NYWAY Kickoff Completes a Weekend Full of (Youth, HS and College) Wrestling at Niagara CCC

For those who like to watch wrestling, this weekend provided an opportunity to watch the sport on the youth, high school and college levels all in one place – Niagara County Community College (NCCC).

“It was definitely a busy weekend,” said Keith Maute, head coach at NCCC and Executive Director of the Cobra Wrestling Club.

No doubt about it.

NCCC hosted the Niagara Frontier Wrestling Officials Association High School event on Friday and Saturday, featuring more than 35 teams, including some of the best from Sections 5 and 6. Then on Saturday night, the Thunderwolves defeated Mercyhurst in NJCAA action.

And on Sunday, the competition concluded with the second annual NYWAY Kickoff Classic for grapplers between the ages of 5 and 14.

The NYWAY event included over 300 wrestlers from a number of states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

“The competition level was really, really good,” Maute said. “With the clubs coming from New York plus the out of state wrestlers, the tournament was tough. Ohio brought 42 kids and they were all really good – they had a qualifying tournament before to determine who would be there. Jason Locke, the coach from Ragin Raisins (in Pennsylvania) told me he was very impressed with the competition too.”

Several teams stood out, with G2 World Wrestling Academy declared the team champions. The Rochester-area club boasted a trio of first place finishers – Luca Pirozzolo, Jayden Scott and Elijah Diakomihalis.

Pirozzolo prevailed in a large 22-man bracket while Scott captured his second title of the weekend after traveling to Pennsylvania on Saturday and winning an event in the Keystone State.

Also making the finals for G2, according to co-owner Adam Burgos, were second placers Nicholas Callaghan, Max Kropman, Karamvir Hothi and Greg Diakomihalis.

Team OHIOWAY certainly made the trip to the Empire State worthwhile. While the squad wasn’t entered into the team race, the Buckeye State wrestlers led the way with nine total champions and several other place finishers.

In addition, the host club, Cobra, also sent a large number of wrestlers to the podium, including seven champions and at least seven silver medalists. (Note: runner up results were not available for Division 3 at the time of the article).

Those titlewinners for Cobra included two pairs of brothers – Jakob and Andy Lucinski as well as Hector and Tito Colom. In addition, Carson Alberti, Cooper Gronowski and Phil Calandra won their brackets.

Taking second for Cobra were Isreal Walker, Myles Gronowski, Trent Reid, Mitch Gaiser, Jack Walters, Jacob Brewer and Billy Seiders.

In addition to the NYWAY Kickoff, several of the youth wrestlers had the thrill of wrestling alongside a college match on Saturday night. While NCCC and Mercyhurst battled, New York youngsters faced off on adjacent mats against their counterparts from Ohio.

“The kids loved it,” said Kevin Lucinski, NYWAY’s Far Western Director. “The gym was packed and the response from the crowd was great. To be able to wrestle in front of all those fans and the high school wrestlers that were there was exciting for them.”

Those bouts preceded the finals of the Niagara Frontier Officials Tournament, which provided a chance to catch a glimpse of several high school wrestlers who are serious contenders for state titles in February.

The 120-pound bracket included multiple former qualifiers, including Steve Michel of Lancaster, Kellen Devlin of Amherst, Anthony Orefice of Lockport and Austin Acquard of Iroquois. Orefice, an All-Stater wrestling up a weight, dropped a 4-2 decision to Michel in the semis. And in the finals, the Lancaster grappler edged Devlin, 3-2. Fans can expect to see those competitors go deep into the tournament in Albany.

Speaking of going deep at the Times Union Center, the 145-pound finals paired two wrestlers who have done just that. Royalton Hartland’s Drew Hull, a runner up in 2012, topped Lancaster’s Eric Lewandowski, also a former silver medalist, 2-0. In addition, highly ranked wrestlers such as returning New York champion Tony Recco (Lyndonville, 106), Rocco Russo (Frontier, 126), Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowoga, 132), Dan Reagan (Lewiston Porter, 138) and heavyweight Matt Montesanti (Medina) all won crowns. For full results, see here.

“We were extremely happy with the weekend,” Lucinski said. “We believe the NYWAY event is growing and we look forward to having more representation from the whole state next year. We still want to bring in great wrestlers from out of state too. It’s great that events like these showcase the youth, high school and college levels of wrestling together as we work to grow the sport.”


Below are Results from the  NYWAY Kickoff:

Division 1- Top Three Placers By Weight

37 Pounds: JJ Lucinski (Cobra/Lockport), Thomas Crumpler (NFPC), Brandon Jopp (Tonawanda)

40 Pounds: Simon Inboden (OHIOWAY), Isreal Walker (Cobra), Mason Dole (Eden)

43 Pounds: Cooper Gronowski (Cobra), Lucas Mason (Canisteo), Holden Kelly (Powerhouse)

46 Pounds: Jacob Stephenson (NWAA), Noah Leitten (Powerhouse), Griffin LaPlante (Tonawanda)

50-55 Pounds: Teshaun Matthews (NFPC), RJ Rudolfs, Bronx Buchholz (Batavia)

60-65 Pounds: Elijah Diakomihalis (G2), Shey Williams (Lockport), Gage LaPlante (Tonawanda)

Division 2- Top Three Placers By Weight

45 Pounds: Casper Caizzo (OHIOWAY), Jaden Crumpler (NFPC), Gavin Ciarfella (Roy-Hart)

50 Pounds: Ashton Homan (OHIOWAY), Myles Gronowski (Cobra), Korey Halford (NWAA)

55 Pounds: Carson Alberti (Cobra), Nicholas Callaghan (G2), Colin Bradshaw (Phoenix)

60 Pounds: Nick Molchak (OHIOWAY), Julien Griffin (OHIOWAY), Carter Schubert (Superior)

65 Pounds: Carter Neves (OHIOWAY), Trent Reid (Cobra), Gannon Jaquay (Ragin Raisins)

70 Pounds: Jayden Scott (G2), Mitch Gaiser (Cobra), Casey Bixby (Titletown FC)

75 Pounds: Brian Bielec (Grand Island), Ethan Sanderson (Titletown FC), Shane McClellan (NFPC)

80-85 Pounds: Simon Lingle (Newfane), Scott Winchell (Titletown FC), Kevin Daskavitz (Lockport)

Hwt: Logan Ramadan (Grand Island), Drew Mascio (Hamburg), Herman Wooten (NFPC)

Division 3- Champion By Weight

50 Pounds: Lucas Randisi (Superior)

55 Pounds: Jace Schafer(Superior)

60 Pounds: Andy Lucinski (Cobra/Lockport)

65 Pounds: Bryce Hepner (OHIOWAY)

70 Pounds: Luca Pirozzolo (G2)

80 Pounds: Justin McDougal (Niagara Falls)

85 Pounds: Donald Sinclair (Niagara Falls)

90 Pounds: Austin Leber (Niagara Wheatfield)

110 Pounds: Elijah Sobas (OHIOWAY)

Division 4- Top Three Placers By Weight

65 Pounds: Liam Logue (Malvern), Greg Diakomihalis (G2), Cole Skinner (OHIOWAY)

70 Pounds: Michael Gonyea (Journeymen), Eamonn Logue (Malvern), Ethan Turner (OHIOWAY)

75 Pounds: Trey Finnearty (OHIOWAY), Max Kropman (G2), Ryan Burgos (G2)

80 Pounds: Sam Bacon (Ragin Raisins), Christian Bradshaw (Phoenix), Danielle Stanley (Cobra)

85 Pounds: Wyatt Smith (Midlakes), Brandon MacDonnell (Midlakes), Nick Kruger (G2)

90 Pounds: William McDougald (NFPC), Sam Wolf (Warsaw), Corry Day (Bagura)

95 Pounds: Zachary Brown (Newfane), Jack Walters (Cobra), Jacob Tomlinson (Ragin Raisins)

100 Pounds: Bricker Thiel (OHIOWAY), Aaron Poe (NWAA), Nicholas Rouse (Titletown FC)

110 Pounds: Hector Colom (Cobra), Kevin Halford (NWAA), Jazzario Warr (Ragin Raisins)

120-130 Pounds: Steven Hark (Ken-Ton), Craig Pellow (Lew-Port), Henry Grunzweig (Grand Island)

140-150 Pounds: Steven Daskavitz (Lockport), Mike Leibl (Titletown FC), Hunter Thiel (OHIOWAY)

Division 5- Top Three Placers By Weight

80 Pounds: Drew Schafer (Superior), Dylan Curtis (Lew-Port), Lucas King (Superior)

88 Pounds: Tyler McKinney (Ragin Raisins), Jacob Brewer (Cobra), Seth Kerscher (Ken-Ton)

96-103 Pounds: Phil Calandra (Cobra), Billy Seiders (Cobra), Brent Bachman (Barker)

112 Pounds: Tito Colom (Cobra), Jacob Braeden (Ragin Raisins), Jacob Smeader (Hamburg)

120 Pounds: Dillon Knoll (Hamburg), Andrew Lorenz (Clarence), Austin Lutz (Ragin Raisins)

130-140 Pounds: Sean Galla (Titletown FC), Tyler Simons (Newfane), Justin Kimble (West Seneca E)

150-160 Pounds: Ian Malesiewski (Ragin Raisins), Michael Daskavitz (Lockport), Tyler Skidmore (Newfane)


Triple Threat: Hilton's Vincent, Anthony and Lou DePrez Looking to Collect Titles in 2012-13

In 2011-12, when Hilton’s 113-pound wrestler finished his bout and the 120-pounder took the mat, you couldn’t blame opponents for doing a double take.

After all, 2012 New York state finalist Vincent DePrez and his twin brother Anthony look extremely alike.  In fact, some who know them pretty well claim that they can’t always differentiate them.

“I still can’t tell the difference,” said their father Jason DePrez, laughing.

Adam Burgos, co-owner of G2 World Wrestling Academy who has worked with the twins for years, agreed.

“For me, I either look at their wrestling shoes or their smiles,” Burgos said.  “One has a more noticeable smile than the other, but if you look quickly, it’s tough to tell.  Usually, I just say one of their names and see who looks.  It’s a challenge at times.”

Besides the way they look, the brothers have another thing in common – winning.

Vincent DePrez had one of the best seasons in the Empire State last year on his way to the silver medal at 113 pounds.  He won his first 49 matches, including victories over Division II state champion Sean Peacock of Midlakes and other All-State grapplers such as Pat Skinner, Robert Person and Cody McGregor after taking fourth at 103 pounds the previous season.

He came within one second of the state title, dropping a one-point decision as time expired against Dylan Realbuto of Somers.  What many observers didn’t know was that DePrez suffered an eye injury with less than 30 seconds remaining and was forced to spend several hours after the tournament was over in a nearby emergency room.

“I cut my eyelid and it split and I needed stitches,” Vincent DePrez said. “It really wasn’t that bad, but I had to take a couple of weeks off from wrestling to heal.  It was a little tough because I’m used to wrestling every day.”

When he was able to get back into the swing of things, he started work with Anthony, who also had a successful campaign.

Anthony came close to competing in Albany as well, losing by a point to New York state second place finisher Brady Baron in the SuperSectional title bout to cap off a 41-6 season.

“I think my season went alright,” Anthony DePrez said.  “I took second in a lot of tournaments.  I got closer and closer to Brady [Baron] during the year.  The first time, I got pinned. The second time I only lost by a few points.  The last match, I needed to turn him on top but couldn’t.  I felt like I should have been able to, but I lost 4-3.  This year, I am looking to get to make it to states and place high.”

Vincent’s goal is, not surprisingly to earn his first state title.  Both twins said they will make significant jumps in weight, with Vincent potentially wrestling at 138 and Anthony at 145.

“Being up a few classes, there will be different challenges and different competitors for them,” Burgos said. “But with hard work and determination, they can achieve their goals.  They have a built in workout partner right down the hall.  They don’t even have to call anyone or go anywhere.  They’re competitive to the point of pushing each other really hard.  One never wants to be outdone by the other.”

That’s for sure.  As would be expected with brothers, things can get a little chippy.

“We fight a lot during practice,” Vincent DePrez said. “It can get pretty bad.  But we’re all good when practice is over.”

The twins aren’t only competitive with each other.   Younger brother Lou DePrez, an eighth grader, also participates in a lot of their training, along with Yianni Diakomihalis, currently ranked the sixth-best junior high school wrestler in the nation by Intermat.

“We have Vincent and Anthony working and Louie and Yianni working.  There’s a dynamic in the room where both of the groups are trying to outdo each other,” Burgos said.  “It makes everyone better.  I think Louie might be a little bit better off than the twins at this stage because of the environment he’s able to train in.”

Lou DePrez’s looks and smile set him apart from his twin brothers.  His voice during the interview conducted for this story was different enough to be recognized. But the winning gene is still there.

In his seventh grade season on Hilton’s varsity squad, he compiled a 29-15 mark at 106 pounds.

“I just focused on trying to get better throughout the season,” Lou DePrez said. “Most of the guys were bigger than me at 106 so it was sometimes tough.  But having Yianni as a partner is great.  He pushes me hard and always raises the bar high. I’m shooting to make it to the state tournament this year and place.”

“[Lou] will turn some heads this year,” Burgos added. “He’s really starting to come into his own.  He’s very aggressive on his feet and with the way he trains, I expect really big things out of him.”

That will make a triple threat of DePrez grapplers for opposing teams to deal with this winter.  And then another year down the line, current sixth grader Sam DePrez, who has been wrestling since he was three or four years old, will join the mix.

“The family loves the sport,” Burgos said.  “I feel strongly that they will have success individually and as a family.  It’s extremely exciting as a fan of wrestling in our area to see all of these brothers that could be at the top of the podium.”

It could happen this season.  It’s possible that the DePrez name will be announced many times at the SuperSectionals and in Albany in February of 2013.

Even if most people won’t be able to tell the DePrez twins apart.


More Season Preview Articles:

Section 1 Preview

Section 3 Preview

Section 4 Preview

Section 5 Preview

Section 7 Preview

Section 8 Preview

Section 9 Preview

Section 10 Preview

Section 11 Preview

CHSAA Preview

PSAL Preview


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

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

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

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

Section 11 Feature: Nick Piccininni Looks to Continue Winning Streak