Binghamton Recruiting 2013: A Look Back at the Making of the Highly-Ranked Class

Recruiting for the Class of 2014 has been officially underway for a little over a week.  However, before we completely shift our focus forward, we took a quick look back at the class that Binghamton put together for the fall of 2013.

According to the rankings produced by a number of wrestling publications, Binghamton had the best recruiting class of the Division I programs in New York this year. Flowrestling slotted the Bearcats into the #25 spot nationally while D1 College, placed the team at #24. (Columbia also made an appearance in Flo’s article, garnering an honorable mention nod).

When looking at the Binghamton class, what immediately stands out is the strong Empire State presence. Among the seven New Yorkers are eight state championships, 21 All-State showings and more than 10 All-American performances. There’s representation from Section 3 with three-time state titlewinner Nick Tighe and two-time champion Zack Zupan as well as a pair of Shenendehowa standouts – 2013 state gold medalist Nick Kelley and third placer David Almaviva. Adding to the mix in the lightweights are two-time state champion Kyle Kelly from nearby Chenango Forks and Nassau County’s Robert Person, with the upperweights adding Bryce Mazurowski, who was the Division II state runner up as a junior and senior at 195. When the “Top Seniors in New York” feature was done prior to the start of the campaign, Zupan, Kelley and Tighe were ranked 1-2-3.

So, how did Binghamton land many of the Empire State’s best and a top 25 class nationally in Matt Dernlan’s first year as head coach? The program’s recruiting coordinator, Jasen Borshoff, provided some insight.

“We sat down and talked about how we wanted to keep the best kids in state and get them to Binghamton,” Borshoff said. “If you look at the results from the last 10 years, you see New York is way up there in All-Americans. We felt that if you can keep the best New York kids here, you can succeed at the national level. That’s not to say we won’t recruit some kids from out of state. We probably will since we’re close to Pennsylvania and Ohio. But we believe we need to keep New York’s best here and we can win with New York wrestlers.”

Borshoff continued by referencing the 30 for 30 ESPN special about the University of Miami football team during their championship years.

“That part of Florida produces all these awesome football players,” he said. “Miami set up a 200 mile radius and said they weren’t going to let those kids go anywhere else. They were determined not to be outrecruited in their area.  That’s the mentality we have here with New York wrestlers. We don’t want to let anyone outrecruit us for the best around here.”

The Bearcats were able to do it by targeting a relatively small set of wrestlers.

“In the past, I probably called over 100 kids in the summer and hadn’t seen many of them wrestle,” he said. “But last year, before the New York State tournament, we were looking at around 16 kids, who we watched wrestle and got to know pretty well. We kept a pretty small focus.”

With that focus, they were able to emphasize the direction that the new staff planned for the Bearcats going forward.

“Most of the guys weren’t really interested in Binghamton at first – they wanted to go out of state or had other schools in mind,” he said. “Coach Dernlan got in front of them at their houses and told them all about the vision and philosophy. Things went from there and they came on board. Hopefully, we can reproduce that success with this year’s class and set ourselves up even more for the next several years here.”

The wrestlers are excited to get started, as all will be spending the summer on campus, getting their feet wet both academically and on the mat.

“We think we have a bunch of tough kids coming in,” Borshoff said in late June. “They’ll all be here in early July. They’ll be taking classes. They’ll be putting in work. We believe some of them will be starters this season. The great thing is, every single one of them asked to come up for the summer. They want to be here, getting started. That’s exactly what we want. We believe we have the best recruiting class in Binghamton wrestling history.”


Cornell's Mark Grey Earns Second Trip to Junior World Championships … And More from the Junior World Team Trials

Mark Grey represented the United States at the Junior World Championships in 2011, taking fifth at 55 kg. After his stellar performance in Stillwater, Oklahoma on Sunday, he’ll once again aim for a Junior World title as he earned the 60 kg spot on Team USA with a perfect day in a loaded field.

Grey began with an 8-3 decision over Earl Hall, a 2012 World Team member who spent the last year at the Olympic Training Center. He followed with a hard fought 6-4 triumph over former Blair Academy teammate Joey McKenna, the eventual third place finisher.


That put Grey into the best-of-three championship series against Zane Richards of Illinois. At the recent FILA Junior Nationals in Las Vegas in the spring, the two grapplers met for bronze, with Richards coming away with a 2-0, 5-1 victory.

Grey turned the tables on Sunday, capturing the opening bout 5-4. In the second contest, Richards got off to a strong start, but Grey rebounded to win 6-4 and punch his ticket to Bulgaria, where the World championships will be held in August.

Grey will be a freshman at Cornell in the fall, as will three other wrestlers who placed at the event, including a pair at 74 kg/163 pounds.

Dylan Palacio went directly to the championship series after his FILA Junior National crown in Las Vegas. He faced Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State, who took third at the NCAAs in March. On Sunday, the Cowboy defeated Palacio in two matches to take the World Team slot.

In order to get to the championship series against Palacio, Dieringer squared off with another future Big Red wrestler in the title bout of the Challenge Tournament – Brian Realbuto. Realbuto had a strong showing with a 4-1 record. He started with a 7-0 win over McCoy Newburg and followed with a 6-4 decision over Yoanse Mejias. He then came out on top of two high scoring affairs, a 20-13 triumph over Dylan Reel and a 15-10 victory over Isaiah Martinez.

Another Cornellian, Gabe Dean, dropped his opener at 84 kg/185 pounds, but bounced back with three consecutive wins, by a combined score of 24-4, to get to the bronze bout before taking fourth in the Challenge Tournament.

Those weren’t the only Ivy Leaguers to have success on Sunday. Columbia recruit Garrett Ryan notched second in the 120 kg Challenge bracket after defeating the second seed, Brooks Black, 8-6 in the semifinals.

On the Greco side, a pair of New Yorkers took third place in the Challenge event. Jessy Williams, a Section 4 native, grabbed bronze at 60 kg, while Warsaw state champion Burke Paddock did the same at 74 kg. Paddock came back from a first round loss to score 22 points in his consolation matches on his way to third.

Hofstra’s Jamel Hudson recorded two technical falls at 60 kg in freestyle during a 2-2 day in which both setbacks came against third placer Joey McKenna.

For full results, see here.

Merkin, Cummings, Bethel Undefeated on Day 1 of Cadet Freestyle National Duals

Team New York took the mat on Friday in Florida at the Cadet Freestyle National Duals, picking up a victory over a squad from the host state. The Empire group went 1-2 on the day, also competing against Pennsylvania and Oklahoma.

Leading the way were a trio of undefeated wrestlers.  Poly Prep’s Leonard Merkin was dominant in all three of his bouts, garnering two pins and a technical fall at 138 pounds.  Joining Merkin at 3-0 were 160-pounder Andy Cummings and 220-pounder James Bethel. At 120, Jackie Gold lost his opening match but rebounded with a decision and a tech fall to end Friday with a pair of victories.

Contests against teams from Georgia and North Carolina are on the schedule for Saturday.

For full results, see

Army Head Coach Joe Heskett Inducted into the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame

Army head coach Joe Heskett was one of five inductees into the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame over the weekend, joining Dale Brand, Kirk Myers, Troy Steiner and Terry Steiner.

The Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame began in 2002 and recognizes individuals who “have impacted the sport of wrestling on a national level, as well as in the state of Iowa”.

Heskett, a graduate of Iowa State University, was a four-time All-American and three-time finalist, who won an NCAA title in his senior campaign.

In a February article on, Heskett said the following about his selection:

“First and foremost, I would like to thank the selection committee, as well as the Dan Gable Museum and Glen Brand Hall of Fame. I would also like to congratulate my fellow inductees. As I reflect upon my career, I am so grateful for the sport of wrestling and its role in developing my character and mentality. Being recognized in my sport at the highest level is an absolute honor. This humbling honor is an extension of the love and support that I have received throughout my life. This induction directly correlates to the love and sacrifice of the woman who raised, supported and mentored me, my grandmother, Evelyn.

“I am blessed beyond belief, and this induction is shared with all my coaches, specifically Bobby Douglas and my high school coach Bill Barger. This honor is also shared with my family, close friends, the Iowa State community, the Cal Poly and Ohio State communities and the community here at West Point. In closing, this honor is shared with my three gold medals Olivia, Ava and Joey.”

Heskett coached at Cal Poly and Ohio State before becoming the head coach at West Point.

For more, see here.

A Quick Look at the National Ratings: Who From New York Ended the Year Ranked?

Who ended the 2012-13 campaign in the national rankings? We took a look at the most recent postings by Intermat, Flowrestling, Amateur Wrestling News and WIN to see which New Yorkers were included. The rankings by the former two sites were updated after the NHSCA/Flowrestling events, while the others are from before those tournaments occured.

A number of wrestlers were named on one or more of the websites, with sophomore Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville, junior Burke Paddock of Warsaw and senior Tyler Grimaldi of Half Hollow Hills West ranked in the top 20 at their weights by all four of those publications.

Piccinnini, Photo by BV

Piccininni, a two-time state champion, is Flo’s #7 113 pounder in the nation. He ranges from #15-18 on the other sites.  He is also a top 30 recruit in the Class of 2015 according to both Intermat and Flo.

Grimaldi and Paddock ensured that the Empire State is well represented in the 160-pound standings. Paddock ranges between #10 (Intermat) and #15 (Flo) and is also a top 100 recruit in the class of 2014, according to Intermat and Flo.  Meanwhile, Grimaldi is #12 by both Intermat and WIN and #14 and 16 on the other sites.

While not in the top 20 at their weights at this point, Intermat believes both Greene’s Christian Dietrich and Hilton’s Yianni Diakomihalis are among the elite wrestlers at their grade levels. In addition, Flowrestling ranks Diakomihalis and Eastport South Manor’s Adam Busiello among the country’s best at the junior high level.

For the full list of rankings, see below: (Please comment with any changes or additions).


Zach Bacon (Hornell) #17 at 220 (Intermat), #18 at 220 (AWN)

TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River) Top 100 Senior recruit (Intermat), #9 at 126 (Intermat), #12 at 126 (Flo)

Tyler Grimaldi (Half Hollow Hills West) Top 100 Senior in the Nation (Flo), #12 at 160 (both Intermat and WIN), #14 at 160 (AWN), #16 at 160 (Flo)

Mike Hughes (Smithtown West) #18 at 285 (Intermat)

Nick Kelley (Shenendehowa) #13 at 138 (WIN)

Nick Tighe (Phoenix) #17 at 138 (AWN)

Zack Zupan (Canastota) Top 100 Senior in the Nation (Intermat and Flo), #8 at 182 (Intermat), #16 at 182 (AWN), #15 at 182 (Flo)


James O’Hagan (Seaford) #20 at 285 (Intermat)

Burke Paddock (Warsaw) Top 100 Junior in the Nation (Intermat and Flo), #10 at 160 (Intermat), #11 (WIN), #13 (AWN), #15 (Flo)

Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowoga) Top 100 Junior in the Nation (Intermat and Flo), #13 at 132 (Intermat), #18 at 132 (Flo)

Corey Rasheed (Longwood) Top 100 Junior in the Nation (Flo), #13 at 152 (Flo), #16 (WIN)


Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville) Top 50 Sophomore in the Nation (Intermat and Flo), #7 at 113 (Flo), #15 (Intermat), #17 (WIN), #18 (AWN)


Christian Dietrich (Greene) Top 20 Freshman in the Nation (Intermat)


Adam Busiello (Eastport South Manor) Top 50 Junior High Wrestler in the Nation (Flo)

Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton) Top 10 Junior High Wrestler in the Nation (Intermat and Flo)


**AWN Rankings are from March 14; WIN rankings are from April 2, Flo and Intermat rankings more recent

Beat the Streets's "Rumble on the Rails" Will Feature Team USA vs. Russia and Iran in NYC in May

For years, the annual Beat the Streets event in New York City has featured some of the best wrestling talent around.

2013 will be no exception.

On May 15, Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall will be the host of the “Rumble on the Rails”, involving three of the world’s top wrestling nations – the United States, Russia and Iran.  Action is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. when the United States takes on the Iranians.  Shortly afterwards, Beat the Streets exhibition matches will take place before the US and Russia square off in another dual at 6 p.m..  Following the competition, the annual Beat the Streets Gala will begin at the Bryant Park Grill.

The nations will come together to support both the Beat the Streets program as well as show unity for the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement.

For more information, see Here.



"The Debate Will Finally Be Settled": Elite Wrestlers To Battle at the Inaugural Long Island vs. Upstate Challenge in Ithaca



 Coming this weekend, March 30th, to Cornell University is an event that has the opportunity to be the number one offseason All Star match to ever hit New York State. It is the best “Upstate” has to offer pitted against the best Long Island has to offer in a dual meet format. We had a chance to catch up with the brains behind the operation, Kris Harrington of the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club (FLWC).

“I grew up in New York State and competed on many Freestyle and Greco National teams and it was always a fun rivalry growing up,” Harrington said.  “So one day I was in a meeting with [Cornell head] coach [Rob] Koll and we thought, wouldn’t it be cool to see who is better? So we made a few calls and here we are.”

The athletes will be receiving custom uniforms provided by CF Athletics and the out-of-area competitors are being provided hotels by the FLWC. Tickets are on sale at, or at the door — $15 for reserved seating or $10 for general admission.

Kyle Dake will be a guest of honor, coming out for the coin toss, and staying after speaking with the competitors.

The main event, which will start at 4:30 p.m. will have three matches of DI versus DII state champions: at 126 TJ Fabian (Long Island) against William Koll (Upstate); at 152 Corey Rasheed (Long Island) vs. Kevin Thayer (Upstate), and last but not least at 160, Tyler Grimaldi (Long Island) vs. Burke Paddock (Upstate).

There are a total of 14 state champions between the two rosters, and 29 of the 30 competitors have placed in the state.

Nick Garone of Eastport South Manor is coaching the Long Island team.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity and getting the chance to coach not only the best kids in Long Island but some of the best in the United States,” he said.

Garone said he went to the best wrestlers in both Nassau and Suffolk counties and asked the highest finishers in the state one by one until one said yes. He didn’t exactly have to look far because more than half of his squad is made up of state champions and no one placed less than 4th in the state.

“I think I have a team that could compete with any team in the country,” he said.  “I haven’t had a chance to look at the other lineup, but it will definitely be a great match and I am looking forward to this weekend. We are only four days away until crunch time and I’m excited.”

Garone wanted to add one more thing. “There might be a special halftime match between myself and Coach Koll, and I’m going to win,” he said.

John Leone of Penfield will be coaching the Upstate squad.

“I’m really looking forward to putting the team we put together out on the mat,” Leone said.

He will have six state champions on the mat, and all members of the Upstate team have at least qualified for the state tournament.

“I think this is going to be a great event, and I hope in the near future it will be mentioned in the same sentence as the Dapper Dan,” Leone said.

One of the matches that could be at Dapper Dan level will be the third bout between Tyler Grimaldi of the Long Island team and Burke Paddock of Upstate.

“We have seen each other in freestyle and folkstyle this season,” Grimaldi said, noting that he won in freestyle and Paddock got the victory at the Eastern States Classic. “We are one and one and this is the grudge match. He’s a great athlete and an even better wrestler, but I’m looking to come out on top. This is going to be great for New York State. It’s going to cause a huge boom, and draw a lot of fans, and I’m just excited to see Burke again so we can do our part in bringing in the fans.”

Reggie Williams of the Upstate team will also be getting an opportunity to avenge a loss. He’ll face Dan Choi of Syosset, this year’s state champion at 195, who defeated Williams at the state tournament.

“It’s my chance to show the state that I just had a bad day,” Williams said, adding that he’s looking for some redemption. “Someone I look up to is Kyle Dake and I’ve learned from what he does. He goes out and looks for the best competition, and with this being my last year I definitely want to get the best competition possible.”

Last week, Williams traveled to Athens to take on Ryan Wolcott, the 220-pound state runner up out of Section 4 and he came out the victor 1-0. He has a little momentum coming in and is looking to score some points for the Upstate team.

This is going to be the first of many great battles between Long Island and Upstate. Look for this event to catch and spread like wildfire throughout New York, and maybe next year, even more New York State champions will take part.

To watch a stream of the main event, see here.


Long Island vs. Upstate Challenge – Main Event (Rosters as Provided on Tuesday)

99 – John Busiello (Eastport South Manor) NYS Third vs Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton) NYS Champion

106 – Kyle Quinn (Wantagh) NYS Champion vs Jon Haas (Spencerport) NYS Third

113 – Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville) 2x NYS Champion vs Anthony Orefice (Lockport) Multi-Time NYS Placer

120 – Travis Passaro (Eastport South Manor) NYS Third vs. Alex Delacruz (Ossining) NYS Champion

126 – TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River) NYS Champion vs Will Koll (Lansing) 2x NYS Champion

132 – Mark West (Hauppauge) vs Brandon Lapi (Amsterdam) NYS Runner Up

138 – Tommy Dutton (Rocky Point) NYS Fourth vs Connor Lapresi (Lansing) NYS Champion, Runner Up

145 – Louis Hernandez (Mepham) NYS Champion vs Vincent Deprez (Hilton) 2x NYS Runner Up

152 – Corey Rasheed (Longwood) NYS Champion, 2x Runner Up vs Kevin Thayer (Unatego) NYS Champion

160 – Tyler Grimaldi (Hills West) NYS Champion, Runner Up vs Burke Paddock (Warsaw) NYS Champion, Runner Up

170 – Dan McDevitt (Wantagh) NYS Third, Fifth vs Jake Weber (Clarence) NYS Qualifier

182- Gio Santiago (Sachem North) NYS Third, Sixth vs Tim Schaefer (Warsaw) Multi-Time NYS Placer

195 – Dan Choi (Syosset) NYS Champion vs Reggie Williams (Johnson City) NYS Runner up

220 – Rich Sisti (Monsignor Farrell) NYS Champion vs Mike Silvis (Holley) NYS Third

285 – Michael Hughes (Smithtown West) NYS Champion vs El Shaddai Van Hoesen (Columbia) NYS Runner Up, Fourth

At 2 p.m., there will be a dual between wrestlers from the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club and a squad from Section 5.  This meet will feature several state champions/finalists from this February, such as Shayne Brady of Carthage, Ryan Wolcott of Waverly and Christian Dietrich of Greene for the FLWC and Sean Peacock from Midlakes.  In addition, 2013 state placers such as Tyler Silverthorn and Connor Calkins (FLWC) and Andrew Flanagan, Bryan Lantry and Ian James (Section 5) will take the mat.

Finger Lakes Wrestling Club VS Section 5 (Rosters as Provided on Tuesday)

*99- Brandon Gould (Watkins Glen) vs Parker Kropman (Penfield)

106- Jackson Bell (Owego) vs Andrew Flanagan (Holley), 2x NYS Placer

*113- Zack Ruggles (Marcellus) vs Bryan Lantry (Wayne), NYS Fourth

*120- Kaleb Stone (Tioga)  vs Sean Peacock (Midlakes), NYS Champion, Runner Up

126- Ryan Snow (General Brown) NYS Placer vs Lou Deprez (Hilton), NYS Qualifier

*132- Joel Rosko (Campbell Sovona) vs Frankie Gissendanner (Penfield) NYS Qualifier

*138-Jesse Manuel (Tioga) vs Vinny Romeo (Canandaigua)

*145- Trevor Hoffmier (Newark Valley) NYS Qualifier vs. Skylar Kropman (Penfield)

*152- Tyler Silverthorn (General Brown) 2x NYS Placer vs. Anthony Deprez (Hilton) NYS Qualifier

*160- Leland Slawson (Unatego), NYS Qualifier vs Josh Powell (Churchville Chili), NYS Qualifier

*171- Christian Dietrich (Greene), 2x NYS Placer vs Jared Mesiti (Brockport), NYS Qualifier

*182- Shayne Brady (Carthage), NYS Champion, Runner Up vs Max Kowal (Webster Thomas)

195- Andrew Barnhart (Whitney Point) vs Collin Pittman (Spencerport), NYS Qualifier

*220- Ryan Wolcott (Waverly), NYS Runner Up vs Sam Eagan (Churchville) NYS Fifth

*Hwt- Connor Calkins (Alfred-Almond), NYS Fifth vs Ian James (Greece), NYS Sixth

For more information on the two duals, see here.