Long Island's X-Cel Advances to the Semifinals at Pop & Flo National Duals on Saturday

 
 
X-Cel won the title at the Pop & Flo National Duals last year.  The Long Island group will try to repeat that feat on Sunday after advancing to the semifinals on the first day of competition.

The squad looked completely dominant early, opening with a 84-0 blanking of Kryptonite Wrestling Club, followed by a 71-6 triumph over Journeymen Gold.  The quarterfinals brought a tougher challenge, however, as X-Cel squared off with Dark Knights of Pennsylvania.

Two-time state champion Nick Piccininni got the New Yorkers off to a good start with a major decision at 120 pounds.  However, the opponents from the Keystone State responded with three consecutive victories from 125 to 135 to take a 12-4 advantage.

Fabian, Photo by BV

The two teams then traded wins over the next several matches, beginning with a pin by Sacred Heart-bound TJ Fabian of Shoreham Wading River at 140.  The Dark Knights were victorious at 145 and 160, while state champion Louis Hernandez of Mepham earned a 5-4 win at 152 and Steven Schneider got his hand raised at 170 with an overtime triumph.  After regulation ended deadlocked at 1, and there was no scoring in sudden victory, Schneider rode his opponent out for the entire 30 seconds and then escaped when it was his turn on bottom to make the team score 19-16 in favor of the Pennsylvania squad.

After the Dark Knights extended their advantage to 22-16 with a decision at 182, Chris Chambers put four big points on the board for X-Cel with a major at 195, followed by a 9-3 decision by Steven Mills at 220 to put the Long Island group ahead for the first time since early in the dual.  When a forfeit at heavyweight was tacked on, X-Cel took a 29-22 lead as the meet returned to the lightweights.

At 106, the Dark Knights made things interesting, earning a fall to make it 29-28 in favor of X-Cel with just one match remaining.  In that contest, former Wantagh star Jose Rodriguez took control with an early takedown and got his hand raised to push X-Cel to the 32-28 win and to the semifinals on Sunday against Iron Horse (New Jersey).

The 32-team High School field included many squads from New York, including teams from Ascend, Cellar Dwellers, Cobra, Finger Lakes Wrestling Club, Iowa Style, Journeymen, Port Jervis, Razor and 631 Elite.

Meanwhile, close to half of the squads in the Youth field came from New York as well.

In addition to Sunday’s action to determine placement in the team standings, there will be some great bouts on Saturday night.  At 8:30 p.m., some of the top individuals will take the mat for an All-Star dual.

Included are a number of New Yorkers, for example (matches subject to change):

83: Adam Busiello (631 Elite) vs. Patrick Glory (A&B Core)

88: Dillan Palaszewski (Journeymen) vs. Gavin Teasdale (Young Guns)

106: Yianni Diakomihalis (Cobra) vs. Devin Brown (Young Guns)

120: Nick Piccininni (X-Cel) vs. Mickey Phillipi (Young Guns)

125: William Koll (FLWC) vs. Kevin Jack (Iowa Style)

140: Nick Kelley (Journeymen) vs. Anthony Ashnault (SKWC)

182: Dan McDevitt (Ascend) vs. Luke Farinaro (Iron Horse)

220: Rich Sisti (Apex) vs. Michael Boykins (Rt. 100)

100: Sam Sasso (Dark Knights) vs. Vince Andreano (APEX)

140: Jason Nolf (Young Guns) vs. Scott Delvecchio (Iron Horse)

152: BJ Clagon (Apex) vs. Miguel Calixto (Catamounts)

170: Chris Koo (Ascend) vs. Ethan Ramos (Iron Horse)

195: Reggie Williams (FLWC) vs. Evan Ramos (Iron Horse)

285: Mike Hughes (X-Cel) vs. Jesse Webb (Catamount)

Hernandez, Fabian, Dellavecchia, Calderone and Chambers Add Another Summer Title at Wantagh Tournament

Louis Hernandez, Photo by PhotoTrens, http://www.phototrens.com

Louis Hernandez has spent the summer trying to not only win matches, but to win those matches convincingly.

“I like to be dominant and be in the driver’s seat,” he said. “I try to go out there and break my opponent.  I definitely don’t like to leave the match in the referee’s hands.”

This August, mission accomplished.

The Mepham junior won his second tournament in the past three weeks when he captured the 155-pound title at the Wantagh Summer event on Saturday after earning the championship at the Ken Lesser Memorial Summer Heat earlier in the month.  In those two tournaments five of his six wins were by bonus points and the other was a comfortable 8-2 decision.

“I’m really happy with the way I’ve been wrestling,” he said. “All my training is paying off.”

Hernandez has been motivated by the way his sophomore campaign ended.  He compiled an impressive 26-4 record but missed a chunk of the season in January.  When he returned to the lineup in February, he earned the Section 8 title and had high expectations for his first appearance in Albany.

“My goal before the season even started was to win counties and go All-State,” he said. “But I broke my rib the week before the state tournament. I still went and gave it everything I had.  Even though I didn’t do as well as I wanted to, I thought it was a good experience to compete there to get ready for next year.”

At the Times Union Center, Hernandez dropped a one-point decision to John Northrup of Rush Henrietta in his opening bout before recording a 17-1 technical fall over Richie Lupo of Union Endicott in the wrestlebacks.  In his next contest, eventual fifth place finisher Dale White came out on top, 8-5.

“He didn’t place but he wrestled well at states,” said Craig Vitagliano, who coaches Hernandez at Ascend Wrestling Club. “I think he put things in perspective and realized what he did despite being injured.  He’s been wrestling the whole spring and summer.”

Hernandez said he has followed a simple regimen throughout the offseason.

“Lift, run, wrestle,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been doing.  I work out in the gym in my basement, go out for a run and go to Ascend to practice. I am focused on learning and getting better.”

Vitagliano believes he’s on the right path.

“[Hernandez] is one of the most talented kids I’ve ever coached,” Vitagliano said. “He’s a natural who is physically mature for his age.  He’s extremely strong and athletic and great on his feet.  He also has that killer instinct.”

That killer instinct has served him well in his bonus wins in the past few weeks.  He hopes to keep piling up the victories as he puts himself to the test several more times before his high school season begins at either 145 or 152 pounds.

“I definitely want to go to Super 32 [in North Carolina] this year and try to be an All-American there.  I’ll also be going to Waterway Duals in Pennsylvania because there’s always some great wrestling in that state.  I want to get as much good competition to prepare for this season as I can because I’m hungry for a state title.  That was what I was thinking after my last loss at states – I’ve experienced states now and next year, I plan to win the whole thing.”

TJ Fabian, Photo by PhotoTrens http://www.phototrens.com

Hernandez wasn’t the only wrestler to win the title at Wantagh after finishing on top at the Summer Heat earlier in August.  The same could be said for a pair of East Islip grapplers, Jesse Dellavecchia (109) and Chris Chambers (198) as well as returning state placers Joe Calderone of Walt Whitman (123) and TJ Fabian of Shoreham Wading River (141).  All were dominant. Fabian and Calderone both had two pins while Chambers had a pin and a major and Dellavecchia outscored his opponents 26-1.

About 180 wrestlers took the mat at the tournament in four divisions – Youth, Middle School, High School and Open.  One of the organizers, Ray Handley Sr., was pleased with the event overall.

“We had wrestlers from a lot of different places – Albany, New Jersey and of course Suffolk and Nassau,” he said. “We lost the football players because of the timing, but the crowd was great and we got a lot of help to make it run well and end on time.  All the money we raised goes back into the program to help with the travel during the season. Our goal with the tournament is to get the wrestlers sharp in the summer and I think we saw some quality wrestling throughout the day, at all levels, from Youth to Open.”

 Championship Results – High School

102 CJ Archer (Rocky Point) over Jordan Richter (Longwood), 6-0

109 Jesse Dellavecchia (631 Elite) over Ryan Holzgruber (Ascend), 5-0

116 Gary Sidoti (Wantagh) over Paul Capobianco (VHW), 8-2

123 Joe Calderone (Walt Whitman) over Kevin Parker (Journeymen), Pin

129 Tyler Walsh (West Islip) Fft Travis Passaro (631 Elite)

135 Vinny Turano (Wantagh) over Chris Cataldo (5 Star), 18-2

141 TJ Fabian (X-Cel) over Brandon Aviles (Huntington), Pin

148 Ken Gallagher (VHW) over Brandon Mendez (Huntington), 5-4

155 Louis Hernandez (Ascend) over Chris Morrissey (Albany Titans), 18-3

163 Dennis Ferro (East Islip) over Matthew Russo (Apex), 7-2

173 Steve Schneider (Levittown) over Andrew Psomas (Lions), 5-0

185 James Corbett (Wantagh) over Kevin Rodriguez (Pat-Med), 3-2

198 Chris Chambers (East Islip) over Christian Araneo (Ward Melville), 14-0

223 Joe Marcantonio (Calhoun) over Larry Baker (Wantagh), Pin

Championship Results – Middle School

Dylan Rider (631 Elite) over James Langan (Wantagh)

John DeRidder (Wantagh) over Kyle Mosher (Gladiators)

Thomas Rohan (Wantagh) over Joe Conklin (Wantagh)

Johnny Devine (Albany Titans) over Albert Hernandez (Grand Avenue)

 

Elijah Rodriguez (Gladiators) over Tyrese Byron (Gladiators)

Harley Lopes (VHW) over Daniel Finkelstein (Jericho)

Caleb Wilson (Kensington) over John Hayes (Wantagh)

Championship Results – Open

Jamel Hudson (Quiet Storm) over Kevin O’Hagan (Sachem North)

Evan Wallace (Albany Titans) over Nick Miceli (X-Cel)

Elton Gonzalez (Fallout) over Chirs Dolon (Unattached)

Anthony Bonaventura (Warzone) over Brian Adriance (Albany Titans)

Steven Hromada (Rocky Point) over Carlos Torres (Fallout)

Christian Psomas (Lions) over Steven Vidal (Fallout)

Championship Results – Youth

Marco Codignotto (Wantagh) over Aidan Araoz (Wantagh)

Josiah Encarnacion (Wantagh) over Nico Berlingeri (Olympic)

Christian Encarnacion (Wantagh) over Bobby Moore (Wantagh)

Joe Moore (Wantagh) over Nicholas Killard (Wantagh)

CJ Andres (N Haledon) over Joe Russo (Wantagh)

Kyle Mosher (Gladiators) over Kerik Pollock (SEQKWA)

Stefan Major (631 Elite) over Jacob Tutuska (Brentwood)