Grapple at the Garden Recap: Cornell Tops Illinois and Maryland; Hofstra Wins a Pair of Duals and Much More

Cornell and Hofstra both went 2-0 at the second annual Grapple at the Garden in New York City on Sunday, with one dual coming to down to the wire for each squad.

Lane, Photo by BV

In the spotlight meet of the day, the #6 Big Red took on #7 Illinois.  While more than 10 ranked wrestlers took the mat in the dual, it came down to the only bout not featuring at least one nationally-ranked grappler — heavyweight.  Entering the 285 pound contest, the score was deadlocked at 15.  And after two periods, Stryker Lane and Chris Lopez were tied at 2, with riding time at over a minute and a half for the Illini competitor.  Lane rode out the third to send it to overtime, where in the second set of tiebreakers, the Cornell senior got the early escape during his turn on bottom and then hung tough on top to earn the victory and an 18-15 triumph for the Big Red.

Both teams won five matches, with only one bonus point contest – a pin for Gabe Dean at 184 pounds over Nikko Reyes.  In that pivotal bout, Dean trailed 4-2 entering the third, but quickly escaped and kept pushing the pace.  He notched a takedown with less than 30 seconds to go and then turned Reyes for back points and the fall with just five seconds remaining.

Cornell dropped into a 6-0 hole early, with #1 Jesse Delgado topping #2 Nahshon Garrett 6-2 and Zane Richards winning the battle of super freshmen at 133 over Mark Grey.  Cornell rebounded by taking three decisions in a row, by Mike Nevinger (141), Chris Villlaonga (149) and Brian Realbuto (157) to go ahead 9-6.  The first two got out to early leads and controlled their matches, while Realbuto came from behind with a dominant third stanza to win 8-3 over #15 Zach Brunson.

The Illini pulled ahead 12-9 with wins at 165 (Jackson Morse) and 174 (Tony Dallago) before the previously mentioned Gabe Dean pin made it 15-12 Cornell.  The win by Mario Gonzalez at 197 over Jace Bennett set up the 15-15 tie and Lane’s heroics.

The first dual of the day had a lot less drama, as the Big Red captured a 31-9 victory over Maryland. Nahshon Garrett got the Big Red off to a strong start with a fall and Mark Grey followed up with a decision in which he controlled the bout throughout.  At 141, Mike Nevinger‘s season debut was spoiled by Shyheim Brown, who used solid mat wrestling to get the Terps on the board with a decision.  However, the Big Red responded with four consecutive victories, beginning with Chris Villalonga‘s 5-0 win at 149.  It was then bonus point time as Brian Realbuto majored Danny Orem at 157, Dylan Palacio held a commanding lead at 165 before his opponent injury defaulted and Duke Pickett came out on top by double digits at 174.

Then, at 184, freshman Gabe Dean faced #2 Jimmy Sheptock.  In a hard fought bout, the Maryland All-American picked up a 5-3 decision.  Jace Bennett collected Cornell’s seventh win of the morning with a technical fall at 197 before #7 Spencer Myers edged Stryker Lane at heavyweight, 2-1.

 

Hofstra Takes Two

New York teams Hofstra and Army squared off in Round 1 on Sunday in a dual that came down to the final match.  It was Pride freshman Mike Hughes picking up a 6-4 win at 285 over the Army’s starting 197-pounder Bryce Barnes to make the final score 23-16.

Franco, Photo by BV

The Pride began well, capturing the first four contests via decisions by Jamie Franco at 125 and Cody Ruggirello at 149 as well as bonus victories by Jamel Hudson and Luke Vaith at 133 and 141, respectively.  Hudson majored Logan Everett 11-3, while Vaith pinned Tyler Rauenzahn.

Army got things rolling after that, taking four of the last six.  Paul Hancock avenged a loss at the last weekend’s New York State Intercollegiates when he majored Nick Terdick at 157. Alex Smith (174) and Austin Wilding (197) grabbed decisions for Army, with Ryan Tompkins adding valuable points with a fall at 184.  That set up the big finish at heavyweight.

Hofstra’s next dual didn’t come down to the wire.  In fact, the Pride nabbed eight victories, including falls by Jamie Franco (125) and Jamel Hudson (133) to give the squad an immediate 12-0 advantage.  Also winning by bonus were Luke Vaith (141), Frank Affronti (174) and Zeal McGrew (197) while Cody Ruggirello (149), Joe Booth (165) and Dwight Howes (184) also were victorious.

 

And More New York Action . . .

After the close dual with Hofstra, Army had another tight clash with Princeton in the afternoon, with the Tigers winning 21-15. The Black Knights picked up three decisions – by Tyler Rauenzahn (141), Coleman Gracey (165) and Ryan Tompkins (184).  In addition, Hunter Wood got the fall at 125 over 2013 NYS champion Trey Aslanian of Edgemont.

In a NCWA showcase, two local teams, Stony Brook and Westchester took the mat at 10 a.m. After Westchester’s Charles Gonzalez earned a 14-6 major at 125, Stony Brook won the next eight contests, including three falls (by Michael LaNasa at 141, Michael Shimer at 149 and Jon Campenelli at 197).  Matt Frey and Kris Martin both picked up majors, at 165 and 184, respectively, while Jonathan Crespo (133), Joe Jackson (157) and Scott Dunkirk (174) also got their hand raised. Obum Anayiche of Westchester brought a positive ending for his squad with a fall at heavyweight.

NYU at the NYS Intercollegiates, Photo by BV

Additional nearby squads, NYU and Stevens Tech competed in the second session in a Division III meeting.  All-American Brandon Jones won by major at 141 for NYU, while Patrick Sheehan also got his hand raised at 184, however the New Jersey team grabbed a 25-7 decision.

Seeing action in freestyle matches were a number of New Yorkers, including former Cornell All-American Frank Perrelli and Long Island native Jenna Burkert. In addition, assistant coaches Hudson Taylor of Columbia and Enock Francois of Army both won their bouts, with Francois blanking Austin Trotman 7-0 at 185 pounds and Taylor besting Rustam Ghsiev, 10-2 at 220.  Former Buffalo star Kyle Cerminara also came out on top, beating Ryan Martinez in a 285-pound bout.

The box scores for the Grapple at the Garden college matches involving New York teams are below (courtesy of Track Wrestling):

Cornell defeated Illinois 18-15
125 – Jesse Delgado (Illinois) over Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) Dec 6-2
133 – Zane Richards (Illinois) over Mark Grey (Cornell) Dec 4-2
141 – Michael Nevinger (Cornell) over Steven Rodrigues (Illinois) Dec 7-2
149 – Christopher Villalonga (Cornell) over John Fahy (Illinois) Dec 8-3
157 – Brian Realbuto (Cornell) over Zach Brunson (Illinois) Dec 8-3
165 – Jackson Morse (Illinois) over Dylan Palacio (Cornell) Dec 8-4
174 – Tony Dallago (Illinois) over George Pickett (Cornell) Dec 9-4
184 – Gabriel Dean (Cornell) over Nico Reyes (Illinois) Fall 6:55
197 – Mario Gonzalez (Illinois) over Jace Bennett (Cornell) Dec 7-1
285 – Stryker Lane (Cornell) over Chris Lopez (Illinois) TB-2 4-3

Cornell defeated Maryland 31-9
125 – Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) over Paul O`Neill (Maryland) Fall 3:00
133 – Mark Grey (Cornell) over Tyler Goodwin (Maryland) Dec 4-1
141 – Shyhiem Brown (Maryland) over Michael Nevinger (Cornell) Dec 5-0
149 – Christopher Villalonga (Cornell) over Derrick Evanovich (Maryland) Dec 5-0
157 – Brian Realbuto (Cornell) over Danny Orem (Maryland) Maj 16-5
165 – Dylan Palacio (Cornell) over Tyler Manion (Maryland) Inj 3:23
174 – George Pickett (Cornell) over Anthony Gardner (Maryland) Maj 12-2
184 – Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) over Gabriel Dean (Cornell) Dec 5-3
197 – Jace Bennett (Cornell) over Chris Jastrzebski (Maryland) TF 19-1
285 – Spencer Myers (Maryland) over Stryker Lane (Cornell) Dec 2-0

Hofstra defeated Army 23-16
125 – Jamie Franco (Hofstra) over Hunter Wood (Army) Dec 3-1
133 – Jamel Hudson (Hofstra) over Logan Everett (Army) Maj 11-3
141 – Luke Vaith (Hofstra) over Tyler Rauenzahn (Army) Fall 5:15
149 – Cody Ruggirello (Hofstra) over Mark Marchetti (Army) Dec 4-0
157 – Paul Hancock (Army) over Nick Terdick (Hofstra) Maj 15-6
165 – Joseph Booth (Hofstra) over Coleman Gracey (Army) Maj 14-4
174 – Alex Smith (Army) over Frank Affronti (Hofstra) Dec 3-1
184 – Ryan Tompkins (Army) over Victor Pozsonyi (Hofstra) Fall 0:50
197 – Austin Wilding (Army) over David Heitman (Hofstra) Dec 8-4
285 – Michael Hughes (Hofstra) over Bryce Barnes (Army) Dec 6-4

Hofstra defeated Boston Univ. 35-6
125 – Jamie Franco (Hofstra) over Chris McGinley (Boston Univ.) Fall 3:20
133 – Jamel Hudson (Hofstra) over Dane Harlowe (Boston Univ.) Fall 1:27
141 – Luke Vaith (Hofstra) over Tyler Scotton (Boston Univ.) Maj 8-0
149 – Cody Ruggirello (Hofstra) over Nick Tourville (Boston Univ.) Dec 7-0
157 – Nestor Taffur (Boston Univ.) over Nick Terdick (Hofstra) Dec 4-2
165 – Joseph Booth (Hofstra) over Mitchell Wightman (Boston Univ.) Dec 4-1
174 – Frank Affronti (Hofstra) over Andrew Maksimovic (Boston Univ.) Maj 9-0
184 – Dwight Howes (Hofstra) over Aaron Conrad (Boston Univ.) Dec 5-2
197 – Zeal McGrew (Hofstra) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
285 – Kevin Innis (Boston Univ.) over Michael Hughes (Hofstra) Dec 3-1

Princeton defeated Army 21-15
125 – Hunter Wood (Army) over John Aslanian (Princeton) Fall 4:28
133 – Jordan Laster (Princeton) over Logan Everett (Army) Dec 5-2
141 – Tyler Rauenzahn (Army) over Christopher Perez (Princeton) Dec 8-4
149 – Kevin Moylan (Princeton) over Mark Marchetti (Army) Dec 7-4
157 – Mathew Gancayco (Princeton) over Paul Hancock (Army) Dec 5-3
165 – Coleman Gracey (Army) over Judson Ziegler (Princeton) Dec 4-1
174 – Brett Harner (Princeton) over Alex Smith (Army) Fall 2:52
184 – Ryan Tompkins (Army) over Scott Gibbons (Princeton) Dec 9-3
197 – Daniel Santoro (Princeton) over Bryce Barnes (Army) Dec 6-4
285 – Cole Lampman (Princeton) over Stephen Snyder (Army) Dec 3-2

Stevens Institute of Technology defeated New York Univ. 25-7
125 – Rob Murray (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Wayne Yuan (New York Univ.) Dec 3-0
133 – Ryan Wilson (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Corbin Lee (New York Univ.) Dec 3-2
141 – Brandon Jones (New York Univ.) over Rick Perrine (Stevens Institute of Technology) Maj 17-6
149 – Mike Polizzi (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Darryl Albonico (New York Univ.) Maj 13-2
157 – Jake Odell (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Matt DiGiovanni (New York Univ.) Dec 4-0
165 – Conner Bass (Stevens Institute of Technology) over John Messinger (New York Univ.) Dec 8-6
174 – Ryan Dormann (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Brian Anderson (New York Univ.) Dec 3-0
184 – Patrick Sheehan (New York Univ.) over Tristan Hollenbaugh (Stevens Institute of Technology) Dec 4-0
197 – Alex Moreno (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Daniel Brereton (New York Univ.) Dec 7-1
285 – Chris Florek (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Anthony Chu (New York Univ.) Dec 3-2

Stony Brook defeated Westchester CC 35-10
125 – Charles Gonzalez (Westchester CC) over Austin Hecher (Stony Brook) Maj 14-6
133 – Jonathan Crespo (Stony Brook) over Frank Lazo (Westchester CC) Dec 8-6
141 – Michael LaNasa (Stony Brook) over Kevin Jiminez (Westchester CC) Fall 1:12
149 – Michael Shimer (Stony Brook) over Mike Figueroa (Westchester CC) Fall 6:58
157 – Joe Jackson (Stony Brook) over David Rivera (Westchester CC) Dec 6-0
165 – Matt Frey (Stony Brook) over Ibrahin Simreen (Westchester CC) Maj 15-2
174 – Scott Dunkirk (Stony Brook) over Ray Ramos (Westchester CC) SV-1 8-6
184 – Kris Martin (Stony Brook) over James Danko (Westchester CC) Maj 13-4
197 – Jon Campenelli (Stony Brook) over Adolphe Lubin (Westchester CC) Fall 2:07
285 – Obum Anayiche (Westchester CC) over Lautaro Epstein (Stony Brook) Fall 1:32

Advertisements

Grapple at the Garden Preview: What to Watch for as New York Teams Take the Mat in NYC

Three of New York’s Division I teams will compete at the Journeymen/Asics Northeast Duals on Saturday.  (The preview is here). The other three – Cornell, Hofstra and Army – will be in action in another part of the state as they travel to New York City for the second annual Grapple at the Garden.  The Empire State will also be well represented with Stony Brook, Westchester CC, NYU and middle school and high school grapplers taking the mat.  For some things to watch, read on.

 

#6 Cornell (vs. Maryland and #7 Illinois)

Bennett, Photo by BV

In the upperweights, there could be be two matches with ranked wrestlers on both sides.  At 184, Big Red freshman Gabe Dean will clash with All-American Jimmy Sheptock, while Jace Bennett is set to take on former Brockport High School star Christian Boley at 197.  Dean has gotten off to a strong start to his college career, including four pins and a technical fall last weekend and a #12 spot in the polls.  Sheptock, ranked third nationally, is undefeated this year.  Meanwhile, Boley and Bennett, both NCAA qualifiers in 2013, both sit in the top 15 nationally.

Six of the other matches will feature one ranked wrestler.  (Five times the Cornell wrestler is in the polls). Those include Nahshon Garrett (#2 at 125), Mark Grey (#10 at 133), Chris Villalonga (#14 at 149) and Brian Realbuto (#12 at 157).  In addition, #4 Mike Nevinger could make his return to the lineup at 141, where he would face a quality opponent in Shyheim Brown, a freshman who is off to an unbeaten start.  On the flip side, at heavyweight, the Terps bring #7 Spencer Myers to the table against unranked Stryker Lane.

In the premier dual of the Grapple at the Garden event, #6 Cornell will take on #7 Illinois.  If the meet starts at 125, the spotlight bout will take place right away, with #2 Nahshon Garrett of the Big Red battling defending national champion and #1 Jesse Delgado.  Garrett has lost to four opponents during his career – and he has come back to beat each one of them – except Delgado.  The two only met once, in the NCAA semifinals in Des Moines in 2013.  We’ll see if Garrett can continue his streak of avenging defeats when he gets his second shot at the Illini junior.

Grey, Photo by BV

That may be the most high profile bout, but there will be plenty of other intriguing ones.  At 133, two excellent freshmen, #10 Mark Grey and #11 Zane Richards, will square off in a rematch of the 60 kg Junior World Team Trials title bout.  Grey bested Richards in two straight matches to make the World Championships, where he finished fifth.  Speaking of rematches, #14 Jace Bennett of Cornell met #7 Mario Gonzalez in the pigtail round at Nationals in 2013, with the Illinois grappler taking a decisive victory.  Gonzalez didn’t compete at the Chicago Quad in mid-November for the Illini, but if he’s back, we’ll see if Bennett can turn the tide.

At 157 and 184, fans will be treated to four highly ranked recruits from the high school class of 2012 –#12 Brian Realbuto vs. #15 Zach Brunson at the former weight and #12 Gabe Dean vs. Nikko Reyes at the latter.  And just one spot in the rankings separates the two wrestlers at 149 – Cornell’s Chris Villalonga is #14 while Caleb Ervin is #15.

When it comes down to it, Cornell has the higher ranked wrestler in five classes – 133, 141, 149, 157 and 184 – while the same can be said for Illinois at four weights – 125, 165, 174 and 197.  Neither heavyweight appears on the national lists.  It should be an entertaining dual for the fans in New York City.

 

Army vs. Hofstra

Hudson, Photo by BV

Two Empire State teams will do battle with Army taking on Hofstra at 10 a.m..  Both teams were at the New York State Intercollegiates last weekend, with the Pride putting wrestlers into the finals of the tournament at the first six weights.  Jamie Franco (125), Luke Vaith (141) and Joe Booth (165) captured titles, while Jamel Hudson (133), Cody Ruggirello (149) and Nick Terdick (157) picked up second place.  At this point, Hofstra looks like the favorite at those classes for the dual, although there were only two head-to-head matches in those weights in Ithaca. Terdick defeated Paul Hancock 12-9 and Booth topped Chandler Smith by major decision.  (Both Smith and Coleman Gracey placed at the New York States at 165 for the Black Knights). Hofstra is also likely favored at heavyweight, since Mike Hughes of the Pride bested Army’s Stephen Snyder 3-0 in the fifth place contest at 285.

Meanwhile, Army had higher finishers last weekend at two of the upper weights.  At 174, Brian Harvey grabbed third while his teammate Alex Smith was fourth.  The Hofstra duo of Frank Affronti and Victor Pozsonyi was seventh and eighth in that bracket.   At 197, Bryce Barnes was the runner up for the West Point squad, while both teams had contributors out of the lineup at 184.  (Brockport/Oklahoma Invitational champion Ryan Tompkins didn’t take the mat in Ithaca, nor did Pride starter Dwight Howes).

After the opening round, Hofstra and Army will each also square off with one other EIWA squad on Sunday.   The Pride will meet Boston while the Black Knights will see Princeton.  Let’s take a look at those contests.

Several Terriers made the podium at the Keystone Classic last Sunday and could provide some interesting challenges for the Long Island-based squad.  What are some potential matches to watch?  Chris McGinley was sixth last weekend and will provide a solid opponent for Jamie Franco at 125, while NCAA qualifier Dane Harlowe will do the same at 133 for freshman Jamel Hudson. A pair of third place finishers at the Keystone – Tyler Scotton (141) and Nestor Taffur (157) will look to test Luke Vaith and Nick Terdick after their strong performances at the New York State Intercollegiates.

It will be a battle of New York natives at 165 as Hofstra’s Joe Booth (Bayville) squares off with Mitch Wightman (Warwick).  And although he recently dropped out of the rankings, NCAA qualifier Kevin Innis of Boston will look to get back on track against Mike Hughes at heavyweight.

At the same time as that dual occurs, Army will compete against Princeton.  The Tigers are coming off a third place showing at the Navy Classic where three team members nabbed silver – Garrett Frey (125), Adam Krop (141) and Abram Ayala (197).  Those grapplers should be part of interesting contests against Hunter Wood, Mark Marchetti and Bryce Barnes, respectively.

In addition, there should be good bouts at 165 and 174, where both Army and Princeton had several wrestlers place high in last weekend’s competitions. (Judd Ziegler was fifth at 165 for Princeton, while Brett Harner finished in the same spot at 174).  We’ll also be watching the 133 match closely, as Long Island native Chris Perez will battle Army’s Logan Everett.

 

More than Division I . . .

As we discussed in this article (and this one), the event will also feature some local teams, as Stony Brook and Westchester will battle on Sunday, as will Division III squads NYU and Stevens Institute of Technology.

And the event isn’t limited to just college action.  The championship bouts of the inaugural Grapple at the Garden Middle School tournament will be part of the day, as will the finals of the Beat the Streets PSAL Thanksgiving Dual Meet Invitational, featuring many of the top schools in New York City.

One match that won’t take place is the scheduled freestyle contest between Cornell’s Kyle Dake and Bubba Jenkins because Dake suffered a fractured hand last weekend while in Baku.  However, Frank Molinaro will step in and wrestle Jenkins in a meeting of former Penn State grapplers.

The full list of dual meets taking place at the college level on Sunday are:

10 a.m.

Cornell vs. Maryland

Rutgers vs. George Mason

Illinois vs. Bloomsburg

Hofstra vs. Army

Boston vs. Penn

Drexel vs. Princeton

Stony Brook vs. Westchester CC

 

Noon

Cornell vs. Illinois

Hofstra vs. Boston

Army vs. Princeton

Rutgers vs. Maryland

Bloomsburg vs. Penn

George Mason vs. Drexel

NYU vs. Stevens

 

Section 8 Preview: Five State Finalists, Including Champions Hernandez and Quinn, Return for Nassau

Nassau County featured eight state finalists and New York’s top team a year ago (Wantagh).  2013-14 should be another strong campaign for Section 8 as five of those finalists return as do several others who are capable of making a big splash in the postseason.

Division I

Hernandez, Photo by BV

Let’s start with the New York champions who are back looking for two in a row.  Mepham’s Louis Hernandez capped off a 51-1 season by running the table in Albany.  He racked up more than 40 bonus point wins and his performance has been recognized nationally as well, as he is ranked sixth in the country at 152 pounds by FloWrestling.  His standing in the polls was recently bolstered by an impressive performance at the Super 32 Challenge, where he took bronze with a victory over Fox Baldwin of Florida, who was ranked third in the land at the time. Hernandez is also now listed among the top 50 senior recruits in the country by Intermat.

Hernandez was joined atop the podium last year by Wantagh’s Kyle Quinn, who captured the 106-pound title over Alex Tanzman after avenging his only two losses of the season (to New Rochelle’s Nick Barbaria) in the semifinals. Quinn added to his trophy collection in the spring, collecting All-America honors for the second consecutive year at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach (third at 106).

Two other Nassau Division I grapplers took part in the championship bouts in the state capital.  Syosset’s Vito Arujau had a stellar eighth grade season, racking up over 45 wins and just one loss – in the finals to Hilton’s Yianni Diakomihalis in the ultimate tiebreaker. Arujau followed up by going undefeated at the challenging Waterway Duals and taking third (including a victory over Quinn) at the Journeymen Classic.  He also won his bracket at the Iron Horse Invitational and came within one victory of placing at the Super 32. Look for big things from Arujau once again, this time as a freshman at 113.

Also winning his group at the Iron Horse was MacArthur’s Steve Schneider.  The Binghamton recruit stood out throughout his junior year, grabbing third at the Eastern States Classic before following up with a silver medal in Albany.  He went to the quarterfinals at the Super 32 before falling one win shy of the podium. He’ll be among the favorites in the state capital this time around, likely at 170.

Who are Some Other Seniors to Watch?

Hernandez and Schneider are two of the top members of the Class of 2014 in the Empire State.  The same could be said of Seaford’s James O’Hagan, a heavyweight who made a statement last year in Albany.  In the second round, he upset top-seeded El Shaddai Van Hoesen and then beat the Section II wrestler again in the third place bout.  His only losses during the campaign were to undefeated state champion Mike Hughes (now starting for Hofstra).  O’Hagan, who is headed to Buffalo to play football, sits in the #8 spot nationally at 285 according to FloWrestling.

While O’Hagan is certainly the favorite at the highest weight, there are some other quality heavyweights in the county. Last year’s Nassau runner up Bryan Tenny of Farmingdale and Massapequa’s Tim Gungor both racked up more than 30 victories and split a pair of matches against each other.

Also in the upperweights, Jaison White and Robert Ng are two wrestlers to track.  Plainedge’s Ng was 38-7 at 182 pounds a year ago with 28 bonus point wins, taking second in Nassau behind New York State silver medalist James Corbett. After a loss to Brandon Cassar of Island Trees in late December, Ng captured over 25 straight bouts, including a county semifinal victory over Cassar. At the Times Union Center, Ng went 2-2, coming within one victory of All-State status.

Jericho’s White may be a little under the radar for some fans, but he looks ready for a big year, possibly at 160.  White went 32-6 at 170 pounds as an 11th grader and notched bronze at the Section 8 championships. He also had a strong offseason, going undefeated at the Pop & Flo Duals in the spring as well as the Journeymen Classic in September.

And don’t forget about Justin Cooksey of MacArthur, who took second in the state in 2012 at 106 pounds. After moving up to 126 last year, he won more than 20 matches, but didn’t qualify for Albany.  The Buffalo-bound grappler will look for a return trip to the state capital in his final season with the Generals.

Who Else is Ready to Make a Run?

Arujau won the 99-pound class a year ago, but a number of other wrestlers from that weight have the ability to make noise this season (although most will be in a different weight class).  That includes MacArthur’s Travis Cooksey, a winner of more than 30 bouts, Nassau runner up David Yablans of Jericho, who racked up a 28-2 mark in 2012-13, and Wantagh’s Jonathan Loew, who had quality wins as a seventh grader and will be back at 99.

Peter Pappas of Plainview will be tough at 106 after earning bronze in Nassau in 2013 (and taking second at the Super 32 Middle School event last fall).  Speaking of 106 pounders, Chris Donnelly of Island Trees went to Albany at that weight last year after compiling close to 40 wins.  (He’ll be moving up in weight this year).

One of the wrestlers to beat Donnelly last season, Hector Guerrero of Plainedge comes off a 30-win campaign and is one to watch in the lightweights, as is the wrestler who topped him for third at the Nassau championships – Alan Teemer of Long Beach.   In fact, the Marines have a number of young wrestlers who were mentioned as possible breakout performers, including Matt Maquet, Jacori Teemer and Charlie Spada.  Spada, who will likely move to 120 or 126, lost in the all-county round last year and has had a great offseason, while Jacori Teemer was impressive at the Schoolboy Nationals in the spring, going 6-0 in Freestyle with five wins by pin or technical fall.  When asked about Jacori Teemer, Long Beach coach Ray Adams said “he’s definitely the real deal.”

Speaking of Long Beach, former standout Steve Sewkumar took third in the state last year as a senior.  He had a tough Section 8 title bout, winning by a point against Adam Smith of East Meadow.  Smith is back and one Nassau observer said he’s “a tough, physical kid who will have a great year.”

There was a lot of star power at the 2013 Section 8 championships, but the Outstanding Wrestler and Champion of Champions award went to a freshman – Hewlett’s Owen Bachelder, who had a tremendous run through the tournament.  On the way to the title, he defeated qualifier Michael Fera as well as NHSCA National titlewinner Chris Araoz of Wantagh.

Araoz is one of a number of studs who graduated from Wantagh in 2013.  But on that loaded Warriors team, Matt Langan and Joe Hill found a way to make significant contributions with close to 30 victories each.  Hill registered solid wins over state qualifiers Hunter Dusold and Hunter Richard.  Both will play integral roles for the Warriors this time around as will Nick Vines, who suffered an injury and missed a chunk of the season, but came back and earned bronze in Section 8.

In addition to Vines, other returning Nassau bronze medalists who are looking to climb the ladder include Nick Rondino of Syosset, Adrian Berry of Uniondale and Julius Diaz of Freeport. (They were at 113, 132 and 152, respectively, last year).  In addition, Naquan Warren of Farmingdale and Robert Oliver of Plainedge took fourth (at 120 and 220) in 2013 in the county and are the highest returning placers in their classes.

“I think Naquan Warren is a kid to keep an eye on,” Adams said. “He worked very hard in the offseason. I also think his teammate Dave Brown could do some great things.  He was tough last year and will be someone to watch.”

While Sam Goldman (Port Washington) and John Sherlock (Mepham) were in the fifth place matches in Section 8 last year, some feel they will be climbing much higher this time around. Goldman went 31-4 a year ago (entering the Nassau tournament).  He took fifth at 106 at the Section 8 qualifier, right behind a pair of wrestlers he had defeated earlier in the campaign according to the NWCA Scorebook – the previously mentioned Alan Teemer and Hector Guerrero – and has put in significant offseason work. Sherlock had over 20 victories at 120, including over state qualifier Tom Stobe and against NYS third placer Steven Sewkumar.

Who else could have a breakthrough year? Quite a few nominees were named. Tom and Jack Reina of Garden City provided solid production last year, going a combined 46-12, according to the NWCA Scorebook. (Their teammates Timmy Halaby and upperweight Tom Lane were also mentioned as ready to make a statement).   Hunter Sharf of North Shore was 35-3 prior to counties with a win over Bachelder during the year, while others discussed were Mepham’s Matt Assael, MacArthur’s Jeremy Hughes and Division’s Ricky Stamm (132/138) and Chris Ponce (99).

Team Race

Wantagh lost a lot of firepower with the graduation of wrestlers such as Chris Araoz, Danny McDevitt, James Corbett and Vinny Turano.  However, a strong base of returners, including the previously mentioned Kyle Quinn, Jonathan Loew, Joe Hill, Nick Vines and Matt Langan will lead a lineup that has solid contributors throughout. The Warriors won all the big events last year — the Union-Endicott duals, the Eastern States Classic, the Nassau Dual and Tournament titles and the New York State Division I championships.  Can they continue the tremendous streak?

“To me, Wantagh is still the team to beat,” Adams said. “Until someone beats them, they’re the champions.  They bring back a lot of talent and they work very hard all year long.”

Looking to challenge are a number of squads, including MacArthur, last season’s runner up in the Section. The Generals also boast some heavy hitters with Steve Schneider and the Cooksey brothers leading the way and will also receive contributions from wrestlers with significant match experience such as Sal Randazzo and Jeremy Hughes.

Plainedge will certainly be a threat, led by a number of standouts, including previously mentioned wrestlers such as 2013 Nassau runner up Robert Ng (2013 Nassau runner up) and a trio of returning fourth place Section 8 medalists – Hector Guerrero, Jake Lerner and Robert Oliver.

Like last year, Mepham has a chance to put several wrestlers on the county podium, led by returners Louis Hernandez, John Sherlock (sixth at 120) and Joel Zambrano (fourth at 99).  The Pirates were third in the Nassau tournament in 2013.

Adams also mentioned a few other teams he was looking forward to watch.

“I think Syosset’s tough. Mike Murtha does a really nice job,” the coach said. “Hewlett has come such a long way in a short time.  With Bachelder and Pincus leading the way, they’ll be good.”

Others, on the other hand, mentioned Adams’s team at Long Beach.

“They have so many quality young kids,” said Ascend Wrestling Club’s Craig Vitagliano. “They’re young now, but they have some guys who will win a lot of matches. Two years from now, they’ll be unbelievable.  Once the guys grow and spread out in weight, they’ll be extremely tough.”

 

Division II

Nine Division II section champions return – and seven are from Locust Valley.  It goes without saying that the Falcons will be a tough team to beat in 2013-14.  In fact, Vitagliano said he believes Locust Valley is the best team in Nassau in either Division.

We discussed state finalists Quinn, Arujau, Hernandez and Schneider above in the large school section, but we didn’t forget about Nick Casella who has been in the Division II championship match in Albany for two consecutive years (at 99 pounds in 2012 and at 113 in 2013), taking silver on both occasions.

After a 39-4 campaign as a sophomore, Casella kept his winning ways going in the offseason, placing at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach and at Fargo in Greco Roman.  He wrestled in numerous other high profile events and plans to compete at 120 pounds in 2013-14. Is this the year he wins it all in New York?

“Nick has continued to work extremely hard,” said Locust Valley head coach Joe Enea.  “He sought out the toughest competition and more than held his own.  He’s setting himself up to win a state championship. We’re hoping to see all our wrestlers take the next step and for Nick, that’s a state title.”

Also returning after an All-State finish (fifth at 132) is Sam Ward.  Like Casella, he has competed all over the country, notching All-America honors in Virginia Beach and placing second at the Journeymen Classic.  His coach said he could compete at 138 or 145.

“With the amount of time Sam put in during the offseason, he’ll be disappointed if he’s not in the state finals,” Enea said. “A lot always comes down to draw and seeding, but we figure him to be one of the top wrestlers in the state this year.”

Just missing the podium in 2013 was Hunter Dusold, who has already qualified twice for the state event and is only a freshman.  He picked up a pair of victories at the Times Union Center last year and is looking to get over the hump as a ninth grader for his first All-State showing. (Dusold made the medal stand at the Junior High Nationals in Virginia Beach this spring).

“Hunter has continued to wrestle throughout the year,” Enea said. “He is hoping to certify at 115 and having two years at the state tournament already separates him from a lot of other guys who might be up there for the first time.  That should be an advantage for him.”

“Hunter Dusold could be a state champion this year,” added Vitagliano.  “He’s that good.”

There were two ‘Dusolds’ in Albany a year ago and that’s the plan again for 2014.  Mike Dusold made his first appearance in the state capital and got his hand raised.

“He has his sights set on 145; we’ll see if he’ll be there or at 152,” Enea said. “He’s one of the tougher guys in the area and hopefully that will translate upstate.  He definitely has the ability to be an All-State wrestler, it’s whether he puts everything together at the right time.”

Additional middleweights that represented Locust Valley and Section 8 in Albany last season, Jordan Formicola (160) and Yamique Webb (170), will be back to try and do it all again.

“Jordan is a tremendous athlete and leader,” Enea said. “He’ll probably stay at 160.  It’s All-State or bust for him – it’s his senior year and it would be his third time in Albany.  I can’t wait to see him on the podium.”

Webb, like Formicola, also plays football for the Falcons.

“[Webb] started wrestling as an eighth grader and picked it up pretty quickly; had a great deal of success as a freshman,” Enea said.  “Last year, he came into his own and the experience he had will really help him.  He’s such a good athlete that anything’s possible.”

The last returning Nassau champion for Locust Valley is Bryan Coll, who won the 99 pound class in 2013.  Coll’s teammate Patrick Briody was third at the Section 8 qualifier.  According to Enea, we could see Coll or Briody at 106 later in the season. (Jon Gomez will man 99 for the Falcons, while Jack Ward will handle 106 in the earlygoing).

That’s a lot of high quality wrestlers from Locust Valley.  But there are several other grapplers to keep an eye on in Division II.  One is eighth grader John DeRidder of Carle Place, who just missed a state bid when he lost in overtime in the county finals to Coll.  (He took third at 85 pounds at the Junior High NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach this spring).

“John DeRidder is an outstanding wrestler,” Enea said. “He will be someone to watch out for.  If he gets to the states, he is definitely capable of making a run there.”

A few wrestlers have already gotten there and are looking to go back.  They include Clarke’s Tom Stobe, who piled up more than 30 wins a year ago at 120 pounds.

“Stobe was extremely tough,” Enea said. “He’s a tenacious, hard worker.  Clarke runs such a great program that I’m sure he’s only going to be better this year.”

Enea had similar sentiments about Cold Spring Harbor’s Robert Incorvaia, who went 26-6 with 14 pins as a junior at 220 pounds.

“He was a bit undersized last year,” Enea said. “Having him back only helps the Section 8 team because he’ll be better.”

Who are some other wrestlers to track?

Oyster Bay’s Cassidy Exum wrestled in the state tournament in 2012, however, an injury prevented him from finishing last season.  He will be one to watch as will his teammate Kevin Velasquez, who took second in the Section at 182 pounds as a freshman.

“[Velasquez] did very well,” Enea said. “He was a first year wrestler, but he showed some athletic ability and understanding of wrestling.  When you put those together in the upperweights, you could have something special.”

Erik Rodriguez of Wheatley looks to make something special out of his season as well.  He notched silver behind Sam Ward in Nassau a year ago, but Enea mentioned that he has the talent to compete upstate.

Team Race

Locust Valley may be among the best teams in the state this year, with the seven returning qualifiers and several other solid starters.

“With the team we have this year, we’re looking for continued growth,” Enea said. “We believe we can contend to be in the top three or four in the state. It comes down to a couple of tournaments a year that make the difference.  I expect our returning qualifiers to be in the running to go back, although our goal is to send 15 guys upstate.”

Cold Spring Harbor boasts a large group of returning Nassau placers and will look to challenge.

“Cold Spring Harbor definitely returns a lot of good guys,” Enea said. “They were young last year in a lot of spots.  They have the depth to make things interesting.  As much as it’s easy to say that we’re the favorites, we can’t take anyone lightly.  We won’t look past anyone.”

—————–

Thank you to all of the contributors to this article, including Irwin Loew, Craig Vitagliano, Ray Adams, Vougar Oroudjov and Joe Enea.

We will continue to post Section previews as the season approaches.  Here are some others already released:

Section 3

Section 6

Section 7

Section 10

PSAL

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.

 

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

Freddie Dunau is a national champion.

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of Freddie Dunau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

————————

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—————————————–

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

Capital: Michael LaPorte- michaellaporte202@yahoo.com

Central: Mel Cutrie- mscutrie@gmail.com

Far Western- Kevin Lucinski- kslucinski@yahoo.com

Hudson Valley: Jeff Jones- jjones987@yahoo.com

Long Island: Gary Redding- nywayli@gmail.com

Northern: Randy Morrison- nnyywl@hotmail.com

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

Western: Adam Burgos- adamburgos@g2wrestling.com

 

Some Key NYWAY Dates for 2013-14

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

Kickoff Classic Individual Tournament, December 29 (SUNY Sullivan)

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

 

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

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

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

The recap for the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open is here.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Simaz, Photo by BV

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

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

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

 

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

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

Vaith, Photo by BV

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Also in Michigan . . .

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

 

Bombers Win The Ithaca Invitational With Five Champions

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

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

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

————————–

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