Journeyman Classic Breakdown: Thoughts and Observations on Sunday's Competition

The Journeymen Classic attracted participants from more than 20 states with top notch talent across the weights. Given that, it wasn’t surprising to see college coaches all over Niskayuna High School, watching the action throughout the day. With six mats in two different gyms, we didn’t watch everything that took place, but here are some thoughts on the event:

(To see videos from the event, click this link).

Corey Rasheed, Frank Popolizio, Yianni Diakomihalis, Nick Piccininni; Courtesy of Adam Burgos

1. Not surprisingly, the undefeated state champions looked like …. undefeated state champions. The Most Outstanding Wrestler honors were awarded to Yianni Diakomihalis (113), Nick Piccininni (120) and Corey Rasheed (160).  All were impressive in going unbeaten and capturing titles.  Diakomihalis faced a tough field (see #2) but continued his winning ways, while Piccininni was in control throughout, including a 10-2 major in the finals against Florida’s Radley Gillis, an NHSCA National champion. Rasheed said that he didn’t feel 100% in his return from injuries, but you wouldn’t know it, as he topped New England champion Andrew Labrie and Fargo All-Americans Jesse Porter and Christian Stackhouse by a combined score of 21-5.  Fellow unbeaten New York gold medalist Rich Sisti cruised to the 225 title, while Louis Hernandez did the same at 152.  And Christian Dietrich, who joins the previously mentioned Empire State grapplers in the national rankings (at 170), went up to 195 pounds and still was in charge all the way through, with a technical fall, a pin and a 12-3 combined score in his other matches.

2. Any time a returning state champion finishes fourth, you know the weight is tough. That was the case at 113 pounds where Wantagh’s Kyle Quinn was defeated early in the day by East Islip’s Jesse Dellavecchia (fourth in New York at 99 in 2013).  Later on, fellow Nassau County grappler and NYS finalist Vito Arujau topped Quinn for bronze, 3-0.  That came after some other great bouts in the bracket, including a state championship rematch between Diakomihalis and Arujau. It’s too early to say whether all of those wrestlers will be at 113 during the high school season, but it was certainly fun to watch this weekend.

3. Those weren’t the only championship performances for New York. At the NUWAY Nationals on the Jersey Shore this summer, Matteo DeVincenzo won the title in a field that included New York placers such as Kelan McKenna and Theo Powers.  That was once again the case on Sunday, as the Port Jefferson state runner up captured a 106 “A” bracket full of heralded competitors, including McKenna and Powers as well as Super 32 Middle School silver medalist Peter Pappas and All-Stater Vinny Vespa.  In Sunday’s finals, DeVincenzo defeated Section 2’s Josh Logiudice, a state qualifier who will be a tough matchup for anyone in his senior season.  Logiudice picked up quality victories over Powers and Vespa.

And how about Connor Calkins of Alfred-Almond?  At the Times Union Center in February, he bested returning state finalist and top seed Alex Soutiere in the opening round of the state tournament and made the medal stand, grabbing fifth.  It looks like he’s ready to go even higher in 2014, as he won the 285 weight at Journeymen with a 6-3 triumph over national champion Jesse Webb of Vermont.

It would be fair to say it’s been a good week for Travis Passaro.  First, he committed to continue his career at Hofstra.  In Albany, he celebrated by winning a challenging weight which included state champion Alex Delacruz, New York placer Mike D’Angelo and All-Americans from out of state such as Kevin Jack and Zach Valley. He cruised in the title bout, 6-0, over Payton Shuford.

4. Several other wrestlers made statements.  One was Jakob Restrepo, who topped a pair of New York silver medalists – Frank Garcia and Brandon Lapi, as well as Pennsylvania state placer Jalen Palmer on his way to the finals in the 145 “A” bracket.  He lost in sudden victory there to New Jersey’s Gary Dinmore, one of the top 100 seniors in the nation according to Intermat.  Restrepo’s performance comes after a successful offseason in which he earned All-America honors in Cadet Freestyle at Fargo and won the Super 32 qualifier at Shippensburg. Another second placer, Sam Ward of Locust Valley, looked good on Sunday, beating multi-time New Jersey placer Joe Trovato as well as Florida medalist Anthony Petrone on his way to the 140 “A” title bout, where he was topped by NHSCA National champion Clay Walker of South Carolina.  He’ll be a contender in Division 2 this year after taking fifth last season at 132.

5. There were plenty of standout showings outside of the “A” brackets as well.  Hector and Tito Colom, who racked up significant victory totals at Dunkirk High last year, breezed through the competition on Sunday, winning all of their matches by bonus points on the way to crowns in the 106 and 113 “B” brackets, respectively.  Middleweights Jimmy Leach (140), Skylar Kropman (145) and Trevor Hoffmier (152) were all unbeaten. Leach went to the Suffolk County finals a year ago and Kropman placed at the Eastern States in 2013.  Both look ready for a breakthrough year as do returning state qualifiers Anthony DePrez (152) and Collin Pittman (182).  Ryan Kromer (160) has already made an appearance on the medal stand in Albany and looks prepared to do it again after beating fellow All-State wrestler Konstantin Parfiryev and qualifier Connor Lawrence at the Journeymen Classic. Jaison White, who won big over the weekend, also went undefeated at the Pop & Flo event in the spring and looks to be someone to keep an eye on at 170.

Journeymen Classic: NY State Champions Claim Titles at Highly Competitive Event

They don’t call it a FloMajor for nothing.

Photo by BV (Radoncic vs. Schneider)

On Sunday, over 200 wrestlers from all over the country took the mat at Niskayuna High School for the Journeymen Classic. Everywhere you looked there were highly acclaimed wrestlers. There were national champions, state champions and All-Americans from Fargo, FloNationals and NHSCAs.  Of course, included in the mix were a number of New York’s top grapplers and there were many highlights for Empire State competitors.

2013 state titlewinners Yianni Diakomihalis (113), Nick Piccininni (120), Louis Hernandez (152), Corey Rasheed (160) and Rich Sisti (225) all captured first place at the event.  They weren’t the only New Yorkers who earned the top spot on the podium in the “A” brackets on Sunday.  All-State grapplers Matteo DeVincenzo (106), Christian Dietrich (195), Travis Passaro (130) and Connor Calkins (285) also grabbed gold.

The Most Outstanding Wrestler Awards went to Diakomihalis (lightweights), Rasheed (upperweights) and Piccininni (overall).

More, including videos and observations on some standout performances, will come later in the week. (The event was in round robin format).

RESULTS (from tournaflex.com)

“A” Brackets

106 Pounds (A): Matteo DeVincenzo dec Josh Logiudice, 6-5

Third: Peter Pappas pin Vinny Vespa

113 Pounds (A): Yianni Diakomihalis dec Jesse Dellavecchia, 6-2

Third: Vito Arujau dec Kyle Quinn, 3-0

120 Pounds (A): Nick Piccininni maj Radley Gillis, 10-2

Third: Thayer Atkins (TX) dec Troy Gassaway, 8-1

125 Pounds (A): Tommy Stokes dec Troy Gregor, 4-3

Third: Ryan Pomrinca maj Jonathan Ryan, 10-1

130 Pounds (A): Travis Passaro dec Payton Shuford, 6-0

Third: Kevin Jack over Zach Valley, fft

135 Pounds (A): Chase Zemenak dec Kent Lane, 4-1

Third: Sal Profaci dec Chris Mauriello, 8-1

140 Pounds (A): Clay Walker dec Sam Ward, 6-1

Third: Joseph Ghione over Anthony Petrone, 9-2

145 Pounds (A): Gary Dinmore dec Jakob Restrepo, 3-1 SV

Third: Frank Carrozza dec Brandon Lapi, 4-3

152 Pounds (A): Louis Hernandez dec Tommy Dutton, 7-3

Third: Fritz Hoehn dec Jake Spengler, 12-5

160 Pounds (A): Corey Rasheed dec Christian Stackhouse, 7-2

Third: Andrew Labrie vs. Tyler Mann

170 Pounds (A): Luke Farinaro dec Steve Schneider, 3-2

Third: Adis Radoncic dec Nicholas Weldon, 10-5

182 Pounds (A): Joe Balboni dec Brett Perry, 9-4

Third: Austin Price dec Phil Woods, 1-0

195 Pounds (A): Christian Dietrich dec Nicholas Costa, 6-3

Third: Nick Weber dec Joe Chimelski, 2-0

225 Pounds (A): Rich Sisti dec Jeff Velez, 9-2

285 Pounds (A): Connor Calkins dec Jesse Webb, 6-3

Third: Patton Gossett pin Matt Kaminer

Additional Brackets

106 (B): Hector Colom TF Calvin Call

113 (B): Tito Colom maj Noah Malamut, 13-2

120 (B): Noah Gonser dec Marcel Laplante, 2-0

120 (C): Anthony Hernandez dec Nick Barbaria, 5-2

120 (D): Jon Errico maj Evan Barczak, 11-0

125 (B): Peter Robinson dec Jake Gillis, 3-1

125 (C): Cross Cannone over Brian Guerrero

125 (D): Joseph Ferinde dec James Szymanski, 7-3

130 (B): Christopher Muce dec Christian Vallis, 3-1

135 (B): Elijah Cleary dec Mike Raccioppi, 6-4

135 (C) John Amato over Mason Byrne

140 (B) Jimmy Leach pin Anthony Lombardo

145 (B): Skylar Kropman fall John Mazza

145 (C): Eduardo Ramirez over Kevin Jackson, 8-5

152 (B): Trevor Hoffmier dec Alec Donovan, 6-4

152 (C): Anthony DePrez pin Jason Hoffman

160 (B):  Ryan Kromer dec Konstantin Parfiryev, 7-3

160 (C): Dan Woughter over Garon Pelesauma

170 (B): Jaison White pin Christian Murabito

182 (B): Collin Pittman dec Rocco Hladney, 4-3

 

 

Who from New York is in the Updated National Rankings?

Last week, Flowrestling released updated national rankings.  10 New Yorkers are included, with five grapplers positioned in the top 10 in their weight classes.  The highest ranking for an Empire State wrestler is fourth – Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville at 120.

The New Yorkers ranked are:

7th at 106 pounds: Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton, Section 5, Freshman)

4th at 120 pounds: Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville, Section 11, Junior)

19th at 132 pounds: Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich, Section 4, Junior)

6th at 138 pounds: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowaga, Section 6, Senior)

12th at 152 pounds: Louis Hernandez (Mepham, Section 8, Senior)

9th at 160 pounds: Corey Rasheed (Longwood, Section 11, Senior)

11th at 160 pounds: Burke Paddock (Warsaw, Section 5, Senior)

11th at 170 pounds: Christian Dietrich (Greene, Section 4, Sophomore)

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

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

 

Nick Piccininni, Photo by BV

Fab Freshmen: Who are the Ninth Graders to Watch in New York This Season?

Recently, we talked about the top Junior High wrestler in New York, Penfield’s Frankie Gissendannerand the #1 ninth grader – Yianni Diakomihalis.  Now, it’s time to talk more about the freshmen. The following is a look at some of the ninth graders to watch in the Empire State this season.  We expect to see strong performances from them – as well as others who will emerge as the season progresses.

Photo by BV

1 Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton) – Diakomihalis has compiled quite a list of achievements before beginning high school.  Among them was the state championship he won in 2013 at 99 pounds in Albany.  In 2012, he captured the Middle School crown at the Super 32 Challenge and won his brackets at the Journeymen Classic, the NYWAY State Championship and the Ohio Tournament of Champions, among others.  His prowess on the mat is well known nationally as both Intermat and Flowrestling have him among the top five wrestlers in the United States in the Class of 2017. For more on Diakomihalis, see this link.

2 Vito Arujau (Syosset) – Arujau and Diakomihalis began this year’s state finals in Division I with a bang, with a battle at 99 pounds that went to the ultimate tiebreaker.  Arujau’s silver medal will no doubt be the first of many trips high on the podium at the Times Union Center.  The 2012 Journeymen Classic champion also took third at the Super 32 Challenge last season and has been all over the place this offseason preparing for another title run.  He went undefeated against tough competition recently at the Waterway Duals in Pennsylvania. Intermat ranks him #11 in the country among freshmen.

3 Evan Barczak (Monroe Woodbury) – A state qualifier in 2013 at 106 pounds, the Section 9 wrestler has a ton of upside after racking up a 34-7 record as an eighth grader.  He saw many of New York’s best, with four of his losses coming to the top four finishers in Division I in Albany.  At the Times Union Center, he was defeated by silver medalist Alex Tanzman and in sudden victory by bronze winner Jon Haas. One of his other setbacks was at the hands of Fulton’s Mitchell Woodworth, a result that he avenged in his opening bout at the state tournament, 6-2. Barczak also was a double finalist at the Cadet New York State championships in Freestyle (champion) and Greco (second place).

4 Lou DePrez (Hilton) – A SuperSectional champion as an eighth grader at 120, Deprez joined his brothers Vincent and Anthony as representatives of Section 5 in Albany in 2013.  DePrez won over 45 matches, including a victory at the state tournament and a win over All-State grappler Ralph Mateo of Midlakes.  He also placed at 120 at the 2012 Super 32 Challenge (Middle School).

5 Hunter Dusold (Locust Valley) – Already a two-time state qualifier at 106 pounds, Dusold sported a 2-2 mark in Albany this year, missing All-State status by one win.  In fact, he lost his medal round bout by disqualification, while his other setback was 2-0 to eventual champion Luis Weierbach.  A NHSCA All-American multiple times in the past (and sixth in 2013), Dusold will join a number of his Locust Valley teammates as returning Section 8 champions looking to make an impact at the Times Union Center in February.

All of the wrestlers above have already shown their abilities at the state tournament.

The same could be said of Tanner Lapiene of Ogdensburg Free Academy, a fourth place finisher at 99 pounds who will look to bring more hardware back to Section 10.

But, there are certainly many wrestlers who haven’t wrestled in the state capital who will make their presence felt as ninth graders in 2013-14.  Who might be prepared to make that leap?

How about Dane Heberlein of Alexander? An NHSCA National champion in 2012 (and a bronze medalist in Virginia Beach this spring), Heberlein has won numerous events around the country.  As an eighth grader, Heberlein won over 40 matches, taking fourth at SuperSectionals as an undersized 99 pounder. Or how about 2012 Super 32 runner up Peter Pappas of Nassau County?  Or any number of young guns from Section 11 such as Hauppauge’s Ben Tepperman, Rocky Point’s Anthony Cirillo and John Glenn’s Zach Ancewicz?  The latter two combined for 67 wins and 10 losses as eighth graders in the loaded lightweights in Suffolk County.  In addition, all three earned All-America status at the NHSCA Middle School Nationals in Virginia Beach this spring.

Don’t forget about Hunter Richard of Holland Patent, who went 41-7 at 113 as an eighth grader. He qualified for the state tournament and won a match in Albany, with both of his losses coming to All-State wrestlers, including eventual champion Dillon Stowell in the first round.  Richard also racked up wins for the Schoolboy Nationals squad in Indianapolis earlier in the offseason (11-2 combined in Freestyle and Greco). Or how about another Hilton wrestler, Michael Spallina, who went 43-5 as an eighth grader at 152 pounds?  He has picked up medals in several national competitions in the past, such as Super 32 (third in 2012) and NHSCAs (champion in 2010 and 2011; fifth in 2012).  Speaking of national events, Garyn Huntley of Oxford Academy collected All-America honors in Fargo this summer at 220 pounds in Greco action.  As an eighth grader, he won close to 25 matches.  Will he take the next step?

This isn’t an exhaustive list – there are many more we’ll be following.  After all, there are always freshmen that step up and make names for themselves.  Who will do so this year?  Feel free to send us an e-mail at newyorkwrestlingnews@gmail.com with nominees.

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Thank you to Mike Carey for all his hard work to make this article possible.  Thanks to all of the other contributors (who know who they are), including Kris Harrington and John Passaro.

Top Wrestlers from All Over the Country Set to Battle at the Journeymen Classic

When describing the top tier brackets at the Journeymen Classic, set for September 29 at Niskayuna High School, the event’s poster said it is “a true battleground for wrestlers on the east coast.”

‘A true battleground’ is certainly the case.  A year ago, a number of eventual New York State champions and placers saw high-level competition at the event. Some, like Yianni Diakomihalis, Nick Piccininni, Nick Kelley and Rich Sisti won their brackets, while others suffered some rare losses.

While the tournament advertisement mentioned the East Coast, it isn’t just an East Coast event anymore.  This year, the first FloMajor of the season has commitments from over 20 states, covering various parts of the country.  A contingent of more than 10 wrestlers is scheduled to come in from California while a similar number from Michigan will make the trip, as will grapplers from Southeastern locations such as Georgia, Florida, Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  There are also expected to be entrants from Texas, Kentucky, Alabama and Arkansas in addition to the large pools of competitors from the Tri-State area and New England.

It’s not just the geographic representation that’s impressive, however. The quality of the participants seems to improve from year to year.

Nine 2013 New York State champions will take part – Journeymen Classic returning champions Diakomihalis, Piccininni and Sisti – as well as Kyle Quinn, William Koll, Alex Delacruz, Louis Hernandez, Corey Rasheed and Adis Radoncic.

In addition, Fargo All-Americans such as Jonathan Viruet (MA), Kent Lane (PA), Christian Stackhouse (NJ) and New York’s Jakob Restrepo, Tommy Dutton and Jesse Porter are registered as are Top 100 recruits Gary Dinmore (NJ) and Jesse Webb (VT).  Webb is a multi-time NHSCA National champion as is South Carolina’s Clay Walker, who is also in the field.

Coaches at the next level have definitely taken notice.  Over 20 college programs have confirmed attendance at Niskayuna High School, including 14 Division I institutions from a range of conferences – the EIWA, ACC, SoCon, EWL, MAC, Big 12 and WWC.

For more information on the event, see this link.

 

Super 32 Qualifier Recap: Restrepo and Feola Win Titles; Calderone Takes Third and Several NYers Earn Fourth

It’s less than 60 days until some huge national preseason tournaments begin, including the Super 32 Challenge in North Carolina.  After Sunday’s qualifying event in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, we know some of the New York wrestlers that will be heading down to the Tar Heel state in late October to battle for the Super 32 championship belt.

Jakob Restrepo of Sachem East is one of them.  Representing Vougar’s Honors Wrestling (VHW), the Section 11 grappler went 5-0 to take first place at 145 pounds.  Along the way, he outscored his opponents 20-4, including a 3-0 victory in the title bout over Frank Carrozza of Pennsylvania.

Also winning his weight was Walt Whitman’s Vincent Feola at 220 pounds.  Feola made quick work of the competition, registering pins in 1:08 and :43 to capture the crown. (Carter Cooper of Falconer was third).

Feola’s high school teammate Joe Calderone also saw success, nabbing third at 113 pounds with a 5-1 mark.  Three of those wins were by bonus points (two majors and a fall).  To capture bronze, Calderone topped fellow New Yorker Jesse Dellavecchia of East Islip.  Dellavecchia also had five victories on Sunday on his way to fourth.

A number of other Empire State grapplers took fourth in the high school division as well.  They included several wrestlers representing Ascend, such as Mike D’Angelo (Commack, 132), Sam Ward (Locust Valley, 138) and Christian Briody (126) as well 631 Elite’s James Szymanski (Shoreham-Wading River, 120).  D’Angelo and Briody won five matches apiece while Ward traveled a different path.  The Section 8 standout began with a sudden victory loss in his first bout to Travis Roper of Pennsylvania.  He then responded by winning seven in a row in the consolations, including a 9-3 triumph in a rematch with Roper, before notching fourth.

The top four placers in the high school action qualified for early entry into the Super 32 Challenge.  Just missing top four status were the following grapplers: Matteo DeVincenzo (106), Danny Murray (113), Ben Lamantia (120), Joe Russ (126), Derek Holcomb (170), and Jeffrey Lombardi (170).

At the middle school level, a pair of New Yorkers grabbed top three spots, as 631 Elite’s Zachary Redding was the runner up at 70 pounds and VHW’s Ryan Meisner was third at 80.

The Super 32 Challenge takes place October 26-27 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

For the brackets from the event, see here.

Ready for Year 3 at NYWAY: G2's Generous Gift Puts Technology on Track (and More on the Upcoming Season)

The use of certified referees? Check.

The use of uniform technology across all events? Now, that’s possible as well.

After the conclusion of NYWAY’s second year of operations in 2012-13, the organization’s leadership talked about what to focus on to continue to improve in Year 3.  Officiating and technology were high on the list.

With officiating, the leadership agreed to move forward with all certified referees in the coming year.

However, in order to standardize technology, a significant amount of hardware was necessary.  During the discussion on this topic at the NYWAY Retreat this spring, Western Region Director (and co-owner of the G2 World Wrestling Academy) Adam Burgos thought he might have a solution. He excused himself to call his G2 business partner Todd Wheaton, the President at Maven Technologies, a certified electronics recycler.

“We talked about it and I asked Todd if there was something we could do to help,” Burgos said. “A few minutes later he said we could.  I came back into the meeting and told everyone G2 would take care of the laptops and monitors.  You could hear a pin drop.  It wasn’t grandstanding, but about our love of the sport.  I’ve been one of those parents at tournaments over the years, wishing things were going more smoothly and saying if I could help, I would.  This was the chance. It just so happened that we could help fill a need and we jumped at the opportunity.”

Courtesy of G2 World Wrestling Academy

In mid August, 64 laptops and monitors were dropped off by G2 to NYWAY.  And now the improvements in the IT area will begin, including the use of Track Wrestling to assist with registration, event management and more.

“The level of competition brings kids to a tournament, but what keeps families, parents and wrestlers coming back is how well that tournament is run,” Burgos said. “Technology is such a big part of that.”

“By running all of our tournaments through the TrackWrestling system, we are able to not only offer top notch, consistent tournaments, but all of the results automatically enter into a statistical management system so that we will be able to track all the results,” added NYWAY President Clint Wattenberg. “This will enable us to potentially develop leaderboards, rankings, seeding and eventually postseason awards based on these statistics.  We were hoping to trial one region on this system this year, but the incredibly generous gift from Adam [Burgos] and G2 has empowered us as an organization to roll this out statewide this coming season*.”

One place the technology will certainly be useful is at the NYWAY state championships, which will be held on March 15-16, 2014 at Onondoga Community College in Syracuse.  Last year, over 900 wrestlers competed at the event, with representation from all corners of New York.

That competition will signal the end of the season. But there’s a lot to look forward to beforehand, including the kickoff in late December with a pair of events on back-to-back days at SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake.

First, on December 28, a dual tournament will be held with each of the eight NYWAY regions entering a squad made up of wrestlers from Kindergarten to sixth grade. Then, the following day, an individual tournament will take place in the same location.

However, there will be plenty of participation in other events as well.  For instance, the NYWAY Western Region will take on the Far West Region (essentially a Section 5 vs. Section 6 clash) at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on September 21.

In addition, NYWAY will send representatives to high level competitions such as the Freak Show in Las Vegas, the Super 32 Challenge in North Carolina, the Junior Mid Cals in the Golden State, the Border Wars in Cleveland and the NUWAY National Duals in Columbus, among others.

“The organization wants to keep providing opportunities for New York wrestlers to get great competition to continue to develop,” Burgos said. “Over the last few years, we’ve seen where we need to improve.  We believe Year 3 of NYWAY will be much better than Year 1 and Year 2 and that the future is bright.  It’s an exciting time to be a parent, a coach and a fan here in New York.”

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* Wattenberg mentioned that individual tournaments may opt out, however, trained pairing directors will be available across the state to assist with the new technology or run the tournaments.

1000 Islands Duals: Superior Wins the Jr High Event; Buffalo Wrestling Club Takes Second in the HS Division

It was a bit of deja vu for the Superior Wrestling Academy team at the 1000 Islands Duals – in a very good way.

A year after winning the Junior High title at the summer event, Superior did it again, capturing first place with a 4-0 record on the opening day of competition in Clayton, New York.

Superior Wrestling Academy, Courtesy of Gary Ferro

The team began with a pair of dominant performances – topping Lockport and Midlakes. The semifinals round was a bit of a different story, as Nazareth, Pennsylvania pushed the squad to the limit in a 31-28 battle.

According to Gary Ferro, who coached the team along with Ed Schafer, Superior trailed going into the last three weights.  However, back-to-back falls by David Crow and Brandon Cousino at 155 and 165 pounds provided an insurmountable lead going into heavyweight.  (Superior forfeited at the unlimited class throughout the event).

“We faced Nazareth last year too and both times it was definitely our toughest match,” Ferro said. “They have an excellent team and it went back and forth, but our guys came through at the end.  Those two pins were huge.  [David Crow] was losing 4-0 but came back to get the pin.  Then [Brandon Cousino] followed with another one.  It was a great win to get us to the finals.”

The championship bout was less suspenseful, with Superior putting together a double-digit victory over Delaware Valley to finish first.

“The kids enjoyed coming back and taking a second championship and it was definitely exciting for us coaches too,” Ferro said. “Ultimately, for us, it’s about putting the kids on the mat in the summer and seeing them continue to get better. 1000 Islands Duals is the place to go to do that.  It’s amazing to see the wrestlers dedicating their time at this time of year.  That’s something we get excited about.”

Leading the way for Superior were undefeated wrestlers Ethan Ferro (75), Brian Courtney (105) and Mike Venosa (119) as well as Michael Gonyea (82) and David Crow (155), who both finished with one loss.

“We really enjoyed the tournament,” Ferro said. “We’ll be ready for next year and we’ll be looking to three-peat.”

(It was a good weekend overall for Superior, as the High School squad went 4-1 with the lone loss coming in a 32-31 match versus Northeast Elite, a top 8 placer.  The squad, coached by Ferro and Mark Friske, won the Blue Bracket).

Buffalo Wrestling Club in the Finals Again

In the High School action, another New York team made the finals – Buffalo Wrestling Club.  According to coach Keith Maute, the squad just missed out on the title for the second consecutive year at the 1000 Islands Duals.

“We were second last year too,” Maute said. “Last year against Bound Brook (NJ), it came down to the last match.  This year, it came down to criteria.”

Indeed, the championship dual between Buffalo Wrestling Club and Doughboy ended in a 27-27 deadlock.  However, the Massachusetts team was declared the winner using the tiebreakers.

The Buffalo WC squad, which Maute said was made up of wrestlers from the Cobra Wrestling Academy, cruised through the first three meets of the event, losing just a handful of matches along the way.

In the semifinals, however, things got more difficult in an eight-point triumph over Northeast Elite.

According to Maute, his group jumped ahead in the lightweights, but the opposition fought back to within five heading into 195 pounds.  A victory by James Empfield at that weight in the ultimate tiebreaker was crucial, as was another win at 220 by Tyler Hall to clinch a spot in the title match.

That championship dual followed a similar pattern initially.  Once again, the Buffalo WC built up an early advantage.  In fact, the squad led 27-4 going into 160 pounds, fueled by a number of grapplers who went undefeated throughout the tournament – Dane Heberlein (100), Kellen Devlin (130), Cody McGregor (137) and Dakota Gardner (145/152).  In addition, Troy Keller (107), Tito Colom (115), Danny Graham (145/152) and the previously mentioned Empfield (195) each lost only one bout during the weekend, according to Maute.

However, Doughboy responded to 23-point deficit by capturing the remainder of the matches, resulting in the 27-27 score.

“Doughboy was a tough team,” Maute said. “We were winning big, but then we got beaten up top where they were very strong. It was tough, but the guys wrestled well and it was a good tournament overall.”

Superior Wrestling Academy – Jr High Championship Team (provided by G. Ferro)
75-Ethan Ferro
82-Michael Gonyea
90-Drew Schafer
98-Trent Nadaeu
105-Brian Courtney
112-Tanner Cook
119-Mike Venosa
127-Emerson Block
135-Josh Shamp
145-Jake Ginter
155-David Crow
165-Brandon Cousino
Unlimited- None
Buffalo Wrestling Club (Cobra) High School (provided by K. Maute)
100-Dane Heberlein
107-Troy Keller/Hector Colom
115-Tito Colom/Michael Wisniewski
123-Drew Marra
130-Kellen Devlin
137-Cody McGregor/Freddy Eckles/Maulo Wawior
145-Dakota Gardner
152-Danny Graham
160-Lucas McKeever/Garrett Smead
170-Richie Jones
185-Marques Buchanan
195-James Empfield/Tyler Hall
220-Alex Jones
285-Nick Jones
Superior Wrestling Academy High School (provided by G. Ferro)
100-Trent Nadeau
107-Tanner Cook
115-Mike Venosa
123-Dandre Norman
130-Blake Jackson
137-Freddy Eckles
145-Laken Cook
154-Vinny Romeo
162-Jordan Torbitt
172-James Lukaszonas
185-Mark Friske
197-Ben Honis
220-Landry Cook

Team NYWAY Takes 3rd and 631 Elite Grabs 7th; Diakomihalis Brothers, DeVincenzo Among Title Winners at NUWAY Summer Championships

On the first weekend in August, a number of Empire State wrestlers headed to the Jersey Shore to face top notch competition at the NUWAY Summer Championships.  New York was well represented in both the individual (five champions) and dual (two top seven teams) action.  For more details, read on.

Dual Tournament

On Saturday, 26 squads from six different states took the mat to crown a dual meet champion.  Both of the New York entries – Team NYWAY and 631 Elite fared well, with third and seventh place showings, respectively.  Several nationally-ranked grapplers participated, such as the top high school wrestler in the country – Chance Marstellar of Pennsylvania.

Team NYWAY, Courtesy of Adam Burgos

Team NYWAY‘s bronze medal came after 4-1 record.  The group began the day with two convincing victories – a 46-2 triumph over Paramus featuring five pins, and a 37-10 result against Ohio’s Titan Wrestling Club.  The New Yorkers lost just one contested bout during those meets.

The squad then moved on to the Gold Bracket with the other pool winners, and the results were similar early on.  Against Team Triumph Maize, the team got off to a great start courtesy of Kelan McKenna and Yianni Diakomihalis, who picked up a pin and technical fall at 102 and 108 to build an 11-0 cushion.  NYWAY then clinched the 30-14 victory down the stretch with four consecutive victories — by Connor Lapresi (145), Anthony Deprez (155), Quinn Zsido (167) and Collin Pittman (182).

That led to the semifinals, where NYWAY and Michigan’s Flat River Chubb Chubb each won six bouts. However, the squad from the Wolverine State rode a pair of falls, a major and two forfeits to a tight 23-21 victory. (Forfeits were worth two points).

The New Yorkers responded well to their only setback of the day, however, with a dominant 33-6 performance against the Michigan Gold Pitbulls in the consolation bracket.  In fact, the outcome was never in doubt as New York won the first nine matches to earn a place in the bronze match against Triumph Maize.

A number of NYWAY wrestlers went unbeaten on Saturday, including 5-0 grapplers Yianni Diakomihalis (two pins, three technical falls at 108) and Connor Lapresi at 145. Kelan McKenna and Theo Powers combined for a perfect record at 102, while Collin Pittman won all of his matches at 182.

Meanwhile, Long Island-based 631 Elite also began Saturday in dominant fashion, easing through Pool D action with a trio of commanding victories – 30-8 over Freehold Regional High School, 46-2 against Team Parsippany and 43-5 versus Long Branch.  So, it was on to the Gold Bracket.

Against Michigan’s Flat River Chubb Chubb, 631 Elite got off to a hot start, capturing decisions in the first four contests. (The wins were by Matteo Devincenzo (102), Peter Pappas (108), Jesse Dellavecchia (117) and Evan Corso (125)).  However, the Michigan squad grabbed six of the final eight matches to come out on top 27-18.  The next dual, against Triumph Maize ended in an 18-18 deadlock, but the New Jersey team was awarded the victory on criteria, and it was on to the seventh place match for 631 Elite.

The wrestlers ended the day in style, besting the Mat Factory Wrestling Club (Pennsylvania) 22-16 to take seventh. Leading the way throughout the event were a trio of competitors who went 6-0 – Matteo DeVincenzo (102 pounds), Peter Pappas (108) and Jimmy Leach (145).

Individual Tournament

Several individuals also stood out in Long Branch on Friday, as wrestlers took the mat in three different age groups.  New York had at least one champion at each level (Elementary, Middle School, High School).

The Diakomihalis family picked up titles in both the Elementary (Greg at 64/68 pounds) and High School (Yianni at 108) divisions. Both grapplers went 3-0 with each of their victories by bonus points.  Greg had a pin and a pair of majors in which he outscored his opponents 25-2.  Yianni, a 2013 New York state champion as an eighth grader, had a major decision against fellow Empire Stater Peter Pappas sandwiched in between two falls.  Pappas, from Nassau County, rebounded to take bronze.

Courtesy of Adam Burgos

Another returning state finalist, Matteo DeVincenzo of Suffolk County, won a challenging bracket on Friday in which the top three placers were medalists at the Times Union Center in February.  Devincenzo began with a technical fall over James Verbeyst in round one before topping Mexico’s Theo Powers 4-2 in the semis.  Then, in the title bout, Devincenzo blanked VVS Youth Wrestling’s Kelan McKenna, 4-0.  Powers came back for third.

There was more gold for New York in the High School event, with 2012 All-Stater Jimmy Overhiser of Corning, winning at 117.  The Wyoming Seminary-bound grappler began with a fall over an Ohio foe and followed with a 7-2 triumph over state placer Jesse Dellavecchia of 631 Elite in the semis. He then earned a 5-3 win over Val Miele.  Another New Yorker, Jon Errico of Iowa Style, lost only to Miele and took third.

Representing the Empire State as a champion at the Middle School level was David Flynn of Lions, who registered a pair of falls in :49 and 2:00 to win at 145 pounds.

Individual champions Yianni and Greg Diakomihalis were among the competitors that didn’t have enough wrestling after Friday and Saturday’s action.  They traveled to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania along with fellow G2 World Wrestling Academy grapplers Collin Pittman, Ryan Burgos, Anthony Deprez and Kyle Pittman late on Saturday to participate at the American State Games on Sunday.

The following are the members of Team NYWAY and 631 Elite and the individual champions from the NUWAY Summer Championships.

Team NYWAY

102 Theo Powers

102 Kelan McKenna

108 Yianni Diakomihalis

117 Jimmy Overhiser

125 Eric Januszkiewicz

130 Bryan Lantry

138 Richie Burke

145 Connor Lapresi

155 Anthony Deprez

167 Quinn Zsido

182 Collin Pittman

 

631 Elite

102 Matteo Devincenzo

108 Peter Pappas

117 Jesse Dellavecchia

125 Evan Corso

130 Tristin Devincenzo

138 Chris Mauriello

145 Jimmy Leach

155 Luke Drugac

167 Dennis Ferro

182 Jake Horton

200 Christian Araneo

Individual Tournament Champions

Elementary – 45/51  Joshua Jasionowicz of Peak Performance
Elementary – 64/68 Greg Diakomihalis of NYWAY
Elementary – 78/84 John Martin Best of Parkersburg Cougars
Elementary – 90/97 Anthony Russo of Unattached
Middle School – 75/90 Joey Carmichael of Scorpions
Middle School – 100 James Verbeyst of PAWS Elite
Middle School – 105/119 Robbie Garcia of Vernon
Middle School – 126/135 Zachary Rooks of Unattached
Middle School – 145 David Flynn of Lions
High School – 102 Matteo DeVincenzo of Unattached
High School – 108 Yianni Diakomihalis of NYWAY
High School – 117 Jimmy Overhiser of G2 World wrestling Academy
High School – 125 Nick Farro of X-Cel
High School – 130 Zack Cooper of Flat River Chubb Chubb
High School – 138 Jordan Hall of Flat River Chubb Chubb
High School – 145 Jesse Rodgers of Mat Factory
High School – 155 Nick Vandermeer of Flat River Chubb Chubb
High School – 167 Devon Pingel of Flat River Chubb Chubb
High School – 182 Tommy Sleigh of Mat Factory
High School – 200 Garett Stehley of Flat River Chubb Chubb
High School – 295 Ryan Prescott of Flat River Chubb Chubb

Who From New York is in the Updated National Rankings?

Last week, Flowrestling released the post-Fargo national rankings.  10 New Yorkers are currently included, with two grapplers positioned sixth in their weight classes — Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville at 120 and James O’Hagan of Seaford at 285.  The Empire State grapplers have combined for nine state titles at this point in their careers.

The New Yorkers ranked are:

8th at 106 pounds: Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton, Section 5, Freshman)

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

17th at 132 pounds: Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich, Section 4, Junior)

8th at 138 pounds: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowoga, Section 6, Senior)

10th at 152 pounds: Louis Hernandez (Mepham, Section 8, Senior)

11th at 160 pounds: Corey Rasheed (Longwood, Section 11, Senior)

13th at 160 pounds: Burke Paddock (Warsaw, Section 5, Senior)

9th at 170 pounds: Christian Dietrich (Greene, Section 4, Sophomore)

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

6th at 285 pounds: James O’Hagan (Seaford, Section 8, Senior)