Cornell Defeats Binghamton 33-6 in Home Opener; Realbuto and Dean Dominate With Pins for the Big Red

The night before the New York State intercollegiates, two Empire State squads, Cornell and Binghamton, took the mat in Ithaca with the Big Red winning eight of 10 bouts in a 33-6 final.

The home team started five freshmen and four of them came out on top.  Mark Grey made his home debut with a dominant 18-3 technical fall over fellow rookie (and three-time New York state champion) Nick Tighe at 133 pounds.  Both Brian Realbuto (157) and Gabe Dean (184) recorded pins in their first bouts in Bartels Hall, while Dylan Palacio captured a 10-6 decision at 165.  Corey Dake, in the lineup for All-American Mike Nevinger, dropped a 4-2 match at 141.

“I think the young guys showed the style we want our team to perform on the mat,” said Cornell assistant coach Damion Hahn.  “They did a great job in their first duals.  I think the veterans wrestled well, but they can do some things differently with match strategy.  As a whole, I think the guys wrestled well for our opener.  It’s important to get those jitters out right away.”

The Bearcats jumped out to an early 3-0 lead when David White edged Bricker Dixon at 125 by a 4-3 score.  The Big Red junior got on the board first with a takedown and held a 3-2 lead in the third period. However, White won a late scramble to pick up two points and the victory.

Grey, Photo by BV

Mark Grey took control right away at 133, collecting a 9-2 lead after one with a combination of takedowns and back points, before notching the technical fall early in the third.

The next two bouts were a lot closer, however. Both were 4-2 decisions with the winning points scored late.

At 141, Cornell’s Corey Dake squared off with Dylan Caruana.  The match was deadlocked at two in the final period when the Bearcat grappler took Dake down with less than 10 seconds to go for the 4-2 victory and a 6-5 Binghamton advantage in the meet.

Then, in a rematch of the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open semifinals at 149, Chris Villalonga and Joe Bonaldi were tied at two after seven minutes of action. In sudden victory, both wrestlers were close to scoring on the edge before Villalonga picked up a takedown to win 4-2 and put the Big Red ahead on the scoreboard for good.

In the last bout before intermission, Brian Realbuto made a stellar impression in his first home contest, scoring less than 15 seconds after the opening whistle and holding a 10-1 lead after the first period.  In the second, he reversed Colton Perry to his back and registered the pin to make the halftime score 14-6.

Continuing the youth movement for Cornell was Dylan Palacio, who controlled the 165-pound contest with Vincent Grella.  In fact, he took a 2-0 advantage just 10 seconds into the match and kept attacking throughout, leading to a 10-6 triumph.

The Big Red kept the ball rolling, winning the final four matches.  Owen Scott was completely dominant at 174, nabbing a 15-2 major over John Paris, while Gabe Dean had three quick takedowns in the first before turning Caleb Wallace for the fall.

At 197, Jace Bennett took Cody Reed down with just 20 ticks left in the third for a 4-2 victory and Stryker Lane followed with a win at heavyweight. Lane led 3-0 after two. However, Deuel made a furious comeback with a trio of takedowns before Lane’s riding time gave him a 7-6 victory.

Wrestlers from the Big Red and Bearcats will be back in action on Sunday at the New York State Intercollegiates on Cornell’s campus, along with over 20 other New York squads.

Family Affair: Beacon's Andrew Grella Joins Binghamton's Recruiting Class

Thoughts of attending Binghamton entered Andrew Grella’s mind as soon as his older brother Vincent, the squad’s current 165-pound starter, decided to become a Bearcat a few years ago.

“I’m close with my brother, and I’ve always wanted to do what he does,” Andrew Grella said. “I thought it would be a good place because of my brother and because it’s such a good school.”

If the future 197-pounder wasn’t already convinced, he became sure of his decision when he made his official visit to campus.

“It was a really fun time,” he said. “We went out to dinner and lunches and played paintball. It was cool to be a part of that team bonding.  I walked around campus and went fishing with a bunch of the guys, which was great.”

Indeed, for Grella, who wants to study environmental science, the opportunity to pursue outdoor activities was a big selling point.

“I’m a really big outdoors guy. One of the first questions I asked when I got there was whether there were good spots for hunting and fishing around there,” he said. “They just laughed.”

Grella’s road to Division I wrestling is slightly atypical.  After enduring a difficult season as a ninth grader at 152 pounds, Grella said he didn’t compete during his sophomore year at Beacon High School.

“I got my butt kicked as a freshman as a middleweight,” he said. “I wasn’t strong enough and wrestled a lot of tough seniors. My brother was at 152 too, so I didn’t even get that many matches.  I decided to take a year and focus on getting really strong, getting in great shape and improving my technique.”

Photo by Dawn Sela, Courtesy of Andrew Grella

His work seemed to pay dividends when he took the mat at the NHSCA Sophomore Nationals in Virginia Beach at 170 pounds, coming within one win of All-America status at the event.

Then, it was time to return to New York high school action.  He did so with a flourish, racking up a 27-3 mark at 182 pounds (prior to Sectionals) as a junior in 2012-13. All of his losses were to wrestlers who finished in the top four at the New York state tournament, including a pair of silver medalists.

In fact, his first bout at the Eastern States Classic in January was against eventual 195-pound NYS second place finisher Levi Ashley of Shenendehowa.  In a hard fought contest, Ashley came out on top 8-6.

“I didn’t have credentials or seeding criteria, so I knew I’d probably get a great wrestler right off the bat,” Grella said. “I knew it would be a tight match and he hit me with the same move twice to beat me.  It was disappointing.”

He rebounded well, however, capturing five straight matches in the wrestlebacks, including over state placers Andrew Martinez of Liberty and Matt Roberts of Monsignor Farrell as well as qualifier Nathanael Rose of Eagle Academy.  His streak was stopped by 182-pound state finalist James Corbett of Wantagh and he later forfeited to take sixth.

“I had a hip injury after my first two wins,” he said. “I wrapped it up and won a few more after that.  I could barely walk back to the center of the mat without falling over.  It was bad. But I showed I could compete with some very good wrestlers.”

He continued to pile up wins before dropping the Section 1 championship bout to Thomas Murray of Yorktown, 3-0. [Murray went on to take fourth in Albany in 2013, a year after losing a close match in the Section 1 title bout and not getting a bid to the Times Union Center].

Murray’s path of second in Section 1 to All-State status a year later is one that Grella hopes to emulate – at least somewhat.

“That’s the plan I want to follow, except I plan to win it all,” he said.  “I expect to do big things this year, including winning a 195-pound state championship.”

And if he needs a tough partner to work with, he knows he can find one whenever his brother returns from Binghamton.

“Whenever he’s home, we wrestle,” Andrew Grella said. “Someone’s always bleeding.  I’d say I get the best of it, but if you ask him, you’ll get a different answer.”

Soon enough, the Grella brothers will have more opportunities to “bleed” together, as teammates for the Bearcats.

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Andrew Grella thanked his parents and acknowledged the significant contributions of the Olympic Wrestling Club in New Jersey.

Binghamton 2013-14 Season Preview: Bearcats Ready for New Conference, New Opportunities

The Binghamton Bearcats enter their second season under head coach Matt Dernlan with some exciting changes.  There is a new conference, an expanded home schedule and the arrival of a top 25 recruiting class.  Assistant Jasen Borshoff spoke to New York Wrestling News about the upcoming campaign, including the projected lineup and expectations for 2013-14.

New York Wrestling News (NYWN): It will be your first year in the EIWA conference. What does that move mean for the program?

Jasen Borshoff (JB): We couldn’t be happier. The EIWA is a better place to be for us.  There are great teams and we’re more aligned from an academic profile standpoint.  It also helps our travel budget – we can get to so many of the schools within three hours.  There are also more qualifying spots for nationals, which will give our guys a lot of opportunities. We’re really excited to be part of the EIWA.

NYWN: What are some of the highlights of your schedule this year?

JB:  We have seven home matches this year instead of one.  That’s exciting.  For the most part, we’ll be wrestling most of the EIWA teams in duals and we’re excited about the Journeymen/Asics Northeast Duals in Albany.  Going to Midlands is always a good test for the guys.  Right off the bat, we’ll get good gauge of where we are with the Bearcat Open at home.  We typically cut off the field at 300 wrestlers, but this year, we have a goal of 500 kids.  We’ll do 12 mats at the Events Center and there will be a lot of really good wrestlers there.  Cornell usually sends most of the team.  This year, Penn State will be sending guys and so will Ohio State, Lehigh and other really good teams.  It will be big for our team, especially because it will decide a few of our weights for the early season.

NYWN: What are the expectations for the team this year?

JB: We’d like to have half our team qualify for nationals and have some All-Americans.  The way I see it, we can’t do any worse than last year because we didn’t have any All-Americans.  We’re looking to change that this year.

Let’s take a look at the weight-by-weight to see who will try to break through to the podium for the Bearcats in 2013-14:

125 Pounds:

A number of the spots in the lineup have a strong favorite.  This isn’t necessarily one of them.  A pair of wrestlers who racked up large win totals last year – David White and Mike Sardo – continue to battle it out at the lightest weight.  (White redshirted while Sardo took over at 125 when starter Patrick Hunter was injured). White has some experience in the EIWA, having placed sixth at 125 for Army at the conference tournament in his freshman season before transferring.

“This weight is up in the air,” Borshoff said. “Both guys have gotten a lot better over the past year.  Mike had the fourth most wins on the team last year and David also won at least 25 matches.  That will be a weight to watch at the [Bearcat] Open.”

133:

Nick Tighe, Photo by BV

A familiar face to Empire State wrestling fans is likely to man 133 pounds as a true freshman.  New York’s 2013 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award winner, Nick Tighe of Phoenix, looks to carry over his high school success to the college level after finishing his career with his third straight state title in 2013 (at 138 pounds).

“Nick has gotten his weight down and is a wrecking ball,” Borshoff said. “He’s really tough and hard to wrestle. We’re excited to see how he’ll look at the Open in his first competition.”

141:

While Tighe won the state championship at 138 pounds in Division II a year ago, Nick Kelley accomplished that feat at the same weight in Division I.  Kelley has impressed so far, but will most likely redshirt.  Looking to start at 141 are a trio of grapplers – Dylan Cohen, Dylan Caruana and David Almaviva.

“This will be a very young weight for us,” Borshoff said. “[Caruana] redshirted last year and has put on a lot of size this summer. [Cohen] was pulled out of redshirt during the season last year and is now at a better weight – he struggled to make 133 last year.  [Almaviva] is a true freshman. He may only have one year in him at 141 before moving up, so we’ll see how he does. The question is who will show up most at the Open?  We’re not sure what will happen here yet.”

149:

Joe Bonaldi started last season with a bang.  At the Binghamton Open, he defeated returning All-American Mike Nevinger in his opening bout and won the title, also topping NCAA qualifier Dan Neff.  In the process, he entered the national rankings and looked primed for a breakout campaign.  Unfortunately, an injury prevented that from taking place.  He made a return to the lineup very late in the season, competing just once before the CAA tournament. The Bearcats are excited to have the Rochester native back.

“Joe’s doing really well,” Borshoff said. “He was doing really well last year early on too.  He came back for the CAAs last year, but it was too long of a layoff before that. It will be interesting to see how the move to 149 works – he’ll be tested right away at the Open. He’s a guy to keep an eye on this year. He’s definitely very talented and he gives [assistant coach] Teyon [Ware] trouble in the room and we know how good Teyon is.”

157:

Last year’s starter Jack McKeever will redshirt, and three wrestlers will look to get the nod in this class – Nick Mauriello, Ben Price and Brian Conrad.  Conrad was a spot starter last season, while Mauriello redshirted.  In high school, Mauriello earned fourth in New York as a senior for Hauppauge while Price was a two-time Vermont state champion and Conrad won the Section 8 title, according to the Binghamton athletics website.

165:

Vincent Grella returns after handling the starting duties in 2012-13.  He topped Drexel’s Connor Moran at the CAA championships.

“He got a lot better at the end of last year,” Borshoff said. “He wrestles hard and got some good experience.  We think he’ll have a good year for us.”

174:

In 2011, John Paris was the CAA Rookie of the Year.  But injuries have interrupted him since then. However, he’s expected to be the starter once again after winning the job for the postseason a year ago.

“John’s a talented wrestler but he’s always been plagued by injuries,” Borshoff said. “Last year, John and Caleb Wallace kept flip flopping back and forth as our starter, but John won the final wrestleoff to take the spot.  Bringing in [two-time New York state champion] Zack Zupan, who is doing very well but probably redshirting, has made John a lot better.  He’s been fighting hard – he sees the competition and wants the spot.”

184:

After battling both Paris and injuries last season, Caleb Wallace is ready to take hold of the 184-pound role.  Wallace began the 2012-13 campaign well, defeating eventual EIWA champion Nathaniel Brown of Lehigh in an early dual by fall.

“Caleb is another good wrestler for us who has had trouble staying healthy,” Borshoff said. “We’re excited to see how he does moving up a weight after having a decent cut to make 174 last year.”

197:

Cody Reed is the only projected starter who wrestled at the NCAAs last year.  In fact, he has been to Nationals twice. In 2012, he registered one of the big upsets of the first round in St. Louis when he topped fourth-seeded Christian Boley of Maryland at 197 pounds, before finishing 2-2.  Last season, Reed dropped down to 184 and once again qualified for the “Big Show”, going 0-2 following an 18-win campaign.  Now, he’ll be back at 197 again, looking to win a few more matches on the national stage.

“Cody went down to 184 last year when Nate Schiedel moved up, but Cody’s much better off at 197,” Borshoff said. “He’s very capable – I wouldn’t count him out at Nationals.  He was up and down last year, but got the job done in the qualifier.  He wanted to do better at Nationals, but he has his senior year to look forward to.”

285:

Tyler Deuel moved from 197 to heavyweight before last season and wound up with the third most wins on the team, according to Borshoff.  Now, with a year of experience at the heaviest weight class, the coach thinks he’s ready to show even more.

“Tyler’s a great kid, always working out extra and trying to learn,” Borshoff said. “He had a good year last year and he’ll do even better this year because he’s acclimated to the weight.  This year he’s a very solid 245 pounds – he’s ripped for a heavyweight.”

Borshoff had very positive things to say about the standout rookie class. Some were mentioned above.  Others, such as multiple-time New York State champion Kyle Kelly, NYS placer Robert Person and two-time silver medalist Bryce Mazurowski, will likely redshirt.

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How will the first year in the EIWA go? How many wrestlers will Binghamton qualify for the NCAAs this year?  We’ll find out more as Binghamton opens the season on November 10 at home with the Bearcat Open.

Note: the Bearcat Open has been renamed the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open to honor the memory of Navy Seal (and former Binghamton wrestler) Jonathan Kaloust, who died during a training accident this spring.

 

Local Star, Bearcat Future: Johnson City's Reggie Williams Commits to Binghamton

Reggie Williams has watched the Binghamton wrestling team closely over the years.  Now, he’s committed to be a part of it.

The Johnson City senior, who lives just a few miles from campus, recently gave his verbal pledge to the Bearcats after also considering schools such as Iowa State, North Carolina State and Oklahoma.

“I decided to go to Binghamton because it’s a great school,” Williams said. “But one of the things that was running in the back of my head was my dad and my family.  I thought it would be a great choice to stay around, making it possible for my parents to see me more. Then you just have a big home crowd that stays and comes to the home matches.”

Photo by BV

Williams, who said he plans to be a 184 pounder in college, didn’t begin wrestling until sixth grade. However, he wasted no time making a name for himself in the sport.  He was a Section 4 runner up as an eighth grader and as a freshman, Williams earned a spot in the New York State semifinals, eventually taking sixth at 189 pounds.

A few months later, the Johnson City senior made an impact at the national level, earning All-American honors in two of the biggest offseason events in the country.  He first took fourth at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach before notching fifth in Cadet Freestyle at Fargo.

The Section 4 standout’s success continued over the years, as he was the state runner up at 195 as a sophomore and nabbed spots on the podium at the NHSCA Nationals twice more – sixth as a 10th grader and second as a junior in 2013.  His impressive run to the finals in Virginia Beach this spring at 195 included a victory over University of Minnesota-bound Nathan Rose, who is ranked #57 among seniors nationwide by Intermat.

Williams is determined to capture a state crown in his last campaign for the Wildcats before making the short journey to start his career in the EIWA.

And when he does begin his college career, he won’t be the only Bearcat in his family.

“On top of everything, I’ll be going to school with my dad because he’s a student at Binghamton as we speak,” Williams said.

The Bearcats brought in a top 25 recruiting class comprised of several top Empire State wrestlers in head coach Matt Dernlan’s first year. With Williams joining Hilton’s Vincent and Anthony DePrez and MacArthur’s Steve Schneider, another strong group is on the way to Binghamton in the fall of 2014.

All-American Donnie Vinson Joins Binghamton Staff for 2013-14

Photo by BV

 

—Courtesy of Binghamton wrestling

Binghamton Wrestling is happy to announce that Donald Vinson will be joining Binghamton’s staff for the 2013/2014 wrestling year. Vinson is the program’s winningest wrestler and ended his career a four-time National Qualifier and an All-American, finishing 3rd in the country in 2012.

Vinson, who will be finishing his masters program during the year, will be working directly with our student-athletes academically and athletically. He will be working with our academic advisor (Jenny Barbee) to see that our wrestlers are getting things accomplished in the classroom and meeting their academic goals. He will assist our wrestlers with tutor scheduling, teacher hours, and study hall, overseeing that each individual is doing everything he can to get the best academic experience out of Binghamton University.

On the mat, Vinson will have two responsibilities: assisting with player development and directing our Binghamton Wrestling Camp sessions. He will be working with our athletes one-on-one throughout the week, perfecting their baseline wrestling technique and working on each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. As director of our fall wrestling camp, Vinson will be able to interact with wrestlers from the local community, building strong relationships with area athletes and coaches, while teaching our techniques and philosophies to a younger generation of great wrestlers.

Next Stop, Binghamton: State Finalist Steve Schneider of MacArthur Selects the Bearcats

When asked about his goals, MacArthur senior Steve Schneider didn’t hesitate.

New York State champion. High school national champion.  NCAA champion.

On that last one, he and Binghamton University head coach Matt Dernlan are certainly on the same page. And that’s one of the reasons Schneider committed to the Bearcats a few days ago.

“Coach Dernlan sat across the table from me in my dining room with my parents and said that he would make me a national champion,” Schneider said. “To hear that in his voice, especially after all he did for Penn State, it gave me great vibes.  He sees my potential and my dedication and my motivation to get things done even though on paper, I don’t have all the trophies.”

He may not have all the trophies, but he has racked up plenty of impressive wins.  As a sophomore in 2011-12, he went 41-4 at 152 pounds and went into the Section 8 championships as the top seed.  However, he was upset by Mepham’s Dan Tracy, a wrestler he had defeated earlier in the year, and took third.  He waited patiently to see whether he would get the opportunity to compete at the Times Union Center.

“I had a heartbreaking loss in the semis, but I beat everyone in my weight class during the year,” he said. “My coaches thought I would get a wildcard to states, but it didn’t happen.”

Schneider still made the trip to Albany to cheer on some of his teammates, including 2012 state finalist Justin Cooksey.

“Even going just as a fan to support Cooksey let me get some nerves out,” Schneider said. “It’s important to go to big events like that because when you’re there for the first time it can affect you on the mat.  Being there before was a big part of why I did so well this year.”

It may have played a role in Schneider’s stellar junior campaign, but so did all the offseason work.

“After I lost in the counties, I was so motivated to devastate the county and win it all the next year,” Schneider said. “I trained my butt off. I did a lot of wrestling — so many tournaments — and a lot of lifting. I got a lot bigger and stronger. I didn’t only want to win the county, I wanted to win the state tournament too.”

It was an objective that he reminded himself about constantly.

“Last year, I wrote ‘160-pound New York State champion’ in my book every day,” Schneider said.

And he did make it to the 2013 state finals bout after an impressive campaign, which featured a third place showing at the Eastern States Classic. At that event, Schneider topped several wrestlers who placed in Albany in 2013, including Nick Gallo, Mike Beckwith and Andrew Psomas.

Photo by BV

That showing at SUNY Sullivan, his first Nassau County title, as well as his performance throughout the 47-4 season earned him the second seed at the Times Union Center.  But he found himself in a battle in the opening round with Amsterdam’s James Marquez, a bout he won 3-1 in extra time. [Marquez then won five in a row to take third].

“My first match – the nerves were there,” he said. “You have to feel it to totally understand it.  I felt like I had stone feet. It was more mental than physical.  In overtime, I woke up and snapped right out of it.  After that, I felt like I opened up more each match. I thought I was getting better and better and I was ready to take another shot at Grimaldi.”

Tyler Grimaldi of Half Hollow Hills West was a returning state runner up who had handed Schneider two of his three losses during the season.  The two did indeed square off in the state title match this February, with Grimaldi (now a freshman at Harvard), grabbing a 9-3 victory.

“When you look up on that yellow mat in the finals and see all those faces – it’s just a different level of excitement,” Schneider said. “It was good to experience it already.  So next year in the state finals, I’ll be ready to take it home.”

Taking home a state championship in wresting isn’t something Schneider was thinking about when he first began in the sport in elementary school.  In fact, he said he got involved simply to “keep in shape for baseball.”

However, due largely to the efforts of youth coach Colin Curnuck, Schneider said he continued in wrestling and was hooked, especially when he began working out at Vougar’s Honors Wrestling in eighth grade.

“As soon as I walked into Vougar’s gym, he threw me in there with the big guys,” Schneider said. “I got pulled up to varsity as an eighth grader and started to really take it seriously.  I also started training with Jamel Hudson when I was a freshman and I stopped playing baseball. I chose wrestling.”

And last week, he chose Binghamton as his future home after also considering Hofstra and North Carolina.

“The coaching staff seems great – I think they are a great combination together,” Schneider said. “It feels like a good fit for me athletically and academically.  Not only am I going to Binghamton for wrestling, but I’m also going because it’s a great school and I know I’ll be able to achieve all of my academic goals while I’m there.”

Those academic goals include majoring in computer engineering.

Schneider, who said he will likely wrestle at 174 or 184 pounds for the Bearcats, mentioned that he is also excited about training with so many familiar faces.

“When I went for the unofficial visit, I felt like I knew almost everyone on the team already,” he said. “I feel like it will make me more comfortable there.  I’ve won with a couple of these guys already – Rob Person in Section 8 and Nick Kelley on the national level in Florida [Disney Duals]. There’s already a bond.  Also, Ryan Conrad was my drill partner in high school.  I think it will make the experience even better.”

As for now, he’s looking for an ‘even better’ high school season as a senior.  After the state tournament was over last season, he began writing ‘2014 New York State champion’ in his book every morning.

And whether he winds up going for the title at 170 or 182 pounds in 2013-14 (he said he isn’t sure yet), Schneider feels that he has benefited from nationally ranked competition at offseason events such as the Pop & Flo, Waterway and Disney Duals.

“The Disney Duals changes you – I came out a totally different person and wrestler,” he said. “Everybody that I lost to was top 10 in the country. The level of competition is insane.  It’s the best thing that happened to me before my senior year because I learn more from my losses than my wins.  I’ve gotten so much stronger since last year and I have so much motivation from the loss in the state finals. It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.  My sophomore year was ok, my junior year was better and in my senior year, I’m ready to take home the gold.”

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Steve Schneider wanted to thank his youth coach, Colin Curnuck who kept him involved in wrestling.  He also wanted to thank his parents for all their support and Vougar Oroudjov for “always making sure there is someone in the room for me to train with, keeping my wrestling and academic goals on my mind and always having confidence in me.”

 

Binghamton Posts 2013-14 Schedule, Beginning with the Bearcat Open and Including Midlands and Several NY Duals

In 2013-14, the Binghamton Bearcats will begin their second season under head coach Matt Dernlan and their first as members of the EIWA conference.

The squad will spend the opening month of the campaign in New York, starting with the always-competitive Bearcat Open at home on November 10.  A few weeks later, the team will make the trip to Ithaca for a pair of events — a dual with Cornell on November 23 and the New York State Championships the next day.  Then, during Thanksgiving weekend, the Bearcats will head to the Albany area for the Journeymen Duals.

In addition to the dual meet with the Big Red early in the season, Binghamton will also square off with three other Empire State teams on the road –  Columbia, Hofstra and Buffalo.

Another highlight of the year will be the challenging Midlands tournament in Illinois.  To see the complete schedule, see 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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Binghamton Recruiting 2013: A Look Back at the Making of the Highly-Ranked Class

 
 
Recruiting for the Class of 2014 has been officially underway for a little over a week.  However, before we completely shift our focus forward, we took a quick look back at the class that Binghamton put together for the fall of 2013.

According to the rankings produced by a number of wrestling publications, Binghamton had the best recruiting class of the Division I programs in New York this year. Flowrestling slotted the Bearcats into the #25 spot nationally while D1 College Wrestling.net, placed the team at #24. (Columbia also made an appearance in Flo’s article, garnering an honorable mention nod).

When looking at the Binghamton class, what immediately stands out is the strong Empire State presence. Among the seven New Yorkers are eight state championships, 21 All-State showings and more than 10 All-American performances. There’s representation from Section 3 with three-time state titlewinner Nick Tighe and two-time champion Zack Zupan as well as a pair of Shenendehowa standouts – 2013 state gold medalist Nick Kelley and third placer David Almaviva. Adding to the mix in the lightweights are two-time state champion Kyle Kelly from nearby Chenango Forks and Nassau County’s Robert Person, with the upperweights adding Bryce Mazurowski, who was the Division II state runner up as a junior and senior at 195. When the “Top Seniors in New York” feature was done prior to the start of the campaign, Zupan, Kelley and Tighe were ranked 1-2-3.

So, how did Binghamton land many of the Empire State’s best and a top 25 class nationally in Matt Dernlan’s first year as head coach? The program’s recruiting coordinator, Jasen Borshoff, provided some insight.

“We sat down and talked about how we wanted to keep the best kids in state and get them to Binghamton,” Borshoff said. “If you look at the results from the last 10 years, you see New York is way up there in All-Americans. We felt that if you can keep the best New York kids here, you can succeed at the national level. That’s not to say we won’t recruit some kids from out of state. We probably will since we’re close to Pennsylvania and Ohio. But we believe we need to keep New York’s best here and we can win with New York wrestlers.”

Borshoff continued by referencing the 30 for 30 ESPN special about the University of Miami football team during their championship years.

“That part of Florida produces all these awesome football players,” he said. “Miami set up a 200 mile radius and said they weren’t going to let those kids go anywhere else. They were determined not to be outrecruited in their area.  That’s the mentality we have here with New York wrestlers. We don’t want to let anyone outrecruit us for the best around here.”

The Bearcats were able to do it by targeting a relatively small set of wrestlers.

“In the past, I probably called over 100 kids in the summer and hadn’t seen many of them wrestle,” he said. “But last year, before the New York State tournament, we were looking at around 16 kids, who we watched wrestle and got to know pretty well. We kept a pretty small focus.”

With that focus, they were able to emphasize the direction that the new staff planned for the Bearcats going forward.

“Most of the guys weren’t really interested in Binghamton at first – they wanted to go out of state or had other schools in mind,” he said. “Coach Dernlan got in front of them at their houses and told them all about the vision and philosophy. Things went from there and they came on board. Hopefully, we can reproduce that success with this year’s class and set ourselves up even more for the next several years here.”

The wrestlers are excited to get started, as all will be spending the summer on campus, getting their feet wet both academically and on the mat.

“We think we have a bunch of tough kids coming in,” Borshoff said in late June. “They’ll all be here in early July. They’ll be taking classes. They’ll be putting in work. We believe some of them will be starters this season. The great thing is, every single one of them asked to come up for the summer. They want to be here, getting started. That’s exactly what we want. We believe we have the best recruiting class in Binghamton wrestling history.”