VIDEO: Watch Freestyle Action from the New York State Championships Last Weekend

 
 
Champions were crowned over the weekend in Binghamton at the 2013 New York State Freestyle and Greco tournaments. If you missed the action, you can see the title bouts in the Junior Freestyle competition below plus a bonus match – a pool bout between All-Staters Reggie Williams and Gio Santiago at 195 pounds that featured a number of big moves and lots of excitement.

William Koll, Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, Kevin Thayer and Burke Paddock finished on top in both Freestyle and Greco, adding to the championships they won during the high school season in Albany.

For results from the weekend see here and here.

160 Pound Junior Freestyle Final: Burke Paddock vs. Alex Smythe

 

152 Pound Junior Freestyle Final: Kevin Thayer vs. Nigel Williams

 

132 Pound Junior Freestyle Final: William Koll vs. Jordan Maynard

 

138 Pound Junior Freestyle Final: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer vs. Sean O’Hagan

 

145 Pound Junior Freestyle Final: Connor Lapresi vs. Rocco Russo

 

195 Pound Junior Freestyle Final: Reggie Williams vs. Thomas Murray

 

195 Pound Pool Match: Gio Santiago vs. Reggie Williams

 

170 Pound Junior Freestyle Final: Troy Seymour vs. Liam Bass

 

182 Pound Junior Freestyle Final: Isaiah Zimmer vs. Tim Schaefer

 

113 Pound Junior Freestyle Final: John Twomey vs. Golan Cohen

 

120 Pound Freestyle Final: Matthew Morris vs. Daniel Murray

 

126 Pound Freestyle Final: Simon Greebel vs. Paul Smoot

 

220 Pound Junior Freestyle Final: Joe Nasoni vs. Luke McKee

 

285 Pound Junior Freestyle Final: Brad Lucas vs. Nolan Terrance

 

106 Pound Junior Freestyle: Josh LoGuidice vs. Nico Riccio

 

 

State Champs Koll, Rodriguez-Spencer, Lapresi, Thayer and Paddock Win Junior Freestyle Crowns

 
 
Connor Lapresi was looking to not only win, but win quickly at the New York State Junior Freestyle championships in Binghamton. After all, he wanted to get back home to attend the prom on Saturday night.

Lapresi delivered, earning a technical fall in the 145-pound finals, 6-0, 7-0 over Rocco Russo.

The future Bucknell grappler wasn’t the only wrestler to win by tech in straight periods in the championship round.

Matt Morris of ATWA did the same at 120 pounds, as did Troy Seymour at 170 and Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer at 138. The Cheektowoga star began his match with a big five-point throw which quickly ended the first period of his 5-0, 6-0 triumph.

Like Rodriguez-Spencer, Burke Paddock, William Koll and Kevin Thayer collected gold medals at the state championships in Albany this February. The trio also won it all on Saturday.

Paddock edged state medalist Alex Smythe 1-0 in the first period before taking the second 6-0 at 160, while Koll was in control the whole way in his 4-2, 7-0 victory against Jordan Maynard at 132 pounds.

Photo by BV

In a back and forth match featuring a number of big moves, Thayer dropped the opening stanza to Beat the Streets grappler Nigel Williams 9-3, but bounced back from a deficit in the second to win 7-6. Thayer then grabbed the decisive final period, 7-0.

In another bout that went three stanzas, Isaiah Zimmer lost period one to state runner up Tim Schaefer of Team Ten. However, Zimmer scored late in the second and third periods to pick up the 182-pound crown.

At 195, fellow Section 4 wrestler Reggie Williams bested Thomas Murray in a clash of All-State wrestlers. Williams won a thrilling match earlier in the day against 2013 state bronze medalist Gio Santiago, coming back from a sizable deficit.

The final two matches flew by, as both were decided by fall in less than two minutes in favor of wrestlers from the Mohawk Valley Wrestling Club. At 220, Joe Nasoni got his hand raised while Brad Lucas did the same at 285.

Also capturing a title by pin was Ascend’s Simon Greebel, who got the fall in the second after dropping the first stanza 2-0 to Paul Smoot at 126.

Coming out on top in the first match of the championship round was Josh LoGuidice at 106. Next up was John Twomey of Vougar’s Honors Wrestling, who was the victor at 113. Twomey topped state medalist Golan Cohen in straight periods to take gold.

In Cadet action on Saturday, a number of champions were crowned in Greco Roman.  To see all the champions and placewinners in Cadet Greco, see below.  (The results from Junior Freestyle are below as well).

For the brackets, see http://www.trackwrestling.com.

 

CADET GRECO

CADET GR – 88 Results

1st Place – Justin Lopez of Yonkers
2nd Place – Oscar Lainez of Middle Town
3rd Place – David Ciciarelli of Mohawk Valley Wrestling Club
4th Place – Darwingh Alvarez of Beat the Streets New York City

CADET GR – 100 Results

1st Place – John Luke Destefano of Beat the Streets New York City
2nd Place – Shane Gibbons of Massapequa
3rd Place – Maxim Pasichnik of BTS PS 186
4th Place – Devin Cohan of The Quarry Wrestling Club

CADET GR – 106 Results

1st Place – Parker Kropman of Titan World Wide Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Sean Miller of Ascend Wrestling Club
3rd Place – Dean Raymond of Team Worldwide Wrestling Club
4th Place – Josh Bourne of Long beach
5th Place – Kyle Aslanian of Edgemont Wrestling Club
6th Place – Joseph Marino of Beat the Streets New York City

CADET GR – 113 Results
1st Place – Max Tempel of Section 2
2nd Place – Evan Barczak of rock hard wrestling
3rd Place – Taylor Picciano of Kings Park Wrestling
4th Place – John Kalinoglu of Massapequa
5th Place – Brandon Goddeau of ATWA
6th Place – Jacob Lehr of Team Worldwide Wrestling Club

CADET GR – 120 Results

1st Place – Nicholas Casella of Vougar Honors Wrestling Inc.
2nd Place – Noah Handy of Mohawk Valley Wrestling Club
3rd Place – Donny McCoy of New York Super Six Wrestling A
4th Place – Matthew Krause of Ascend Wrestling Club
5th Place – Ramel McIntosh of Beat the Streets New York City
6th Place – Brandon Santiago of Beat the Streets New York City

CADET GR – 126 Results

1st Place – Ian Lupole of Section 4
2nd Place – Christian Briody of Ascend Wrestling Club
3rd Place – Michael Berkowitz of Vougar Honors Wrestling Inc.
4th Place – James Lamson of Watertown
5th Place – Cole Simmons of New York Super Six Wrestling A
6th Place – William Yee of Brooklyn

CADET GR – 132 Results
1st Place – Leonard Merkin of elite wrestling academy
2nd Place – Mike D`Angelo of Ascend Wrestling Club
3rd Place – Freddy Eckles of Buffalo Grapplers
4th Place – Damani Burns of Newburgh Wrestling Club
5th Place – Christopher Ladd of Sachem 3 Style Wrestling Club
6th Place – Bruce Cipollone of Mohawk Valley Wrestling Club

CADET GR – 138 Results

1st Place – Samuel Ward of Ascend Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Jilling Frank of Lindenhurst
3rd Place – Zachery Bendick of Team Worldwide Wrestling Club
4th Place – Marc Paez of Long beach
5th Place – Steven Prinston of Beat the Streets New York City
6th Place – Eugene Khalabudnyak of Beat the Streets New York City

CADET GR – 145 Results

1st Place – Gino Titone of Connetquot Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Jordan Bushey of Cellar Dwellers
3rd Place – Jason Hoffman of Journeymen Wrestling
4th Place – Kevin Parker of Journeymen Wrestling
5th Place – Thomas Wightman of Section 9
6th Place – Jason Colon of Mohawk Valley Wrestling Club

CADET GR – 152 Results

1st Place – Jesse Porter of Journeymen Wrestling
2nd Place – William Marcil of ATWA
3rd Place – Karl Weisner of Farrel
4th Place – John Vouzonis of Ascend Wrestling Club
5th Place – Dylan Studer of Team Worldwide Wrestling Club
6th Place – Elijah Vasquez of Beat the Streets New York City

CADET GR – 160 Results

1st Place – Zafar Iskandarov of Beat the Streets New York City
2nd Place – Vance Cuffie of Beat the Streets New York City
3rd Place – Jacob Ashcraft of Journeymen Wrestling
4th Place – Andy Cummings of Journeymen Wrestling
5th Place – Phillip Gray of Team Dynamic
6th Place – Ryan Wilcox of The Quarry Wrestling Club

CADET GR – 170 Results

1st Place – Jacob Woolson of Mohawk Valley Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Dakota Wolley of Genesee Valley Wrestling Club
3rd Place – Paul Brachfeld of Massapequa Park
4th Place – Madhur Karki of Titan World Wide Wrestling Clu
5th Place – Steven Walters of Beat the Streets New York City

CADET GR – 182 Results

1st Place – Colby Staley of ATWA
2nd Place – James Campbell of Titan World Wide Wrestling Club
3rd Place – Joe Sabia of Journeymen Wrestling

CADET GR – 195 Results

1st Place – Aidan Mathews of Dark corner
2nd Place – Tyler Hall of Section 6

CADET GR – 220 Results

1st Place – Khaled Abdoun of Journeymen Wrestling
2nd Place – James Bethel of Dark corner
3rd Place – Elijah Sampo of Mohawk Valley Wrestling Club
4th Place – George O`Mahony of Massapequa
5th Place – Albi Miraka of Beat the Streets New York City
6th Place – Marc Diaz of Beat the Streets New York City

CADET GR – 285 Results

1st Place – Peter Strassfield of Southampton High School Wrestling
2nd Place – Garyn Huntley of Veritas
3rd Place – Victor Palmer-Ortiz of Mohawk Valley Wrestling Club
4th Place – Kyle Kanige of Center
5th Place – Jake Lanzillo of Averill Park

 

JUNIOR FREESTYLE

JUNIOR FS – 106 Results

1st Place – Joshua LoGiudice of JOURNEYMEN WRESTLING CLUB
2nd Place – Dolan Mccolgan of Beat the Streets New York
3rd Place – Nico Riccio of Journeymen

JUNIOR FS – 113 Results

1st Place – John Twomey of Vougar Honors Wrestling (VHW)
2nd Place – Golan Cohen of Titan
3rd Place – Noah Malamut of Poly Prep High School Wrestlin
4th Place – Matthew Stallone of Sachem 3 Style Wrestling Club
5th Place – Tyler Aslanian of Edgemont Wrestling Club
6th Place – Chris Cuccolo of Pine Bush

JUNIOR FS – 120 Results

1st Place – Matt Morris of ATWA
2nd Place – Daniel Murray of Vougar Honors Wrestling (VHW)
3rd Place – Steven Sewkumar of Ascend Wrestling Club
4th Place – Ryan Burns of Cobra Wrestling Academy
5th Place – Michael Carr of Team Worldwide
6th Place – Kyle Kelly of Team Worldwide

JUNIOR FS – 126 Results

1st Place – Simon Greebel of Ascend Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Paul Smoot of Rock Hard Wrestling
3rd Place – Cheick Ndiaye of Beat the Streets New York City
4th Place – Timothy Johnson of Vougar Honors Wrestling (VHW)
5th Place – Dillon Stowell of F-10
6th Place – Richard Antonacci of Ascend Wrestling Club

JUNIOR FS – 132 Results

1st Place – William Koll of Finger Lakes Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Jordan Maynard of JOURNEYMEN WRESTLING CLUB
3rd Place – Blake Retell of Journeymen
4th Place – Travis Alexander of Ascend Wrestling Club
5th Place – Ryan Snow of Section 3
6th Place – Kyle Maddock of Westhampton Beach High School

JUNIOR FS – 138 Results

1st Place – Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer of Buffalo Grapplers
2nd Place – Sean O`Hagan of Sachem 3 Style Wrestling Club
3rd Place – Jay Oakes of ATWA
4th Place – Devon Hoyte of Beat the Streets New York City
5th Place – Anthony Messina of Sachem 3 Style Wrestling Club
6th Place – David Rodriguez of Port Richmond HS

JUNIOR FS – 145 Results

1st Place – Connor Lapresi of Finger Lakes Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Rocco Russo of New York Super Six
3rd Place – Sean McKenna of MVWC
4th Place – Codie Gilllette of Saranac
5th Place – Saidyokub Kahramonov of Beat the Streets New York City
6th Place – James McLean of Genesee Valley Wrestling Club

JUNIOR FS – 152 Results

1st Place – Kevin Thayer of Veritas
2nd Place – Nigel Williams of Beat the Streets New York City
3rd Place – Vinny Romeo of Titan World Wide
4th Place – Shaquille Jones of Beat the Streets New York
5th Place – Marc D`chiutiis of Beat the Streets New York City
6th Place – Derrick Rice of Beat the Streets New York City

JUNIOR FS – 160 Results

1st Place – Burke Paddock of Team Ten
2nd Place – Alexander Smythe of New York Super Six
3rd Place – Chris Koo of Ascend Wrestling Club
4th Place – Matt Fisher of MVWC
5th Place – Cody Nichols of Veritas
6th Place – Connor Lawrence of Journeymen

JUNIOR FS – 170 Results

1st Place – Troy Seymour of ATWA
2nd Place – Liam Bass of Westhampton Beach High School
3rd Place – Konstantin Parfiryev of Beat the Streets New York City
4th Place – Connor O`Gallagher of Rocky Point
5th Place – David Bunn of Copiague
6th Place – Michael Urso of W.T. Clarke High School Wrestl

JUNIOR FS – 182 Results

1st Place – Isaiah Zimmer of Team Worldwide
2nd Place – Tim Schaefer of Team Ten
3rd Place – Cedrick Stephens of Beat the Streets New York City
4th Place – Jake Webber of New York Super Six
5th Place – Austin Weigel of Journeymen
6th Place – Marcus King of Beat the Streets New York City

JUNIOR FS – 195 Results

1st Place – Reggie Williams of Team Worldwide
2nd Place – Thomas Murray of Askren WC
3rd Place – Giovanni Santiago of Sachem 3 Style Wrestling Club
4th Place – Levi Ashley of JOURNEYMEN WRESTLING CLUB
5th Place – Nathanael Rose of Beat the Streets New York City
6th Place – Maleke Cunningham of Beat the Streets New York City

JUNIOR FS – 220 Results

1st Place – Joe Nasoni of MVWC
2nd Place – Luke McKee of ATWA
3rd Place – Sam Eagan of Empire/Titans
4th Place – Javaughn Grant of Beat the Streets New York City
5th Place – Rafael Rokosz of Southhampton HS
6th Place – Aaron Gondola of Beat the Streets New York City

JUNIOR FS – 285 Results

1st Place – Brad Lucas of MVWC
2nd Place – Nolan Terrance of Massena
3rd Place – Matthew Abbott of Team Worldwide
4th Place – Quasar Hampton of Beat the Streets New York City
5th Place – Mason Cross of New York Titans
6th Place – Ben Newcomb of Titan

All Tied Up: Long Island and Upstate All-Star Squads Battle to 27-27 Result in Ithaca

 
 
The poster for the first annual Long Island vs. Upstate Challenge said, “The Debate Will Finally Be Settled.”  But after a great day of wrestling, neither team earned bragging rights as the squads battled to a 27-27 tie at the Friedman Center on the campus of Cornell University.

It’s fair to say that neither team was thrilled with the outcome.

“We weren’t happy.  I actually think were kind of shocked to have tied,” said Long Island 120-pounder Travis Passaro. “I didn’t think it would be a blowout, but I thought we would win.”

Upstate 195-pounder Reggie Williams wasn’t pleased either.

“Even after they tied it up, we were hoping we would still win on criteria,” the Johnson City star said. “We would have won if they went to criteria. We really wanted to win this in the first year of the event.”

The dual featured some of New York’s best wrestlers, including 13 state champions and another 15 placers.  As a result, the fans were treated to a back and forth affair that came down to the final bout, where Connetquot’s Brendan Dent edged Hilton’s Vincent DePrez at 145 pounds 5-4 to complete Long Island’s comeback from eight points down with just two matches remaining.

Photo by BV

The main event began with a pair of 99 pounders who took first (Yianni Diakomihalis of Hilton) and third (John Busiello of Eastport South Manor) in Albany.  Diakomihalis took charge early and never relented, winning a 9-3 decision and giving Upstate a 3-0 advantage.

Long Island responded, however, as state champion Mike Hughes of Smithtown West used a late charge to top Columbia’s El Shaddai Van Hoesen 5-4 at heavyweight.  The Columbia wrestler scored the first takedown and later added a reversal, but Hughes rebounded to knot the team score at 3.

Next to the mat was yet another state gold medalist – 106-pounder Kyle Quinn of Wantagh.  He took an early lead against third placer Jon Haas of Spencerport, but it was Haas who picked up the pace as the match continued, erasing the early deficit and coming from behind to win 7-4.

Building on that momentum for the Upstate team was Holley’s Mike Silvis at 220.  He used a big throw to propel himself to a 7-3 decision over New York runner up Steven Mills and pushed the Upstate group’s advantage to 9-3.   On top of that, the Long Island squad was docked a team point, which would prove costly at the end of the day.

Ready to turn the tide was two-time state titlewinner Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville.  The Section 11 star got his team back on track with a 6-0 blanking of Lockport’s Anthony Orefice at 113 to pull Long Island within 9-5, bringing up a rematch of a quarterfinal tilt at the Times Union Center.

At the state tournament, Syosset’s Dan Choi upended top-seeded Reggie Williams of Johnson City 14-4 on his way to the NYS crown.  Williams couldn’t wait to take another shot at the Section 8 grappler.

“I was really excited to have a rematch because I wasn’t at my best at the state tournament,” Williams said. “I was really looking forward to it.  I wanted to prove that I just had a bad weekend.”

He definitely had a better day on Saturday in an entertaining clash that featured a number of throw attempts by the 195-pounders.  With a lead in the third and time winding down, Williams picked up significant points for the Upstaters when he put Choi to his back and recorded the fall.

“Ending it that way did mean a little more,” Williams said. “I know [Choi] committed to Cornell and he’ll be scarred with his first experience there losing by pin. Getting a pin at this level of competition, at an event like this was big. It really helped my team out.”

It definitely did, giving Upstate a 15-5 lead. With that 10-point deficit, Long Island sent bronze medalist Travis Passaro out to face 120-pound champion Alex Delacruz of Ossining.  Thanks to some outstanding work on the mat, including a number of turns for near fall, the Section 11 standout beat Delacruz by major decision to pull his squad within striking distance, 15-9.

“I really wanted to wrestle him; I felt like I should have been in the state finals,” Passaro said. “It was a big match for me. Top is one of my best positions and when I got on top, I was able to work for turns and score a lot of points.  I wasn’t expecting to score so much, but I wasn’t surprised.  I felt like I did what I should have done.”

And not too long afterwards, Gio Santiago answered the pin by Williams with a fall of his own to bring the scoreboard to a 15-15 tie.  Santiago, a prolific pinner throughout his career, ended his bout with Warsaw’s Tim Schaefer with an exclamation point.

Photo by BV

“Gio Santiago came through with a huge pin to tie it up and bring us right back into it,” Passaro said. “That was really big.”

So, eight matches down, seven to go and it was deadlocked between the squads.  What could make things even more exciting?  How about a clash between a pair of 2013 state champions?

TJ Fabian of Shoreham Wading River and William Koll of Lansing met at 126 pounds at the Eastern States Classic in January, with the Long Island wrestler walking away with the triumph and the tournament title.  This time, the tables were turned as Koll jumped out to a quick lead with a takedown and back points.  Despite Fabian’s strong top work in the third period which earned points both for riding time and stalling against the Section 4 wrestler, Koll came away a 5-4 winner and pulled the Upstate squad ahead 18-15.

Long Island then briefly took its last lead of the day on the strength of Danny McDevitt’s major decision over Clarence’s Jake Weber at 170.  McDevitt showed his dominance on the mat, reversing his opponent on multiple occasions and collecting nearfall to put the Section 8 and 11 squad up 19-18.

However, the next three bouts went to the Upstaters as Brandon Lapi and Connor Lapresi both registered shutouts over their opponents, Chris Mauriello and Vinny Turano (at 132 and 138).  Both Lapi and Lapresi notched first period takedowns and then demonstrated strong work on the mat, with significant riding time.

In between those two performances came one of the most anticipated matches of the event – a meeting between Division I state champion Tyler Grimaldi and his Division II counterpart Burke Paddock at 160 pounds.  Grimaldi said before the weekend that it was the “grudge match” as he had beaten Paddock in Freestyle while Paddock had returned the favor at the Eastern States.

After some early handfighting, the Warsaw junior grabbed control, throwing Grimaldi to his back for a 5-0 advantage.  He added to his lead in the second to enter the third up 7-1.  Despite a comeback from the Hills West star, who earned some takedowns late, Paddock came away with a 9-5 victory.

And so entering the final two bouts of the afternoon, at 152 and 145 pounds, Upstate was in front 27-19.

“I was confident in [Corey Rasheed and Brendan Dent]; I felt like they could both win,” Passaro said. “I thought we had a chance to win the dual.”

Rasheed, one of the most dominant grapplers in all of New York this year was set to face  fellow 152-pound state champion Kevin Thayer of Unatego.

Photo by BV

Those present at the Times Union Center saw Rasheed cradle his opponent and end the state title bout in less than a minute.  That move led to many falls during the campaign for the Longwood junior.  He slapped that cradle onto Thayer more than once, but the Section 4 wrestler refused to give in, fighting off his back multiple times.  In the end, Rasheed was just too much and with less than 20 ticks left in the third period, he finished off a 15-0 technical fall, putting his squad behind by just three points, 27-24.

“Kevin Thayer is a good wrestler who goes hard, but Corey Rasheed is just a really, really tough kid,” Williams said. “I was proud of Kevin because even though he was losing, he kept fighting. He never stopped fighting and he didn’t give up the pin.”

So it all came down to the 145 pound contest.  It was two-time state runner up Vincent DePrez of Hilton for the Upstate squad, (second at 138 in 2013) against NYS fourth placer Brendan Dent of Connetquot.

Dent got on the board first with a takedown and ended the first ahead 2-1. He added to his lead with an escape in the second, but DePrez made it 3-3 with a takedown in the middle stanza. In the third, DePrez moved ahead 4-3 when he got out from bottom, but Dent answered with a takedown with just over a minute remaining to lead 5-4. DePrez worked for the reversal as time ticked down, but Dent held on for the 5-4 victory.

Following the match, the scoreboard changed to 27-all and that’s how it would end. One thing was unanimous – neither team liked that deadlocked tally.

“There’s always tension between Upstate and Long Island,” Passaro said. “It was a really fun weekend, but we wanted to win it.”

Williams felt the same way.

“We had a great time as team; did a lot of bonding.  When good wrestlers get together, you learn a lot and make new friendships.  It was a good weekend, but no one wants to end on a tie,” he said. “We really wanted to come out on top in the first year. But, there’s always next year.”

 

Live Stream to Begin at 5 for Windsor Christmas Tournament; Finals Matches Set

The live stream is now complete.  Thank you for your attendance.

Finals Results:

99 Pounds: John Arceri (Huntington) TF Collyn Shippos (Ithaca), 16-0

106 Pounds: Jimmy Overhiser (Corning) fall Kyle Mock (Huntington) :45

113 Pounds: Kyle Kelly (Chenango Forks) fall Dylan Wood (Walton) 1:12

120 Pounds: Nate Hayes (Windsor) dec Anthony Colon (Chenango Valley), 4-0

126 Pounds:  Corey Jamison (Huntington) dec William Koll (Lansing), 3-1

132 Pounds: Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich) fall Jesse Griswold (BGA), 1:52

138 Pounds: Connor Lapresi (Lansing) dec Justin Cirigliano (BGA), 8-4

145 Pounds: Brandon Mendez (Huntington) maj Trevor Parrish (Greene), 11-1

152 Pounds: Kyle Halladay (Chenango Valley) dec Dan Dickman (Greene), 3-2

160 Pounds: Mike Beckwith (Greene) dec Leland Slawson (Unatego), 4-0

170 Pounds: Christian Dietrich (Greene) TF Ryan Marszal (Unatego), 16-0

182 Pounds: Mike Beers (Walton) dec Andy Martinez (Liberty), 4-0

195 Pounds: Mark Viviano (BGA) fall Matt Brozovic (ME), 1:38

220 Pounds: Ryan Wolcott (Waverly) dec Nick Lupi (Huntington), 2-1

285 Pounds: Anthony Puca (Huntington) dec Andrew Brinser (Union Endicott), 3-0

Final Team Scores

1. Huntington 168

2. Greene 123

3. Canandaigua 115

4. Union Endicott 111

5  BGA 106

 

Section 4 Preview: State Champions Kelly, Lapresi, Koll and Rifanburg Look for More Titles; Williams for His First

Section 4 has nine 2012 All-State wrestlers returning, including former state champions Kyle Kelly, Connor Lapresi, William Koll and Tristan Rifanburg, as well as runner up Reggie Williams.  For the teams and wrestlers to watch in 2012-13, please read on.

Division I 

Returning State Placewinners (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Kyle Kelly, Chenango Forks, State Champion

106 Pounds: Jimmy Overhiser, Corning, Fourth Place

182 Pounds: James Benjamin, Vestal, Fifth Place

195 Pounds: Reggie Williams, Johnson City, Second Place

 

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

113 Pounds: Jake Green, Chenango Forks

120 Pounds: Richie Burke, Ithaca

126 Pounds: Brock Post, Maine-Endwell

132 Pounds: Curtis Grant, Elmira

138 Pounds: Trevor Hoffmier, Newark Valley

152 Pounds: Greg Kleinsmith, Johnson City

160 Pounds: Zach Colgan, Johnson City

 

Leading the Way:

Kyle Kelly, Photo by Boris V

Let’s start with two-time titlewinner Kyle Kelly of Chenango Forks.  Kelly boasted a perfect 37-0 junior season with 31 wins by bonus points.  His dominance wasn’t limited to the regular season, as he outscored his opponents in Albany 17-3 and also recorded a pin.  The Section 4 standout, who took fourth as a freshman, will try to finish his career as a Blue Devil with three straight times at the top of the podium at the Times Union Center, likely up a weight or two.

Reggie Williams of Johnson City isn’t a state champion … yet.  But he’ll be favored to get his first title this year. Williams has been one of the top upperweights in the state since his freshman season.  In his ninth grade year, he was sixth in Albany and as a sophomore, he took a few more steps forward, notching second in the Empire State after going 40-3 with all three losses coming to New York champion Tony Fusco of Shenendehowa. To learn more about Reggie Williams, see the link here.

James Benjamin rarely needed a full six minutes for his matches last season. The Vestal wrestler went 38-3 a year ago with 32 pins.  In fact, he won four bouts at the state tournament on his way to fifth place and all four victories were by fall (and all in less than three minutes).  As the highest returning placer from the 182-pound bracket in Albany, Benjamin will have a good chance to end his career at or near the top of the podium.

Jimmy Overhiser, Photo by Boris V

Also looking to step up higher on the medal stand is Jimmy Overhiser, who racked up a 31-4 mark on the way to fourth at 106 pounds and who participated in some high profile offseason events, such as the Disney Duals with Team New York Kong in Florida.

 

Also Keep an Eye On . . .

Reggie Williams isn’t the only person to watch on the Johnson City squad.  He is surrounded by quality wrestlers, including returning qualifiers Greg Kleinsmith (26-10 as a freshman 152 pounder) and Zach Colgan (39-8 at 160 pounds with a pin over Fox Lane’s Matt Pasqualini in Albany).  Winning Section 4 titles meant more than just a trip to the state tournament for Colgan and Kleinsmith last year.  According to head coach Jordan Glenn, both made “family history” as their fathers and/or uncles had wrestled for the Wildcats in the past and had come close to capturing Section crowns, but hadn’t quite achieved the feat.  Glenn believes that both will win more matches this year in Albany, and also has high hopes for a number of young wrestlers on the squad, including another Colgan (Isaiah), who won over 20 matches as an eighth grader at 99 pounds.

Jake Green (Chenango Forks) – Kyle Kelly is unlikely to be the only person racking up points for Chenango Forks this year in the postseason. Jake Green went 1-2 at the state championships in 2012, but he did so with a very challenging draw. His three matches were against the top two seeds in the bracket (Mark Raghunandan and Corey Jamison) and the eventual champion, Dylan Realbuto.  Green was in every match, defeating Jamison, while dropping a 6-4 decision to Realbuto and a three-pointer to Raghunandan.  He proved he could hang with some of the best and will look to get over the top in 2013.

“He was good enough to place last year but faced some really tough wrestlers in a strong weight class,” said Union Endicott coach Josh Ruff.  “He put in the time after the season and I would be really surprised if he didn’t place this year.”

Richie Burke (Ithaca) – As a ninth grader, Burke made his second trip to wrestle at the Times Union Center.  He capped off a 29-7 year by going 1-2, losing to the fourth and fifth place finishers. Four of his other setbacks during the season came to qualifier Jake Green (three times) and state champion William Koll, while he registered a victory over Division II qualifier Nate Hayes of Windsor.  Burke will look to build off victories such as that one in his sophomore season.

Trevor Hoffmier and Derek Holcomb (Newark Valley) – As a sophomore, Hoffmier compiled an impressive 28-4 mark with 18 pins.  In Albany, he began with a loss against runner up Alexis Blanco of Section 11 but rebounded with a victory before a one-point setback against Section 1’s Tom Grippi ended the competition for him.  However, he and teammate Derek Holcomb should once again form a formidable duo in the Newark Valley lineup.  Holcomb, who had over 30 wins in 2011-12, recorded several quality victories, including one over All-State wrestler Dan Dickman from Greene.  In addition, Holcomb made the medal stand at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach.  He hopes to add to his accolades in February in the state capital.

“They’re both really talented kids,” Ruff said.  “I could see both of them winning matches at the state tournament.  Holcomb got caught up in a tough match at Sectionals and got upset, but he has a great chance of getting to Albany this year.”

Alex Francik (Vestal) – As a 152-pound junior, Francik sported a 34-2 record, with 23 pins and only six regular decisions.  He defeated Greg Kleinsmith 7-5 in late January before the Johnson City wrestler returned the favor with a one-point win in the Section tournament.   In his final high school season, Francik will look to take the next step to the state championships.

 

The Team Race . . .

Union-Endicott ran away with the Division I team title in 2012 by over 40 points with tremendous balance – 13 wrestlers were fourth or higher in their weight class (and two others competed in the fifth place tilt).  Ten of those grapplers are back, including second place finisher Mikey Carr (106) and third place medalist Heze Morgan (120).  In addition, fourth placers Kyle Hughes, Xavian Hughes, Nathan Bomysoad and Lucas Depofi are slated to take the mat again.

Ruff believes that many of those wrestlers are ready for breakout years. Bomysoad, for example, earned 30 wins at 152 pounds, including a victory over Greg Kleinsmith (who won the rematch).  Ruff believes he is ready to take the next step.

“Nate wrestles so hard,” the coach said. “His work ethic is incredible and he showed he could beat high caliber kids last year.”  Two of the many other wrestlers Ruff believes are ready to compete at a higher level are Zack Bendick, who won over 20 matches as a freshman and Xavian Hughes, who took fourth in the Section as a sophomore at 132 pounds.

“I’m confident that Xavian can wrestle with anyone in the section on his feet.  If he improves on the mat, he could qualify for states.  And Bendick is very talented.  He has improved so much since last season and is ready to wrestle the top caliber guys.”

All of those returners will certainly put significant points on the board, but sizable scoring was lost with the departure of Section champions Richie Lupo and Tyler Bayer as well as Jordan Billet (second), Tyler Hubbert (third) and Tyler Allen (third).  In addition, 2012 Section 4 runner up at 160 pounds, Sammy Davis, suffered an injury in football that will keep him out at least until January.  Those losses will open the door for challengers such as last year’s runner up and third place team, Vestal and Johnson City, respectively.

“We were very well balanced last year,” Ruff said. “We didn’t really have superstars, but we had a tough guy in every weight class.  This year is a little different. We bring back Lucas Depofi at 220 but we graduated most of our other upperweights and now with Sammy Davis’s injury, we’re a little thin there.  We do feel, though, that we’re stacked in the lightweights and middleweights and we do bring back a lot of points.  I think if we continue to work really hard, we’ll be challenging for the title at the section tournament.”

Reggie Williams, Photo by Boris V

Also clearly in the mix is Johnson City, which has significant firepower. The squad is led by the trio discussed above: Reggie Williams, Zach Colgan and Greg Kleinsmith.  In addition, four wrestlers who lost only once at the Section tournament a year ago, juniors Anthony Johns, Joseph Hamdan and Conner Halladay as well as freshman Isaiah Colgan, will look to improve upon their showings.  Meanwhile, Corey McCormick, Nick Bidwell, Joshua Dember and Nikola Cejic will bring experience to the table.  Reggie Williams spoke with excitement about his squad’s potential in 2012-13.

“We have a great coaching staff and a great team,” Williams said. “We’re better than people think.  The sky’s the limit for us at Johnson City.”

Union Endicott and Johnson City will be tested by Vestal, which returns six wrestlers who were top four a year ago, including All-Stater James Benjamin. The Golden Bears graduated 220-pound state qualifier Anthony Osman and fourth placer Andre Strano, but will be a threat with Alex Francik, heavyweight Juwin Jumpp and young up and comers Robert Mastronardi (third at 126 as a freshman), Owen Jarrold (third at 132 in ninth grade) and Hunter Beck (fourth at 106 as an eighth grader).  Other experienced wrestlers who competed in the fifth place bouts last year such as Alex Crostley, Tom Flynn, Collin Vangordon and David Gardner will try to push Vestal higher in the race.

Newark Valley has some heavy hitters to account for, including returning champion Trevor Hoffmier and other top three placers Vinnie Darpino, Dan Geisenhof and Derek Holcomb.

While Union Endicott won the section by a significant number of points a year ago, a 40-point margin between first and second seems a lot less likely this year.

 

Division II

Returning State Placewinners (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Joe Nelson, Oxford, Third Place

113 Pounds: William Koll, Lansing, Third Place

126 Pounds: Tristan Rifanburg, Norwich, Sixth Place

132 Pounds: Connor Lapresi, Lansing, State Champion

152 Pounds: Dan Dickman, Greene, Fourth Place

 

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Dylan Wood, Walton

106 Pounds: Sean Ballard, Whitney Point

113 Pounds: Nate Hayes, Windsor

120 Pounds: Austin Ryan, Unatego

132 Pounds: Frank Garcia, Norwich

145 Pounds: Kyle Halladay, Chenango Valley

160 Pounds: Mike Beckwith, Greene

170 Pounds: Ryan Wolcott, Waverly

182 Pounds: Mike Beers, Walton

195 Pounds: Mark Viviano, Bainbridge-Guilford-Afton

220 Pounds: Dillon Hurlbert, Marathon

 

Top Wrestlers:

Senior Connor Lapresi of Lansing is looking to end his high school career with a second consecutive state crown before heading off to Bucknell.  After avenging his only regular season loss (to Wesley Blanding) in the semifinals in Albany, Lapresi controlled the finals against Curt Rowley to end his junior campaign with a gold medal.  Lapresi hasn’t limited his wrestling success to the Empire State, as he was an All-American in Virginia Beach at both the NHSCA Freshman and Sophomore Nationals in 2010 and 2011.

William Koll, Photo by Boris V

Lapresi isn’t the only Bobcats grappler with title aspirations.  Teammate William Koll has made the medal stand in both of his appearances at the state tournament.  As a freshman, he captured the 103-pound crown with a fall over multiple-time state placer Trey Aslanian of Edgemont.  This past February, Koll took third at 113 pounds in a bracket that featured at least five past medalists.   He also was the New York State Greco Roman and Freestyle champion in May, winning both brackets in dominant fashion.  Additionally, Koll has demonstrated his national competitiveness on multiple occasions, with strong performances at the Disney Duals and a runner up finish at the NHSCA Freshman Nationals in 2011.

Tristan Rifanburg also knows what it’s like to place second nationally, as he did just that at the NHSCA Freshman tournament this spring.  That showing came after the Norwich wrestler earned his third consecutive medal in Albany, taking sixth in a deep 126-pound class.  Rifanburg will look to get back to a familiar place in 2013 at the Times Union Center – the Saturday night finals.  He was a state champion as a seventh grader at 96 pounds and a runner up a year later.  For all his accomplishments, Intermat has Rifanburg ranked as the #45 sophomore in the country.

Joe Nelson, Photo by Boris V

Section 4 offers a number of other wrestlers who can challenge for top billing this season in Albany.  Joe Nelson of Oxford entered the state tournament as the top seed last year and after absorbing an upset to eventual runner up Nick Casella of Locust Valley, bounced back to earn third place.  Greene’s Dan Dickman also lost his second bout at the Times Union Center last year at 152 pounds, but came back to take fourth.

But other than those who were All-State before, here are some other wrestlers to keep tabs on this year . . .

Lightweights and Middleweights:

Austin Ryan (Unatego) – In his freshman season, Ryan picked up over 30 wins and made an appearance at the state tournament, where he went 1-2.  Scott Stafford, who handed him four of his losses, has graduated and one Section 4 coach mentioned that he believes Ryan is primed for a breakout year.  Unatego teammate Codie Nichols is another wrestler who could have a big campaign after going 37-6 last season.

Frank Garcia (Norwich) – The Norwich wrestler had a strong ninth grade season at 132 pounds, racking up a 36-5 mark with 11 falls and coming within one win of becoming All-State in Albany.  Garcia dropped multiple close decisions to state champion Connor Lapresi, including a 3-2 result in the quarterfinals at the Times Union Center.  The medal stand seems within the sophomore’s reach this season.

Jordan Torbitt (Whitney Point) – Torbitt wasn’t intimidated as an eighth grade middleweight, compiling a 29-6 record with 14 pins at 145 and 152 pounds.  Half of his losses were close decisions against wrestlers who placed in the top five at the state tournament – Dan Dickman of Greene, Wesley Blanding of Chittenango and Isaiah Riccio of Beaver River.  After the tough competition during the season, Torbitt excelled on the national stage, winning the NHSCA Middle School national title at 154 pounds in Virginia.  He will be a freshman to watch.

Kyle Halliday (Chenango Valley) – The senior boasted a 33-3 record in 2012, with 29 victories coming by bonus points.  He injury defaulted out of the state tournament after an opening round defeat, but registered several quality wins during course of the year, including over state qualifiers JT Romagnoli, Tyler Spann (twice), Greg Kleinsmith, and Richie Lupo.

And moving into the higher weights . . .

Mike Beckwith (Greene) – Beckwith faced a number of setbacks in an abbreviated 20-2 season in 2011-12.  However, he was able to get back on the mat for the Section 4 tournament, where he was completely in control of his bouts with two pins and two major decisions.  He has the talent to be on the podium, and although he dropped a pair of two-point matches at the state tournament this past year, he will be looking for more in 2013.

“Mike had a tough year,” Greene coach Tim Jenks said. “First an injury, then a car accident. He only had 11 days of practice between Christmas and the Section finals.  It’s amazing that he won the Section with so little practice.  What hurt him at the states was his conditioning.  In the close matches, he just didn’t have the gas.  We believe he’ll have a great year.”

Christian Dietrich (Greene) – Dietrich has the potential to be one of the Section’s best as he is set to return from a knee injury that kept him out for the 2011-12 campaign.  He accomplished the rare feat of placing in the middleweights as a seventh grader as he took sixth at 152 at the 2011 state tournament.  Now an upperweight who may compete anywhere from 170 to 195 according to Jenks, he is ready to pick up from where he left off two years ago and ascend higher on the podium as a freshman.  Jenks also mentioned that junior Joel Roselle may open some eyes this year after a solid sophomore season where he took third in the Section. “It was the first time he wrestled in a while,” Jenks said.  “He’ll be back and he’ll be tough at 170 or 182.”

While Greene offers some tough wrestlers like Beckwith, Dietrich and Roselle in the upperweights, they’ll have plenty of competition in the Section as three returning top 8 wrestlers will take the mat – Mike Beers, Ryan Wolcott and Dillon Hurlbert, as will qualifier Mark Viviano.

Mike Beers (Walton) – Keegan Cerwinski was a bit of nemesis for Beers last year, handing him three losses. Still, Greene coach Jenks was impressed with what Beers showed in those bouts and pointed to him as a wrestler to watch in 2012-13. The Walton grappler notched 28 victories, including 19 pins and came within one win of earning All-State honors in Albany after he dropped a 2-1 decision in his last bout at the Times Union Center.

Ryan Wolcott (Waverly) – Wolcott didn’t get an easy road in Albany, going 2-2 with both of his losses to top three finishers (Nick Mitchell and Burke Paddock).  Wolcott and Paddock were the only entrants at 170 pounds that weren’t juniors or seniors.  He’ll have a great opportunity to get on the podium this time.

Dillon Hurlbert (Marathon) – Like Beers and Wolcott, Hurlbert split his four matches at the state tournament.  He was third in Section 4, but there was no shame in that, as he stood behind state champion Kyle Stanton and fourth place finisher Nick Talcott.  As a junior, the Marathon wrestler went 40-8 with more than 25 pins.  With only three of the top 8 competitors at 220 pounds returning, he will have a good chance to end his career with a medal.

Not to be forgotten is fellow upperweight Mark Viviano from Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton, who got a wildcard bid to Albany.  He had close to 30 wins, including a victory over state qualifier Kegan Levesque in the Section 4 tournament after losing to him the previous week. With the graduation of Ryan Todd, who defeated Viviano twice, including at the Times Union Center, Viviano will be expected to make a return trip to the state capital.

 

Division II Team Race . . .

Greene, the returning champion, lost All-Staters Keegan Cerwinski and Kyle Stanton to the college ranks.  But the Trojans, who won the Section 4 title by 13.5 points, will enter the campaign as the favorites as they bring back gold medalists Dan Dickman and Mike Beckwith as well as three other placers – Brendan Wheeler (third at 106), Joel Roselle (third at 170) and Trevor Parrish (fifth at 138). The addition of Christian Dietrich will also be significant.

“We have great kids coming back, including some who missed last year with injuries,” Jenks said.  “I think we should be the team to beat, but we do have some questions. I’m not sure whether we’ll have a 99 pounder and we need to figure out some things with our lineup.  We have a lot of great kids in the same weight classes and we’re not sure yet how we’re going to iron it out.  I look forward to a great year.”

Who can challenge Greene for the title?  The list of possibilities is long.

Connor Lapresi, Photo by Boris V

There are teams that are lead by a few top-notch wrestlers, such as Lansing and Norwich, the second and third place teams in 2012, respectively.  The Bobcats feature state champions William Koll and Connor Lapresi as well as freshman Greg Lee, who was fourth at 106 as an eighth grader.  However, they will have to replace the points of standouts Ryan Todd and Corey Dake.

As for Norwich, Rifanburg and Garcia will tally significant points, but they, like Lansing, lost substantial points in the form of four graduated Section placers.

Jenks mentioned a pair of teams that could challenge on the strength of a number of wrestlers that saw success in last year’s postseason – Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton and Unatego.  Bainbridge offers a solid team, with five of its six Section placers returning, including runner up Mark Viviano and a trio of fourth placers – Austin Carr, Justin Cirigliano, and Jesse Griswold.

Unatego had three finalists a year ago and all three are back – Austin Ryan, Kevin Thayer and Codie Nichols.  When you add Ryan Marszal (third at 145), Leland Slawson (fourth at 152) and Lucas DeJoy (sixth at 132) into the mix, it seems likely that the team can improve upon its eighth place showing.

Also looking to make its mark again is Chenango Valley, led by Kyle Halliday and a pair of sophomores – Anthony Colon and Billy Liberati, and Tioga with five 2012 Section medalists, including fourth placers Kaleb Stone and Tyler Spires.

Special thanks to all the coaches and wrestlers who contributed to this story.

 

More Season Previews:

Section 1 Preview

Section 3 Preview

Section 4 Preview

Section 7 Preview

Section 8 Preview

Section 9 Preview

CHSAA Preview

 

Season Preview Features (more to come):

Section 1 Feature:  Aslanian and Realbuto, All-State Wrestlers and Workout Partners, Seek to End Their Careers on Top of the Podium

Section 4 Feature: Looking for “Number Nine”: Reggie Williams Aims to Make History at Johnson City

Section 5 Feature: The “Miracle” Continues: The Return of Aaron Paddock

Section 11 Feature: Nick Piccininni Looks to Continue Winning Streak

 

Lansing State Champion Connor Lapresi Chooses Bucknell

 

Connor Lapresi couldn’t stand it.  After suffering a high ankle sprain during his state championship victory at 132 pounds in February, the Lansing grappler was forced to take some time off from wrestling.

“It’s simply the greatest sport in the world,” he said. “I love it and it’s a huge part of me.  If I don’t wrestle for more than a week or two, I feel like something’s wrong.  When I was out after states, I was emotionally distraught.  It’s kind of unhealthy.  It was a good thing it was the NCAA tournament so I got to watch a lot of matches and afterwards, I watched a lot of youtube videos.”

He also continued mulling his college options.  He’s had a strong connection with Cornell for a long time.  In fact, he said he thought about attending the Ivy League institution since he was in sixth or seventh grade.  But after a parent of a teammate, a Bucknell alum, started talking about the Pennsylvania-based school, he slowly began to consider leaving the Ithaca area.  And after taking an official visit and making a detailed pros and cons list, Lapresi recently gave his verbal commitment to Coach Dan Wirnsberger and the Bison.  He hopes to compete at 141 or 149 pounds without redshirting the first year.

“If I’m not putting on a singlet and stepping out on the mat to represent my team, I’m not happy,” he said. “I can’t just practice.  Cornell was the only college I cared about for a long time.  I’ve been wrestling in the Friedman Center with the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club for years – a lot of the guys there watched me grow up.  But I was surprised when I visited Bucknell how much I liked it. It’s an awesome place. I really liked the coaches and the campus.  The biggest factor was that I think I have the opportunity to be a four-year starter at Bucknell while at Cornell there are highly ranked guys everywhere.  Unless you’re Kyle Dake, you may have to sit.  I love wrestling and competing and I want to be where I can wrestle.  That’s what will make me happiest.”

Lapresi was often happy during his 41-1 junior campaign in which he earned the state crown.  The highlight moment for him, however, took place in the state semifinals where he faced Chittenango’s Wesley Blanding, the top seed in the bracket who had handed Lapresi his only loss of the season in overtime.

The rematch in Albany also went to an extra session.  But this time, it was the Lansing wrestler that came out on top, notching a takedown with just three seconds remaining to earn a 3-1 decision.

“Blanding beat me in the Windsor Tournament.  It was heartbreaking, but I knew I could beat him if we wrestled again,” Lapresi said. “With very little time left, I did a snap down, go behind.  It was like a peewee move; it was amazing.  As the referee was putting his hand up to show the two [points], the time expired.  After a big win like that, I believed I could do anything.  I felt like the sky was the limit at that point.”

That confidence showed when Lapresi came out and immediately took control of the title bout against Duanesburg’s Curt Rowley.  With 20 seconds to go in the second period, Lapresi took his opponent down to take a 5-0 lead, but suffered a third-degree high ankle sprain in the process.  He said it was extremely painful but he knew he still had more than a full period to go to achieve his goal.

“It actually still hurts now,” he said.  “I did absolutely nothing the entire third period.  I could barely stand.  I spent the entire time thinking that I wasn’t letting this injury stop me from getting that championship, but every single movement hurt.  Every third period seems like the longest two minutes of my life, but this one was really long.”

The physical pain was intense but almost as painful was the fact that he gave up a takedown in the final stanza on his way to a 6-3 victory.  It was the only time Lapresi gave up offensive points the entire season.

“It was a little annoying to give up a takedown after not allowing anyone to take me down all year,” he said. “But it gives me something to aim for this year.  State champion.  Undefeated.  No takedowns or back points allowed. That’s about the best you can do and that’s what I want to do.”

He also wants to be part of what he calls Lansing’s “dynamic duo” with junior teammate William Koll, a state champion in 2011 and third place finisher last season.   Lapresi wished to thank his parents and the rest of his family for all of their contributions to his success and he also credited a large portion of his achievements to Koll and a few others in the Bobcat room.

“I wouldn’t be half the wrestler I am without William Koll, Corey Dake and coach Doug Dake,” he said. “The three of them have helped me get so far ahead of where I used to be.  [Lapresi moved to Lansing before his sophomore year]. Part of it is the mentality and just being with people who want to win every bit as much as I do.  They’ve been like a family for me.”

With that family still behind him, Lapresi looks forward to his final season as a Section 4 star.  However, he first will finish up his defensive duties for the football team before getting back to his favorite sport full time.

“In football, it’s fun to tackle but then they blow the whistle and you have to wait another play to try to do it again.  But in wrestling, you take a kid down, get a big mat return, smash their hip on the mat, get a tight tilt and watch the referee award back points.  Nothing beats that.  I can’t wait for wrestling season.”

He said he hopes to be a key player in the continuing rise of the Bucknell program.  But he isn’t losing sight of more immediate goals.

“A lot of seniors fade after they make their college decision,” he said. “They lose the drive and get upset at states.  I want to do great things in college. But I’m focusing on one day at a time.  November 8 is the day it all gets started again.  And on February 22 and 23 [the state tournament] I want to finish high school wrestling the right way.”