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.

 

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Cam Simaz Grabs Championship, $2500 at Inaugural Tour ACW Event; Kyle Borshoff Takes Second

Simaz, Photo by BV

On Sunday, Cam Simaz was the ‘First 2 ten’ and he earned $2500 in the process.

In the inaugural event of Tour ACW (Association of Career Wrestlers) in the Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Pittsburgh, the former Cornell NCAA titlewinner was one of five champions. Each winner received a $2500 check. (Those victors were Daniel Dennis at 135 pounds, Frank Molinaro at 155, Nick Marable at 170, Simaz at 205 and Dom Bradley at 265).

How do you win in Tour ACW?  Quite simply, you score 10 points.  There are no time limits or periods and some freestyle elements, such as a point for a pushout, are combined with typical folkstyle rules.

Simaz had a bye in the first round and then defeated Division III national champion Evan Brown 11-3 in just over four minutes in his first action.  In the title bout, he jumped out to an 8-0 advantage against Deron Winn after just over two minutes with a takedown and a pair of three-point near falls. He closed out a 10-5 victory with two escapes.

In addition to Simaz, there were several other participants with New York ties, including 155-pound runner up Kyle Borshoff.  The Pittsford native, who is currently an assistant coach at American, beat Danny Sheehan and Jake Patacsil before dropping the final against Frank Molinaro at 155 by a 10-1 score.

At 135 pounds, Chris Notte and Jeffrey Streu competed.  Notte attended Nassau Community College while Streu went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Former Ithaca College standout Jeremy Stierly entered at 155, as did Kirk Landon, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.  In addition, former Lehigh grappler Trevor Chinn, a multiple-time New York state champion from Canandaigua, wrestled in that class.

For more on Tour ACW, see touracw.com.

From Russia to Ithaca: Dake, Simaz, Perrelli to Compete for Team USA in a World-Class Freestyle Dual vs. Russia at Cornell

You don’t have to go across the globe to see some of the top wrestlers in the world.  On November 17, some of the best will be making the trip to Ithaca, NY.

Some Cornell greats will be involved in the festivities as Kyle Dake, Cam Simaz and Frank Perrelli, who combined for five national championships and nine All-American showings, will get another chance to perform in front of the home crowd.

“They’re all excited,” said head coach Rob Koll.  “They thought their Cornell wrestling days were over, but we just keep bringing them back in.”

The former Big Red stars will take part in a world-class freestyle dual between Team USA and the Russian National Team at 1 p.m. in Bartels Hall on the Cornell campus.

The American squad features a number of standouts, including Perelli (55 kg), Jimmy Kennedy (60 kg), Kellen Russell (66 kg), Dake (74 kg), Clayton Foster (84 kg), Simaz (96 kg) and either Olympian Tervel Dlagnev or Zach Rey at heavyweight.

“For us, it’s a great way to highlight what we have going on in upstate New York,” Koll said. “When we started here at Cornell, to think we’d have three guys who could wrestle at that level would have been a big jump.  It just shows you that you can get an Ivy League education and be training for the highest levels of wrestling in the world.”

Tickets for the event are $10 for general admission and $15 for chair back seats. As part of that price, USA National team coach and Olympic medalist Zeke Jones will be hosting a freestyle clinic from 10-12.

“We would like to sell out Bartels Hall, which holds about 4,500,” Koll said.  “Tickets have only been available for a couple of days and there are already 900 seats accounted for.”

In addition to world-class freestyle wrestling, there will be some high quality folkstyle action one day earlier in Ithaca as well.  On November 16, the Red-White Eliminations (wrestleoffs) will take place, helping to determine the starting lineup for the Big Red in 2013-14.

To purchase tickets, see Cornell Big Red tickets or call (607) 254-2327.

 

 

World Team Trials Day 2: Army Graduate Anderson Makes the Finals; Gwiazdowski Takes Third in Challenge Tournament and More

 
 
The World Team Trials continued on Saturday with action in men’s and women’s freestyle and Greco Roman.

Anderson, pilotonline.com

Numerous wrestlers with New York ties took the mat, with West Point graduate Jon Anderson making it all the way to the best-of-three championship series against Andy Bisek in Greco at 74 kg/163 pounds.  Anderson began his journey with a 6-0 victory over Corey Hope and followed it up with a pin of Jake Fisher, the number two seed.  Fisher, a former World Team member, had taken a significant lead over Anderson early in the match, but the former Black Knight fought back to not only tie the score but also get the fall.

That set up the meeting with Bisek. In the first match, there was a lot of action early, but the first points weren’t put on the board until there were just seconds left in the opening period as Anderson grabbed a 1-0 advantage. Bisek didn’t waste much time tying things up in the second and with two minutes to go, the Minnesota Storm wrestler pulled ahead 3-1. Anderson stayed aggressive, but his opponent effectively countered multiple times, resulting in a 10-1 Bisek triumph in match one.

In the second match, Anderson went ahead with a push out less than a minute into the bout for a 1-0 lead.  Seconds later, however, Bisek responded with a takedown and after a series of turns, it was 7-1.  Toward the end of the stanza, Anderson looked in position for a big throw, but Bisek was able to fight it off and in the second period, Bisek ended the bout 9-2 with a pushout to take the World Team spot.

Anderson wasn’t the only placer with Empire State connections on Saturday, as three freestylers made the top four in the Challenge Tournament.

Former Duanesburg star Nick Gwiazdowski, who competes for North Carolina State, took bronze at 120 kg after racking up a 3-1 record.  That included a pair of wins over two-time NCAA champion Tony Nelson of Minnesota.  In fact, Gwiazdowski started the day against the Golden Gopher, getting to his legs often and piling up points in a 9-0 technical fall that ended midway through the second period.  After dropping his next contest to Zach Rey, Gwiazdowski notched a 9-1 triumph over Kyle Massey before beating Nelson for third, 6-4.

Hall, wrestlersarewarriors.com (Tony Rotundo)

Also making the bronze match in the Challenge Tournament were Cornell graduate Cam Simaz (84 kg) and Columbia assistant Adam Hall (66 kg), who both took fourth with 2-2 marks.  Simaz opened and concluded with losses to Jon Reader. In between, he toppled Max Askren and Enock Francois by 7-0 and 9-2 scores, respectively.  Hall’s setbacks came to Challenge Tournament champion Brent Metcalf and third placer Chase Pami while he defeated Kyle Ruschell and Phillip Simpson.

Speaking of Simpson, the Army graduate went 3-2 with wins over Rollie Peterkin, Jason Chamberlain and Kyle Borshoff.  Borshoff, an American assistant coach originally from the Rochester area, dropped a one-pointer to Kyle Ruschell in round one before facing Simpson.

Another Simpson – William Simpson – picked up one victory at 60 kg in Greco with a pin, while Army assistant Enock Francois also had a 1-2 mark (at 84 kg) with a 7-0 win over Austin Trotman.

Yet another West Point coach, Danny Mitcheff, also collected a victory (at 55 kg), eliminating Cornell All-American Frank Perrelli in the consolations.  Mitcheff was then knocked out of the competition by former Buffalo grappler Mark McKnight, who also went 1-2.

On the women’s side, Jenna Burkert, recorded a technical fall at 63 kg against Lauren Louive, while another New York native, Joe Uccellini, competed at 74 kg in Greco.

Wrestling continues on Sunday in Stillwater with the Junior World Team Trials in both Freestyle and Greco.

For full results, see here.

 

What to Watch For From NY Wrestlers at the World Team Trials Beginning on Friday

 
 
On Friday and Saturday, many of the nation’s top wrestlers will take the mat at the World Team Trials in Oklahoma. A number of New York wrestlers will see action during the two-day competition, with representatives in most of the men’s freestyle classes and qualifiers in women’s freestyle and Greco Roman.  For a preview of what to look for from the Empire State grapplers, read on.

Men’s Freestyle

55 kg/121 pounds:

The Frontrunners: 2012 Olympian Sam Hazewinkel and US Open champion Obe Blanc are among the favorites in a deep field.

The New York Connection: Former Cornell All-American Frank Perrelli went all the way to the championship bout at the US Open earlier in the spring and has registered a number of quality victories at 55 kg/121 pounds recently.  He also took bronze in 2013 at the Cerro Pelado International and looks to challenge for the title in Stillwater. In addition, Mark McKnight, a wrestler who spent some time in the Empire State while wrestling for Buffalo, was the Pan American Championships gold medalist earlier this year and the fourth place finisher at the US Open.

Also taking the mat will be Army assistant coach Danny Mitcheff, who gained entry via a sixth place showing at the U.S. Open at 60 kg/132 pounds.  He is currently seventh in the Senior National rankings at that class, but is in the field at the lightest weight for this weekend. Lucas Malmberg, a state champion for Marathon High, who trained with the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club this season, qualified for the event by virtue of winning the Northeast Regional Championship but was not registered as of Thursday morning.

60 kg/132 pounds:

The Frontrunners: Coleman Scott earned Olympic bronze in London, but he’ll be challenged by US Open champion Reece Humphrey (who goes right into the championship series) and two-time NCAA champion Logan Stieber, who looked impressive in beating the World’s number one ranked grappler Opan Sat of Russia this spring.

The New York Connection: Cornell freshman Mark Grey captured the Northeast Regional title to earn a spot at the event, however, he will instead compete at the Junior World Team Trials on Sunday at 60 kg.

 66 kg/145.5 pounds:

The Frontrunners: Kellen Russell clinched a spot in the championship series with his title at the US Open. In that event, he defeated another two-time NCAA champion, Jordan Oliver, in the finals.  Oliver will again be a threat, as will former World Team member Brent Metcalf.

The New York Connection: At the US Open, current EIWA assistants made the podium with Columbia’s Adam Hall notching fourth and American’s Kyle Borshoff, a Section 5 native, grabbing seventh. In addition, Army graduate Phillip Simpson was sixth.

74 kg/163 pounds:

The Frontrunners: This bracket has a huge ‘wow’ factor.  Jordan Burroughs, perhaps the world’s best wrestler over the past year or two, comes in as the favorite.  He is still a flawless 54-0 in Senior level freestyle action.  The weight boasts a number of impressive challengers, however, including Kyle Dake, Andrew Howe, Trent Paulson and David Taylor.

Dake, Phototrens.com

The New York Connection:  Dake made a successful international debut against Iran at the Rumble on the Rails and will look to continue his freestyle success. A year ago at the Olympic Trials, Dake defeated solid freestylers Colt Sponseller and Nick Marable and pinned Taylor.  He also dropped a three-period contest to former World Team member Trent Paulson. Dake will get a chance to avenge that outcome right away, as Paulson will be his opening round opponent on Friday. If he wins that one, his next bout could be a rematch with David Taylor.

Speaking of Taylor, the Nittany Lion will open action against the winner of the Moza Fay vs. Dan Vallimont tilt. Vallimont, a Hofstra assistant coach, registered a seventh place showing at the US Open and a Northeast Regional crown.  He will look to make his presence felt in Oklahoma at 74 kg, while Monsignor Farrell alum Kevin Hartnett, who competes for Bloomsburg, is also eligible join the fray after taking the Northeast Regional championship at 70 kg.

84 kg/185 pounds:

The Frontrunners: Keith Gavin won the US Open and will be challenged by a solid field, including those who finished right behind him in Vegas –  Clayton Foster, Jon Reader, Ed Ruth and Phil Keddy.

The New York Connection: Cam Simaz and Enock Francois battled at the US Open and at the Northeast Regionals. Francois, an assistant at West Point, won the first meeting on the way to a seventh place finish, however, Simaz rebounded to control the rematch.  In the interim, Simaz, the former Cornell NCAA champion, recorded a silver finish at the University Nationals. Both wrestlers have the potential to make noise in this bracket over the weekend. The same could be said for former Section 1 resident Max Askren, who placed second at the Dmitry Korkin International in 2012.

96 kg/211 pounds:

The Frontrunners: London gold medalist Jake Varner isn’t registered for the event. JD Bergman, the US Open champion, will go directly to the best of three championship series, where he could face the foe he defeated for the title in Las Vegas – Chris Pendleton. Another name to watch, Wynn Michalak, took third at the US Open behind Bergman and Pendleton.

The New York Connection: Former Buffalo All-American Kyle Cerminara, who is currently 9th in the US Senior rankings, qualified for the tournament with a Northeast Regional championship. However, he is not in the brackets.

120 kg/265.5 pounds:

The Frontrunners: Tervel Dlagnev was the 2012 Olympian, but he was upended by Dominique Bradley at the US Open. (Bradley will not compete). Taking third at that event was Tyrell Fortune, who was impressive in winning the University Nationals.  And what about competitors like Zach Rey and Tony Nelson? All could challenge for the top spot, along with Nick Gwiazdowski (see below) and others.

The New York Connection:  Former Duanesburg standout (and current North Carolina State wrestler) Nick Gwiazdowski was seventh at the US Open and third at the University Nationals.  He’ll look to be in the thick of things in a talented heavyweight class.

Women’s Freestyle

Since only the four Olympic weights will be contested in Stillwater (48, 55, 63, 72 kg), a number of wrestlers may move up or down in weight to challenge for World Team positions. This should add excitement to the competition and could lead to some surprises.

At least three New York natives are eligible to compete over the weekend.  Suffolk County’s Jenna Burkert recently earned a fourth place finish at the US Open at 59 kg. There won’t be competition at that weight this weekend, but Burkert, who will represent the USA at the Junior Worlds again this summer, will wrestle at 63 kg.

Mary Westman of Cattaraugas picked up a sixth place finish in Las Vegas at 72 kg, and will look to climb the ladder in that bracket in Oklahoma.

In the lightweights, Fredonia’s Carlene Sluberski recently represented the United States at the “Battle of the Falls” showcase at the end of May. Her third place finish at 51 kg at the US Open qualified her for the weekend, although she was not in the field as of Thursday morning.

Greco Roman

At 55 kg, Brooklyn’s Dmitry Ryabchinsky is always in the mix.  He recently notched fifth at the US Open and will be looking to move up to challenge frontrunners Spenser Mango and Max Nowry.

William Simpson, an Army alum, is entered at 60 kg, while fellow West Point grad Jon Anderson will be at 74 kg. Anderson has seen a lot of success in recent years and has represented the United States in international action. He was third at the Olympic Trials, the 2013 US Open and the Haparanda Cup. He may be joined in the field by another Empire State grappler, Joe Uccellini of Troy, the 79 kg champion at the Northeast Regionals.

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World Team Trials action begins on Friday, June 21 with competition in men’s freestyle (60 kg, 74 kg and 96 kg); Greco (55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg and 120 kg) and women’s freestyle (55 kg and 72 kg).

Steve Bosak Reflects on Career; Joins Teammates Kyle Dake and Cam Simaz to Develop "Next Generation of National Champions"

 
 
When he arrived at Cornell, Steve Bosak knew he was joining a very talented team. But having three NCAA titlewinners in one season? That hadn’t happened in the history of Big Red wrestling.

But it all changed in March of 2012 when Bosak (184 pounds), Kyle Dake (157) and Cam Simaz (197) all came out on top at the biggest tournament of the season.

“I never would have guessed that we would have three champions in one year,” he said. “Not in my wildest dreams. It was an accomplishment that seemed nearly impossible, but we did it and it was great.”

That March night at the NCAAs in St. Louis was the last time the trio of gold medalists competed together, as Simaz graduated that spring.

But the three wrestlers are teaming up again June 8th and 9th in Bosak’s hometown of State College, Pennsylvania for the “Big Red Champs Clinic”, to pass along some of the knowledge and skills that led them to the top of the podium.

“It will be a great time,” Bosak said. “We’re really excited to do this clinic. We want to get kids motivated to work hard at wrestling, have fun and learn great technique to use throughout their careers. What’s great is that they’ll learn from three wrestlers who are different in their styles, but all found a way to win national championships.”

Wrestling has been such an integral part of Bosak’s life that he wants to make sure to pass along the skills he’s acquired along the way.

But there was a time in 2012 when the sport wasn’t close to the top of his mind. Prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, Bosak was diagnosed with a staph infection and spent time in the hospital.

“At that point in time, I took a reality check,” he said. “I knew I had to get through it and do what it took to get healthy because my life was at stake. Wrestling was on the backburner.”

But it wasn’t off his mind for long. When he was declared free of the infection, the Big Red wrestler wrestler jumped back in, hoping to get back on the mat as soon as possible. He wasn’t sure, however, whether he’d be able to return to national championship level.

“Even in November, when I was in the recovery process, there was a lot of confusion and it wasn’t clear whether I would be able to get back to my full potential by the end of the year,” he said. “I had to just keep focusing on working hard and mentally preparing.”

The confidence of those around him certainly helped. As the Grapple at the Garden event approached in December, Bosak had only two to three weeks of training under his belt. But the opportunity to compete at the famous Madison Square Garden venue against two of the nation’s top teams – Oklahoma State and Missouri – was one he couldn’t pass up. And it wouldn’t be easy, as he would be squaring off with a pair of nationally-ranked opponents – Mike Larson and Chris Chionuma – in his first action of the campaign.

“Before the Grapple took place, I told Coach Koll that I didn’t know if I would be at my best for the matches,” Bosak said. “He joked that I could be at 30% and still win by tech fall. I knew that wasn’t actually true, but it was a nice confidence boost when he put it that way. I just wanted to go out and perform for the team.”

He did that, winning both bouts.

“I was probably about 75%,” he said. “I was exhausted in the first period of both of my matches and had to mentally push through to come out on top. It was really difficult.”

But as the season progressed, it got less difficult. Bosak said by sometime in February he felt nearly 100%.

Back in peak form, Bosak set out to capture a title he had never won before (EIWA) and one he had collected in 2012 (NCAA).

The first goal on the list – the conference championship – seemingly would run through Lehigh’s Robert Hamlin, who had defeated Bosak for the EIWA crown in both 2011 and 2012.

“Hamlin’s a good buddy of mine,” Bosak said. “Sometimes, with rivals, you wind up hating each other. But I consider him a pretty good friend. But, I was hoping to get a little bit of revenge in the EIWAs. He got the better of me head to head over the years and I was hoping to have the opportunity to beat him in the finals.”

However, the rematch didn’t happen as the Mountain Hawk senior injury defaulted to sixth while Bosak cruised to the crown. With that result, the Big Red coaches expected the 184-pounder to receive the #3 seed at the NCAAs.

However, to their surprise, he was slotted into the fourth spot, bringing a possible semifinals matchup with another defending national champion, Ed Ruth of Penn State.

“What the seeding committee decided was completely surprising,” Bosak said. “Going into nationals, I felt totally disrespected. It was uncharacteristic of past seeding and we were all shocked. But I knew I had to wrestle everyone anyway, so I had to keep my head on straight and perform.”

He did that, breezing through his first three matches by a combined score of 18-1. When it came time to face Ruth in the semis, the Big Red senior was ready with his game plan.

“I felt that if I slowed down his shots from the outside and kept pressure forward, I would be ok,” he said. “I needed to dominate the ties to prevent his quick, sudden takedowns. Unfortunately, he caught me in the first five seconds. After that, I recovered and almost had a takedown on the edge that would have put me in a great position to win.”

After the 4-1 defeat, he responded like a champion, winning his consolation matches on Saturday morning to complete his career in third place. The audience showed its appreciation for the three-time All-American as he walked off the mat.

Photo by BV

“It was great to end that way,” he said. “It was also nice that I got a standing ovation from the crowd. I felt appreciated and it was an awesome experience.”

It was especially significant for Bosak because he said it was his last competitive match.

“I’ve always felt that I’m a much better folkstyle wrestler,” he said. “My style doesn’t translate well to freestyle. So I’m ready to focus on the next stage of my life.”

What is that next stage? Bosak said he is pursuing two possible paths.

“I’m heavily considering coaching,” he said. “I have a bunch of offers from college programs and I’m looking at my options. I’m also interested in marketing and have talked to some places and am going through the interview process.”

But whether it’s marketing or wrestling next year, on June 8 and 9, he’ll definitely be on the mat in State College, knee deep in the sport he loves.

“After the season, I wanted to go and give back to wrestling,” he said. “I felt that doing a clinic like this was a great opportunity to help young kids perfect technique and what better way to teach them than to have Cam and Kyle join me to share what we know?”

Going back to the community in which he grew up seemed like a natural choice for the clinic.

“The area is rich with wrestling. It’s wrestling country,” he said. “I wanted to go home to my roots and give back. There are so many people who impacted my life and career there.”

In addition, he is excited to be able to help his high school, as part of the proceeds of the camp will be donated to the State College Wrestling Booster Club.

“Our goal coming out is to have a quality camp at a cheap price [$99] with a fun atmosphere,” he said. “When it’s over, we’ll have free posters for the kids and we’ll do autographs and pictures. The three of us all have different strengths and we’ll each teach the moves that worked best for us. We want to motivate kids to work hard at wrestling, have fun and learn great technique. We want to help create the next generation of national champions.”

For more information on the Big Red Champs clinic with Steve Bosak, Kyle Dake and Cam Simaz, see this link.

'Back from Hiatus': Dylan Palacio Rebounds from Injuries to Win National Title

 
 
In the third period of his 74 kg (163 pound) semifinals match at the FILA Junior Freestyle National Championships, Dylan Palacio fell behind 3-1 against Patrick Rhodes of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. And he heard a voice screaming out of the Iowa corner.

“Tom Brands was yelling to his guy talking about me, saying, ‘he’s broke, he’s broke,’” Palacio said. “It was gut check time. I just went after it. You can’t believe for a second that you’ll lose.”

Photo by BV

Palacio started to rack up points, including a takedown with just a few seconds left to seal a 6-3 win in the final stanza and a trip to the title bout.

“After the match, I shook [Brands’s] hand and said, ‘I don’t ever break,’” Palacio recalled.

He certainly didn’t over the weekend.

In the championship, Palacio was matched up against Bison Wrestling Club’s Matthew Gray, in a rematch of the 160 pound third place bout at the Junior National Freestyle Championships last summer in North Dakota. Gray won that one in straight periods.

“He worked me last year at Fargo. He beat me up,” Palacio said.

Gray began strong again, taking the first period by a 3-0 score. But Palacio said he felt this time would be different.

“I wasn’t worried, I had a big smile on my face,” he said. “I knew who he was and was actually okay with my first period because I was feeling him out and figuring out what I needed to do the rest of the match. I knew I could make the adjustments – heavy on the head, more attacks, especially single legs. It paid off.”

In the middle stanza, Gray struck first with a takedown, but Palacio tied it up with about 1:30 left, to take the 1-1 “lead”. Gray came at Palacio with a significant charge, looking to move ahead with a pushout, however the former Long Beach star somehow found a way to stay in bounds to win the period.

“It was like a 360 tiptoe move,” Palacio said. “That’s just all heart right there. I think in retrospect, that’s why I won. Not giving up and circling on that line. He used all his energy for the push and in a way, that was the match.”

Palacio used a takedown and a two-point exposure to go ahead 3-0 in the third and when time expired, he had a 4-2 victory and a national title.

It was a stark contrast to where the former Section 8 standout was in February.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “Not that long ago, I was on a medical table at Edinboro with a torn MCL. I was hurt a lot this year and I was feeling frustrated and skeptical about my future. I won’t forget the people who encouraged me and believed, because without them, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

Palacio acknowledged that his run over the weekend may be a surprise to some, because of the limited tournament action he saw with the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club over the past year. (He said he took part in less than 10 official bouts).  But he added that people didn’t know what he was doing behind the scenes.

“You don’t need to wrestle 100 matches to get better,” he said. “I may not have wrestled a lot of matches, but I was lifting and improving a lot in practice. And I was wrestling the way I wanted to – calm, not crazy, not sloppy. I was moving well, working my scores. And now I’m healthier. I’m back from hiatus.”

He’s back for a lot of reasons, but he pointed to some people he said were essential.

“I hit the lottery having Cam Simaz and Frankie Perrelli in my corner,” he said of his coaches at the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club. “They complement each other so well as and they helped me go in the right direction. I didn’t really know how to wrestle when I got to Ithaca, I hadn’t lifted weights, there were a lot of things I didn’t know. But they saw the potential and never gave up on me.”

So immediately after his hand was raised on Saturday, Palacio said he ran off the mat and hugged Perrelli and Simaz and the other supporters in attendance. And he pointed up at the sky to acknowledge another inspiration.

“It was my best friend’s birthday about a week ago,” he said. “He passed away a few years ago. I believe he watches over me and I won this for him. The plaque I won is his birthday present. I’ll bring it to his memorial when I get home.”

There are lots of things for Palacio to do when he gets back to the East Coast. He said he knows he has a lot to learn from his coaches. And he said he “can always learn something from Kyle [Dake]– whether it’s lifting, running, drilling or just how to act. I’m willing to admit that’s who I want to be like.”

The Long Island native said he can’t wait to start his freshman year at Cornell and has visualized being announced as a starter for the Big Red at the Friedman Center for the first time. (He has his entrance song all picked out).

While there’s still plenty to demonstrate before getting to that point, Palacio feels like he’s now on his way.

“From where I was a month ago to now — things can change so quickly,” he said. “It feels so good to be a national champion but I’ll keep going. The goal is to be an NCAA champ. This is just a stepping stone.”