The scene at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on Saturday was no doubt an interesting one. At the 23rd American International Karate Championships hosted by Kyokushin Karate Fitness USA, there were teams from several continents participating in various competitions, including those involving swords and boards. (The events included kata, weapons kata, knockdown fighting, grappling, clicker fighting and creative breaking).
And in the middle of it all, was a wrestling mat with some of New York’s top grapplers competing for regional bragging rights.
At the 1st Annual NYWAY Challenge Duals, wrestlers from Sections 5 and 6 took the mat. After an overtime bout and a number of close matches, it was Section 5 (NYWAY Western Region) that came out on top 37-13 in a contest that included more than 10 state qualifiers.
“It was absolutely incredible,” said Adam Burgos of the G2 World Wrestling Academy, who was an event organizer. “It was a really diverse environment and great to be a part of it. The wrestling was really intense and it was just exciting overall.”
Spencerport state qualifier Collin Pittman got the meet off to a good start for Section 5 (NYWAY Western Region) with a tight victory over Section 6 champion Jake Weber at 184 pounds. But Pittman’s job wasn’t done. He took the mat again in the final bout of the dual at 197, picking up his second victory of the day, this time by major decision.
“It started with a bang with two guys who were at the state tournament last year,” Burgos said of the Pittman-Weber bout. “It was an intense match – 0-0 going into the second. Pittman wound up taking it 6-4.”
After Mitch Sever of Section 6 (NYWAY Far West Region) evened things up on the scoreboard with a victory over Hilton’s Sammy DePrez at 101, Section 5 went on a run with four wins in five matches, including three bonus point triumphs.
Penfield’s Parker Kropman picked up a close win over Hector Colom at 108 before state champion Yianni Diakomihalis notched a technical fall at 115, Tommy Lancie topped state qualifier Garrett Baugher by major at 128 and, in a battle of state qualifiers, Lou DePrez pinned Andrew Shomers at 134.
Following that last bout, Freddy Eckles took back some momentum with a big win of his own over Frankie Gissendanner at 140. However, Section 5 closed out the dual with victories in four of the last five, including wins by Skylar Kropman (147), Anthony DePrez (154), Joe Lupisella (162, against state qualifier Ryan Kromer) and the previously mentioned Pittman.
Also coming out on top for Section 6 (NYWAY Far West Region) were Sectional champion Ryan Burns, who captured a hard-fought overtime decision over Jake Morley at 122, and Nate Schwab, who edged Josh Goodman at 172.
(Full results are posted at the end of the article).
It was the first time wrestling made an appearance at the longstanding karate event, but it sounds like it won’t be the last.
“The tournament director [Shihan Michael Monaco] was ecstatic about how the wrestling went,” Burgos said. “He definitely wants to expand on it next year. There was definitely enough space to put in more mats. With an international presence in the karate tournament, we may even consider doing an international freestyle event. This was a great start. Two hours of intense wrestling with a lot of high quality kids. It’s great to have this kind of wrestling in September.”
RESULTS (courtesy of Adam Burgos)
184: Collin Pittman (Western) over Jake Weber (Far West), 6-4
101: Mitch Sever (Far West) over Sammy DePrez (Western), 7-4
108: Parker Kropman (Western) over Hector Colom (Far West), 4-1
115: Yianni Diakomihalis (Western) over Tito Colom (Far West), 16-3
122: Ryan Burns (Far West) over Jake Morley (Western), 9-7 (OT)
128: Tommy Lancie (Western) over Garrett Baugher (Far West), 8-0
134: Lou DePrez (Western) over Andrew Shomers (Far West), Pin 3:10
140: Freddy Eckles (Far West) over Frankie Gissendanner (Western), 17-8
147: Skylar Kropman (Western) over Nate Martin (Far West), 9-3
154: Anthony DePrez (Western) over DJ Marshall (Far West), TF
162: Joe Lupisella (Western) over Ryan Kromer (Far West), 8-3
172: Nate Schwab (Far West) over Josh Goodman (Western), 4-3
197: Collin Pittman (Western) over Tyler Hall (Far West), 14-6
Western: Adam Burgos
Far West: Dave Hockenberry