2013-14 Section 10 Preview: After Crowning Two State Champs in 2012, Who Will Challenge in Albany This Season?

Last year, we previewed each Section prior to the start of the high school season.  We began with Section III earlier this week.  Now, here’s a look at Section 10.

Only one school in New York had multiple state champions at the Times Union Center in February.  It was Section 10’s Gouverneur, which saw a pair of seniors – Dillon Stowell (113) and Hunter Ayen (195) – win it all in Albany to end their high school careers on top.

“It was awesome,” said Gouverneur coach Joel Baer.  “It took a while after the season was over to even digest it and believe it.  It was wild, with one champion in the lightweights and one on the other end.  For Dillon [Stowell], it was his fourth time placing. He came into the year expecting to be a state champ.  Hunter [Ayen] seemed to come out of nowhere and surprised a lot of people.  We expected he would do really well this year but he wasn’t as well known around the state. He’s someone that didn’t even have 100 career matches – forget about 100 wins. His body matured later – he grew four or five inches later on and the next thing you knew – wow.”

‘Wow’ described Ayen’s state tournament performance.  He pinned his first three opponents, but then fell behind 6-0 in the championship match against returning finalist Bryce Mazurowski of Avon.  He stormed back, however, to capture a 9-6 decision.

“I’ll never forget his comeback,” Baer said. “To fall behind 6-0 and look like you’re out of the match and come back the way he did was crazy.  I thought he had the pin and four matches and four falls at the state tournament would have been amazing, but Hunter told me he was happy to win the way he did.”

Another Ayen, Hunter’s cousin Zach, will look to follow up with a memorable senior year of his own.  Zach Ayen is no stranger to the medal stand – he took fifth in Albany in 2012.  Last season, he competed at the Times Union Center at 132 pounds.

“Zach has definitely put in the time,” Baer said. “This is his last go round and he saw what the others had to endure and put in to become champions.  He did lots of freestyle in the spring and early summer and did a lot of lifting. He won some matches in Virginia Beach. I definitely think he has the potential to place again. He had two heartbreaking losses at the state tournament, in the first round to the kid who went on to take third.  He knows he’s not far away and he’s capable of having a great last year.”

Lapiene, courtesy of Dylan Morrison/North Country Sports

Ayen isn’t the only Section 10 wrestler with All-State accolades.  Ogdensburg Free Academy’s Tanner Lapiene earned fourth at 99 pounds as an eighth grader with a strong showing in the state capital.  He began with a 14-0 major in his opening bout before upsetting the bracket’s top seed, Hunter Olena of East Rochester, by a 3-1 score.  After being edged by Port Jefferson’s Matteo Devincenzo in the semifinals, he bounced back to grab fourth.

According to Baer, Lapiene will be a contender again as a freshman, although most likely at either 106 or 113.

“Tanner will be right there,” Baer said. “He has a unique style of wrestling.  He’s a grinder, with really good hips and he likes to scramble and get funky. He’s a tough kid.”

According to Baer, Lapiene was the first Ogdensburg Free Academy wrestler to ever place at the state tournament.  Baer added that one of Lapiene’s training partners, Brody Sheppard “has a lot of potential” and is someone to watch this year.

Sheppard qualified for the state tournament last season at 106 pounds as a seventh grader.  Those two lightweights will be joined by three other returning Section champions for Ogdensburg– Josh Wangler, Alex Cole and Cody-Allen David.

So while Gouverneur has been the team to beat in the Section in Division II, Baer believes things could be interesting when the squads collide in 2013-14.

“I think we’ll probably be the favorite,” he said of his team. “But [Ogdensburg] has a bunch of guys that we probably won’t beat and it may come down to who gets pinned.  I expect it to be a competitive dual – the most competitive dual we have in the Section.”

Other than Ayen, who will win a lot of matches for Gouverneur this year?  Joey Love, Aaron Bush and Mike Mandigo all went to the state tournament a year ago.

“We’ve had some success and we’re hoping to bring our kids along to keep improving,” Baer said.  “As a Section we were pretty happy to place where we did last year, scoring 69 points.  We don’t have numbers, so it was pretty neat for us.  We’re hoping to get some more people on the podium this year again.”

Division I

There will certainly be experience back in Division I this year.  12 of the 15 wrestlers who represented Section 10 at the state tournament in 2013 are scheduled to return.  Who can break through for some victories and a shot at a medal?

One wrestler to certainly keep tabs on is Massena’s Nathan Marshall, who did not compete a year ago, as he was abroad.  In 2011-12, however, he went 29-3 at 106 pounds, including a major decision at the Times Union Center.

“[Marshall] wrestled with us at the 1000 Islands Duals in August and he looked good,” Baer said. “He said when he was in Brazil he didn’t wrestle at all, but he looked pretty tough for his first time on the mat in a while.  He may be a 113-pound senior and he could wrestle his way onto the podium.  I know that’s his goal.”

Terrance, Courtesy of Dylan Morrison/North Country Sports

Marshall is unlikely to be the only Massena wrestler to challenge in Albany.  In fact, seven other returning grapplers from that school wore the Section 10 singlet at the state event in 2013.  One of them, heavyweight Nolan Terrance, is one to watch.  He saw success in the offseason with second place showings in both Freestyle and Greco at the New York State tournament in May.

“[Terrance] has wrestled everywhere,” Baer said. “He was at Fargo, up in Canada at the Canadian Games – all over.  He did a lot of freestyle and Greco and wrestled non-stop.  He’s a big kid and he definitely had a good offseason.”

Also having a good offseason was Malone’s Jamiel Stapleton, a multi-time New York qualifier.

“[Stapleton] had a great summer,” Baer said. “He got better and better.  He went to wrestling camps and to dual tournaments and he beat some good kids. He’s tough.”

Another wrestler who comes back with over 20 wins and more than one trip to Albany is Canton’s Ryan Brown.  The lightweight has beaten Lapiene in the past (although Lapiene came out on top three out of four times last season). Could this be the breakthrough season for Brown?

“If he can get certified for one of the lightest weights, he’ll be hard to handle,” Baer said. “He’s good, but he’s always been too light. Now, he’s gotten taller and filled out.  He’s older and has more confidence.  He could do very well.”

With the significant number of returning Section champions, Massena appears to have the upper hand in the team race.

Thank you to the contributors to this article, especially coach Joel Baer.

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A year after boasting two state champions, can wrestlers from Section 10 do it again?  We’ll have to wait until 2014 to find out, but here are the grapplers returning with 2013 Albany experience.

Division I

Returning Qualifiers from 2013

Ryan Brown, Canton 99

Michael Brown, Massena 106

Skyler Cameron, Massena 113

Konner German, Massena 120

Austin Learned, Malone 126

Jamiel Stapleton, Malone 145

Hunter Perrine, Massena 152

Jared Cascanette, Canton 160

Nate Moose, Canton 170

Joseph Ferrera, Massena 182

Jeremy Malone, Massena 195

Nolan Terrance, Massena 285


Division II

Returning Placer from 2013

Tanner Lapiene, Ogdensburg Free Academy 99, 4th

Returning Qualifiers from 2013

Brody Sheppard, Ogdensburg Free Academy, 106

Aaron Bush, Gouverneur, 120

Josh Wangler, Ogdensburg Free Academy, 126

Zach Ayen, Gouverneur, 132

Joey Love, Gouverneur, 138

Cody-Allen David, Ogdensburg Free Academy, 160

Alex Cole, Ogdensburg Free Academy, 182

Mike Mandigo, Gouverneur, 220


 

Section 10 Preview: Three-Time Placer Dillon Stowell and Four-Time Qualifier Isaiah Perry Seek Podium Spots for Section 10

 

 

 

Photos of Stowell and Ayen by Kelly Ayen

Division I

Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Ryan Brown, Canton

113 Pounds: Skyler Cameron, Massena

120 Pounds: Codey Bond, Canton

126 Pounds: Isaiah Perry, Massena

138 Pounds: Jamiel Stapleton, Malone

170 Pounds: Cody Smith, Malone

195 Pounds: Jeremy Malone, Massena

285 Pounds: Nolan Terrance, Massena

Some Wrestlers to Watch

Isaiah Perry (Massena) – Perry has been to the state championships the last four years and is gearing up for one last run at All-State honors.  He came closest in 2010 at 103 pounds when he was within one win of placing.  In 2012, Perry collided with state runner up Sam Speno of Fox Lane and eventual fourth place finisher Giovanni Sanchez following a 34-5 season in which he notched 23 bonus point triumphs (15 pins).  On his way, he defeated several others who competed in Albany, such as Ryan Spinner, Skyler Way, Jordan Bushey and Curtis Barney.

“Perry is very well seasoned and he travels outside the area to seek out good competition,” Gouverneur coach Joel Baer said.  “He’s a very tough kid who will contend to place at states again.”

Nathan Marshall (Massena) would be a threat to make an impact in the postseason after his 29-3 campaign at 106 pounds a year ago with two of his three losses to wrestlers that finished high in Albany (Division II’s fourth placer Dillon Stowell and 1-0 to Division I bronze medalist Krishna Sewkumar of Long Beach).  However, according to Massena coach Scott Perrine, Marshall is overseas this year, but is expected to return next year.

In the interim, Perrine believes good things can be expected from Canton’s Ryan Brown, who racked up a 25-9 record as an eighth grader at 99 pounds and made a trip to the state tournament.  Brown registered two victories over state qualifier Tanner Lapiene (after losing to Lapiene the first two times they met) and also had a solid victory over Josh Logiudice of Section 2.  Brown didn’t get his hand raised in Albany, but looks to do so as a freshman.  Another young wrestler to keep an eye on is Nolan Terrance of Massena, who also competed at the Times Union Center as a ninth grader at 285.  Perrine has high hopes for Terrance as well as his teammate Landon Laughlin, who the coach said is “looking really good” as the season approaches.

Team Race …

In 2012, Canton-Potsdam topped Massena in an eight-point race to win the Division I title.   While Canton returns a pair of champions in Ryan Brown and Codey Bond, the squad will miss other titlewinners such as EB Foote, Curtis Barney, Cody Dominique and Adam Widener.

The team that took second, Massena, looks poised to move into the top spot.  Four state qualifiers return to the lineup, including the aforementioned Isaiah Perry and Nolan Terrance as well as Skyler Cameron and Jeremy Malone.

 

Division II

Returning State Placewinners (from 2012)

Fourth Place: Dillon Stowell (12) Gouverneur, 113 Pounds

Fifth Place: Zach Ayen (10) Gouverneur, 120 Pounds

 

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Tanner Lapiene (8) Ogdensburg Free Academy

106 Pounds: Aaron Bush (10) Gouverneur

132 Pounds: Joey Love (11) Gouverneur

138 Pounds: Nathan Murdock (11) Ogdensburg Free Academy

152 Pounds: Curtis Fuller (12) Gouverneur

170 Pounds: Andrew Cole (12) Ogdensburg Free Academy

195 Pounds: Hunter Ayen (12) Gouverneur

285 Pounds: Nate Sarkin (12) Ogdensburg Free Academy

Seniors to Watch

Dillon Stowell (Gouverneur) – Stowell has been a regular on the podium in the postseason, taking spots in the top four the past three seasons, including two bronze finishes (at 96 pounds in 2010 and at 103 pounds in 2011).  He was fourth a year ago in a stacked 113-pound bracket in which he lost to a pair of state champions (Sean Peacock and William Koll) while defeating medalists such as Laken Cook and Austin Keough.  His 2012 finish came on the heels of a 43-5 campaign in which only six of his victories were by regular decision.  He will be expected to be All-State again but the question is whether he will top his career off with a state crown.

“I think Dillon has physically matured this summer,” said Gouverneur coach Joel Baer.  “He said his goal is to be at 113 again and that’s where he needs to be.  He’s seeking out good competition, going to the Journeymen tournament before the season.  His goal is to win the state title at 113 and I think he’ll be in the mix with a new crop of kids.”

Hunter Ayen, Courtesy of Kelly Ayen

Hunter Ayen (Gouverneur) – The upperweight posted a 33-9 mark in 2011-12, with several victories over New York qualifiers such as Adam Widener, Nathanael Rose, Jeremy Malone (twice) and Richard Sisti.  Seven of his losses came to wrestlers among the state’s best, including two to undefeated national champion Tony Lock (now at Buffalo), two to fourth place finisher Tyler Smith and one each to Empire State runner up Austyn Hayes, third place medalist Derrek Dalton and sixth place medalist Ben Perry. Ayen has demonstrated the ability to compete with and beat good talent and will try to join his brother Zach on the medal stand in 2013.

“We’re expecting big things from Hunter,” Baer said. “He may be back at 195 or he may move up to 220. He has great athleticism.  If he were to go up to 220, even if he was giving up some weight, he would be very quick and athletic.  Wherever he is, I think the podium is very realistic.”

Also Keep an Eye On …

Junior Zach Ayen of Gouverneur, who in his third trip to Albany in 2012, earned All-State honors after taking fifth at 120.   Ayen notched two pins during the state tournament after a season in which he had 22 additional falls in a 34-win season.  He is a threat to once again represent Section 10 on the podium, most likely up several weights.

“We expect another strong season from Zach,” Baer said. “He grew and hit the weight room and will probably be at 138.  Part of his success was from his strength and physical maturity. It will be an adjustment to a higher weight where he’ll still be able to ride good kids, but it will be much harder to turn them.  The potential is there to get on the podium again but there’s some work to do.”

Andrew Cole (Ogdensberg Free Academy) – Cole went 26-7 as a junior at 170 pounds, with 14 bonus point wins.  Both of his losses in Albany were by two points – the latter in overtime.  Baer believes he’s ready to take the next step in 2013.

“[Cole] has wrestled in a lot of offseason tournaments,” Baer said. “He was in some close matches at states.  He’s put a lot of work in and looks really good. I think he will be tough this year.”

Team Race . . .

Gouverneur ran away with the Division II crown in 2012 and will be the favorite again on the strength of several returning state qualifiers, including three standouts mentioned above – Stowell and the Ayen brothers.  They will be joined by Aaron Bush, Joey Love and Curtis Fuller.  Ogdensburg Free Academy looks to be the top challenger with four returners who wrestled in Albany last year – seniors Andrew Cole and Nate Sarkin, junior Nathan Murdock and eighth grader Tanner Lapiene. 

Special thanks to those who contributed to this article, especially Joel Baer and Scott Perrine.

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 11 Preview

CHSAA Preview

PSAL Preview

Features:

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