USA and Russia Split a Pair of Dual Meets in New York; Plus Cornell Wrestle-Offs, Hofstra in Oklahoma and More

World class international wrestling came to the Empire State this weekend, as Team Russia visited New York for a pair of duals against the USA.  On Saturday in Clifton Park, the visiting team captured a 4-3 victory, but the Americans returned the favor on Sunday in Ithaca by winning four of the seven bouts.

In the latter dual, three former Cornell stars represented the Red, White and Blue in front of the home crowd – Frank Perrelli, Kyle Dake and Cam Simaz.

Perrelli took the mat at 55 kg in the opening contest of the meet against Omak Syuryun.  Both wrestlers placed a week ago at the NYAC Holiday International (Syuryun second, Perrelli fourth).  It was the Russian that took charge early with a takedown shortly after the opening whistle.  He continued to add to his lead and finished with a 7-0 win.

It was a similar story at 60 kg, where Aleksandr Bogomoev got on the board first and controlled the remainder of the bout, defeating Jimmy Kennedy by technical fall to give the Russians a 2-0 dual lead.

However, in a back-and-forth affair, Kellen Russell shifted momentum at 66 kg.  The former Michigan NCAA champion fell behind 3-0 early, but fought back to take a 4-3 advantage at the end of the opening period.  The wrestlers exchanged leads for much of the second, with the score tied at 11 late in the period.  Russell then picked up two points for exposure and recorded the fall with just seconds remaining to get the USA on the board.

Photo by BV

It was then time for the second Big Red grappler – Dake – to take center stage.  He registered a pair of pushouts in the opening stanza to take a 2-0 lead after one. The only scoring in the second period was a pushout by the Russian with less than 30 ticks to go, giving Dake a 2-1 victory and knotting the dual at two matches apiece.

Clayton Foster kept things moving forward for the USA in a strong performance at 84 kg.  The former Oklahoma State upperweight attacked throughout the bout and for his efforts came away with a 9-1 triumph over Vladislav Gabaraev to make the team score 3-1 in favor of the Americans.

Next up was another Cornell graduate – Cam Simaz.  At last weekend’s NYAC Holiday International, Simaz met Georgii Gogaev.   The Russian took a 7-1 lead in that match before Simaz rebounded to win 14-7.  On Sunday, the two had a similar beginning, as Gogaev jumped out to an early 6-0 lead.  This time, there wasn’t a comeback, as the Russian notched a 9-0 win.

With each team having captured three matches, it all came down to the heavyweights —  Zach Rey of the USA and Aleksandr Kusraev of Russia. A passivity point and a pushout fueled Rey to the 2-0 victory and clinched the dual for the United States.

Prior to the main event, there were a trio of freestyle exhibition matches featuring New York wrestlers.

In the first, General Brown’s multi-time state placer Ryan Snow topped Ithaca’s Julian Korfine by a 9-2 score.  Next up was Lansing’s two-time NYS champion William Koll, who cruised to an 8-0 technical fall over Carl Rouse of Chenango Forks.

The third bout was a rematch of the 2013 Division I NYS finals at 99 pounds – Yianni Diakomhalis of Hilton and Vito Arujau of Syosset.  The two have met this offseason, with Diakomihalis, the #1 wrestler in the nation at 106 pounds, coming out on top.  However, on Sunday, Arujau earned a seven-point victory in an action-packed bout between two of the best freshmen in the country.

There were also bonus matches including Empire State standouts on Saturday at Shenendehowa High School before the first USA vs. Russia dual meet (aka, the Resurrection).

Porter, Photo by Justin Cummings/Spotlight News Sports Photographer

Women’s world team members Alexis Porter and Jenna Burkert were both totally dominant against Canadian opponents.  Porter, a high school senior, earned a 7-0 technical fall at 65 kg on familiar turf in her own high school gym over Keagin Collie.  After the first period, Porter led 6-0 and it didn’t take her long into the second stanza to end the match.

Burkert’s appearance on the mat was brief against last weekend’s second place finisher at the NYAC Holiday International, Michelle Fazzari, at 59 kg.  [Burkert was third at that event at 63 kg].  Burkert took control from the opening whistle and recorded a first period fall.

Then, it was time for the men’s competition.  Russia got off to a good start, capturing the 55 and 60 kg matches as Omak Syuryun topped Sam Hazewinkel 8-4 and Aleksandr Bogomoev picked up an 8-0 technical fall over Nick Simmons.

However, 16-year old phenom Aaron Pico of California turned the tide when he registered an 8-0 win over Alibeggediz Emeev, a wrestler who was the 66 kg runner up at the NYAC Holiday International last weekend.  In his senior level debut, Pico began with a pushout for a 1-0 lead about a minute into the match. That’s how the initial stanza ended, however, it wasn’t close for much longer as Pico notched a takedown shortly into the second period, added a pushout and then tacked on two more takedowns to clinch the victory.

Fay, Photo by Justin Cummings/Spotlight News Sports Photographer

Moza Fay then kept the momentum going for the USA, pinning Boris Makoev at 74 kg. But the visiting squad responded. At 84 kg, Keith Gavin controlled most of the contest against Vladislav Gabaraev and held a 4-2 lead late into the match.  It was the Russian, however, who owned the final minute, tying the score with 46 seconds to go and tacking on two more takedowns in the final 30 seconds to win 8-4.  Georgii Gogaev then made quick work of Dustin Kilgore at 96 kg with a 10-2 technical fall before Tyrell Fortune ended the dual on a positive note for the USA with a 2-0 win over Aleksandr Kusraev at heavyweight.

 

Also in Ithaca . . . the Cornell Wrestle-Offs

While Sunday allowed some of Cornell’s recent greats to take the mat on campus one more time, Saturday showcased some of the Big Red’s future stars in the Red/White Eliminations (wrestle-offs). The first five bouts of the afternoon resulted in major decisions, beginning with All-American Nahshon Garrett, who started the day off with a 17-6 victory over Bricker Dixon at 125 pounds.  Like Garrett, Mark Grey won a title last weekend at the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open.  Grey continued his strong start to the season, piling up points during a 15-4 win over Logan David at 133.

With Mike Nevinger recovering from an injury, freshman Corey Dake took the spotlight at 141, notching a 9-1 triumph over Josh Kennedy.  Fellow rookies Alex Cisneros and Brian Realbuto then came out on top decisively at 149 and 157.  Cisneros defeated Conner David 10-0 while Realbuto bested Taylor Simaz 11-1.

Palacio, Photo by BV

At 165, fans saw the first close bout of the day.  It didn’t look like it would be tight initially, as freshman Dylan Palacio took control early against Bearcat Open runner up Craig Eifert.  Palacio led 6-1 in the second period after a pair of takedowns and a reversal.  But Eifert stormed back, knotting the score in the third to force overtime.  In the extra session, Palacio struck with a takedown to capture the 9-7 victory.

After grabbing third at the Bearcat Open, Jesse Shanaman followed up with a 10-1 major over Jake George at 174 while freshman Gabe Dean, who entered the national polls this week after beating two ranked foes in Binghamton, topped Billy George 7-2 with a late takedown and near fall at 184.  197 pounders Jace Bennett and Steve Congenie then endured a back-and-forth battle. Congenie had two takedowns but Bennett reversed him both times.  The difference was a pair of back points, as Bennett collected the 6-4 win.

Finishing off the wrestle-offs at heavyweight were Stryker Lane and Jacob Aiken-Phillips.  After a scoreless first period, Lane scored five straight points on an escape, takedown and reversal to win 5-0.

Cornell returns to action next weekend at home with a dual against Binghamton and the New York State Intercollegiates.

Hofstra in the Sooner State . . .

Vaith

The Pride wrestlers have certainly taken on a number of challenges early in the season, facing multiple ranked teams last weekend. Hofstra squared off with another tough opponent on Sunday, dropping a 36-6 dual on the road against Oklahoma.

The home team went ahead early with a decision by returning NCAA champion Kendric Maple over Cody Ruggirello at 149 and a major by Justin DeAngelis against Nick Terdick at 157.  The Pride got on the board with a 1-0 win by Joe Booth at 165 over Clark Glass, but the Sooners then went on tear, capturing six consecutive matches.  In a meeting of ranked wrestlers, Luke Vaith ended the dual on a positive note for the Pride with a 6-3 win over 2012 All-American Nick Lester at 141.

And Results from a Few Additional Tournaments . . .

Several New York wrestlers made the top four at the East Stroudsburg Open on Sunday.  Binghamton’s Jack McKeever nabbed the title at 174 pounds with six victories.  His Bearcat teammate Nick Tighe, a three-time New York state champion, earned third at 133 in his second-ever college tournament.  In the bronze bout, he topped Hofstra’s Kyle Krasavage.  (A few other Empire State natives placed, including Brown’s Billy Watterson (champion at 125) and Anthony Finocchiaro (second at 133).  Two other New York high school wrestlers made the finals – Harrison Cook of Penn and Patrick Hogan, wrestling unattached.  Sean Badura of USMAPS was fourth at 125.

Brockport traveled to the Wolverine State for the Eastern Michigan Open on Saturday.  Making the podium for the squad was 197 pounder Paul Glover, who finished first.  He began with three decisions, before coming out on top in the championship round against Kenneth Hayden of Michigan.

At the Roger Williams Invitational, Cortland took third place, driven by champion Lance Moore (285), second placers Brian Bistis (141) and Joey Giaramita (197) and bronze medalists Jacob Green (125), Brendan Dent (157) and Lou Puca (174).

 

In non-college action, three wrestlers from New York took top four medals at the Suplay Kickoff Classic in Tulsa.  For a recap of that event, see here.

Here are the results from the USA vs. Russia Duals:

USA VS RUSSIA RESULTS at Ithaca (Sunday) USA 4, RUSSIA 3

55 kg/121 lbs. – Omak Syuryun (Russia) tech fall Frank Perrelli (USA) 7-0
60 kg/132 lbs. – Aleksandr Bogomoev (Russia) tech fall Jimmy Kennedy (USA) 8-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Kellen Russell (USA) fall Alibeggediz Emeev (Russia)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Kyle Dake (USA) dec Boris Makoev (Russia) 2-1
84 kg/185 lbs. – Clayton Foster (USA) tech fall Vladislav Gabaraev (Russia)  9-1
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Georgii Gogaev (Russia) tech fall Cam Simaz (USA) 9-0
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Zach Rey (USA) dec Aleksandr Kusraev (Russia) 2-0

HIGH SCHOOL EXHIBITIONS (FREESTYLE)

Ryan Snow (General Brown) over Julian Korfine (Ithaca)

William Koll (Lansing) over Carl Rouse (Chenango Forks)

Vito Arujau (Syosset) over Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton)

 

THE RESURRECTION – USA VS RUSSIA RESULTS (Saturday) at Clifton Park, RUSSIA 4, USA 3

55 kg/121 lbs. – Omak Syuryun (Russia) dec Sam Hazewinkel (USA) 8-4
60 kg/132 lbs. – Aleksandr Bogomoev (Russia) tech fall Nick Simmons (USA) 8-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Aaron Pico (USA) tech fall Alibeggediz Emeev (Russia) 8-0
74 kg/163 lbs. – Moza Fay (USA) fall Boris Makoev (Russia) 1:34
84 kg/185 lbs. – Vladislav Gabaraev (Russia) dec Keith Gavin (USA) 8-4
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Georgii Gogaev (Russia) tech fall Dustin Kilgore (USA) 10-2
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Tyrell Fortune (USA) dec Aleksandr Kusraev (Russia) 2-0

WOMEN’S EXHIBITION

59 kg/130 lbs. – Jenna Burkert (USA) fall Michelle Fazzari (Canada) 1:27
65 kg/143 lbs. – Alexis Porter (USA) tech fall Keagin Collie (Canada) 7-0

 

E-mail newyorkwrestlingnews@gmail.com with further results.

 

City Highlights: After a Banner Year, Who Will Stand Out for the PSAL in 2013-14? (Season Preview)

BY MATT DIANO

In addition to crowning the first ever NYS Champion from the PSAL when Adis Radoncic rallied from the #6 seed to win the 170-pound small school title, the boys from the five boroughs would enjoy a banner year in Division I, scoring an all-time high of 61 team points (up from 10 in 2011).  Those points came from the efforts of five All-State individuals, including 126-pound finalist Keanu Thompson (Grand Street Campus).  In DII, Radoncic would be joined on the podium by Brooklyn International’s Cheick Ndiaye (currently competing for the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club), who took 4th at 113 pounds.  With this collective effort, the seven young men (two more than in 2012) who wrestled their way into the top-6 of their respective divisions and weight classes would establish a new standard for the section that has long been hailed as the “Empire State’s richest untapped resource.”

Whether 2013-2014 will continue this trend of growth and progression remains a mystery as the PSAL truly is a section in transition this season.  Gone are the majority of the seasoned veterans who sat at the forefront of last year’s breakout campaign.  Four of the seven placewinners graduated and during the offseason, Radoncic made the decision to transfer to Poly Prep.

On the bright side, while only two All-State wrestlers return, an abundance of others will enter the season with experience at the Times Union Center.  As previous appearances helped provide the maturity the 2013 squad needed to flourish (six of the seven made at least their second trip to Albany last season), the 2014 group will need the returning qualifiers to build off and learn from having one NYS tournament under their proverbial belts. Also imperative will be to get large contributions from those wrestlers who just missed making the trip last season, and have been working toward realizing their own golden moments.

Division I: The Proven Commodities

Malik Grant (Curtis)—A first time City Champion as a sophomore in 2013 at the smallest weight class, Grant compiled an impressive 33-6 record, recording 30 pins.  He cruised to last year’s DI title, winning all of his matches by no fewer than five points, including a pair of falls.  In his debut in the state capital, he would take some lumps, going 0-2 with a 9-3 loss to Section VI’s Donny McCoy before being eliminated by eventual 5th place finisher, Vinny Vespa (Section IX). Grant was also the highest placewinner among DI competitors at the 2013 Mayor’s Cup, finishing 4th.  If the City is to have any chance of matching last season, Grant will need to break into the win column on the big stage.  Early speculation suggests that Grant will be attempting to make 99 pounds for the third straight season (finished 3rd in the PSAL as a freshman in 2012).  If he succeeds, it is hard to envision anyone knocking the returning champ off his throne.

Adam Gomez (Cardozo)—A major catalyst in helping his school rise from 21st in 2012 to 3rd last season in the team standings, Gomez became the first wrestler in the four-year history of the program to win an individual title when he scored bonus points (a fall, two major decisions, and a technical fall) in all four of his matches to claim the 106-pound hardware.  At the state tournament, the now-junior would show that he is going to be one to watch when he narrowly missed the medal stand, falling a single victory short when he was pinned in the blood round by the wrestler who later went on to take bronze, Section V’s Jon Haas. Gomez, who certainly did not show any signs of a sophomore jinx last year, is expected to be back at the same weight class this season and will be hungry to surpass what was an incredible 2013 season that witnessed him go 31-4.

Saidyokub Kahramonov (New Utrecht)—A senior leader, the stud from Brooklyn will look to make his third consecutive trip to Albany.  A city finalist in each of the past two seasons, Kahramonov would be unstoppable last season, punching his ticket to Albany by crushing his opponents with three pins and a technical fall to claim his first individual gold.  However, as nice as it must have been to be among the Kings of the City, this young man would just be getting started, going 3-3 (loses to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th place finishers) under the roof of the Times Union Center to earn a 6th place finish.  In doing so, he became the first wrestler in the history of the New Utrecht program to bring home an All-State medal.  And, with last season’s 132 pound bracket being senior heavy, the potential will be there for Kahramonov to make his swan song a memorable one.  If nothing else, history has taught us that the more experience he garners, the better he seems to perform.  In 2012, despite being a sectional runner-up, he would get the call to represent the PSAL when the champion was forced to scratch because of injury.  He would go 0-2, but seemingly grew from the opportunity.  With 2013 rival Sam Melikian (3rd in NYS last year) having moved on to the collegiate scene, Kahramonov will also head into the new year as a favorite to pick up the only NYC honor he has yet to earn, a Mayor’s Cup title.  He has placed 3rd and 2nd respectively in 2012 and 2013.  He completed his junior season with a record of 35-7 with all but one of the defeats coming to opponents who placed at the state tournament.

Konstantin Parfiryev (James Madison)—The only other returning state placewinner for the PSAL, the senior has that fine wine quality about him in that he simply gets better with age.  A 40-match winner (40-7) last season for coach Ned M. Campbell, Parfiryev would hit a home run in his first trip to Albany, kicking off his NYS tournament experience with a 7-5 upset over Section I champion, Joe Mastro, en route to taking home 6th place honors at 152 pounds. (Mastro wrestled back to finish 3rd; was a 2013 FloNationals All-American and currently competes for North Carolina State). Parfiryev will enter his final scholastic season with a chance for his fourth All-City performance.  In each of his first three seasons on the Madison varsity, he has improved his position on the medal stand, going from 4th in 2011 to the previously cited title last year.  Now that he is on top, it would take a Herculean effort to knock him off the perch.  While we never say never, as long as he stays healthy, he is about as big a favorite as anybody in the entire state to be heading back to the capital in 2014.  With two-thirds of the placewinners from the 152-pound NYS bracket back again this season, a run to the title would be challenging, but a repeat All-State showing seems like it is in the cards.

Camilo Gaitan (Brooklyn Tech)—One of the most improved wrestlers in the PSAL last season, Gaitan went from going 1-2 in the 2012 City Championships to winning the 160-pound title as a junior last season.  Getting his hand raised in 31 of the 40 bouts he wrestled in 2013, the Engineer senior would have a few close calls, winning a pair of 6-5 decisions in the quarter and semifinal rounds of the PSAL tournament.  But he would save his best for last, securing his spot on the bus to Albany with an 18-9 major decision over Long Island City’s Thomas Jones in a clash of the top-2 seeds.  Gaitan would struggle in his introduction to the NYS Tournament, going winless and getting pinned in his two matches.  Now a year older and one of the few qualifiers who is back from last year’s 160-pound bracket, Gaitan will be poised to make it three straight years that Brooklyn Tech has put at least one representative onto the podium at the DI tournament.

 

Division I: The Senior Heroes (seeking their first title in their final season)

Daniel “Omega” Amancio (MLK)—The 2013 PSAL runner-up at 120 pounds to NYS 6th place finisher, Santo Curatolo (Tottenville), Amancio darn near shocked the NYC wrestling world when he pushed the three-time defending champion to the brink before dropping a 4-3 decision in the title bout.  Still, even in defeat, the MLK captain proved that when he is at the top of his game, he is as dangerous as any wrestler.  A first time All-City honoree with his silver medal showing in 2013, the wrestler they call “Omega” has continued to progress every year.  Known to be a tireless worker who spends significant time working out at and wrestling on behalf of the Beat the Streets Wrestling Club, if Amancio is able to ascend to the top of the podium, he will become the first Knight wrestler to qualify for the NYS tournament.  When Curatolo moved up to 126 for the Mayor’s Cup, Amancio, who went 32-4 last season, seized the opportunity, going 5-0 with three first period falls to win the hardware.  Last month, he would continue to hone his craft, going 4-1 at the Columbus Day Duals.  In September, against a field consisting mostly of NYC wrestlers, he was the gold medalist at the Steeplechase Open.  He is expected to be back at 120 for his senior season.

Bertin Saimbeau (Wingate)—Like Amancio, Saimbeau found himself on the cusp of glory, only to be denied in the large school finals last season, 7-3 by Julian Alsbrooks of New Utrecht at 138 pounds.  He will be looking to erase those memories in his final crack at the mountaintop.  Already an All-City wrestler, the Wingate grappler has made noticeable strides throughout his career.  As a freshman, he went 1-2 at the City Championships, but has not failed to medal since, earning a 4th place finish in 2012 to complement his performance last season.  Depending on where Kahramonov elects to go this season, Saimbeau could either stay at 138 or move up to 145 where it is possible he will be challenged by Madison’s Marc D’Chiutiis (assuming he is able to make the weight for another season).

Marc D’Chiutiis (James Madison)—D’Chiutiis was a PSAL runner-up last season, losing in the 145-pound finals to Eagle Academy’s Nigel Williams.  With the rumors that Eagle Academy will be returning to the Division II scene after moving up and competing well in Division I for one year, the door has swung open for individuals at this weight class.  And, if there is one wrestler who deserves to go out on top, it would be the Madison wrestler who also played bridesmaid in 2012 at 126 pounds.  Adding to his resume, D’Chiutiis placed 3rd at the 2013 Mayor’s Cup.  A 30-plus match winner in his junior season (31-11), D’Chiutiis might just give coach Campbell one of the top 1-2 punches in all of the five boroughs.

Alex Palmer (MLK)—The three-year Knight captain would have a below average showing at last year’s City tournament, getting upset in the quarterfinal round and then choosing to not wrestle back. But we could not ignore his full resume, which includes his runner-up finish in 2012 and a 4th place finish as a freshman in 2011.  The mere fact that he has a career victory over Parfiryev (6-2 in the 2012 PSAL semifinals) shows that when he is at his best, he possesses the ability to make noise regardless of who lines up opposite him.  Where he needs to improve is in his level of consistency. With so much established talent in the middle weights this season, Palmer can’t be anything less than firing on all cylinders if he hopes to put that elusive cap on his varsity career by winning the City title.  He ended his junior year with a 27-8 record.

John PierreLouis (Springfield Gardens)—PierreLouis is a two-time PSAL bronze medalist who has not deviated much in weight, staying at 189/195 throughout his scholastic career.  In a word, he is a pinner.  In six of his eight career wins at the City tournament, he ended the bout via fall, including in his third place matches the past two years.  In 2012, he stuck 2013 Junior Greco-Roman All-American, Roland Zilberman (who finished as the PSAL runner-up @195 last season for Lincoln).  Last year, his victim was 2012 PSAL small school champion, Miguel Perez from Eagle Academy.  PierreLouis will also be seeking his third straight top-8 finish at the Mayor’s Cup, having claimed 5th place as a sophomore before defaulting to 8th in 2013.  In 2010, it was Springfield Gardens senior Francisco DeCristo taking 5th in NYS @170.  Might that magic be in the air this season for PierreLouis?  Only time will tell!

 

Division I: Team Race

1. Brooklyn Tech—Until someone finds a way to stop this runaway train, Brooklyn Tech has to be considered the early favorite to win a fourth consecutive team title.  Led by defending champion, Gaitan, the Engineers will feature a plethora of returning placers — Julian Polian (6th @106), James Rosado (4th @113), Devon Hoyte (3rd @120), William Hernandez (6th @126),  and Andy Huang (2nd @132).  The only question that remains is how well this deep group of wrestlers will adjust to competing under new head coach Steve Flanagan, who replaced the architect of Tech’s recent success, Todd Bloom. Flanagan has an excellent track record, having led Wingate to back-to-back top-3 finishes in 2011 and 2012. Among his many accomplishments as a coach, Flanagan mentored McZiggy Richards to a 3rd place finish at the 2012 NYS DI tournament.

2. Cardozo—Cardozo is a team that came out of nowhere last season.  When writing the 2013 preview, Chris Milani’s squad was not even on my radar.  However, they were so outstanding last season that not only are they deserving of my apologies, their performance commands that I give it. Still a relatively young program, this is a team that has improved leaps and bounds each year.  In 2011, the squad finished 33rd in the team standings with nine cumulative points and the following season moved up to 21st with 28.5. Then, last year would be the coming of age as the Judges not only took 3rd in the City Championships, but also finished as the dual meet runner-up.  With a strong nucleus returning, Milani and company have no intention of taking any steps backward in 2014.   Joining the previously mentioned Gomez as wrestlers to watch are returning All-City competitors: Jacob Delgado (2nd @99), Douglas Chau (5th @113), Steven Kim (5th @132), Tommy Qu (6th @145), and Taqee Burns (4th @152).

3. James Madison—Coach Campbell’s team earned 3rd in the Dual Meet Playoffs last season before finishing sixth in tournament action to conclude the 2013 campaign.  With a defending champion in Parfiryev, a two-time runner-up in D’Chiutiis, and two other returning All-City student-athletes (Askar Raimbek 4th @132; Mark Ifraimov 6th @285), the squad should be in position to compete yet again in 2014.

4. MLK—Right below Madison is the team they defeated in the Dual Playoff consolation match, the Knights of MLK.  Similar to Cardozo, the Tim Muscarella-coached program is still very much in its youth stage, having been in existence for less than a decade.  However, if recent trends hold up, 2014 may very well be the season that puts the program on the map for good.  Sitting at the head of the table will of course be returning and former City finalists, Amancio and Palmer.  Sophomore sensation Ramel McIntosh (6th @113) and senior Kevin Kabadi (6th @170) make the Knights four strong.  However, in speaking with assistant coach Eric Klein, what will make or break the season will be the efforts from guys who were role players in the past but are now being asked to take on more responsibility.  The perfect examples would be Jose PerezOhanugo Okorie, and Guillermo Rivas, who as #8, #5 and #7 seeds, all missed the medal stand last season by one victory at 138, 160, and 182 respectively.

5. Wingate—Even with the departure of Flanagan, the Wingate program didn’t skip a beat, rolling to a 6th place finish at the City Championships in 2013. With three top-4 wrestlers back to spearhead this year’s team, there is every reason to believe that Wingate will be strong at the end.  Saimbeau is the headliner, but Marcus King (3rd @160) and Maleke Cunningham (4th @182) are quite capable of giving a star performance any day of the week.  Seeded 4th, King came one point shy from being a potential champion last season, losing 6-5 to Gaitan.  Cunningham would wrestle his way into the semifinals, but defaulted his last two bouts, leaving him with a 4th place finish.  If a lightweight like Shamar Griffith, who was seeded 6th but came two wins short of placement, can put all the pieces together and provide Wingate with a fourth threat, it is very feasible to see them challenge for a top-3 spot.

 

Division II: The Incumbents (Former or Defending Champions)

Dolan McColgan (Petrides)—The small school champion the past two years at 99 pounds (finished 3rd as a freshman), McColgan will enter his senior season with a bit of a chip on his shoulder after having what some might deem a disappointing showing in Albany in 2013.   When McColgan defeated Fordham Prep’s Chris Martorello in the finals of the 2013 Mayor’s Cup, the general consensus was that the victory was the sign of good things to come and that he could challenge for a spot on the podium at the Times Union Center.  Unfortunately, the pieces would not fall into place and he would drop his only two bouts of the state tournament to give him an overall record of 1-4 in Albany.  After getting his hand raised in 35 matches last season (35-3), and with one more crack at the medal stand remaining in his scholastic career, we can expect to see a very determined McColgan in 2014.

Mohammed Guernah (RKA)—The departure of Radoncic to Poly Prep leaves this talented super sophomore as one of two defending champions for Robert Dicanio’s RKA squad.  Seeded 3rd (out of 4) in the 120-pound bracket, Guernah would be lights out in his first City Championship tournament, pinning second-seeded Sean Caffrey of Petrides in the second period, before earning a 14-9 decision over top-seeded Jean Marti of Baruch in the title bout. Guernah would receive a very unfavorable draw, getting eventual state bronze medalist, Kellen Devlin, in his opening bout.  The truth is that the Gotham City freshman would never quite get on track, getting stuck by Devlin at the :58 mark and then losing his consolation bout by fall to Section III’s Mike Boyle.  That one weekend aside, as the only freshman qualifier from the PSAL last season, Guernah knows that he still has plenty of time remaining in his career to make his mark.  He finished his frosh campaign with a record of 16-5 and will need to be just as good this season to make up for the loss of his heralded former teammate.

Daniel Padulo (Baruch)—After years of being overshadowed by his older brother, Anthony, a four-time DII City finalist/2012 Champion, Daniel Padulo would finally get his moment to shine. He would capitalize on this opportunity, winning his only match of the PSAL tournament via second period fall over now two-time City runner-up David Medina of RKA.  Padulo would encounter hardship when making the trip to Albany, getting pinned in his first round match by Nick Forget (finished 5th) and then eliminated one match later in the consolation bracket by Section XI’s Hunter Hulse.  If he hopes to conclude his high school career with a top-6 finish in February, Padulo is going to have to work hard to improve upon the 14-16 record that is attributed to him on the NWCA database.

Steven Cook (RKA)—The senior leader will have added pressure on his shoulders with the departure of Radoncic. A City titlist in his first appearance in the PSAL DII tournament, Cook would show that seeding is just a number when he pulled off the upset of top-ranked Nate Muse of Petrides to win the 132-pound crown.  Unfortunately, circumstance would prevent Cook from competing in Albany, robbing him of what would have been an excellent opportunity to see how he compares to the rest of the Empire State elite.

Nigel Williams (Eagle Academy)—Williams might be among the most battle tested wrestlers in the five boroughs, after attending blue chip events across the country.  A first-time champion in 2013 at 145 pounds after previously finishing as the runner-up in his freshman and sophomore seasons, the Eagle Academy senior will be seeking his first win in Albany after going 0-2 in both 2011 (injury replacement) and 2013.  To say that his 0-4 record is misleading would be an understatement.  Williams is a dangerous draw for any wrestler; he has excellent throws and can put opponents on their backs at the drop of a hat.  A winner of three matches at the Eastern States Classic, Williams has proven himself to be a jack of all trades by also winning a handful of bouts at both the Junior Duals and the Junior Nationals in the international styles.

Nathanael Rose (Eagle Academy)—Rose is on pace to become a four-time City Champion, having won the 182-pound weight class in back-to-back years, once in each division. He has continued to gain recognition across the state and his power and raw athleticism are drawing parallels to that of the previously mentioned McZiggy Richards. As a freshman in 2012, Rose demonstrated untapped potential, scoring bonus points in both of his City tournament matches before going 0-2 at the NYS DII tournament.  Last season, he just missed placing at the Eastern States by one victory, finished second at the Mayor’s Cup (to NYS placewinner Matthew Roberts of Monsignor Farrell), and then wrapped up his sophomore season by making the round-of-8 at the NYS Tournament. It is the immense development that he seems to make from year to year that has me thinking that all the stars are aligned for Rose to be 2014’s version of Radoncic for the PSAL.  I believe the Eagle Academy junior is going to be a NYS Champion before his career is over; the only unanswered question is whether he’ll be a multi-time titlewinner.

Miguel Perez (Eagle)—A PSAL DII Champion two years ago as a freshman, for a while, it looked like he was on the path to Titletown when he posted a respectable 1-2 record in his debut in Albany in 2012.  Last season, when his school made the decision to compete at the large school level, Perez would find himself in a deep bracket that featured eventual NYS placewinner Kevin Tynes (previously of Brooklyn Tech; now at Stanford) and the aforementioned Greco All-American, Zilberman. Now that Eagle will be returning to DII, Perez should be considered a heavy favorite to win the next two City titles.  With regards to upstate, with most of the top-8 finishers from last year’s NYS Tournament having graduated, it would not be premature to say that Perez could find himself in the mix to make the medal stand.  After all, if you can win one match as a freshman, winning three (which is what it takes to make All-State) is not unfathomable.  Perez went 32-10 last season.

Christian Gioia (Petrides)—A returning two-time City finalist, Gioia would win his first title in 2013, going 2-0 behind a pair of decisions over Banana Kelly’s Edward Bonner (8-5) and Baruch’s Kenshawn Anderson (5-1).  He would go winless in Albany. Gioia is one of the individuals who might get hurt the most from Eagle Academy’s return to the DII ranks.  If he and Perez are at the same weight class, Perez would need to be considered a heavy favorite because of their 2012 title bout which was won by the Eagle junior, 15-0.

Elvin Gervacio (Brooklyn International)—A three-time finalist as an upperweight wrestler, Gervacio won the PSAL title in 2012 at heavyweight and finished 2nd last season down at 220.  However, despite not being a champion in 2013, the big man would be summoned into action in Albany, taking the place of Anthony Hernandez (Petrides) who went unopposed at 285.  In two trips to the state tournament, Gervacio has gone winless, including 0-2 last season with losses to the wrestlers who finished 3rd and 6th.  On the bright side, with five of six placewinners having graduated, there is reason for optimism.  For the PSAL to match what they did last season, Gervacio is going to have to apply what he has learned the past two years and find a way onto the podium.

 

Division II: One More to Watch

Nate Muse (Petrides)—A wrestler who has experienced nothing other than the City title match thus far in the first three years of his varsity career, Muse is hoping that the fourth time will be the the charm after settling for silver in his previous three attempts.  The top seed at his weight class each of the last two years, if there is anyone in all of Staten Island that is going to be fired up for the postseason, it is Muse, who has unfinished business.  Muse would be called into duty, as an injury replacement in Albany.  He would lose both of his matches, but gained the kind of big match experience that he will need to get over the hump and finish his career with the City title.

 

Division II: Team Race

As has been the case much of the past decade, the team title will be a battle between Eagle Academy and Petrides.  A year removed from finishing second in the DI team standings, on paper, one would have to think that Eagle would have the edge.  The Bronx located school should receive huge point contributions from the trio of defending/former champions (Williams, Rose, and Perez), as well as a group of All-City wrestlers who will be in title contention in the smaller division.  This collection of talent includes, but is not limited to, the following: Jairo Pepin (6th @120), Rashid Powell (5th @126), Zimba Hamm (6th @152), Vance Cuffie (5th @160), Roshane Gray (5th @170), and Marc Diaz (3rd @220).

Petrides, who in the absence of Eagle went on to win the small school team title last season by a 44 point margin over Baruch, will be anchored by McColgan, Muse, and Gioia, and solidified by Caffrey (3rd @120), Jason Falloon (4th @120), Robert Welgoss (3rd @138), Tristan Ferrigno (2nd @145), and Tyler Saracena (2nd @182).

 

Returning Qualifiers from 2013 – Division I

Malik Grant, Curtis (99)

Adam Gomez, Cardozo (106)

Saidyokub Kahramonov, New Utrecht (132)—6th

Konstantin Parfiryev, James Madison (152)—6th

Camilo Gaitan, Brooklyn Tech (160)

Returning Qualifiers from 2013 – Division II

Dolan McColgan, Petrides (99)

Mohammed Guernah, RKA (120)

Daniel Padulo, Baruch (126)

Nate Muse, Petrides (132)—Injury replacement

Steven Cook, RKA (132)

Nigel Williams, Eagle Academy (145)

Nathanael Rose, Eagle Academy (182)

Christian Gioia, Petrides (195)

Elvin Gervacio, Brooklyn International (285)—replacement pick

For more on New York City wrestling, see Gotham City Wrestling.

 

Section 9 Preview: Five State Placers Return, Looking for More in 2013-14

 BY MIKE CAREY

Section 9 is the home of the top in-season tournament in New York – the Eastern States Classic.  However, it’s also the home of a number of wrestlers who made the medal stand in 2013 and have the potential to do even more this upcoming campaign.  Read on to find out more about what the Section has to offer in 2013-14.

Division I

Four Division I wrestlers return after reaching the podium in Albany a year ago — the Port Jervis duo of Dylan Booth and Dan DeCarlo, as well as Monroe Woodbury’s Vinny Vespa and Pine Bush’s John Stramiello.  Let’s take a look at those wrestlers, plus some others to watch in 2013-14.

Vinny Vespa (Monroe Woodbury) – After battling cancer, Vespa made an incredible return to the mat for the Crusaders, winning 40 matches and taking fifth at the state tournament at 99 pounds.  We’ll see what he can do for an encore, likely at 106.

John Stramiello (Pine Bush) – Stramiello, a four time state qualifier and three-time Section 9 champion, made his second appearance on the podium last February, taking sixth at 113 pounds.  (He was sixth at 106 as a sophomore).  In his senior campaign, Stramiello is looking for his highest finish, likely at 113.

Photo by Josh Conklin

Dylan Booth (Port Jervis) – Booth topped Stramiello three times last season, including in the fifth place bout at the Times Union Center.  After a strong season in which he racked up 34 victories, Booth will be looking for another All-State showing, either at 113 or 120 pounds.

Dan DeCarlo (Port Jervis) –  Like his teammate Booth, DeCarlo nabbed fifth in Albany last year (at 152 pounds).  A two-time Section 9 titlewinner, DeCarlo, who also was fourth at the Eastern States Classic, will move up to 160 this year.

Other than those returning placers, who is ready to make an impact?

From Monroe Woodbury, Evan Barczak and Rob Kelly are good candidates.  Barczak, now a freshman, was a Section champion as an eighth grader at 106 pounds and won a match at the state tournament.  In fact, his two losses in Albany were to the second and third place finishers, one of them in overtime.  He’s projected at 120 pounds this year.  Senior Rob Kelly was the runner up in Section 9 to NYS fourth placer Josh Bonneau at 220 pounds.  Kelly, who had 30 wins last year, will be a factor at either 220 or 285.

Minisink Valley’s Mike Raccioppi and Chris Truglio will be wrestlers to watch as well.  Raccioppi, a two-time state qualifier, was sixth at the Eastern States in a 43-victory campaign in which he defeated All-State wrestler Ryan Snow and won twice in Albany.  He’ll be a podium threat, likely at 138, this year. Truglio is expected to be back at 132, where he notched a win at the state tournament. Their teammate Gerard Daly was the Section 9 champion at 99 pounds in 2012, but missed last season with an injury.  He’s back and will surely be a factor at 113 or 120.

Warwick Valley junior Thomas Wightman dropped an overtime decision to All-State wrestler Matt Caputo in the opening round in Albany last year. The Section 9 champion won 28 bouts in 2012-13.  Look for him to make waves at 145.

James Bethel of Saugerties won 38 matches last year and really boosted his stock with a great offseason, including an undefeated showing at the Cadet Freestyle National Duals and an All-American performance at Fargo in Greco Roman (third at 220).

[2013 Eastern States champion at 99 pounds, Chris Cuccolo of Pine Bush, is now attending school in New Jersey.]

Team Race

Monroe Woodbury and Minisink Valley are the two teams everyone is looking at, but Section 9 will have a bit more depth this year than in the past few seasons.  Monroe Woodbury finished 2012-2013 ranked eighth in the New York State Sportswriters Association poll and they return a state placer (Vespa), two qualifiers (Barczak and PJ Smoot), and three other 20+ win wrestlers.  Meanwhile, Minisink Valley ended last season ranked 17th in New York and the squad returns Raccioppi, Truglio, and multiple other 20+ win wrestlers.

Warwick Valley will once again be in contention with an extremely strong middle of the line up featuring Wightman, Ryan Ferro, and AJ Aeberli.  Cornwall, with NYS Wrestling Hall of Fame coach Don Blaine, should never be overlooked and will have a few wrestlers with a legitimate shot at going to Albany.  Speaking of Hall of Fame coaches, Jeff Cuilty and Wallkill will surprise a lot of teams this year as a program on the rise.  We can also anticipate significant improvement out of Port Jervis, Middletown, Saugerties and NFA as the squads feature several wrestlers who have put in a lot of offseason work.

Division II

Ingraham, courtesy Skip Dickstein/Times Union

Highland’s Austin Ingraham earned sixth place at 113 pounds last year in Albany after coming one win from placing as a sophomore.  The senior will look to end his career in style, possibly at 113 but more likely at 120.

Who Are Some Other Wrestlers to Watch?

Matt Rauch (Red Hook) – The senior was undefeated going into the state tournament last year and had a solid performance in the state capital, finishing one win from placing at 126 pounds.

Sean Cramsie and Troy Grant (New Paltz) Like Rauch, both Cramsie and Grant represented Section 9 in Albany last year.  Both won a match at the Times Union Center, Cramsie at 132 and Grant at heavyweight.  Can they notch a few more victories this time around, likely at 138 and 285, respectively?

Dustin Mackenzie (Onteora) One of the most improved wrestlers in small school Section 9, the senior was a state qualifier last year at 195 pounds.  Look for him to build upon the 33 wins he compiled as a junior.

Edon Lulanaj (Eldred/Fallsburg) – The 2013 Section 9 finalist lost 1-0 to the previously mentioned Grant.  The senior is new to the sport, however, and has a lot of upside for his final high school campaign after going 20-3 last season.

Team Race

Onteora, Red Hook and Highland will be the teams everyone is gunning for this year in Division II.  All three squads are traditionally among the best in the Section and each also has five returning Section 9 medalists returning this year.  Ellenville could be the surprise team of the year, as the Blue Devils also bring back five Sectional placers, including finalists Nick Disessa-Leon and Javier Cortes.

[Aidan Mathews of Marlboro, a qualifier last year at 170, has moved to Wyoming Seminary].

Division I

Returning State Placers from 2013

Vinny Vespa (Monroe Woodbury) – fifth at 99

Dylan Booth (Port Jervis) – fifth at 113

Johnny Stramiello (Pine Bush) – sixth at 113

Dan DeCarlo (Port Jervis) – fifth at 152

Returning Qualifiers from 2013

Evan Barczak (Monroe Woodbury) 106

PJ Smoot (Monroe Woodbury) 120

Mike Raccioppi (Minisink Valley) 126

Chris Truglio (Minisink Valley) 132

Thomas Wightman (Warwick Valley) 138

Kyle McGuire (Newburgh) 170

Division II

Returning State Placer from 2013

Austin Ingraham (Highland) – sixth at 113

Returning Qualifiers from 2013

Taylor Benson (Red Hook) 99

Mike Felicano (Highland) 106

Matt Rauch (Red Hook) 126

Sean Cramsie (New Paltz) 132

Dustin Mackenzie (Onteora) 195

Troy Grant (New Paltz) 285

For more on Section 9 wrestling, see here.

 

For other Section previews see (more to come):

Section 3

Section 10

St. Anthony's "Renaissance Man" Freddie Dunau, a Two-Time State Placer, Chooses Penn

Freddie Dunau is a national champion.

In 2011, he and his cousin captured a title at the Hershey Nationals – in hip hop dancing.

That’s the just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to extra curricular activities for the St. Anthony’s senior, a student with a weighted average over 100 and a 2220 SAT score.  He coaches a breakdancing team and a gymnastics squad.  (Dunau is a gymnast as well).  He rides unicycles.  And, of course, he’s an accomplished wrestler.

“He’s a very special kid,” said his club coach, Craig Vitagliano of Ascend. “He’s a Renaissance man.”

Indeed he is.  A number of elite schools noticed his impressive resume during the recruiting process.  However, he’s now off the market as he announced recently that he will attend the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania after considering colleges such as Columbia, Harvard and NYU.

Photo courtesy of Freddie Dunau

“After my visit to Penn, I felt like I knew where I wanted to be,” the future Division I 149-pounder said. “Everyone was very welcoming and it seemed like a really good environment for me. It’s nice to know where I’m going.  Now I have a lot of pressure off for the rest of the year.”

Dunau will be joining another CHSAA alum, Andrew Lenzi (Fordham Prep), in Philadelphia. Lenzi was a New York State champion, an accomplishment that Dunau hopes to repeat.  But first, he has another goal in mind.

“I want to be a four-time Catholic [CHSAA] state champion this year,” Dunau said. “A few people placed four times, but not many have won it all four years.  I would be part of a select group to accomplish that.”

He’ll be the favorite to do so, likely at 138 pounds.  He won his first CHSAA title as a freshman 96 pounder and then went on to make an impact at the state tournament.

“I knew I wanted to wrestle in Albany,” he said of his ninth grade campaign. “Getting there was awesome.  When I first got there, I was a little bit nervous, but once I was on the mat, I blocked everything out and it was just like any other match.  I didn’t pay attention to the crowd.”

It’s no surprise that a loud arena didn’t faze Dunau. After all, he performed in front of larger audiences at Madison Square Garden as a four-year member of the Knicks City Kids.

“I was on the dance team that performed at Knicks home games until I was 13,” he said. “We’d do hip hop routines, flips and all kinds of tricks.”

No tricks were needed by Dunau in that first appearance in the state capital in 2011 as he took fifth place at 96 pounds as a freshman with three wins, including a major and a pin.

He expected to achieve more as a sophomore at 106 pounds.  However, Dunau’s return trip to Albany didn’t quite go as planned.

“I thought I had a really good shot to win the state championship that year,” he said. “I wasn’t feeling well and when it came time to weigh in, I had 102 fever.  It was extremely challenging to make weight.”

He did, and actually pinned his first opponent.  However, he lost his next two bouts and went home without a second medal.

“One of the things I always pride myself on is good endurance,” he said. “I don’t think up to that point I had ever lost a match because I got tired. But I felt like I had no energy whatsoever.  When I watch the videos of myself, it was like I was crawling to the center of the mat.  It was disappointing. It made me angry that I didn’t wrestle the way I knew I could. It definitely motivated me.”

That motivation paid off in a 24-3 record as a junior in 2012-13 at 126 pounds.

When the brackets were released for the New York championships, Dunau saw that he was set to face former NYS champion and fourth seed Mark West of Hauppauge in round one.  West was one of the favorites after capturing the Suffolk County crown in a loaded bracket in which eventual state champion TJ Fabian (now at Sacred Heart) took third.

“At first, I was a little bit nervous, but then I figured if I was going to wrestle [West] at some point, it might as well be first,” Dunau said. “I found that my style works well against his because he did a lot of moves that I have counters for. It worked out well.”

It did, as Dunau came out on top by a 7-3 score.  He continued on with a 1-0 victory over Mike Raccioppi of Minisink Valley before losing in the semifinals to Fabian.  Dunau then split a pair of bouts in the consolations to earn fifth place for the second time in his career.

But despite the podium finish, that contest against Fabian remains fresh in his mind.  Especially since he estimates that he’s viewed it at least 60 times.

“I watched that match over and over and over again and I know what mistakes I made,” he said. “I’ve been working hard to correct them and hopefully that leads me to win it this year.”

Adding a state title to the resume?  It would just be another achievement for a “Renaissance Man” heading to the Ivy League.

————————

Freddie Dunau wanted to thank the members of his family.  He said “they take me everywhere I need to go, support me at all my matches, whether they’re in Ohio or Long Island, and are just great people.”

"A New Level of Connectedness to the State": NYWAY Develops Long Island Board; Opens Development Tourneys to Non-Members

Connecting all areas of New York wrestling is something NYWAY President Clint Wattenberg has talked about from the first day the organization started.

He believes another significant step has been taken toward that goal with the recent development of a NYWAY Long Island regional board.

“We’ve been looking to bring a new level of connectedness to the state,” Wattenberg said. “One of our main agenda items over the past year has been developing boards in all the regions around New York.  This board in Long Island is bringing together some great people and will build upon the collaboration between upstate and downstate.”

Taking charge of the new board is Gary Redding, who is involved in youth sports as the Director of Middle Country girls lacrosse.

“Gary is really motivated and has a great understanding of youth sports and the educational component of wrestling,” Wattenberg said. “He understands what youth sports can provide kids to support their growth.”

Redding said he got involved partially because of the experience he had with the organization last year.

“I did the NYWAY state tournament with my son and I thought it was phenomenal,” he said. “The way they ran it was great – with the right idea that it’s about the kids. Everyone wants to have a unified, true state tournament with participation from everywhere and if NYWAY can facilitate that, that’s great.  I want to help Long Island be a big part of that.”

For this year, Redding said he is looking to solidify the board, which currently includes five members and another five or six who are “Friends of the Board.” The hope is to have one or two tournaments on Long Island this year and continue to build that number over time.

In the short term, Redding is excited to work toward strong Nassau and Suffolk involvement in the major NYWAY events this year.

“We’ve already started putting together our dual team for the NYWAY Kickoff in late December,” he said. “We anticipate having a lot of kids at the Kickoff events, the regional qualifier (especially because it shouldn’t conflict with the Freestyle and Greco states this year) and the state tournament.”

Having a lot of kids at events all over New York is something NYWAY is hoping to encourage with a new initiative.

From the 2013 NYWAY State championships, Photo courtesy of John Drew/cnywrestling.com

“We’re doing something different this year that’s very simple but could make a world of difference,” Wattenberg said.  “We’re enabling any wrestler to enroll in NYWAY development tournaments (which does not include the Kickoff, state qualifiers or state championships) without being a NYWAY member.  Both NYS wrestlers without a NYWAY membership and out of state wrestlers can simply register for tournaments through our website nyway.org for a day-insurance fee ($5 for NYS and $2 for out-of-state).   We’re looking to reduce barriers to participation and to provide opportunities rather than force people to choose one organization over another.  Once we get young wrestlers and families in the door, we are confident that the expanding opportunities and consistency of these experiences will help retain and grow participation in the sport we all love.”

—————————————–

Wattenberg also noted that NYWAY regional boards across the state are continuing to build and welcome input.  Other Regional Directors/Contacts:

Capital: Michael LaPorte- michaellaporte202@yahoo.com

Central: Mel Cutrie- mscutrie@gmail.com

Far Western- Kevin Lucinski- kslucinski@yahoo.com

Hudson Valley: Jeff Jones- jjones987@yahoo.com

Long Island: Gary Redding- nywayli@gmail.com

Northern: Randy Morrison- nnyywl@hotmail.com

Southern Tier: Kent Maslin- kent.maslin@gmail.com

Western: Adam Burgos- adamburgos@g2wrestling.com

 

Some Key NYWAY Dates for 2013-14

Kickoff Classic Dual Team Tournament, December 28 (SUNY Sullivan)

Kickoff Classic Individual Tournament, December 29 (SUNY Sullivan)

State Tournament, March 15-16 (Onondaga County Community College)

 

For more information on NYWAY, see NYWAY Flyer Year 3 Update(1)

Weekend Recap: News and Notes from Brockport, the NYAC International, Hofstra's Trip to Virginia and Much More

The following is some of the action that took place this weekend involving New York teams.  It was a busy weekend inside the Empire State borders, with events such as the Brockport/Oklahoma Invitational, the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open, the NYAC Holiday International and the Ithaca Invitational.  And it was also action-packed outside the state, as several New York teams took the mat elsewhere, including Virginia and Michigan.

The recap for the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open is here.

Brockport/Oklahoma Invitational: Tompkins Wins for Army; NCAA Champion Kendric Maple Upset

For the 15th consecutive year, Oklahoma took the title at the Brockport/Oklahoma Invitational.  The Sooners won on the strength of six champions.  However, perhaps the biggest story for the Big 12 school was one of the first big upsets of the college wrestling season.  2013 NCAA champion Kendric Maple was defeated 5-3 in overtime in the 149-pound title bout by Bloomsburg’s Bryce Busler.

Busler, named the event’s Outstanding Wrestler, was one of two titlewinners for the Huskies.  Several of his teammates finished high on the medal stand Saturday, including three who did their high school wrestling in New York.  Josh Veltre won the 165-pound bracket, while Greene graduate Nick Wilcox was second at 133 and Monsignor Farrell’s Kevin Hartnett notched third at 157.

The New York teams at the event — Army, Buffalo and Brockport — finished third, fourth and sixth overall.  The Black Knights were led by 184-pound champion Ryan Tompkins as well as second placers Paul Hancock (157) and Brian Harvey (174) and bronze medalists Logan Everett (133) and Chandler Smith (165).  Meanwhile, Buffalo received solid performances from Nick Flannery and Tony Lock (second at 141 and 184, respectively) as well as Max Soria (third at 125).  The host squad from Brockport had four placers, led by Cole Tristram, who was fourth at heavyweight.

 

Simaz, Francois and Burkert Take Third, Perrelli Grabs Fourth at the NYAC Holiday International

There was more than just folkstyle competition in New York this weekend.  Wrestlers from around the world came to take the mat at the 2013 NYAC Holiday International tournament.

Simaz, Photo by BV

On Saturday, a pair of former Cornell stars made the top four at the event.  Cam Simaz capped off a 4-1 day with an 8-1 victory over Jack Jensen for bronze at 96 kg.  Simaz recorded a fall and his other three wins were all by at least a seven-point margin.  Frank Perrelli lost his first contest to eventual champion Samat Nadyrbek Uulu from Kyrgyzstan, but rebounded with four straight consolation victories over tough foes before dropping the third place bout to Kyle Hutter.  On his winning streak, he topped Mark McKnight, Zach Sanders, Steven Takahashi and Olympian Sam Hazewinkel.

At 84 kg, Army assistant coach Enock Francois earned bronze with a 3-1 record.  His only loss came against the champion, Raymond Jordan.  He outscored his opponents 16-2 in his three victories.

On the first day of action on Friday, Long Island native Jenna Burkert notched third at 63 kg in women’s freestyle competition after going 5-1.  She lost to the first place finisher Yurika Itou in round two, but then finished strong with two falls and two 8-0 wins on the backside.

 

Hofstra Splits Four Duals in Virginia; Ends on a High Note With a Win Over #22 North Carolina

There was quite a bit of action within the New York borders, however, some New York squads went elsewhere over the weekend, including Hofstra.

Vaith, Photo by BV

The Pride traveled to Virginia, where they began with a dual on Friday against nationally-ranked Virginia Tech.  Freshman Jamel Hudson (133), Nick Terdick (157) and Joe Booth (165) all won, however, the Hokies came out on top 28-9.

On Sunday, Hofstra resumed action with a trio of meets.  While Luke Vaith (141) and Dwight Howes (184) picked up major decisions in the opener against Tennessee-Chattanooga, the Mocs captured a 19-14 victory.

The Pride turned things around in a big way in their next competition, besting VMI, 43-3.  The first eight wrestlers in the lineup scored bonus points for head coach Rob Anspach’s squad, giving the team its first dual triumph of the season.

And the momentum continued later in the day, when Hofstra improved to 2-3 for the year with a 25-15 win over #22 North Carolina.  After falling behind 3-0, Hudson tied things up with an overtime victory and then Vaith followed with an extra session win of his own – over #5 Evan Henderson, to put Hofstra in the lead for good.

The Pride returns to the mat next weekend at #5 Oklahoma.

 

Matt Bystol Takes Second, Josh Houldsworth Nabs Third for Columbia at the Michigan State Open; Zach Hernandez Wins the Freshman/Sophomore Division

While Hofstra went South, much of Columbia’s roster traveled to the Wolverine State for the Michigan State Open.  In the Open division, Matt Bystol went to the finals at 141, taking second behind Zach Horan of Central Michigan with a 4-1 mark on the day. Fellow NCAA qualifier Josh Houldsworth also had a strong performance, nabbing third at 165.

Also losing just once at the event was freshman Markus Schiedel, who had a strong debut at 157, taking fifth (only semifinal losers can enter the third place match at the event).  In his last bout, Schiedel beat Edinboro’s Johnny Greisheimer, a nationally ranked opponent (and Wantagh native) by a point.  Another New York high school wrestler, Ernest James of Edinboro, was fifth at heavyweight.

The Michigan State Open also offers a Freshman/Sophomore division and Columbia grapplers saw success there as well, including a championship showing by 184-pounder Zach Hernandez.  He was joined on the podium by a pair of 141 pounders – Ryan Murdock (second) and Matt Leshinger (fourth) as well as fifth placers Britain Carter (125) and Troy Hembury (184).  In addition, Frewsburg High School graduate Nick Mitchell (Edinboro) was the runner up at 174.

 

Also in Michigan . . .

Speaking of Michigan, Jamestown Community College and Niagara CCC traveled there as well.  Jamestown swept a pair of duals on Friday night over Triton (Illinois) and Mott (Michigan), led by Mike Southwick, Austin Lynn, Jake Nicholson, Pat McCarthy and Kevin Mulcahy, who each won twice. At the Ben McMullen Open in Muskegon, Niagara featured a number of placers, including champions Kevin Strong and El Shaddai Van Hoesen (285). Tyler Bruce grabbed second, Eric Velez was third and a trio of grapplers – Jude Gardner, Max Antone and Shane Currey, were fourth.

 

Bombers Win The Ithaca Invitational With Five Champions

Ithaca started the season off strong at home, capturing first in the standings with five champions at the Ithaca Invitational.  Earning first for the host squad were Alex Gomez (133), Dominick Giacolone (141), Kris Schimek (165), Carlos Toribio (174) and Mathew Booth (197). Both Gomez and Giacolone are currently nationally ranked while Schimek was an All-American last season for Niagara County Community College. Freshmen Toribio and Booth were both All-State wrestlers in high school in 2013 – Toribio a state champion for Brentwood and Booth a third place finisher for Cattaraugus Little Valley.

Last year’s team champion, Johnson & Wales, nabbed second with a pair of titlewinners –  Everet Desilets (157) and Colin Lenhardt (184), while Springfield was third with Tom Casper (125) and Irakli Kakauridze (285) capturing their brackets.  Former PSAL wrestler Abubakarr Sow of Oswego won the 149 pound class.

NYU took fourth, while Oswego (fifth), Alfred State (seventh) and Sullivan (eighth) also competed.

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For full results from the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open, Brockport/Oklahoma Invitational, NYAC Holiday International, Michigan State Open and Ithaca Invitational, see http://www.trackwrestling.com and search for those tournament names.

To report results, e-mail newyorkwrestlingnews@gmail.com

 

2013-14 Section 10 Preview: After Crowning Two State Champs in 2012, Who Will Challenge in Albany This Season?

Last year, we previewed each Section prior to the start of the high school season.  We began with Section III earlier this week.  Now, here’s a look at Section 10.

Only one school in New York had multiple state champions at the Times Union Center in February.  It was Section 10’s Gouverneur, which saw a pair of seniors – Dillon Stowell (113) and Hunter Ayen (195) – win it all in Albany to end their high school careers on top.

“It was awesome,” said Gouverneur coach Joel Baer.  “It took a while after the season was over to even digest it and believe it.  It was wild, with one champion in the lightweights and one on the other end.  For Dillon [Stowell], it was his fourth time placing. He came into the year expecting to be a state champ.  Hunter [Ayen] seemed to come out of nowhere and surprised a lot of people.  We expected he would do really well this year but he wasn’t as well known around the state. He’s someone that didn’t even have 100 career matches – forget about 100 wins. His body matured later – he grew four or five inches later on and the next thing you knew – wow.”

‘Wow’ described Ayen’s state tournament performance.  He pinned his first three opponents, but then fell behind 6-0 in the championship match against returning finalist Bryce Mazurowski of Avon.  He stormed back, however, to capture a 9-6 decision.

“I’ll never forget his comeback,” Baer said. “To fall behind 6-0 and look like you’re out of the match and come back the way he did was crazy.  I thought he had the pin and four matches and four falls at the state tournament would have been amazing, but Hunter told me he was happy to win the way he did.”

Another Ayen, Hunter’s cousin Zach, will look to follow up with a memorable senior year of his own.  Zach Ayen is no stranger to the medal stand – he took fifth in Albany in 2012.  Last season, he competed at the Times Union Center at 132 pounds.

“Zach has definitely put in the time,” Baer said. “This is his last go round and he saw what the others had to endure and put in to become champions.  He did lots of freestyle in the spring and early summer and did a lot of lifting. He won some matches in Virginia Beach. I definitely think he has the potential to place again. He had two heartbreaking losses at the state tournament, in the first round to the kid who went on to take third.  He knows he’s not far away and he’s capable of having a great last year.”

Lapiene, courtesy of Dylan Morrison/North Country Sports

Ayen isn’t the only Section 10 wrestler with All-State accolades.  Ogdensburg Free Academy’s Tanner Lapiene earned fourth at 99 pounds as an eighth grader with a strong showing in the state capital.  He began with a 14-0 major in his opening bout before upsetting the bracket’s top seed, Hunter Olena of East Rochester, by a 3-1 score.  After being edged by Port Jefferson’s Matteo Devincenzo in the semifinals, he bounced back to grab fourth.

According to Baer, Lapiene will be a contender again as a freshman, although most likely at either 106 or 113.

“Tanner will be right there,” Baer said. “He has a unique style of wrestling.  He’s a grinder, with really good hips and he likes to scramble and get funky. He’s a tough kid.”

According to Baer, Lapiene was the first Ogdensburg Free Academy wrestler to ever place at the state tournament.  Baer added that one of Lapiene’s training partners, Brody Sheppard “has a lot of potential” and is someone to watch this year.

Sheppard qualified for the state tournament last season at 106 pounds as a seventh grader.  Those two lightweights will be joined by three other returning Section champions for Ogdensburg– Josh Wangler, Alex Cole and Cody-Allen David.

So while Gouverneur has been the team to beat in the Section in Division II, Baer believes things could be interesting when the squads collide in 2013-14.

“I think we’ll probably be the favorite,” he said of his team. “But [Ogdensburg] has a bunch of guys that we probably won’t beat and it may come down to who gets pinned.  I expect it to be a competitive dual – the most competitive dual we have in the Section.”

Other than Ayen, who will win a lot of matches for Gouverneur this year?  Joey Love, Aaron Bush and Mike Mandigo all went to the state tournament a year ago.

“We’ve had some success and we’re hoping to bring our kids along to keep improving,” Baer said.  “As a Section we were pretty happy to place where we did last year, scoring 69 points.  We don’t have numbers, so it was pretty neat for us.  We’re hoping to get some more people on the podium this year again.”

Division I

There will certainly be experience back in Division I this year.  12 of the 15 wrestlers who represented Section 10 at the state tournament in 2013 are scheduled to return.  Who can break through for some victories and a shot at a medal?

One wrestler to certainly keep tabs on is Massena’s Nathan Marshall, who did not compete a year ago, as he was abroad.  In 2011-12, however, he went 29-3 at 106 pounds, including a major decision at the Times Union Center.

“[Marshall] wrestled with us at the 1000 Islands Duals in August and he looked good,” Baer said. “He said when he was in Brazil he didn’t wrestle at all, but he looked pretty tough for his first time on the mat in a while.  He may be a 113-pound senior and he could wrestle his way onto the podium.  I know that’s his goal.”

Terrance, Courtesy of Dylan Morrison/North Country Sports

Marshall is unlikely to be the only Massena wrestler to challenge in Albany.  In fact, seven other returning grapplers from that school wore the Section 10 singlet at the state event in 2013.  One of them, heavyweight Nolan Terrance, is one to watch.  He saw success in the offseason with second place showings in both Freestyle and Greco at the New York State tournament in May.

“[Terrance] has wrestled everywhere,” Baer said. “He was at Fargo, up in Canada at the Canadian Games – all over.  He did a lot of freestyle and Greco and wrestled non-stop.  He’s a big kid and he definitely had a good offseason.”

Also having a good offseason was Malone’s Jamiel Stapleton, a multi-time New York qualifier.

“[Stapleton] had a great summer,” Baer said. “He got better and better.  He went to wrestling camps and to dual tournaments and he beat some good kids. He’s tough.”

Another wrestler who comes back with over 20 wins and more than one trip to Albany is Canton’s Ryan Brown.  The lightweight has beaten Lapiene in the past (although Lapiene came out on top three out of four times last season). Could this be the breakthrough season for Brown?

“If he can get certified for one of the lightest weights, he’ll be hard to handle,” Baer said. “He’s good, but he’s always been too light. Now, he’s gotten taller and filled out.  He’s older and has more confidence.  He could do very well.”

With the significant number of returning Section champions, Massena appears to have the upper hand in the team race.

Thank you to the contributors to this article, especially coach Joel Baer.

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A year after boasting two state champions, can wrestlers from Section 10 do it again?  We’ll have to wait until 2014 to find out, but here are the grapplers returning with 2013 Albany experience.

Division I

Returning Qualifiers from 2013

Ryan Brown, Canton 99

Michael Brown, Massena 106

Skyler Cameron, Massena 113

Konner German, Massena 120

Austin Learned, Malone 126

Jamiel Stapleton, Malone 145

Hunter Perrine, Massena 152

Jared Cascanette, Canton 160

Nate Moose, Canton 170

Joseph Ferrera, Massena 182

Jeremy Malone, Massena 195

Nolan Terrance, Massena 285


Division II

Returning Placer from 2013

Tanner Lapiene, Ogdensburg Free Academy 99, 4th

Returning Qualifiers from 2013

Brody Sheppard, Ogdensburg Free Academy, 106

Aaron Bush, Gouverneur, 120

Josh Wangler, Ogdensburg Free Academy, 126

Zach Ayen, Gouverneur, 132

Joey Love, Gouverneur, 138

Cody-Allen David, Ogdensburg Free Academy, 160

Alex Cole, Ogdensburg Free Academy, 182

Mike Mandigo, Gouverneur, 220


 

Destination, Buffalo: Shaker's Blake Retell Picks the Bulls

Wrestling has taken Shaker’s Blake Retell to numerous places in the United States.  This summer, the sport took him even further, as he traveled to Italy and Austria with the Journeymen Wrestling Club.

Now, wrestling will lead Retell to another location – Buffalo – as the three-time state qualifier committed to head coach John Stutzman and the Bulls.

“I really liked Coach Stutzman and his philosophy on the program,” Retell said. “I like the style of wrestling and what it leads to. The campus was really nice and so was the wrestling room.”

Photo courtesy of the Retell family

Retell, who projects to wrestle at 133 pounds in college, has been around wrestling rooms since first grade, when he first ventured into the sport.  He said he joined Journeymen while in elementary school and spends two to three days per week at the club year round.

“Every day I can go there, I go,” he said.  “I’ve been able to learn from some of the best coaches and wrestlers in the world.  It’s really made me a better wrestler, especially technique-wise.”

A few years after starting club wrestling, Retell began his career at Shaker High, where he competed at 96 pounds as a seventh grader.

“My high school coach Dan Gibson picked me up in the mornings and really pushed me when I first started on varsity,” Retell said. “He got me mentally better, in shape and stronger.”

It showed as he piled up victories.  In his eighth and ninth grade years, Retell combined to win over 80 matches with just eight losses at 103 and 112 pounds, respectively. Both times, he qualified for the state tournament and won a match.

It looked like he was headed for the Times Union Center to compete again as a sophomore at 120 pounds before his season was cut short.

“I broke my hand the week before the qualifiers,” Retell said. “I went to the state tournament and watched a little, but it was so tough to watch because I couldn’t wrestle.”

He bounced back with another strong campaign as a junior, notching over 40 wins at 120.  He nabbed seventh at the Eastern States Classic in January, pinning eventual Division II state champion Trey Aslanian of Edgemont and topping All-State grappler Santo Curatolo of Tottenville.

In his third trip to the NYS championships this past February, Retell recorded a pair of pins and fell one win shy of making the podium.

“I felt like I should have wrestled better,” he said. “I messed up a couple of times. Not big mistakes, but little mistakes that cost me matches.”

A few weeks later, Retell again advanced to the placement round at a big event, this time the NHSCA Junior Nationals in Virginia Beach, where he went 4-2 at 126 pounds, just missing All-America status.

The Section 2 competitor was far from done, however. He finished in the top three in both Freestyle and Greco at the New York States in May, wrestled against European grapplers on the July trip with his club and also competed at the Iron Horse Invitational.

But after his journeys, Retell said there’s only place he’s interested in being on the first day of March – the Times Union Center.

“This year, I’m looking to win a state championship,” he said, noting that he’s currently targeting 126 pounds but may be at 132. “It’s all about how you end.”

He hopes to end high on the podium in the state capital.  And after that and all his travels, his destination will be Buffalo.

Who's #1? Yianni Diakomihalis Ascends to the Top of the National Rankings at 106; 10 NYers Included in the Polls

Diakomihalis, Photo by BV

It may not be a surprise after he captured the Super 32 Challenge title in a loaded field.  But on Wednesday, it became official.  Hilton’s Yianni Diakomihalis is the top ranked wrestler in the country at 106 pounds (according to FloWrestling).

Diakomihalis defeated the now-#2 grappler, Gage Curry of Pennsylvania, in the championship match in Greensboro, North Carolina and also beat current #3, Tyler Warner of Ohio, by a 14-3 score in the semifinals at the Super 32.  He’ll look to capture his second consecutive New York state crown in 2013-14 after winning gold at 99 pounds as an eighth grader last year.

Diakomihalis is one of 10 Empire State wrestlers in the rankings, including six others in the top 10 at their respective weights. Here’s the list of New Yorkers:

Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton, Freshman, Section 5) – 1st at 106

Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville, Junior, Section 11) – 6th at 120

Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowaga, Senior, Section 6) – 5th at 138

Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich, Junior, Section 4) – 20th at 138

Louis Hernandez (Mepham, Senior, Section 8 ) – 6th at 152

Corey Rasheed (Longwood, Senior, Section 11) – 8th at 160

Burke Paddock (Warsaw, Senior, Section 5) – 9th at 160

Christian Dietrich (Greene, Sophomore, Section 4) – 14th at 182

Rich Sisti (Monsignor Farrell, Senior, CHSAA) – 15th at 220

James O’Hagan (Seaford, Senior, Section 8 ) – 8th at 285

Section III Preview: State Champion Derek Spann and Runner Up Danny Fox Among the Title Contenders in 2013-14

Last year, New York Wrestling News previewed each Section prior to the start of the high school season.  To kick things off this fall, here’s a look at Section 3.

Special thanks to John Drew of  cnywrestling.com for his significant contributions to this article.

For the past two years, Nick Tighe of Phoenix, Zack Zupan of Canastota and Shayne Brady of Carthage have represented Section III in the finals at the state tournament. Tighe won three New York State championships, while Zupan added two and Brady one.  Now, with all three on rosters at Division I schools, who will be next to represent Section III on Saturday night at the Times Union Center?

Spann, Photo courtesy of cnywrestling.com

You don’t have to look far in Division II, as a pair of finalists return (champion Derek Spann of Adirondack and runner up Danny Fox of Dolgeville), in addition to numerous other medalists.  In Division I, New Hartford’s Kelan McKenna is back after earning All-State honors for the first time.  Let’s take a glance and see what Section III has to offer for 2013-14.

Division I

Seniors to Watch

Ben Honis of Jamesville-Dewitt picked up a bevy of quality victories last season at 195 pounds after making a name for himself nationally with All-America honors at Fargo in the summer of 2012.  Honis brought a 39-3 mark into the state tournament after defeating eventual Division II state champion Hunter Ayen and returning placer Tyler Smith during the season.  He also took third at the prestigious Eastern States Classic. However, he suffered an injury while capturing gold at the Section III championships and as the number three seed, dropped his first bout in Albany to eventual runner up Levi Ashley of Shenendehowa before defaulting out of the tournament.  In his last season, he has the capability to finish high on the medal stand.

Multiple 12th graders won a bout at the Times Union Center in 2013 and will look to win a few more this time around –  Thomas Hill of Fulton in the lightweights and Carthage heavyweight Trevor Gibbons. (Kevin Paul of Baldwinsville also wore the Section III singlet in Albany for the second time).

While Joe Nasoni of Baldwinsville and Patrick Quinlan of Fayetteville-Manlius haven’t had a shot at the state championships yet, this could be their chance.  Nasoni has been third at the qualifier the past two seasons and had a stellar 41-3 campaign at 195 pounds as a junior, including a December pin over two-time state champion Zack Zupan of Canastota (who bumped up in weight for the match).  Quinlan, the Section runner up at 132, won more than 30 bouts, including multiple victories against state qualifiers.  In fact, he defeated Connor Grome of West Genesee, who represented Section III in Albany, three out of four times, with the only loss coming at the Section championships.

Who Else is Ready to Make a Run?

Clearly, Kelan McKenna knows the feeling of earning All-State status.  He began with a loss in the state capital, but responded with three consecutive consolation victories to make the podium with a sixth place showing.  Now, he’ll be looking to climb higher on the ladder.

In his first taste of state tournament action, Sonny McPherson recorded a pin over Suffolk County’s Joe Piccolo at 170.  McPherson, a Section champion as a freshman in 2013, followed up with All-America honors at the NHSCA tournament in Virginia Beach.  The future looks bright for the Indian River grappler as well as his teammate Nick Toutant, who faced a tough road after topping seventh grade phenom Frankie Gissendanner in his opening bout at the Times Union Center at 126 pounds. Toutant picked up close to 40 victories and has what it takes get his hand raised plenty of times again this year.  The same could be said for Fulton’s Mitchell Woodworth, who notched a win at the state tournament as a sophomore at 106 and looks for more after collecting more than 30 victories.

Dempsey King of New Hartford is no stranger to Albany, as he competed in 2012 at the state tournament.  Last season, he compiled over 30 wins at 113 pounds, but didn’t get a return ticket.  He hopes to change that in February.

King faced Andrew McFarland three times last year and the Carthage grappler won each time.  McFarland recorded 33 total wins, including one against state qualifier Thomas Hill (although Hill returned the favor at the Section III event).  In addition, McFarland continued his winning ways after the season, becoming an All-American at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach.

Jerrett Norton of Cicero North Syracuse, a transfer from Central Square, had 31 wins last year before sustaining a season-ending injury at the CNY tournament in January.  At that time, he looked to be on course to contend for a Section title. He recently wrestled at the Super 32 Challenge and according to John Drew, he’ll be among the favorites at the state qualifier this time around.

Mike Mills of Liverpool had quite a summer.  According to Drew, he defeated multiple All-State wrestlers at summer dual meet events.  He’ll have a chance to translate that success onto the mats for the Warriors this season.

Team Race

Baldwinsville won the Section tournament last season with a slim, two-point margin over Fulton.  Around 30 points behind was third place CBA/Jamesville-Dewitt.  Who will step up to the top this year?

Baldwinsville should have a strong foundation and a lot of returning points as one of the squad’s two champions (Kevin Paul) is back as are bronze medalists Connor Ross, Chad McArdell and Joe Nasoni and fourth placer Gunnar Sutphen.

As for Fulton, champions Mitchell Woodworth and Thomas Hill should be in the lineup again, although finalist Brennan Roberge graduated. Third placer Brandon Hill and fourth placer Joe Abelgore also should pick up significant victories for the Red Raiders.

Keep an eye on Fayetteville-Manlius, a team on the rise that could contend for a top three finish at the Sectionals, according to Drew.

Division II

Seven placewinners return in the small school division, including five top four finishers.  Leading the way is Adirondack’s Derek Spann, who went all the way to state gold in a one-loss season.  Spann actually split 99-pound duties with Ryan O’Rourke for part of the season until the latter wrestler moved up to 106.  O’Rourke seemed to handle the transition just fine, as he went on to take fourth in New York at the higher weight.

Fox, Photo courtesy of cnywrestling.com

Both Spann and O’Rourke shared the podium with fellow Section III grapplers in Albany.  Theo Powers of Mexico nabbed sixth at 99 and Dolgeville’s Danny Fox was the runner up at 106.  All four lightweights are threats to win big again in 2013-14.

Seniors to Watch

Ryan Snow has been a fixture at the state tournament.  The General Brown senior has taken second, third and fourth in his career.  Can he get over the hump to grab the top prize in his last high school season?

His teammate, Tyler Silverthorn, will be looking to do the same thing.  A sixth place finisher in 2012 at 160 pounds, Silverthorn moved up to fifth as a junior and is looking to progress a few more spots. Silverthorn has shown the ability to compete at the national level, earning All-America accolades in Virginia Beach on multiple occasions.

Like Silverthorn and Snow, Laken Cook of Ilion (Central Valley) is familiar with the podium in Albany, having placed twice earlier in his career (as an eighth grader and as a freshman).  He entered last year’s tournament as the number two seed at 126 pounds, but was unable to get back to medal status.  Can he return to the podium one more time?

Nick Koelmel emerged as a contender last year, bringing an undefeated mark into the state tournament at 145 pounds.  He ultimately grabbed fourth after garnering a 3-2 record at the Times Union Center, however, he has another chance to go for gold for Immaculate Heart Central.

Daniel Smith of South Jefferson has shown he can go with some of the nation’s elite with victories over wrestlers such as Fargo All-Americans Ryan Preisch (PA) and Christian Stackhouse (NJ).  Now, he wants to translate that to state glory.  The University at Buffalo recruit has kept very active in the offseason, including a fall appearance at the Iron Horse Invitational, and looks to make it count while moving up in weight.  His teammate Logan LaFlamme has placed behind Zack Zupan in the Section the past few years, but earned a wildcard to Albany in 2013 where he registered a pin in less than a minute in his first wrestleback contest.  He will look for his first title at the qualifier and more.

And speaking of upperweights that got their hand raised in Albany, Lane Frost (VVS) rode the momentum of his 195-pound triumph at the Section 3 championships to a 12-0 major decision in his opener at the NYS tournament.

Wyatt Morris of Morrisville Eaton will begin the season as one of the top heavyweight prospects in Division II.  He won a pair of bouts in Albany last season, coming within one victory of placing. All of his matches in the state capital were nailbiters – a 3-2 opener, an overtime loss to eventual runner up Matt Montesanti in round two, a double overtime triumph and a 1-0 setback against former finalist Alex Soutiere.  He’ll aim to turn those close losses into victories as a senior.  But he’ll have some notable challengers in the Section, including Canastota senior Jacob Morris, who had 35 victories a year ago and has a Class championship on his resume.  Also look out for Tyler Havener of Oneida.

Also Keep an Eye On . . .

Alex Herringshaw of Holland Patent collected All-State honors in eighth grade.  He moved up several weights to 132 a year ago and again qualified for the tournament, but didn’t make it back onto the podium.  He’ll have another chance as a sophomore to do so.  His teammate, Hunter Richard, is another young wrestler to watch. As an eighth grader in 2013, he won the Section and made his Albany debut.  He kept active in the offseason, including an 11-2 combined record in Freestyle and Greco at the Schoolboy Nationals in Indianapolis.

How about Dolgeville’s Noah Handy?  He racked up over 30 wins, a tournament title (Class D) as well as several second and third place showings in the lightweights.  According to Drew, he’s right on the cusp of breaking into the next level after his third place finish in the Section in 2013.  And speaking of Dolgeville, after a narrow 4-3 loss in the semifinals to eventual champion Mike Boyle at 120 pounds a year ago, junior Ben Nastovski should make noise.  He had more than 30 wins and nearly 20 pins a year ago.

Onondoga junior Tyler Field rolled to a 36-3 mark and four tournament titles a year ago.  After a 5-2 semifinal defeat at the hands of Ryan Snow in the 126-pound semifinals at Sectionals, he’s itching to get back on the mat in 2013-14.

Mexico’s Trevor Allard and Jacob Woolson both had successful seasons in 2012-13 with at least 40 wins.  Woolson finished second in the Section at 170 behind the previously mentioned Daniel Smith, with four of his seven losses coming to the South Jefferson wrestler.  Allard saw success in the offseason, collecting All-America honors at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach with a seventh place showing at 160.

In addition to Allard’s podium finish, Section III was well represented in that tournament. The appearances of Sonny McPherson and Andrew McFarland on the medal stand were already discussed.  Additionally, Owen Albanese of Canastota (220), William Hilliard of Phoenix (170) and Riccardo Dawkins of General Brown (182) earned All-America status.

Team Race

South Jefferson had a magical ride in 2012-13, winning the Section both in the dual and tournament formats.

Two of three finalists for the Spartans will take the mat again, as Daniel Smith and Logan LaFlamme will man the upperweights while lightweight placers Caleb Beach and Jared Carroll will look to move higher.  According to Drew, the squad should be tough in tournaments and duals once again.

Don’t count out General Brown, which returns the bulk of the lineup from last year’s 20-plus win team that made a deep run at the Section III Dual championship.  The star-studded upperweights, featuring Tyler Silverthorn, Colton Erb, Riccardo Dawkins and Zech Pitre should carry the Lions far again this year.

Mexico returns a number of studs, including the previously mentioned Trevor Allard, Theo Powers and Jacob Woolson.  Those wrestlers form the nucleus of the most powerful Tigers lineup in recent memory, according to Drew.

You can never forget about Phoenix.  The Firebirds lost a pair of state finalists to graduation (Nick Tighe and Rowdy Prior), however, the squad has the potential to score a lot of tournament points with returning fourth placer Brad Dietz as well as medalists William Hilliard and Tim Gandino, among others.

Looking for a darkhorse?  According to Drew, Dolgeville may be a good place to look.  The Blue Devils boast one of the best lightweight lineups in the Section with Noah Handy, Danny Fox and Ben Nastovski and when you throw in 40-match winner Triston Engle and class champs Richard Lyon and Kasey Foster, it’s easy to see the squad piling up dual and tournament victories.

Returning Qualifiers from 2013 – Division I

Kelan McKenna, New Hartford (99) – 6th Place

Mitchell Woodworth, Fulton (106)

Thomas Hill, Fulton (113)

Kevin Paul, Baldwinsville (120)

Nick Toutant, Indian River (126)

Sonny McPherson, Indian River (170)

Ben Honis, Jamesville-Dewitt (195)

Trevor Gibbons, Carthage (285)

Returning Qualifiers from 2013 – Division II

Derek Spann, Adirondack (99) – Champion

Theo Powers, Mexico (99) – Sixth

Danny Fox, Dolgeville (106) – Second

Ryan O’Rourke, Adirondack (106) – Fourth

Hunter Richard, Holland Patent (113)

Ryan Snow, General Brown (126) – Fourth

Laken Cook, Ilion (126)

Alex Herringshaw, Holland Patent (132)

Nick Koelmel, IHC (145) – Fourth

Tyler Silverthorn, General Brown (160) – Fifth

Daniel Smith, South Jefferson (170)

Logan LaFlamme, South Jefferson (182)

Lane Frost, VVS (195)

Wyatt Morris, Morrisville Eaton (285)