New York Boasts Multiple Champions, Including Repeat Winner Nick Piccininni, at the Iron Horse Invitational

Last year, two New York wrestlers emerged as champions at the Iron Horse Invitational in New Jersey.  On Sunday, the Empire State boasted many more first place finishers, including a repeat performance by Nick Piccininni.

The Ward Melville grappler went 4-0 on the day, outscoring his opponents 29-1 along the way.  One of his victories was over New Jersey state champion Anthony Cefolo.

In addition to Piccininni, Long Island was well represented in the Garden State with Eastport South Manor’s Jimmy Leach, Rocky Point’s Tommy Dutton, MacArthur’s Steve Schneider and Syosset’s Vito Arujau also collecting crowns.

Steve Schneider, Photo by BV

All four of those wrestlers finished with unblemished records.  Leach, a Section 11 finalist in February, beat 2013 NYS placer Sam Ward 6-3 on his path. Meanwhile, Dutton notched an impressive 3-2 triumph over two-time New Jersey runner up Gary Dinmore, a competitor ranked as one of the top 100 seniors in the land by Intermat and FloWrestling. Schneider bested state champion Adis Radoncic a few weeks after losing to him at the Journeymen Classic, while fellow Nassau representative Arujau notched a trio of victories, including a 4-0 decision over All-Stater Jesse Dellavecchia of East Islip.

There were many more gold showings for New York, including by returning state silver medalists Levi Ashley of Shenendehowa and Christian Dietrich of Greene.  [Ashley’s only setback was to fellow New Yorker Nick Weber of Kings Park, another All-Stater in 2013]. For Dietrich, it was another offseason title after taking first at the Journeymen Classic a few weeks ago.

We haven’t forgotten about Anthony DePrez of Hilton and Brett Perry of John Jay East Fishkill, who also returned to the Empire State on Sunday night as champions.

Quite a few New Yorkers ended the top notch event with second place showings.  John Muldoon of Pearl River was one of them, after going 3-1 with his only loss in overtime to New Jersey medalist Christian Innarella of Delbarton.

Yianni Diakomihalis of Hilton pinned Wantagh’s Kyle Quinn in a meeting of returning state champions and defeated New Jersey’s Nick Santos, before dropping a 5-3 battle to Nick Suriano, the #1 ranked grappler in the land at 113 pounds, to take second.

In addition, Jakob Restrepo continued his stellar offseason with silver, including a 5-4 decision over two-time New York runner up Vincent DePrez of Hilton.  Restrepo wasn’t the only Section 11 wrestler to take second – Greg Chery of Connetquot and Jesse Dellavecchia of East Islip did the same.

To see full results, follow this link.

 

 

 

 

Becoming Bearcats: Hilton Standouts Vincent and Anthony DePrez Discuss Choosing Binghamton

In separate conversations, Vincent and Anthony DePrez were asked why they chose to commit to Binghamton. As often happens with twins, they provided very similar answers.

“The coaches are great,” Vincent said. “I really liked their attitude and the way they run the wrestling program.  The facilities are nice.  There are just a lot of good people there.”

“I really liked the coaches,” Anthony responded. “They are really good people. I liked the way they support the team in wrestling and with their education.  I also liked the wrestling room and the facilities.”

While the pair ended up choosing the same path for college, that wasn’t always a certainty.

“At first, we were looking at different places,” Anthony said.  “But I’m really happy that we both wanted Binghamton and we’ll be going to the same school together.”

According to Vincent, Anthony looked at Bucknell while he considered Army.  But a trip to the Binghamton campus in July had a strong impact on both brothers.

“I knew it was a great place for me right away,” Vincent said. “The visit made me want to make a final choice pretty quickly.”

The DePrez brothers did that, and now they can focus fully on their senior years.

“The pressure is off now,” Anthony said. “No more stress. Now, I can just think about school and wrestling.”

The two have done plenty of wrestling in the offseason, competing at events such as the FloNationals in Pennsylvania, the Athens Duals, Ragin Raisins Duals and NUWAY Summer Championships in New Jersey.

According to Anthony DePrez, the brothers also wrestle during the week at the G2 World Wrestling Academy and at “The Garage” (at the house of teammate and state champion Yianni Diakomihalis).  In addition, they’ve been lifting and doing other training.

All the work is aimed toward a senior year to remember after both Vincent and Anthony (along with younger brother Lou) earned spots at the state tournament in 2013.

Vincent collected his third All-State honor, taking second place for the second year in a row (at 113 and 138 pounds as a sophomore and junior, respectively).  He also nabbed fourth as a freshman at 103 pounds.  Anthony won a bout in Albany in his first appearance at the event, as did then-eighth grader Lou DePrez at 120 pounds.

“It was really nice to have all three of us wrestling there last year,” Vincent said. “Having more people there with you, to be there for you, is pretty cool.”

What would also be “pretty cool” is the one thing Vincent said is missing from his resume.

“This year, my goal is to win a state title,” he said, mentioning that he will likely compete at 145 pounds.  “It’s just about the state title.  That’s what I want.”

Anthony aims to join him on the medal stand, at 152 pounds.

“Last year at states was a cool experience, but it was kind of nerve wracking,” he said. “I think I could have done better and this year, I won’t be nervous.  I’ll relax and wrestle the way I know how.  My goal is to place at least top three.”

In addition to individual achievements, there are high hopes for the Hilton squad.  With four returning state qualifiers and a number of other strong grapplers, the brothers were excited about the team outlook for 2013-14.  (The fourth DePrez brother, Sam, will join the squad as a seventh grader as well).

“I think we can be really good as a dual meet team, maybe ranked close to the top in the state,” Vincent said.

“We have a lot of good wrestlers coming back,” Anthony added. “I think we could have at least six guys go to states this year.”

And then it will be off to the EIWA conference, where the brothers said they expect to compete somewhere between 157 and 174 pounds for the Bearcats.

“I know Binghamton is the right place,” Vincent said. “We’re both really excited.”

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Vincent and Anthony DePrez wished to thank their parents, family and all their coaches, including Adam Burgos, Craig Gross and Ilias Diakomihalis.

 

Vincent and Anthony DePrez Commit to Wrestle at Binghamton

Binghamton’s last recruiting class featured a number of New York’s top wrestlers.  This year looks like it will be more of the same as the Bearcats secured commitments from Hilton twins Vincent and Anthony DePrez on Wednesday.

Both qualified for the state tournament a year ago, along with younger brother Lou, who made it to Albany as an eighth grader at 120 pounds.

Trips to the state capital have been frequent for Vincent, who has made the podium three times at the Times Union Center, including runner up finishes in 2012 (at 113 pounds) and 2013 (at 138).  He nabbed fourth at 103 as a freshman.

In his junior campaign, Vincent picked up 51 victories, with his only losses coming against the state champions in Division I (Nick Kelley) and Division II (Nick Tighe).  Both will be his teammates at Binghamton.

Meanwhile, Anthony earned his spot in Albany at 145 pounds in February after compiling a stellar 50-3 mark with 42 bonus point victories.

The twins will be now part of the middleweight future for the Bearcats, likely between 157 and 174 pounds.

An interview with Vincent and Anthony DePrez about their college decision is here.

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Triple Threat: Hilton's Vincent, Anthony and Lou DePrez Looking to Collect Titles in 2012-13

In 2011-12, when Hilton’s 113-pound wrestler finished his bout and the 120-pounder took the mat, you couldn’t blame opponents for doing a double take.

After all, 2012 New York state finalist Vincent DePrez and his twin brother Anthony look extremely alike.  In fact, some who know them pretty well claim that they can’t always differentiate them.

“I still can’t tell the difference,” said their father Jason DePrez, laughing.

Adam Burgos, co-owner of G2 World Wrestling Academy who has worked with the twins for years, agreed.

“For me, I either look at their wrestling shoes or their smiles,” Burgos said.  “One has a more noticeable smile than the other, but if you look quickly, it’s tough to tell.  Usually, I just say one of their names and see who looks.  It’s a challenge at times.”

Besides the way they look, the brothers have another thing in common – winning.

Vincent DePrez had one of the best seasons in the Empire State last year on his way to the silver medal at 113 pounds.  He won his first 49 matches, including victories over Division II state champion Sean Peacock of Midlakes and other All-State grapplers such as Pat Skinner, Robert Person and Cody McGregor after taking fourth at 103 pounds the previous season.

He came within one second of the state title, dropping a one-point decision as time expired against Dylan Realbuto of Somers.  What many observers didn’t know was that DePrez suffered an eye injury with less than 30 seconds remaining and was forced to spend several hours after the tournament was over in a nearby emergency room.

“I cut my eyelid and it split and I needed stitches,” Vincent DePrez said. “It really wasn’t that bad, but I had to take a couple of weeks off from wrestling to heal.  It was a little tough because I’m used to wrestling every day.”

When he was able to get back into the swing of things, he started work with Anthony, who also had a successful campaign.

Anthony came close to competing in Albany as well, losing by a point to New York state second place finisher Brady Baron in the SuperSectional title bout to cap off a 41-6 season.

“I think my season went alright,” Anthony DePrez said.  “I took second in a lot of tournaments.  I got closer and closer to Brady [Baron] during the year.  The first time, I got pinned. The second time I only lost by a few points.  The last match, I needed to turn him on top but couldn’t.  I felt like I should have been able to, but I lost 4-3.  This year, I am looking to get to make it to states and place high.”

Vincent’s goal is, not surprisingly to earn his first state title.  Both twins said they will make significant jumps in weight, with Vincent potentially wrestling at 138 and Anthony at 145.

“Being up a few classes, there will be different challenges and different competitors for them,” Burgos said. “But with hard work and determination, they can achieve their goals.  They have a built in workout partner right down the hall.  They don’t even have to call anyone or go anywhere.  They’re competitive to the point of pushing each other really hard.  One never wants to be outdone by the other.”

That’s for sure.  As would be expected with brothers, things can get a little chippy.

“We fight a lot during practice,” Vincent DePrez said. “It can get pretty bad.  But we’re all good when practice is over.”

The twins aren’t only competitive with each other.   Younger brother Lou DePrez, an eighth grader, also participates in a lot of their training, along with Yianni Diakomihalis, currently ranked the sixth-best junior high school wrestler in the nation by Intermat.

“We have Vincent and Anthony working and Louie and Yianni working.  There’s a dynamic in the room where both of the groups are trying to outdo each other,” Burgos said.  “It makes everyone better.  I think Louie might be a little bit better off than the twins at this stage because of the environment he’s able to train in.”

Lou DePrez’s looks and smile set him apart from his twin brothers.  His voice during the interview conducted for this story was different enough to be recognized. But the winning gene is still there.

In his seventh grade season on Hilton’s varsity squad, he compiled a 29-15 mark at 106 pounds.

“I just focused on trying to get better throughout the season,” Lou DePrez said. “Most of the guys were bigger than me at 106 so it was sometimes tough.  But having Yianni as a partner is great.  He pushes me hard and always raises the bar high. I’m shooting to make it to the state tournament this year and place.”

“[Lou] will turn some heads this year,” Burgos added. “He’s really starting to come into his own.  He’s very aggressive on his feet and with the way he trains, I expect really big things out of him.”

That will make a triple threat of DePrez grapplers for opposing teams to deal with this winter.  And then another year down the line, current sixth grader Sam DePrez, who has been wrestling since he was three or four years old, will join the mix.

“The family loves the sport,” Burgos said.  “I feel strongly that they will have success individually and as a family.  It’s extremely exciting as a fan of wrestling in our area to see all of these brothers that could be at the top of the podium.”

It could happen this season.  It’s possible that the DePrez name will be announced many times at the SuperSectionals and in Albany in February of 2013.

Even if most people won’t be able to tell the DePrez twins apart.

 

More Season Preview Articles:

Section 1 Preview

Section 3 Preview

Section 4 Preview

Section 5 Preview

Section 7 Preview

Section 8 Preview

Section 9 Preview

Section 10 Preview

Section 11 Preview

CHSAA Preview

PSAL Preview

Features:

Section 1 Feature:  Aslanian and Realbuto, All-State Wrestlers and Workout Partners, Seek to End Their Careers on Top of the Podium

Section 4 Feature: Looking for “Number Nine”: Reggie Williams Aims to Make History at Johnson City

Section 5 Feature: The “Miracle” Continues: The Return of Aaron Paddock

Section 9 Feature: Unstoppable: Vinny Vespa Wrestles Again After Confronting Cancer

Section 11 Feature: Nick Piccininni Looks to Continue Winning Streak