Videos from the Journeymen Classic: See State Champions and Finalists Battle

Numerous state finalists and champions took the mat at the Journeymen Classic on Sunday.  Here are a few videos of some top notch New York wrestlers from the event:

(For results, see here.  For a recap/summary, see this link).

Rematch of the 2013 99-pound state final (this time at 113) – Yianni Diakomihalis vs. Vito Arujau

 

National (and state) champion Corey Rasheed (Longwood) vs. Fargo Finalist Jesse Porter (Shenendehowa)

 

Nationally ranked (and state finalist) Christian Dietrich vs. Araad Sarrami of California

 

State champion Adis Radoncic vs. state finalist Steve Schneider (170)

 

Nassau County battle: State champion Kyle Quinn vs. state finalist Vito Arujau (113 third place bout)

 

All-American (NYS Third) Travis Passaro vs. State Placer Mike D’Angelo (Rematch of Section 11 finals)

 

Two State Finalists Wrestle at Journeymen: Brandon Lapi of Amsterdam vs. Frank Garcia of Norwich

 

 

Lapi vs. Garcia, Photo by BV

Permission to post videos granted by Journeymen.

 

Advertisements

Journeyman Classic Breakdown: Thoughts and Observations on Sunday's Competition

The Journeymen Classic attracted participants from more than 20 states with top notch talent across the weights. Given that, it wasn’t surprising to see college coaches all over Niskayuna High School, watching the action throughout the day. With six mats in two different gyms, we didn’t watch everything that took place, but here are some thoughts on the event:

(To see videos from the event, click this link).

Corey Rasheed, Frank Popolizio, Yianni Diakomihalis, Nick Piccininni; Courtesy of Adam Burgos

1. Not surprisingly, the undefeated state champions looked like …. undefeated state champions. The Most Outstanding Wrestler honors were awarded to Yianni Diakomihalis (113), Nick Piccininni (120) and Corey Rasheed (160).  All were impressive in going unbeaten and capturing titles.  Diakomihalis faced a tough field (see #2) but continued his winning ways, while Piccininni was in control throughout, including a 10-2 major in the finals against Florida’s Radley Gillis, an NHSCA National champion. Rasheed said that he didn’t feel 100% in his return from injuries, but you wouldn’t know it, as he topped New England champion Andrew Labrie and Fargo All-Americans Jesse Porter and Christian Stackhouse by a combined score of 21-5.  Fellow unbeaten New York gold medalist Rich Sisti cruised to the 225 title, while Louis Hernandez did the same at 152.  And Christian Dietrich, who joins the previously mentioned Empire State grapplers in the national rankings (at 170), went up to 195 pounds and still was in charge all the way through, with a technical fall, a pin and a 12-3 combined score in his other matches.

2. Any time a returning state champion finishes fourth, you know the weight is tough. That was the case at 113 pounds where Wantagh’s Kyle Quinn was defeated early in the day by East Islip’s Jesse Dellavecchia (fourth in New York at 99 in 2013).  Later on, fellow Nassau County grappler and NYS finalist Vito Arujau topped Quinn for bronze, 3-0.  That came after some other great bouts in the bracket, including a state championship rematch between Diakomihalis and Arujau. It’s too early to say whether all of those wrestlers will be at 113 during the high school season, but it was certainly fun to watch this weekend.

3. Those weren’t the only championship performances for New York. At the NUWAY Nationals on the Jersey Shore this summer, Matteo DeVincenzo won the title in a field that included New York placers such as Kelan McKenna and Theo Powers.  That was once again the case on Sunday, as the Port Jefferson state runner up captured a 106 “A” bracket full of heralded competitors, including McKenna and Powers as well as Super 32 Middle School silver medalist Peter Pappas and All-Stater Vinny Vespa.  In Sunday’s finals, DeVincenzo defeated Section 2’s Josh Logiudice, a state qualifier who will be a tough matchup for anyone in his senior season.  Logiudice picked up quality victories over Powers and Vespa.

And how about Connor Calkins of Alfred-Almond?  At the Times Union Center in February, he bested returning state finalist and top seed Alex Soutiere in the opening round of the state tournament and made the medal stand, grabbing fifth.  It looks like he’s ready to go even higher in 2014, as he won the 285 weight at Journeymen with a 6-3 triumph over national champion Jesse Webb of Vermont.

It would be fair to say it’s been a good week for Travis Passaro.  First, he committed to continue his career at Hofstra.  In Albany, he celebrated by winning a challenging weight which included state champion Alex Delacruz, New York placer Mike D’Angelo and All-Americans from out of state such as Kevin Jack and Zach Valley. He cruised in the title bout, 6-0, over Payton Shuford.

4. Several other wrestlers made statements.  One was Jakob Restrepo, who topped a pair of New York silver medalists – Frank Garcia and Brandon Lapi, as well as Pennsylvania state placer Jalen Palmer on his way to the finals in the 145 “A” bracket.  He lost in sudden victory there to New Jersey’s Gary Dinmore, one of the top 100 seniors in the nation according to Intermat.  Restrepo’s performance comes after a successful offseason in which he earned All-America honors in Cadet Freestyle at Fargo and won the Super 32 qualifier at Shippensburg. Another second placer, Sam Ward of Locust Valley, looked good on Sunday, beating multi-time New Jersey placer Joe Trovato as well as Florida medalist Anthony Petrone on his way to the 140 “A” title bout, where he was topped by NHSCA National champion Clay Walker of South Carolina.  He’ll be a contender in Division 2 this year after taking fifth last season at 132.

5. There were plenty of standout showings outside of the “A” brackets as well.  Hector and Tito Colom, who racked up significant victory totals at Dunkirk High last year, breezed through the competition on Sunday, winning all of their matches by bonus points on the way to crowns in the 106 and 113 “B” brackets, respectively.  Middleweights Jimmy Leach (140), Skylar Kropman (145) and Trevor Hoffmier (152) were all unbeaten. Leach went to the Suffolk County finals a year ago and Kropman placed at the Eastern States in 2013.  Both look ready for a breakthrough year as do returning state qualifiers Anthony DePrez (152) and Collin Pittman (182).  Ryan Kromer (160) has already made an appearance on the medal stand in Albany and looks prepared to do it again after beating fellow All-State wrestler Konstantin Parfiryev and qualifier Connor Lawrence at the Journeymen Classic. Jaison White, who won big over the weekend, also went undefeated at the Pop & Flo event in the spring and looks to be someone to keep an eye on at 170.

Journeymen Classic: NY State Champions Claim Titles at Highly Competitive Event

They don’t call it a FloMajor for nothing.

Photo by BV (Radoncic vs. Schneider)

On Sunday, over 200 wrestlers from all over the country took the mat at Niskayuna High School for the Journeymen Classic. Everywhere you looked there were highly acclaimed wrestlers. There were national champions, state champions and All-Americans from Fargo, FloNationals and NHSCAs.  Of course, included in the mix were a number of New York’s top grapplers and there were many highlights for Empire State competitors.

2013 state titlewinners Yianni Diakomihalis (113), Nick Piccininni (120), Louis Hernandez (152), Corey Rasheed (160) and Rich Sisti (225) all captured first place at the event.  They weren’t the only New Yorkers who earned the top spot on the podium in the “A” brackets on Sunday.  All-State grapplers Matteo DeVincenzo (106), Christian Dietrich (195), Travis Passaro (130) and Connor Calkins (285) also grabbed gold.

The Most Outstanding Wrestler Awards went to Diakomihalis (lightweights), Rasheed (upperweights) and Piccininni (overall).

More, including videos and observations on some standout performances, will come later in the week. (The event was in round robin format).

RESULTS (from tournaflex.com)

“A” Brackets

106 Pounds (A): Matteo DeVincenzo dec Josh Logiudice, 6-5

Third: Peter Pappas pin Vinny Vespa

113 Pounds (A): Yianni Diakomihalis dec Jesse Dellavecchia, 6-2

Third: Vito Arujau dec Kyle Quinn, 3-0

120 Pounds (A): Nick Piccininni maj Radley Gillis, 10-2

Third: Thayer Atkins (TX) dec Troy Gassaway, 8-1

125 Pounds (A): Tommy Stokes dec Troy Gregor, 4-3

Third: Ryan Pomrinca maj Jonathan Ryan, 10-1

130 Pounds (A): Travis Passaro dec Payton Shuford, 6-0

Third: Kevin Jack over Zach Valley, fft

135 Pounds (A): Chase Zemenak dec Kent Lane, 4-1

Third: Sal Profaci dec Chris Mauriello, 8-1

140 Pounds (A): Clay Walker dec Sam Ward, 6-1

Third: Joseph Ghione over Anthony Petrone, 9-2

145 Pounds (A): Gary Dinmore dec Jakob Restrepo, 3-1 SV

Third: Frank Carrozza dec Brandon Lapi, 4-3

152 Pounds (A): Louis Hernandez dec Tommy Dutton, 7-3

Third: Fritz Hoehn dec Jake Spengler, 12-5

160 Pounds (A): Corey Rasheed dec Christian Stackhouse, 7-2

Third: Andrew Labrie vs. Tyler Mann

170 Pounds (A): Luke Farinaro dec Steve Schneider, 3-2

Third: Adis Radoncic dec Nicholas Weldon, 10-5

182 Pounds (A): Joe Balboni dec Brett Perry, 9-4

Third: Austin Price dec Phil Woods, 1-0

195 Pounds (A): Christian Dietrich dec Nicholas Costa, 6-3

Third: Nick Weber dec Joe Chimelski, 2-0

225 Pounds (A): Rich Sisti dec Jeff Velez, 9-2

285 Pounds (A): Connor Calkins dec Jesse Webb, 6-3

Third: Patton Gossett pin Matt Kaminer

Additional Brackets

106 (B): Hector Colom TF Calvin Call

113 (B): Tito Colom maj Noah Malamut, 13-2

120 (B): Noah Gonser dec Marcel Laplante, 2-0

120 (C): Anthony Hernandez dec Nick Barbaria, 5-2

120 (D): Jon Errico maj Evan Barczak, 11-0

125 (B): Peter Robinson dec Jake Gillis, 3-1

125 (C): Cross Cannone over Brian Guerrero

125 (D): Joseph Ferinde dec James Szymanski, 7-3

130 (B): Christopher Muce dec Christian Vallis, 3-1

135 (B): Elijah Cleary dec Mike Raccioppi, 6-4

135 (C) John Amato over Mason Byrne

140 (B) Jimmy Leach pin Anthony Lombardo

145 (B): Skylar Kropman fall John Mazza

145 (C): Eduardo Ramirez over Kevin Jackson, 8-5

152 (B): Trevor Hoffmier dec Alec Donovan, 6-4

152 (C): Anthony DePrez pin Jason Hoffman

160 (B):  Ryan Kromer dec Konstantin Parfiryev, 7-3

160 (C): Dan Woughter over Garon Pelesauma

170 (B): Jaison White pin Christian Murabito

182 (B): Collin Pittman dec Rocco Hladney, 4-3

 

 

Grapple at the Garden Update: Kyle Dake and Bubba Jenkins to Wrestle in Freestyle Main Event and More

 

– Courtesy of Madison Square Garden Sports

New York, NY, September 27, 2013 — Four-time NCAA National Champion, Kyle Dake, will face off against 2011 NCAA National Champion, Bubba Jenkins, in a much-anticipated freestyle wrestling main event on December 1 at the second annual Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com, MSG Sports announced on Friday.

Photo by BV

In a unique senior level showcase match promoted in association with X-Cel Worldwide, Dake, the former Cornell standout who became the first wrestler in NCAA history to win the national championship in four different weight classes, will square off against Jenkins, the former NCAA wrestling national champion and a current mixed martial arts fighter.

Tickets start at $20.00 and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.thegarden.com/grapple.

“It is very exciting to once again compete on one of the greatest stages in the world, in one of the greatest cities in the world,” said Dake.  “Personally, I am also really excited to compete against Bubba Jenkins. As a two-time NCAA national finalist, all wrestling fans know he is a great competitor. This year’s Grapple at the Garden event will be groundbreaking for the sport of wrestling, and promises to inspire thousands of young athletes as they chase their dreams.”

Jenkins added, “I am super excited about taking my wrestling talents to the biggest and baddest city in the world to showcase my skills under the bright lights of the illustrious Madison Square Garden.  It is a tremendous honor to have been chosen to wrestle in the Grapple at the Garden event, and one which I take with immense pride and will never forget. As my fans and friends already know, I am a big match, big move athlete. Come December 1, while wrestling one of the greatest wrestlers our sport has ever seen, Kyle Dake, New York City sports fans will learn that about me as well. I am humbled to compete in this historic freestyle wrestling match in The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

“X-Cel Worldwide is honored to be associated with the promotion of such a great event in the most famous arena in the world,” said Nick Garone President, X-Cel Worldwide.  “Kyle Dake vs. Bubba Jenkins is match-up certain to be filled with fireworks.  The Grapple at the Garden will make history with the first ever Freestyle Wrestling main event in Madison Square Garden.”

Joining Army, Bloomsburg, Boston University, Cornell, Drexel, George Mason, Hofstra, Illinois, Maryland, Penn, Princeton and Rutgers will be four local wrestling programs including Stevens Institute of Technology and NYU in an NCAA Division III matchup, as well as a match between the men’s club teams from Stony Brook University and Westchester Community College.  This will bring the total to an unprecedented 16 teams for the one-day dual-meet event.

In addition to the action-packed collegiate matchups, the second annual Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com, will also feature the finals of the Beat The Streets PSAL Thanksgiving Dual Meet Invitational. All 16 participating high schools including Horace Mann, Monsignor Farrell, Brooklyn Tech, Poly Prep, Benjamin Cardoza, Martin Luther King, Eagle Academy, Fordham Prep, James Madison, New Utrecht, Petrides, Martin Luther, Mt. St. Michael, Wingate, Grand Street, and Curtis will compete in dual meets.

Moreover, the finals of the inaugural Grapple at the Garden middle school championship, produced in association with the Metropolitan Wrestling Association, will take place prior to the high school matches.  For all middle school wrestlers interested in registering to compete, please visit www.wrestlereg.com on or after October 1. Valid tournament registration includes two tickets to all Grapple at the Garden festivities. All competitors must have a current USA Wrestling card.

The full day of wrestling on December 1 will include two dual meet sessions with the first starting at 10:00 a.m. with Maryland vs. Cornell, Rutgers vs. George Mason, Illinois vs. Bloomsburg, Hofstra vs. Army, Boston U. vs. Penn, Drexel vs. Princeton, and Stony Brook vs. West Chester CC.  Session two will begin at 12:00 p.m. and will feature Cornell vs. Illinois, Rutgers vs. Maryland, Princeton vs. Army, Bloomsburg vs. Penn, George Mason vs. Drexel, Hofstra vs. Boston U, and NYU vs. Stevens.

Suplay.com, the world renowned wrestling gear supplier, has once again signed on as presenting partner of the Grapple at the Garden wrestling event.

Collegiate wrestling debuted at Madison Square Garden on December 16, 2012 with the inaugural Grapple at the Garden which featured 14 teams; six No. 1 ranked NCAA wrestlers; five returning National Champions and six of the top 10 teams in the country.  You can now relive the historic event through INSIDE TRIP: GRAPPLE AT THE GARDEN.  This special 30 minute DVD is now on sale via www.XCELONLINESTORE.com for $24.95, which includes an official event program from the live event. INSIDE TRIP is your exclusive all-access, behind-the-scenes pass to this historic first-ever event. See the big names that attended the event, hear from some of the greatest past and present wrestlers of all-time, and watch the greatest sport take place at The World’s Most Famous Arena with INSIDE TRIP: GRAPPLE AT THE GARDEN.

(Press release from MSG Sports)

Gold Mining: Jason Goldman Looking for Titles at the Veteran World Championships in Bosnia

BY ZAKKARIAH ROLFE

At the beginning of October, two-time Binghamton University All-American Jason Goldman will begin his journey in Sarajevo, Bosnia as he chases the title of Veteran World Champion. After winning Freestyle and Greco Roman national titles in each of the last three years, he’ll be looking for double gold, competing in both styles at 58 kg. (Freestyle will be first).

Goldman has seen a lot of overseas success throughout his wrestling career. In 1990, he won a gold medal at the Vierumaki International Cup in Finland and in 1991 he earned a silver medal at the Cadet World Championships. Fast forward to 2009 when Goldman won a gold medal at the Maccabiah Games in Israel. (The Maccabiah games are recognized as the Jewish Olympics held every four years).

A lot of things had to fall into place for “Coach JGold”, as the Section Four community refers to him, to make the upcoming trip. First, he had to win the Freestyle and Greco Roman national titles back in April. He also had to raise the money to travel and he had to train.

Who would have thought that winning the national championships would be the easy part? Goldman dismantled his competition, surrendering only two points and picking up two pins and a technical fall in Freestyle. Meanwhile, in Greco, he picked up two technical superiorities on his way to his second title in two days.

Jason Goldman with Casey Lanave

Raising money might have been the most stressful part for Goldman.  He had three weeks to prepare for a spaghetti dinner, where there was also a bake sale, Chinese auction, 50/50 raffle, great food, and a DJ/band for entertainment. Another major contributor to his fundraising efforts were Goldman’s “TEAM JGOLD” shirts, which were a huge hit.

“I only anticipated getting five dozen made up but after pre-selling them in a week’s time, I had accounted for almost 150 shirts,” Goldman said. “To this day, I have sold over 200 ‘TEAM JGOLD’ shirts, and I still have various sizes available for purchase – cost is $20.”

The last part that needed to fall into place was preparation for the tournament.  Of course, that wasn’t easy with many other commitments.

“Competing as a Veteran, most of us have busy lives that revolve around work and family,” Goldman said. “We all wear many hats; whether we’re husbands, fathers, sons, teachers, coaches.  I’m fortunate that no matter the role, I have a pretty strong supporting cast behind me, especially from my wife of six years. As a result, I’m blessed to say that my training over the last five months has gone very well.”

That preparation has been intense, both physically and mentally.

“From a physical standpoint, my training weeks since April have consisted of two to three days of wrestling practice, two days of lifting, several runs and watching lots of video,” Goldman said. “I run a lot of 5K races on the weekends to stay in shape, challenge myself and keep that competitive edge.  I’m constantly setting small goals for myself, whether it is to run faster, lift heavier, not give up takedowns in practice during live goes, etc. I’m thankful to have had a great training partner throughout the summer, Casey Lanave, student-athlete at Cortland. Throughout my training, I have also continued to coach a handful of dedicated kids, who by making a commitment to the sport have inspired me to work hard to achieve my goals, as I help them work toward their own.”

Achieving his goals also involves running the upcoming tournament through his mind, ready for whatever awaits.

“As for my mental preparation, I’ve spent every day since Nationals visualizing myself winning this competition,” Goldman said. “I’ve seen myself as a World Champion for the last 150 plus days.  I’ve already won.  It’s all about going out and executing my game plan at this point.”

Goldman said he’s excited about what the journey will bring.

Jason Goldman (center) at Veteran Nationals

“Going to the Veteran Worlds will be an overall new experience, different competition and a different country,” he said. “Another thing that makes this trip so special is having my father go out as the Team Leader.  My father has only missed one competition (Finland) in my competitive career that has spanned more than three decades.  It means the world to me, not only to have him make the trip to watch me compete, but to have him in my corner while I do so.”

He’s very clear on what he, with his father at his side, plans to do when he gets to Sarajevo.

“A few weeks ago, I got a tattoo on my right bicep of the words ‘Carpe Diem’, Latin for ‘Seize the Day’ and the letters ‘ETG’ (Embrace the Grind).  This has been my training motto all along, and one that I try to instill in all the wrestlers that I coach. I’ve worked hard, I’m healthy, I believe in my training and I believe in myself.  I’ve never been more ready to throw up the straps, lace up the shoes, flip that ‘beast mode’ switch and empty the tank!  In the words of our 74 kg World Champion Jordan Burroughs, ‘All I See is Gold’, except because I’m representing the USA in both styles in Bosnia, I’m hoping to bring home DOUBLE GOLD!”

———————————-

Jason Goldman wanted to thank Jeff Goldman, Greg Smith, Rob Kennedy, Thorobred WC, Superior WC, Rocky Point WC and the Hancock Youth Program, for their support and their major financial contributions.

Local Star, Bearcat Future: Johnson City's Reggie Williams Commits to Binghamton

Reggie Williams has watched the Binghamton wrestling team closely over the years.  Now, he’s committed to be a part of it.

The Johnson City senior, who lives just a few miles from campus, recently gave his verbal pledge to the Bearcats after also considering schools such as Iowa State, North Carolina State and Oklahoma.

“I decided to go to Binghamton because it’s a great school,” Williams said. “But one of the things that was running in the back of my head was my dad and my family.  I thought it would be a great choice to stay around, making it possible for my parents to see me more. Then you just have a big home crowd that stays and comes to the home matches.”

Photo by BV

Williams, who said he plans to be a 184 pounder in college, didn’t begin wrestling until sixth grade. However, he wasted no time making a name for himself in the sport.  He was a Section 4 runner up as an eighth grader and as a freshman, Williams earned a spot in the New York State semifinals, eventually taking sixth at 189 pounds.

A few months later, the Johnson City senior made an impact at the national level, earning All-American honors in two of the biggest offseason events in the country.  He first took fourth at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach before notching fifth in Cadet Freestyle at Fargo.

The Section 4 standout’s success continued over the years, as he was the state runner up at 195 as a sophomore and nabbed spots on the podium at the NHSCA Nationals twice more – sixth as a 10th grader and second as a junior in 2013.  His impressive run to the finals in Virginia Beach this spring at 195 included a victory over University of Minnesota-bound Nathan Rose, who is ranked #57 among seniors nationwide by Intermat.

Williams is determined to capture a state crown in his last campaign for the Wildcats before making the short journey to start his career in the EIWA.

And when he does begin his college career, he won’t be the only Bearcat in his family.

“On top of everything, I’ll be going to school with my dad because he’s a student at Binghamton as we speak,” Williams said.

The Bearcats brought in a top 25 recruiting class comprised of several top Empire State wrestlers in head coach Matt Dernlan’s first year. With Williams joining Hilton’s Vincent and Anthony DePrez and MacArthur’s Steve Schneider, another strong group is on the way to Binghamton in the fall of 2014.

Power Path to a Championship: New York's Top Sophomore Christian Dietrich Seeks State Gold

We have been discussing some of the top wrestlers in New York over the past few weeks.  We started with our #1 Junior High School grappler in the state, Penfield eighth grader Frankie Gissendanner (see link),then profiled top freshman Yianni Diakomihalisand discussed other ninth graders to watch.  The following takes a look at wrestler at the head of the sophomore class – Christian Dietrich of Greene.

——————————————————————

Wrestling older guys is something Christian Dietrich has done for a long time.  Several years ago, he said he faced the reigning varsity Section 4 runner up at an offseason tournament and won the match.

At the time, he said he was only in fourth grade.

An impressive feat, without a doubt.  But even as a fourth grader, Dietrich was an accomplished wrestler, traveling all over the country to challenge himself.

“We’d do 30 tournaments a year and go to all the big ones,” said Charles Dietrich, Christian’s father. “Tulsa Nationals, Ohio Tournament of Champions, all over.”

Photo by BV

He beat numerous touted opponents, but what set him apart was his willingness to take on anyone and seek out the best competition.

“Christian has never been afraid to lose,” Charles Dietrich said.

That was immediately obvious when he joined the varsity squad at Greene High as a seventh grader.  As the Clyde Cole tournament approached, Dietrich told coach Tim Jenks that he wanted to wrestle Wyoming Seminary’s Eric Morris, a nationally-ranked grappler who is now a freshman at Harvard.

“He lost some weight to make sure he could wrestle Morris,” Jenks said in an interview last year. “He heard about him, knew he was highly ranked nationally and decided he had to wrestle him. That shows you the kind of kid Christian is.  That’s the type of kid you want to coach – the kind that wants the challenge.”

“It was the first high school tournament of my career,” Dietrich said. “I thought it was a chance to see where I was at and what I could do to get better.”

He did lose the bout to Morris, but even at a young age, he came out on top against most high school foes.  In fact, he dominated his way to his first Section 4 title and set out to make waves at the state tournament.

It’s worth noting that in the past six years, only five seventh graders have made the podium at the state championships.  None of the other four (Aaron Paddock in 2011, Tristan Rifanburg in 2010, Corey Rasheed in 2009 or Tim Schaefer in 2008) were above 103 pounds.

None of that mattered to Dietrich, a 152-pounder.

In his first state tournament match, he notched a 17-2 technical fall.  In his next bout, he lost to eventual runner up Brian Walsh before capturing a pair of decisions in the wrestlebacks against seniors to ensure All-State status.  He concluded his seventh grade campaign with a sixth place medal at 152.

“Being at the state tournament was different,” he said. “But I felt like I didn’t have anything to lose, so I just gave it my all.  I think going to the bigger tournaments all my life helped me when I was wrestling kids so much older than me. I was proud of myself afterwards.  But then I got hurt.”

Dietrich suffered a knee injury in the fall and was unable to take the mat at all as an eighth grader for the Trojans.

“It was 10 months of rehab; a really long time,” he said. “I actually had four different operations. It was one thing after another.”

During that time he of course didn’t stay idle.

“I mostly just lifted,” he said. “I did a lot of upper body and followed my team.”

Strength training is another thing Dietrich has been doing for quite some time.  In fact, there’s a youtube video of Dietrich flipping tires with former Johnson City (and current Wyoming Seminary) wrestler Greg Kleinsmith when both were in elementary school.

“I’ve been strength training since I was about 10,” Dietrich said. “I train at IronWorks gym with Dickie White. We do all kinds of things.  I’ve been doing it three times a week for a long time. My last cycle of lifting, I deadlifted 575 pounds for 3 reps, squatted 395 for 3 and benched 285 for 3.”

While he continued to build his strength, he couldn’t wait to get back on the mat as a freshman, looking to pick up where he left off.

“I was anxious to wrestle again,” Dietrich said. “I felt good and ready to go.”

He appeared ready to go from the start, capturing 19 of his first 20 bouts, with just two regular decisions.  (His one loss was to two-time state champion Zack Zupan up at 182).

In mid January, Dietrich entered the prestigious Eastern States Classic as the number four seed.  He quickly dispatched his first three opponents by fall before earning a 13-4 major over Adis Radoncic and a 3-2 decision over Troy Seymour, the top seed in the bracket.  While he dropped the championship contest against Wantagh’s Danny McDevitt, Dietrich showed that he was in the mix for a New York title at 170 pounds.

“Eastern States showed me that I was at the right weight,” Dietrich said. “It showed me how I could do at states since I beat some of the top guys.”

After cruising through the Section 4 tournament, he entered the Times Union Center with a 36-2 mark and the #1 spot in the bracket in Albany.

Dietrich made his way through his first three matches before meeting up with Radoncic for the second time of the season. This time, in the state finals, the outcome was different as Radoncic collected the PSAL’s first-ever NYS crown with a 4-3 decision.

“I was happy to go there as the first seed,” Dietrich said. “It was a little pressure, though, because everyone was out to beat me.  I wasn’t proud of my performance in the finals at all.  I thought I was horrible that day.  I beat him by eight or nine points earlier in the year and I just didn’t wrestle the way I wanted to.”

The state silver medalist didn’t stay frustrated for long, however, as he began to prepare for the next big event.

“I started getting ready for FloNationals,” he said. “I kept wrestling and competing as much as I did during the season.  I thought it was a big opportunity for me because Flo is for all age groups and I wanted to face really tough competition.”

He did.  In fact, in the first three rounds he beat state placers from Pennsylvania and Virginia before topping Michigan gold medalist Teddy Warren. He then faced California state champion [and current North Carolina State freshman] Peter Santos and took control from the opening whistle.

“I felt like I dominated that whole match,” Dietrich said. “I was up by four points in the third when he injury defaulted.”

After losing in the semis, Dietrich rebounded to edge Travis Linton, a current top 100 senior from Ohio, before forfeiting the bronze medal bout due to an injury.

That fourth place showing at FloNationals, in a bracket full of junior and seniors, showed that Dietrich belonged with the nation’s elite.

And people noticed.  Dietrich jumped in the national rankings, currently sitting 11th in the country at 170 pounds and in the top 15 in the Class of 2016 according to both Intermat and Flowrestling.

“I don’t really think about [the rankings],” Dietrich said.  “I don’t want it to get to me.  I’m proud of it, but I know I can always do better.”

He is reminded of that as he tests himself with college level wrestlers on a frequent basis.  He has been a participant at the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club (FLWC) on Cornell’s campus since it began in 2005 and spends plenty of time in Ithaca.

“I’ve been going to FLWC for years,” he said. “I’ve wrestled with the great coaches there for a long time.  Last year, I wrestled a lot with [now Big Red freshmen] Gabe Dean and Taylor Simaz.  There are awesome wrestlers there and to see the higher levels and what I should be doing is awesome.”

Dietrich also finds time to spend on some of his other interests like hunting, fishing and riding four wheelers.  But wrestling is never too far from his mind.

“He’s been working a lot on wrestling smarter and on his technique,” Charles Dietrich said.  “He’s going back to basics and working on his short offense.  What happened in the state finals – he wants to make sure it won’t happen again.”

Dietrich said he may wrestle at 170 pounds again or he may go up to 182.  In either case, he’s ready to not only get back to the title bout at the Times Union Center, but to get his hand raised at the end.

“We weren’t even sure what would happen his ninth grade year after being out for so long,” Charles Dietrich said. “This year, he’s as a strong as an ox and he’s feeling good.  We’re hoping for another great year.”