Top notch wrestling in the Empire State kicked off on Friday with the 2013 NYAC Holiday Invitational. But that high level Freestyle and Greco event is just the start of great action in many parts of New York this weekend.
As the college season continues to ramp up, Binghamton welcomes nearly 400 wrestlers, including close to the full rosters from two of the nation’s best squads – Penn State and Cornell – for Sunday’s Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open. Meanwhile, Empire State teams such as Army and Buffalo will compete at Brockport, along with #5 Oklahoma and others. In addition, Ithaca College will host the always tough Ithaca Invitational.
Let’s take a look at the Binghamton Open in more detail.
The Frontrunners: Nahshon Garrett made his Cornell debut last season at this event and made a splash right off the bat, winning the title. This year, Garrett, currently ranked third in the country, could face #2 Nico Megaludis of Penn State. Those wrestlers met at the Southern Scuffle last season, with Megaludis picking up a 3-1 decision.
Who else will look to challenge? Bricker Dixon of the Big Red was fourth at this tournament last year, while the Binghamton duo of David White and Mike Sardo will look for some big wins at home.
New York Note: Welcome to college wrestling! A number of recent New York high school stars are scheduled to compete as freshmen this weekend, including state champions Kyle Kelly (Chenango Forks, Binghamton) and Trey Aslanian (Edgemont, Princeton) as well finalist Cheick Ndiaye (Brooklyn International, Finger Lakes Wrestling Club). In addition, Jacob Green (Chenango Forks, Cortland), Lewis Yablans (Jericho, Boston), Mike Parise (Brewster, Maryland) and Mat Bradice (William Floyd, Cortland) are some of the other recent Empire State graduates in the field. (Sean McCabe of Rutgers, a redshirt freshman from Connetquot and Nassau Community College transfer John Pellegrino of West Virginia will also take the mat in this class).
The Frontrunners: In 2012, the Bearcat Open featured a number of young, talented wrestlers at 133. Lehigh’s Mason Beckman came out on top, defeating Mark Grey for the title. (Grey, now a freshman at Cornell ranked #8 nationally, rebounded to beat Beckman in their other two meetings last year). Nabbing third in 2012 was Penn State’s Jimmy Gulibon, while 2013 EIWA champion Randy Cruz was sixth.
Grey and Gulibon could be headed for another battle after two overtime matches last season (won by the Nittany Lion). They will be joined by several other contenders, such as Maryland’s Geoff Alexander (ranked 16th nationally) and NCAA qualifiers Dane Harlowe of Boston, Jordan Conaway of Penn State and Nathan Pennesi of West Virginia. In addition, two of last year’s Bearcat Open placers at 125, Harvard’s Jeff Ott and Lock Haven’s Bobby Rehm, will compete in this class.
New York Note: Like at 125, a number of accomplished members of the New York high school class of 2013 are scheduled to take the mat, including state champions Nick Tighe (Phoenix, Binghamton), TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River, Sacred Heart) and Dylan Realbuto (Somers, Finger Lakes Wrestling Club) as well as NYS placer Robert Person (Bellmore-JFK, Binghamton).
The Frontrunners: The field includes two-time All-American Mike Nevinger as well as last year’s Bearcat Open third place finisher Dan Neff of Lock Haven. They are at #6 and #16 nationally, respectively. This weight also offers some highly regarded young talent such as Penn State’s Zain Retherford and Rutgers true freshmen Anthony Ashnault, Tyson Dippery and Corey Stasenko. Their Scarlet Knight teammate Ken Theobold was sixth in Binghamton a year ago and is registered at this weight. In addition, Princeton NCAA qualifier Adam Krop makes his return after missing last season. West Virginia’s Colin Johnston is someone to keep an eye on, as is Division III All-American Brian Bistis of Cortland.
New York Note: The battle for the 141-pound starting job for Binghamton could continue with Dylan Caruana, Dylan Cohen and Brian Conrad all in the field. In addition, former Lansing High teammates Connor Lapresi (Bucknell) and Corey Dake (Cornell) will see college action close to home, while NYC wrestler CJ Rodriguez takes the mat for the FLWC.
The Frontrunners: Joe Bonaldi of Binghamton made waves at this event in 2012 when he captured the 141 pound class, beginning with an upset of Nevinger in round one. After missing most of last season, he’s back and looking to make an impact at 149. Who will be the contenders at this weight, along with Bonaldi? Cornell’s Chris Villalonga, Penn State’s James English, Harvard’s Todd Preston and last year’s Bearcat Open runner up Mac Maldarelli of Lock Haven are some possibilities. Also, watch out for Cortland’s Bobby Dierna, the bronze medalist at the Division III championships in 2012.
New York Note: Former Section II wrestler Brendan Goldup will make his first college appearance for Sacred Heart.
The Frontrunners: Last year, Brian Realbuto captured the Bearcat Open title in a class that included 2013 All-Star Classic participant Nestor Taffur of Boston, two-time All-American Walter Peppelman of Harvard and Penn State’s James Vollrath, among others. Now a Cornell freshman, Realbuto will look for a repeat performance. Looking to stand in his way could be wrestlers such as Taffur and Vollrath as well Anthony Perrotti of Rutgers.
New York Note: Another set of 2013 New York State champions will see their first college action in Binghamton. Half Hollow Hills West’s Tyler Grimaldi will take the mat for Harvard, while Unatego’s Kevin Thayer will do the same for Alfred State. Also competing is freshman Brendan Dent (Cortland), who was All-State last season for Connetquot.
The Frontrunners: The heavy favorite will be Penn State’s David Taylor. Who might the three-time NCAA finalist face? Boston’s Mitch Wightman was a placer at this event last year, as was Cornell’s Marshall Peppelman (at 174). Nick Visicaro of Rutgers, Jake Kemerer of Lock Haven, Dylan Palacio and Craig Eifert of Cornell, Vincent Grella of Binghamton and Harvard’s Devon Gobbo are some others to watch.
New York Note: After winning FILA Juniors in the spring, the previously mentioned Palacio will take the mat for the Big Red for the first time. Meanwhile, multi-time NYS placer and Peru graduate Troy Seymour is scheduled to wrestle, representing Wyoming Seminary.
The Frontrunners: Like at 165, an NCAA finalist headlines the weight. In this case, it’s Penn State’s Matt Brown. A year ago, Cornell’s Duke Pickett placed at the Bearcat Open. He’s in competition for the Big Red starting role with Owen Scott and Jesse Shanaman, who are registered to compete as are Binghamton’s John Paris and Jack McKeever, EIWA placer Ryan Callahan of Princeton, Division III All-American Lou Puca of Cortland and highly regarded rookie Eric Morris of Harvard.
New York Note: Two-time state champion Zack Zupan of Canastota will see his initial college competition in his redshirt year.
The Frontrunners: Nittany Lion Ed Ruth is coming off a totally dominant campaign and a second straight NCAA championship. He didn’t wrestle at the All-Star Classic last weekend, but is signed up for Sunday. Gabe Dean returns as a Big Red freshman after taking fourth at this tournament for the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club in 2012. Caleb Wallace of the Bearcats, Lock Haven’s Fred Garcia and Dan Seidenberg of Rutgers will be in the mix.
New York Note: There are a number of New York wrestlers competing in their home state in their first year of college wrestling. They include Cortland teammates Jagger Rebozo (Half Hollow Hills West) and 2012 state champ Nick Bellanza (John Glenn) as well as Tom Filipkowski (Mattituck, Sacred Heart). McZiggy Richards is also taking the mat for the FLWC.
Morgan McIntosh of Penn State (third) and Jace Bennett of Cornell (sixth) return after placing at least season’s Bearcat Open. Both are ranked nationally. Look for two-time NCAA qualifier Cody Reed of Binghamton to also contend.
New York Note: Division III All-American Joe Giaramita is one to watch, as is the debut of Cornell’s Steve Congenie, a highly regarded freshman who missed last season with injuries.
A trio of nationally-ranked wrestlers are set to compete on Sunday – Billy Smith of Rutgers, Jimmy Lawson of Penn State and Kevin Innis of Boston.
Several other notables to track include NCAA qualifiers Riley Shaw of Cleveland State, Jacob Kettler of George Mason and Stryker Lane of Cornell as well as Binghamton’s Tyler Deuel, Cornell’s Craig Scott and Jacob Aiken-Phillips, Harvard’s David Ng and Nick Gajdzik and West Virginia’s AJ Vizcarrondo.
New York Note: Long Island natives Dan Hayden (East Islip) and Nick Lupi (Huntington) will take the mat for Sacred Heart in their first college action. In addition, Cornell’s Craig Scott earned second at this event last year – at 184. He has put on significant weight and will make his heavyweight debut.
A few hours away from Binghamton, the Brockport/Oklahoma Invitational will take place on Saturday. Last year, the event included the host school plus American, Army, Buffalo, Maryland and Oklahoma. With the exception of the Terrapins, those teams are expected back and Bloomsburg will be joining the field. Returning champions from the 2012 version of the event are:
Cody Brewer, Oklahoma (133)
Kendric Maple, Oklahoma (141, now at 149)
Nick Lester, Oklahoma (149, now at 141)
Blake Herrin, American (285)
Army is off to a 2-0 start after dual victories over Franklin & Marshall and Stevens Tech. This tournament will be the first action for Buffalo under new head coach John Stutzman.
Check back for updates and results from these events. Results from the NYAC Holiday Invitational and other events will also be posted.