Power Path to a Championship: New York's Top Sophomore Christian Dietrich Seeks State Gold

We have been discussing some of the top wrestlers in New York over the past few weeks.  We started with our #1 Junior High School grappler in the state, Penfield eighth grader Frankie Gissendanner (see link),then profiled top freshman Yianni Diakomihalisand discussed other ninth graders to watch.  The following takes a look at wrestler at the head of the sophomore class – Christian Dietrich of Greene.


Wrestling older guys is something Christian Dietrich has done for a long time.  Several years ago, he said he faced the reigning varsity Section 4 runner up at an offseason tournament and won the match.

At the time, he said he was only in fourth grade.

An impressive feat, without a doubt.  But even as a fourth grader, Dietrich was an accomplished wrestler, traveling all over the country to challenge himself.

“We’d do 30 tournaments a year and go to all the big ones,” said Charles Dietrich, Christian’s father. “Tulsa Nationals, Ohio Tournament of Champions, all over.”

Photo by BV

He beat numerous touted opponents, but what set him apart was his willingness to take on anyone and seek out the best competition.

“Christian has never been afraid to lose,” Charles Dietrich said.

That was immediately obvious when he joined the varsity squad at Greene High as a seventh grader.  As the Clyde Cole tournament approached, Dietrich told coach Tim Jenks that he wanted to wrestle Wyoming Seminary’s Eric Morris, a nationally-ranked grappler who is now a freshman at Harvard.

“He lost some weight to make sure he could wrestle Morris,” Jenks said in an interview last year. “He heard about him, knew he was highly ranked nationally and decided he had to wrestle him. That shows you the kind of kid Christian is.  That’s the type of kid you want to coach – the kind that wants the challenge.”

“It was the first high school tournament of my career,” Dietrich said. “I thought it was a chance to see where I was at and what I could do to get better.”

He did lose the bout to Morris, but even at a young age, he came out on top against most high school foes.  In fact, he dominated his way to his first Section 4 title and set out to make waves at the state tournament.

It’s worth noting that in the past six years, only five seventh graders have made the podium at the state championships.  None of the other four (Aaron Paddock in 2011, Tristan Rifanburg in 2010, Corey Rasheed in 2009 or Tim Schaefer in 2008) were above 103 pounds.

None of that mattered to Dietrich, a 152-pounder.

In his first state tournament match, he notched a 17-2 technical fall.  In his next bout, he lost to eventual runner up Brian Walsh before capturing a pair of decisions in the wrestlebacks against seniors to ensure All-State status.  He concluded his seventh grade campaign with a sixth place medal at 152.

“Being at the state tournament was different,” he said. “But I felt like I didn’t have anything to lose, so I just gave it my all.  I think going to the bigger tournaments all my life helped me when I was wrestling kids so much older than me. I was proud of myself afterwards.  But then I got hurt.”

Dietrich suffered a knee injury in the fall and was unable to take the mat at all as an eighth grader for the Trojans.

“It was 10 months of rehab; a really long time,” he said. “I actually had four different operations. It was one thing after another.”

During that time he of course didn’t stay idle.

“I mostly just lifted,” he said. “I did a lot of upper body and followed my team.”

Strength training is another thing Dietrich has been doing for quite some time.  In fact, there’s a youtube video of Dietrich flipping tires with former Johnson City (and current Wyoming Seminary) wrestler Greg Kleinsmith when both were in elementary school.

“I’ve been strength training since I was about 10,” Dietrich said. “I train at IronWorks gym with Dickie White. We do all kinds of things.  I’ve been doing it three times a week for a long time. My last cycle of lifting, I deadlifted 575 pounds for 3 reps, squatted 395 for 3 and benched 285 for 3.”

While he continued to build his strength, he couldn’t wait to get back on the mat as a freshman, looking to pick up where he left off.

“I was anxious to wrestle again,” Dietrich said. “I felt good and ready to go.”

He appeared ready to go from the start, capturing 19 of his first 20 bouts, with just two regular decisions.  (His one loss was to two-time state champion Zack Zupan up at 182).

In mid January, Dietrich entered the prestigious Eastern States Classic as the number four seed.  He quickly dispatched his first three opponents by fall before earning a 13-4 major over Adis Radoncic and a 3-2 decision over Troy Seymour, the top seed in the bracket.  While he dropped the championship contest against Wantagh’s Danny McDevitt, Dietrich showed that he was in the mix for a New York title at 170 pounds.

“Eastern States showed me that I was at the right weight,” Dietrich said. “It showed me how I could do at states since I beat some of the top guys.”

After cruising through the Section 4 tournament, he entered the Times Union Center with a 36-2 mark and the #1 spot in the bracket in Albany.

Dietrich made his way through his first three matches before meeting up with Radoncic for the second time of the season. This time, in the state finals, the outcome was different as Radoncic collected the PSAL’s first-ever NYS crown with a 4-3 decision.

“I was happy to go there as the first seed,” Dietrich said. “It was a little pressure, though, because everyone was out to beat me.  I wasn’t proud of my performance in the finals at all.  I thought I was horrible that day.  I beat him by eight or nine points earlier in the year and I just didn’t wrestle the way I wanted to.”

The state silver medalist didn’t stay frustrated for long, however, as he began to prepare for the next big event.

“I started getting ready for FloNationals,” he said. “I kept wrestling and competing as much as I did during the season.  I thought it was a big opportunity for me because Flo is for all age groups and I wanted to face really tough competition.”

He did.  In fact, in the first three rounds he beat state placers from Pennsylvania and Virginia before topping Michigan gold medalist Teddy Warren. He then faced California state champion [and current North Carolina State freshman] Peter Santos and took control from the opening whistle.

“I felt like I dominated that whole match,” Dietrich said. “I was up by four points in the third when he injury defaulted.”

After losing in the semis, Dietrich rebounded to edge Travis Linton, a current top 100 senior from Ohio, before forfeiting the bronze medal bout due to an injury.

That fourth place showing at FloNationals, in a bracket full of junior and seniors, showed that Dietrich belonged with the nation’s elite.

And people noticed.  Dietrich jumped in the national rankings, currently sitting 11th in the country at 170 pounds and in the top 15 in the Class of 2016 according to both Intermat and Flowrestling.

“I don’t really think about [the rankings],” Dietrich said.  “I don’t want it to get to me.  I’m proud of it, but I know I can always do better.”

He is reminded of that as he tests himself with college level wrestlers on a frequent basis.  He has been a participant at the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club (FLWC) on Cornell’s campus since it began in 2005 and spends plenty of time in Ithaca.

“I’ve been going to FLWC for years,” he said. “I’ve wrestled with the great coaches there for a long time.  Last year, I wrestled a lot with [now Big Red freshmen] Gabe Dean and Taylor Simaz.  There are awesome wrestlers there and to see the higher levels and what I should be doing is awesome.”

Dietrich also finds time to spend on some of his other interests like hunting, fishing and riding four wheelers.  But wrestling is never too far from his mind.

“He’s been working a lot on wrestling smarter and on his technique,” Charles Dietrich said.  “He’s going back to basics and working on his short offense.  What happened in the state finals – he wants to make sure it won’t happen again.”

Dietrich said he may wrestle at 170 pounds again or he may go up to 182.  In either case, he’s ready to not only get back to the title bout at the Times Union Center, but to get his hand raised at the end.

“We weren’t even sure what would happen his ninth grade year after being out for so long,” Charles Dietrich said. “This year, he’s as a strong as an ox and he’s feeling good.  We’re hoping for another great year.”


Cornell's Mark Grey Earns Second Trip to Junior World Championships … And More from the Junior World Team Trials

Mark Grey represented the United States at the Junior World Championships in 2011, taking fifth at 55 kg. After his stellar performance in Stillwater, Oklahoma on Sunday, he’ll once again aim for a Junior World title as he earned the 60 kg spot on Team USA with a perfect day in a loaded field.

Grey began with an 8-3 decision over Earl Hall, a 2012 World Team member who spent the last year at the Olympic Training Center. He followed with a hard fought 6-4 triumph over former Blair Academy teammate Joey McKenna, the eventual third place finisher.

Grey, photos.nj.com

That put Grey into the best-of-three championship series against Zane Richards of Illinois. At the recent FILA Junior Nationals in Las Vegas in the spring, the two grapplers met for bronze, with Richards coming away with a 2-0, 5-1 victory.

Grey turned the tables on Sunday, capturing the opening bout 5-4. In the second contest, Richards got off to a strong start, but Grey rebounded to win 6-4 and punch his ticket to Bulgaria, where the World championships will be held in August.

Grey will be a freshman at Cornell in the fall, as will three other wrestlers who placed at the event, including a pair at 74 kg/163 pounds.

Dylan Palacio went directly to the championship series after his FILA Junior National crown in Las Vegas. He faced Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State, who took third at the NCAAs in March. On Sunday, the Cowboy defeated Palacio in two matches to take the World Team slot.

In order to get to the championship series against Palacio, Dieringer squared off with another future Big Red wrestler in the title bout of the Challenge Tournament – Brian Realbuto. Realbuto had a strong showing with a 4-1 record. He started with a 7-0 win over McCoy Newburg and followed with a 6-4 decision over Yoanse Mejias. He then came out on top of two high scoring affairs, a 20-13 triumph over Dylan Reel and a 15-10 victory over Isaiah Martinez.

Another Cornellian, Gabe Dean, dropped his opener at 84 kg/185 pounds, but bounced back with three consecutive wins, by a combined score of 24-4, to get to the bronze bout before taking fourth in the Challenge Tournament.

Those weren’t the only Ivy Leaguers to have success on Sunday. Columbia recruit Garrett Ryan notched second in the 120 kg Challenge bracket after defeating the second seed, Brooks Black, 8-6 in the semifinals.

On the Greco side, a pair of New Yorkers took third place in the Challenge event. Jessy Williams, a Section 4 native, grabbed bronze at 60 kg, while Warsaw state champion Burke Paddock did the same at 74 kg. Paddock came back from a first round loss to score 22 points in his consolation matches on his way to third.

Hofstra’s Jamel Hudson recorded two technical falls at 60 kg in freestyle during a 2-2 day in which both setbacks came against third placer Joey McKenna.

For full results, see here.

University Nationals Freestyle Recap: Cam Simaz, Jamel Hudson and Nick Gwiazdowski Among the NY Placers



The final day of the 2013 ASICS FILA University National Tournament could best be described as something of an up-and-down affair for the contingent from the Empire State. Beginning Sunday morning with eight wrestlers still in contention for gold and an additional 17 grapplers still alive in the consolation brackets, at first glance, when you see that New York was only able to secure seven placement finishes, it might strike you as slightly underwhelming. However, to focus only on the quantity instead of the quality would be to overlook the fact that there were more than a few solid efforts put forth.

Leading the way for the group from New York with a runner-up finish at the 84 kg weight class was 2012 NCAA National Champion, Cam Simaz, formerly of Cornell University and now wrestling on behalf of the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club. Opening the second day of freestyle competition by cruising to victories in the quarterfinal (13-6 over Lehigh’s Nathaniel Brown) and semifinal (10-0 over Alex Meyer of the University of Iowa) rounds, the four-time Division I All-American from Allegan, Michigan would be the lone wrestler with ties to New York to advance to the best 2-of-3 title series. In the championship, Simaz would be pitted with the two-time defending National Champion, Ed Ruth, of Penn State fame. Attempting to dictate pace and wear out his opponent, as he did countless times while competing for the Big Red, Simaz would continually push forward. However, in the end, as hard as he worked, he simply would not have an answer for Ruth’s superhuman athleticism, dropping the series in straight matches, 6-4 and 10-0.

Simaz’s silver medal showing would not be the only cause for celebration among the Cornell faithful as four other present or future members of the Ithaca based, Ivy League institution’s squad would also earn their way onto the podium with top-8 finishes. Posting 5th place performances at 60 kg and 79 kg respectively were incoming freshman Mark Grey and junior Jesse Shanaman. Both 10-0 technical winners in the quarterfinal round over opponents who were 2013 NCAA National Tournament qualifiers, the former teammates at Blair Academy who will be reunited next fall would see their title hopes dashed in the semifinal round when they were defeated by the eventual champions in their weight classes, Tyler Graff of Wisconsin (6-2 over Grey) and Oklahoma’s Andrew Howe (10-0 over Shanaman). Second consecutive losses to Joe Colon (12-11 over Grey) and Tyler Wilps (13-4 against the upperclassman from Blairstown) would send each to the 5th place bout where they would end their weekend on a high note. Grey would dominate Jade Rauser 11-0, while Shanaman would receive a forfeit.

An individual who fell just short of matching his teammates’s top-5 finish would be Gabe Dean. The only placewinner of the seven who was not in the morning’s quarterfinals, Dean would peel off four straight wins in the consolation bracket to ensure himself a spot on the medal stand. Unfortunately, after notching a very impressive ‘w’over 2013 EIWA Conference Champion, Brown of Lehigh (same person Simaz beat in the quarters) by injury default (Dean led 6-1 at the time of the stoppage), the native of the Great Lakes State (Michigan) would be upended in his last two matches of the tournament, losing a 3-1 decision in the consolation semifinals to Pittsburgh redshirt sophomore, Max Thomusseit, and then dropping a heartbreaker in the match for 5th, 6-5 to the Hawkeye, Meyer.

Duke Pickett would be the final Cornell placewinner, finishing 8th at 79 kg.

Rounding out the list of placewinners for New York would be a pair of former Scholastic State Wrestler of the Year recipients, 2012 honoree Jamel Hudson (currently a true freshman at Hofstra) and the man who preceded him in winning the top honor, Nick Gwiazdowski, an All-American in 2012 who sat out the 2012/2013 season following a transfer from Binghamton to North Carolina State.

Sharing the highest finish of any Empire State representative not named Simaz, Hudson and “Gwiz” would claim bronze at the 63 and 120 kg weight classes, respectively. In what seemingly was a bit of a running pattern, in similar fashion to Grey and Shanaman, both the Pride student-athlete and the Wolfpack member would lose to the eventual champions in their bracket, Clarion’s Sam Sherlock (11-1 over Hudson) and Tyrell Fortune (8-0 over Gwiazdowski). However, these would be the only blemishes on otherwise immensely strong resumes that witnessed each win three matches over game opponents. Hudson would earn the bronze with an 8-2 (match not as close as the score) decision over Bloomsburg’s Matthew Rappo, while Gwiazdowski would rally from a 5-0 deficit to record the last seven points of the match to slay Austin Marsden, the polished big man from Oklahoma State who would have been an All-American contender this season if not for the fact that he was stuck on the Cowboy bench behind Alan Gelogaev (3rd at the NCAAs this season).

Full results can be found by visiting TrackWrestling.com

Pop & Flo National Duals: X-Cel Takes Third … and Much More from Lake Placid

A year after winning the tournament championship, X-Cel once again made a strong impression at the Pop & Flo National Duals with a third place showing.

“I really feel that the kids showed tremendous heart to come back and win against a team full of PA studs to take third,” said X-Cel coach Nick Garone. “But we felt that we went up there with the best team and still feel that way. The guys are really disappointed, but to go out of the tournament with a win in our last match was nice, especially for all of our seniors.”

The squad opened with three consecutive triumphs on Saturday to make the semifinal round against Iron Horse, the eventual champions.

In the semis, the New Jersey club got off to a fast start, capturing four of the first six bouts, including two pins, to take a lead that would never be relinquished in a 30-25 result. (One of those falls for Iron Horse was by Section 1 star John Muldoon of Pearl River, who was joined by fellow New Yorker Dale White on the title-winning team).

In the bronze bout, X-Cel rebounded to defeat Pennsylvania’s Young Guns despite dropping the first four bouts to fall behind 14-0. (The dual began at 130 pounds).

However, X-Cel took over from there, beginning with a 7-3 win by Connetquot’s Brendan Dent at 152. It was the first of seven consecutive victories for the Long Islanders, as Corey Rasheed picked up a forfeit at 160 and Steven Schneider (170), Gio Santiago (182) and Steven Mills (225) notched decisions. Putting up key bonus points were Chris Chambers (195) and Mike Hughes (285), who both recorded falls. After the heavyweight bout, X-Cel had turned a large deficit into a 30-14 lead.

“Brendan Dent started us off with a win, and that was great,” Garone said. “All our guys stepped up. Chambers had a really nice throw to get the pin and Hughes just worked the kid, kept working and working. At the end of the second, he closed it out with a really big pin for us. We knew were in good shape going into the lower half, even if we lost a few. Travis Passaro (125) ended the match with a really big one, beating the NHSCA National champ Josh Patrick in overtime, 1-0.”

It was one of many quality wins Garone pointed to from the two-day event. Those triumphs and the overall experience had Garone already talking about the return trip to Lake Placid in 2014.

“Everyone played a key role for us,” Garone said. “It’s a great bunch of guys. To take third at that tournament – it’s nothing to sneeze at. But it’s not what we wanted. Trust me when I tell you that we’ll work all year to get back to the top of the national scene.”


X-Cel was the highest placing team from New York in the field, but many other Empire State squads had success over the weekend.

The 32 teams in the high school competition were split into four divisions after the opening round matches. Here’s a rundown of the results for New York:

X-Cel wasn’t the only New York team in the “A” bracket, as Journeymen Black took eighth. The host squad won its first two duals against Pioneer and Doughboy Black on Saturday to make the quarterfinals before falling to a pair of Pennsylvania groups – Young Guns and Dark Knights. In the seventh place dual, Smitty’s Barn came out on top 41-22.

“B” Bracket (For the teams that lost in the first round of the “A” Championship bracket)

631 Elite began the experience in Lake Placid with a setback against the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club 39-28, but then went on a winning streak, taking three in a row over Atlas, Razor and Catamount to earn a spot in the title bout of the “B” Bracket. During that run, the team’s smallest margin of victory was 22 points.

The Long Island-based group kept it going, besting Apex II for the top spot in the “B” Division and finished the weekend with a 4-1 record. Picking up wins in the final dual for 631 were Matteo Devincenzo (106), Jesse Dellavecchia (113), Joe Calderone (120), Jack Taddeo (130), Jimmy Leach (135), Dennis Ferro (152), Dylan Kane (160) and Vincent Feola (225).

Also placing in the same bracket were Iowa Style Black (fourth) and Razor (eighth). Iowa Style notched triumphs against Barre Wrestling Club and Doughboy Gold by a commanding combined score of 102-43 after an initial loss.

Razor was eighth, collecting a win over Metrowest United in Round 2, led by a pin by Chaz Leo at 225 and four major decisions.

“C” Bracket (For the teams that won in Round 1 and lost in Round 2 in the “A” Championship bracket)

In this bracket, Empire State teams claimed third through eighth places.

Cobra took the bronze after getting past Finger Lakes Wrestling Club 33-28, winning nine of the bouts. The contest featured a pair of two point decisions between All-State wrestlers as William Koll topped Kellen Devlin 2-0 at 125 and Vincent Deprez edged Connor Lapresi in sudden victory, 3-1, at 152. Both of those squads were 2-2 heading into their clash in the third place tilt.

Meanwhile, Ascend recorded fifth with a 55-9 victory over Journeymen Gold. It was the third dual win of the weekend for the Nassau County-based club, led by undefeated wrestlers Chris Koo and Jaison White.

In another battle of New Yorkers, Cellar Dwellers picked up seventh with a 53-10 decision over Iowa Style Gold. The Cellar Dweller squad began and ended the tournament with wins.

“D” Bracket

Port Jervis grabbed third, finishing with a 37-33 triumph over Metrowest United. The Section 9 squad also topped Powers Forty High 33-15 in its third meet of the weekend.

For full results, see tournaflex.com.

New York Sees Success at Northeast Regionals in Freestyle, Including Titles by Grey, Malmberg, Simaz, Vallimont and Flores (Among Others)

Wrestlers in a wide range of ages took the mat on Saturday in Pennsylvania for the Northeast Regional Freestyle championships.  New York had success across the groups, boasting first place finishers in the Novice, Schoolboy, Junior Women and Senior competitions.

Simaz, Photo by BV

Leading the way in the Senior division was the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club (FLWC) which featured three titlewinners and two third place finishers.  Standing on top of the podium were Lucas Malmberg at 55 kg, Mark Grey at 60 and Cam Simaz at 84.  Malmberg didn’t give up a point in his matches, while Grey eased his way through the competition with a technical fall and pin in the semifinals and finals, respectively.  Meanwhile, Simaz defeated Enock Francois of the West Point Wrestling Club for the crown, a wrestler who placed at the U.S. Open recently in Las Vegas.  Grabbing bronze for the FLWC were Alex Cisneros at 66 kg and Gabe Dean at 84.

Blue & Gold Wrestling Club also made a very strong showing, with Hofstra assistant coach Dan Vallimont winning at 74 kg.  He was joined on the medal stand by a trio of Pride grapplers that took second place – Jamie Franco (63 kg), Luke Vaith (70) and Frank Affronti (79).

A number of New York natives also made an impact on Saturday in the Senior action.  Monsignor Farrell alum Kevin Hartnett was the champion at 70 kg. In addition, former state champions Sean McCabe (4th at 60), Maverick Passaro (4th at 63) and Anthony Volpe (third at  79) all placed, as did Shenendehowa graduate Cole Lampman (second at 120) and Buffalo All-American Kyle Cerminara (champion at 96). In the same bracket as Cerminara, St. Anthony’s coach Antoni Walters notched fourth.

In the novice competition, five New Yorkers made the podium, including first place finisher Andrew Grechko at 130 pounds.  Meanwhile, in Schoolboy action, a trio of Empire State grapplers made the finals, with Tyrese Byron defeating Mack Berkowitz for the 136 pound title.

Numerous New Yorkers earned medals in the Cadet brackets, including 145-pound runner up Joseph Clemente.  Taking bronze at the Cadet level were John Busiello (106), Leonard Merkin (138), Jesse Porter (152) and Jacob Woolson (170).

Making trips to the finals in the Junior division were Alpha Diallo (113), Burke Paddock (160), Andrew Psomas (170) and Nick Weber (195).  Paddock defeated 2012 Fargo freestyle champion Anthony Collica of Ohio on his way to the title bout.  Those wrestlers all took silver, while several others notched bronze (Trevor Hoffmier at 152, Daniel Smith at 170, Thomas Murray at 195, Richard Duermeyer at 220 and Quasar Hampton at 285).

While New York didn’t have a gold medalist in the Men’s Junior action, the Empire State had plenty of crowns on the women’s side.  Those titlewinners included Ronnie Green (97), Katherine Sumner (105), Jennifer Juarez (117), Samantha Ouye-Gonzalez (121), Karen Koag (125), Rosemary Flores (139), Idalis Graciano (148), Destane Garrick (159), Fataya Larry (172) and Mariana Olalde (198).

For the full results, see http://www.trackwrestling.com.  For Sunday’s Greco summary, see This link.

For the New York results summary in Freestyle, see below:

Novice Placewinners

70: Logan Gumble, 4th

80: Nathan Lehr, 3rd

85: Daniel Butavicius, 5th

130: Andrew Grechko, 1st

130: Shavail Bond, 2nd


Schoolboy Placewinners

136: Tyrese Byron, 1st

136: Mack Berkowitz, 2nd

160: Vito Smolyak, 2nd


Cadet Placewinners

106: John Busiello, 3rd

138: Leonard Merkin, 3rd

145: Joseph Clemente, 2nd

145: Logan Brunick, 4th

152: Jesse Porter, 3rd

170: Jacob Woolson, 3rd


Junior Placewinners

113: Alpha Diallo, 2nd

120: Ryan Burns, 4th

126: Trey Aslanian, 4th

138: Anthony Messina, 4th

145: Codie Gillette, 4th

152: Trevor Hoffmier, 3rd

160: Burke Paddock, 2nd

170: Andrew Psomas, 2nd

170: Daniel Smith, 3rd

182: Cedrick Stephens, 4th

195: Nick Weber, 2nd

195: Thomas Murray, 3rd

220: Richard Duermeyer, 3rd

220: Paul Herrera, 4th

285: Quasar Hampton, 3rd

285: Mark Ifraimov, 4th


Junior Women Placewinners:

97: Ronnie Green, 1st

105: Katherine Sumner, 1st

105: Estrella Velez, 2nd

112: Lissette Ruiz, 2nd

112: Alexandria Salmos, 3rd

112: Ana Salanor, 4th

117: Jennifer Juarez, 1st

117: Susan Yang, 3rd

121: Samantha Ouye-Gonzalez, 1st

121: Keandra Weekes, 2nd

125: Karen Koag, 1st

125: Miranda Gilbert, 2nd

125: Jerra Kohlbrenner, 3rd

125: Leslie Schoberl, 4th

139: Rosemary Flores, 1st

139: Tracy Smith, 3rd

139: Shirley Duman, 4th

139: Shannon Henry, 5th

148: Idalis Graciano, 1st

148: Sashoya Williams, 2nd

159: Destane Garrick, 1st

159: Vivian Vu, 3rd

172: Fataya Larry, 1st

172: April Duncan, 2nd

198: Mariana Olalde, 1st

198: Bria McLaurin, 2nd


Senior Placewinners – NY-Related Wrestlers in Bold Italics

Senior – 55
1st Place – Lucas Malmberg of FLWC (Marathon HS)
2nd Place – Desmond Moore of Lehigh Valley Athletic Club
3rd Place – Jan Rosenberg of SKWC

Senior – 60
1st Place – Mark Grey of FLWC 
2nd Place – Jake Calhoun of Modern Day Gladiators
3rd Place – Bryan Heller of Triumph
4th Place – Sean McCabe of SKWC (Connetquot HS)

Senior – 63
1st Place – Vinnie DelleFave of Unattached
2nd Place – Jamie Franco of Blue & Gold WC
3rd Place – Matt Bryer of Mat-Town
4th Place – Maverick Passaro of SKWC (Eastport South Manor HS)

Senior – 66
1st Place – Rollie Peterkin of New York Athletic Club
2nd Place – Mike Depalma of Edinboro Scotsman Club
3rd Place – Alex Cisneros of FLWC
4th Place – Daniel White of White wrestling

Senior – 70
1st Place – Kevin Hartnett of Husky wrestling club
2nd Place – Luke Vaith of Blue & Gold Wrestling Club
3rd Place – Michael Testen of Husky wrestling club
4th Place – Nicholas Maselli of PAWS RTC

Senior – 74
1st Place – Dan Vallimont of Blue & Gold Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Nestor Taffur of Brickhouse
3rd Place – Brandon Rolnick of PAWS RTC
4th Place – Casey Fuller of Edinboro Scotsman Club

Senior – 79
1st Place – Michael Dessino of Husky wrestling club
2nd Place – Frank Affronti of Blue & Gold Wrestling Club (Wayne HS)
3rd Place – Anthony Volpe of Unattached (Rocky Point HS)

Senior – 84
1st Place – Cameron Simaz of FLWC
2nd Place – Enock Francois of West Point Wrestling Club
3rd Place – Gabe Dean of FLWC
4th Place – Scott Gibbons of PAWS RTC

Senior – 96
1st Place – Kyle Cerminara of NYSS
2nd Place – Dan Seidenberg of SKWC
3rd Place – Donald Mcneil of Broncs Wrestling Club
4th Place – Antoni Walters of Quiet Storm East

Senior – 120
1st Place – Billy Smith of Clarkstown
2nd Place – Cole Lampman of PAWS RTC (Shenendehowa HS)
3rd Place – Lex Knapp of SKWC


'Back from Hiatus': Dylan Palacio Rebounds from Injuries to Win National Title

In the third period of his 74 kg (163 pound) semifinals match at the FILA Junior Freestyle National Championships, Dylan Palacio fell behind 3-1 against Patrick Rhodes of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. And he heard a voice screaming out of the Iowa corner.

“Tom Brands was yelling to his guy talking about me, saying, ‘he’s broke, he’s broke,’” Palacio said. “It was gut check time. I just went after it. You can’t believe for a second that you’ll lose.”

Photo by BV

Palacio started to rack up points, including a takedown with just a few seconds left to seal a 6-3 win in the final stanza and a trip to the title bout.

“After the match, I shook [Brands’s] hand and said, ‘I don’t ever break,’” Palacio recalled.

He certainly didn’t over the weekend.

In the championship, Palacio was matched up against Bison Wrestling Club’s Matthew Gray, in a rematch of the 160 pound third place bout at the Junior National Freestyle Championships last summer in North Dakota. Gray won that one in straight periods.

“He worked me last year at Fargo. He beat me up,” Palacio said.

Gray began strong again, taking the first period by a 3-0 score. But Palacio said he felt this time would be different.

“I wasn’t worried, I had a big smile on my face,” he said. “I knew who he was and was actually okay with my first period because I was feeling him out and figuring out what I needed to do the rest of the match. I knew I could make the adjustments – heavy on the head, more attacks, especially single legs. It paid off.”

In the middle stanza, Gray struck first with a takedown, but Palacio tied it up with about 1:30 left, to take the 1-1 “lead”. Gray came at Palacio with a significant charge, looking to move ahead with a pushout, however the former Long Beach star somehow found a way to stay in bounds to win the period.

“It was like a 360 tiptoe move,” Palacio said. “That’s just all heart right there. I think in retrospect, that’s why I won. Not giving up and circling on that line. He used all his energy for the push and in a way, that was the match.”

Palacio used a takedown and a two-point exposure to go ahead 3-0 in the third and when time expired, he had a 4-2 victory and a national title.

It was a stark contrast to where the former Section 8 standout was in February.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “Not that long ago, I was on a medical table at Edinboro with a torn MCL. I was hurt a lot this year and I was feeling frustrated and skeptical about my future. I won’t forget the people who encouraged me and believed, because without them, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

Palacio acknowledged that his run over the weekend may be a surprise to some, because of the limited tournament action he saw with the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club over the past year. (He said he took part in less than 10 official bouts).  But he added that people didn’t know what he was doing behind the scenes.

“You don’t need to wrestle 100 matches to get better,” he said. “I may not have wrestled a lot of matches, but I was lifting and improving a lot in practice. And I was wrestling the way I wanted to – calm, not crazy, not sloppy. I was moving well, working my scores. And now I’m healthier. I’m back from hiatus.”

He’s back for a lot of reasons, but he pointed to some people he said were essential.

“I hit the lottery having Cam Simaz and Frankie Perrelli in my corner,” he said of his coaches at the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club. “They complement each other so well as and they helped me go in the right direction. I didn’t really know how to wrestle when I got to Ithaca, I hadn’t lifted weights, there were a lot of things I didn’t know. But they saw the potential and never gave up on me.”

So immediately after his hand was raised on Saturday, Palacio said he ran off the mat and hugged Perrelli and Simaz and the other supporters in attendance. And he pointed up at the sky to acknowledge another inspiration.

“It was my best friend’s birthday about a week ago,” he said. “He passed away a few years ago. I believe he watches over me and I won this for him. The plaque I won is his birthday present. I’ll bring it to his memorial when I get home.”

There are lots of things for Palacio to do when he gets back to the East Coast. He said he knows he has a lot to learn from his coaches. And he said he “can always learn something from Kyle [Dake]– whether it’s lifting, running, drilling or just how to act. I’m willing to admit that’s who I want to be like.”

The Long Island native said he can’t wait to start his freshman year at Cornell and has visualized being announced as a starter for the Big Red at the Friedman Center for the first time. (He has his entrance song all picked out).

While there’s still plenty to demonstrate before getting to that point, Palacio feels like he’s now on his way.

“From where I was a month ago to now — things can change so quickly,” he said. “It feels so good to be a national champion but I’ll keep going. The goal is to be an NCAA champ. This is just a stepping stone.”

Palacio Captures the Championship; Grey, Realbuto, Hudson and Dean All Place at the FILA Junior Freestyle Nationals

Dylan Palacio captured a FILA Juniors National championship on Saturday at 74 kg (163 pounds) after collecting five victories in Las Vegas, including a three period win in the title bout against Matthew Gray of Bison Wrestling Club.

Joining him on the medal stand were three additional grapplers from the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club – Mark Grey (4th at 60 kg), Brian Realbuto (6th at 74 kg) and Gabe Dean (8th at 84 kg).

Also representing the Empire State with a medal was Blue and Gold Wrestling Club’s Jamel Hudson, who earned sixth place at 66 kg.

Palacio, Photo by BV

Palacio’s title run opened with a pair of pins before he took out returning placer Isaac Jordan of the Badger Wrestling Club 5-2, 6-1.  In the semifinals against Hawkeye Wrestling Club’s Patrick Rhoads, he dropped the opening period 3-0 but rebounded to grab the second 3-1, fueled by some early pushouts.  In the third, he fell behind again but came back to win 6-3 and punch his ticket to the finals.

In that first place contest, Palacio lost the first stanza 3-0, and gave up a takedown early in the second to fall behind.  However, the former Section 8 standout took over from there, tying it up with about 1:30 left.  He then tiptoed the line to avoid a late pushout by Gray to win the stanza 1-1 (by virtue of scoring last).

In the decisive final period, Palacio moved ahead with a takedown and tacked on two points for exposure to grab a 3-0 advantage.  Gray responded with a pushout to make it 3-1, but the Long Beach native shot a single leg and drove his opponent out of bounds to take a 4-1 lead with about 40 seconds to go.  A late takedown made the final score closer, but Palacio got his hand raised and a national title.

His future Cornell teammates Grey and Dean earned their spots on the podium the hard way, as both lost in the opening round before going on long winning streaks during the day.

In a back-and-forth match with a lot of scoring, Grey began the tournament with a loss to eventual champion Ben Whitford of Michigan. However, he bounced back with a technical fall over Jake Marr, followed by six more victories to earn his spot in the third place bout, where he was defeated by Zane Richards.  Along the way, he notched a number of impressive wins, including a 6-1, 6-0 decision over highly regarded Cory Clark of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

Meanwhile, Dean also faced a high placer in Round 1 – Sam Brooks of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club (4th). After that tilt, Dean captured five in a row, including four in straight periods, to get onto the medal stand at 84 kg (185 pounds).

Realbuto opened with a win over Patriot Elite’s Ryan Forrest before dropping a decision to Micah Barnes of NWTC.  The Section 1 native then went on winning streak, picking up four consecutive victories on his way to sixth place.

In 2012, both Palacio and Realbuto were New York State champions as seniors in high school.  The same was true of Jamel Hudson, who redshirted for Hofstra this year.

Hudson also stood out in Nevada on Saturday, grabbing sixth at 66 kg (145.5 pounds). The former St. Anthony’s grappler began with a technical fall before falling to eventual champion Jason Tsirtsis.  However, he went on a tear in the consolations, winning six in a row and not yielding a single point in four of those matches.

FILA Junior Freestyle Placers (Saturday)

60 kg: Mark Grey (Finger Lakes Wrestling Club) – 4th

66 kg: Jamel Hudson (Blue and Gold Wrestling Club) – 6th

74 kg: Dylan Palacio (Finger Lakes Wrestling Club) – 1st

74 kg: Brian Realbuto (Finger Lakes Wrestling Club) – 6th

84 kg: Gabe Dean (Finger Lakes Wrestling Club) – 8th

In Friday’s FILA Junior Greco competition, Columbia University had several representatives on the podium as Connor Sutton, Chris Loew and Matthew Idelson all placed in the top six.  Also making their presence felt were Cheektowoga’s Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, who was fifth at 63 kg and former Section 4 wrestler Jessy Williams, who notched 6th.

FILA Junior Greco Placers (Friday)

60 kg: Jessy Williams (NYAC/USOEC, Windsor) – 6th Place
63 kg: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Buffalo Grapplers, Cheektowoga) – 5th Place
70 kg: Connor Sutton (NYAC Harlem, Columbia) – 4th Place
84 kg: Chris Loew (NYAC Harlem, Columbia) – 6th Place
96 kg: Matthew Idelson (NYAC Harlem, Columbia) – 5th Place

Catching Up With Cornell's Cam Simaz as He Returns to Competition at the U.S. Open

In his last match in a Cornell singlet, Cam Simaz defeated Edinboro’s Chris Honeycutt to capture the 2012 197-pound NCAA crown. The title capped off a stellar career for the Michigan native, who was a four-time All American and a four-time EIWA champion.

This week, Simaz will return to competition as he takes the mat at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas in freestyle. We caught up with Cam to hear more about what he’s been doing for the past year and what the future may hold.

New York Wrestling News (NYWN): You’re entered in the U.S. Open Freestyle tournament this week at 84 kg (185 pounds). I know at some point you were considering going up to 96 kg (211.5 pounds) for freestyle competition. What were the big factors in your decision?

Cam Simaz (CS): I thought I was going up. I lifted and ate and did that whole thing, but I just didn’t get that much bigger. I felt like I got pretty fat when I tipped the scales at 205, maybe at 208. It’s easy for ’84’ pounders and ’65’ pounders, who know exactly what freestyle weights they’ll go. But most of us ’97s’ are tweeners anyway. We have to make a decision. Unfortunately, for me and my diet, I felt like I had to go down to give myself the best chance to compete. I’m working on cutting weight right now. The first time it feels like a lot. But with freestyle, you weigh in the day before and then you can eat all night and all morning and then wrestle.

NYWN: You spent the last year in Ithaca, coaching at the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club. How much time have you spent training in freestyle?

CS: Probably a couple of weeks. I’m a coach now and I’ve been focused on that. My priority was to get the Finger Lakes college kids ready to go for tournaments. So most of what I did was wrestling collegiate style. I have the itch to wrestle again and I’m excited to get back on the mat. But I know it will be a learning curve for me and that there will be a lot of adapting and transitioning. I hope to catch on quickly.

NYWN: So this will be your first freestyle tournament in a while. What kind of outcome will you be happy with?

Photo by BV

CS: It is going to be business and pleasure for me. I’m going out to wrestle myself and to coach the Finger Lakes guys, who I think will do really well.

For me, the results will be a byproduct of wrestling well. I’m guessing whatever results I get are probably what they should be at this point. This is the beginning. I plan to spend the rest of the summer wrestling freestyle and going to as many tournaments as I can. I hope I’ll get shipped around the world a little bit to compete against wrestlers from all over.

NYWN: Who have been your primary training partners?

CS: I’ve done some training with Clint Wattenberg, Damion Hahn, Duke Pickett, Steve Bosak. But I mostly wrestled with my college guys, especially [incoming Cornell freshman] Gabe Dean. I think he’s as good as I am in freestyle already.

NYWN: You mentioned Gabe Dean, who placed in a number of open tournaments this year. Other Finger Lakes wrestlers such as Mark Grey and Brian Realbuto won some events as well. What has the experience been like coaching some future Big Red wrestlers this year?

CS: It has been awesome, all the time. All of the guys are grossly talented. It’s the best recruiting class ever at Cornell without a doubt. All those guys are freaks already. My job was to not screw them up.

NYWN: Among the wrestlers you coached was your brother Taylor. What was that experience like?

CS: He’s been awesome. People always say things are better with family around and that’s definitely true. When we were growing up, my brothers were my best friends and things haven’t changed. It wasn’t hard for me to coach him because I’ve been doing it my whole life. I feel like I have a pretty critical eye, and it may be more critical when there’s blood involved. It’s been great with Taylor here.

NYWN: You spent a year at the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club after high school like some of the guys you coached this year. Is the experience now different than it was for you?

CS: Definitely. It has changed so much over the years. Now there’s organization, a lifting regimen, a plan. Corey Manson and I were kind of guinea pigs. It was the two of us and we’d just wrestle each other when we had free time. We were working full time jobs and I’d just call him and ask him if he wanted to wrestle and that was about it. It was a fun experience, but things have come a long way and I think the results have shown that.

NYWN: So after freestyle this summer, what’s next for you?

CS: When I look into my Magic 8 Ball and ask about my future, it comes back pretty cloudy. I don’t really know, but whatever it is, I’m sure it will be good. I have nothing to complain about here at Cornell. I guess other than the weather sometimes. I’ve had the time of my life here and am enjoying the ride.

Frank Perrelli will also be competing at the Freestyle U.S. Open after coaching at the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club (FLWC) this year. Perrelli will be at 55 kg (121.5 pounds).

Wrestling for the FLWC in the ASICS FILA Junior Nationals freestyle tournament:
Mark Grey 60 kg (132.25 pounds)
Dylan Palacio 74 kg (163)
Duke Pickett 74 kg (163)
Brian Realbuto 74 kg (163)
Taylor Simaz 74 kg (163)
Gabe Dean 84 kg (185)

Long Island 27, Upstate 27 – Results from Saturday's Challenge


Long Island 27, Upstate 27

99 pounds: Yianni Diakomihalis (U) dec John Busiello (LI), 9-3 Upstate leads 3-0

285 pounds: Mike Hughes (LI) dec El Shaddai Van Hoesen (U), 5-4 Tied at 3

106 pounds: Jon Haas (U) dec Kyle Quinn (LI), 7-4 Upstate leads 6-3

220 pounds: Mike Silvis (U) dec Steven Mills (LI), 7-3 Upstate leads 9-3

LI loses team point

113 pounds: Nick Piccininni (LI) dec Anthony Orefice (U), 6-0  Upstate leads 9-5

195 pounds: Reggie Williams (U) win by fall Dan Choi (LI) Upstate leads 15-5

120 pounds: Travis Passaro (LI) major Alex Delacruz (U), 17-7 Upstate leads 15-9

182 pounds: Gio Santiago (LI) win by fall Tim Schaefer (U), Tied at 15

126 pounds: William Koll (U) dec TJ Fabian (LI), 5-4 Upstate leads 18-15

170 pounds: Dan McDevitt (LI) major Jake Weber (U), 14-4 LI leads 19-18

132 pounds: Brandon Lapi (U) dec Chris Mauriello (LI), 6-0 Upstate leads 21-19

160 pounds: Burke Paddock (U) dec Tyler Grimaldi (LI), 9-5 Upstate leads 24-19

138 pounds: Connor Lapresi (U) dec Vinny Turano (LI), 5-0 Upstate leads 27-19

152 pounds: Corey Rasheed (LI) tech fall Kevin Thayer (U), 15-0 Upstate leads 27-24

145 pounds: Brendan Dent (LI) dec Vincent DePrez (U), 5-4 Tied at 27

Section 5 41, Finger Lakes Wrestling Club 29

120- Sean Peacock (Midlakes) tech fall Kaleb Stone (Tioga), Section 5 leads 5-0

126- Lou Deprez (Hilton) major Ryan Snow (General Brown), Section 5 leads 9-0

132- Frankie Gissendanner (Penfield) major Jesse Manuel (Tioga), 15-7, Section 5 leads 13-0

138- Trevor Hoffmier (Newark Valley) dec Vinny Romeo (Canandaigua), 8-5, Section 5 leads 13-3

145- Jordan Torbitt (Whitney Point) win by fall Skylar Kropman (Penfield), Section 5 leads 13-9

152- Anthony Deprez (Hilton) dec Tyler Silverthorn (General Brown), 7-5, Sec 5 leads 16-9

160- Josh Powell (Churchville Chili) dec Leland Slawson (Unatego), 4-2, Sec 5 leads 19-9

170- Christian Dietrich (Greene) major Jared Mesiti (Brockport), 12-4, Sec 5 leads 19-13

182- Shayne Brady (Carthage) win by fall Max Kowal (Webster Thomas), 19-19 Tie

195- Collin Pittman (Spencerport) win by fall Andrew Barnhart (Whitney Point), Sec 5 leads 25-19

220- Ryan Wolcott (Waverly) major Sam Eagan (Churchville), 14-6, Sec 5 leads 25-23

Hwt- Ian James (Greece) win by fall Connor Calkins (Alfred-Almond), Sec 5 leads 31-23

99- Brandon Gould (Watkins Glen) win by fall Parker Kropman (Penfield), Sec 5 leads 31-29

106- Andrew Flanagan (Holley) major Jackson Bell (Owego), Sec 5 leads 35-29

113- Bryan Lantry (Wayne) win by fall Zack Ruggles (Marcellus), Sec 5 wins 41-29

First Annual Long Island/Upstate Challenge Coming Up This Saturday in Ithaca!

Courtesy of Finger Lakes Wrestling Club

Ithaca, NY– The Finger Lakes Wrestling Club will host the 1st Annual Long Island/Upstate Challenge on Saturday, March 30, 2013, at Cornell University’s Friedman Wrestling Center.

The Long Island/Upstate Challenge is the newest premier high school wrestling event in the state of New York. The match has attracted some of the best high school wrestlers in the Empire State, in a two dual meet format. The preliminary dual pits some of the best wrestlers from the central New York area representing the host club the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club against the Rochester-based team Section V at 2:00 PM. This match will feature two state champions (Shayne Brady (FLWC)) and Sean Peacock (V)) and three state finalists (Ryan Snow (FLWC), Ryan Wolcott (FLWC) and Christian Dietrich (FLWC)).

Rasheed, Photo by BV

The feature match of the evening at 4:30 PM showcases the best-of-the-best high school wrestlers from across the upstate New York area challenging the Long Island elite, featuring fourteen current or former state champions. The highlight of this dual will be three matches between 2013 Division I vs. Division II state titlewinners: 126 TJ Fabian (LI) vs William Koll (Upstate), 152 Corey Rasheed (LI) vs Kevin Thayer (Upstate) and 160 Tyler Grimaldi (LI) vs Burke Paddock (Upstate).

Proceeds from the challenge benefit local FLWC resident athletes to aid in their pursuit of International and Olympic glory.

Tickets for the event are available at flwrestlingclub.org and at the door. Ticket prices are as follows: $15.00 Reserved Seating, $10.00 General admission


Kris Harrington 585-738-3906 Fingerlakeswrestlingclub@gmail.com
Rob Koll 607-255-7307 rk45@cornell.edu