Section 1 Preview: Alex Delacruz Looks to Repeat in Albany; Who Else Will Threaten for the Top Spot on the Podium?

New York Wrestling News has been previewing Sections throughout the state in recent weeks.  For the list of articles already published, see the end of this story.  The following discusses Section 1.

Division I

Last year, Section 1 was the king of New York when it came to the 120 pounds, with NYS champions in both Division I (Alex Delacruz of Ossining) and Division II (Trey Aslanian of Edgemont).

On the large school side, it was much more than Delacruz, however.  In fact, the winner of the Section 1 crown was state fourth placer John Muldoon of Pearl River, who owned a pair of victories over Delacruz during the season.  In addition, North Rockland’s Blaise Benderoth captured multiple victories at the Times Union Center.  And that doesn’t even include Arlington’s Nick Tolli, a wrestler who impressed at the Eastern States (taking fifth), before an injury ended his campaign early.

This year, these talented competitors are likely to spread out in weight, giving Section 1 state title threats at many classes.

“Every one of those guys is very high level,” said North Rockland coach Jeff Swick. “We can do really well at the state tournament as a Section with those guys in different weights.  We know whoever we’re sending to the tournament can win a lot of matches there.”

Let’s take a quick look at those members of the 120 pound class in 2013:

Alex Delacruz (Ossining) – The state champion racked up 38 wins a year ago, rebounding from his 10-7 loss to Muldoon at the qualifier with an overtime triumph over the Pearl River grappler in the semifinals in Albany.  He followed with an 11-7 victory over Steve Michel of Lancaster to capture gold at the Times Union Center and saw offseason mat time at events such as the Disney Duals and the Journeymen Classic.  He will likely be at 126 pounds this season.

John Muldoon (Pearl River) – The future SIUE Edwardsville wrestler earned All-State honors after a 46-win season.  He took second at the Eastern States and plans to go higher on the medal stand this year at 132 pounds.

Blaise Benderoth (North Rockland) – Benderoth, a multi-time state qualifier, had a strong season, with over 40 wins and a third place showing at the Eastern States. He will make a significant weight jump in 2013-14, according to his coach.

“Blaise grew a lot in the offseason and put on a lot of weight – good weight,” Swick said. “He worked hard with assistant coach John Hoke to put on a ton of muscle.  He’ll probably wrestle at 145 – he’s much bigger than last year.  He did a lot of wrestling in the offseason, working out four days a week, wrestling two or three days a week. He made big gains and I see him on the state podium – high on the podium.”

Nick Tolli (Arlington) – Tolli was 33-3 before his season was cut short due to injury.  He’s looking to make up for lost time, likely at 132.

“Tolli was having a great season until he got hurt,” Swick said. “I definitely think he could have done well at the state tournament.”

Those were all 120 pounders a year ago.  One wrestler Swick thinks could be effective at that weight this year is Jon Errico of Byram Hills.

“If Errico is a full ’20’ pounder, he can do very well at the state tournament,” Swick said. “He’s very, very tough.”

Errico was the Section silver medalist at 106 last season.  North Rockland’s Derek DiMarsico was also a runner up — at 113.  He will also be a contender after winning over 35 matches as a sophomore.

DiMarsico’s teammate Matt Caputo is another wrestler who is sure to make waves in 2013-14.  A two-time state placer, Caputo had a stellar 11th grade year, with 54 wins and a fifth place position on the medal stand in Albany at 138.

“Matt’s expectation is to be at the top of the podium,” Swick said. “He has worked really hard his whole career. He’s been on the podium before and wants to get to the top.  He’s a strong kid who could be at 38 or 45, but I would think 38 come states. You can see in the light middleweights, it’s pretty tough in our Section. There are no easy roads and there’s no wiggle room.”

That’s seems to be the case, especially when you factor in the return of last year’s 132 pound Section 1 champion Liam Erickson of Brewster and the third placer in that bracket, Ben Ettlinger of Fox Lane.

“Ettlinger is right in there,” Swick said. “He split with [state qualifier] Jake DiMarsico last year.  He’s been all-section for years and been right there with everyone, but hasn’t won the Section title.  He’s a very tough kid who will be a handful whatever weight he goes.” (Rumor has it, he’ll be up a few weights).

We haven’t forgotten about Ettlinger’s teammate Frank Surace, who was fourth at 138 a year ago, or the wrestler who beat Surace in the bronze match, Larry Courtien of Somers. And the second and third placers at 145 in 2013, Brad Marvin of Ketcham and Mitch Klein of Horace Greeley could be primed for big seasons as well.

 

The Upperweights

Moving into the upperweights, a pair of returning Section gold medalists return – Tappan Zee teammates John Hartnett (220) and Mike Manni (285).  Manni made the medal stand in 2013, nabbing fifth at heavyweight.

“John Hartnett winning 220 might have been a bit of a surprise to some people because he wasn’t the favorite coming in,” Swick said. “But he was ready come postseason and wrestled really well.  They have a good situation there, with Hartnett and Manni wrestling together since middle school, working together to get better.”

Like Manni, John Jay East Fishkill’s Brett Perry earned All-State accolades with a fifth place showing at 170 pounds.  He’ll be a heavy favorite to return to the state capital, possibly at 182.

“Perry had a great year and did well this offseason too,” Swick said. “He wrestled well at the Journeymen Classic [where he was second at 182].”

Who are some others to watch in the upperweights?

Adam Hofling of Sleepy Hollow was the runner up to Perry at 170 in 2013 and is looking for more, while Austin Maurer of Clarkstown South is back after notching bronze at 195.

“[Maurer] is ridiculously strong,” Swick said. “He’s a pinner and a really tough kid who put in a lot of work.  I think he’s the real deal.  Every time I went to Clarkstown South, he was there, working hard.”

If he’s back at 195, he could face future Binghamton Bearcat Andrew Grella of Beacon.  The silver medalist at 182 behind Thomas Murray last year, Grella had a strong campaign with more than 25 wins and is ready for a breakthrough season.

“If [Grella] has a senior year anything like his brother [Vincent, a starter for the Bearcats], he’ll do really well,” Swick said. “He has a lot going for him and will be someone to watch.”

Mamaroneck’s Youssif Hemida took seventh at Fargo in Cadet Freestyle this summer at 220 pounds.

 

The Lightweights

We’ve mentioned All-State grapplers like Delacruz, Muldoon, Caputo, Manni and Perry.  There was another returning Section 1 wrestler on the medal stand – Nick Barbaria of New Rochelle – who was fifth at 106.  Barbaria, who twice defeated state champion Kyle Quinn of Wantagh last year, stayed quite active in the offseason and will be at 113 this year.

Another qualifier coming back is Pearl River’s James Kelly, who went to Albany at 99 pounds after a 40-plus win season.  He’ll likely be up a weight (or two).  In addition, Fox Lane had some standouts at 99 and 106 a year ago, Brandon Fay (second in the Section at 99) and Matt Grippi (third at 106 as a seventh grader).  They are championship threats.  Also keep an eye on John Jay East Fishkill’s Jay Albis (third at 113).

 

Team Race

North Rockland took the title a year ago and while the squad lost contributors such as state qualifier Jake DiMarsico, the Red Raiders bring back a number of accomplished wrestlers and have what it takes to make it two in a row.

“The goal is obviously to repeat our Section 1 dual meet title and Section 1 tournament title,” Swick said. “We also want to have a strong performance at UE [Union-Endicott] Duals, which is like the unofficial state dual meet championships and be top 10 in the state. It’s a little different because this is the first time we’ve had a target on our back.  We know people are coming after us.”

People are coming after North Rockland for a reason.  Several reasons, as a matter of fact.  The squad brings back seven Section placers, including the previously mentioned Matt Caputo, Blaise Benderoth and Derek DiMarsico.  In addition, the squad will feature Nick Didio (third at 160), Connor Reigottie (fourth at heavyweight), Anthony Sulla (fifth at 99) and Marlon Borge (sixth at 106).

“We have seven guys back who placed and we believe all seven will be competing for Section titles,” Swick said. “Sulla should be back at 99 and Borge put in a ton of work and made big improvements. We also have guys like Alex D’Angelo, who probably will be at 106 by the end of the year, who would have been All-Section if he didn’t get hurt.  We expect big things out of him.”

Who will push North Rockland?

“Fox Lane is definitely the first team that comes to mind,” Swick said. “They’re returning most of the guys who placed in the Section last year and many of those guys are capable of placing high.  We know Fox Lane will be very tough.”

Indeed, the aforementioned Brandon Fay, Matt Grippi, Ben Ettlinger and Frank Surace all finished in the top four in the Section and all had more than 30 wins.  In addition, Scott Rodrigues picked up 35 victories as a freshman and should be formidable again.

Swick also mentioned Pearl River as a contender, led by the previously discussed John Muldoon and James Kelly, both Section champions in 2013.  In addition, Rob Gullo grabbed fourth at 152 after winning more than 35 matches and Sean McGarvey is an up-and-comer to watch after compiling more than 30 wins as an eighth grader.

“It’s a big Section with lots of teams out there,” Swick said. “I also think John Jay East Fishkill and Arlington will be challengers.  We need to focus on getting our team ready and not think so much about the other teams.  We just need to focus on our guys.”

 

Division II

There will certainly be some changes on the way in Division II this year, as a number of longtime stars moved on.  That includes three-time NYS finalist and 2013 champion, Trey Aslanian of Edgemont, who is now competing at Princeton.  And it also includes the graduation of 10 starters from Nanuet, the three-time defending Section champions.  But with the departure of those standouts, there is room for some others to take center stage.

There aren’t any 2013 NYS placers returning, but Matt Acevedo of Pawling has been to the Times Union Center twice (at 220 in 2012 and at 285 in 2013).  He won a match in Albany in his last appearance and is looking for more.  However, it won’t be a walk in the park to get back to the state capital at either weight.

Who are some upperweight challengers?  Nanuet’s Jason Levine was sixth at the qualifier last year at 285 in his first year of wrestling, according to Edgemont head coach Peter Jacobson.

“[Levine] really impressed me,” Jacobson said. “He’s a tough kid and now that he’s had more time to get up to speed technique-wise, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him right there for a section title at 285.”

Jacobson also mentioned others he expects to excel in the higher weight classes –  Alek Pavloff of Croton-Harmon (26 wins at 220, second in the Section), Evan Shlom of Ardsley (fourth at 195) as well as Irvington’s Anthony DiNardo (close to 30 wins overall and a 1-0 loss to Acevedo at the Sectionals).

Staying in the higher classes, Chris Kim of Edgemont spent much of last season at 170 before moving up to 182 late in the year, capturing the Section title there.  He went on to the state tournament, where in his first match he took eventual fifth placer Ryan Marszal of Unatego to the limit in a 6-5 loss that went three overtimes.  Jacobson believes the experience will serve Kim well.

Kim, Photo courtesy of Edgemont wrestling

“Chris just had a phenomenal football season and is a tremendous athlete,” Jacobson said. “We’re not sure whether he’ll be at 182 or 195 yet, but more likely 182.  He’s really tough and able to pick things up really quickly. He was fully capable of being All-State last year, but I think the difference was experience.  Being a three-sport athlete, he doesn’t put in the time in the offseason in wrestling as many state level kids do.  I think the first time being at states in that kind of situation, his relative inexperience hurt him. But now having been there, we expect he’ll do very well this year.”

Peter Jones of Irvington will also be one to watch after his 24-victory sophomore season at 160 pounds, in which he took third at the Section 1 tournament.

 

The Middleweights

Moving down in weight, Kim’s teammate Colin Hopkins had some solid victories a year ago, but didn’t get the chance to compete in the postseason.  He’ll look to make up for it with a strong 2013-14 campaign at either 145 or 152.

“Colin had placed every year in the Section since he was an eighth grader,” Jacobson said. “He was third as a freshman and second as a sophomore.  He beat [state placer and Section champion] Matt Dillon in our dual meet with Nanuet last year.  But he blew out his elbow in late January and missed Sectionals.  He’s not only talented, but wrestles year round and has made big jumps this year.  He got a lot stronger.  He’s absolutely an All-State caliber wrestler and I think his work will pay big dividends.”

Another wrestler who could be in a similar weight range this year is Chris Santana of Pawling, who earned third at 132 in the Section last year.  He won over 30 matches and had 18 pins.

“[Santana] is a brawler, a hard-nosed kid who comes to wrestle every time,” Jacobson said. “I expect him to have a great season.”

Of course, Angelo Zegarelli of Putnam Valley will be a force this year after taking the runner up spot a year ago at 160 during a 30+ win season in which he had over 25 bonus point victories.

Jacobson also mentioned Daniel Kraemer of Woodlands as a possible sleeper.

“He’ll be the leader of their team,” Jacobson said. “[Kraemer] took fourth at the Sectionals at 145 pounds last year and is probably the most technical wrestler on their team. I think he’s capable of doing some good things.”

 

The Lighter Weights

In the lightweights, there’s no shortage of talent.  While Trey Aslanian is now a college wrestler, his brothers Tyler and Kyle look to make their own impacts at the state level.

Tyler Aslanian was one round shy of making the podium in Albany two years ago, however, he didn’t get a return ticket in 2013 after an abbreviated campaign.  According to Jacobson, he suffered an injury in early December and missed nearly the entire season prior to Sectionals.

“When you wrestle guys who have been through the grind all season and you haven’t really competed, it’s tough,” Jacobson said. “He wasn’t where he wanted to be from a technical perspective and a timing perspective.  But I expect Tyler to be All-State this year [at 120 or 126].  He’s that caliber of wrestler and the work he’s put in and the leadership skills he’s developing are along the same lines of All-State wrestlers I’ve coached in the past.”

Like Tyler, Kyle Aslanian notched second in the Section last season.  This time, he’ll be at 106 or 113 and will look to get his first taste of the state tournament.

“The biggest thing holding Kyle back last year was that he wasn’t as confident as he could have been in his go-to offense,” Jacobson said. “We’ve focused a lot on being more aggressive on his feet and I think we’ll see that.  I think he’ll create scrambles when he needs to and he’ll use his athleticism to his advantage.”

The Aslanians will be a good one-two punch for Edgemont early in the lineup.  Similarly, Pleasantville will also have some high quality grapplers in the lower weights, including returning state qualifiers James Bathon and Stephen Paternostro.

“They are both very impressive,” Jacobson said. “Paternostro is such a physical kid.  He hit an awesome high crotch and put his opponent on his back in the Section finals for a very quick pin.  I’m not sure anyone short of Paternostro and his coaches saw that coming. I think they’ve both developed really well and will be really, really tough this year.”

The wrestler Paternostro defeated for Section gold last year, AJ Mirabal of Putnam Valley, will be back as well.  After picking up 38 victories (and 24 pins) as a junior, he’ll be looking to wear the Section 1 singlet in Albany.

Speaking of Albany, Mirabal’s teammate Noah Kelvas wrestled there in February (and won a match) after nabbing the 106-pound Section 1 crown in 2013 during a 35-win campaign.

Like Kelvas, Joe Dillon of Nanuet has represented Section 1 at the state tournament during his career.  In 2011, Dillon competed at 96 pounds in the state capital.  He has come close to returning the past two seasons, but hasn’t quite gotten over the hump.  Last year he was 32-6 and took third at the Sectionals at 126. Can he make the trip to the Times Union Center again as a senior?

“Joe Dillon is a very good wrestler who has the experience at the state level,” Jacobson said. “It always depends on where people certify and wind up, but I think his chances of winning Sectionals this year are very, very good.”

Dillon’s Section 1 title came in his freshman campaign.  Another wrestler looking for gold as a ninth grader is his teammate Dylan Mateo, who was third at 106 last year.

And like Dillon, Andrew Barsuch of Croton-Harmon is a senior wanting to make his final scholastic season a memorable one after a 37-4 showing as a junior, which included a runner up finish at the state qualifier.

“Barsuch has a lot of experience,” Jacobson said. “He’s always been right there, but just a little short.  I don’t know him personally, but he strikes me as the type of senior who is really hungry after knocking on the door for so long.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him break through.”

 

Team Race

Nanuet has ruled the Section in the recent past, grabbing three consecutive titles.  However, the significant graduation losses will create a window of opportunity for some other squads.

One of those is Putnam Valley, the runner up a year ago.

“I think Putnam Valley is definitely a contender, if not the favorite,” Jacobson said.  “They are very well coached – Will Carano always does a great job of developing his kids.  They have established wrestlers like Noah Kelvas, Angelo Zegarelli and AJ Mirabal.  And then they have a smattering of young guys who placed in the third, fourth and fifth range who will do really well also.”

That “smattering” includes competitors such as Mike Bruno (third at 99 at Sectionals last year), Jared Eliopoulous (fourth at 106), Willie Messinger (fifth at 160) and Dan Kelly (fifth at 182).

Another threat is Pleasantville, led by the previously mentioned returning Section 1 champions Stephen Paternostro and James Bathon.  But it’s the squad’s depth that Jacobson emphasized.

“Pleasantville had a lot of kids who were third to sixth in the Section last year,” Jacobson said. “Last year they were stronger than the year before and I expect this year, they’ll be even stronger.  Because of the balance of their lineup, you have to put them in the mix and I believe they’re right there with anyone.”

Some of those others to watch include Steven Montes, Brandon Castro and Thomas Marrone (third at 152).

A year ago, Jacobson’s Edgemont squad nabbed third.   With Chris Kim, Colin Hopkins and the Aslanian brothers as well as wrestlers who have seen significant mat time such as Will Graybeal, Sam Klein and Max Worobow, the Panthers should certainly be in the thick of things come February.

“We have some experienced wrestlers and also some younger kids who we think can come in and accomplish a lot more this year,” Jacobson said.

And while Nanuet will send many fresh faces on the mat, no one is counting the Golden Knights out.

“Nanuet has been and will continue to be a strong program, even with all of the guys they lost,” Jacobson said. “I’m sure they will have more than capable guys to step in and fill those holes.  They always have a solid stable of athletes and a good feeder system, as well as great tradition.  They always seem to have one or two new names every year who come in and place high in the section.”

In addition to the wrestlers mentioned earlier such as Joe Dillon and Dylan Mateo, there are others who will make their presence felt.  That includes Eric Boyle and Chris Lowery, both fourth at the state qualifier a year ago as well as Frank Paratore, who took fifth at 152.  Another name mentioned was Alex Slaybaugh, who could be in the mix to make the medal stand in the Section. Vinny Skokos, who had a stellar ninth grade season in 2011-12 when he won over 30 matches, including one in Albany, didn’t take the mat last year.  He could be a difference maker if he’s in the lineup.

So, will it be a four-peat for Nanuet?  Or a new team at the head of the class?

“I think a number of teams could win,” Jacobson said.  “It seems that injuries often play a tremendous role and keeping teams fresh is important.  It often doesn’t come down to the big guns; it’s the other kids getting points on the backside, getting those third-fourth-fifth place finishes that really lift the team.  It should be a good race this year.”

 

We will continue to post Section previews as the season approaches.  Here are some others already released:

Section 1

Section 3

Section 6

Section 7

Section 8

Section 9

Section 10

Section 11

PSAL

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

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

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

In individual tournament action:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more details on these stories, read on:

Section 3 and 4 Dual Meet Championships

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

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

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

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

Shenendehowa Tournament

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

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

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

For further results from the event, see here.

Monroe County Tournament

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

Courtesy of Jason DePrez

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

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

For more details, see here.

Islip Cup

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

Photo by BV

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

For more results, see here.

Kohl Tournament

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

For full brackets, see here.

Edgemont Panther Tournament

Photo by BV

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

For more results, see 2013 Edgemont Bracket FINAL RESULTS

 

ECIC Championships

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

Beacon

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

Dual Meets

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

Two-Time State Finalist Trey Aslanian of Edgemont Picks Princeton

Trey Aslanian, Photo by Boris V

The 2012-13 Princeton roster includes three New York wrestlers.

There will be at least one more next fall as Edgemont’s Trey Aslanian gave a verbal commitment to the Tigers on Thursday after also considering Harvard and Penn.

“Princeton is such a good academic school and that was important to me,” he said.  “But what really separated Princeton was that I fell in love with the coaches.  I felt really comfortable around them and I think they can take me to that next level.”

The Tigers have had recent success in the lower weight classes.  Last season, the squad sent Garrett Frey (125 pounds) and Adam Krop (141) to the NCAA tournament and in the offseason two-time NCAA champion Joe Dubuque joined the staff.

“It’s definitely a great environment for lightweights,” he said, adding that he plans to compete at 125 pounds. “I loved the intensity that I saw.   What really stood out to me was that the team was like a family. Everyone is so close to each other yet they were able to push each other during practice.  I could see myself fitting in really well.”

The future Economics major said he’s happy to have made his decision so he can fully direct his attention to his goal of winning his first state title after making the podium in New York each of the past three seasons (in addition to earning All-America honors at Fargo).

“Now I can focus that much more on getting better,” he said. “I’ve been putting a lot of time in on the mat, rolling around with my brothers, [Cornell recruit] Dylan Realbuto and working with Vougar Oroudjov.  I’m just sharpening my skills, getting ready.”

He’s getting ready to make a run at the top of the medal stand at 120 pounds after taking second at 103 and 113 the past two campaigns.  And then, it’s off to New Jersey.

“I definitely want to thank my parents who have helped me every step along the way,” he said. “Also, [Princeton head coach Chris] Ayers, who has been very welcoming and has helped throughout the process. I’m really happy with my decision. Once I took my visit to Princeton, I knew it was where I wanted to be.”

For more on Trey Aslanian, see this article from earlier in the fall.

State Champion Realbuto and Returning Placers White, Barbaria and Aslanian Lead the Way for Section 1 in 2012-13 (Season Preview)

New York Wrestling Newswill be taking a look at the Sections across the state over the next few weeks.  We began with a story on Section 1 stars Dylan Realbuto and Trey Aslanian, which can be found here.

In addition to returning state champion Realbuto and runner up Aslanian, Section 1 welcomes back two other placewinners from 2012 and more than 15 additional qualifiers.  The following takes a look at some wrestlers to keep an eye on this year, some potential breakout stars and the teams to beat for the 2013 campaign in Section 1. 

 

Division I

 

Returning State Placewinners (from 2012)

State Champion: Dylan Realbuto (12) Somers, 113 Pounds

Fifth Place: Dale White (12) John Jay East Fishkill, 145 Pounds

Sixth Place: Nick Barbaria (11) New Rochelle, 99 Pounds

 

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

113 Pounds: Alex Delacruz (11), Ossining

120 Pounds: Jake DeMarsico (12), North Rockland

126 Pounds: Matt Caputo (11), North Rockland

138 Pounds: Tom Grippi (12), Fox Lane

170 Pounds: Steven Sabella (12) Yorktown

285 Pounds: David Varian (12) Yorktown

 

Seniors to Watch

Dylan Realbuto (Somers) – Realbuto won his first state championship in dramatic fashion, taking Hilton’s Vincent DePrez down as the buzzer sounded in the third to capture an 8-7 decision.  He’ll try to add a second title in his last year, which would bring his family’s total to five (older brother Brian captured championships in 2009, 2011 and 2012).

Dale White (John Jay East Fishkill) – White showed he was a contender for All-State honors last year at the Eastern States where he pushed two-time New York champion Jimmy Kloc in the finals before losing 7-6.  White had only five other setbacks during his junior season, four of which were by one point (and another by two points).  He looks to climb higher on the podium than his fifth place showing in 2012.

Tom Grippi (Fox Lane) – A returning Section champion, Grippi began his run in Albany last season by defeating eventual third-place finisher David Almaviva of Shenendehowa.  Grippi went on to a 2-2 record at the state tournament, falling one win short of placing.  He posted a 45-6 mark as a junior while splitting time between 138 and 145 pounds and will be a strong candidate to earn All-State honors in Feburary.

Steven Sabella (Yorktown) – Sabella went 42-4 in 2011-12 at 170 pounds with 21 pins.  He won a pair of matches at the state tournament, coming within one round of medaling in Albany.

 

Also Keep an Eye On . . .

Nick Barbaria (New Rochelle) – Barbaria stood sixth on the podium at 99 pounds as a sophomore following a 36-7 season.  He defeated All-State wrestlers Cheick Ndiaye (the Division II runner up) and notched a pair of victories over fourth place finisher Joe Calderone and a win over Bryan Lantry. (Both Calderone and Lantry also both avenged those results).  In January, Barbaria had a strong run to the silver medal at the Eastern States Classic. Barbaria has been active in the offseason, competing at events such as the Ken Lesser Memorial Summer Heat and the Journeymen Classic.

Blaise Benderoth (North Rockland) – As a ninth grader, the North Rockland wrestler went 36-6 at 106 pounds and made the podium at the prestigious Eastern States Classic.  Benderoth had several quality victories, including wins over state placer Nick Barbaria of New Rochelle and a pair of triumphs against qualifier Vinny Skokos of Nanuet.  However, he missed the state tournament after he dropped the Section 1 final to Michael Parise of Brewster 3-2, who eventually came within one match of getting on the podium in Albany.  Benderoth made the trip upstate for the postseason as an eighth grader and looks to do it again in 2013.

Alex Delacruz, Photo by Boris V

Alex Delacruz (Ossining) – Delacruz earned a ticket to Albany last year after upsetting eventual state champion Dylan Realbuto during the Section 1 tournament, avenging an earlier loss to the Somers grappler.  Although he went 1-2 at the Times Union Center, Delacruz had a strong 36-6 season in which he defeated another state finalist – Division I runner up Justin Cooksey of MacArthur.  With big victories like that one, he will be expected to have a big year in 2012-13.

Of those who haven’t been to the state tournament before, keep tabs on Thomas Murray of Yorktown who lost in the Section 1 final to eventual state runner up Jacob Berkowitz of Scarsdale.  “Tom’s been working really hard and I think if he’d gone to state last year, he could have placed,” coach Max Askren said.

Also working hard and ready to take another step forward is Byram Hills freshman John Errico.  As a 99-pound eighth grader, Errico took third in the Section and was 34-4 overall.  He also tested himself against some of the Northeast’s best at the recent Journeymen Classic.

Team Race

In 2012, Fox Lane took the Division I title, sending longtime coach Joe Amuso out with a flourish.   The Foxes went into the last session of the Sectionals needing all four of their finalists to win in order to grab the team title and they all delivered.  Three of those wrestlers, Sam Speno, Matt Pasqualini and Dan Ventura graduated.  However, Tom Grippi returns and the new coach has talent at his disposal, including a pair of juniors who won over 30 matches last season and placed at the Sectionals – Ben Ettlinger and Brendon Fay.

Last year’s second place team, North Rockland and 2012’s fifth-place group from Yorktown return a handful of Section placewinners and look to be leading contenders for the championship.

North Rockland, which was edged by just 3.5 points by Fox Lane in February, boasts three returning finalists – Jake DiMarsico (Champion at 120), Blaise Benderoth (2nd at 106) and Matt Caputo (2nd at 126).  In addition, new head coach Jeff Swick can expect to pick up points from a trio of grapplers who were fourth a year ago — Derek DiMarsico, Troy Feniger and Conner Reigotti.

Yorktown also has significant firepower scheduled to come back, including 2012 Section 1 champions Steven Sabella (170) and David Varian (285) as well as runner up Thomas Murray (182).   Fellow senior Joseph Mastro was 40-3 last campaign, with two of his losses to state placers (Mike Caputo and Dale White).  Mastro is coming off a silver medal in the Sections at 145 while classmate James Kaishian earned 36 wins at 120 and a fifth place showing at Pace University.

The teams that took third and fourth last year, New Rochelle and Somers, both have some standouts, but suffered heavy losses to graduation.  The Huguenots feature All-State wrestler Nick Barbaria in the lightweights as well as Justin Douglas, who was a runner up in the Sectionals, but graduated placers Aaron Butler, Jonathan Stokes, Tyler Lilly and Bryan Ferrandi.  Somers will have Albany title threat Dylan Realbuto in the lineup although his brother Brian and Dom DeVita are among the highly successful wrestlers who completed their Tuskers careers.

Division II

Returning State Placewinners (from 2012)

Second Place: Trey Aslanian (12) Edgemont, 113 Pounds

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Tyler Aslanian (11) Edgemont

99 Pounds: Joe Dillon (11) Nanuet

106 Pounds: Vinny Skokos (10) Nanuet

120 Pounds: Anthony Calvano (12) Nanuet

126 Pounds: Drew Longo (12) Ardsley

138 Pounds: Matt Dillon (12) Nanuet

145 Pounds: Brett Pastore (12) Irvington

170 Pounds: John Messinger (12) Putnam Valley

195 Pounds: Dan Breit (12) Nanuet

220 Pounds: Matt Acevedo (11) Pawling

 

Seniors to Watch

Trey Aslanian (Edgemont) – The three-time state placer hopes this will be the year.  Aslanian qualified for the finals the past two seasons in Albany but came away with runner up status at 103 in 2011 and 113 last year.  He looked tough over the summer, registering a 7-1 record for the Empire State at Junior Duals in Freestyle and competing at Fargo.

Drew Longo (Ardsley) – In 2012 he found himself out of the medals at a loaded 126-pound bracket at the state tournament, but he’s been on the stand before.  In fact, as a freshman, Longo was the runner up at 96 pounds and he followed that up with a fifth place finish in 2011.  He looks for one more drive to the podium in his last campaign for Ardsley.

 

Also Keep an Eye On . . .

Tyler Aslanian (Edgemont) –  The second of three Aslanian brothers currently wrestling for Edgemont, Tyler went 30-8 as a sophomore at 99 pounds.  He notched a pair of victories over fellow Section 1 state qualifier Joe Dillon and came within one bout of making All-State at the Times Union Center.

“Tyler was just short of placing last year and he has worked tremendously hard since the end of the season,” Edgemont coach Peter Jacobson said.  “Our hope is that he makes All-State this year – he’s definitely an All-State caliber wrestler.”

Vinny Skokos (Nanuet) – Skokos had a strong ninth grade campaign for the Golden Knights, earning 32 victories and a Section title.  He topped All-State wrestlers Nick Barbaria and Cody Carbery as well as NHSCA All-American Kyle Quinn of Wantagh.

“Skokos has a track record for working hard and making big improvements,” Jacobson said.  “He had a tremendous freshman year and works year round.  I would expect him to make a big jump this year and turn some heads.

Anthony Calvano (Nanuet) – Calvano went 16-5 a year ago and made a dominant run through the Section tournament with a pin and two decisions in which he outscored his opponents by a combined 16-3 tally.  He went 0-2 in Albany but at least one opposing coach thinks he’ll be far better this time.

“I thought his showing at the state tournament last year was not at all reflective of the wrestler that he is.  I believe he will place at the state level this year,” Jacobson said.

 

Team Race

In Division II, Nanuet won the crown by over 40 points a year ago and has a slew of contributors back.  In addition to Section champions Vinny Skokos (106), Anthony Calvano (120) and Dan Breit (195), the team offers four more finalists in Joe Dillon (99), Matt Dillon (138), Mike Buhlmann (160) and Kevin Brundage (182).  But that’s not all. Nanuet has several other wrestlers who were in the top six in 2012 on its roster, including three bronze winners.

Mounting a strong challenge will be Edgemont, led by the Aslanian brothers. Three-time state placer Trey was the Section titlist at 113 a year ago after defeating teammate Skylar KorekTyler Aslanian was the Panthers’ other Section 1 victor at 99 pounds, where sibling Kyle also wrestled as an eighth grader (and won 18 bouts).  Silver medalists Colin Hopkins, Jack McCormack and Chris Kim will once again be in the mix, as could Will Graybeal and Ross Kantor, who were both top four.

“We both have a lot of returning finalists and placefinishers,” Jacobson said. “A lot will depend on who ends up going what weight — matchups will be key.  But none of it on paper means that much. It’s going to be a product of what guys have done for the past nine months and will do for the next few months and who has a better weekend. [Nanuet] is the team to beat.  They do a great job, consistently developing their athletes and that isn’t going to change.  But I think the team title could go either way.”

Overcoming those squads will be difficult, but 2012’s bronze team Putnam Valley aims to put some wrestlers on the podium.  One grappler to watch is John Messinger, the 170-pound titlewinner who pinned his way through the event last season.

 

Special thanks to all of the contributors to this article.

All results from the NWCA Scorebook.

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

Photos by Boris V

Over the next few weeks, New York Wrestling News will previewing New York’s high school Sections. We begin in Section 1 with a look at two of the top lightweights the Empire State has to offer.

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The 113-pound finals at the state tournament in February presented a bit of a pleasant challenge for Section 1 fans.  Two of the area’s best, John “Trey” Aslanian of Edgemont and Dylan Realbuto of Somers, were on the mats at the same time, each battling to win the championship against a Section 5 opponent a year after finishing second in Albany.

Having both wrestlers make the title bout at the Times Union Center two years in a row wasn’t an accident.  In fact, they helped each other get there.  Although Edgemont and Somers are at least 30 minutes away from each other, the two wrestlers have trained together since fifth grade and have continued to work out quite a bit, often at the Askren Wrestling Academy.

“I feel lucky because it’s such a good situation for both of us,” Aslanian said. “Dylan’s one of my best friends.  Since he’s big school and I’m small school, we know we won’t have to compete with each other at states, so it’s ideal.  Dylan is incredibly hard to score on with his funk, so if I can score on him, I feel like I can score on anyone in the state.  I think we push each other so much because we’re such different wrestlers and seeing a totally different style is never a bad thing.”

Not a bad thing at all.  In fact, it’s a really good thing, according to coach Max Askren.

“They are almost exactly opposite in their styles,” Askren said. “But it’s totally complementary.  Both are very, very technical wrestlers. But Trey wrestles from ties, likes to control things that way.  Dylan really wrestles from out in the open. So it works to have them train together.  If these guys want to wrestle in college, they should be wrestling together.”

Both Realbuto and Aslanian do plan to compete at the Division I level, with Aslanian considering Penn, Princeton and Harvard.  However, they first have some business to take care of at the high school level.

For Aslanian, that means a first state title.  He took fifth as a freshman and second the last two seasons at 103 and 113, respectively.

“Finishing second the last two years was obviously disappointing,” Aslanian said. “I go into every year wanting to win a state championship and when you come so close but don’t get it, it’s really difficult.  Last year, I was more confident because I had already been in the finals before, so I think I was that much more disappointed not to get the job done.”

Aslanian felt he dropped the title bout to Sean Peacock of Midlakes because he was focused too much on his opponent and not on himself.

“I didn’t get to my gameplan and most importantly, I didn’t get to my offense,” he said. “I needed to force my offense – my shots and my takedowns – and instead I was thinking too much about what he was doing and lost sight of what I do well.”

Since stepping off the mat in Albany, Edgemont coach Peter Jacobson believes Aslanian has made significant improvements, partially due to his offseason wrestling.

The outstanding student made a smooth transition to freestyle, getting his hand raised often. At the Junior Duals in Oklahoma City, Aslanian went 7-1 for Team New York and he won four matches at Fargo. (He was an All-American in North Dakota in 2011).

“There’s great translation from strong freestyle skills to folkstyle skills and Trey has taken that to heart,” Jacobson said.  “He wrestled some really strong matches at the Junior Duals and at Fargo went up against some very high level competition.  I know he feels that he didn’t wrestle as well as he could have, but I can see already that the experience has made him better.”

“I think I grew a lot as a wrestler,” Aslanian added. “I got to wrestle some of the best kids in the country and I think I grew, just getting to see that national competition. I hoped to place or possibly win Fargo and I didn’t have my best performance.  But I know I’ve gotten better.”

In addition to the top-notch opposition and additional practices in places like Vougar’s Honors Wrestling on Long Island, Aslanian’s improvement stems from significant time invested in video study.

“I love watching John Smith,” Aslanian said of the multiple-time NCAA and World Champion who now coaches at Oklahoma State. “He’s always attacking and pushing his offense. I also watch a lot of Ben and Max Askren.  They’re so entertaining with their funk.  Not too many people use the techniques they use.  I learn so much by watching.”

“I think Trey’s biggest strength is the amount of time he puts into honing his craft,” Jacobson added.  “He’s very much a student of the sport.  He watches films of himself and standout wrestlers from around the world.  If you line him up against the best in the state, he won’t be the strongest kid or the best natural athlete.   He’s achieved what he has by working hard to play to his strengths.”

Helping him do that are two other members of his family and team – younger brothers Tyler and Kyle.  Tyler, a junior, was one match from placing a year ago in Albany, while Kyle competed at 99 pounds as an eighth grader.

“It really benefits them to be pretty close in weight.  They can work out at home or can drill whenever and wherever they want,” Jacobson said of the three Aslanians.  “It’s not like the 190-pound older brother wrestling the 120-pound younger brother and expecting it to be beneficial.  Having them all in the room couldn’t be better – they’re supportive of each other with totally different personalities.  Tyler has the ability to make the podium this year and Kyle will make a huge jump.  He’s the best natural athlete of the group and most of the matches he lost last year were size and strength related. He’ll be a full-sized 99 pounder this year and will see more success.”

Trey Aslanian believes more success is in the cards for all of the Aslanian brothers in 2013. (A fourth brother, Wyatt, is in elementary school).

“Last year’s Sectional tournament was probably the most memorable moment for me in my career, with Tyler and I both winning titles,” he said. “That’s probably the best I ever felt in wrestling.  The plan for this year is for all three of us to win.”

But that’s only part of the plan.  Trey Aslanian said he hopes to go undefeated after a 39-2 campaign in 2012, but even that isn’t most important.  There’s one thing he can’t get out of his mind.

“I want to be a state champion,” he said.  “I’ve wanted that ever since I started in this sport in fifth grade.  I think about it every second of every day.”

He’s come close twice before and he knows this is the final opportunity before he heads off to the Ivy League.

“This season is the last of a lot of things,” he said. “I really enjoy wrestling with my brothers and it’s the last time to compete with them.  It’s such a unique situation and I’ll miss it. I want to win states and I know there’s a lot of pressure because it’s now or never.”

Now or never was the situation Realbuto was in during last year’s state finals bout. He trailed by a point with just a few seconds left and it looked like he was going to get the silver again.  But in dramatic fashion, he took Hilton’s Vincent DePrez down as time expired to win.

“I thought it was over just the same as everyone else thought it was,” Askren said. “Some people said Dylan was lucky, but if that’s true then he put himself in the position to be lucky.”

Realbuto and his frequent training partner Aslanian will try to put themselves in that gold medal position in February.  Realbuto will make another leap in weight, according to Askren, going either 126 or 132.  Aslanian, according to Jacobson, is still growing and will be at 120 or 126.

If both are at 126, Section 1 fans hope to have to divide their attention between the mats during the state finals, as they did in 2012, to watch Aslanian and Realbuto both try to complete their careers with a state championship.