Heavyweight State Placer Ian James Chooses University at Buffalo

Making it to the state tournament.  That was the main goal of Greece’s Ian James going into his junior season in November of 2012.

That objective was within his reach as he took the mat in the 285-pound SuperSectionals title bout last February.  The task wouldn’t be easy, however, as he was set to face a familiar foe – Spencerport’s Austin Coleman.

The two heavyweights had already met three times during the season.  In the first match, James came out on top 3-1, however, Coleman had captured the last two.  To ensure a spot in Albany – and achieve his goal – James knew he had to even the score.

“By the fourth time wrestling him, I was confident,” James said. “I stuck to what I did the first time and was able to win the match.”

Indeed, he was, earning the Section 5 title and a ticket to the Times Union Center with a 4-1 triumph.

Courtesy of Ian James

“It was a really big step for me,” he said. “It felt great to accomplish that – I knew I worked hard enough to get it done.”

But there were still more achievements on the way in Albany, although James didn’t have the start he was looking for in the state capital.

“Going into my first match was nerve-wracking,” he said. “It felt like my first time ever wrestling. The nerves stuck with me the whole match. I felt flat; not on top of my game at all.”

That opening bout with Anthony Puca of Huntington was a battle that went three overtimes before the Suffolk County grappler came out on top, 3-2.

But after focusing all year on getting to the state tournament, James wasn’t going to make it a short, two-bout experience.

“I felt like after my first match, all the jitters were gone,” he said.  “I just got into my zone where I wanted to be and focused on what I wanted to do.  After being down, I pushed myself to do better.  Those were the hardest matches of the year with everyone going for the same goals.  My wins were probably the best wrestling I did all year.”

He captured three contests in a row, beginning with an overtime victory over Chris Alianakian.  He then won 5-1 against Andrew Brinser of Union-Endicott and 7-5 versus Terrence Cheeks of Newburgh to clinch All-State status.  He finished with one-point losses to bronze medalist James O’Hagan of Seaford and Mike Manni of Tappan Zee to nab sixth place in the state.

Afterwards, he continued to pick up quality wins, including at the Section 5 vs. Finger Lakes Wrestling Club dual meet that was part of the Long Island vs. Upstate Challenge in March.

In that competition, James pinned Connor Calkins of Alfred-Almond, a Division II state placer who had some impressive offseason results, including crowns at the Journeymen Classic and the Freak Show.

“It felt good to be selected to be in that kind of event,” James said.  “It was the best kids in the Section doing what they love to do most.  I felt honored and kind of nervous to be in that environment – at Cornell, with great high school and college wrestlers around.”

He soon will be a college wrestler himself, as he committed to the University at Buffalo.

“I decided on Buffalo for a lot of reasons,” James said. “It’s close to home and it’s a program on the rise.  I like where the program is going and I want to be a part of it.  It’s also good that there will be a lot of Section 5 kids there.”

Speaking of Section 5 kids, James keeps thinking about his rival last year, Austin Coleman, who went on to the state finals after James defeated him at the state qualifier.

“It’s something that drives me, that I beat someone who took second in the state,” James said. “The way I’m working in the practice room, I feel like I can win states this year. That’s my goal. I was pretty excited to place last year.  It got me ready for this year, where I plan to come back and win it all.   Last year was just a stepping stone.”

A stepping stone to potential state glory.  And a stepping stone to college wrestling at Buffalo.

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Ian James wanted to thank all of the coaches who helped him through the years, since he started wrestling in seventh grade.

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 . . .

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.

 

"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.”

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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

 

Weekend Preview: Looking at the Binghamton Open, Brockport/Oklahoma Invitational and More

Top notch wrestling in the Empire State kicked off on Friday with the 2013 NYAC Holiday Invitational.  But that high level Freestyle and Greco event is just the start of great action in many parts of New York this weekend.

As the college season continues to ramp up, Binghamton welcomes nearly 400 wrestlers, including close to the full rosters from two of the nation’s best squads – Penn State and Cornell – for Sunday’s Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open. Meanwhile, Empire State teams such as Army and Buffalo will compete at Brockport, along with #5 Oklahoma and others.  In addition, Ithaca College will host the always tough Ithaca Invitational.

Let’s take a look at the Binghamton Open in more detail.

125 Pounds:

The Frontrunners: Nahshon Garrett made his Cornell debut last season at this event and made a splash right off the bat, winning the title. This year, Garrett, currently ranked third in the country, could face #2 Nico Megaludis of Penn State.  Those wrestlers met at the Southern Scuffle last season, with Megaludis picking up a 3-1 decision.

Who else will look to challenge? Bricker Dixon of the Big Red was fourth at this tournament last year, while the Binghamton duo of David White and Mike Sardo will look for some big wins at home.

New York Note: Welcome to college wrestling! A number of recent New York high school stars are scheduled to compete as freshmen this weekend, including state champions Kyle Kelly (Chenango Forks, Binghamton) and Trey Aslanian (Edgemont, Princeton) as well finalist Cheick Ndiaye (Brooklyn International, Finger Lakes Wrestling Club).  In addition, Jacob Green (Chenango Forks, Cortland), Lewis Yablans (Jericho, Boston), Mike Parise (Brewster, Maryland) and Mat Bradice (William Floyd, Cortland) are some of the other recent Empire State graduates in the field. (Sean McCabe of Rutgers, a redshirt freshman from Connetquot and Nassau Community College transfer John Pellegrino of West Virginia will also take the mat in this class).

133 Pounds: 

The Frontrunners: In 2012, the Bearcat Open featured a number of young, talented wrestlers at 133. Lehigh’s Mason Beckman came out on top, defeating Mark Grey for the title. (Grey, now a freshman at Cornell ranked #8 nationally, rebounded to beat Beckman in their other two meetings last year).  Nabbing third in 2012 was Penn State’s Jimmy Gulibon, while 2013 EIWA champion Randy Cruz was sixth.

Grey and Gulibon could be headed for another battle after two overtime matches last season (won by the Nittany Lion). They will be joined by several other contenders, such as Maryland’s Geoff Alexander (ranked 16th nationally) and NCAA qualifiers Dane Harlowe of Boston, Jordan Conaway of Penn State and Nathan Pennesi of West Virginia. In addition, two of last year’s Bearcat Open placers at 125, Harvard’s Jeff Ott and Lock Haven’s Bobby Rehm, will compete in this class.

New York Note: Like at 125, a number of accomplished members of the New York high school class of 2013 are scheduled to take the mat, including state champions Nick Tighe (Phoenix, Binghamton), TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River, Sacred Heart) and Dylan Realbuto (Somers, Finger Lakes Wrestling Club) as well as NYS placer Robert Person (Bellmore-JFK, Binghamton).

141 Pounds:

The Frontrunners: The field includes two-time All-American Mike Nevinger as well as last year’s Bearcat Open third place finisher Dan Neff of Lock Haven. They are at #6 and #16 nationally, respectively.  This weight also offers some highly regarded young talent such as Penn State’s Zain Retherford and Rutgers true freshmen Anthony Ashnault, Tyson Dippery and Corey Stasenko. Their Scarlet Knight teammate Ken Theobold was sixth in Binghamton a year ago and is registered at this weight. In addition, Princeton NCAA qualifier Adam Krop makes his return after missing last season. West Virginia’s Colin Johnston is someone to keep an eye on, as is Division III All-American Brian Bistis of Cortland.

New York Note: The battle for the 141-pound starting job for Binghamton could continue with Dylan Caruana, Dylan Cohen and Brian Conrad all in the field. In addition, former Lansing High teammates Connor Lapresi (Bucknell) and Corey Dake (Cornell) will see college action close to home, while NYC wrestler CJ Rodriguez takes the mat for the FLWC.

149 Pounds:

The Frontrunners: Joe Bonaldi of Binghamton made waves at this event in 2012 when he captured the 141 pound class, beginning with an upset of Nevinger in round one.  After missing most of last season, he’s back and looking to make an impact at 149. Who will be the contenders at this weight, along with Bonaldi? Cornell’s Chris Villalonga, Penn State’s James English, Harvard’s Todd Preston and last year’s Bearcat Open runner up Mac Maldarelli of Lock Haven are some possibilities.  Also, watch out for Cortland’s Bobby Dierna, the bronze medalist at the Division III championships in 2012.

New York Note: Former Section II wrestler Brendan Goldup will make his first college appearance for Sacred Heart.

157 Pounds:

The Frontrunners: Last year, Brian Realbuto captured the Bearcat Open title in a class that included 2013 All-Star Classic participant Nestor Taffur of Boston, two-time All-American Walter Peppelman of Harvard and Penn State’s James Vollrath, among others.  Now a Cornell freshman, Realbuto will look for a repeat performance.  Looking to stand in his way could be wrestlers such as Taffur and Vollrath as well Anthony Perrotti of Rutgers.

New York Note: Another set of 2013 New York State champions will see their first college action in Binghamton.  Half Hollow Hills West’s Tyler Grimaldi will take the mat for Harvard, while Unatego’s Kevin Thayer will do the same for Alfred State.  Also competing is freshman Brendan Dent (Cortland), who was All-State last season for Connetquot.

165 Pounds:

The Frontrunners: The heavy favorite will be Penn State’s David Taylor.  Who might the three-time NCAA finalist face? Boston’s Mitch Wightman was a placer at this event last year, as was Cornell’s Marshall Peppelman (at 174).  Nick Visicaro of Rutgers, Jake Kemerer of Lock Haven, Dylan Palacio and Craig Eifert of Cornell, Vincent Grella of Binghamton and Harvard’s Devon Gobbo are some others to watch.

New York Note: After winning FILA Juniors in the spring, the previously mentioned Palacio will take the mat for the Big Red for the first time.  Meanwhile, multi-time NYS placer and Peru graduate Troy Seymour is scheduled to wrestle, representing Wyoming Seminary.

174 Pounds:

The Frontrunners: Like at 165, an NCAA finalist headlines the weight. In this case, it’s Penn State’s Matt Brown. A year ago, Cornell’s Duke Pickett placed at the Bearcat Open.  He’s in competition for the Big Red starting role with Owen Scott and Jesse Shanaman, who are registered to compete as are Binghamton’s John Paris and Jack McKeever, EIWA placer Ryan Callahan of Princeton, Division III All-American Lou Puca of Cortland and highly regarded rookie Eric Morris of Harvard.

New York Note: Two-time state champion Zack Zupan of Canastota will see his initial college competition in his redshirt year.

184 Pounds:

The Frontrunners: Nittany Lion Ed Ruth is coming off a totally dominant campaign and a second straight NCAA championship.  He didn’t wrestle at the All-Star Classic last weekend, but is signed up for Sunday.  Gabe Dean returns as a Big Red freshman after taking fourth at this tournament for the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club in 2012.  Caleb Wallace of the Bearcats, Lock Haven’s Fred Garcia and Dan Seidenberg of Rutgers will be in the mix.

New York Note: There are a number of New York wrestlers competing in their home state in their first year of college wrestling. They include Cortland teammates Jagger Rebozo (Half Hollow Hills West) and 2012 state champ Nick Bellanza (John Glenn) as well as Tom Filipkowski (Mattituck, Sacred Heart). McZiggy Richards is also taking the mat for the FLWC.

197 Pounds:

The Frontrunners:

Morgan McIntosh of Penn State (third) and Jace Bennett of Cornell (sixth) return after placing at least season’s Bearcat Open.  Both are ranked nationally. Look for two-time NCAA qualifier Cody Reed of Binghamton to also contend.

New York Note: Division III All-American Joe Giaramita is one to watch, as is the debut of Cornell’s Steve Congenie, a highly regarded freshman who missed last season with injuries.

285 Pounds:

The Frontrunners:

A trio of nationally-ranked wrestlers are set to compete on Sunday – Billy Smith of Rutgers, Jimmy Lawson of Penn State and Kevin Innis of Boston.

Several other notables to track include NCAA qualifiers Riley Shaw of Cleveland State, Jacob Kettler of George Mason and Stryker Lane of Cornell as well as Binghamton’s Tyler Deuel, Cornell’s Craig Scott and Jacob Aiken-Phillips, Harvard’s David Ng and Nick Gajdzik and West Virginia’s AJ Vizcarrondo.

New York Note: Long Island natives Dan Hayden (East Islip) and Nick Lupi (Huntington) will take the mat for Sacred Heart in their first college action.  In addition, Cornell’s Craig Scott earned second at this event last year – at 184.  He has put on significant weight and will make his heavyweight debut.

——————-

A few hours away from Binghamton, the Brockport/Oklahoma Invitational will take place on Saturday.  Last year, the event included the host school plus American, Army, Buffalo, Maryland and Oklahoma.  With the exception of the Terrapins, those teams are expected back and Bloomsburg will be joining the field.  Returning champions from the 2012 version of the event are:

Cody Brewer, Oklahoma (133)

Kendric Maple, Oklahoma (141, now at 149)

Nick Lester, Oklahoma (149, now at 141)

Blake Herrin, American (285)

Army is off to a 2-0 start after dual victories over Franklin & Marshall and Stevens Tech.  This tournament will be the first action for Buffalo under new head coach John Stutzman.

Check back for updates and results from these events.  Results from the NYAC Holiday Invitational and other events will also be posted.

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

A New Era for the Bulls: University at Buffalo 2013-14 Season Preview

It’s a new era at Buffalo as former star John Stutzman returned to his alma mater this spring as the Bulls head coach after a successful run as the leader of the Bloomsburg program.

“Things are going well,” Stutzman said. “The administration here is behind wrestling and that’s great.  There’s been a big transition.  The guys have been buying into the philosophy and that’s been awesome.  With the discipline and the kids we brought in, we changed the culture in less than six months. The guys are doing the right things socially and academically.  When that happens, the wrestling piece is that much easier. It’s an exciting time and we’re moving forward.”

The squad welcomed a lot of newcomers – 14 of the 26 wrestlers on the October 30 roster on buffalobulls.com are freshmen with only three seniors.

“I like our youth,” Stutzman said. “The only way the young guys know is our way.  They’ve been ‘all in’ since day 1.  They want to start and be the guy, and that’s created competition in the room.  The young guys have us excited for the future, but our returners have been amazing. Guys like Angelo [Malvestuto], Wally [Maziarz], the Soria brothers [Max and Mike] and others have been great leaders for us.”

Those leaders will help the team through a demanding schedule that begins in Brockport with the Oklahoma Gold tournament.

“Our schedule is very challenging right from the get go,” Stutzman said. “We have a chance to see a perennial top 10 team in Oklahoma to gauge where we’re at right away.  There are a lot of things to be excited about – we’re excited about the MAC conference, which is arguably the second best in the country for wrestling.  We’re also really looking forward to the Iowa match. Anytime you can wrestle at Carver Hawkeye Arena, that’s an exciting time for your program.”

Let’s take a look at who may make an impact for Buffalo in Stutzman’s first year at the helm.

125:

Max Soria, Photo by BV

Max Soria, a two-time NCAA qualifier for the Bulls, is the favorite to start.  The former Kings Park standout led the squad in takedowns a year ago, while finishing second in total wins.  Stutzman mentioned that he’s also pleased with the progress of Hunter transfer Jaydon Rice, a former Pennsylvania state placewinner.

“Max Soria has done awesome,” Stutzman said. “He’s working really hard.  He’s always done well at the MAC championships at the end of the year.  With the way he’s been training, I think he can get off to a faster start than usual, stay consistent and get on the podium at the national tournament. We’re looking for him to be our sparkplug at 125.”

133:

Stutzman said 133 could be a “dogfight” to see who takes the mat for Buffalo among Justin Farmer, a senior who won seven times last season, recent addition Jason Estevez of New Jersey and Mike Soria, who has competed at 125 in previous years for the squad.

“Justin Farmer has been a spot starter for a few years and is entering his fifth year,” Stutzman said. “I’m kind of forcing Mike [Soria] up.  I want to separate the brothers – they’ve been fighting for starting spots since they were little kids.  We’re trying to put weight on Mike and I think he’s bigger than he’s ever been.  I’m happy with the way Mike and Justin are progressing.”

In a recent release about Estevez joining the program, Stutzman said, “Jason will make an immediate impact for us and is capable of winning at a high level right way.”

141:

Another battle could take place at 141, where Northern Illinois transfer Nick Flannery and Erik Galloway will square off.  [Galloway began his college career at Pittsburgh]. Stutzman said that Flannery does have the option to redshirt, but “he wants to scrap.”

“I’m really high on Nick Flannery,” Stutzman said. “He’s had some success, but now we need to try to get him to be consistent throughout the year. He’s technically getting better and he’s really talented. I think he can have a breakout year. We expect big things. Galloway has been a starter and a MAC placewinner. They’ll push each other and hopefully we can get on the podium at this weight.”

149:

Redshirt freshman John Northrup looks like a strong candidate to man this class for the Bulls (although he may begin at 157, according to Stutzman). In addition, several newcomers could push to wrestle in their first year on the Buffalo campus.

“John Northrup has had a good preseason,” Stutzman said. “He’s a Section 5 guy who has been working really hard.  We’ll have some guys behind him like Jake Campana from New Jersey and Ryan Todora, a multi-time placewinner in Pennsylvania.  We’re trying to redshirt those guys but it’s not set in stone yet.”

157:

Wally Maziarz won 23 bouts at this weight last year.  Stutzman said the plan is to have him return to 157, however, it may not be until the second semester. Looking to challenge is Muhammad McBride.

“Wally is big and strong and we’d like to get him to ‘57’ by the second part of the year,” Stutzman said. “He’s a great leader who has been getting better daily.  We’re excited about him. McBride is a really interesting story. He never wrestled in high school but has been wrestling in the club system since he was a little kid. His father wrestled here and he could surprise people. He’s one of those gifted students – graduated from community college at 16.  He wanted to wrestle and is doing a phenomenal job.”

165:

As mentioned earlier, Maziarz will likely be here for at least part of the campaign.  New York medalist Rrok Nkodaj will also fight for the job after coming in from Bloomsburg.  Stutzman said Ryan Therrien from Massachusetts is also in the mix.

“Rrok is a super hard worker with a great attitude,” Stutzman said. “Wally and Rrok have bought in 100% and are unbelievable workers. The best guy will get the nod.”

174:

This is another spot with a number of wrestlers that could make an impact.  Among them are Bloomsburg transfer Tyler Rill, sophomore Jarred Lux and Section 9 alum Austin Weigel.

“We’re really excited about Tyler Rill’s development,” Stutzman said. “He knows how to wrestle – he’s crafty and talented and getting stronger every day. Jarred Lux has had a really good preseason. He was a spot starter last year and he’s really starting to figure it out. He’s getting consistent with his training and believing in himself. Austin Weigel is a true freshman. Those three guys set us up well at ‘65/74’ for a couple of years.”

184:

Tony Lock, a former high school national champion and state titlewinner at Pioneer, saw time at this weight in his rookie year and looks to do so again in 2013-14.  Another wrestler to keep tabs on is Joe Ariola, an Illinois standout.

“Tony Lock is a very talented kid,” Stutzman said. “He had an injury this summer, so he’s getting healthy and his weight’s coming down. I’m looking forward to getting him at his optimal weight class. Joe Ariola is an Illinois state champion who’s really good. He has some accolades and is a tough competitor from a good high school program.  We may redshirt him this year.”

197:

Angelo Malvestuto came back to the Buffalo area last year after beginning his college career at Virginia Tech.  In his initial season with the Bulls, he won 14 bouts.

“Angelo has done an unbelievable job,” Stutzman said. “He has made serious gains these last few weeks.  I’m really excited about his potential.  I think he can be an All-American. Coach [Bryce] Hasseman has done a great job with him. His skill set keeps getting better.

285:

A number of wrestlers could see time at heavyweight for the Bulls this year. Stutzman mentioned freshman Anthony Tufaro and two New York natives – Mike Silvis of Holley and James Benjamin of Vestal as two competitors who could take the mat at either 197 or 285.

“Anthony Tufaro is coming on, but he’s battling some injuries,” Stutzman said. “He probably won’t be ready right away. It could be heavyweight by committee for us this year. I think you’ll see our best lineup more toward January 1.”

Will the Bulls improve upon the four NCAA qualifiers they had in 2013?  How many young wrestlers will contribute to Stutzman’s first Buffalo team?  We’ll see how the squad looks when they hit the mat on November 9 at the Oklahoma Gold tournament.

“As a whole, the team will fight hard and be competitive,” Stutzman said. “We’ll be in great shape. We’re just getting better.  The program is doing the right things; training hard with a great attitude.  We’ll continue to progress daily and get ready for the national tournament.”

Diakomihalis Captures the Super 32 Title as Five Others Place in High School Action; Adam Busiello Strikes Middle School Gold

BY MATT DIANO

One year removed from the heartbreak that witnessed several New York wrestlers come close, but only one Empire Stater (Shayne Brady) make the podium at the 2012 Super 32 Challenge, one could not help but feel that when the NY wrestlers took to the mats this weekend in Greensboro, North Carolina, they would be competing with a chip on their shoulders; a little extra motivation; a need to prove that last year was an exception and not the rule.

With all the dust having now settled in the Coliseum, 2012 has officially been put in the rearview mirror following an amazing collective effort which yielded six top-8 finishes, the second most ever earned by New York in the 14-year existence of the Battle for the Belt. (New York had nine placers in 2009).

Led by 106-pound champion Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton), the Empire State would also emerge with a runner up finish at 182 (Nicky Hall), a bronze medal showing at 152 (Louis Hernandez), a pair of fourth place finishes (Nick Piccininni at 120 and Vincent Feola at 220), and a seventh place effort from Thomas Dutton at 145 pounds.

Diakomihalis

Diakomihalis entered the tournament as the #3 ranked wrestler in the nation per Flo after winning the 2013 NYS large school title as an eighth grader in the 99-pound weight class. The Hilton star would be nothing short of dominant on Sunday, going 3-0, including back-to-back bonus point performances in the quarter and semifinal rounds to punch his ticket to the title bout.  Kicking off the morning by securing a first period fall over Ohio’s Hunter Lucas via cradle, Diakomihalis would make a huge statement in the semifinals when he upended 2013 Ohio DII state champion Tyler Warner, 14-3, in a clash of the #2 and #3 ranked wrestlers in the country.   The fab frosh would take the title with a methodical 3-0 decision over sixth-ranked Cage Curry of Pennsylvania in a bout that was not as close as the score would indicate.  Scoring a takedown in the first period and then adding an escape in the second, Diakomihalis would never give his Keystone State foe an opportunity to get on the board, racking up a plethora of riding time.  After winning the Middle School crown in 2012,  Diakomihalis becomes only the second New York wrestler to ever win a Super 32 High School title. (Joe Booth in 2007 was the first).

Hall, a fifth-year for coach Scott Green at Wyoming Seminary (PA), would make his home state proud in finishing second at 182.  Because he is considered a postgraduate, the former Longwood standout is not eligible for an individual national ranking.  However, this weekend more than proved that he is among the nation’s elite as he would go on to defeat the #20 wrestler in the land, Stephen Loiseau of Lancaster Catholic (PA), 6-0 in the quarterfinals, before besting 2013 Michigan third place finisher/#19 (@195) ranked, Ty Wildmo (who upset the 11th ranked wrestler in the quarters), to advance to the finals.  In the championship match, the recent North Carolina State commit would give a game effort, constantly looking for his offense.  But alas, a second title for the Empire State would not be in the cards as Hall dropped a 5-2 decision to Zack Zavatsky.  With the #9 ranked Zavatsky headed to Virginia Tech next fall, Sunday’s finals match could have been the commencement of a long ACC rivalry between these two talented competitors.

Taking the long way to the bronze medal would be the defending NYS large school champion from Mepham, Hernandez.  A product of the Ascend Wrestling Club, with his mentor, Craig Vitagliano in his corner, the day would begin with a bit of whimper for the #13 ranked wrestler in the nation.  Pitted in a tight quarterfinal bout against #4 Jake Danishek, Hernandez appeared to be the aggressor for much of the duration, but would be unable to convert on any of his takedown attempts.  With the match deadlocked at 1-1, the three-time Ohio state champion out of Dayton would explode for a controversial takedown in the final half minute and would hold on in the closing seconds to earn the 3-2 decision.  This questionable loss would be the only one of the day for the stud from Nassau County as he would go on to win four consecutive bouts in the consolation bracket, highlighted by a 7-5 decision over the nation’s #3 wrestler, Fox Baldwin (Florida) in the wrestleback semifinals.  Hernandez would also post 10-2 and 8-3 victories over National Prep third place finisher, Toby Hague, and New Jersey fourth place medalist Zack Hertling prior to his aforementioned win over the Floridian.  In the bronze bout, Hernandez would win a low scoring affair, recording the only takedown of the match to secure the 3-2 decision over 2013 Virginia runner up, Jack Bass.

Piccininni would demonstrate the heart and perseverance that has made him a two-time NYS champion for Ward Melville, rebounding from Saturday’s disappointing upset loss in the round of 16 to go 4-1 on Sunday.  Beginning his journey back to a top-four placement with a 3-0 shutout over 2013 Pennsylvania bronze medalist Tyrone Klump of Nazareth, the wrestler from Suffolk would survive a bit of a scare when he was taken into sudden victory by fellow nationally ranked (13th) opponent, Kyle Akins of Illinois.  With the match all knotted up at 3-3, Piccininni would waste little time in making sure he advanced, quickly getting in deep and finishing on the 2013 Illinois state champion.  In the consolation quarters, Piccininni would run into a familiar foe in the person of New Jersey’s Anthony Cefolo.  A 3-0 winner over the Garden State representative two weeks ago at the Iron Horse Invitational, the Ward Melville standout would make it two-for-two against the Hanover Park product, notching an 8-4 decision. The Empire State’s top-ranked junior would pick up his final win of the tournament in the consolation semifinals, defeating fan favorite Troy Gregor, from the host state, 5-1.  In the bout for the bronze, Piccininni would come up just short of third place honors, losing a hard fought 4-3 decision to the nation’s top-ranked wrestler, Sean Russell from Georgia powerhouse Collins Hill.  Russell finished second at the Super 32 last season.

Perhaps the most surprising top-8 finisher for New York would be Feola, who came to the Tar Heel State as a relative unknown, but leaves it as a hot commodity following his 2-2 effort on the final day of competition.  The Walt Whitman High School and Vougar Honors Wrestling Club representative may have raised his stock more than any other Empire Stater this weekend.  A fourth place finisher at the Suffolk County Tournament in 2013 for Walt Whitman, he would lock up a spot on the podium when he jumped out early and then kept his composure late to earn a 5-4 decision in the quarterfinals over LaSalle College High School’s Antonio Pelusi.  However, in the semifinals, 2013 Massachusetts state champion Ian Butterbrodt would have his arsenal from the top position on full display, earning several series of back points to deny the Long Islander a spot in the finals with the 11-1 major decision.  Feola would split his final two bouts of the weekend, sticking his consolation semifinal opponent, 2013 Florida runner up Ben Cruz, in 84 seconds before finding himself on the short end of an 8-3 decision in the third place bout to 2012 Georgia silver medalist, Matthew Moore.

Speaking of stock that continues to skyrocket, Rocky Point’s Dutton had another stellar outing. Two weeks after winning the Iron Horse, the junior who finished fourth in Albany last season, would come up clutch again, posting a .500 record (2-2) on day two in North Carolina to become the second member of his family to finish in the top-8 at this event. (Older brother, Stephen, who currently wrestles for the University of Michigan, was a two-time S32 placewinner, including a runner up showing in 2009).

Dutton’s morning would begin on something of a sour note following an 11- 2 major decision loss to two-time Missouri champion/#8 ranked wrestler in the country, Grant Leeth. However, Dutton would need less than a minute in the consolation bracket to guarantee himself a placement finish, earning the fall at the 58 second mark over 2013 Pennsylvania sixth place finisher, Billy Barnes.  Like Feola, Dutton would split his final two matches of the tournament, losing a 10-3 decision to eventual third place finisher, Nick Bennett of Michigan in the consolation semis, but then putting an exclamation on a solid weekend with a 4-3 decision over two-time New Jersey runner up, Gary Dinmore.  This “w” makes two in a row for Dutton over Dinmore, as he also defeated him by one point (3-2) at the Iron Horse.

Falling just short of the podium, but still very deserving of recognition were the following wrestlers who lost in the round of 12: Vito Arujau (113, Syosset), Vincent DePrez (145, Hilton), and Steven Schneider (170, MacArthur).  All were 2013 large school state silver medalists. Arujau would drop a 1-0 decision to eventual eighth place finisher, Eric Hong (PA); DePrez would be defeated by the fourth place medalist, Micheal Longo of California (6-1); and Schneider would be nipped 2-1 by the seventh placer from Ohio, Seth Williams.

Showing that not only is the present bright, but so too is the future were the following Middle School Division placewinners: Adam Busiello (1st @85), Hector Colom (3rd @100), Michael Gonyea (5th @75), Ivan Garcia (6th @ 70), and AJ Burkhart (6th @95).

With a 1-0 victory over Colorado’s Colton Yapoujian in the title bout, Busiello becomes the first New York State wrestler to win multiple Youth Super 32 titles, after cruising to the crown in 2012.  Yapoujian, who won a Super 32 gold medal in 2011 and placed second last season, entered the tournament as the pound-for-pound #6 junior high prospect on the Flo rankings board.  Busiello is expected to compete on the varsity this season as a seventh grader for coach Nick Garone’s Eastport-South Manor squad.

Colom, who set the school record for victories in a single season as a 7th-grader with 37 (37-5) for Dunkirk, would compile a 5-1 record on the day, opening the tournament with three straight wins, including a 4-2 decision over Flo’s #19 junior High School prospect, Mason Turner of Olathe, Kansas. In fact, the 2013 Section VI 4th place finisher appeared destined to go all the way to the winner’s circle before being tripped up in the semifinals by the 32nd rated youth wrestler, Brian Stuart of Maryland. The 12-year-old superstar would return to his winning ways in the consolation bracket, pitching shutouts in each of his final two bouts of the tournament, including a 3-0 decision in the bronze medal match against Council Rock, PA’s Benjamin Radner.

Notching four pins in his five overall victories would be the Journeymen Wrestling Club protege, Gonyea, who went 5-2 with victories over opponents from Vermont, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.  The two opponents who were successful in getting their hands raised against him would later go on to finish 2nd and 3rd overall in the tournament.

Garcia (representing the Apex Wrestling Club) and Burkhart (Waverly) would go a combined 7-6 in rounding out the NYS youth contingent’s performance with their previously noted sixth place finishes.

Congratulations to all NYS placewinners!

FINAL High School BRACKETS

Final Middle School Brackets (free registration required)

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”.