Buffalo Signs 10 Recruits for the Fall of 2014, Including Eight New Yorkers

The early signing period for wrestling ends today, however, Buffalo’s recruits wasted no time providing their National Letters of Intent.  The Bulls inked 10 wrestlers last week, including eight from New York, according to the school website.

The Empire State wrestlers committed to compete for head coach John Stutzman include state champion Sean Peacock of Midlakes and two-time NYS placers Alex Smythe of Eden and Bryan Lantry of Wayne.  In addition, standouts from Section 2 (Shaker’s Blake Retell), Section 3 (Daniel Smith of South Jefferson), Section 4 (Newark Valley teammates Derek Holcomb and Trevor Hoffmier) and Section 6 (Rocco Russo of Frontier) will take the mat in the MAC conference in the future.

Also joining the class is nationally-ranked Kyle Akins of Illinois and Super 32 placer Jake Gunning of Pennsylvania.


For the full release from buffalobulls.com, see this link.

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 . . .


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:


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


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

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

Vito Arujau (Syosset) over Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton)



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


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.


"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.


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


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)


Champions in Vegas: Tristan Rifanburg and Connor Calkins Win Titles at the "Freak Show"; Cirillo and Cox Take Second

Two New York wrestlers ended their weekend in Vegas with championships.

At the Southwest Kickoff Classic, otherwise known as the “Freak Show”, three-time state finalist Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich grabbed gold at 138 pounds while Connor Calkins of Alfred-Almond earned first place at 288.  Both represented Team NYWAY.

Rifanburg, Photo by BV

Rifanburg was in control throughout the event, beating his five opponents by a combined score of 36-2, including a 6-0 triumph over Jacob Macalolooy of Dragons Den in the title bout.

Calkins was similarly dominant, with four victories at heavyweight.  After taking top honors at the Journeymen Classic a few weeks ago, the Binghamton recruit followed up with a strong showing in Nevada, including a 5-2 triumph over Justin Gillham in the championship contest.

Also placing in the High School Elite Division was Lansing’s two-time state titlewinner William Koll, who nabbed fifth at 128 pounds with a 6-2 mark.  Both of his losses came by two points to New Mexico’s Richard Rico Montoya, however, Koll notched a technical fall and a major along the way.

At 108 pounds, John Arceri of Huntington/Ascend came within one win of the podium after capturing three victories, while Mexico’s Theo Powers also competed in that bracket.  Also on Team NYWAY was Julian Korfine, who took the mat at 143 pounds.

In the 15 & Under Division, New York boasted a pair of second place finishers – Thomas Cox of 631 Elite/VHW at 95 pounds and Rocky Point’s Anthony Cirillo at 108.  Cox won his first four contests, giving up just two points, before dropping the finals match to Jaden Abas.

Meanwhile, Cirillo had an incredible run to the finals, pinning his first five foes. (None of the matches lasted three minutes).  Hayden Uhler stopped Cirillo’s streak in the championship round.

Cirillo’s Rocky Point teammate Jackie Gold also saw success, racking up a major and three technical falls at 125 pounds.

In the 9 & 10 competition, Carter Schubert of Superior Wrestling Academy took fifth at 61 pounds after collecting five wins.  He was a champion in Vegas in 2012.

For full results, see www.trackwrestling.com and search for “Southwest Kickoff Classic”.

Super 32 Update: State Champs Diakomihalis and Hernandez Among the NY Wrestlers Still in Contention in Greensboro

Hernandez, Photo by BV

After a full day of competition in Greensboro, NC, New York has a number of wrestlers alive in the chase for the Super 32 championship belt.  That includes a pair of 2013 state titlewinners – Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton, 106) and Louis Hernandez (Mepham, 152).

Diakomihalis, who won a Middle School crown at this event last year, was dominant with two pins and a technical fall during the day.  Hernandez cruised as well, with seven and nine point wins in his first two bouts before receiving a forfeit in the Round of 16.

After winning a challenging bracket at the Iron Horse a few weeks ago, Rocky Point’s Tom Dutton followed up with four straight victories at 145 to punch his ticket to the quarters.  Another champion at the Iron Horse, Steve Schneider of MacArthur, posted a trio of wins, including a pin at 170. Fellow Long Island wrestler Vincent Feola of Walt Whitman notched a fall and a one-point decision at 220, while former Longwood standout (and current Wyoming Seminary grappler) Nicky Hall will also appear in the Round of 8 tomorrow, at 182 pounds.

In addition to the quarterfinalists mentioned above, several other Empire State wrestlers remain in contention for spots on the podium, including state champion Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville at 120 pounds and NYS finalists Vito Arujau of Syosset (113) and Vincent DePrez of Hilton (145).  Also still in the mix after a successful first day on the mat in North Carolina are East Islip’s Dennis Ferro at 152, Clarence’s Jake Weber and Rocky Point’s Joseph Russo at 170 and former Pine Bush competitor Chris Cuccolo at 106.

Sunday’s Scheduled Matches for NY Wrestlers – Super 32 Challenge

In the quarterfinals:

106: Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton) vs. Hunter Lucas (OH)

145: Tommy Dutton (Rocky Point) vs. Grant Leeth (MO)

152: Louis Hernandez (Mepham) vs. Jacob Danishek (IN)

170: Steve Schneider (MacArthur) vs. Chance Marstellar (PA)

182: Nicky Hall (Wyoming Seminary/Longwood) vs. Stephen Loiseau (PA)

220: Vincent Feola (Walt Whitman) vs. Antonio Pelusi (PA)


In the wrestlebacks:

106: Chris Cuccolo (St. Benedicts/Pine Bush) vs. Jarrett Reisenbichler (MO)

113: Vito Arujau (Syosset) vs. Patrick D’Arcy (NJ)

120: Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville) vs. Tyrone Klump (PA)

145: Vincent DePrez (Hilton) vs. Chandler Pyke (GA)

152: Dennis Ferro (East Islip) vs. Paden Bailey (OK)

170: Jake Weber (Clarence) vs. Jacob Cooper (MI)

170: Joseph Russo (Rocky Point) vs. Joe Heyob (OH)