Necessary Toughness: Three-Sport Star Colton Kells Leads Fairport to First-Ever County Title

No matter what time of year it is, you’ll find Fairport’s Colton Kells immersed in a contact sport . . .  (or two, or even three).

“Colton is always passionately doing something athletic,” said head wrestling coach Michael Kohl. “He loves sports, especially those of a physical nature. He just loves to lift and work out and especially to compete.”

An All-State linebacker this fall on the gridiron, Kells also suits up for the school’s rugby team in the spring.  And of course, the senior is a standout on the mat where he is currently ranked third in New York after an undefeated start to the 2012-13 campaign.

Courtesy of Colton Kells

Kells said that to “stay sharp”, he does some work in all three sports year round.  And for good measure, he adds some additional exercise to his regimen through his work at a local greenhouse, doing things like moving the plants, and through his summer job which involved lifting furniture.

Of all his endeavors, Kells didn’t hesitate when asked what he found most physically demanding.

“Wrestling is definitely the most intense,” he said. “There are four quarters of football and 80 minutes of rugby but the six minutes in a wrestling match are the toughest.”

So far in his senior season, Kells hasn’t had to wrestle the full six minutes very often.  Only eight of his first 38 matches went the distance.

However, last weekend, he was on the mat even longer than three periods in a contest that was significant for a number of reasons.

In the title bout of the Monroe County championships, Kells took on Spencerport’s Collin Pittman, a wrestler he defeated several times last year and 5-1 earlier this season.  After knotting the score late in the third period on a stalling point, the Fairport grappler got the 5-3 victory on a takedown in overtime.

“Colton stayed focused throughout the match and kept hustling,” Kohl said. “He was rewarded for his hustle and ultimately found a way to win.”

“[Pittman] has improved a lot over the past year,” Kells added. “You can see each of our matches gets closer and closer if you look at the scores. In [overtime], he shot in, I sprawled and I ended up on top after we scrambled for a little bit. It was a very physical match; the closest one we’ve had so far.”

It didn’t just mean a championship for Kells. It also was the 100th victory of his career.

“Once I realized I was getting close [to 100 wins], I started keeping track,” he said. “I knew going into the weekend that the finals could be my 100th win and I thought it would be cool to get it there.”

Hitting the century mark wasn’t the only reason the weekend was special, however. Kells was an important contributor to his team’s first-ever county championship, breaking the hold that Spencerport had on the title for more than 20 years.

“It meant a lot and it was great to do our senior year,” Kells said. “We’ve been together for years, working hard together.  We felt pretty confident coming in that we could win but you never know what will happen with a lot of tough teams there.”

“It was very exciting for us,” Kohl added. “It was a compilation of a lot of hard work and I know the boys take a lot of pride in the way they performed and that they were the first to win the county for our school.”

New achievements have been piling up for the Red Raiders. A year ago, Josh Lackey, now a freshman at North Carolina State, became Fairport’s first individual state champion when he put together an unbeaten campaign to capture the 220-pound crown in Albany.  Lackey said in an interview last summer that he hoped his showing would lead to more future championships for Fairport.

“Watching him win was actually a great inspiration for me,” Kells said. “We worked out most of last year.  We were drill partners; we lifted together.  Josh was great to work with. He never lets up.  He never stops pushing forward. It was amazing to see him win the title and it inspired me.”

The truth is, Kells wasn’t too far from joining Lackey on the medal stand last year. After dropping a number of matches to All-State wrestler Jesse Kozub as a sophomore and early in his junior campaign, Kells broke through and defeated the Brockport wrestler at the county tournament in 2012, a win that gave him a boost going into the latter stages of the season.

“Jesse had placed in the state the previous year and I knew after beating him that I could go with anyone.  It gave me a lot of confidence.”

Kohl agreed.

“I thought that was the turning point last season for Colton,” Kohl said. “I think he realized that he could wrestle with the elite kids.  He realized that there wasn’t a question of whether he was capable or not, it was all about how he performed.”

He performed well enough in his first trip to state tournament to win a pair of matches and come within one victory of making the podium.

And after he was finished competing, Kells took the floor at the Times Union Center to help Lackey warm up and prepare for his finals bout with Max Antone of Niagara Wheatfield.

It’s a place Kells hopes to visit again on February 23, 2013.  And the two-time captain is doing all the right things to get there, according to his coach.

“He’s not a flashy kid – he does everything the old fashioned way, through hard work and determination.  He’s extremely disciplined and does all the extra things. Kids like him, when you ask them to jump, they ask how high? If you asked him to run through a wall, he would.  He has that determined look in his eye this year and very high expectations for himself.”

Those expectations for success at the highest levels in New York won’t end in February.

“A couple days after states, I’ll be back in rugby,” he said. “We made it to the state finals the last two years and won once.  Hopefully we can get back there again and win.”

After all, every season is sports season for Kells.  Pity the obstacles in his way.

Weekend Notes: New Dual Meet Champs in Sec 3 and 4, Fairport Earns First Monroe Title Plus Recaps from Shen, Edgemont, Kohl, Islip Cup and More

What a weekend. From dual meet championship tournaments to tough individual events, there were great matchups all over the state. The following touches upon some of the notable results and more may be added later.

South Jefferson and Johnson City captured Dual Meet Championships in Section 3 and 4, respectively. The Spartans dominated their finals matchup with General Brown while the Wildcats won a four-point dual over Union-Endicott. 

In individual tournament action:

• Shenendehowa won its own event with five champions, with St. Anthony’s and Yorktown taking second and third. Among the titlewinners for the Plainsmen were highly ranked Nick Kelley, David Almaviva and Levi Ashley.

• Monroe County in Section 5 has a new champion for the first time in 22 years. Spencerport had captured the last 21 titles, but this weekend it was Fairport earning that school’s first county championship. A number of wrestlers who appear in our latest state rankings won titles at this event, including Colton Kells of the champion Red Raiders, who topped Spencerport’s Collin Pittman in overtime at 195.

• At the Islip Cup, a pair of New York contenders at 170 pounds, Joe Piccolo of Half Hollow Hills West and Carlos Toribio of Brentwood, squared off for the second time this season. Toribio took the first meeting by decision but in the rematch, Piccolo recorded an early pin. It continues a strong run by Piccolo, who was third at the Eastern States Classic last Saturday.

• Huntington took first at the Kohl Invitational with five titlewinners, including Most Outstanding Wrestler Joseph Puca at 152 pounds. Puca upset state ranked Dan DeCarlo of Port Jervis.

• Edgemont, led by 120-pound winner Trey Aslanian, was the team champion at its tournament over the weekend, finishing ahead of Section 1 foe Pearl River.

• Clarence took the ECIC Championship, led by champions Ryan Burns (106), Jake Weber (160) and Nate Ward (285).  Taking MOW honors was Cheektowoga’s Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, who won the 132 pound class with a pin.

• At the Beacon, Valley Central won a close team race by three points over Arlington. Leading the way was top ranked Alex Delacruz of Ossining, who notched a technical fall in the finals.

For more details on these stories, read on:

Section 3 and 4 Dual Meet Championships

Johnson City, the top seed in Section 4, opened with a 50-24 victory over Sidney before defeating Vestal by a 42-27 score in the semifinals. In the championship dual, Johnson City took a commanding lead, clinching the dual with three matches remaining. Union-Endicott’s late rally made the final score 40-36.

In Section 3, the conclusion lacked drama. Top seeded South Jefferson, ranked seventh in the latest state dual poll, looked like one of New York’s elite squads throughout the competition. The Spartans began with a 51-23 result against Cicero-North Syracuse before topping Cazenovia 58-22. In the semifinals, the team had its closest meet of the event, 43-31, over Baldwinsville. In the finals, South Jefferson left little to chance, emerging with a dominant 45-19 score.

Earning wins in the opening three duals for the champions were Jared Carroll (99), Caleb Beach (106), Trevor Cowles (160), Dan Smith (170), Logan LaFlamme (182) and Ryan Charlebois (220).

For more on the championships by Johnson City and South Jefferson, check back tomorrow for a more detailed story.

Shenendehowa Tournament

The host team collected 209.5 points, well ahead of St. Anthony’s at 149 and Yorktown’s 95. The Plainsmen received championship performances from five grapplers – Kevin Parker (120), Nick Kelley (138), David Almaviva (145), Chris Naccarato (160) and Levi Ashley (195).

A host of additional wrestlers ranked statewide took the mat in Section 2. At 113 pounds, returning state runner up Cheick Ndiaye edged St. Anthony’s Ben Lamantia 3-2 and Joe Mastro of Yorktown grabbed gold at 152.

A pair of ranked wrestlers were upended in the finals – Luis Weirebach of Hoosick Falls topped Eastern States medalist Golan Cohen of Colonie at 106 while Elliot Antler of Xavier edged St. Anthony’s Johnny Vrasidas at 170. In a battle of 182-pound wrestlers we expect to make some waves in Albany, Thomas Murray of Yorktown topped Hoosick Falls’s Brad Burns.

For further results from the event, see here.

Monroe County Tournament

As mentioned previously, Fairport won its first Monroe County league title after 21 consecutive years of championships for Spencerport. The Red Raiders had a large number of placers, including titlewinners Colton Kells at 195 and Jordan Seidel at 170.

Courtesy of Jason DePrez

This event featured a number of grapplers who are featured prominently in the latest individual state rankings. Among them were top 99 pounder, Yianni Diakomihalis of Hilton, who earned a major in the title match and took lightweight Most Outstanding Wrestler honors. He was joined on top of the podium by teammates Vincent DePrez (138), Anthony DePrez (145) and Mike Spallina (152), an eighth grader. Spallina wasn’t the only young wrestler to take top billing. After impressing nearly everyone in attendance at the Eastern States last weekend, seventh grader Frankie Gissendanner of Penfield put up another outstanding performance, taking the 126-pound crown over top seed Rosario Venniro, 3-1.

Spencerport was well represented among the titlewinners as well, with champions Jonathan Haas at 106, Trent Egenlauf at 182 and Austin Coleman at heavyweight. Grabbing heavyweight MOW honors was 160-pound champion Josh Powell of Churchville-Chili.

For more details, see here.

Islip Cup

Brentwood sat atop the team standings at the Kris McDonald Islip Cup, ahead of Sachem North and Islip. Leading the way for the top squad were champions Alex Romero (145), Luis Rodriguez (152) and David Rodriguez (285).

Photo by BV

Several state title contenders also picked up first place as the Half Hollow Hills West duo of Tyler Grimaldi (160) and Joe Piccolo (170) were victorious. As mentioned earlier, Piccolo avenged an earlier season loss to Brentwood’s Carlos Toribio with a first period pin. Both will be in the podium picture in Albany. Sachem North’s Gio Santiago has experience on the medal stand at the Times Union Center, as he took sixth a year ago. He continued his solid campaign with a fall over Jagger Rebozo in the 182-pound final.

For more results, see here.

Kohl Tournament

Huntington racked up 268 points, outdistancing Monroe Woodbury (201.5) and Port Jervis (166) for the title. The Blue Devils were led by Most Outstanding Wrestler Joseph Puca, who upset state-ranked Dan DeCarlo of Port Jervis for the 152-pound crown, 1-0. Also making the top of the podium for Huntington were John Arceri (99), Corey Jamison (126), Nick Lupi (220) and Anthony Puca (285).

For full brackets, see here.

Edgemont Panther Tournament

Photo by BV

Edgemont won its own tournament by five points over Pearl River on Saturday, spurred by champion Trey Aslanian at 120 pounds. Also making the finals for the host team were Kyle Aslanian (99), Chris Kim (170) and Jason Worobow (182). One of the top 145 pounders in the Empire State, Tom Grippi of Fox Lane, pinned his way to the title.

For more results, see 2013 Edgemont Bracket FINAL RESULTS


ECIC Championships

In Section 6, Clarence won the title by almost 100 points over Lancaster.  Clarence had eight finalists, including three title winners.  For full results, see here.


In addition to the dominance of Ossining’s Alex Delacruz, there were many standout showings at this tournament. One of those was the 195-pound championship for Horace Greeley’s Scott Wymbs. When Wymbs, named the Outstanding Wrestler, beat Kingston’s Deon Edmond for the title, he became his school’s all-time wins leader.

Dual Meets

For additional dual meet results from the weekend, see here.