Binghamton Recruiting 2013: A Look Back at the Making of the Highly-Ranked Class

Recruiting for the Class of 2014 has been officially underway for a little over a week.  However, before we completely shift our focus forward, we took a quick look back at the class that Binghamton put together for the fall of 2013.

According to the rankings produced by a number of wrestling publications, Binghamton had the best recruiting class of the Division I programs in New York this year. Flowrestling slotted the Bearcats into the #25 spot nationally while D1 College, placed the team at #24. (Columbia also made an appearance in Flo’s article, garnering an honorable mention nod).

When looking at the Binghamton class, what immediately stands out is the strong Empire State presence. Among the seven New Yorkers are eight state championships, 21 All-State showings and more than 10 All-American performances. There’s representation from Section 3 with three-time state titlewinner Nick Tighe and two-time champion Zack Zupan as well as a pair of Shenendehowa standouts – 2013 state gold medalist Nick Kelley and third placer David Almaviva. Adding to the mix in the lightweights are two-time state champion Kyle Kelly from nearby Chenango Forks and Nassau County’s Robert Person, with the upperweights adding Bryce Mazurowski, who was the Division II state runner up as a junior and senior at 195. When the “Top Seniors in New York” feature was done prior to the start of the campaign, Zupan, Kelley and Tighe were ranked 1-2-3.

So, how did Binghamton land many of the Empire State’s best and a top 25 class nationally in Matt Dernlan’s first year as head coach? The program’s recruiting coordinator, Jasen Borshoff, provided some insight.

“We sat down and talked about how we wanted to keep the best kids in state and get them to Binghamton,” Borshoff said. “If you look at the results from the last 10 years, you see New York is way up there in All-Americans. We felt that if you can keep the best New York kids here, you can succeed at the national level. That’s not to say we won’t recruit some kids from out of state. We probably will since we’re close to Pennsylvania and Ohio. But we believe we need to keep New York’s best here and we can win with New York wrestlers.”

Borshoff continued by referencing the 30 for 30 ESPN special about the University of Miami football team during their championship years.

“That part of Florida produces all these awesome football players,” he said. “Miami set up a 200 mile radius and said they weren’t going to let those kids go anywhere else. They were determined not to be outrecruited in their area.  That’s the mentality we have here with New York wrestlers. We don’t want to let anyone outrecruit us for the best around here.”

The Bearcats were able to do it by targeting a relatively small set of wrestlers.

“In the past, I probably called over 100 kids in the summer and hadn’t seen many of them wrestle,” he said. “But last year, before the New York State tournament, we were looking at around 16 kids, who we watched wrestle and got to know pretty well. We kept a pretty small focus.”

With that focus, they were able to emphasize the direction that the new staff planned for the Bearcats going forward.

“Most of the guys weren’t really interested in Binghamton at first – they wanted to go out of state or had other schools in mind,” he said. “Coach Dernlan got in front of them at their houses and told them all about the vision and philosophy. Things went from there and they came on board. Hopefully, we can reproduce that success with this year’s class and set ourselves up even more for the next several years here.”

The wrestlers are excited to get started, as all will be spending the summer on campus, getting their feet wet both academically and on the mat.

“We think we have a bunch of tough kids coming in,” Borshoff said in late June. “They’ll all be here in early July. They’ll be taking classes. They’ll be putting in work. We believe some of them will be starters this season. The great thing is, every single one of them asked to come up for the summer. They want to be here, getting started. That’s exactly what we want. We believe we have the best recruiting class in Binghamton wrestling history.”



U-E Duals Recap: Wantagh Rallies to Capture the Title . . . Plus Other Dominant and Inspiring Performances

Wantagh entered the Union-Endicott Duals as the top team in the Empire State, and after two intense days of wrestling, the Warriors left with that number one ranking intact.

But it wasn’t easy.

After two blowout victories on Day 1 of the event, Sunday brought semifinal and final matches that came down to the wire.  Wantagh prevailed in both, rallying to defeat the number two seed, Sachem East, 35-27 for the championship.

“I’m really happy for our coaches, the guys and the fans,” said 220-pounder TJ Ragusa who has spent much of the season at 220 but wrestled at 285 at times this weekend. “A lot of times these duals are won by the guys who don’t get pinned; who don’t give up bonus. It was a total group effort.”

The finals began at 120 pounds and Sachem East controlled things early, winning six of the first eight bouts and earning a 24-10 lead after Zac Nobre’s decision at 170.

Despite trailing by a sizable margin, members of the team said they believed they would turn things around.

“Our confidence never wavered,” Ragusa said. “We never lost it. I was having a conversation with Danny McDevitt during the dual when we were losing and we were saying that we knew we’d keep fighting and win. One of the keys for our team is that we’re always confident.”

That appeared to be the case, as Wantagh took over from there, capturing six of the remaining seven matches, beginning with a pin from McDevitt at 182.

Afterwards, Wantagh received wins from James Corbett (195), Ragusa (285) and Jonathan Loew (99) to trail by just a point – 27-26.

The Section 8 power then regained the lead in emphatic fashion when 106-pounder Kyle Quinn earned a first period fall to push his squad ahead 32-27. Joe Hill then closed out the championship with a decision at 113.

“Before the match I was thinking I had to get a pin for the team,” Quinn said. “It means a lot for us to win – it gives us something to go home with. I think Wantagh just did a great job as a team.”

The excitement wasn’t limited to the finals.  The third place dual between Islip and Shenendehowa as well as both semifinals (Shenendehowa vs. Sachem East and Wantagh vs. Islip) all were decided in the very last bout.

In the battle for the bronze, the Plainsmen got out to a fast start and following a major decision for 195-pounder Levi Ashley, the Section 2 school was in front 31-15 with five matches to go.  However, Islip took the next four (including two by Shenendehowa forfeit and a huge pin at 106 pounds by Johnny DiPalma) to win 36-34.

Close matches were on tap in the semifinals as well, which started at 106 pounds. Going into the last match at 99, both duals had two point differentials – Sachem East led Shenendehowa 32-30 and Islip was ahead of Wantagh 27-25.

The wrestlers from Sachem East (Bobby Fazio) and Wantagh (Jonathan Loew) both trailed early in their respective matches.

Fazio was behind 4-1 in the second period before notching an escape and a takedown late in the stanza to tie things up going into the third. And he took over from there, earning a technical violation point, an escape, a takedown, near fall and eventually, the pin, to push his team to a 38-30 triumph.

Wantagh’s Loew faced a 2-0 deficit heading into the third but got on the board with a takedown early in that final stanza and rode his opponent out for the last minute and a half to force overtime.  In that extra session, Loew immediately went on the attack, getting the winning takedown and a 28-27 Warrior win.

In other placement matches, Clarence topped Monroe Woodbury for fifth, 34-28, and MacArthur beat Spencerport, 33-29, for seventh.

For full results from all 15 teams see:  Full results here.

A Few Additional (Random) Notes:

Dominance from the Binghamton Trio:  There was some talk at the event about who the most impressive wrestler was for the weekend.  While there was no absolute agreement, two names came up numerous times – Nick Kelley of Shenendehowa and Kyle Kelly of Chenango Forks. Both cruised through the competition.

Their future Binghamton teammate, David Almaviva of the Plainsmen, also was outstanding, including controlling a 2-0 bout with the tough Jackson Mordente of Sachem East in the semifinals.

Long Island Looking Good: Suffolk squad Rocky Point, currently ranked #2 in the state Dual Meet poll, wasn’t at U-E this weekend, but Long Island did just fine, taking the top three spots at the event. In addition, MacArthur was seventh despite missing some key contributors such as Justin Cooksey.

Look Out for Clarence:  The Section 6 team didn’t come in as one of the tournament’s most talked about groups, but was very impressive in racking up a 4-1 record on the way to fifth place.  The Red Devils defeated the teams listed #4 and #5 in the first New York State Sportswriters Dual Meet rankings, North Rockland and Monroe Woodbury, by eight and six points, respectively.  (The one loss was to Sachem East).  The lineup’s bookends, heavyweight Nate Ward and 99-pounder Dylan Arena were among those who looked good over the weekend and the team is solid throughout.

And One Last Thing. . . : It’s always a pleasure to see such high level wrestling, but one of the standout performances came from Monroe Woodbury’s Vinny Vespa. Many New York wrestling fans know about Vespa’s fight with cancer this spring and summer. From the start, he and his family were confident that he would not only beat cancer, but also get back on the mat and win. Watching him do that in person was inspiring.

New York State Rankings #1 for 2012-13 Season

Here we go . . . the first and probably most difficult rankings of the year.  Soon, wrestlers will settle into their weights, more top wrestlers will go head to head and others will be back from injuries. Rankings, especially at this time of year, are subjective and we’re sure there are some wrestlers not included who will make an impact.  They are the opinions of those who collaborated on this project and are meant to generate conversation. We will seriously consider all of your feedback . . . as long as it’s done respectfully.  So, have at it.

Special thanks to Mike Carey for his incredible work to make these rankings happen.

Diakomihalis, Photo by BV

99 Pounds:

  1. Yianni Diakomihalis, Hilton (5)
  2. Vito Arujau, Syosset (8)
  3. Jesse Dellavecchia, East Islip (11)
  4. Peter Pappas, Plainview (8)
  5. Ryan Hetrick, Southwestern (6)
  6. John Arceri, Huntington (11)
  7. John Busiello, Eastport South Manor (11)
  8. Vinny Vespa, Monroe Woodbury (9)

A Few Notes: There are some terrific young wrestlers in this weight, but #1 is Hilton’s Yianni Diakomihalis, who has been extremely impressive not only on the mat for Hilton thus far but all over the country over the past several months.  Before this high school campaign began, he captured the Junior High Championship at the Super 32 Challenge in North Carolina. On his way to that title, Diakomihalis defeated Syosset eighth grader Vito Arujau (who took third). Arujau has been dominant thus far, both at 106 and 99. Suffolk county will have quite a battle in this class.  Over the holidays, Jesse Dellevecchia edged John Busiello in a very close and entertaining match while Arceri won the Windsor Christmas Tournament with a technical fall in the title bout.

106 Pounds:

  1. Alex Tanzman, Westhampton Beach (11)
  2. Jimmy Overhiser, Corning (4)
  3. Tony Recco, Lyndonville (5)
  4. Andrew Flanagan, Holley (5)
  5. Kyle Quinn, Wantagh (8)
  6. Jake Yankloski, Wayne (5)
  7. Jonathan Haas, Spencerport (5)
  8. Steven Lee, West Babylon (11)
A Few Notes: Tanzman took bronze at 99 a year ago, and started the season up at 113 (where he dropped a decision to state champion Nick Piccininni). Overhiser took fourth at this weight a year ago and has picked up where he left off, including a title at the Windsor Christmas Tournament.  Recco, a state champion in 2012, and Flanagan, a placer, have done well up a weight after competing at 99 a year ago. Yankloski caught our attention when he defeated qualifier Bryan Ruggeri of Fairport by technical fall early in the year.  He won his first 16 bouts.


Piccininni, Photo by BV

113 Pounds:

  1. Nick Piccininni Ward Melville (11)
  2. Kyle Kelly, Chenango Forks (4)
  3. Anthony Orefice, Lockport (6)
  4. Bryan Lantry, Wayne (5)
  5. Dillon Stowell, Gouverneur (10)
  6. Nick Barbaria, New Rochelle (1)
  7. Johnny Stramiello, Pine Bush (9)
  8. Cheick Ndiaye, Brooklyn International (P)

A Few Notes: This is one of two weights where there was a lot of back and forth on who is #1 and who is essentially 1A. We expect Piccininni and Kelly to settle things on the mat in the finals at the Times Union Center.  Two years ago, Kelly defeated Piccininni in the state semifinals and neither has lost in the state of New York since.  The Ward Melville wrestler’s outstanding performances against top competition outside the state, and a victory over the nation’s top sophomore, Zahid Valencia, gave him the edge.  Of course, Kelly’s many achievements are extremely impressive, including two state titles and placements at Fargo and Virginia Beach.  Anthony Orefice also has had a lot of success both inside and outside of the Empire State.  He was 40-2 a year ago, with his losses coming to Piccininni and Jimmy Overhiser (by default) and he registered a solid 7-1 win over Stowell over the holidays. Like Orefice, Bryan Lantry was fifth in 2012 in the state capital.  After a slow start at the Madison Square Garden title bout, Ndiaye gave Kelly a tough match a few weeks ago, dropping a two point decision.

Person, Photo by BV

120 Pounds:

  1. Robert Person, Bellmore JFK (8)
  2. Rocco Russo, Frontier (6)
  3. Steve Michel, Lancaster (6)
  4. Mike D’Angelo, Commack (11)
  5. Sean Peacock, Midlakes (5)
  6. Trey Aslanian, Edgemont (1)
  7. Kellen Devlin, Amherst (6)
  8. John Muldoon, Pearl River (1)

A Few Notes: Person, a two-time placer out of Section 8 is looking to make the finals for the first time after placing multiple times in the past. A number of these wrestlers have met this year.  Russo defeated Michel early on and then Michel beat Peacock.  Meanwhile, in last year’s state finals at 113, Peacock topped Aslanian.  The Edgemont grappler, headed to Princeton, is on a mission to win a state title after two runner up finishes in Albany.  Mike D’Angelo may not be a familiar name to those outside of Long Island but he suffered only three losses last year – all to Nick Piccininni.  In fact, Piccininni had only four regular decisions prior to Albany and three were against D’Angelo.  Truthfully, D’Angelo won’t have an easy time in Section 11 this year, because a pair of wrestlers who made it to the Round of 12 at the Super 32, Connetquot’s Steven Bulzomi and Eastport South Manor’s Travis Passaro, are also very strong.

Realbuto, Photo by BV

126 Pounds:

  1. Dylan Realbuto, Somers (1)
  2. TJ Fabian, Shoreham Wading River (11)
  3. Chris Araoz, Wantagh (8)
  4. Corey Jamison, Huntington (11)
  5. William Koll, Lansing (4)
  6. Blake Retell, Shaker (2)
  7. Dakota Gardner, Fredonia (6)
  8. Antonio DeLuco, Rome Free Academy (3)

A Few Notes:  Realbuto captured a state title a year ago and will have a challenging group to beat to repeat. Fabian took fourth last season at a deep 120 pound weight and has impressed so far for Shoreham Wading River, as he did while winning seven straight after an opening round loss at the Super 32.  Chris Araoz knows about long winning streaks at national events as he took the 120 pound NHSCA National title last spring. Meanwhile, former state gold medalist William Koll has made the move up a few weights.  He took second this weekend at the Windsor Christmas Tournament behind Corey Jamison, who came into Albany as the number two seed last year but didn’t compete the second day.

Rodriguez-Spencer, Photo by BV

132 Pounds:

  1. Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, Cheektowoga (6)
  2. Matt Leshinger, Sayville (11)
  3. Tristan Rifanburg, Norwich (4)
  4. Sam Melikian, Fordham Prep (C)
  5. Cody McGregor, Tonawanda (6)
  6. Brandon Lapi, Amsterdam (2)
  7. Vinny Turano, Wantagh (8)
  8. Ben Ettlinger, Fox Lane (1)

A Few Notes: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer is currently ranked nationally at this weight and has a boatload of achievements in the international styles. Last year, he took second in Albany behind Nick Tighe in an entertaining, back and forth, match. Future Columbia Lion Matt Leshinger of Sayville, a returning bronze medalist, went through one of the state’s toughest brackets (Section 11, 120 pounds) just to get to the Times Union Center last season.  Rifanburg, McGregor and Lapi have made a number of appearances on the medal stand and Melikian came within one match of joining them a year ago.

Kelley, Photo by BV

138 Pounds:

  1. Nick Kelley, Shenendehowa (2)
  2. Nick Tighe, Phoenix (3)
  3. Connor Lapresi, Lansing (4)
  4. Tom Dutton, Rocky Point (11)
  5. Vincent DePrez, Hilton (5)
  6. Eric Lewandowski, Lancaster (6)
  7. Codie Gillette, Saranac (7)
  8. Derrick Gray, Indian River (3)

A Few Notes: A pair of Binghamton-bound wrestlers are the favorites to capture titles at this weight in 2013. On the Division I side it’s Kelley, who is looking for his first crown to cap off a terrific career. On the other hand, Tighe is aiming for his third straight championship in Albany. Tighe may have to battle returning 132 pound gold medalist Connor Lapresi, who will wrestle for Bucknell in the future. On the large school side, Tom Dutton had a stellar offseason, placing at both the NHSCA Nationals and Fargo after a successful regular season in Section 11. DePrez and Lewandowski have both competed in the Saturday night finals in the past and will look to get back there this February.

Almaviva, Photo courtesy of Anthony Almaviva

145 Pounds:

  1. David Almaviva, Shenendehowa (2)
  2. Louis Hernandez, Mepham (8)
  3. Isaiah Riccio, Beaver River (3)
  4. Dan Reagan, Lewiston Porter (6)
  5. Jude Gardner, Fredonia (6)
  6. Joey Butler, Burnt Hills (2)
  7. Jackson Mordente, Sachem East (11)
  8. Colby Kash, Clarkstown North (1)

A Few Notes: Almaviva, an All-American, lost some matches this year but did so while making the Round of 12 at the prestigious Reno Tournament of Champions. After taking bronze in Albany last year, he’ll be looking to get to the finals this time. A number of other wrestlers on this list have solid experience at the Times Union Center, such as All-Staters Riccio, Reagan and Gardner. Hernandez made the trip to the state capital last year and wrestled with a severe injury. Now back in form, he dominated tough competition in and outside of the Empire State in the offseason and is looking for big things in a return trip.

Rasheed, Photo by BV

152 Pounds:

  1. Corey Rasheed, Longwood (11)
  2. Tom Grippi, Fox Lane (1)
  3. Drew Hull, Royalton Hartland (6)
  4. Angelo Kress, Columbia (2)
  5. Tyler Spann, Adirondack (3)
  6. Chris Koo, Great Neck South (8)
  7. Rowdy Prior, Phoenix (3)
  8. Kyle Halliday, Chenango Valley (4)

A Few Notes: Rasheed is a three-time placer and two-time runner up going into his junior year.  He took second at 145 in D-I last season while Drew Hull, a two-time medal winner, was the silver placer in the small school tournament.  Tom Grippi handed our #1 at 145 David Almaviva his only loss in Albany last year and finished one match from placing.  He already has over 20 wins.  Kress pinned his way through the PSAL Holiday tournament and racked up a number of wins in offseason events in the international styles. At the state tournament last season, he lost to nationally ranked Nicky Hall in the opening round before winning three straight in the consolations.  Chris Koo has been an All-American twice in Virginia Beach but has yet to travel to the state capital.  He has the ability to not only qualify but go far at the Times Union Center. He most recently was the Outstanding Wrestler at the Massapequa Holiday Tournament. Prior had a 32-3 season last year but two of his setbacks came in the Section 3 tournament (including to Spann).  He has been on fire this year thus far.

Grimaldi, Photo by BV

160 Pounds:

  1. Tyler Grimaldi, HHHW (11)
  2. Burke Paddock, Warsaw (5)
  3. Brendan Goldup, LaSalle (2)
  4. Jake Weber, Clarence (6)
  5. Mike Beckwith, Greene (4)
  6. Nick Gallo, Schalmont (2)
  7. Tyler Silverthorn, General Brown (3)
  8. Austin Weigel, Onteora (9)

A Few Notes: Speaking of 1 and 1A back at 113, Grimaldi and Paddock are both in the national rankings.  Some have Grimaldi higher and some have the reverse. We expect both to stand on top of the podium in Albany in their respective divisions.  Why do we have Grimaldi higher?  He defeated Paddock at the New York State Freestyle championships this year and placed at Fargo while both were in the same bracket. Needless to say, Paddock has a plethora of achievements over the years and will be difficult to beat. Mike Beckwith encountered a number of setbacks a year ago but with very little practice under his belt won Section 4 and a match in Albany.  He has blistered through the competition this year. Silverthorn was one of the few non-senior medalists in either division at 160 in 2012. Gallo came within a bout of the podium as a freshman and Goldup, a former All-Stater, is off to a great start. Weigel was one bout from the All-State status at 170 and will be a handful down at 160. [Dale White has been out injured].

170 Pounds:

  1. Troy Seymour, Peru (7)
  2. Dan McDevitt, Wantagh (8)
  3. Carlos Toribio, Brentwood (11)
  4. Zack Buckley, Fredonia (6)
  5. Christian Dietrich, Greene (4)
  6. Johnny Vrasidas, St. Anthony’s (C)
  7. Joe Piccolo, Half Hollow Hills West (11)
  8. Andrew Voelker, Monroe Woodbury (9)

Seymour, a national runner up and fourth placer at the state tournament last year, stands on top of 170.  Behind him are a number of talented competitors, none of whom have tasted the podium yet at 170.  However, McDevitt was on the medal stand as a fifth placer in 2012 — down at 138. After a growth spurt, he is up several classes and after beating some tough customers this summer, he’s looking like a solid bet to medal again. Johnny Vrasidas made it to the top 8 in Albany in February.  Toribio has started off the year on fire in Section 11, beating All-Stater Gio Santiago and returning qualifier Matt Roberts, both while wrestling up a weight. He also handled Piccolo this past week at the Long Island Challenge. An interesting wildcard is Deitrich, who medaled at 152 as a seventh grader in 2011 and who looked overpowering as he cruised to the Windsor Christmas Tournament title.

Zupan, Photo by BV

182 Pounds:

  1. Zack Zupan, Canastota (3)
  2. Shayne Brady, Carthage (3)
  3. Tim Schaefer, Warsaw (5)
  4. James Corbett, Wantagh (8)
  5. James Benjamin, Vestal (4)
  6. Trent Egenlauf, Spencerport (5)
  7. Gio Santiago, Sachem North (11)
  8. Levi Ashley, Shenendehowa (2)

A Few Notes: Zack Zupan, the top ranked recruit in New York, stands at #1 while fellow Section 3 wrestler Shayne Brady, the Division I runner up a year ago comes in at #2.  The two met in the finals of the Herkimer Invitational, which ended quickly after some good early action when Brady injury defaulted.  Tim Schaefer, a multi-time state placer, is off to another great start for Warsaw after taking third at this weight in 2012.  Benjamin is back after his All-State showing out of Section 4 and fellow medalist Gio Santiago returns to the rankings. Above him is Wantagh’s James Corbett, who has impressed during his undefeated start, including a solid win over the Sachem North wrestler. Egenlauf has won multiple tournaments so far this campaign including the Teike Bernabi.

Williams, Photo by BV

195 Pounds:

  1. Reggie Williams, Johnson City (4)
  2. Bryce Mazurowski, Avon (5)
  3. Dan Choi, Syosset (8)
  4. Tyler Smith, Midlakes (5)
  5. Colton Kells, Fairport (5)
  6. Tyler Morris, Salem (2)
  7. Collin Pittman, Spencerport (5)
  8. Nick Weber, Kings Park (11)

A Few Notes: Reggie Williams conquered all challengers as a sophomore at 195 with the exception of four losses to state champion (and now graduated) Tony Fusco of Shenendehowa. Williams is the favorite to win his first state title.  Next up is another state silver medalist, Bryce Mazurowski of Avon, a future member of the Binghamton Bearcats.  Two 2012 fourth placers also sit here, Tyler Smith of Midlakes (at 195) and Tyler Morris of Salem (at 182). Colton Kells finished in the top 8 in Division I at 195 a year ago while Choi did the same at 182. Pittman gave Williams a lot to handle in the finals of the Teike Bernabi tournament despite a previous setback.


Bacon, Photo by BV

220 Pounds:

  1. Zack Bacon, Hornell (5)
  2. Ryan Wolcott, Waverly (4)
  3. Mike Silvis, Holley (5)
  4. Nick Lupi, Huntington (11)
  5. Dan Breit, Nanuet (1)
  6. Chris Saden, Fredonia (6)
  7. Joe Sprung, Berne Knox (2)
  8. Richard Sisti, Monsignor Farrell (C)

A Few Notes: Zack Bacon of Hornell, currently ranked #16 in the country by Intermat, leads the way. Bacon is familiar with Silvis and they are sure to meet this year again. Lupi also earned a spot in the national polls (by Amateur Wrestling News). The Huntington wrestler was upset in the Windsor Christmas Tournament finals by Ryan Wolcott, a returning Top 8 wrestler (at 170). Breit, Sprung and Sisti all made appearances at the Times Union Center in 2012.

Van Hoesen, Photo by BV

285 Pounds:

  1. El Shaddai Van Hoesen, Columbia (2)
  2. Mike Hughes, Smithtown West (11)
  3. Matt Montesanti, Medina (6)
  4. Alex Soutiere, Ravena (2)
  5. Brandon Fayle, Lowville (3)
  6. James O’Hagan, Seaford (8)
  7. David Varian, Yorktown (1)
  8. Anthony Puca, Huntington (11)

El Shaddai Van Hoesen earns the top spot with his absolute dominance thus far as a senior after taking second in 2012.  Another silver medalist, Alex Soutiere, has followed up his run at the Times Union Center with an unbeaten start.  A pair of sixth place finishers are also included, with Smithtown West’s Mike Hughes and Medina’s Matt Montesanti in control just about every time they’ve stepped on the mat.  Brandon Fayle of Lowville fell one bout short of placing in 2012 and has put up solid results again, with the one blemish on his record via disqualification.  Rounding out the rankings are Seaford’s James O’Hagan, an NHSCA Nationals third place finisher who went 31-3 last year and who has lost only to Hughes this campaign (the only match Hughes hasn’t won by fall).  Anthony Puca of Huntington and David Varian of Yorktown, a qualifier out of Section 1, round things out.

* Results based on NWCA Scorebook

Section 2 Overview: Kelley and Almaviva Lead Nationally-Ranked Shenendehowa; Finalists Van Hoesen and Soutiere Look for Titles


By Mike Carey


Division I

Returning State Placewinners (from 2012)

285 Pounds:  El Shaddai Van Hoesen, Columbia, Second Place

132 Pounds: Nick Kelley, Shenendehowa, Third Place

138 Pounds: David Almaviva, Shenendehowa, Third Place

113 Pounds: Brandon Lapi, Amsterdam, Fourth Place


Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Kevin Parker, Shenendehowa

106 Pounds: Corey Ali, Shenendehowa

106 Pounds: Dominic Inzana, Saratoga

113 Pounds: Jesse Porter, Shenendehowa

120 Pounds: Zach Joseph, Shenendehowa

132 Pounds: Joey Butler, Burnt Hills

152 Pounds: Angelo Kress, Columbia


Top Seniors

Nick Kelley, Photo by BV

Nick Kelley (Shenendehowa) – Arguably the best pound-for-pound wrestler in the state, Kelley will have laser focus this season as he attempts to claim an elusive state title.  His only loss last season came at the hands of state champion Jamel Hudson in the state tournament semifinals.  Kelley has had a busy offseason highlighted by his fourth place finish at the Freestyle Junior Nationals in Fargo.  In August, Kelley gave a verbal commitment to continue his career at Binghamton.

David Almaviva (Shenendehowa) – At last year’s state tournament, Almaviva lost his opening match to Fox Lane’s Tom Grippi . . . and then reeled off five straight victories and took home third place honors. Like Kelley, Almaviva placed in the prestigious tournament at Fargo, earning eighth place honors at 145 pounds. He will also be continuing his academic and wrestling careers at Binghamton.

El Shaddai Van Hoesen, Photo by BV

El Shaddai VanHoesen (Columbia) – The heavyweight was one takedown away from a state title last year.  The Columbia senior lost his “all-wildcard” final bout against Evan Kappatos of Syosset by a score of 3-2.  His team’s competitive schedule affords the 285 pounder the opportunity to grapple against many of the top wrestlers in the state.  Of his seven losses last year, five were at the hands of foes who finished in the top four in New York.


Also Keep an Eye On . . . (Juniors and Seniors)

Corey Ali, Levi Ashley and Zach Joseph (Shenendehowa) – Seven Plainsmen competed at the state tournament a year ago and the Section 2 power will likely send a large group again. Ali, the defending Section 2 champion, is expected to be among them.  He was not able to compete at the state tournament last year, but prior to the event, he posted victories over some impressive foes, including qualifiers Dominic Inzana and Kyler Harrington and All-State wrestler Johnny Stramiello from Section 9.  Ali is motivated to make a run at a state title this year and it won’t be surprising if he does.  Teammate Ashley didn’t get a bid to states last year after taking second in Section 2 behind Matt Lashway, who was the number two seed at the Times Union Center.  However, he went 34-7 in 2011-12 including quality victories over wrestlers such as state placers Rrok Ndokaj, Andrew Jones and Tyler Morris (twice).  Frank Popolizio said he believes Ashley “will shock some people” in 2012-13.  Joseph is looking for a return trip to the state capital after going 1-2 in Albany after a season with over 30 wins.

Brandon Lapi (Amsterdam) – Without question, Lapi is extremely talented.  He finished last season with a 50-4 record, with two of his losses coming in Albany to state champion Dylan Realbuto of Somers and third place finisher Patrick Skinner, who now wrestles for Rider.  Both of those matches were tight, with a 4-3 decision against Realbuto and a 4-2 margin versus Skinner. It is likely that he’ll be high on the podium again in the state capital.

Angelo Kress (Columbia) – In a 41-6 sophomore season, Kress registered 26 pins and came within one win of making All-State at 152 pounds.  He dropped his opening round match in Albany to eventual runner up Nicky Hall of Longwood but responded with a pair of victories in the wrestlebacks.  The Columbia wrestler’s achievements go beyond the state borders, as he was an All-American at the NHSCA Nationals in both 2010 and 2011.  He also showed his prowess in the international styles, going a combined 13-1 at the Cadet Freestyle and Greco Duals for Team New York in Florida. He will be a podium threat in February of 2013.

Blake Retell (Shaker) – After winning Section 2 titles in 2010 and 2011, Retell missed the postseason a year ago while injured.  Up to that point, he had been impressive, notching a 28-2 record at 120 pounds, including a victory over Jesse Porter.  He captured his bracket at the Journeymen Classic earlier this fall and after winning one match in each of his two visits to the state tournament, he’ll be looking to get back and win some more as a junior.

Joey Butler (Burnt Hills) – Butler racked up a 41-6 mark with 29 pins.  He took second in the Section behind Kelley and got his hand raised once in Albany after receiving a wildcard bid.  Now a junior, Butler is looking to go further in a follow up trip to the state capital.  He is off to a 4-0 start.

Frank Nassivera (Queensbury) – Nassivera won over 30 matches as a sophomore at 160 pounds.  A few weeks after the season was over, he earned All-America status at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach.  At that tournament, he lost his first round match but responded with five straight victories in the wrestlebacks.  After a loss, he came out on top in overtime in the fifth place bout.  That performance could propel him to a breakthrough year in Section 2 in 2012-13.

Brendan Goldup (La Salle) – Goldup took sixth at 112 pounds as a ninth grader in 2010 at the state tournament.  He’s also made an impact in the international styles, including taking fifth nationally in Greco Roman at Fargo this summer at 152 pounds. According to Columbia head coach Anthony Servidone, Goldup has what it takes not only to get back to the state tournament but to do some damage there.

John McHugh (Columbia) – McHugh took third at the Section 2 event a year ago to cap off a 42-8 campaign for Columbia.  Servidone believes he’s primed for a breakout year.  His younger brother Matt has earned All-America honors in Schoolboy events and is another wrestler to monitor after earning 20 wins as a seventh grader.


And A Few More to Keep Tabs On . . . (Sophomores and Younger)

Dominic Inzana (Saratoga) – Inzana went 44-8, primarily at 106 pounds as a ninth grader.  Five of his losses were to New York placers, including a pair in Albany, where he came within one win of earning All-State honors.

Chris Tangora (Bethlehem Central) – As a freshman 182 pounder, Tangora won 26 matches with 18 pins for Bethlehem Central.  His offseason work put him on the radar of wrestlers to watch when he earned All-America status at 195 pounds at the Cadet Nationals in Fargo.

Kevin Parker and Jesse Porter (Shenendehowa) – Parker won more than 30 matches as an eighth grader at 99 pounds, including solid wins over Division II placer Luis Weirebach and qualifier Tyler Hartinger.  He earned a trip to Albany, where he went 0-2.  Also making an appearance in the state capital was Porter after a 36-7 campaign at 113 pounds.  Porter had a successful summer in the international styles, taking fourth in Greco Roman in Fargo at 132 pounds.

Kyle Greene (Columbia) – Greene went 41-7 as a freshman at 120 pounds in 2011-12, including a win over Zach Joseph. According to Servidone, he’s ready to take the next step this year and will be a contender in the lightweights.


Team Talk

Shenendehowa is currently the only Empire State squad in Intermat’s national rankings.  There is little doubt that the Plainsmen will be a force.  Servidone said simply, “Shenendehowa has an exceptional team.”

While the Plainsmen will be difficult to beat not only in Section 2 but statewide, there are several other large school teams to keep tabs on in Section II this year, according to Servidone, including Columbia, Burnt Hills, Queensbury and Averill Park.

Columbia did part with high quality wrestlers such as Evan Wallace, Matt Greene and Brendan Morgan, however the squad returns a pair of qualifiers from 2012 in state runner up Van Hoesen and Kress and several others ready to make an impact this season.

“We lost quite a lot of guys to graduation, but we still have a very good team,” Servidone said. “We’ll have some guys do very well this year.”

Burnt Hills welcomes back state qualifier Joey Butler as well as bronze medalist Race Viedt, fourth placer Jake Ashcraft and several other medalists, including Christian Gramuglia, Nolan Hale and Jack Hatton.

“I think Burnt Hills will be a very good and consistent dual team,” Servidone said.  “They return almost everyone.”

Queensbury said goodbye to Section champion Matt Lashway and second placers Casey Jones, Josh St. John, Mike Hewitt and Alex Pontiff as well as medalists Tyler Wood and Nick Rouse. However, the squad returns plenty of talent and experience with bronze winners Evan Myers and Frank Nassivera as well as additional medalists Nick Robbins, Brandon Winchip and Brian Stevens.

“Queensbury graduated a number of guys, but they always put a lot of good guys out there. I expect they will again this year.  I also think there will several other good teams in the mix, including Averill Park.”


Division II

Returning State Placewinners (from 2012)

285 Pounds: Alex Soutiere, Ravena CS, Second Place

182 Pounds: Tyler Morris, Salem, Fourth Place

99 Pounds: Luis Weierbach, Hoosick Falls, Fifth Place

170 Pounds: Brad Burns, Hoosick Falls, Sixth Place


Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Alexis Bleau, Schoharie

106 Pounds: Carter Merecki, Salem

106 Pounds: Jerome Gladney, Ravena CS

113 Pounds: Kyler Harrington, Hudson Falls

120 Pounds: Al Aubin, Whitehall

138 Pounds: John Diekel, Whitehall

145 Pounds: Geno Brancati, Hudson Falls

145 Pounds: Connor Lawrence, Duanesburg

152 Pounds: Nick Gallo, Schalmont

170 Pounds: Mike Green, Colbeskill-Richmondville

220 Pounds: Joe Sprung, Berne-Knox Westerlo


Top Seniors

Alex Soutiere, Photo by BV

Alex Soutiere (Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk) – Soutiere had a good regular season and an outstanding state tournament.  In the semifinals, he pulled of one of the bigger upsets of the tournament when he upended Section 5 standout Kacee Sauer by a score of 5-3.  Do not be surprised if Soutiere uses the momentum of last season’s finale to propel him to his ultimate goal, the state title.

Brad Burns (Hoosick Falls) – Burns had a 27-4 record last year, with all four of his losses coming to wrestlers who placed in the top 6 in New York.  Expect Burns to have another stellar year and improve upon his sixth place finish in Albany.

Tyler Morris (Salem) – Morris earned fourth in New York in 2012 at 182 pounds for Salem.  He began the state tournament with a loss in his opening bout but bounced back with four straight wins before dropping the bronze contest to Warsaw’s Tim Schaefer. With only three of the top eight finishers back in the bracket, Morris will look to move up the podium.  Looking to join him on the stand is teammate Carter Merecki, a junior, who came within one victory over making All-State last year when he went 33-4 at 106 pounds.


Also Keep an Eye On . . . (Juniors and Seniors)

Brandon Lapi, Photo by BV

Luis Weirebach (Hoosick Falls) – Weirebach won over 30 matches at 99 pounds and took fifth place in New York State.  Now a junior, Weirebach will aim to move a bit higher on the podium in the lightweights.

John Diekel (Whitehall) Diekel had over 30 wins at 138 pounds, with a Section 2 championship and a 2-2 performance at the state tournament. He’ll try to make the medal stand in his final year of high school wrestling. Trying to do the same is Diekel’s teammate Al Aubin, who went to Albany as well after a 25-win campaign.

Mike Green (Cobleskill-Richmondville) – Green went 39-6 in his junior campaign at 170 pounds.  In the Section 2 final, he dropped a one-point decision to All-State wrestler Brad Burns.  He followed that up by going 1-2 at the Times Union Center and is looking for a return trip.

Joe Sprung (Berne-Knox Waterlo) – Sprung and teammate Matt Casullo were the first wrestlers in their school’s history to make the New York state tournament.  Sprung lost a match the first weekend of the season and then reeled off over 30 straight victories to win the Section 2 title at 220 pounds.  In Albany, Sprung came within one match of placing and will look to make more history for his school as a senior.


Youth Movement (Sophomores and Younger)

Nick Gallo (Schalmont) – As a freshman 152 pounder, Gallo went 41-7, including a pair of victories at the state tournament, which left him one victory short of making All-State.  His losses were to the third (Tristan Hamner) and fourth place finishers (Dan Dickman, by a 4-3 score).

Geno Brancati (Hudson Falls) – Brancati recorded a 31-8 mark as a freshman at 145 pounds, earning the Section 2 title and a trip to Albany.  He won a match at the state tournament, defeating fellow Section 2 grappler Connor Lawrence of Duanesburg 3-2.  It was the second time Brancati had topped Lawrence by one point in a matter of weeks.  Lawrence is also one to watch, as he went 39-8 as a ninth grader, and also made the journey to the Times Union Center. Brancati’s teammate Kyler Harrington, a senior had over 40 wins at 113 pounds a year ago and went to the state capital.  His opening bout was a loss to eventual state champion Sean Peacock, but he rebounded with a win by fall in his next match, which he will look to build on in 2012-13.

Alexis Bleau (Schoharie) – As an eighth grader, Bleau registered a 41-5 record at 99 pounds, taking second in the Section tournament and earning a wildcard spot at the Times Union Center.  The first state qualifier in school history, Bleau will be looking for more in 2013.

Jason Hoffman (Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George) – Hoffman is a wrestler we were told to keep an eye on over the next few years. He competed at 126 pounds as a seventh grader, winning 24 matches, and remained active in the offseason, including recent trips to Las Vegas and California to wrestle some of the West Coast’s best.


Thank you to Frank Popolizio and Anthony Servidone.

Season Preview Articles:

Section 1 Preview

Section 3 Preview

Section 4 Preview

Section 5 Preview

Section 6 Preview

Section 7 Preview

Section 8 Preview

Section 9 Preview

Section 10 Preview

Section 11 Preview

CHSAA Preview

PSAL Preview


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 9 Feature: Unstoppable: Vinny Vespa Wrestles Again After Confronting Cancer

Section 11 Feature: Nick Piccininni Looks to Continue Winning Streak



Binghamton Wrestling Announces Nationally Ranked Recruiting Class

By John Hartrick (, Courtesy of

VESTAL, N.Y. – Head wrestling coach Matt Dernlan and his staff have produced the best early decision recruiting class in the program’s history, locking in six high school standouts. The class includes a pair of top 100 wrestlers and two more multi-state champions.

Amateur Wrestling News has ranked the class 14th best in the nation.

Set to join the Bearcats for the 2013-14 season are: Zack Zupan (Canastota, N.Y./Canastota), Nick Kelley (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa), Nick Tighe (Phoenix, N.Y./Phoenix), David Almaviva (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa), Kyle Kelly (Chenango Forks, N.Y./Chenango Forks) and  Bryce Mazurowski (Avon, N.Y./Avon)

“This class makes a good statement for our program moving forward,” Dernlan said. “We accomplished our objectives on a number of fronts … first we brought in guys who will help us contend for an NCAA title and center our program around kids from New York State. These are six of the 10 best kids in the entire state. They also have characteristics we’re looking to build on. Each of these wrestlers has unbelievable talent but more than anything, they have a huge upside at the next level. They have fundamental qualities we’re looking for, which is the fight to be successful. All six can make an impact for us right out of the gate and we’re very excited to welcome them to our program.”

Below is a capsule look at each recruit.

Photo by BV

Zack Zupan
– 2012 NYS champion
– Three-time NYS placewinner
– No. 87 overall recruit in country (Flowrestling)
– No. 1 recruit in NYS (New York Wrestling News)
– Won Virginia Beach Freshman Nationals and was runnerup at Sophomore Nationals
– Placed eighth at 2012 Flo Nationals
– Set NYS football record for most tackles in a season
– Projected to wrestle at 174/84

Coach Dernlan says …
“Zack is an incredibly gifted athlete. He has talent through the roof but it’s untapped because he’s a three-sport athlete. We’re excited about his upside once he solely focuses on wrestling.”


Photo by BV

Nick Kelley
– Five-time NYS qualifier
– No. 93 overall recruit in country (Flowrestling)
– No. 6 132-pounder in country (Flowrestling)
– No. 2 recruit in NYS (New York Wrestling News)
– Placed fifth at 2011 Flo Nationals and fourth at Fargo Junior Nationals
– Projected to wrestle at 141/49

Coach Dernlan says …
“Nick has incredible talent but on top of that, he wrestles as hard as any kid I’ve been around my entire life … and that’s a big statement. He’s going to benefit from the extra minute in college wrestling because he doesn’t get tired. That’s going to be a difference maker for him.”


Photo by BV

Nick Tighe
– Two-time NYS champion (2011, 2012)
– No. 15 recruit in country at his weight
– No. 3 recruit in NYS (New York Wrestling News)
– Placed seventh at 2011 Virginia Beach Sophomore Nationals and fourth as freshman
– Projected to wrestle at 133/41

Coach Dernlan says …
“Nick had one of the finest scholastic careers of anyone in the past decade of wrestling in New York State, He’s tenacious and has an unbelievable work ethic. He’s really good on top and has a motor that can go all day.”

Courtesy of Anthony Almaviva

David Almaviva

– Placed third at 2012 NYS Championship
– Two-time NYS qualifier
– Placed eighth at 2012 Fargo Junior Nationals
– No. 7 recruit in NYS (New York Wrestling News)
– Projected to wrestle at 149/57

Coach Dernlan says …
“David is another extremely gifted athlete. He’s probably one of the most technically sound kids I’ve been around in number of years.”

Photo by BV

Kyle Kelly

– Local recruit
– Two-time NYS champion
– Posted back-to-back undefeated sophomore and junior seasons (75-0)
– Placed fifth at 2012 Virginia Beach Junior Nationals
– Two-time Junior National Greco Roman All-American (7th, 7th)
– Ranked No. 6 at his weight in country (Flowrestling)
– No. 9 recruit in NYS (New York Wrestling News)
– Projected to wrestle at 125

Coach Dernlan says …
“On paper, Kyle is probably the most credentialed wrestler in the state. It’s always our goal to keep the Section 4 kids at home so getting Kyle is huge. He’s going to be a very special athlete at the next level.”

Photo by BV

Bryce Mazurowski

– Three-time NYS qualifier
– Runnerup at 2012 NYS Championship
– Went 46-2 as junior with 30 consecutive wins
– Projected to wrestle at 197

Coach Dernlan says …
“Bryce has an unbelievable upside once he gets the proper training. He has all the ability and hunger to get better and will jump to extremely high levels. I’m excited to be part of his growth.”

Piccininni, Muldoon Win Titles at the Iron Horse Invitational; Fabian, Melikian, Almaviva and McDevitt Take Second

Photo by Boris V

For Nick Piccininni, it was just another undefeated weekend.  There have been quite a few of those recently for the 2012 state champion from Ward Melville as he went 4-0 in South Plainfield, New Jersey to capture the title at the Iron Horse Invitational.  Among his victories were a major over New Jersey qualifier John Amato and a 1-0 decision over Garden State placer Craig DeLaCruz.  The performance was a continuation of a dominant month for Piccininni, which included a title at the Journeymen Classic last Sunday, an unblemished record at the Waterway Duals (while wrestling up a weight) and a dominant championship at the Super 32 Qualifier in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.  He’ll try to keep the momentum going at the Super 32 tournament in North Carolina in a few weeks.

Piccininni wasn’t the only champion from the Empire State at the Iron Horse.  Pearl River’s John Muldoon won gold in his bracket after going 4-0 against opponents from New Jersey.

In a round robin tournament loaded with state champions and placers, four New York grapplers took second.  A week ago at the Journeymen Classic, Shoreham Wading River’s TJ Fabian won each of his matches by pin while taking second behind New Jersey medalist Anthony Giraldo.  On Sunday, it was a similar story.  Fabian pinned three of his opponents in South Plainfield while losing a tight, 3-1 bout to Giraldo to take the silver.

Also competing last weekend at the Journeymen Classic were Fordham Prep’s Sam Melikian and Shenendehowa’s David Almaviva.  Both followed up with second place performances in New Jersey.  Almaviva cruised past Garden State foes Max Elling and Collin Boylan and won a close one over fellow New Yorker Thomas Dutton, 3-1 in overtime.  His only setback was a 2-1 bout in the tiebreakers against Florida’s Aaron Hartman.  Melikian also notched a 3-1 record topping a trio of New Jersey wrestlers by a combined score of 24-7 while dropping his match with Sean Glasgow.

Wantagh’s Dan McDevitt and Joshua Ugalde both completed action with a 3-1 mark in their upperweight bracket, however, Ugalde tallied more bonus points during the day to secure the title.  McDevitt, who finished fifth at the state tournament in 2012, outscored his opponents 23-4 in his three victories.

Taking third place for New York were: Wantagh’s Chris Araoz (including a victory over New Jersey placer and nationally ranked Zack Hertling), Rocky Point’s Thomas Dutton and Shenendehowa teammates Nick Kelley, Levi Ashley and Zach Joseph.  For full results, see below:


Fifth Place: Vinny Skokos, Nanuet (Bracket 3)

Mike Russo (NJ) dec Skokos, Nanuet, 7-5 OT

Max Nauta (NJ) pin Skokos, 2:39

Tyler Casamenti (NJ) dec Skokos, 4-2

Brian Damon (NJ) over Skokos, forfeit


1st Place: Nick Piccininni, Ward Melville (Bracket 5)

Piccininni dec Matthew Lattanze (PA), 6-4

Piccininni over Blake Retell (NY), forfeit

Piccininni over Craig DeLaCruz (NJ), 1-0

Piccininni major John Amato (NJ),10-2


Fifth Place: Blake Retell, Shaker (Bracket 5)

Matthew Lattanze (PA) dec Retell, 1-0

John Amato (NJ) dec Retell, 6-2

Retell forfeited vs. Piccininni and DeLaCruz


Fourth place: Travis Passaro, Eastport South Manor (Bracket 9)

Dave McFadden (NJ) dec Passaro, 3-2

Sal Profaci (NJ) dec Passaro, 8-3

Kyle Brady over Passaro, forfeit


1st Place: John Muldoon, Pearl River (Bracket 11)

Muldoon dec Devon LaFranco (NJ), 5-1

Muldoon major Mike DeFaria (NJ), 13-3

Muldoon dec Tommy Gattinella, 4-3

Muldoon over Mike Van Brill (NJ), forfeit


2nd Place: TJ Fabian, Shoreham Wading River (Bracket 12)

Fabian pin Joe Kratochvil (NJ), 1:20

Fabian pin Troy Shaafsma (NJ), 2:55

Fabian pin Billy Ward (NJ), 1:26

Anthony Giraldo (NJ) dec Fabian, 3-1


3rd Place: Chris Araoz, Wantagh (Bracket 14)

Scott Delvecchio (NJ) pin Araoz 3:57

Mike Pongracz (NJ) dec Araoz, 2-0

Araoz dec Zack Hertling (NJ), 4-0

Araoz major Ryan Burkert (NJ), 19-4


2nd Place: Sam Melikian, Fordham Prep (Bracket 16)

Melikian dec Joe Tavoso (NJ), 10-3

Melikian major Vin Carriddi (NJ), 9-1

Melikian dec Matt Barber (NJ), 5-3

Sean Glasgow (NJ) dec Melikian, 11-6


3rd Place: Nick Kelley, Shenendehowa (Bracket 18)

Kelley pin Miguel Calixto (VT), 4:20

Kelley pin Spencer Carey (NJ), 3:24

Troy Heilmann (NJ) dec Kelley, 10-7

Brian Hamann (NJ) dec Kelley, 3-0


3rd Place: Zach Joseph, Shenendehowa (Bracket 19)

Joseph over Tyler Kozimor (NJ), forfeit

Joseph over Jesse Thorsen (NJ), forfeit

Gary Dinmore (NJ) major Joseph, 13-1

Joseph Grello (NJ) dec Joseph, 10-3


2nd Place: David Almaviva, Shenendehowa (Bracket 20)

Almaviva dec Collin Boylan (NJ), 5-1

Almaviva dec Thomas Dutton (NY), 3-1 OT

Aaron Hartman (FL) dec Almaviva 2-1 tb

Almaviva major Max Elling (NJ), 10-0


3rd Place: Thomas Dutton, Rocky Point (Bracket 20)

Aaron Hartman (FL) dec Dutton, 4-3

Almaviva dec Dutton, 3-1 OT

Dutton major Max Elling (NJ), 11-1

Dutton pin Collin Boylan (NJ), 1:22


2nd Place: Dan McDevitt, Wantagh (Bracket 24)

McDevitt dec Nick Carey (NJ), 7-2

McDevitt dec Zach Spira (NJ), 6-0

Joshua Ugalde (NJ) dec McDevitt, 2-0 OT

McDevitt dec Colin Barber (NJ), 7-2


3rd Place: Levi Ashley, Shenendehowa (Bracket 27)

Ashley dec Austin Price (VT), 7-4

Ali Yildiz (NJ) major Ashley, 10-1

Nathan Bueno (NJ) dec Ashley, 5-2

Ashley dec Matt Correnti (NJ), 10-4

All-State Wrestlers Piccininni, Kelley, Almaviva, Fabian and McDevitt Ready For Tests at the Iron Horse Invitational

Photos of Piccininni, McDevitt and Kelley by Boris V

Last weekend, many New York wrestlers tested themselves against competition from all over the country at the Journeymen Wrestling Classic near Albany.  As the start of the season inches closer, many of the same competitors will travel to New Jersey on Sunday to once again challenge themselves against some of the best from the Garden State, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland and Vermont at the Iron Horse Invitation in South Plainfield.  The round robin tournament includes champions from the states listed above and a plethora of additional placers in the field of about 150 grapplers.

Several wrestlers who won titles in the “A” bracket last weekend at the Journeymen will once again take the mat, including New Yorkers Nick Piccininni and Nick Kelley as well as New Jersey’s Sal Profaci, Anthony Giraldo, Scott Delvecchio, Maaziah Bethea, Chad Walsh and Jon Schleifer.

In addition to state champion Piccininni and Binghamton-bound Kelley, a number of top contenders for All-State honors in the Empire State will compete on Sunday.  The expected entrants from New York are:

Section 1: 

John Muldoon (Pearl River)

Vinny Skokos (Nanuet, state qualifier)

Section 2:

David Almaviva (Shenendehowa, Fargo All-American, Binghamton recruit)

Levi Ashley (Shenendehowa, state qualifier)

Nick Kelley (Shenendehowa, Fargo All-American, Binghamton recruit)

Blake Retell (Shaker, won the 120B bracket at the Journeymen Classic)

Joe Sprung (Berne Knox Westerlo, state qualifier)

Section 8:

Chris Araoz (Wantagh, NHSCA National Champion in 2012)

Dan McDevitt (Wantagh, NHSCA All-American, NYS fifth)

Section 11:

Tom Dutton (Rocky Point, Fargo and NHSCA All-American)

TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River, NHSCA All-American, NYS fourth)

Travis Passaro (Eastport South Manor, NHSCA All-American)

Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville, NYS champion in 2012)


Sam Melikian (Fordham Prep, state qualifier)


**Entries provided by Iron Horse



Check out Videos and Results from the Journeymen Wrestling Classic

On Sunday, Niskayuna High School hosted The Journeymen Classic, which featured some of New York’s best wrestlers as well as competitors from 17 other states in a round robin format.

Check out some videos from the event (more will be added).

RESULTS are at the bottom of the page.


Nick Kelley (Fargo All-American, 2x NYS Placer) vs. Gary Dinmore (NJ State Placer) – 140 Pounds


William Koll (NY State Champion, NHSCA All-American) vs. Travis Passaro (NHSCA All-American) – 125 Pounds


David Almaviva (Fargo All-American, NYS 3rd) vs. Thomas Dutton (Fargo All-American) – 145 Pounds


Vincent DePrez (NY State Runner Up) vs. Scott Delvecchio (NJ State Champion)


Yianni Diakomihalis (Ranked #5 Nationally among Jr High wrestlers) vs. Jesse Dellavecchia (Sachem East)


Louie Hernandez (Section 8 Champion) vs. Brad Drover (New England Runner Up)


Yianni Diakomihalis (Ranked #5 nationally among Jr High wrestlers) vs. Tommy Aloi (All-American)


More videos to come . . .



103A:  Champion: Yianni Diakomihalis (G2)  Second Place: Jesse Dellavecchia

Diakomihalis dec Dellavecchia 8-1

103B: Champion: Vitali Arujau (VHW) Second Place: Josh Logiudice (Journeymen)

Arujau dec Logiudice 7-0

113A: Champion: Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville) Second Place: Joseph Trovato (Apex)

Piccininni dec Trovato 7-0

113B: Champion: Bryan Lantry (Wayne) Second Place: Nick Barbaria (Ascend)

Lantry dec Barbaria, 3-1

113C: Champion: James Szymanski (X-Cel) Second Place: Benjamin Defronzo

Szymanski dec Defronzo, 5-2

113D: Champion: Ben Lamantia (VHW) Second Place: Jim Slendorn (Triumph)

Lamantia dec Slendorn, 12-5

120A: Champion: Brent Fleetwood (Tyrants) Second Place: Ryan Pomrinca (North Hunterdon)

120B: Champion: Blake Retell (Journeymen) Second Place: Josue Beltran Jr (Mountain View)

Retell dec Beltran Jr, 3-1

120C: Champion: Craig DeLaCruz (Bound Brook) Second Place: John Amato (Timber Creek)

DeLaCruz pin Amato, 1:33

120D: Jean-Luc Lemieux (Pinkerton) Second Place: Dylan Lafountain (Mount Anthony)

Lemieux dec Lafountain, 7-0

125A: Champion: Sal Profaci (Monroe) Second Place: Travis Passaro (631 Elite)

Profaci dec Passaro, 4-2

125B: Champion: Justin Cooksey (VHW) Second Place: Joseph Ghione (Brick Memorial)

Cooksey dec Ghione, 8-5

125C: Champion: Connor Muli (Shore Thing) Second Place: Michael Raccioppi (Minisink Valley)

Muli dec Raccioppi, 4-2

125 D: Champion: Kyle Fletcher (Catamount) Second Place: Blaise Rufo (Monsignor Farrell)

Fletcher pin Rufo, 2:17

130A: Champion: Anthony Giraldo (North Bergen) Second Place: TJ Fabian (X-Cel)

Giraldo dec Fabian, 7-1

130B: Champion: Jared Staub (Elite) Second Place: Patrick Lacroix

Staub dec Lacroix, 6-4 (OT)

135A: Champion: Scott Delvecchio (Hercules) Second Place: Geoffrey Verallis (NMH)

Delvecchio dec Verallis, 6-4

135B: Champion: Michael Pongracz (Delaware Valley) Second Place: Miguel Calixto (Silverback Wrestling)

Pongracz dec Calixto, 9-3

140A: Champion: Nick Kelley (Journeymen) Second Place: Corey Stasenko (Triumph)

Kelley dec Stasenko, 5-3

140B: Champion: Fritz Hoehn (Doughboys) Second Place: Daniel Reagan (Lew Port)

Hoehn dec Reagan, 2-1

145A: Champion: Maaziah Bethea (Elite) Second Place: David Almaviva (Journeymen)

Bethea dec Almaviva, 4-3

145B: Champion: Jake Spengler Second Place: Christian Labrie 

Spengler dec Labrie, 9-8

152A: Champion: Chad Walsh (Camden Catholic) Second Place: Louie Hernandez (Ascend)

Walsh dec Hernandez, 3-1 (OT)

152B: Champion: Dylan Painton (Triumph) Second Place: Jimmy Ryan (Doughboys)

Painton maj Ryan, 12-2

160A: Champion: Jonathan Schleifer (Triumph) Second Place: Jake George (Long Branch)

Schleifer dec George, 6-1

160B: Champion: Joe Mastro Second Place: Andrew Psomas (Monsignor Farrell)

Mastro pin Psomas (SV)

160C: Champion: Mikey Amorando (Atlas Wrestling) Second Place: Dan Tracy (Ascend)

Amorando pin Tracy, 5:00

170A: Champion: Chris Chorzepa (Northeast Elite) Second Place: Dan Wojtaszek (Shore Thing)

Chorzepa dec Wojtaszek, 3-0

170B: Champion: Austin Weigel (Journeymen) Second Place: Daesean Brown (Triumph)

Weigel dec Brown, 5-3

170C: Champion: Johnny Vrasidas (St. Anthony’s) Second Place: David Bunn (Copiague)

Vrasidas pin Bunn, 1:41

182A: Champion: Peter Renda (Brandywine Heights) Second Place: Joe Balboni (Apex)

Renda dec Balboni, 4-2

182B: Champion: Stephen Suglio Second Place: Levi Ashley (Journeymen) 

Suglio over Ashley, 9-1

182C: Champion: Giovanni Santiago (VHW) Second Place: Austin Price (Mount Anthony)

Santiago pin Price, 4:11

195: Champion: Leonardo Trindade (Doughboys) Second Place: Bryce Mazurowski (Avon)

Trindade pin Mazurowski, 2:58

225 Champion: Richard Sisti (Monsignor Farrell) Second Place: Joe Sprung (Journeymen)

Sisti dec Sprung, 7-3

285 Champion: Jesse Webb (Catamount) Second Place: Matt Montesanti (Medina)

Webb dec Montesanti, 4-2


All-American David Almaviva of Shenendehowa Discusses His Commitment to Binghamton

After dominating his way through the Section 2 championships, Shenendehowa’s David Almaviva came to the state tournament in February with hopes of a 138-pound title.  When he dropped his first bout against Fox Lane’s Tom Grippi, 4-1, he quickly turned his disappointment into motivation.

“At first, I was pretty upset,” Almaviva said. “But then I realized I couldn’t be upset because it wouldn’t help.  I knew I needed to wrestle back tough and take third.”

Photo courtesy of Anthony Almaviva

He took care of business, winning five straight matches to earn the bronze.  His path wasn’t easy, as he faced the bracket’s top two seeds.  However, he was in control most of the way, outscoring his opponents 21-3.

“I thought the way I handled it could be the deciding factor on whether colleges would look at me,” Almaviva said.

That might have been the case.  Several Division I programs were excited about Almaviva, including Binghamton.

This past weekend, while Almaviva was on his official visit to the CAA institution, he became the third top 10 senior in New York State to commit to the Bearcats.  While he enjoyed playing paintball and participating in other team bonding activities on the trip, he listed many other reasons for his decision.

“I really like the campus and it’s not too far from home,” he said. “I know I’ll get a good education there.  I also feel like I have a pretty close relationship with the coaches and the team feels like a family.  I know the team is working hard to be national champs and that’s what I’m looking to do.”

Helping Almaviva reach for those goals in Division I wrestling will be his longtime teammate Nick Kelley, who committed to Binghamton a few weeks ago.

“We’ve been workout partners since fourth grade.  [Kelley’s commitment] was definitely part of my decision to choose Binghamton,” Almaviva said, adding that he also strongly considered North Carolina State. “We’ve always been around the same weight and we’ve always pushed each other to get better.”

That was true this summer when both wrestlers became Freestyle All-Americans at Junior Nationals at Fargo.  Almaviva took eighth at 145 pounds in North Dakota after defeating eventual national runner up Quinton Murphy at the New York State Freestyle championships.

With those victories behind him, Almaviva is now focused on ending his senior season on a high note.

“I’m looking to be a state champ this year,” Almaviva said. “My high school coaches [Rob] Weeks and [Frank] Popolizio work with me every day to make sure I’m the best I can be.  That’s true for my teammates too – we push each other.  I think if we keep working hard and stay focused our team can win states this year.  And I won’t stop working so that I can finally finish first individually.”

Shenendehowa's David Almaviva Makes Verbal Commitment to Binghamton University

The commitments keep coming for the Binghamton wrestling program.

After landing Canastota’s Zack Zupan and Shenendehowa’s Nick Kelley, the Bearcats picked up another of the Empire State’s top seniors over the weekend when David Almaviva gave his verbal pledge to the CAA school, according to an e-mail from his family.

Almaviva earned All-America honors this summer in freestyle at Fargo when he took eighth at 145 pounds.  That performance followed a standout showing at the New York State freestyle championships where he defeated Fargo runner up Quinton Murphy, who is now a freshman at Indiana.

The Shenendehowa senior, who projects at 141 or 149 pounds, has twice made the medal stand at the New York high school state tournament, taking third at 138 pounds this season and sixth as a sophomore in 2011.

For more on Almaviva’s commitment, check back later in the week.