Local Star, Bearcat Future: Johnson City's Reggie Williams Commits to Binghamton

Reggie Williams has watched the Binghamton wrestling team closely over the years.  Now, he’s committed to be a part of it.

The Johnson City senior, who lives just a few miles from campus, recently gave his verbal pledge to the Bearcats after also considering schools such as Iowa State, North Carolina State and Oklahoma.

“I decided to go to Binghamton because it’s a great school,” Williams said. “But one of the things that was running in the back of my head was my dad and my family.  I thought it would be a great choice to stay around, making it possible for my parents to see me more. Then you just have a big home crowd that stays and comes to the home matches.”

Photo by BV

Williams, who said he plans to be a 184 pounder in college, didn’t begin wrestling until sixth grade. However, he wasted no time making a name for himself in the sport.  He was a Section 4 runner up as an eighth grader and as a freshman, Williams earned a spot in the New York State semifinals, eventually taking sixth at 189 pounds.

A few months later, the Johnson City senior made an impact at the national level, earning All-American honors in two of the biggest offseason events in the country.  He first took fourth at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach before notching fifth in Cadet Freestyle at Fargo.

The Section 4 standout’s success continued over the years, as he was the state runner up at 195 as a sophomore and nabbed spots on the podium at the NHSCA Nationals twice more – sixth as a 10th grader and second as a junior in 2013.  His impressive run to the finals in Virginia Beach this spring at 195 included a victory over University of Minnesota-bound Nathan Rose, who is ranked #57 among seniors nationwide by Intermat.

Williams is determined to capture a state crown in his last campaign for the Wildcats before making the short journey to start his career in the EIWA.

And when he does begin his college career, he won’t be the only Bearcat in his family.

“On top of everything, I’ll be going to school with my dad because he’s a student at Binghamton as we speak,” Williams said.

The Bearcats brought in a top 25 recruiting class comprised of several top Empire State wrestlers in head coach Matt Dernlan’s first year. With Williams joining Hilton’s Vincent and Anthony DePrez and MacArthur’s Steve Schneider, another strong group is on the way to Binghamton in the fall of 2014.

Section IV's Greg Kleinsmith Ready for the Next Step at Wyoming Seminary

BY ZAKKARIAH ROLFE

In 2012, one of Section IV’s surprises at the state qualifying sectional championships occurred when Johnson City freshman Greg Kleinsmith took out Vestal’s Alex Francik 5-4 at 152 pounds to earn his first berth to the New York State tournament.

Unfortunately, 2013 didn’t end on quite the same high for Kleinsmith. His sophomore season began late after he sustained a concussion in late November, causing him to miss the first half of the campaign.  He returned, but during Section IV’s annual dual meet tournament, Kleinsmith suffered his second injury and was told his season was over.

“Concussions are a serious thing,” Kleinsmith said. “I knew I was out for at least half the season but when it happened again, I was just devastated. I knew I couldn’t just ‘let myself go.’ I had to run and lift whenever I could. Freestyle and Greco still have an important role in my wrestling [career] and my dad and family had a lot of encouraging stuff to say to keep me going.”

Kleinsmith continued to support his teammates and cheer them on as the Wildcats won the Section IV team title. Now, he will try to capture a different set of team championships with his new squad – Wyoming Seminary.

When asked why he’s going to ‘Sem’, Kleinsmith mentioned a number of reasons, but the first was related to academics.

“The education,” Kleinsmith said. “I know I have a better chance at going to a Division I school if I attend a school such as Wyoming Seminary.”

In addition, his familiarity with the leader of the Blue Knight program, Scott Green, played a role.  Kleinsmith wrestled at the Shamrock Wrestling Club out of Binghamton through his pee wee years with the coach and said that Green was a big part of his childhood success.

“Coach Green pushes me,” Kleinsmith said. “Even if I’m in tears, he doesn’t care because he knows it will make me better and I love that.”

“I’ve been Greg’s club coach for years and he is going to be a great asset to our program,” Green added. “He has the experience at national events in the international styles, and will now be fighting hard to earn a spot in our lineup. He will benefit greatly from guys in the room around his size. I am excited to watch him grow in our program.”

That growth will come not only from his practice partners but also the level of competition he’ll face throughout the year.

“They have one of the toughest wrestling schedules in the country and you know it, to be the best you have to beat the best,” Kleinsmith said.

He’ll attempt to do that this year, during which he plans to compete not only on the mat but also on the football field. When asked about his goals, he had a few things in mind.

“I want to wrestle as best as I can,” he said. “I know if I wrestle to my potential and I’m in shape I can give anybody in the country a run for their money.  My goal as a Blue Knight is to not just get a great education but to meet new people from around the world and just do the best I can in everything I do.”

96 to Heavy: Former Johnson City Star Peter Capone Moves Up the Rankings for Ohio State

According to his father, Peter Capone has asked for a rematch over and over.  Realistically, though, it’s never going to happen.

Back when he was at Johnson City High School, Capone was beaten twice in close matches by current Buckeye teammate Ian Paddock – at 96 pounds.

That’s worth repeating.  96 pounds, less than half of what Capone weighs currently as a Big 10 heavyweight. (Capone took third in New York at that weight as a freshman, beating current Hofstra 133-pound starter Jamie Franco for bronze).

It’s fair to say the former Section 4 star has come a long way from his high school days to become the 12th ranked 285-pounder in the nation today.

“He’s been around wrestling his whole life,” Capone’s father, Peter said. “But I can definitely say I never expected him to become a heavyweight.”

The Buckeye was certainly born into a wrestling family. In addition to uncles that excelled in the sport, his father was a two-time NCAA All-American at Hofstra, including a runner up finish.

While attending dental school at Buffalo, Capone’s father became a graduate assistant coach. Later, he took the head job at Johnson City, where coached multiple state titlewinning teams as well as eight individual state champions.

“When I was at Buffalo, I wrestled my brother Jimmy pretty much everyday,” the elder Capone said. “When he took third (in Division III) and then fifth (in Division II), it made me really proud. And then coaching my son Peter to the state championship when he was a senior in high school was a huge highlight for me.”

That victory at the 2008 New York State tournament came in a solid bracket which saw a pair of current Division I starters – Buffalo’s John-Martin Cannon and American’s Thomas Barreiro – battle for third.

Following that championship, the younger Capone went to Navy Prep for a year but decided afterwards that he wanted to take a different path for college.  He chose to go to the Big 10 over his father’s alma mater, Hofstra.

The Capones had a strong connection to Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan, who watched the elder Capone wrestle for the Pride while he was a high schooler at nearby Wantagh.  And years later, when Ryan became the leader of the Hofstra program, he often saw the Capone family at alumni events and wrestling camps.

“I’ve probably known Pete since he was a seventh grader,” Ryan said. “There were a lot of things we really liked about him.  First, he’s the son of a coach and that’s always attractive.  He knew the whole team concept and what it takes to be successful.  He was also very, very athletic.  We didn’t think he would be a heavy but we knew he hadn’t quite grown into his body yet.  When guys are winning in high school but aren’t physically mature yet, they often do well in college. We were excited to get him to be a Buckeye.”

Photo by Tony Rotundo, wrestlersarewarriors.com

So, it was off to the Big 10 where Capone spent his redshirt year at 174 pounds, placing in the top three in a number of open tournaments.  However, during his freshman season a need arose for the team and he jumped at the opportunity to start – at 197.

He made his debut in the new class at the National Duals and was a bright spot, picking up two victories.  And he continued to be competitive for the remainder of the season while giving up some weight, including a 3-1 decision over nationally-ranked Tyler Dickenson, a crucial win in his team’s 19-16 dual victory over Michigan State.

“Peter was in almost every match for a lot of reasons,” the elder Capone said. “He’s very good on the mat, which is a big advantage. He’s also very athletic – he played soccer and all kinds of sports growing up. He’s agile and if you’re a good athlete who keeps good position, you can be in every match.”

He earned a trip to the NCAA tournament at 197 pounds, despite only weighing 191 or 192 the night before the event began, according to his father.  He went 1-2, defeating Ohio’s Erik Schuth.

The 2011-12 season brought on a new challenge for Capone with another move up, this time to heavyweight. He had some significant highlights, such as a second place finish at the prestigious Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas in which he came within seconds of winning the title.  He registered some quality victories, including over Ernest James of Edinboro and Ben Apland of Michigan and made a return trip to Nationals, where he again won a match.

Knowing he’d be back at heavyweight again as a junior, Capone got to work in the offseason with no shortage of partners to get him to the next level.

“The bigger he got, the better his workout partners got,” his father said. “He’s wrestling with the best guys in the country. Some like [2012 Olympian] Tervel [Dlagnev] have had a really big influence on him. I think the fact that he’s shooting a lot more has a lot to do with Tervel.”

“I think the word priceless is probably fitting when talking about Tervel,” Ryan added. “He has helped Pete a lot through RTC [Regional Training Center] practices. Tervel isn’t only a great wrestler but he has a great understanding of the sport and a great way about him that makes you want to work harder. He’s been very influential in Pete’s rise up the heavyweight class.”

As a result of this training, Capone has had a strong 17-5 season so far, defeating ranked opponents such as David Marone of Virginia Tech, Adam Chalfant of Indiana, Levi Cooper of Arizona State and Bobby Telford of Iowa. (The last two are former All-Americans).

And with the schedule he’s faced, he has rarely had an easy bout.

“The bottom line is, heavyweight is loaded,” said the elder Capone. “There were a lot of top guys returning and then you add in the Olympic redshirts coming back into the weight, which makes it even harder.  If you look at the rankings, not including National Duals, Peter will have wrestled more than half of the top 20 this season. That’s incredible.  When I was at Hofstra, I probably didn’t see more than two or three ranked guys all year.”

Courtesy of OhioStateBuckeyes.com

Perhaps the highlight thus far came in one of the best environments in the sport.  In early January, Ohio State traveled to Carver Hawkeye Arena to meet Iowa in a dual televised live on the Big 10 Network.  The Buckeyes trailed 22-6 going into the heavyweight tilt, but Capone made sure his team left on a high note as he topped the aforementioned Telford, ranked fourth at the time, 3-2 in the tiebreakers.  The Hawkeye had beaten Capone 4-1 in the 2012 NCAAs.

“Peter was fortunate to have wrestled at Carver Hawkeye Arena two years ago as a freshman, so he knew what to expect,” his father said. “He actually enjoyed it because he loved the passion for the sport that you see there. It’s not that common to be in a place where everyone is screaming at you the whole time, even when you’re warming up. It’s a hard place for an opposing wrestler to win a match, so it was a highlight. His experience wrestling there before definitely helped him this time.”

He’s hoping similar experience in front of the sellout crowds at the NCAAs will help him make the podium at this year’s national championships.

“Based on what I see, I believe the sky’s the limit,” Ryan said. “I think he can go win it all. He was even with the defending NCAA champion [Minnesota’s Tony Nelson] with 10 seconds left in the match. He went from being a 174 to being a heavyweight and some things take time.  Wrestling the big guys takes getting used to.  He’s learned how to win matches and he’s building belief that he can get things done in March.”

His parents Peter and Sue will certainly be watching in the crowd in Des Moines as they have been for every one of Capone’s matches this year.  Peter Sr. exited the head coaching job at Johnson City a few years ago (he is still an assistant) to allow more time for travel to see his son and his daughter Emily, who is on the diving team at Allegheny College.

It makes for a lot of long car rides to the Midwest, but it’s been worth it.  While Peter Sr. said he misses being in the corner as a coach, he enjoys other things, such as sharing postmatch meals with his son.

“He was always a skinny kid,” the elder Capone said. “To keep 220, he has to eat five or six times a day. The problem is that Peter isn’t an eater. He was one of those kids who didn’t want to stop playing or whatever he was doing to eat. When we take him out, he doesn’t finish all his food. He doesn’t want to. It’s pretty funny. I keep telling him, ‘Peter, eat all your food, you’re trying to be a heavyweight.’”

“He doesn’t like eating,” Ryan agreed. “Which is what makes it more impressive that he’s done what it takes both with eating and in the weight room to become a better and better heavyweight.”

Years ago, the thought of Capone as a heavyweight might not have been believed.

But now the former 96-pound freshman and 152 pound state champion is among the top 285s in the country.

Weekend Recap: Titles for Wantagh, Johnson City and S. Jefferson; Mayor's Cup and More News and Notes from Around the State

As the postseason draws closer, the action continues to heat up.  Over the past few days, fans were treated to previews of some of the key matchups we’ll see at state qualifiers in the coming weeks.  We also saw teams like Wantagh, Johnson City and South Jefferson pick up additional trophies, as well as a plethora of other results.  Here are some of the highlights (and more may be added):

  • Wantagh, the Empire State’s top-ranked squad, followed up titles at the Union-Endicott Duals and the Eastern States Classic with the Nassau County Dual Championship at Clarke High School on Saturday. The Warriors ended a dominant four match run with a 45-16 result in the championship match against MacArthur.

 

  • South Jefferson and Johnson City followed up dual meet crowns in Sections 3 and 4 with additional first place showings at the Frontier League and STAC tournaments, respectively.  Nearby, Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton stood atop the MAC while Holland Patent did the same at the Center States and Phoenix won the Liberty/Patriot League.

 

  • The Mayor’s Cup in Manhattan showcased the best the five boroughs has to offer.  State contenders such as Sam Melikian, Cheick Ndiaye, Andrew Psomas and Richard Sisti were overpowering champions, while Monsignor Farrell captured the team race.

 

  • West Seneca West edged Kenmore West at the Ken-Ton Invitational, where Renaldo-Rodriguez Spencer of Cheektowoga was once again dominant in taking the title.  Also in Section 6, Lewiston Porter won the Peter Rao Memorial Tournament with 138-pounder Dan Reagan notching MOW honors at 138 pounds.

 

  • At the Rockland County Championships, John Muldoon of Pearl River responded to his recent overtime loss to Anthony Calvano by taking the rematch.  A number of other Section 1 stars were on display at that event as well as the Super 16 tournament in Yonkers, where Fox Lane took top billing.

 

  • John Arceri of Huntington upended Eastern States Champion Chris Cuccolo to take the 99-pound crown at the Big Ten Invitational in Albany over the weekend. More details on that tournament which had representation from Sections 1, 2, 7, 9, 11 and from Massachusetts.  The final results are here:  Big 10 Results

 

  • It’s worth noting that Westhampton Beach captured a league title over the weekend with a win over Shoreham Wading River in Section 11. A few days earlier, the Hurricanes put themselves in position for the championship when they topped the state’s third-ranked dual team, Rocky Point, 31-28.  In addition to a pin by the state’s top ranked 106 pounder, Alex Tanzman, Westhampton Beach was propelled by a pair of upsets. Jake Martin upended Sean Ferguson at 220 while Pete Broccoli‘s victory over James Matias sealed the victory for the Hurricanes.  Both Ferguson and Matias are ranked in Suffolk County.

 

  • In addition, Brockport ended a big week with a 71-15 win over Lansing on the campus of Cornell University. According to head coach Mike Ferris, 113-pounder Barton Peters had a standout performance with a technical fall at 113 while Bobcats junior William Koll also was impressive at 126.  The triumph in Ithaca came a few days after the Blue Devils recorded their first victory over rival Spencerport in 28 years to seal a league title.

For more on some of these stories, read on:

Another Title for Wantagh . . .

Quinn, Photo by Josh Conklin

Wantagh has continued to win week in and week out.  The state’s top-ranked squad captured the Union-Endicott Duals, the team title at the Eastern States Classic and, on Saturday, the Nassau County dual championship.  The Warriors cruised through the event, beginning with a 51-18 pounding of Island Trees.  They followed with a 57-12 win over Division, a 50-18 semifinal result against Mepham and a 45-16 triumph in the finals against MacArthur.  Leading the way were wrestlers ranked among the top 8 in the state –  Danny McDevitt (170), Chris Araoz (126), Vinny Turano (132), Kyle Quinn (106) and James Corbett (182), who combined for eight pins and eight technical falls.

Johnson City Picks Up More Hardware

Williams, Photo by Josh Conklin

Johnson City followed up last weekend’s Section 4 Duals title with another crown – this time at the STAC.  The Wildcats piled up 232.5 points to outdistance runner up Vestal and third place squad Union-Endicott. Johnson City was propelled by four champions (Isaiah Colgan at 106, Joseph Hamdan at 145, Zach Colgan at 152 and Reggie Williams at 195) as well as silver medalists Tyler Brazinski (99), Nick Bidwell (138), Conner Halladay (160) and Dominic Taylor (170).

Vestal’s run was highlighted by 182-pound champion James Benjamin, a returning All-State wrestler who won his title by fall in less than 30 seconds.

Benjamin will be in the mix in Albany for another spot on the podium.  Also prominently figuring into the title picture at the Times Union Center will be two-time state champion Kyle Kelly.  The Chenango Forks star earned a pin in the 113-pound finals against returning state placer Jimmy Overhiser of Corning, who bumped up from his usual weight. Another clash of contenders happened at 126 pounds, where Kelly’s teammate Jake Green edged Ithaca’s Richie Burke, 3-2 in the tiebreakers.  Former state champion Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich also earned gold with a technical fall at 132 pounds.

For more results, see STAC here.

Also in Section 4 . . . BGA Takes the MAC

Also in Section 4, Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton won the MAC tournament at Unadilla Valley.  Leading the way for BGA were a trio of titlewinners, Jesse Griswold (132), Justin Cirigliano (138) and Mark Viviano (195).  Second place Unatego was very strong in the middleweights, boasting winners in three consecutive classes – Codie Nichols (145), Kevin Thayer (152) and Leland Slawson (160).

For more results, see here.

South Jefferson Keeps the Momentum Going

South Jefferson and General Brown have seen a lot of each other lately.  The Spartans won a regular season dual against the Lions and then defeated them again for the Section 3 dual meet title a few days later.  On Saturday, South Jefferson added another trophy with the Frontier League championship, won by over 30 points over General Brown.

Jared Carroll (99), Caleb Beach (106), Jon Crast (132), Daniel Smith (170) and Ryan Charlebois (195) took gold for South Jefferson while Nick Toutant of Indian River was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler after defeating Ryan Snow for the 126 pound crown.

For more results, see here.

Also in Section 3 . . . Holland Patent and Phoenix Victorious

At the Center States tournament, the top three teams finished within seven points of one another, with Holland Patent taking first, followed by Dolgeville and Canastota.  The top squad featured a pair of champions – Hunter Richard at 113 and Josh Langley at 220.

The state’s top ranked 182-pounder, Zach Zupan of Canastota, breezed to the championship with a pin, while his teammates Jesse Puchales (170) and Wyatt Albanese (195) also won titles.

In matches featuring wrestlers who could figure into the picture at the Times Union Center, Ilion’s Laken Cook picked up a 3-1 decision over Rome Free Academy’s Antonio DeLuco at 126 pounds. In addition, highly regarded 99-pounder Ryan O’Rourke of Adirondack won a 2-0 battle against New Hartford’s Kelan McKenna while his teammates Derek Spann (106) and Tyler Spann (160) were named the event’s Most Outstanding Wrestlers.  In a bout between previous state qualifiers, Tyler Spann edged Oneida’s Matt Fisher.

In the Liberty/Patriot tournament, Phoenix was first by a margin of more than 25 points. Nick Tighe dominated his way to the 138 pound crown while teammates Rowdy Prior (152) and Justin Rhodes (160) joined him on top of the podium.

For more results, see Center States and Liberty/Patriot.

West Seneca West, Rodriguez-Spencer Shine at the Ken Ton Tournament

The Ken-Ton Invitational included some of the best in Section 6, including Cheektowoga’s Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer.  The returning state runner up cruised through the competition at 132 pounds, including a technical fall, a first period pin and a 15-6 major over All-State grappler Cody McGregor of Tonawanda.  West Seneca West was the 7.5 point winner of the event over second place Kenmore West.

For more on the event, see here.

Reagan, Photo by BV

A number of other standouts from the same area took part in the Peter Rao Memorial.  Lewiston Porter grabbed top billing, with Lockport next.  Lew Port’s Dan Reagan earned MOW honors after two pins and a major on his way to the 138 pound title.  Other notable winners included Lockport’s Anthony Orefice, an All-Stater who stood atop the podium at 120 pounds.

 

 

 Rockland County Championships and Super 16 Feature Section 1 Standouts

Muldoon, Photo by Josh Conklin

In Section 1, a pair of tough tournaments took place over the weekend – the Rockland County Championships and the Super 16. Among the finals bouts that stood out at the RCCs was the 120 pound contest between Pearl River’s John Muldoon and Nanuet’s Anthony Calvano.  Muldoon avenged a recent overtime loss to Calvano with a convincing victory.  Just to reach the title bout, the Pearl River wrestler had to beat the very tough Blaise Benderoth of North Rockland.  Another intriguing contest took place at 138 pounds where Benderoth’s teammate Matt Caputo topped Colby Kash, 9-2.

Among the champions at the Super 16 tournament were multi-time state placer Drew Longo of Ardsley (138) and Yorktown’s Thomas Murray (182), who has had a very strong season.

For an in depth look at these events, see here.

 

 Who is the Best in the City? Mayor’s Cup Results

Who is the best in the City?  That question was answered this weekend as the best from the five boroughs gathered at the Armory in Manhattan for the Mayor’s Cup.

Monsignor Farrell was the overall winner with 225 points, with Brooklyn Tech second (212 points) and Poly Prep third (168).

Farrell’s victory was fueled by dominant performances from a number of champions.  At 160 pounds, Andrew Psomas earned a pin or a technical fall in all five of his bouts on the path to the title.  Similarly, teammates Richard Sisti (220) and Matt Roberts (182) won by bonus points in all but one of their matches on the way to first place. The final gold medalist for Farrell was 138-pounder Karl Weisner, who topped teammate Blaise Rufo, 7-4, in the championship tilt.

Brooklyn Tech was paced by upperweights Shaquille Williams and Kevin Tynes. Williams defeated Quasar Hampton 1-0 but otherwise stuck all of his opponents at heavyweight while Tynes recorded a trio of falls in addition to his 3-1 title victory at 195.

Melikian, Photo by Josh Conklin

Poly Prep’s Noah Malamut put on an impressive show, pinning his way to the top of the 106-pound podium.  Also demonstrating complete control were a number of wrestlers who competed in Albany last season.  These included returning state runner up Cheick Ndiaye of Brooklyn International at 113, Sam Melikian of Fordham Prep at 132 and Nigel Williams of Eagle Academy at 145.  A highly anticipated showdown between Tottenville’s Santo Curatolo and Grand Street’s Keanu Thompson didn’t come to fruition in the 126 pound final as Curatolo got the win by default.

For the full results, see here.

In the female competition, Curtis had champions in three consecutive weights – Leslie Schoberl at 120, Rosemary Flores at 126 and Shannon Henry at 132.

For the results of the girls competition, see here.

To report results, e-mail newyorkwrestlingnews@gmail.com

Back on Top: South Jefferson and Johnson City Capture Dual Meet Titles in Sections 3 and 4

 
 

It had been three years for South Jefferson and a decade for Johnson City, but the wait is over for both. The squads captured the Section 3 and 4 Dual Meet titles, respectively, after living up to their number one seeds.

For South Jefferson, the run had a lot of similarities to the one in 2010.  In that year, the Spartans came into the Section 3 dual tournament undefeated and left as champions.

But the path wasn’t all the same, according to head coach Pat Conners.

“This was a new role for our program,” Conners said. “Instead of being the underdog this year, we were the favorite.  That definitely wasn’t how it was three years ago.  No one believed then that we could beat Fulton in the dual meet finals.  I had people tell me if we even made the finals, it would be great for us.  Then we knocked off Fulton to win it.  There were people who felt that was an ‘on any given day’ kind of thing where the better team doesn’t always win.  This weekend was different because I think our team proved that we are the best in Section 3 this year.”

It certainly looked that way.  Prior to the tournament, (last Thursday) South Jefferson faced off with General Brown in a battle of teams ranked in the latest New York State dual meet poll.  The lower-ranked Spartans came out on top, 40-25.

“Having that huge dual and knocking off General Brown only a few days before actually made me a little nervous,” Conners said. “We were confident going into the weekend, but sometimes it’s tough to get everyone refocused and ready so soon after a big win. But our team has a good mix of veterans and young kids and our six seniors did a nice job of leading.”

Things started off a little slow, according to Conners, in the first meet against Cicero-North Syracuse but the Spartans emerged with a 51-23 victory and followed that up with a 58-22 win over Cazenovia.

The next round brought Baldwinsville.  The Bees took a 10-3 lead after three bouts, but South Jefferson responded, recording falls in four of the next five matches to take a commanding advantage.  Registering pins were Trevor Cowles (160), Daniel Smith (170), Logan LaFlamme (182) and Ryan Charlebois (up a weight at 220). Despite forfeiting the last bout, the Spartans punched their ticket to the finals with a 43-31 result.

“In that case, the 160 to 195 pounders did the job,” Conners said. “They are all good wrestlers and when we get there, we count on bonus points.  We’ve had solid balance all the way through the lineup this year, though. Our 99 and 106 pounders (Jared Carroll and Caleb Beach) are a combined 62-4. [132 pounder] Jon Crast has made a nice comeback from surgery. Many other guys have wrestled very well. What’s been really great to see as a coach this year is that the bigger our matches have been, the better the kids have wrestled.  Our top wrestlers have won with bonus points and the kids who aren’t our top wrestlers have wrestled hard and given up only three points.”

That was true as South Jefferson topped squads such as Northern Adirondack, Victor and Cortland earlier in the campaign.  And it held true in the finals when the Spartans met General Brown for the second time of the week.

In the championship dual, the Lions won five of the first eight matches.  However, all five victories were by decision and with South Jefferson’s two pins and a decision, the score was knotted at 15.  That was the last time it was close.

“Losing five matches but all of them only three point losses was big,” Conners said. “When you wrestle the other team’s top kids and keep it close, it’s as important as a big win on your side.  We were tied and in good shape. And then we got on a roll and poured on points after that.  We only lost one match the rest of the day.”

So a 15-15 tie turned into a 45-19 rout.

“Each week, we’ve been challenging the kids and they’ve stepped up stronger and stronger,” Conners said.  “It’s rare to have a team wrestle well every weekend without real letdowns but this group did that.  It was a total team effort and our depth played a big role.  We had some guys stepping on the mat for the first time in the semis or finals while other teams were exhausted.”

That was one of the reasons Conners cited for the lopsided scores in the event.

“Our goal was to win the duals,” the coach said. “But I never, ever thought we would be as dominant as we were because of the caliber of teams in Section 3.  I was not surprised that we won but very pleasantly surprised that our kids were as dominant as they were.”

Dominant enough to stand atop Section 3.  But will that translate to the top of New York State?

Conners said he might reach out to Midlakes coach Steve Howcroft to see if a dual between the unbeaten Division II powerhouses could be arranged.  (Midlakes is ranked first among small school teams). But whether that happens or not, it’s been a great ride for the Spartans as they demonstrated that they are among the Empire State’s elite.

Johnson City’s Return to the Top

Being among the elite is something Johnson City head coach Jordan Glenn can relate to very well.  When he was a competitor for the Wildcats, he remembers his team being among New York’s best every season.

“In our heyday, from the early 90s to mid 2000s, there was a stretch where we didn’t lose to a Section 4 team for 10 years,” Glenn said.  “I don’t think we finished outside the top 5 at the state tournament very often.  Winning this weekend is absolutely a big deal for us because this is the first event we’ve won as a team in recent years.  The last time we won Section 4 Duals was in 2003.  This builds a good foundation for us and with a team full of juniors and younger wrestlers, we think we can raise the bar for next year and continue to excel.”

They excelled this weekend, beginning with a dominant 50-24 victory over Sidney in the first round of the event. The Wildcats got out to a 31-6 advantage and never looked back.  The second dual was similar, in a 42-27 triumph over Vestal.

“In those first two matches, we were in control most of the way,” Glenn said. “We never take anything lightly because with duals it can come down to matchups and a coin flip. We knew those teams had potential to match up with us, but we were solid all the way through. Our depth also was important. We had a couple of guys injured and we were fortunate to have some other guys fill in and do very well.”

That was the case in the finals match against Union-Endicott.  With the loss of state qualifier Greg Kleinsmith to injury, Johnson City bumped a number of wrestlers up a weight and adjusted the lineup.

One of the wrestlers stepping in was one of the squad’s few seniors, Ben Fay. With his team trailing 6-0 (Johnson City forfeited at 132), he took the mat for his first action of the tournament against  Xavian Hughes, the top-ranked wrestler in the Section.  He held the Tiger wrestler to a decision.

“Ben hasn’t necessarily been one of the guys competing for individual championships, but he had a solid performance. He filled a void and allowed maneuverability that we otherwise wouldn’t have had,” Glenn said. “He preserved points when we needed him to.”

Facing a 9-0 deficit, Johnson City took over, capturing the next six bouts.  It started with a decision by Nick Bidwell at 145 and was followed by another three points for Joseph Hamdan at 152.

“Joe Hamdan was out of the lineup for the better part of a month with injury,” Glenn said. “This was his first competition back and he came through with three wins.  The first two were by pin. In the finals, it was tougher.  The lack of mat time got to him a little. But he found a way to win a close match in overtime. That turned out to be huge.”

Photo by BV

Also huge were the flurry of bonus points the Wildcats racked up next with pins by Zach Colgan (160), Dominic Taylor (182) and Reggie Williams (195).  Added into the mix was a technical fall by Conner Halladay at 170.

“When you have anchors you can count on like Zach Colgan and Reggie Williams, it sets the tone,” Glenn said. “We have a very strong core from 138 to 195 and those guys really came through for us.”

After Williams stuck his opponent at 195, Johnson City had a 29-9 lead.

Union-Endicott mounted a comeback, with Lucas Depofi and Andrew Brinser coming out on top at 220 and 285 to cut the team score to 29-18.

But lightweights Tyler Brazinski (99 pounds) and Isaiah Colgan (106) picked up victories by technical fall and pin, respectively, to put their team up 40-18 and clinch the championship.

“Tyler has had a really good week,” Glenn said. “He was bumped out of lineup last year and didn’t place in the section.  But he came back ready this year and this past week alone he’s beaten three of the four top ranked kids in the Section. He didn’t get scored on by any of them. And Isaiah Colgan has been really solid all year. He won three matches at Eastern States and is certainly on a level where he can compete for a Section championship, as he did last year.”

Union-Endicott finished strong as Mikey Carr, Anthony Noce and Zack Bendick recorded falls in the final three matches of the dual to make the final score 40-36.

“We had the dual meet clinched, but their 113, 120 and 126 wrestled really well with three pins in a row,” Glenn said. “We did our jobs to have the lead that we did. We were talking [Saturday] night that we’re starting to develop a little bit of a rivalry with U-E after they beat us in the semis last year at this tournament. We know they are getting better and developing; you can see the progression with their wrestlers.  As for us, we set lofty goals this year and even though we didn’t do as well as we hoped at U-E Duals [in early January], we are excited to be back as the top Dual Meet team in Section 4 this year.”

Back at the top.  South Jefferson and Johnson City earned it after their performances this weekend.

 

Weekend Notes: New Dual Meet Champs in Sec 3 and 4, Fairport Earns First Monroe Title Plus Recaps from Shen, Edgemont, Kohl, Islip Cup and More

What a weekend. From dual meet championship tournaments to tough individual events, there were great matchups all over the state. The following touches upon some of the notable results and more may be added later.

South Jefferson and Johnson City captured Dual Meet Championships in Section 3 and 4, respectively. The Spartans dominated their finals matchup with General Brown while the Wildcats won a four-point dual over Union-Endicott. 

In individual tournament action:

• Shenendehowa won its own event with five champions, with St. Anthony’s and Yorktown taking second and third. Among the titlewinners for the Plainsmen were highly ranked Nick Kelley, David Almaviva and Levi Ashley.

• Monroe County in Section 5 has a new champion for the first time in 22 years. Spencerport had captured the last 21 titles, but this weekend it was Fairport earning that school’s first county championship. A number of wrestlers who appear in our latest state rankings won titles at this event, including Colton Kells of the champion Red Raiders, who topped Spencerport’s Collin Pittman in overtime at 195.

• At the Islip Cup, a pair of New York contenders at 170 pounds, Joe Piccolo of Half Hollow Hills West and Carlos Toribio of Brentwood, squared off for the second time this season. Toribio took the first meeting by decision but in the rematch, Piccolo recorded an early pin. It continues a strong run by Piccolo, who was third at the Eastern States Classic last Saturday.

• Huntington took first at the Kohl Invitational with five titlewinners, including Most Outstanding Wrestler Joseph Puca at 152 pounds. Puca upset state ranked Dan DeCarlo of Port Jervis.

• Edgemont, led by 120-pound winner Trey Aslanian, was the team champion at its tournament over the weekend, finishing ahead of Section 1 foe Pearl River.

• Clarence took the ECIC Championship, led by champions Ryan Burns (106), Jake Weber (160) and Nate Ward (285).  Taking MOW honors was Cheektowoga’s Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, who won the 132 pound class with a pin.

• At the Beacon, Valley Central won a close team race by three points over Arlington. Leading the way was top ranked Alex Delacruz of Ossining, who notched a technical fall in the finals.

For more details on these stories, read on:

Section 3 and 4 Dual Meet Championships

Johnson City, the top seed in Section 4, opened with a 50-24 victory over Sidney before defeating Vestal by a 42-27 score in the semifinals. In the championship dual, Johnson City took a commanding lead, clinching the dual with three matches remaining. Union-Endicott’s late rally made the final score 40-36.

In Section 3, the conclusion lacked drama. Top seeded South Jefferson, ranked seventh in the latest state dual poll, looked like one of New York’s elite squads throughout the competition. The Spartans began with a 51-23 result against Cicero-North Syracuse before topping Cazenovia 58-22. In the semifinals, the team had its closest meet of the event, 43-31, over Baldwinsville. In the finals, South Jefferson left little to chance, emerging with a dominant 45-19 score.

Earning wins in the opening three duals for the champions were Jared Carroll (99), Caleb Beach (106), Trevor Cowles (160), Dan Smith (170), Logan LaFlamme (182) and Ryan Charlebois (220).

For more on the championships by Johnson City and South Jefferson, check back tomorrow for a more detailed story.

Shenendehowa Tournament

The host team collected 209.5 points, well ahead of St. Anthony’s at 149 and Yorktown’s 95. The Plainsmen received championship performances from five grapplers – Kevin Parker (120), Nick Kelley (138), David Almaviva (145), Chris Naccarato (160) and Levi Ashley (195).

A host of additional wrestlers ranked statewide took the mat in Section 2. At 113 pounds, returning state runner up Cheick Ndiaye edged St. Anthony’s Ben Lamantia 3-2 and Joe Mastro of Yorktown grabbed gold at 152.

A pair of ranked wrestlers were upended in the finals – Luis Weirebach of Hoosick Falls topped Eastern States medalist Golan Cohen of Colonie at 106 while Elliot Antler of Xavier edged St. Anthony’s Johnny Vrasidas at 170. In a battle of 182-pound wrestlers we expect to make some waves in Albany, Thomas Murray of Yorktown topped Hoosick Falls’s Brad Burns.

For further results from the event, see here.

Monroe County Tournament

As mentioned previously, Fairport won its first Monroe County league title after 21 consecutive years of championships for Spencerport. The Red Raiders had a large number of placers, including titlewinners Colton Kells at 195 and Jordan Seidel at 170.

Courtesy of Jason DePrez

This event featured a number of grapplers who are featured prominently in the latest individual state rankings. Among them were top 99 pounder, Yianni Diakomihalis of Hilton, who earned a major in the title match and took lightweight Most Outstanding Wrestler honors. He was joined on top of the podium by teammates Vincent DePrez (138), Anthony DePrez (145) and Mike Spallina (152), an eighth grader. Spallina wasn’t the only young wrestler to take top billing. After impressing nearly everyone in attendance at the Eastern States last weekend, seventh grader Frankie Gissendanner of Penfield put up another outstanding performance, taking the 126-pound crown over top seed Rosario Venniro, 3-1.

Spencerport was well represented among the titlewinners as well, with champions Jonathan Haas at 106, Trent Egenlauf at 182 and Austin Coleman at heavyweight. Grabbing heavyweight MOW honors was 160-pound champion Josh Powell of Churchville-Chili.

For more details, see here.

Islip Cup

Brentwood sat atop the team standings at the Kris McDonald Islip Cup, ahead of Sachem North and Islip. Leading the way for the top squad were champions Alex Romero (145), Luis Rodriguez (152) and David Rodriguez (285).

Photo by BV

Several state title contenders also picked up first place as the Half Hollow Hills West duo of Tyler Grimaldi (160) and Joe Piccolo (170) were victorious. As mentioned earlier, Piccolo avenged an earlier season loss to Brentwood’s Carlos Toribio with a first period pin. Both will be in the podium picture in Albany. Sachem North’s Gio Santiago has experience on the medal stand at the Times Union Center, as he took sixth a year ago. He continued his solid campaign with a fall over Jagger Rebozo in the 182-pound final.

For more results, see here.

Kohl Tournament

Huntington racked up 268 points, outdistancing Monroe Woodbury (201.5) and Port Jervis (166) for the title. The Blue Devils were led by Most Outstanding Wrestler Joseph Puca, who upset state-ranked Dan DeCarlo of Port Jervis for the 152-pound crown, 1-0. Also making the top of the podium for Huntington were John Arceri (99), Corey Jamison (126), Nick Lupi (220) and Anthony Puca (285).

For full brackets, see here.

Edgemont Panther Tournament

Photo by BV

Edgemont won its own tournament by five points over Pearl River on Saturday, spurred by champion Trey Aslanian at 120 pounds. Also making the finals for the host team were Kyle Aslanian (99), Chris Kim (170) and Jason Worobow (182). One of the top 145 pounders in the Empire State, Tom Grippi of Fox Lane, pinned his way to the title.

For more results, see 2013 Edgemont Bracket FINAL RESULTS

 

ECIC Championships

In Section 6, Clarence won the title by almost 100 points over Lancaster.  Clarence had eight finalists, including three title winners.  For full results, see here.

Beacon

In addition to the dominance of Ossining’s Alex Delacruz, there were many standout showings at this tournament. One of those was the 195-pound championship for Horace Greeley’s Scott Wymbs. When Wymbs, named the Outstanding Wrestler, beat Kingston’s Deon Edmond for the title, he became his school’s all-time wins leader.

Dual Meets

For additional dual meet results from the weekend, see here.

Wantagh Wins U-E Duals; Full Results Available

 

 

Full results here for the Union-Endicott Duals. Recap coming tomorrow.