NY Unbeaten at Two Dual Events on Sat: Freestyle Team Takes First in Pool at Jr. Nationals; Team Kong Dominates at Disney

Team North Dakota Blue seemed to have New York’s number at the Junior National Duals in Oklahoma. The two squads met in the Greco Roman competition on Wednesday and in Freestyle action on Friday and both times, North Dakota came out on top, by 37-32 and 37-31 scores, respectively.

There would be one more chance for the Empire State wrestlers. Both squads went undefeated on the event’s last day, earning spots against each other in the first place match of the Red/Blue Freestyle Pool. It turned out that the third time was a charm.

“We lost to them twice and didn’t want it to happen three times in a row,” said Johnson City’s Reggie Williams, who wrestled at 195 and 220 during the week. “We knew we needed to get it together and we did.”

In an exciting dual New York prevailed 35-34 — and it all came down to the last bout.

The Empire State got off to a strong start, with a technical fall by Roland Zilberman at 220 and a decision by Sam Eagan at 285. After a 10-0 victory by Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer at 138 and a pin by Jake Savoca at 145, New York led by eight points with five matches remaining. But it wasn’t over, as North Dakota went on a run, capturing four straight contests, including two by bonus, to take a 34-30 advantage into the finale at 195 pounds.

That’s when Williams stepped in, needing a technical fall for the tie or a fall for the win. After defeating his opponent Brandon Rodriguez earlier in the event, Williams was confident he would come through.

“I thought we would win the tiebreaker if it came down to that, but I still wanted to be safe and pin him,” Williams said. “I wanted to put the team on my back and came in looking for the pin right away.”

It didn’t take long as he recorded the fall less than a minute and a half into the bout to give New York the one-point triumph.

Rodriguez-Spencer, Photo by BV

Williams frequently got his hand raised in Oklahoma, as he posted an 8-1 record in Freestyle. 160-pounder Burke Paddock did the same (after going undefeated in Greco). Also starring for the team was Rodriguez-Spencer, who won all nine of his Freestyle bouts at 138, including eight by technical fall, after losing just once in Greco.

“Guys like Burke and Renaldo wrestled tough the whole time,” Williams said. “We knew we could count on them to go out there, score points and get us techs and pins when we needed them.”

In addition, 120 was a strong weight, as Matt Morris and Nick Casella teamed up to go 7-2 in that class while Daniel Smith (170) and the previously mentioned Savoca and Eagan all collected five or more wins in Freestyle. In addition, after an unblemished tournament in Greco, Zilberman won all four of his bouts on Friday and Saturday in the upperweights.

Overall, the squad garnered a 6-3 record in Freestyle, with wins over Minnesota Blue, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, Tennessee and the finale against North Dakota.

“I honestly thought we’d do a little better,” Williams said. “But it was a great experience with great bonding time for the team. I think we got a lot out of it to help us get ready to compete for [individual] national titles at Fargo in a few weeks. And we were really happy to end on a good note, winning our last match.”

For full Freestyle results, see Here.

For a recap of the team’s Greco Roman competition, see This link.

For full team roster, see the bottom of this article.

Off to a Great Start at Disney

It wasn’t only an unbeaten day for the Empire State in Oklahoma, as another group of All-Stars – Team New York Kong – racked up a 2-0 mark at the AAU National Duals (aka Disney Duals) in Orlando.

The squad had no mercy on the opposition, winning at least 11 of the 14 bouts in both meets. The first was a 50-9 pasting of Team Kryptonite (Ohio), while the second was a 44-6 decision over New Tampa Wrestling.

Garnering two victories on the day were Nick Piccininni (113), Travis Passaro (120), Alex Delacruz (126), Matt Leshinger (132), Nick Kelley (138), Joe Mastro (152), Nick Weber (195), Josh Bonneau (220) and Mike Hughes (heavyweight). The team will return to the mat for three contests on Sunday.

Team New York Kong

106 Kyle Quinn

106 Jesse Dellavecchia

113 Nick Piccininni

120 Travis Passaro

126 Alex Delacruz

132 Matt Leshinger

138 Nick Kelley

145 Brandon Lapi

145 Frank Garcia

145 Jakob Restrepo

152 Joe Mastro

160 Steven Schneider

170 Carlos Toribio

182 James Corbett

195 Nick Weber

220 Josh Bonneau

285 Mike Hughes


Team New York – Junior Freestyle Duals

100: Dom Poggoli

106: Andy Flanagan

113: Alpha Diallo

120: Nick Casella

120: Matt Morris

126: Trey Aslanian

126: Cheick Ndiaye

126/132: Richard Antonacci

132: Freddie Dunau

138: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer

145: Jake Savoca

152: Nigel Williams

160: Burke Paddock

170: Daniel Smith

182: Isaiah Zimmer

195: Reggie Williams

220: Roland Zilberman

220/285: Sam Eagan



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