It’s February and that means the road to the state championships has begun. On Saturday and Sunday, a number of postseason events took place across the state, helping to shape the brackets for this weekend’s Sectional qualifiers.
There were too many big matches and results to recap, but here are just a few of the things that caught our eye. The countdown to the first whistle at the Times Union Center is now just about two and a half weeks away!
In Section 1, Yorktown has had a strong presence in our individual rankings this season with Joe Mastro, Steven Sabella and David Varian included in the last version and Thomas Murray falling just outside our top 8 at 182. Those wrestlers continued their winning ways this weekend, with Sabella having a tough match with another high quality wrestler – Scott Wymbs of Horace Greeley. Both of those wrestlers have what it takes to make some noise later this month.
Dale White of John Jay East Fishkill made the medal stand at 145 a year ago and was someone we were tracking as a potential state title contender coming into the campaign. However, he didn’t compete due to injury until January. This weekend, he picked up a title and is undefeated in limited action thus far at 160. Perhaps his time off will benefit him down the stretch run.
In Section 2, Levi Ashley spent a bulk of the season at 182 pounds for Shenendehowa where he took fourth at the Eastern States Classic and nearly placed at the Reno Tournament of Champions against some of the nation’s best. For the past few weeks, however, he has been up at 195 pounds and has gone undefeated there. That run includes multiple wins over the tough Wayne Burt of Colonie, including a major decision in the finals over the weekend. He seems primed for a strong postseason.
Meanwhile, El Shaddai Van Hoesen continued his total dominance, quickly pinning Colonie’s Austin DiCerbo, a wrestler who could contend for the medal stand in Albany if he earns the opportunity.
In Section 3, a few wrestlers ranked in the state were upset. At heavyweight, Canastota’s Jacob Morris beat Brandon Fayle of Lowville 3-2 in the semifinals of the Class C tournament before topping Brandon Yager of Ilion for the championship. Fayle pinned Morris to win the Class title a year ago.
In addition, Ryan O’Rourke of Adirondack (ranked at 99), fell at 106 pounds to Hunter Owen of Sherburne-Earlville while Ben Honis, who was in the honorable mention section of the rankings, continued his strong season with a 3-2 win over Baldwinsville’s Joe Nasoni. It was Nasoni’s first loss at 195 this year.
In Section 4, Jordan Torbitt of Whitney Point took center stage at the Class B Championships. Last year as an eighth grader, Torbitt won more than 25 matches and took second at the Sectional tournament at 152 pounds behind All-Stater Dan Dickman of Greene. He has continued to shine as a freshman, bringing a 33-1 mark into the weekend after avenging his only loss to Newark Valley’s Trevor Hoffmeir. Torbitt impressed again on Saturday, beating Norwich’s Frank Garcia, a returning state qualifier who was ranked in New York.
The Greene middle/upper weights looked solid with Mike Beckwith and Christian Dietrich grabbing first place. Teammate Joel Roselle missed some time in the lineup but returned at 182 pounds where he took second behind Unatego’s Ryan Marszal.
In Section 5, a pair of wrestlers ranked in New York squared off in the finals of the Class A tournament at 99 pounds, with #1 Yianni Diakomihalis pinning Wayne’s Jake Yankloski. It was a good day for a number of Diakomihalis’s teammates as well, as brothers Vincent, Anthony and Lou Deprez all won Class A crowns.
In that same tournament, Yankloski’s teammate Bryan Lantry picked up a major decision over Brockport’s Barton Peters, who had come in with a 22-2 mark.
Like Diakomihalis, Hornell’s Zack Bacon sat atop our last set of individual New York State rankings. The 220 pounder has rarely been challenged this season as he won by bonus points in his first 33 matches. However, John Martisch presented an formidable obstacle as Bacon edged the Penn Yan wrestler 2-1.
In Section 6, in a battle of All-State wrestlers, Steve Michel of Lancaster pinned Anthony Orefice for his second victory over the Lockport wrestler this season at 120 pounds. (The first was a close decision). It wouldn’t be surprising to see the two of them square off again next weekend as they look to get back to Albany.
In another meeting of previous placers, returning state runner up Drew Hull of Royalton Hartland edged Jude Gardner at 145 pounds. It was Hull’s second victory over the Fredonia wrestler this year.
Gardner’s teammate Chris Saden brought an unblemished record into the weekend, however, he was upended in the finals, as Steven Warthling of Tonawanda earned a 9-6 decision. It should be an interesting weight at Sectionals.
Troy Seymour became the first-ever wrestler from Section 7 to reach 200 wins. On Thursday night, the Peru senior pinned Hunter Bishop in the first period at 170 pounds to pick up the milestone victory. In addition, Peru captured the Champlain Valley title over Saranac.
In Section 8, Mepham’s Jamie Dunn was an All-County wrestler in 2012 and figured to contend for the Nassau title this year. However, he entered the qualifier with a 23-15 record. He exited with a title, winning four straight matches, including avenging a loss to Matt Krause and beating top seeded Lucas Pincus in the finals. His teammates Louis Hernandez and Dan Tracy breezed to championships as well with all bonus wins and look to return to the Times Union Center for the second straight time.
138 pounds will certainly be interesting in the Nassau tournament. Highly ranked wrestlers like Rob Bennett of MacArthur, Quinn Knauer of Baldwin and Rob Rosenberg of Hewlett were among those upset and new contenders emerged, such as Brian Quiroz of Valley Stream Central who came in with a 3-1 record with all four matches in December up at 152 pounds.
Also of note, returning state runner up Justin Cooksey of MacArthur didn’t compete.
Section 9 held its JV Championships over the weekend. For full results, see here.
In Section 10, Gouverneur closed out another undefeated conference season with a home victory over Massena. Senior Dillon Stowell collected his 150th career victory and will try for his first state title in a few weeks after placing multiple times.
In Section 11, there were a number of rematches between wrestlers ranked statewide. At 99 pounds, John Arceri of Huntington avenged a loss by fall to John Busiello by edging the Eastport South Manor wrestler 3-2 on Saturday.
In another rematch between two of the top grapplers in New York, Alex Tanzman defeated James Szymanski again, this time by pin. The two had recently wrestled a close bout at 106.
In addition, Islip’s Brad Wade topped Huntington’s Corey Jamison at 126 pounds by a 2-1 score for the second time this season. Wade has been on a very impressive run after a few early losses and looks like a threat to win some matches in Albany – if he can get through the challenging 126-pound Suffolk bracket.
Tyler Walsh of West Islip lost 9-4 to returning fourth placer Joe Calderone of Walt Whitman earlier in the campaign. This weekend, he prevailed by the same score against Calderone. Walsh has quietly had a very strong 32-2 year with his only other setback coming against Danbury’s Kevin Jack, the Eastern States Champion at 120.
An article on the PSAL Dual Championship won by Brooklyn Tech, can be found here.
In CHSAA action, Monsignor Farrell crowned seven champions in the New York City qualifier and at least 19 wrestlers from the squad will compete in the Catholic States next weekend. In the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA League Finals, St. Anthony’s Johnny Vrasidas was named Most Outstanding Wrestler while teammate Joe Russ earned Champion of Champion accolades.
The following is a compilation of some of this weekend’s results. More will be added when available. That countdown to Albany continues . . .
Catholic Qualifier (Upstate)