USA and Russia Split a Pair of Dual Meets in New York; Plus Cornell Wrestle-Offs, Hofstra in Oklahoma and More

World class international wrestling came to the Empire State this weekend, as Team Russia visited New York for a pair of duals against the USA.  On Saturday in Clifton Park, the visiting team captured a 4-3 victory, but the Americans returned the favor on Sunday in Ithaca by winning four of the seven bouts.

In the latter dual, three former Cornell stars represented the Red, White and Blue in front of the home crowd – Frank Perrelli, Kyle Dake and Cam Simaz.

Perrelli took the mat at 55 kg in the opening contest of the meet against Omak Syuryun.  Both wrestlers placed a week ago at the NYAC Holiday International (Syuryun second, Perrelli fourth).  It was the Russian that took charge early with a takedown shortly after the opening whistle.  He continued to add to his lead and finished with a 7-0 win.

It was a similar story at 60 kg, where Aleksandr Bogomoev got on the board first and controlled the remainder of the bout, defeating Jimmy Kennedy by technical fall to give the Russians a 2-0 dual lead.

However, in a back-and-forth affair, Kellen Russell shifted momentum at 66 kg.  The former Michigan NCAA champion fell behind 3-0 early, but fought back to take a 4-3 advantage at the end of the opening period.  The wrestlers exchanged leads for much of the second, with the score tied at 11 late in the period.  Russell then picked up two points for exposure and recorded the fall with just seconds remaining to get the USA on the board.

Photo by BV

It was then time for the second Big Red grappler – Dake – to take center stage.  He registered a pair of pushouts in the opening stanza to take a 2-0 lead after one. The only scoring in the second period was a pushout by the Russian with less than 30 ticks to go, giving Dake a 2-1 victory and knotting the dual at two matches apiece.

Clayton Foster kept things moving forward for the USA in a strong performance at 84 kg.  The former Oklahoma State upperweight attacked throughout the bout and for his efforts came away with a 9-1 triumph over Vladislav Gabaraev to make the team score 3-1 in favor of the Americans.

Next up was another Cornell graduate – Cam Simaz.  At last weekend’s NYAC Holiday International, Simaz met Georgii Gogaev.   The Russian took a 7-1 lead in that match before Simaz rebounded to win 14-7.  On Sunday, the two had a similar beginning, as Gogaev jumped out to an early 6-0 lead.  This time, there wasn’t a comeback, as the Russian notched a 9-0 win.

With each team having captured three matches, it all came down to the heavyweights —  Zach Rey of the USA and Aleksandr Kusraev of Russia. A passivity point and a pushout fueled Rey to the 2-0 victory and clinched the dual for the United States.

Prior to the main event, there were a trio of freestyle exhibition matches featuring New York wrestlers.

In the first, General Brown’s multi-time state placer Ryan Snow topped Ithaca’s Julian Korfine by a 9-2 score.  Next up was Lansing’s two-time NYS champion William Koll, who cruised to an 8-0 technical fall over Carl Rouse of Chenango Forks.

The third bout was a rematch of the 2013 Division I NYS finals at 99 pounds – Yianni Diakomhalis of Hilton and Vito Arujau of Syosset.  The two have met this offseason, with Diakomihalis, the #1 wrestler in the nation at 106 pounds, coming out on top.  However, on Sunday, Arujau earned a seven-point victory in an action-packed bout between two of the best freshmen in the country.

There were also bonus matches including Empire State standouts on Saturday at Shenendehowa High School before the first USA vs. Russia dual meet (aka, the Resurrection).

Porter, Photo by Justin Cummings/Spotlight News Sports Photographer

Women’s world team members Alexis Porter and Jenna Burkert were both totally dominant against Canadian opponents.  Porter, a high school senior, earned a 7-0 technical fall at 65 kg on familiar turf in her own high school gym over Keagin Collie.  After the first period, Porter led 6-0 and it didn’t take her long into the second stanza to end the match.

Burkert’s appearance on the mat was brief against last weekend’s second place finisher at the NYAC Holiday International, Michelle Fazzari, at 59 kg.  [Burkert was third at that event at 63 kg].  Burkert took control from the opening whistle and recorded a first period fall.

Then, it was time for the men’s competition.  Russia got off to a good start, capturing the 55 and 60 kg matches as Omak Syuryun topped Sam Hazewinkel 8-4 and Aleksandr Bogomoev picked up an 8-0 technical fall over Nick Simmons.

However, 16-year old phenom Aaron Pico of California turned the tide when he registered an 8-0 win over Alibeggediz Emeev, a wrestler who was the 66 kg runner up at the NYAC Holiday International last weekend.  In his senior level debut, Pico began with a pushout for a 1-0 lead about a minute into the match. That’s how the initial stanza ended, however, it wasn’t close for much longer as Pico notched a takedown shortly into the second period, added a pushout and then tacked on two more takedowns to clinch the victory.

Fay, Photo by Justin Cummings/Spotlight News Sports Photographer

Moza Fay then kept the momentum going for the USA, pinning Boris Makoev at 74 kg. But the visiting squad responded. At 84 kg, Keith Gavin controlled most of the contest against Vladislav Gabaraev and held a 4-2 lead late into the match.  It was the Russian, however, who owned the final minute, tying the score with 46 seconds to go and tacking on two more takedowns in the final 30 seconds to win 8-4.  Georgii Gogaev then made quick work of Dustin Kilgore at 96 kg with a 10-2 technical fall before Tyrell Fortune ended the dual on a positive note for the USA with a 2-0 win over Aleksandr Kusraev at heavyweight.

 

Also in Ithaca . . . the Cornell Wrestle-Offs

While Sunday allowed some of Cornell’s recent greats to take the mat on campus one more time, Saturday showcased some of the Big Red’s future stars in the Red/White Eliminations (wrestle-offs). The first five bouts of the afternoon resulted in major decisions, beginning with All-American Nahshon Garrett, who started the day off with a 17-6 victory over Bricker Dixon at 125 pounds.  Like Garrett, Mark Grey won a title last weekend at the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open.  Grey continued his strong start to the season, piling up points during a 15-4 win over Logan David at 133.

With Mike Nevinger recovering from an injury, freshman Corey Dake took the spotlight at 141, notching a 9-1 triumph over Josh Kennedy.  Fellow rookies Alex Cisneros and Brian Realbuto then came out on top decisively at 149 and 157.  Cisneros defeated Conner David 10-0 while Realbuto bested Taylor Simaz 11-1.

Palacio, Photo by BV

At 165, fans saw the first close bout of the day.  It didn’t look like it would be tight initially, as freshman Dylan Palacio took control early against Bearcat Open runner up Craig Eifert.  Palacio led 6-1 in the second period after a pair of takedowns and a reversal.  But Eifert stormed back, knotting the score in the third to force overtime.  In the extra session, Palacio struck with a takedown to capture the 9-7 victory.

After grabbing third at the Bearcat Open, Jesse Shanaman followed up with a 10-1 major over Jake George at 174 while freshman Gabe Dean, who entered the national polls this week after beating two ranked foes in Binghamton, topped Billy George 7-2 with a late takedown and near fall at 184.  197 pounders Jace Bennett and Steve Congenie then endured a back-and-forth battle. Congenie had two takedowns but Bennett reversed him both times.  The difference was a pair of back points, as Bennett collected the 6-4 win.

Finishing off the wrestle-offs at heavyweight were Stryker Lane and Jacob Aiken-Phillips.  After a scoreless first period, Lane scored five straight points on an escape, takedown and reversal to win 5-0.

Cornell returns to action next weekend at home with a dual against Binghamton and the New York State Intercollegiates.

Hofstra in the Sooner State . . .

Vaith

The Pride wrestlers have certainly taken on a number of challenges early in the season, facing multiple ranked teams last weekend. Hofstra squared off with another tough opponent on Sunday, dropping a 36-6 dual on the road against Oklahoma.

The home team went ahead early with a decision by returning NCAA champion Kendric Maple over Cody Ruggirello at 149 and a major by Justin DeAngelis against Nick Terdick at 157.  The Pride got on the board with a 1-0 win by Joe Booth at 165 over Clark Glass, but the Sooners then went on tear, capturing six consecutive matches.  In a meeting of ranked wrestlers, Luke Vaith ended the dual on a positive note for the Pride with a 6-3 win over 2012 All-American Nick Lester at 141.

And Results from a Few Additional Tournaments . . .

Several New York wrestlers made the top four at the East Stroudsburg Open on Sunday.  Binghamton’s Jack McKeever nabbed the title at 174 pounds with six victories.  His Bearcat teammate Nick Tighe, a three-time New York state champion, earned third at 133 in his second-ever college tournament.  In the bronze bout, he topped Hofstra’s Kyle Krasavage.  (A few other Empire State natives placed, including Brown’s Billy Watterson (champion at 125) and Anthony Finocchiaro (second at 133).  Two other New York high school wrestlers made the finals – Harrison Cook of Penn and Patrick Hogan, wrestling unattached.  Sean Badura of USMAPS was fourth at 125.

Brockport traveled to the Wolverine State for the Eastern Michigan Open on Saturday.  Making the podium for the squad was 197 pounder Paul Glover, who finished first.  He began with three decisions, before coming out on top in the championship round against Kenneth Hayden of Michigan.

At the Roger Williams Invitational, Cortland took third place, driven by champion Lance Moore (285), second placers Brian Bistis (141) and Joey Giaramita (197) and bronze medalists Jacob Green (125), Brendan Dent (157) and Lou Puca (174).

 

In non-college action, three wrestlers from New York took top four medals at the Suplay Kickoff Classic in Tulsa.  For a recap of that event, see here.

Here are the results from the USA vs. Russia Duals:

USA VS RUSSIA RESULTS at Ithaca (Sunday) USA 4, RUSSIA 3

55 kg/121 lbs. – Omak Syuryun (Russia) tech fall Frank Perrelli (USA) 7-0
60 kg/132 lbs. – Aleksandr Bogomoev (Russia) tech fall Jimmy Kennedy (USA) 8-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Kellen Russell (USA) fall Alibeggediz Emeev (Russia)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Kyle Dake (USA) dec Boris Makoev (Russia) 2-1
84 kg/185 lbs. – Clayton Foster (USA) tech fall Vladislav Gabaraev (Russia)  9-1
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Georgii Gogaev (Russia) tech fall Cam Simaz (USA) 9-0
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Zach Rey (USA) dec Aleksandr Kusraev (Russia) 2-0

HIGH SCHOOL EXHIBITIONS (FREESTYLE)

Ryan Snow (General Brown) over Julian Korfine (Ithaca)

William Koll (Lansing) over Carl Rouse (Chenango Forks)

Vito Arujau (Syosset) over Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton)

 

THE RESURRECTION – USA VS RUSSIA RESULTS (Saturday) at Clifton Park, RUSSIA 4, USA 3

55 kg/121 lbs. – Omak Syuryun (Russia) dec Sam Hazewinkel (USA) 8-4
60 kg/132 lbs. – Aleksandr Bogomoev (Russia) tech fall Nick Simmons (USA) 8-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Aaron Pico (USA) tech fall Alibeggediz Emeev (Russia) 8-0
74 kg/163 lbs. – Moza Fay (USA) fall Boris Makoev (Russia) 1:34
84 kg/185 lbs. – Vladislav Gabaraev (Russia) dec Keith Gavin (USA) 8-4
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Georgii Gogaev (Russia) tech fall Dustin Kilgore (USA) 10-2
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Tyrell Fortune (USA) dec Aleksandr Kusraev (Russia) 2-0

WOMEN’S EXHIBITION

59 kg/130 lbs. – Jenna Burkert (USA) fall Michelle Fazzari (Canada) 1:27
65 kg/143 lbs. – Alexis Porter (USA) tech fall Keagin Collie (Canada) 7-0

 

E-mail newyorkwrestlingnews@gmail.com with further results.

 

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From Russia to Ithaca: Dake, Simaz, Perrelli to Compete for Team USA in a World-Class Freestyle Dual vs. Russia at Cornell

You don’t have to go across the globe to see some of the top wrestlers in the world.  On November 17, some of the best will be making the trip to Ithaca, NY.

Some Cornell greats will be involved in the festivities as Kyle Dake, Cam Simaz and Frank Perrelli, who combined for five national championships and nine All-American showings, will get another chance to perform in front of the home crowd.

“They’re all excited,” said head coach Rob Koll.  “They thought their Cornell wrestling days were over, but we just keep bringing them back in.”

The former Big Red stars will take part in a world-class freestyle dual between Team USA and the Russian National Team at 1 p.m. in Bartels Hall on the Cornell campus.

The American squad features a number of standouts, including Perelli (55 kg), Jimmy Kennedy (60 kg), Kellen Russell (66 kg), Dake (74 kg), Clayton Foster (84 kg), Simaz (96 kg) and either Olympian Tervel Dlagnev or Zach Rey at heavyweight.

“For us, it’s a great way to highlight what we have going on in upstate New York,” Koll said. “When we started here at Cornell, to think we’d have three guys who could wrestle at that level would have been a big jump.  It just shows you that you can get an Ivy League education and be training for the highest levels of wrestling in the world.”

Tickets for the event are $10 for general admission and $15 for chair back seats. As part of that price, USA National team coach and Olympic medalist Zeke Jones will be hosting a freestyle clinic from 10-12.

“We would like to sell out Bartels Hall, which holds about 4,500,” Koll said.  “Tickets have only been available for a couple of days and there are already 900 seats accounted for.”

In addition to world-class freestyle wrestling, there will be some high quality folkstyle action one day earlier in Ithaca as well.  On November 16, the Red-White Eliminations (wrestleoffs) will take place, helping to determine the starting lineup for the Big Red in 2013-14.

To purchase tickets, see Cornell Big Red tickets or call (607) 254-2327.

 

 

What to Watch For From NY Wrestlers at the World Team Trials Beginning on Friday

 
 
On Friday and Saturday, many of the nation’s top wrestlers will take the mat at the World Team Trials in Oklahoma. A number of New York wrestlers will see action during the two-day competition, with representatives in most of the men’s freestyle classes and qualifiers in women’s freestyle and Greco Roman.  For a preview of what to look for from the Empire State grapplers, read on.

Men’s Freestyle

55 kg/121 pounds:

The Frontrunners: 2012 Olympian Sam Hazewinkel and US Open champion Obe Blanc are among the favorites in a deep field.

The New York Connection: Former Cornell All-American Frank Perrelli went all the way to the championship bout at the US Open earlier in the spring and has registered a number of quality victories at 55 kg/121 pounds recently.  He also took bronze in 2013 at the Cerro Pelado International and looks to challenge for the title in Stillwater. In addition, Mark McKnight, a wrestler who spent some time in the Empire State while wrestling for Buffalo, was the Pan American Championships gold medalist earlier this year and the fourth place finisher at the US Open.

Also taking the mat will be Army assistant coach Danny Mitcheff, who gained entry via a sixth place showing at the U.S. Open at 60 kg/132 pounds.  He is currently seventh in the Senior National rankings at that class, but is in the field at the lightest weight for this weekend. Lucas Malmberg, a state champion for Marathon High, who trained with the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club this season, qualified for the event by virtue of winning the Northeast Regional Championship but was not registered as of Thursday morning.

60 kg/132 pounds:

The Frontrunners: Coleman Scott earned Olympic bronze in London, but he’ll be challenged by US Open champion Reece Humphrey (who goes right into the championship series) and two-time NCAA champion Logan Stieber, who looked impressive in beating the World’s number one ranked grappler Opan Sat of Russia this spring.

The New York Connection: Cornell freshman Mark Grey captured the Northeast Regional title to earn a spot at the event, however, he will instead compete at the Junior World Team Trials on Sunday at 60 kg.

 66 kg/145.5 pounds:

The Frontrunners: Kellen Russell clinched a spot in the championship series with his title at the US Open. In that event, he defeated another two-time NCAA champion, Jordan Oliver, in the finals.  Oliver will again be a threat, as will former World Team member Brent Metcalf.

The New York Connection: At the US Open, current EIWA assistants made the podium with Columbia’s Adam Hall notching fourth and American’s Kyle Borshoff, a Section 5 native, grabbing seventh. In addition, Army graduate Phillip Simpson was sixth.

74 kg/163 pounds:

The Frontrunners: This bracket has a huge ‘wow’ factor.  Jordan Burroughs, perhaps the world’s best wrestler over the past year or two, comes in as the favorite.  He is still a flawless 54-0 in Senior level freestyle action.  The weight boasts a number of impressive challengers, however, including Kyle Dake, Andrew Howe, Trent Paulson and David Taylor.

Dake, Phototrens.com

The New York Connection:  Dake made a successful international debut against Iran at the Rumble on the Rails and will look to continue his freestyle success. A year ago at the Olympic Trials, Dake defeated solid freestylers Colt Sponseller and Nick Marable and pinned Taylor.  He also dropped a three-period contest to former World Team member Trent Paulson. Dake will get a chance to avenge that outcome right away, as Paulson will be his opening round opponent on Friday. If he wins that one, his next bout could be a rematch with David Taylor.

Speaking of Taylor, the Nittany Lion will open action against the winner of the Moza Fay vs. Dan Vallimont tilt. Vallimont, a Hofstra assistant coach, registered a seventh place showing at the US Open and a Northeast Regional crown.  He will look to make his presence felt in Oklahoma at 74 kg, while Monsignor Farrell alum Kevin Hartnett, who competes for Bloomsburg, is also eligible join the fray after taking the Northeast Regional championship at 70 kg.

84 kg/185 pounds:

The Frontrunners: Keith Gavin won the US Open and will be challenged by a solid field, including those who finished right behind him in Vegas –  Clayton Foster, Jon Reader, Ed Ruth and Phil Keddy.

The New York Connection: Cam Simaz and Enock Francois battled at the US Open and at the Northeast Regionals. Francois, an assistant at West Point, won the first meeting on the way to a seventh place finish, however, Simaz rebounded to control the rematch.  In the interim, Simaz, the former Cornell NCAA champion, recorded a silver finish at the University Nationals. Both wrestlers have the potential to make noise in this bracket over the weekend. The same could be said for former Section 1 resident Max Askren, who placed second at the Dmitry Korkin International in 2012.

96 kg/211 pounds:

The Frontrunners: London gold medalist Jake Varner isn’t registered for the event. JD Bergman, the US Open champion, will go directly to the best of three championship series, where he could face the foe he defeated for the title in Las Vegas – Chris Pendleton. Another name to watch, Wynn Michalak, took third at the US Open behind Bergman and Pendleton.

The New York Connection: Former Buffalo All-American Kyle Cerminara, who is currently 9th in the US Senior rankings, qualified for the tournament with a Northeast Regional championship. However, he is not in the brackets.

120 kg/265.5 pounds:

The Frontrunners: Tervel Dlagnev was the 2012 Olympian, but he was upended by Dominique Bradley at the US Open. (Bradley will not compete). Taking third at that event was Tyrell Fortune, who was impressive in winning the University Nationals.  And what about competitors like Zach Rey and Tony Nelson? All could challenge for the top spot, along with Nick Gwiazdowski (see below) and others.

The New York Connection:  Former Duanesburg standout (and current North Carolina State wrestler) Nick Gwiazdowski was seventh at the US Open and third at the University Nationals.  He’ll look to be in the thick of things in a talented heavyweight class.

Women’s Freestyle

Since only the four Olympic weights will be contested in Stillwater (48, 55, 63, 72 kg), a number of wrestlers may move up or down in weight to challenge for World Team positions. This should add excitement to the competition and could lead to some surprises.

At least three New York natives are eligible to compete over the weekend.  Suffolk County’s Jenna Burkert recently earned a fourth place finish at the US Open at 59 kg. There won’t be competition at that weight this weekend, but Burkert, who will represent the USA at the Junior Worlds again this summer, will wrestle at 63 kg.

Mary Westman of Cattaraugas picked up a sixth place finish in Las Vegas at 72 kg, and will look to climb the ladder in that bracket in Oklahoma.

In the lightweights, Fredonia’s Carlene Sluberski recently represented the United States at the “Battle of the Falls” showcase at the end of May. Her third place finish at 51 kg at the US Open qualified her for the weekend, although she was not in the field as of Thursday morning.

Greco Roman

At 55 kg, Brooklyn’s Dmitry Ryabchinsky is always in the mix.  He recently notched fifth at the US Open and will be looking to move up to challenge frontrunners Spenser Mango and Max Nowry.

William Simpson, an Army alum, is entered at 60 kg, while fellow West Point grad Jon Anderson will be at 74 kg. Anderson has seen a lot of success in recent years and has represented the United States in international action. He was third at the Olympic Trials, the 2013 US Open and the Haparanda Cup. He may be joined in the field by another Empire State grappler, Joe Uccellini of Troy, the 79 kg champion at the Northeast Regionals.

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World Team Trials action begins on Friday, June 21 with competition in men’s freestyle (60 kg, 74 kg and 96 kg); Greco (55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg and 120 kg) and women’s freestyle (55 kg and 72 kg).

'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.”

What Happened in Vegas: US Open Recap for NY, Including Runner Up Finish for Perrelli

 
 
Many of the nation’s top wrestlers descended upon Las Vegas this weekend for the U.S. Open. New York wrestlers certainly made an impact, with placers in both the men’s and women’s freestyle and Greco Roman competitions. In addition, the Empire State had success in the FILA Juniors tournaments that also took place in the same location. (For more on the Juniors competition, see here.)

Perrelli, Photo by BV

Going all the way to the finals was former Cornell All-American Frank Perrelli at 55 kg. Perrelli entered the event as the #7 seed, but won his first three bouts over Britain Longmire, Zach Sanders and Ben Kjar to earn his spot in the championship contest. In that match, top seeded Obe Blanc came out on top.

Also making the podium in freestyle were a number of coaches with ties to New York. At 66 kg, Columbia assistant Adam Hall took fourth while American assistant Kyle Borshoff (a former Section 5 star) grabbed seventh. In that same bracket, Army graduate Philip Simpson was sixth.

In addition, a pair of coaches notched seventh place (Hofstra’s Dan Vallimont at 74 kg and Army’s Enock Francois at 84 kg) while Duanesburg High School graduate (and current North Carolina State grappler) Nick Gwiazdowski was also seventh, at 120 kg.

In Greco, a pair of former New York high schoolers – Dmitry Riabchinsky of New Utrecht and Jason Chudzinski of Colonie – placed in the lightweights. Riabchinsky was fifth at 55 kg while Chudzinski took eighth at 60. Meanwhile, Army graduate Jon Anderson picked up bronze at 74 kg.

In women’s action, Carlene Sluberski recorded a third place finish at 51 kg while Jenna Burkert was fourth at 59. Joining them on the medal stand was Mary Westman, who was sixth at 72.

 

U.S. Open

Men’s Freestyle

55 kg: Frank Perrelli (NYAC/FLWC, Cornell graduate) – 2nd place

66 kg: Adam Hall (NYAC, Columbia assistant coach) – 4th place

66 kg: Philip Simpson (Army WCAP, Army graduate) – 6th place

66 kg: Kyle Borshoff (DCAC, Pittsford) – 7th place

74 kg: Dan Vallimont (Blue & Gold WC, Hofstra assistant coach) – 7th place

84 kg: Enock Francois (West Point WC, Army assistant coach) – 7th place

120 kg: Nick Gwiazdowski (NYAC, Duanesburg) – 7th place

Greco

55 kg: Dmitry Riabchinsky (NYAC/USOEC, New Utrecht) – 5th place

60 kg: Jason Chudzinski (USEOC, Colonie) – 8th place

74 kg: Jon Anderson (Army WCAP, Army graduate) – 3rd place

Women’s Freestyle

51 kg: Carlene Sluberski (NYAC, Fredonia) – 3rd place

59 kg: Jenna Burkert (NYAC, Rocky Point) – 4th place

72 kg: Mary Westman (Jimmie Wrestling Club, Cattaraugus) – 6th 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.
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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)

Army Graduate Jon Anderson Wins World University Team Trials; Cornell's Perrelli, Hofstra Recruit Howes Finish Third in Challenge Event

West Point graduate Jon Anderson’s ultimate wrestling goal is to win a gold medal while representing the United States in Greco Roman action at the Olympics.   While he was an alternate for the Red, White and Blue this summer during the London Games, he assured himself of a chance to represent his country in 2012 international competition when he captured the 74 kg title at the World University Team Trials in Colorado on Saturday.   (For a closer look at Anderson and his Army background, see this article.)

Anderson earned his ticket to October’s World University Championships in Finland in dominating fashion, outscoring his opponents 41-1 on the day.   He began by sweeping his three bouts in the morning Challenge Tournament without yielding a point to make it into the best two-out-of-three championship series.

“I had a lot of fun every match,” Anderson said. “My technique felt great and I stayed in control. Coach Lewis said right before the tournament to take it one period at a time, one match at time.  I knew that I had to be in the moment for every moment that I was on the mat, and that’s what I did.”

Anderson’s opponent in the finals was Tanner Andrews, who earned an automatic bid after winning the University Nationals crown a few months ago.  The two certainly aren’t strangers. Andrews defeated Anderson at the Dave Schultz Memorial early in 2012 and Anderson returned the favor at the Olympic Trials in the consolation bracket, pinning Andrews on his way to a third place finish and a spot as an Olympic alternate.

The Army graduate was in control from the start and took the first bout, 1-0, 7-0.  In the second match, Anderson dropped the first period when he was unable to turn Andrews in par terre, however he won the second and third stanzas 3-0 and 4-0 on the strength of multiple takedowns and turns.

“Tanner’s a great competitor,” Anderson said of his opponent. “He always comes out and fights hard.  I knew it would be a scrap.  But I thought I was able to win it with my positioning, strength and conditioning.”

For Anderson, who thanked his family and friends for their “continuous awesome support”, the work has just begun.

“I had high aspirations for this weekend,” he said. “I’ve been training really hard without let up since the Olympic Trials.  I feel like I still have a lot of room to improve and I want to improve every day.  Things are continuing to click for me.”

He’ll keep that progress going, starting with a new training cycle at Fort Carson this week.

“I’ll be doing two workouts a day, with strength training, cardio and lots of wrestling.  My focus now is on winning the gold medal in Finland.  I feel like it makes no difference where I’m wrestling or who I’m wrestling.  I need to focus on my technique and my match every time.  That’s my mentality.  If I make my opponent wrestle my game, I don’t think anyone can hang with me.”

While Anderson spent time abroad during his military service, the trip to Finland will be his first overseas tour wrestling for his country.  He feels confident that it will be the first of many appearances for the United States.

“I’m very excited to represent my country in a world championship, whatever level that is,” he said. “In October, it will be in Finland for the World Universities, then I expect next summer it will be at the Senior Worlds.  And in 2016, I expect it to be in Rio, winning the gold medal there.”

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Frank Perrelli, Photo by Boris Veysman

Anderson wasn’t the only wrestler with New York ties on the mats in Colorado on Saturday.  Cornell All-American Frank Perrelli took third in the 55 kg Freestyle Challenge tournament, avenging his three period opening round loss to Kyle Hutter by defeating the former Old Dominion grappler 5-0, 1-0 in the bronze medal bout.  Perrelli pinned Panther Wrestling Club’s Cruse Aarhus to earn his shot at third.

Also taking third was Hofstra signee Dwight Howes, who more than held his own in a loaded 84 kg Freestyle Challenge bracket that included four NCAA All-Americans.  The Colorado native, who will spend this season at the Olympic Training Center, was tested right away, topping 2012 NCAA 184-pound third place finisher Austin Trotman in the first round before dropping a tight match to former Oklahoma State national runner up Clayton Foster.  Howes responded with a two-period decision over Navy’s Peter Huntley before defeating Trotman a second time for bronze.

Another Empire State native battling for third place in the Challenge tournament was All-American Kyle Borshoff at 66 kg, an additional weight featuring several accomplished NCAA grapplers.   The former American Eagle began his day by beating Simon Kitzis and Cole Von Ohlen before falling against NCAA champion Frank Molinaro.  In his first consolation contest, Borshoff faced another national title winner, Kellen Russell of Michigan, and came out on top, 3-1, 0-1, 3-1.  In his final bout of the day, he was edged 1-0, 1-0 by Adam Hall to grab fourth.

Hunter College’s Oliver Lopez, who previously competed for McKee High School in Staten Island, also took third place — in the Challenge tournament at 60 kg in Greco.

Full results are available on http://www.trackwrestling.com