By Matt Diano
This weekend, the finest talent from the PSAL, CHSAA, and NYS Private League with ties to the five boroughs will again gather into the Harlem Armory for the ultimate battle of bragging rights known as the Mayor’s Cup. A celebration of the immense skill that not so long ago remained untapped, the Mayor’s Cup is the singular event where a student-athlete earns the right to call himself the King of the Apple. Slated to begin Saturday morning at 9 a.m., this year’s edition of the premier wrestling tournament in the world’s most famous city will feature as deep a field as any in years past. Led by six defending champions, seven returning runners-up, and a multitude of placewinners from last season, if there is one certainty, it is that no one is going to have an easy route to the hardware. Then again, with 500 of the best-of-the-best under one roof year-in and year-out, is there ever an easy path to Title Town? I think not!
A 3rd place finisher at the 2012 Mayor’s Cup, losing only to the eventual champion, Josh Antoine (formerly of Grand Street Campus; currently attending Edinboro University), Fordham Prep sophomore Chris Martorello will enter this year’s festivities among the favorites to go all the way in the lightest of all the weight classes. A bronze medalist at the 2012 Catholic State Tournament last season at this same weight, there has been no jinx for the Ram student-athlete thus far in 2013 as he has won 20+ matches, placing in the top-4 of the Shoreline Invitational, as well as just missing finishing in the top-8 at the Eastern States Classic a few weeks ago, falling one victory short. Last weekend, Martorello went 4-1 at the CHSAA Duals, scoring bonus points in all of his victories, and with his only loss coming at the hands of St. Joseph Collegiate’s Garrett Baugher, a wrestler who many are projecting to make the podium at the NYS DI tournament next month in Albany.
Another returning placewinner from last season who figures prominently again in 2013 is Petrides junior Dolan McColgan, the defending PSAL DII Champion who finished 5th in 2012 at the Armory. Sporting a 29-1 record thus far this season, McColgan will be considered a heavy favorite to head back to the state capital where he hopes to improve upon the 1-2 record he posted in his first trip to the Times Union Center. With the small school division not offering much of a challenge to the Staten Island product, Saturday/Sunday might represent the true test of where he stands.
Also back to contend for gold in 2013 will be the wrestler that McColgan pinned in 5th place bout, fellow Staten Islander Malik Grant of Curtis. A third place finisher at the 2012 PSAL Large School tournament as a freshman in 2012, Grant takes to the mat this weekend as the #1 ranked wrestler at 106 in the PSAL DI rankings per Gotham City. Dropping down to 99, Grant’s 25-2 record makes him one to watch.
Representing the youth movement will be 8th-grader John Luke DeStefano, of Poly Prep. A product of the Farrell Lions Club that has produced countless champions at the Mayor’s Cup, despite his youthful age, DeStefano has had an immediate impact at the Brooklyn-based school. Placing in just about every tournament he has entered this season, the 3x Beat-the-Streets Youth Champion has compiled a 21-7 overall record. He is expected to be the top-seed at the NYS Private School Championship tournament as he seeks the first of a potential five private school titles in his scholastic career. While seeds have not yet been determined, it should be noted that if they were to meet in the semifinal round, McColgan did pin DeStefano in the 5th place match of the 2012 PSAL Holiday Tournament, held at Madison Square Garden.
Finally, one can never overlook Patrick Aguda of Towsend Harris. A senior who has mustered a 10-2 overall record thus far in 2012/2013, Aguda just missed placing last season at the PSAL DI tournament at 106 pounds, falling a single victory short of the podium. An 8th place finisher at the Mayor’s Cup at the higher weight class in 2012, one can expect that Aguda might enjoy a size advantage over his foes. He finished 2nd at the Goddard Tournament this season, proving that he is capable of hanging with the upper tier of guys in the five boroughs.
A Mayor’s Cup runner-up last season at 99 pounds, Poly Prep‘s Noah Malamut has been a juggernaut during his junior campaign, winning just about everything he has entered, including the title at the 2012 PSAL Holiday Tournament. The owner of a 21-1 record in 2012-2013, Malamut is looking more and more like a surefire bet to win his second straight Private School title. Last season, despite giving away nearly seven pounds to his foes, Malamut managed to win two matches at the National Prep Tournament, a very impressive accomplishment when you consider the caliber of opponents he was facing.
The wrestler who many expect to be opposite Malamut in the finals is returning 106-pound PSAL DI runner-up, Bohang Liu of Towsend Harris. Going 2-2 at this tournament last year as a junior, after finishing 6th as a sophomore in 2011, Liu brings a wealth of maturity and experience to the mat with him this weekend. He has fared pretty well in his scholastic swan song, compiling a 17-3 record this season, including finishing in the top 6 of the Long Beach Tournament on talent-rich Long Island. Gotham City has Liu ranked as the #1 wrestler at 113 pounds.
Also looking to add another bullet point to his resume after finishing as a PSAL DI runner-up last season (at 99) will be Long Island City junior Oscar Estudillo. Carrying a 14-4 record into the weekend, Estudillo has proven how dangerous he can be when he also finished high at the Long Beach Tournament, taking 5th against some of Nassau and Suffolk’s top dogs. 2013 will mark the first time that Estudillo will be competing at the Mayor’s Cup as in years past, his school has only sent a handful of participants.
The pattern of returning PSAL runners-up continues with Brooklyn International’s Alpha Diallo. A wrestler who selflessly wrestled up at 113 last season, Diallo could have very well been a returning DII City Champion at 106 if not for the presence of his teammate, 2012 NYS DII runner-up, Cheick Ndiaye, occupying the starting spot. Now, having flip flopped weights, putting the senior from Brooklyn at a more natural class, Diallo entered 2012-2013 as the favorite to win his first City title in his final attempt. He has not disappointed, posting a 14-7 record, winning the Wingate Tournament and finishing 5th at the PSAL Holiday Tournament among other feats. In his only previous appearance at the Mayor’s Cup, Diallo went 0-2 in 2011.
Joseph Donohue will be looking to make his introduction to the Mayor’s Cup tradition an impressive one. The freshman from Xaverian has posted a 17-3 record in his rookie season, winning the Goddard Tournament and placing 2nd to Diallo at the Wingate Tournament. Aguda is ranked #4 in this weight class in the latest GCW polls.
To read the previews for the rest of the weight classes, see the original article here on Gotham City wrestling.