174: John-Martin Cannon (UB) dec. Chris Smith (BU), 9-4; 12-11
184: Tony Lock (UB) dec. Andre Petroski (BU), 4-2; 15-11
197: Richard Perry (BU) maj. dec. Angelo Malvestuto (UB), 13-5; 15-15
285: Justin Grant (BU) dec. Justin Heiserman (UB), 5-1; 15-18

G2 World Wrestling Academy Wins 3rd Annual Jr Comet Winter Classic; See Full Results

The following are the results from the 3rd Annual RH Jr. Comet Winter Classic. This competitive youth tournament featured a number of NYWAY State champions and other wrestlers who have placed at events both inside and outside the Empire State.

Photo courtesy of Adam Burgos

Tournament Team scoring and results (10 wrestlers): 
(3pts – Champion, 2pts for second, 1pt for third)

1. G2 World Wrestling Academy – 27pts
2. Cobra Wrestling Academy – 25pts
3. Hornell Wrestling Club – 24pts
4. Canisteo Wrestling Club – 17pts
5. Power Cats Wrestling Club – 13pts.Honorable mention:
• Mexico Wrestling – 12pts
• Rush Henrietta Wrestling- 11pts
For full results by weight class, click here: 2012 RH Jr Comet Results

Q&A with Chris Koo, All-American Looking to End His Career With a Trip to Albany (and a Title)

Photo courtesy of Chris Koo


By Irwin Loew

Chris Koo is an All-American wrestler.  In fact, he has placed at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach each of the last two years.  However, despite his achievements, the Great Neck South senior is looking for his first trip to the New York state tournament.  In 2012, Koo took third at 160 pounds at the Section 8 Championships, but after an offseason full of training, he would like to not only get to Albany this year, but also find a spot high on the podium to cap off his high school career.

Irwin Loew caught up with Koo for a few questions about his accomplishments to date, his future in the sport and more.

How did you get into wrestling?

Chris Koo (CK): I got into the sport when my father took me to the local YMCA for open mats.  I was eight years old.  I was not successful right away but I loved the feel of the mat and the intensity.

What’s the atmosphere like in the Great Neck South room?

CK: The atmosphere in the room is great.  Some of my main workout partners are my head coach, Ryan Pingatore and Sal Lanzilotta.  Coach Pingatore is on top of everyone and creates such an intensity in the room.  We may not have the best kids in the county, but he pushes everyone and makes sure they give 110 percent.

Where else do you wrestle?

CK: I also wrestle at Ascend Wrestling Club, run by Craig Vitagliano.  I go to four practices a week.  The days I am not wrestling, I’m either running or lifting.

You took sixth place at 145 pounds at the 2011 NHSCA Sophomore Nationals.  What was that experience like?

CK: The experience was great.  That’s when I first started attending Ascend and Craig [Vitagliano] broke down every single match out there for me.  He corrected what I was doing wrong.  I wasn’t expecting to place at a national tournament. I went there with the attitude of just wrestling and gaining a great experience.

After placing at that national tournament as a sophomore, what were your expectations for your junior year?  

CK: My expectations coming into my junior year were to win counties and become All-State.  Watching [Mepham’s] Dan Tracy win counties was the most heartbreaking thing in the world.  I remember coming home and crying. [Koo defeated Dan Tracy by major during the season but placed third in Nassau].  I also wasn’t happy with my performance at Virginia Beach.  Coach Craig and I were aiming to get a higher finish than the previous year. [Koo made the podium again at the national tournament, taking seventh at 152].

What are your expectations for your senior season?

CK: As a senior, winning counties would be great, but I am aiming to win states.  We’ve never had a state champ come from our school.  I’ll be at 152.  I have been working on a lot of wrestling situations and techniques with Coach Craig [Vitagliano].

Are you looking to continue wrestling after high school?

CK: I am interested in wrestling Division I.  I am looking into Hofstra, University of Maryland and Merchant Marine Academy.  I expect a lot when I get into college.  Wrestling with college wrestlers like [Harvard’s] Paul Ligouri and John Khory shows me what my weaknesses are and how I can improve.  I would like to study Economics or Statistics.

What wrestlers do you like watching?

CK: I enjoy watching Adam Saitiev and Elbrus Tedeev because they are very good at hand fighting and set ups.  Most of the wrestlers I watch are great at hand fighting.

Do you play any other sports? 

CK: I don’t play other sports but I do run a lot.

What music do you like to listen to?  What is the last book you read and the last movie you saw?

CK: I like listening to Eminem before my matches.  Last book: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.  Last movie: The Avengers.

Koo earned four pins in his first five matches this season and then picked up the Most Valuable Wrestler Award at the Bethpage Dads Club tournament.  In the latest Nassau County rankings, he is #1 at 152 pounds.

Weekend Notes: Dake Earns OW, Nick Kelley Wins Bronze in Reno and More From Around the State

Dake vs. Caldwell,

The first ever-wrestling event at Madison Square Garden captured a lot of headlines this weekend.  While Cornell and Hofstra both went 0-2, Big Red senior Kyle Dake earned the Outstanding Wrestler Award after his victories over #3 Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State and #13 Zach Toal of Missouri.  Dake controlled both matches, earning a reversal and riding time in each.  Also going undefeated on the day for Cornell was returning NCAA champion Steve Bosak, who made his season debut.  The 184-pounder picked up two victories against ranked opponents – #7 Mike Larson of the Tigers and #13 Chris Chionuma of the Cowboys.

For the box scores and descriptions from Cornell and Hofstra, see here and here.

Kelly vs. Ndiaye,

Fans in attendance in New York City were able to watch some top level high school action in addition to the college duals as the placement matches of the PSAL Holiday tournament took place on Sunday at MSG as well.

Long Branch (NJ) took the team crown at the event, with champions at 138 (Nick Menkin), 145 (Nick George), 160 (Jake George) and 220 (Vincent Roselli).  In second place was Section 2’s Columbia, followed by the PSAL’s Brooklyn Tech.

One of the most anticipated finals happened at 113 pounds where two-time state champion Kyle Kelly of Chenango Forks took on 2012 state runner up Cheick Ndiaye of Brooklyn International.  Kelly jumped out to an early lead and looked like he might get the pin but Ndiaye fought his way back into the match.  However, Kelly closed out a 6-4 victory in a battle between two wrestlers who will be among the top contenders at 113 in Albany in Division I and II, respectively.

Kelly’s teammate Jake Green captured first place in a challenging 126-pound field.  Green topped Grand Street’s Keanu Thompson 4-2 in the title bout with multiple time All-American Travis Passaro of Eastport South Manor grabbing third.  (Thompson defeated Passaro in Saturday’s semifinals).

Outstanding Wrestler honors went to Tottenville’s Santo Curatolo, who won at 120 pounds by first period fall.  That was one of three quick pins for Curatolo in the event.  His other victory was a 13-1 major.

The silver medal team from Columbia had a pair of champions, including heavyweight El Shaddai Van Hoesen, who pinned all four of his opponents and was only pushed into the second period once.  His teammate Angelo Kress had a similar experience at 152 pounds – four matches and four falls.

The other champions were: John Busiello of Eastport South Manor (99), Noah Malamut of Poly Prep (106), Saidyokub Kahramonov of New Utrecht (132), Adis Radoncic of RKA (170), Matt Roberts of Monsignor Farrell (182) and Kevin Tynes of Brooklyn Tech (220).

For full brackets, see here.

Outside of New York City . . .

While the focus of many wrestling fans was on the Big Apple, there was plenty of quality wrestling featuring New York wrestlers around the state and even in the Pacific Time Zone.  Here are a few notes from the weekend:

Wantagh saw its first dual action of the season at the David Bloom Memorial event.  The Warriors went 4-0, defeating New Rochelle, Sachem North, East Islip and one of Rhode Island’s top squads, Cumberland.

In one of the significant results of the day, Wantagh’s 182 pounder James Corbett continued his strong start to the season with a 5-2 victory over Gio Santiago of Sachem North, the 2012 Suffolk County champion who was sixth at the state tournament.  Corbett had a solid 32-6 season a year ago while wrestling at 160, 170 and 182 pounds and took fourth at the Section 8 tournament.  Now 7-0 with five pins and a technical fall, he’ll be a wrestler to watch in the upperweights this season.

Barbaria, Photo by BV

In a matchup of wrestlers with a great chance to travel to Albany in February, New Rochelle’s Nick Barbaria, an All-State wrestler at 99 pounds a year ago, picked up a quality win over NHSCA All-American Kyle Quinn, 5-3 at 113.

And Further Upstate . . . 

Spencerport won the Batavia Christmas Tournament on Saturday by almost 30 points over Blairsville, Pennsylvania.  Leading the way for Spencerport were champions Kaleb Pascoe (99), Brandon Barrett (113), Trent Englauf (182) and Collin Pittman (195).  Elmira was third as Sean McGinley took first at 285 and Charlie Kennedy (120) and Curtis Grant (138) earned second.  Royalton Hartland also made its presence felt with a trio of champions – Cameron Swick at 106, Drew Hull at 152 and Alex Jensen at 182.

Schaefer, Photo by BV

The Alexander Green and Gold Tournament in Section 5 showcased a number of state title contenders.  Warsaw won the event by a wide margin, with Rush Henrietta second and Fairport third.

Among the champions were All-State grapplers Corey Hollister of Perry (113), Dan Reagan of Lewiston Porter (145), Warsaw’s Burke Paddock (160) and Most Outstanding Wrestler (182) Tim Schaefer and Zack Bacon of Hornell (220).  For more detailed results, see here.

Koll and Lapresi Impress In Pennsylvania . . .

Lansing took 23rd at the King of the Mountain tournament at Central Mountain High School in the Keystone State . . . and the Bobcats did it with only two wrestlers entered in the event.  2011 state champion Will Koll dominated his way to the 126 pound title, with pins in his first four bouts before notching a 7-4 decision over Ryan Easter in the championship match.  2012 state titlewinner Connor Lapresi made his mark at 138, putting up bonus points in his first four matches before dropping a 7-2 decision in the title bout.

Kelley, Porter Place at the Reno Tournament of Champions in Nevada

Two Section 2 schools, Shenendehowa and LaSalle, headed out West with a handful of their starters to meet some out of state competition at the Reno Tournament of Champions.

Kelley, Photo by BV

Leading the way for the New Yorkers was Nick Kelley, who took third place at 138 pounds.  He began the event on a roll, winning his first four matches by fall, including an 16-second pin in his initial contest.  In the semifinals, Kelley lost an 8-6 match in overtime, however, he came back to dominate his next bout 11-4 to take the bronze.

Also making the podium for the Plainsmen was Jesse Porter at 132 pounds.  Porter entered the tournament as the 14th seed, but made an impressive run, winning his first two matches before dropping a 1-0 decision to eventual third place finisher Robbie Rizzolino of Easton, Pennsylvania. Porter responded with four victories in the wrestlebacks, including three pins.  He won his seventh place tilt 5-2 over Zack Edwards of Broken Arrow High in Oklahoma.

Two Shenendehowa grapplers came within one victory of the medal stand, but took different paths to get there.  182 pounder Levi Ashley dropped his opening match to bronze medalist Ian Baker of California.  However, he quickly rebounded, capturing five straight in the consolations before Brock Warren of Broken Arrow ended his run.  Meanwhile, David Almaviva, the ninth seed, won his first two contests before losing to Tanner Bailey of Broken Arrow. He rallied with two wins in the wrestlebacks.

Zach Joseph went 3-2 for Shenendehowa at 152 pounds while Corey Ali (2-2) and Kevin Parker both took the mat at 120 for the Plainsmen.  Freshman Joseph Clemente turned in a solid showing for LaSalle, with a 3-2 mark at 138 pounds while his teammates Mark Pelton (152), Paul Andreoli (152) and Eric Rider (126) also competed.

Shenendehowa took 21st place as a team in a field of more than 110 squads.  Canon McMillan (PA) took the gold overall.

For the full Reno Tournament of Champions bracket, see here.


For more results from the weekend, see here.

To report results, e-mail