Freestyle season is well underway. That much was clear on Sunday at Messa Rink on the campus of Union College as some of the top teams in the region clashed at the Journeymen Freestyle Club Duals.
When it was all said and done, it was Vougar’s Honors Wrestling (VHW) taking top billing after going 4-0 on the day.
“This is a very hard tournament with very good competition,” said Vougar Oroudjov. “It was our first freestyle tournament this year. We had a few guys get hurt right before it and we didn’t have a 220 pounder, but we were committed to coming and getting some good matches. Our team had a variety of wrestlers – some guys who are first and second year wrestlers, some who have not been all-county and also a state champion and other state placers. All the guys came together and wrestled hard and did a great job.”
VHW began action against the host squad from Journeymen in a contest Oroudjov called “a great dual against a very tough team.” The score was all tied up going into the final bout (at heavyweight).
In that match, Seaford’s James O’Hagan, the third place finisher at the state tournament this year in Division I, got his hand raised to give VHW the victory. It was the first triumph of an unbeaten day for the Nassau County 285 pounder.
It came down to the wire once again against Shamrock, with the final bout once again decisive. (This time it was a forfeit). VHW also had a strong performance against Iowa Style and wrestled well in a win against Ascend.
In that matchup of Long Island powers, Oroudjov pointed to some key victories from his squad, including bonus wins by Ben Lamantia, Steve Schneider and Carlos Toribio. According to Oroudjov, Toribio, in his first-ever freestyle event, dropped the first period and was trailing in the second when he recorded a fall. In addition, in a meeting of two of the state’s top lightweights, Vito Arujau topped John Arceri.
The wrestlers that came up big in that dual were strong throughout the day. Lamantia, Toribio and Arujau all had unblemished records, as did the previously mentioned O’Hagan and a pair of Sachem wrestlers – East’s Jakob Restrepo and North’s Gio Santiago, according to Oroudjov.
“Restrepo wrestled really great,” Oroudjov said. “He lost by pin to one of his opponents last week, but came back and beat him this week. I have a lot of respect for Gio Santiago. He kept the team together; he was a leader. He pumped everyone up and kept everyone going. It was just one tournament, but it was a good experience for us.”
It clearly was a good experience for the squad. And several other teams also had strong showings, with Journeymen taking second, and Shamrock and Ascend next in the overall standings, according to Frank Popolizio.
Freestyle season has begun and with the New York States only a few weeks away, the chance to watch many of the Empire State’s best compete in the international styles again is fast approaching.
The VHW team: (as provided)
105 Pounds: Vito Arujau
112: John Twomey, Daniel Murray
119: Ben Lamantia, Nick Casella
125: Tim Johnson
130: Joe Russ
135: Hunter Sharf
140: Anthony Messina
145: Jakob Restrepo
152: Gino Titone/James Farrell
160: Zack Small/Eric Hunson
170: Steve Schneider
185: Carlos Toribio
195: Gio Santiago/Robert Ng
285: James O’Hagan