World Team Member Alexis Porter of Shenendehowa Commits to McKendree University

It’s been quite a week for Alexis Porter.  On Saturday, she picked up a dominant win in international action in her home gym.  And just a few days later, she committed to McKendree University in Illinois, where she will receive a full athletic scholarship.

“I took a visit and I really, really liked the campus,” Porter said. “The school is a good size and there are really good academic programs in areas I’m interested in.  I thought it was the best fit for me.”

It didn’t hurt that the Bearcats have already seen success in their debut season (with wins over the #4 and #5 teams in the nation). And there are plans in place to build a dedicated wrestling building.

Photo by Justin Cummings/Spotlight News Sports Photographer

“The brand new facility wasn’t the deciding factor, but it influenced me,” she said. “I’m definitely excited about it.”

Porter, a four-time national champion who represented Team USA at this summer’s Cadet World Championships in Serbia, also considered King, Campbellsville and Lindenwood.

She said she will finish her last high school season with Shenendehowa, but then looks forward to transitioning away from folkstyle – for good.

“In women’s college wrestling, it’s just freestyle,” she said. “I think I’m better at freestyle and I enjoy it more.  It will keep me on track for my international goals.”

Porter put on a great display of international wrestling this past weekend.  Prior to the USA vs. Russia Dual at Shenendehowa High School, Porter took on Canadian Keagin Collie at 65 kg.  She took command from the start, racing out to a 6-0 lead after the first period and winning by 7-0 technical fall early in the second stanza.

“It was an incredible event,” Porter said. “It was a packed gym and being able to wrestle in front of the home crowd at my own school was amazing.  Not too many people can say that they represented their country at their own school. I felt the adrenaline and really enjoyed it.  It was a great opportunity for me.”

Photo by Justin Cummings/Spotlight News Sports Photographer

Porter will have more opportunities on the world wrestling scene after going 0-1 at the World Championships a few months ago.  She has a developmental camp coming up in Philadelphia and plans to compete in Sweden in February and then in Austria in June.

“I definitely didn’t finish where I expected or hoped at the Worlds,” she said. “Sometimes you learn more from your failures than your successes.  I took a lot from that trip.  I have some more chances coming up to get some redemption and prove myself on the international stage.  I expect there to be a much different outcome.”

For now, though, Porter is excited to go through her senior year of high school with her future much more clear.

“I’m glad to be done with the recruiting process,” she said. “I enjoyed it – it was definitely an experience.  But now I can settle in and prepare for next year.  There were a lot of decisions to be made and places to look at, but I’m really happy with my decision and how it all turned out.”

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Alexis Porter wanted to thank her family, coaches and friends, saying that she “wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am without all of them.”

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.

 

Taking on the World: Shenendehowa's Alexis Porter Prepares to Make Her Mark at the Cadet World Championships

The summer is nearly over, and Alexis Porter hasn’t caught any waves or spent any time in the sand.  She simply hasn’t had the chance.

“This is definitely the busiest summer I’ve ever had,” she said. “I haven’t gotten to the beach yet, but everything I’ve missed isn’t that important.  I’ll stop when I win a World Championship.  I’ll be ready then.”

She’ll have that chance on August 22 when she takes the mat in Serbia for the Cadet World Championships at 65 kg/143.25 pounds.

It’s a goal she’s had in her mind for quite some time.

“My dad put it in my head a long time ago — way before I was even competing at this kind of a level,” she said.  “He always said that I could be a World Champion or an Olympic champion – even back when I was nine years old.”

When she was nine, Porter competed at the Body Bar FILA Cadet Nationals for the first time, taking second place.  She didn’t return to the event until May of 2013.  This time, the tournament was held in the Sunshine State and served as the qualifier for the World Team. And she had a little extra motivation to put on a show.

“My grandfather, who lives in Florida, came to support me,” she said. “It was the first time he saw me wrestle.  He had just gotten out of the hospital, but he was very adamant that he had to watch me. He was there, wheelchair and all. It kind of gave me an extra edge.”

She used that extra edge to perfection, blitzing through the competition.  Porter began with a 6-0, 8-2 victory before recording a trio of pins, each in less than two minutes.  She then finished things off with a 2-0, 7-0 triumph over Hannah Gladden in the championship contest.

That performance earned Porter spot in Serbia.  And that was just the beginning of an action-packed spring and summer.

“It didn’t hit me until I got back home,” she said of making the World Team. “I was really excited. It’s definitely my biggest accomplishment so far. I feel really lucky – it was a great experience for me. I realized there were a whole bunch of camps I would be going to and that I was about to start traveling.”

One of the places she traveled to was the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Colorado Springs.

“I was at a camp at the OTC and with the elevation, my conditioning got so much better,” she said. “We did a lot of conditioning and strength work.  It was really nice to be there competing.  Everybody was there – the top three in every weight class, pretty much. I was able to drill and train with Elena Pirozhkova, who was really nice and helpful.  I think it made a big difference before Fargo.”

Porter made quite a name for herself in Fargo in 2012, winning a pair of national titles – at both the Cadet and Junior levels.  She expected nothing less than another first place plaque this time around. (She competed only in the Junior division in 2013).

Her finals opponent, Jasmine Mendoza of California, was the same as in 2012.  And the result was the same – a championship for Porter. But her dominance was at another level.  She picked up an 11-2 technical fall in the title bout – and those were the only two points she surrendered.  Her other matches were a pin, 11-0, 10-0 and 12-0.

“Last year, I was conservative,” she said. “I was reserved – I wrestled safe and smart in the finals. I just wanted to make sure I won. This year, I felt like I could open up and make it a much bigger margin.  I wrestled a lot more active and aggressive.”

That individual achievement wasn’t necessarily the highlight of the tournament for Porter.  She was thrilled when Team New York made history, becoming the first squad other than California or Texas to win it all at Fargo in the Women’s Duals competition.

“I might have been more excited for that team win,” she said. “There are some pretty embarrassing pictures of me and how excited I was. A lot of my teammates hadn’t won a match or placed [during the individual competition] but [in the dual tournament] they beat people who were All-Americans. It was exciting to cheer for each other and show our support. Coach [Rob] Hirsch was adamant that no one trained harder than us. We showed everyone that New York is the best team in the country.”

That accomplishment was made more special for Porter because of the uniforms all New York wrestlers wore – with a picture of the late Jeff Blatnick on the back and the words “Dream Big”.

“I felt like Coach Blatnick was with us in spirit,” she said. “Wearing that singlet was a constant reminder of how much our state has gone through and why we deserved it as a team.”

Alexis and Jesse Porter, Courtesy of Porter Wrestling Facebook

Porter’s time in North Dakota was special for more reasons as well.  Her brother Jesse, a rising junior at Shenendehowa, was the only male wrestler from the Empire State to medal in both Greco Roman and Freestyle.  He took second and fifth, respectively, at 152 pounds after his high school campaign for the Plainsmen ended early with an injury.

“I definitely expected Jesse to do really well,” Alexis Porter said. “He didn’t have good luck during the season.  I thought he could win a state championship this year.  But having to sit out made him hungrier than ever.  When he came back, he went full steam, training harder than before.  He fell a little short of his goals in Fargo, but he did really well and I’m really proud of him.  For us, wrestling is a family affair.”

Indeed, Alexis Porter said that she and her brother are often practice partners.  They train at the Journeymen Wrestling Club, which Porter said has been a key component to her success.

She’s had her share of success on the national stage and she’s ready to take it to the global level.

“I haven’t done much international wrestling, but I’m pretty confident that no one in the weight can touch me,” she said. “I believe I should come back from Serbia as a world champion.”

And that won’t be all for Porter.  After the Worlds, she’ll be doing another development camp at the OTC and will prepare for her final year at Shenendehowa.

What happens after that?

“I’m really taking it one day at a time,” she said. “I know how fortunate I’ve been this year. I can’t thank my friends, family and coaches enough because I wouldn’t be anywhere without them.  I feel very blessed and lucky for the year I’ve had – staying healthy and staying successful.  This has been the busiest and craziest summer of my life but it will definitely also be the most fulfilling.”

Fargo Recap: Honoring Jeff Blatnick, the Porters, Bringing Home National Titles and More

The 2013 ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet National Championships in Fargo have come and gone.  Here are some thoughts and observations on Team New York’s highlights in North Dakota. 

The singlets worn by Team New York at the tournament said “Dream Big” on the back.  Underneath that phrase was a picture of the late, great Jeff Blatnick.

There’s no question that Blatnick would have been excited about some of the performances put together, including that of a competitor he worked with at the Journeymen Wrestling Club – Jesse Porter.

Porter, who was a Section 2 champion as a freshman in 2012, didn’t get a chance to shine in the postseason last year.  The Shenendehowa wrestler suffered an injury and was only able to compete in November and December for the Plainsmen as a sophomore.

Now healthy, he made a huge impact at the summer’s biggest event.  A year after taking fourth in Cadet Greco Roman at Fargo, he went to the finals at 152 pounds in the same tournament, where he earned the silver medal.  Then, in freestyle, Porter nabbed a fifth place finish, running his overall record in North Dakota to 14-3 against top-notch competition.  During the Greco Roman finals, one of the announcers said he wasn’t that familiar with Porter before the event, but he knew now that “Porter is a stud.”  It’s clear he’ll be a middleweight to watch in the Albany area . . . and beyond in 2013-14.

The Champions

Jesse Porter wasn’t the only member of his family to stand out for the Empire State.  His sister Alexis Porter captured gold again, winning the 148-pound championship in Junior Women’s Freestyle a year after taking gold in both Cadet and Junior competitions.  She was joined on the top of the podium by Rachel Hale, who won it all at 121 pounds.

It wasn’t just individual glory for the women, however.  Team New York made history, becoming the first squad other than California or Texas to win the Women’s Duals at Fargo.  In appropriate fashion, the group captured the title by defeating the prior titlewinners, dominating the Texans in the first match of the championship bracket before topping the Californians, 39-17.

In pool play, the team faced California and decided to rest the starters for a big run at the crown.  The move paid off for coach Rob Hirsch and the squad.  Later in the day, the rematch was a completely different story.  New York won nine of the 12 bouts, including five straight at the end to seal the victory.

During that event, many contributed key performances.  That included Alexis Bleau, who was the only woman to earn trophies in both the Cadet and Junior tournaments, taking second and fourth, respectively.  It also included Kelsey Gray, who went undefeated in the dual portion of the event, despite not placing individually. Alexis Porter, Rachel Hale and Rosemary Flores also sported unblemished records during the dual tournament.  Flores collected an individual bronze as well, as did Destane Garrick.

Speaking of Bronze . . .

Speaking of bronze, William Koll picked up his first medal in Fargo when he took third in Junior Greco at 126 pounds.  The Lansing Bobcat just missed making the medal stand in both events, as he went 4-2 in Freestyle.  Another two-time state finalist, Nick Casella of Locust Valley, also made his debut on the medal stand in Fargo after grabbing seventh at 120 pounds in Greco.

Something About 220

New York had more All-Americans at 220 pounds than any other weight.   James Bethel followed up his undefeated run at the Cadet Duals with a third place showing in Greco.  He was dominant in his victories, with all coming by pin or technical fall. He was joined on the podium in that tournament by Garyn Huntley, a sixth placer coming off a 20+ win campaign for Oxford Academy as an eighth grader.  In the Junior division there was another 220 pound All-American – Rafal Rokosz of Southampton, who was sixth with three pins along the way.

It wasn’t just Greco.  In Cadet Freestyle, Mamaroneck’s Youssif Hemida won four matches by technical fall to capture seventh place at 220.  Looks like there are some candidates for breakout years in the heavier weight classes in 2013-14.

(Another upperweight who made his mark was Roland Zilberman, who after sporting a perfect record at the Junior Duals in Oklahoma, continued his hot streak with a fifth place medal in Junior Greco).

And the Middleweights Too . . .

In addition to Jesse Porter’s performances at 152, the middleweights had a number of strong showings, including at 145 pounds in Cadet Freestyle.  Jordan Bushey of Peru, Jakob Restrepo of Sachem East and Gino Titone of Connetquot all finished with 5-2 records in pool action.  Titone, who had a 25-5 mark last season, fell just short of placing.  However, Bushey, who came within one win of All-State status in Albany at 138 in 2013, was seventh in Fargo (with an injury default victory over Restrepo, who took eighth).  Look for all three to make a serious push for the medal stand at the Times Union Center next February.

Another Year, Another Medal

Pine Bush’s Chris Cuccolo is very familiar with the awards handed out at Fargo as he placed in both 2011 and 2012. This year was no different, as he picked up another plaque with a sixth place showing at 106 in Greco.  Alpha Diallo of the PSAL was also an All-American in that bracket, earning seventh.

In Summary . . .

So, in the end, a total of 25 All-Americans were crowned, with at least one medalist in all competitions except Junior Freestyle.

New York walked away with a pair of individual national titles and a team championship on the women’s side.  And every time a New York wrestler took the mat, the memory of Jeff Blatnick was honored for everyone in the Fargodome to see.

 

All-Americans from New York, Fargo 2013

Cadet Greco Roman

Jesse Porter, 2nd at 152

James Bethel, 3rd at 220

Garyn Huntley, 6th at 220

Nick Casella, 7th at 120

 

Cadet Freestyle

Jesse Porter, 5th at 152

Jordan Bushey, 7th at 145

Jakob Restrepo, 8th at 145

Youssif Hemida, 7th at 220

 

Junior Greco

William Koll, 3rd at 126

Roland Zilberman, 5th at 195

Rafal Rokosz, 6th at 220

Chris Cuccolo, 6th at 106

Alpha Diallo, 7th at 106

 

Women’s Cadet

Alexis Bleau, 2nd at 143

Jennifer Juarez, 3rd at 108

Vivian Vu, 6th at 154

 

Women’s Junior

Rachel Hale, Champion at 121

Alexis Porter, Champion at 148

Rosemary Flores, 3rd at 125

Destane Garrick, 3rd at 172

Alexis Bleau, 4th at 139

Yuneris Taveras, 6th at 198

Kim Cardenas, 7th at 97

Kennedi Eddins, 7th at 159

Mariana Olalde, 8th at 172

Porter, Titone, Bushey and Restepo Undefeated on Day 1 of Cadet Freestyle; NY Women Win Dual Meet Championship

With Greco Roman finished at Fargo for 2013, the Cadet Freestyle tournament got underway on Wednesday.  New York will be well represented as the competition continues on Thursday with more than 10 wrestlers remaining.

Cadet Greco Roman runner up Jesse Porter continued his strong run in North Dakota with a 5-0 record at 152 pounds.  The Shenendehowa grappler wasn’t the only unbeaten New Yorker, as Leonard Merkin won all four of his bouts at 132 and a trio of 145 pounders – Gino Titone, Jordan Bushey and Jakob Restrepo – all went undefeated.

The following is the list of Empire State wrestlers who are in the hunt for medals in Cadet Freestyle:

120: Ben Lamantia 4-1

132: Leonard Merkin 4-0

145: Gino Titone 5-0

145: Jordan Bushey 4-0

145: Jakob Restrepo 4-0

152: Jesse Porter 5-0

170: Jacob Woolson 2-1

195: Tyler Hall 2-1

220: Youssif Hemida 2-0

220: James Bethel 2-1

285: Peter Strassfield 1-1

(To see the additional wrestlers that competed in Cadet Freestyle, see the end of this page).

New York – Dual Meet Champions

In addition to boasting a pair of national champions (Alexis Porter and Rachel Hale), Team New York celebrated an additional title on Wednesday as the squad finished in first place in the Women’s Dual Meet event.

The team began with a 33-22 victory over Washington before losing to California while forfeiting seven bouts.

In the championship bracket, the team trounced Texas 49-8 while winning 10 of 12 matches. In the title meet, New York faced the Golden State group for the second time of the day and came out on top 39-17.  After California captured the opening bout, New York grabbed four consecutive matches, including two technical falls and a pin, to take control.  The West Coast group rebounded with two wins, but New York sealed the crown with triumphs in the final five contests.

Going undefeated on the day were Kelsey Gray (112), Rachel Hale (121), Rosemary Flores (125) and Alexis Porter (148).

 

The following wrestlers also took the mat for New York in Cadet Freestyle action on Wednesday:

88: Drew Schafer, Justin Lopez, Oscar Lainez

106: John Luke DeStefano, Vinny Vespa, Johnathan Lauricella, Sean Miller

113: Evan Barczak, Taylor Picciano

120: Nick Casella

126: Christian Briody, Michael Berkowitz, Ian Lupole

138: Zachery Bendick, Wyatt DeMarree, Sam Ward, Frank Jilling

145: Kevin Parker

152: William Marcil, Brandon Aviles, Collin LaBombard, John Vouzonis

160: Zafar Iskandarov, Andrew Cummings, Vance Cuffie, Logan Burnick

182: Colby Stayley, Joseph Sabia

195: Aidan Mathews, Nick McShea

220: Garyn Huntley

285: Alex Gonzolez

 

National Champs! Alexis Porter and Rachel Hale Earn Titles For Team NY While Seven Others Place

Last year, the Empire State squad left Fargo with three national titles in the women’s competition.  Once again, multiple first place plaques will be making their way back East as Team New York’s Rachel Hale (121) and Alexis Porter (148) captured gold.

For Porter, it was a familiar story at Fargo as she captured championships in both Cadet and Junior competition last July.  In 2013, the Shenendehowa wrestler only took the mat in the Junior bracket but was once again dominant, going 5-0 while outscoring the opposition by a combined 44-2 (plus a pin).

Hale was also 5-0 without a close match.  She notched a 14-2 technical fall over Cassidy Jasperson of Texas in the title bout and her smallest margin of victory was 10 points.

Both Rosemary Flores and Destane Garrick garnered third place, at 125 and 172 pounds, respectively.  Flores, a former double titlewinner at Fargo, picked up four victories – all by fall.  In fact, she pinned Taylor Alva of Texas in just over a minute to take bronze.  Garrick also got her hand raised four times, including a 13-2 result against Michigan’s Kaitlyn Hill for third.

Alexis Bleau collected her second medal of the week on Tuesday night.  After taking silver in the Cadet division a few nights ago, she nabbed a fourth place finish in the Junior bracket at 139.

Also representing the Empire State on the medal stand were Yuneris Taveras (sixth at 198), Kim Cardenas (seventh at 97), Keneddi Eddins (seventh at 159) and Mariana Olalde (eighth at 172).

For full results, see http://www.trackwrestling.com.

 

2013 Fargo Preview for New York: Who Will Shine in the Summer's Biggest Tournament?

The eyes of wrestling fans will turn to Fargo, North Dakota over the next several days as many of the best competitors in the country will take the mat to crown Freestyle and Greco Roman national champions.  Who from the Empire State will shine in the biggest tournament of the summer?  There are always some surprises, but the following is a look at some of those who could make an impact for Team New York. 

Will there be repeat champions?

Alexis Porter

A year ago, New York had over 25 All-Americans at Fargo, with three national championships.  Those titles came from the women’s competition where Shenendehowa’s Alexis Porter took top honors in both the Cadet (143 pounds) and Junior (139 pounds) brackets and Mary Westman collected gold at Junior 159.

Porter, who will represent the USA at the World championships later this summer, will have the chance to add to her trophy collection.  Also looking to be a gold medalist at this event again is Rosemary Flores, a double champion in 2011 who was third a year ago at 130 pounds.

 

Who Will Excel at the Junior Level for New York?

In addition to the strong women’s contingent, the men’s side features a number of wrestlers who have the ability to win it all.  Among them are nationally-ranked grapplers who captured crowns in both Freestyle and Greco at the New York championships in Binghamton back in May.

Photo by BV

Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (138) is one of them.  The Cheektowoga standout was third in Greco last summer at the Fargodome and after another impressive performance at the Junior Duals in Oklahoma a few weeks ago (9-0 in Freestyle, 6-1 in Greco), he looks poised to challenge for the biggest prize.  Also starring for Team New York in the Sooner State were former Fargo placers Burke Paddock (160) and Reggie Williams (195).  Paddock, who recently committed to the University of Iowa, was a combined 15-1 at the Junior Duals, while Williams, who notched fifth at 215 in Cadet Freestyle two years ago, is ready to get on the medal stand again. (Perhaps also keep an eye out for Roland Zilberman, who went unbeaten at the Junior Duals across both styles at 195 and 220 pounds).

Another one of the Empire State’s top seniors, William Koll of Lansing, was dominant in winning double New York titles for the second consecutive year and after a strong showing at the Western Regional in April and at the Disney Duals, will look to pick up hardware in North Dakota at 126.

Like Koll, Adis Radoncic (170) and Matt Abbott (285) earned New York state folkstyle titles this February in Albany. Both will compete in Fargo, as will a bevy of other placers from the Times Union Center in 2013, including silver medalist Chris Koo and third placers Troy Seymour and Alex Smythe.  Koo, Seymour and Smythe will all wrestle at 160 pounds. Additional high school medalists from 2013 will represent the Empire State, such as Golan Cohen (113), Cheick Ndiaye (120), Freddie Dunau (132), Ryan Snow (132), Konstantin Parfiryev (170), Andrew Psomas (170), Nick Weber (195) and Sam Eagan (220).

Chris Cuccolo of Pine Bush, who was an All-American in 2011 and 2012 at Fargo will see action at 106, while another returning placer, Ben Honis, moves up from the Cadet ranks.  Matthew Morris, who grabbed first place in both styles at the New York championships and wrestled well at the Junior Duals, will be at 120.

 

Who Will Lead the Way in the Cadet Tournaments?

While there were a number of double New York champions in the Junior division, as discussed previously, there were more in the Cadet brackets, with 10 wrestlers grabbing titles in both Freestyle and Greco.

Two of those grapplers – Locust Valley’s Sam Ward (138) and Shenendehowa’s Jesse Porter (152) – placed at the Fargodome in 2012 in Greco Roman action and are threats to repeat as All-Americans.

A host of other Cadets look for breakthrough performances in the next week.  Leonard Merkin of Poly Prep and James Bethel are a strong candidates, as they impressed with undefeated showings at the Cadet Duals in Daytona Beach.  Meanwhile, Empire State champions in both international styles such as Nick Casella (120), Ian Lupole (126), Gino Titone (145), Jacob Woolson (170), Aidan Mathews (195) and Peter Strassfield (285) all look to make their marks.  Also keep an eye on state placer Vinny Vespa of Monroe Woodbury, who will make his Fargo debut at 106.

———————–

It all begins on Saturday afternoon with Women’s Cadet action.

Who will take advantage of the opportunity to face and beat some of the nation’s best over the next week or so at Fargo?  Stay tuned and check back for updates on New York wrestlers throughout the tournament.

(All the above wrestlers were listed as part of Team New York as of Thursday night).

Here’s the list of last year’s (2012) New York All-Americans at Fargo:

Junior Greco

106 Pounds: Kyle Kelly, 7th Place

113 Pounds: Josh Antoine, 8th Place

120 Pounds: Santo Curatolo, 6th Place

132 Pounds: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, 3rd Place

152 Pounds: Brendan Goldup, 5th Place

160 Pounds: Connor Sutton, 5th Place

182 Pounds: McZiggy Richards, 4th Place

182 Pounds: Chris Loew, 7th Place

 Junior Freestyle

132 Pounds: Nick Kelley, 4th Place

138 Pounds: Quinton Murphy, 2nd Place

145 Pounds: David Almaviva, 8th Place

152 Pounds: Brian Realbuto, 4th Place

160 Pounds: Dylan Palacio, 4th Place

160 Pounds: Tyler Grimaldi, 6th Place

Cadet Greco

94 Pounds: Chris Cuccolo, 5th

132 Pounds: Jesse Porter, 4th

132 Pounds: Sam Ward, 7th

182 Pounds: Benjamin Honis, 7th

 Cadet Freestyle

138 Pounds: Thomas Dutton, 8th Place

195 Pounds: Chris Tangora, 8th Place

Cadet Women

143 Pounds: Alexis Porter, Champion

143 Pounds: Kennedie Eddings,6th

172 Pounds: Yuneris Diaz, 3rd

Junior Women

112 Pounds: Hanna Grisewood, 2nd Place

130 Pounds: Rosemary Flores, 3rd Place

139 Pounds: Alexis Porter, Champion

159 Pounds: Mary Westman, Champion

172 Pounds: Yuneris Diaz, 5th Place

 

Jenna Burkert and Alexis Porter to Represent Team USA at World Championships

 
 
For the third consecutive year, Jenna Burkert will be representing the United States at the Junior World Championships. The Rocky Point native earned her spot on the squad over the weekend at the Body Bar FILA Junior Nationals in Florida at 59 kg/130 pounds.

In the best-of-three championship round, Burkert eased past Team Indiana’s Kayla Miracle in the first period of the initial bout, 7-0. However, Miracle responded with a pin in the second stanza to win the first match.

Burkert was in control the rest of the way, however, capturing the second bout 1-0, 1-0 and then taking the third 6-0, 3-3. She will travel to the World Championships held in Sofia, Bulgaria as one of six returning team members for Team USA.

Also preparing to compete for the Red, White and Blue is Shenendehowa High School’s Alexis Porter, who won the Body Bar FILA Cadet Nationals at 65 kg/143.25 pounds. Porter topped Hannah Gladden in straight matches (2-0, 7-0 in the first and 1-0, 5-1 in the second) to clinch the title and the ticket to the FILA Cadet World Championships in Serbia in August.

For the full results, go to http://www.trackwrestling.com and search for 2013 Body Bar WM National Championships.

"Olympic Level Good": Friends Remember Jeff Blatnick

National Wrestling Hall of Fame member and Olympic Gold Medalist Jeff Blatnick’s passing was a shock to the wrestling community.  It’s a story that has been covered by both the wrestling and mainstream media as many have articulated his numerous and signficant accomplishments both on and off the mat.

For some additional perspectives, New York Wrestling News asked a few people who knew Jeff Blatnick to provide reflections on the impact he had on their lives.  We’ll let them tell more of the story of Jeff Blatnick.

 

Kyle Dake, Three-time NCAA Champion at Cornell

“When I first met Coach Blatnick, I found out pretty quickly that he was one of the friendliest and most incredible people to be around.  What I really remember is how he was full of wisdom.  I always took to heart what he said, whether it was about wrestling or life in general because it was always wise.

He called me “The Ferret” because when we first met I was a 98-pound freshman who was all over the place with so much energy.  As I got bigger, he tried to think of another nickname, but Ferret stuck.  The years I wrestled at Fargo, Coach Blatnick was there.  He was my second coach with Scott Green.  I always had complete trust in him.  I always felt good when he was in my corner because he was a commanding presence who was so knowledgeable about the sport.

After my freshman year in college I went to Fargo to be a team coach and I got to spend time with him. Not as a wrestler and a coach, but as a friend. We had some great conversations about wrestling and life and it was a really special time that I’ll never forget. We had a relationship where we were really strongly connected even though we didn’t see each other that much. I’m still in disbelief that he’s gone.  I appreciated him and looked up to him so much as a person.”

 

Nick Gwiazdowski, NCAA All-American (now at North Carolina State)

“In eighth grade when I started Freestyle and Greco, Jeff Blatnick started coaching me.  The thing he helped me with the most was my approach to wrestling.  Wrestling is such an exciting sport and it’s easy to get really pumped up and have a lot of emotion.  He taught me how to bring the emotion down, visualize and relax and get prepared for matches.  He simplified things for me and a lot of the little things he taught me, I still do in my matches today.

More important, he was someone I liked being around.  You could travel to a tournament with him and never talk about wrestling.  He was someone you could always talk to about anything and he would be there for you.  People would introduce him as an Olympic champion, but he would never introduce himself like that.  He was so humble.  He never really mentioned the things he accomplished.  It was all about helping you get better at wrestling or helping you in some other way.  He will be missed by a lot of people.  It will be very different without him.”

 

Alexis Porter, Two-Time Freestyle National Champion

“I remember when I first met him, at a small peewee tournament.  I hadn’t been wrestling for more than a few months.  He saw something in me that day that not a lot of people had seen and he became my coach.  I knew he was a legend who was courageous and inspirational but he didn’t focus on his own story.  He was focused on making everyone in our club the best wrestler they could be and help them achieve the biggest goals possible.

My first year at Fargo, I lost in the consolation finals.  I was upset and angry. He told me I had nothing to be ashamed of and that next year I would be on top of the podium.  He said I had bigger things to look forward to.  Sure enough, the next year, he was in my corner when I won my first national title.  He was one of the best wrestlers and coaches I’ve seen and an even better man.  I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to know him and to call him my coach.”

 

Craig Vitagliano, Team New York Freestyle Coach (Ascend Wrestling)

“I knew about Jeff Blatnick growing up.  He was one of the first wrestlers I saw on the Olympic level and I remember sitting and watching the gold medal match.  I’d heard about all the adversity he had to overcome and the way he focused and won the Olympic gold was inspiring for me. It was an amazing moment in Olympic history.

Fast forward to the past couple of years when I got to know Jeff on the Freestyle circuit.  Our club battled Journeymen a number of times and he was always respectful, friendly and approachable.  There was no arrogance despite all he accomplished.  He was also light hearted with a great sense of humor.  He was behind a big joke played on me at Fargo this year when I was told that I failed my bronze certification test and was going to be removed from the event.  Jeff was the leader of it and had me going for about 20 minutes.  He was a great man and a great ambassador and it’s a huge loss.”

 

Dylan Palacio, High School National Champion and Cornell Recruit

“Even when I was unsuccessful, [Blatnick] believed in me.  He saw some potential and kept pushing me to achieve what he thought I was capable of.  It’s really rare to find someone so genuine, who just wants you to be better and achieve great things.  He truly cared about the sport and the people in it. My biggest regret is that I never told him how much of an impact he had on me. I really want to do things now to make sure he looks down and says, ‘I was right about that kid.’ I could go on for days about all the things he’s accomplished but what really sticks with me is how sincere he was about wanting to see kids succeed.”

 

Mike Kelley, Journeymen Wrestling

“He always went out of his way to help the kids.  There was a tournament in Connecticut that was over two hours away and bunch of kids were supposed to go.  Then kids started dropping out and only two were left.  A lot of coaches would have decided not to go with only two kids.  But he insisted on going. That’s the kind of guy he was.  If he said he was going to do something, he did it. He always took the time.

Last year at Freestyle states, Nick [Kelley, Mike’s son and Fargo All-American] had an injury to his mouth and it got hit again and was pretty bad.  [Blatnick] went around the place asking everyone if they had a facemask for Nick to use.  He didn’t stop until he found one.  He looked out for everyone.  It wasn’t just successful wrestlers.  It didn’t matter who it was.  If it was first-year kids making all kinds of mistakes, he went out of his way to spend time with them.  He went the extra mile.

He was a great coach. He had a calming effect.  Nick said no matter how loud it was, he could always hear [Blatnick] and his instructions even though he didn’t scream.  There was just something about him.  He was a great guy that will be missed.”

 

Frank Popolizio

“Jeff was an enormous part of our organization at Journeymen Wrestling and the wrestling community as a whole.  Above all, Jeff was a gentleman and an ambassador.  A lot of people look at him as a wrestling guy, but he was a lot more than that. He was a major ambassador for the disabled.  He played a big role in the Special Olympics.  He was involved in cancer-related causes.  It seemed like he was always at fundraising events for cancer and helping to raise awareness.

He was a tremendous worker on top of it all.  He spent a lot of time in the wrestling room trying to help the kids.  He was in charge of our Freestyle program.  Freestyle ends in July and so did his obligations and responsibilities to being there for the kids.  But he’d be there in August and September and October.  I’d tell him he didn’t have to be there, but he wanted to be.  That’s the kind of guy he was.  He cared tremendously about the kids and they really responded to him.

The angle that’s not being covered is an ability that Jeff had as maybe the best, most effective wrestling diplomat.  He was in charge of things that were very political, including the head of USA Wrestling New York.  It’s a difficult position working with many different groups and personalities, but he was able to navigate through it with ease.  I don’t think it was easy, but he made it look easy.  He was really good at it – Olympic level good.  We were all better off for the work he did.

We lost a giant of a guy figuratively and literally.  It’s an enormous void on so many levels and I’m not sure you can ever truly fill it.”

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

We’ll end with an inspiring video of Jeff Blatnick at the 1984 Olympic Games, winning his gold medal and reacting afterwards.  Popolizio said watching it gave him goose bumps and it did the same for us.  RIP, Jeff Blatnick, you will be missed.

Fargo 2012 Recap for NY: Three National Champs and More Than 25 All-Americans

After eight days full of wrestling at Fargo, New York boasted three National Champions, 28 total All-Americans and a number of breakout performances.

The following are some of the stories that emerged during the week.

Seniors Go Out Strong

The Empire State’s class of 2012 was outstanding, featuring the winningest wrestler in state history (Quinton Murphy), a National Champion who represented the USA All-Stars at both the Dapper Dan and Dream Team Duals (Brian Realbuto) and a grappler who remained undefeated throughout the high school campaign, the New York Freestyle and Greco States, the NHSCA Senior Nationals and the Disney Duals (Dylan Palacio). In all, five New Yorkers were ranked in Intermat’s final Top 100.

Brian Realbuto, Photo by Boris Veysman

Murphy, Realbuto and Palacio all placed in the top four in brackets of more than 75 entrants at Fargo, going a combined 23-6 against some of the best in the nation.

After a bronze medal finish in 2011, Murphy returned and took silver at 138 pounds.  He showed resilience, winning five in a row to make the finals after losing a match on the opening day.  He will next compete in the Big 10 as a member of the Indiana Hoosiers.

Realbuto and Palacio will also wear red in college – Cornell Big Red.   Both took fourth on Saturday after impressive runs.

Realbuto, last year’s champion at 145, wrestled well despite an injury.  He defaulted to Oliver Pierce, a wrestler he defeated last year at this tournament, to take fourth.  Similarly, Palacio was dominant for much of the event and stood fourth on the podium after dropping his final bout against Wisconsin’s Matt Gray on Saturday.

All three will be worth watching on the NCAA scene in the coming years.

Stating Their Cases

The early national rankings included several Empire State representatives, such as Nicky Hall, Troy Seymour, Nick Lupi and Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer.  But several of the state’s top rising seniors who weren’t listed made clear statements over the past few days.

Tyler Grimaldi, a 2012 state runner up who was an All-American at the NHSCA Junior Nationals in the spring, once again made his presence felt at a national event, winning seven matches and taking sixth place in the deep 160 pound bracket.

“I always see the rankings, but they don’t mean too much to me,” Grimaldi said. “It’s all about wrestling on the mat and getting the wins.  With more wins, the rankings will come.”

Those rankings may also come for other members of the Empire State squad.

Kyle Kelly of Chenango Forks, a two-time champion in New York, made the medal stand for the second consecutive year in Greco, and a pair of workout partners from Section 2, Nick Kelley (fourth at 132 pounds) and David Almaviva (eighth at 145 pounds) showcased their skills in Junior Freestyle.  Kelley, a multi-time state placer, picked up seven victories, defeating nationally-ranked grapplers such as Jared McKinley of Indiana.

“Before the tournament, I was really hoping to be an All-American, but you never know how it will work out there with the draw and so many great wrestlers,” Kelley said. “I felt like I was pretty strong at the weight. I had some tough matches where I think my strength and my conditioning were big advantages.  When the matches went on longer, I felt more confident.  I felt like [opponents] started dying down and I started regaining energy.”

The same could be said for Almaviva, who was wrestling up a weight from the high school season.

“It was great watching [Almaviva] do so well, especially wrestling up at 145,” Kelley said. “It seemed like he was still stronger than most of the guys he wrestled.”

Plainsmen on the Podium

Nick Kelley, Photo by Boris Veysman

Kelley and Almaviva weren’t the only success stories from their school this weekend.  Some entire states captured five or fewer medals.  Shenenedehowa High School earned five on its own, including a pair of national titles in the women’s competition by Alexis Porter and a Cadet Greco fourth place showing by Jesse Porter.

“There are a ton of All-Americans to work with in our room now,” Kelley said. “Having practice partners like that helps us all get better. We have a lot of tough wrestlers coming back next year.  I think we’ll be pretty solid.”

Head coach Rob Weeks will certainly have a solid team, one that will likely be a top contender again in Albany.

Girl Power

Speaking of Alexis Porter . . . the ladies brought home three national titles.

“Getting a pin in the Cadet finals like Alexis did – that’s a big deal,” Kelley said.  “Then, winning another title in Junior Freestyle was great. She had a great tournament.”

In addition to Porter’s two championships, Mary Westman improved upon her second place showing in 2011 to demonstrate that she is the top 159-pounder in the land.

Warsaw’s Hanna Grisewood was also a finalist for the Empire State, taking second at 112 and Rosemary Flores was third at 130 pounds a year after taking double titles.

The Future

Quite a few of the stars of this year’s event will be eligible to return.  In addition to wrestlers such as Nick Kelley, Almaviva, Grimaldi, Kyle Kelly, Flores and the Porters, several others who made an impact may wear the New York singlet again in 2013.

Rodriguez-Spencer went 10-2 at the Junior Duals and followed that up with a third place finish in Greco.  He’ll be a threat in both styles next year, as will Chris Cuccolo who medaled in Greco this year after placing in both styles in 2011.

Leading the charge for the Cadets were Freestyle All-Americans Thomas Dutton and Chris Tangora as well as Greco placer Benjamin Honis, who was one win short of medaling in Freestyle as well.  They will be joined by Santo Curatolo, Brendan Goldup and Sam Ward, who will look to climb higher on the podium.

And of course, there are the wrestlers who didn’t become All-Americans this time, but will break through the barrier next year.  Just ask Nick Kelley, who was 3-2 in his last appearance at Fargo in 2010.  Or Grimaldi, who went 1-2 last July.

“I got beaten up last year at Fargo,” Grimaldi said.  “It was tough.  But over the entire year I had the mentality of working hard to do better.  Am I happy with 6th this year?  No.  But if I put it in perspective and look at the step I took from last year, I realize it was a big accomplishment.  I’m 100% coming back next year.  I have unfinished business in Fargo, North Dakota.”

That kind of mentality promises to bring a large medal haul back to New York in July of 2013.  But for now, with Fargo 2012 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to change the focus back to folkstyle.  The countdown to the 2012-13 high school season has begun.

 

2012 New York All-Americans at Fargo

Junior

106 Pounds: Kyle Kelly, 7th Place Greco

113 Pounds: Josh Antoine, 8th Place Greco

120 Pounds: Santo Curatolo, 6th Place Greco

132 Pounds: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, 3rd Place Greco

152 Pounds: Brendan Goldup, 5th Place Greco

160 Pounds: Connor Sutton, 5th Place Greco

182 Pounds: McZiggy Richards, 4th Place Greco

182 Pounds: Chris Loew, 7th Place Greco

 

132 Pounds: Nick Kelley, 4th Place Freestyle

138 Pounds: Quinton Murphy, 2nd Place Freestyle

145 Pounds: David Almaviva, 8th Place Freestyle

152 Pounds: Brian Realbuto, 4th Place Freestyle

160 Pounds: Dylan Palacio, 4th Place Freestyle

160 Pounds: Tyler Grimaldi 6th Place Freestyle

 

Cadet

94 Pounds: Chris Cuccolo, Cadet Greco 5th

132 Pounds: Jesse Porter, Cadet Greco 4th

132 Pounds: Sam Ward, Cadet Greco 7th

182 Pounds: Benjamin Honis, Cadet Greco 7th

 

138 Pounds: Thomas Dutton, 8th Place Freestyle

195 Pounds: Chris Tangora, 8th Place Freestyle

 

Women –  Cadet

143 Pounds: Alexis Porter, Cadet Freestyle Champion

143 Pounds: Kennedie Eddings, Cadet Freestyle 6th

172 Pounds: Yuneris Diaz, Cadet Freestyle 3rd

 

Women –  Junior

112 Pounds: Hanna Grisewood, 2nd Place

130 Pounds: Rosemary Flores, 3rd Place

139 Pounds: Alexis Porter, Champion

159 Pounds: Mary Westman, Champion

172 Pounds: Yuneris Diaz, 5th Place