High School Round Up: Weekend News and Notes from the Road to Albany

It’s February and that means the road to the state championships has begun.  On Saturday and Sunday, a number of postseason events took place across the state, helping to shape the brackets for this weekend’s Sectional qualifiers.

There were too many big matches and results to recap, but here are just a few of the things that caught our eye.  The countdown to the first whistle at the Times Union Center is now just about two and a half weeks away!

In Section 1, Yorktown has had a strong presence in our individual rankings this season with Joe Mastro, Steven Sabella and David Varian included in the last version and Thomas Murray falling just outside our top 8 at 182.  Those wrestlers continued their winning ways this weekend, with Sabella having a tough match with another high quality wrestler – Scott Wymbs of Horace Greeley.  Both of those wrestlers have what it takes to make some noise later this month.

Dale White of John Jay East Fishkill made the medal stand at 145 a year ago and was someone we were tracking as a potential state title contender coming into the campaign.  However, he didn’t compete due to injury until January.  This weekend, he picked up a title and is undefeated in limited action thus far at 160.  Perhaps his time off will benefit him down the stretch run.

Ashley, Photo by Josh Conklin

In Section 2, Levi Ashley spent a bulk of the season at 182 pounds for Shenendehowa where he took fourth at the Eastern States Classic and nearly placed at the Reno Tournament of Champions against some of the nation’s best.  For the past few weeks, however, he has been up at 195 pounds and has gone undefeated there.  That run includes multiple wins over the tough Wayne Burt of Colonie, including a major decision in the finals over the weekend.  He seems primed for a strong postseason.

Meanwhile, El Shaddai Van Hoesen continued his total dominance, quickly pinning Colonie’s Austin DiCerbo, a wrestler who could contend for the medal stand in Albany if he earns the opportunity.

In Section 3, a few wrestlers ranked in the state were upset. At heavyweight, Canastota’s Jacob Morris beat Brandon Fayle of Lowville 3-2 in the semifinals of the Class C tournament before topping Brandon Yager of Ilion for the championship.  Fayle pinned Morris to win the Class title a year ago.

In addition, Ryan O’Rourke of Adirondack (ranked at 99), fell at 106 pounds to Hunter Owen of Sherburne-Earlville while Ben Honis, who was in the honorable mention section of the rankings, continued his strong season with a 3-2 win over Baldwinsville’s Joe Nasoni.  It was Nasoni’s first loss at 195 this year.

In Section 4, Jordan Torbitt of Whitney Point took center stage at the Class B Championships. Last year as an eighth grader, Torbitt won more than 25 matches and took second at the Sectional tournament at 152 pounds behind All-Stater Dan Dickman of Greene.  He has continued to shine as a freshman, bringing a 33-1 mark into the weekend after avenging his only loss to Newark Valley’s Trevor Hoffmeir.  Torbitt impressed again on Saturday, beating Norwich’s Frank Garcia, a returning state qualifier who was ranked in New York.

Dietrich, Photo by Josh Conklin

The Greene middle/upper weights looked solid with Mike Beckwith and Christian Dietrich grabbing first place. Teammate Joel Roselle missed some time in the lineup but returned at 182 pounds where he took second behind Unatego’s Ryan Marszal.

In Section 5, a pair of wrestlers ranked in New York squared off in the finals of the Class A tournament at 99 pounds, with #1 Yianni Diakomihalis pinning Wayne’s Jake Yankloski.  It was a good day for a number of Diakomihalis’s teammates as well, as brothers Vincent, Anthony and Lou Deprez all won Class A crowns.

In that same tournament, Yankloski’s teammate Bryan Lantry picked up a major decision over Brockport’s Barton Peters, who had come in with a 22-2 mark.

Like Diakomihalis, Hornell’s Zack Bacon sat atop our last set of individual New York State rankings.  The 220 pounder has rarely been challenged this season as he won by bonus points in his first 33 matches.  However, John Martisch presented an formidable obstacle as Bacon edged the Penn Yan wrestler 2-1.

In Section 6, in a battle of All-State wrestlers, Steve Michel of Lancaster pinned Anthony Orefice for his second victory over the Lockport wrestler this season at 120 pounds. (The first was a close decision). It wouldn’t be surprising to see the two of them square off again next weekend as they look to get back to Albany.

In another meeting of previous placers, returning state runner up Drew Hull of Royalton Hartland edged Jude Gardner at 145 pounds.  It was Hull’s second victory over the Fredonia wrestler this year.

Gardner’s teammate Chris Saden brought an unblemished record into the weekend, however, he was upended in the finals, as Steven Warthling of Tonawanda earned a 9-6 decision.  It should be an interesting weight at Sectionals.

Troy Seymour became the first-ever wrestler from Section 7 to reach 200 wins.  On Thursday night, the Peru senior pinned Hunter Bishop in the first period at 170 pounds to pick up the milestone victory.  In addition, Peru captured the Champlain Valley title over Saranac.

Hernandez, Photo by Josh Conklin

In Section 8, Mepham’s Jamie Dunn was an All-County wrestler in 2012 and figured to contend for the Nassau title this year.  However, he entered the qualifier with a 23-15 record.  He exited with a title, winning four straight matches, including avenging a loss to Matt Krause and beating top seeded Lucas Pincus in the finals.  His teammates Louis Hernandez and Dan Tracy breezed to championships as well with all bonus wins and look to return to the Times Union Center for the second straight time.

138 pounds will certainly be interesting in the Nassau tournament. Highly ranked wrestlers like Rob Bennett of MacArthur, Quinn Knauer of Baldwin and Rob Rosenberg of Hewlett were among those upset and new contenders emerged, such as Brian Quiroz of Valley Stream Central who came in with a 3-1 record with all four matches in December up at 152 pounds.

Also of note, returning state runner up Justin Cooksey of MacArthur didn’t compete.

Section 9 held its JV Championships over the weekend.  For full results, see here.

In Section 10, Gouverneur closed out another undefeated conference season with a home victory over Massena.  Senior Dillon Stowell collected his 150th career victory and will try for his first state title in a few weeks after placing multiple times.

In Section 11, there were a number of rematches between wrestlers ranked statewide. At 99 pounds, John Arceri of Huntington avenged a loss by fall to John Busiello by edging the Eastport South Manor wrestler 3-2 on Saturday.

In another rematch between two of the top grapplers in New York, Alex Tanzman defeated James Szymanski again, this time by pin. The two had recently wrestled a close bout at 106.

In addition, Islip’s Brad Wade topped Huntington’s Corey Jamison at 126 pounds by a 2-1 score for the second time this season. Wade has been on a very impressive run after a few early losses and looks like a threat to win some matches in Albany – if he can get through the challenging 126-pound Suffolk bracket.

Tyler Walsh of West Islip lost 9-4 to returning fourth placer Joe Calderone of Walt Whitman earlier in the campaign.  This weekend, he prevailed by the same score against Calderone.  Walsh has quietly had a very strong 32-2 year with his only other setback coming against Danbury’s Kevin Jack, the Eastern States Champion at 120.

An article on the PSAL Dual Championship won by Brooklyn Tech, can be found here.

In CHSAA action, Monsignor Farrell crowned seven champions in the New York City qualifier and at least 19 wrestlers from the squad will compete in the Catholic States next weekend.  In the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA League Finals, St. Anthony’s Johnny Vrasidas was named Most Outstanding Wrestler while teammate Joe Russ earned Champion of Champion accolades.

The following is a compilation of some of this weekend’s results. More will be added when available.  That countdown to Albany continues . . .

 

Section 1, Divisional Results

Section 2 Class Results

Section 3 Results

Section 4 Results

Section 5, Class A

Section 5, Class AA

Section 5, Class B

Section 5, Class BB

Section 5, Class BBB

Section 6, Class A

Section 6, Class AA

Section 6, Class C

Section 6, Class D

Section 8, Division I at Mepham

Section 11 Results

Catholic Qualifier (Upstate)

Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA

 

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

Porter, Cuccolo, Ward and Honis Place in Cadet Greco; Four Remain Unbeaten in Junior Greco

Day 3 at Fargo was all about Greco Roman wrestling with the conclusion of the Cadet competition and the beginning of the Junior action.

At the end of the day, four Empire State wrestlers stood on the podium as Cadet Greco All-Americans.  At 132 pounds, Jesse Porter of Ballston Lake took fourth after going 6-2 overall, while St. Anthony’s Sam Ward (6-2) grabbed seventh at the same weight after defeating Marshall Osborne of Missouri in his final bout.

Chris Cuccolo earned fifth in his third straight event in Fargo, this time at 94 pounds.  In July of 2011, he was fifth in both Greco and Freestyle in the 84-pound class.  The Pine Bush wrestler topped Tanner Cox of Utah 1-0, 4-0 in the fifth place match on Monday.

In the upperweights, Benjamin Honis ended his tournament in seventh position at 182 pounds after a 1-0, 2-0 victory over Minnesota’s Wyatt Richardson.

All four of the All-Americans are currently registered to compete in the Cadet Freestyle event, beginning on Wednesday.

Junior Greco Roman Begins

The Junior Greco Roman competition got underway and after the first day of action, a number of New York wrestlers remained unbeaten.

McZiggy Richards, Photo by Boris Veysman

At 132 pounds, both Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer and Jessy Williams won all five of their bouts.

After going 8-0 at the Junior Duals a few weeks ago in Greco, Connor Sutton kept the momentum going with a 5-0 mark at 160 pounds.  McZiggy Richards also had an unblemished performance, with five victories at 182.

Also remaining in the hunt from the Empire State are two-time state champion Kyle Kelly (106), Josh Antoine (113), Santo Curatolo (120), Brendan Goldup (152) and Chris Loew (182).

Junior Greco wrestling resumes on Tuesday, while the Junior Women’s Freestyle tournament will take place as well.

2012 New York All-Americans

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

Women

143 Pounds: Alexis Porter, Cadet Freestyle Champion

143 Pounds: Kennedie Eddings, Cadet Freestyle 6th

172 Pounds: Yuneris Diaz, Cadet Freestyle 3rd