University Nationals Freestyle Recap: Cam Simaz, Jamel Hudson and Nick Gwiazdowski Among the NY Placers



The final day of the 2013 ASICS FILA University National Tournament could best be described as something of an up-and-down affair for the contingent from the Empire State. Beginning Sunday morning with eight wrestlers still in contention for gold and an additional 17 grapplers still alive in the consolation brackets, at first glance, when you see that New York was only able to secure seven placement finishes, it might strike you as slightly underwhelming. However, to focus only on the quantity instead of the quality would be to overlook the fact that there were more than a few solid efforts put forth.

Leading the way for the group from New York with a runner-up finish at the 84 kg weight class was 2012 NCAA National Champion, Cam Simaz, formerly of Cornell University and now wrestling on behalf of the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club. Opening the second day of freestyle competition by cruising to victories in the quarterfinal (13-6 over Lehigh’s Nathaniel Brown) and semifinal (10-0 over Alex Meyer of the University of Iowa) rounds, the four-time Division I All-American from Allegan, Michigan would be the lone wrestler with ties to New York to advance to the best 2-of-3 title series. In the championship, Simaz would be pitted with the two-time defending National Champion, Ed Ruth, of Penn State fame. Attempting to dictate pace and wear out his opponent, as he did countless times while competing for the Big Red, Simaz would continually push forward. However, in the end, as hard as he worked, he simply would not have an answer for Ruth’s superhuman athleticism, dropping the series in straight matches, 6-4 and 10-0.

Simaz’s silver medal showing would not be the only cause for celebration among the Cornell faithful as four other present or future members of the Ithaca based, Ivy League institution’s squad would also earn their way onto the podium with top-8 finishes. Posting 5th place performances at 60 kg and 79 kg respectively were incoming freshman Mark Grey and junior Jesse Shanaman. Both 10-0 technical winners in the quarterfinal round over opponents who were 2013 NCAA National Tournament qualifiers, the former teammates at Blair Academy who will be reunited next fall would see their title hopes dashed in the semifinal round when they were defeated by the eventual champions in their weight classes, Tyler Graff of Wisconsin (6-2 over Grey) and Oklahoma’s Andrew Howe (10-0 over Shanaman). Second consecutive losses to Joe Colon (12-11 over Grey) and Tyler Wilps (13-4 against the upperclassman from Blairstown) would send each to the 5th place bout where they would end their weekend on a high note. Grey would dominate Jade Rauser 11-0, while Shanaman would receive a forfeit.

An individual who fell just short of matching his teammates’s top-5 finish would be Gabe Dean. The only placewinner of the seven who was not in the morning’s quarterfinals, Dean would peel off four straight wins in the consolation bracket to ensure himself a spot on the medal stand. Unfortunately, after notching a very impressive ‘w’over 2013 EIWA Conference Champion, Brown of Lehigh (same person Simaz beat in the quarters) by injury default (Dean led 6-1 at the time of the stoppage), the native of the Great Lakes State (Michigan) would be upended in his last two matches of the tournament, losing a 3-1 decision in the consolation semifinals to Pittsburgh redshirt sophomore, Max Thomusseit, and then dropping a heartbreaker in the match for 5th, 6-5 to the Hawkeye, Meyer.

Duke Pickett would be the final Cornell placewinner, finishing 8th at 79 kg.

Rounding out the list of placewinners for New York would be a pair of former Scholastic State Wrestler of the Year recipients, 2012 honoree Jamel Hudson (currently a true freshman at Hofstra) and the man who preceded him in winning the top honor, Nick Gwiazdowski, an All-American in 2012 who sat out the 2012/2013 season following a transfer from Binghamton to North Carolina State.

Sharing the highest finish of any Empire State representative not named Simaz, Hudson and “Gwiz” would claim bronze at the 63 and 120 kg weight classes, respectively. In what seemingly was a bit of a running pattern, in similar fashion to Grey and Shanaman, both the Pride student-athlete and the Wolfpack member would lose to the eventual champions in their bracket, Clarion’s Sam Sherlock (11-1 over Hudson) and Tyrell Fortune (8-0 over Gwiazdowski). However, these would be the only blemishes on otherwise immensely strong resumes that witnessed each win three matches over game opponents. Hudson would earn the bronze with an 8-2 (match not as close as the score) decision over Bloomsburg’s Matthew Rappo, while Gwiazdowski would rally from a 5-0 deficit to record the last seven points of the match to slay Austin Marsden, the polished big man from Oklahoma State who would have been an All-American contender this season if not for the fact that he was stuck on the Cowboy bench behind Alan Gelogaev (3rd at the NCAAs this season).

Full results can be found by visiting


New York Sees Success at Northeast Regionals in Freestyle, Including Titles by Grey, Malmberg, Simaz, Vallimont and Flores (Among Others)

Wrestlers in a wide range of ages took the mat on Saturday in Pennsylvania for the Northeast Regional Freestyle championships.  New York had success across the groups, boasting first place finishers in the Novice, Schoolboy, Junior Women and Senior competitions.

Simaz, Photo by BV

Leading the way in the Senior division was the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club (FLWC) which featured three titlewinners and two third place finishers.  Standing on top of the podium were Lucas Malmberg at 55 kg, Mark Grey at 60 and Cam Simaz at 84.  Malmberg didn’t give up a point in his matches, while Grey eased his way through the competition with a technical fall and pin in the semifinals and finals, respectively.  Meanwhile, Simaz defeated Enock Francois of the West Point Wrestling Club for the crown, a wrestler who placed at the U.S. Open recently in Las Vegas.  Grabbing bronze for the FLWC were Alex Cisneros at 66 kg and Gabe Dean at 84.

Blue & Gold Wrestling Club also made a very strong showing, with Hofstra assistant coach Dan Vallimont winning at 74 kg.  He was joined on the medal stand by a trio of Pride grapplers that took second place – Jamie Franco (63 kg), Luke Vaith (70) and Frank Affronti (79).

A number of New York natives also made an impact on Saturday in the Senior action.  Monsignor Farrell alum Kevin Hartnett was the champion at 70 kg. In addition, former state champions Sean McCabe (4th at 60), Maverick Passaro (4th at 63) and Anthony Volpe (third at  79) all placed, as did Shenendehowa graduate Cole Lampman (second at 120) and Buffalo All-American Kyle Cerminara (champion at 96). In the same bracket as Cerminara, St. Anthony’s coach Antoni Walters notched fourth.

In the novice competition, five New Yorkers made the podium, including first place finisher Andrew Grechko at 130 pounds.  Meanwhile, in Schoolboy action, a trio of Empire State grapplers made the finals, with Tyrese Byron defeating Mack Berkowitz for the 136 pound title.

Numerous New Yorkers earned medals in the Cadet brackets, including 145-pound runner up Joseph Clemente.  Taking bronze at the Cadet level were John Busiello (106), Leonard Merkin (138), Jesse Porter (152) and Jacob Woolson (170).

Making trips to the finals in the Junior division were Alpha Diallo (113), Burke Paddock (160), Andrew Psomas (170) and Nick Weber (195).  Paddock defeated 2012 Fargo freestyle champion Anthony Collica of Ohio on his way to the title bout.  Those wrestlers all took silver, while several others notched bronze (Trevor Hoffmier at 152, Daniel Smith at 170, Thomas Murray at 195, Richard Duermeyer at 220 and Quasar Hampton at 285).

While New York didn’t have a gold medalist in the Men’s Junior action, the Empire State had plenty of crowns on the women’s side.  Those titlewinners included Ronnie Green (97), Katherine Sumner (105), Jennifer Juarez (117), Samantha Ouye-Gonzalez (121), Karen Koag (125), Rosemary Flores (139), Idalis Graciano (148), Destane Garrick (159), Fataya Larry (172) and Mariana Olalde (198).

For the full results, see  For Sunday’s Greco summary, see This link.

For the New York results summary in Freestyle, see below:

Novice Placewinners

70: Logan Gumble, 4th

80: Nathan Lehr, 3rd

85: Daniel Butavicius, 5th

130: Andrew Grechko, 1st

130: Shavail Bond, 2nd


Schoolboy Placewinners

136: Tyrese Byron, 1st

136: Mack Berkowitz, 2nd

160: Vito Smolyak, 2nd


Cadet Placewinners

106: John Busiello, 3rd

138: Leonard Merkin, 3rd

145: Joseph Clemente, 2nd

145: Logan Brunick, 4th

152: Jesse Porter, 3rd

170: Jacob Woolson, 3rd


Junior Placewinners

113: Alpha Diallo, 2nd

120: Ryan Burns, 4th

126: Trey Aslanian, 4th

138: Anthony Messina, 4th

145: Codie Gillette, 4th

152: Trevor Hoffmier, 3rd

160: Burke Paddock, 2nd

170: Andrew Psomas, 2nd

170: Daniel Smith, 3rd

182: Cedrick Stephens, 4th

195: Nick Weber, 2nd

195: Thomas Murray, 3rd

220: Richard Duermeyer, 3rd

220: Paul Herrera, 4th

285: Quasar Hampton, 3rd

285: Mark Ifraimov, 4th


Junior Women Placewinners:

97: Ronnie Green, 1st

105: Katherine Sumner, 1st

105: Estrella Velez, 2nd

112: Lissette Ruiz, 2nd

112: Alexandria Salmos, 3rd

112: Ana Salanor, 4th

117: Jennifer Juarez, 1st

117: Susan Yang, 3rd

121: Samantha Ouye-Gonzalez, 1st

121: Keandra Weekes, 2nd

125: Karen Koag, 1st

125: Miranda Gilbert, 2nd

125: Jerra Kohlbrenner, 3rd

125: Leslie Schoberl, 4th

139: Rosemary Flores, 1st

139: Tracy Smith, 3rd

139: Shirley Duman, 4th

139: Shannon Henry, 5th

148: Idalis Graciano, 1st

148: Sashoya Williams, 2nd

159: Destane Garrick, 1st

159: Vivian Vu, 3rd

172: Fataya Larry, 1st

172: April Duncan, 2nd

198: Mariana Olalde, 1st

198: Bria McLaurin, 2nd


Senior Placewinners – NY-Related Wrestlers in Bold Italics

Senior – 55
1st Place – Lucas Malmberg of FLWC (Marathon HS)
2nd Place – Desmond Moore of Lehigh Valley Athletic Club
3rd Place – Jan Rosenberg of SKWC

Senior – 60
1st Place – Mark Grey of FLWC 
2nd Place – Jake Calhoun of Modern Day Gladiators
3rd Place – Bryan Heller of Triumph
4th Place – Sean McCabe of SKWC (Connetquot HS)

Senior – 63
1st Place – Vinnie DelleFave of Unattached
2nd Place – Jamie Franco of Blue & Gold WC
3rd Place – Matt Bryer of Mat-Town
4th Place – Maverick Passaro of SKWC (Eastport South Manor HS)

Senior – 66
1st Place – Rollie Peterkin of New York Athletic Club
2nd Place – Mike Depalma of Edinboro Scotsman Club
3rd Place – Alex Cisneros of FLWC
4th Place – Daniel White of White wrestling

Senior – 70
1st Place – Kevin Hartnett of Husky wrestling club
2nd Place – Luke Vaith of Blue & Gold Wrestling Club
3rd Place – Michael Testen of Husky wrestling club
4th Place – Nicholas Maselli of PAWS RTC

Senior – 74
1st Place – Dan Vallimont of Blue & Gold Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Nestor Taffur of Brickhouse
3rd Place – Brandon Rolnick of PAWS RTC
4th Place – Casey Fuller of Edinboro Scotsman Club

Senior – 79
1st Place – Michael Dessino of Husky wrestling club
2nd Place – Frank Affronti of Blue & Gold Wrestling Club (Wayne HS)
3rd Place – Anthony Volpe of Unattached (Rocky Point HS)

Senior – 84
1st Place – Cameron Simaz of FLWC
2nd Place – Enock Francois of West Point Wrestling Club
3rd Place – Gabe Dean of FLWC
4th Place – Scott Gibbons of PAWS RTC

Senior – 96
1st Place – Kyle Cerminara of NYSS
2nd Place – Dan Seidenberg of SKWC
3rd Place – Donald Mcneil of Broncs Wrestling Club
4th Place – Antoni Walters of Quiet Storm East

Senior – 120
1st Place – Billy Smith of Clarkstown
2nd Place – Cole Lampman of PAWS RTC (Shenendehowa HS)
3rd Place – Lex Knapp of SKWC