Section 7 Preview: Fargo All-American Jordan Bushey, Former Top 8 Finisher Codie Gillette Among Those Looking to Break Through to the Podium in 2013-14

We have been posting previews for Sections around the state and today we continue with Section 7.  For links to previous articles, please see the end of this story.

A pair of All-State wrestlers from 2013, Troy Seymour of Peru and Gage Bourdeau of Beekmantown completed their senior seasons. And according to Peru coach Mike Hogan, Seymour’s teammate Nick Forget, who took fifth at 126 a year ago, has decided to graduate early and forgo his final season of high school wrestling.

But that doesn’t mean Section 7 won’t have contenders for state placement in 2014.

One wrestler who is likely to make an impact at the state level is Peru’s Jordan Bushey, who came within one win of the podium in Albany last season, with a 2-2 performance at 138 pounds.  Both of his victories were major decisions and his losses were to multiple-time state placers who are now freshmen at Division I programs (Connor Lapresi, Bucknell and Drew Longo, Lehigh).  Bushey had an impressive showing at the summer’s biggest event – the National Freestyle Championships at Fargo. He went 6-2 against some of the nation’s best competition, finishing as an All-American with a seventh place medal at 145 pounds.

“[Bushey] was close to placing at states – in the match to place he unfortunately wasn’t feeling well and it really held him back,” Hogan said. “At any rate, he put in the time this summer and did a great job in Fargo.  He could be at 152. He’s developed nicely and we’re pretty excited about his chances this year.”

Another Peru grappler looking to get back to the state capital is Ethan Feazelle, a sophomore who has won a match at the Times Union Center each of the last two seasons.   Hogan expects him to wrestle at 126 pounds.

While Tanner Phillips hasn’t taken the mat yet in Albany, he is a potential candidate to do so this time around after competing at Fargo this summer.  According to Hogan, the likely 160-pounder has taken second at the Section 7 championships three times.

[Another wrestler Hogan was excited about in the fall was 220-pounder Luke McKee, who made appearances at the Times Union Center the past two seasons and was the runner up in both Freestyle and Greco Roman at the New York States in May of 2013.  Unfortunately, according to the coach, McKee suffered a knee injury during the football season and will miss his senior campaign on the mat].

It isn’t just Peru wrestlers who are threats to make the medal stand.  In 2013, Matt Lashway of Northern Adirondack went 2-2 in Albany at 195 pounds to come within a victory of All-State honors.  After a 35-9 junior campaign, he’ll be one to watch in the upperweights.  Meanwhile, his teammate Austin Trombley got his hand raised in his initial contest at 106 pounds in 2013 at the state tournament before going 1-2 and will look for another shot in Albany.

That isn’t all.  Saranac also has some formidable wrestlers in the mix, including John Devins, who drew top-seeded Hunter Olena of East Rochester in the opening round of the state tournament at 99 pounds in 2013.  James Black of the Chiefs also had a tough test right away at the Times Union Center – nationally-ranked Burke Paddock of Warsaw.  Hogan also mentioned another strong lightweight from the Saranac squad – Jake Nolan.

“Devins was the Outstanding Wrestler in our section tournament last year,” Hogan said. “He’ll probably go 106. He’s very athletic and has wrestled since he was four.  He actually has generations of wrestling in the family – he’s definitely been around the sport.  He was only in seventh grade last year, but he was pretty tough.”

Also likely to represent Saranac at the last event of the high school calendar is Codie Gillette.  After making the top 8 as a sophomore in Albany, Gillette began strong with a major decision in the state capital this year before facing Norwich’s Frank Garcia, the eventual runner up, in the quarters at 145 pounds.  The match went to three overtimes before Garcia prevailed.  With his experience at the biggest event of the season, Gillette is a strong candidate to bounce back with a medal as a senior.

“Gillette is very tough,” Hogan said. “He won two matches at states before, but hasn’t put three together yet.  He’s a very hard worker who puts in time year round. He’s very close.”

A newcomer that could make some noise in Section 7 this year is Jay Oakes, formerly of Section II’s Galway.  According to Hogan, Oakes was undefeated a year ago and won his Class event before sustaining an injury in the Sectional tournament that effectively ended his season.

“He’s a tough kid who transferred in,” Hogan said. “I heard a lot of good things about Jay and he improved a lot this summer.”

From a team perspective, Peru has been the top squad in the Section and once again has a strong foundation with wrestlers such as Bushey and Feazelle.  But other teams, such as Saranac and Northern Adirondack have their share of talented wrestlers to potentially make things interesting.

“We should have a decent team and a good year,” Hogan said. “Saranac sent four kids to Fargo this summer like we did and when you do that, you’re training hard for at least a month and a half of the offseason.  Beekmantown always finds a way to put out a good team too.  I think we’ll have some good performances in Section 7 this year.”

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Thank you to the contributors to this article, especially Peru coach Mike Hogan.

 

Returning State Qualifiers from 2013

John Devins, Saranac (99)

Austin Trombley, Northern Adirondack (106)

Ethan Feazelle, Peru (120)

Nick Forget, Peru (126)**

Jordan Bushey, Peru (138)

Codie Gillette, Saranac (145)

James Black, Saranac (160)

Matt Lashway, Northern Adirondack (195)

Luke McKee, Peru (220)**

Scott Guerin, Northern Adirondack (285)

**Unlikely to compete according to Hogan

 

We will continue to post Section previews as the season approaches.  Here are some others already released:

Section 3

Section 10

PSAL

 

 

Fargo Recap: Honoring Jeff Blatnick, the Porters, Bringing Home National Titles and More

The 2013 ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet National Championships in Fargo have come and gone.  Here are some thoughts and observations on Team New York’s highlights in North Dakota. 

The singlets worn by Team New York at the tournament said “Dream Big” on the back.  Underneath that phrase was a picture of the late, great Jeff Blatnick.

There’s no question that Blatnick would have been excited about some of the performances put together, including that of a competitor he worked with at the Journeymen Wrestling Club – Jesse Porter.

Porter, who was a Section 2 champion as a freshman in 2012, didn’t get a chance to shine in the postseason last year.  The Shenendehowa wrestler suffered an injury and was only able to compete in November and December for the Plainsmen as a sophomore.

Now healthy, he made a huge impact at the summer’s biggest event.  A year after taking fourth in Cadet Greco Roman at Fargo, he went to the finals at 152 pounds in the same tournament, where he earned the silver medal.  Then, in freestyle, Porter nabbed a fifth place finish, running his overall record in North Dakota to 14-3 against top-notch competition.  During the Greco Roman finals, one of the announcers said he wasn’t that familiar with Porter before the event, but he knew now that “Porter is a stud.”  It’s clear he’ll be a middleweight to watch in the Albany area . . . and beyond in 2013-14.

The Champions

Jesse Porter wasn’t the only member of his family to stand out for the Empire State.  His sister Alexis Porter captured gold again, winning the 148-pound championship in Junior Women’s Freestyle a year after taking gold in both Cadet and Junior competitions.  She was joined on the top of the podium by Rachel Hale, who won it all at 121 pounds.

It wasn’t just individual glory for the women, however.  Team New York made history, becoming the first squad other than California or Texas to win the Women’s Duals at Fargo.  In appropriate fashion, the group captured the title by defeating the prior titlewinners, dominating the Texans in the first match of the championship bracket before topping the Californians, 39-17.

In pool play, the team faced California and decided to rest the starters for a big run at the crown.  The move paid off for coach Rob Hirsch and the squad.  Later in the day, the rematch was a completely different story.  New York won nine of the 12 bouts, including five straight at the end to seal the victory.

During that event, many contributed key performances.  That included Alexis Bleau, who was the only woman to earn trophies in both the Cadet and Junior tournaments, taking second and fourth, respectively.  It also included Kelsey Gray, who went undefeated in the dual portion of the event, despite not placing individually. Alexis Porter, Rachel Hale and Rosemary Flores also sported unblemished records during the dual tournament.  Flores collected an individual bronze as well, as did Destane Garrick.

Speaking of Bronze . . .

Speaking of bronze, William Koll picked up his first medal in Fargo when he took third in Junior Greco at 126 pounds.  The Lansing Bobcat just missed making the medal stand in both events, as he went 4-2 in Freestyle.  Another two-time state finalist, Nick Casella of Locust Valley, also made his debut on the medal stand in Fargo after grabbing seventh at 120 pounds in Greco.

Something About 220

New York had more All-Americans at 220 pounds than any other weight.   James Bethel followed up his undefeated run at the Cadet Duals with a third place showing in Greco.  He was dominant in his victories, with all coming by pin or technical fall. He was joined on the podium in that tournament by Garyn Huntley, a sixth placer coming off a 20+ win campaign for Oxford Academy as an eighth grader.  In the Junior division there was another 220 pound All-American – Rafal Rokosz of Southampton, who was sixth with three pins along the way.

It wasn’t just Greco.  In Cadet Freestyle, Mamaroneck’s Youssif Hemida won four matches by technical fall to capture seventh place at 220.  Looks like there are some candidates for breakout years in the heavier weight classes in 2013-14.

(Another upperweight who made his mark was Roland Zilberman, who after sporting a perfect record at the Junior Duals in Oklahoma, continued his hot streak with a fifth place medal in Junior Greco).

And the Middleweights Too . . .

In addition to Jesse Porter’s performances at 152, the middleweights had a number of strong showings, including at 145 pounds in Cadet Freestyle.  Jordan Bushey of Peru, Jakob Restrepo of Sachem East and Gino Titone of Connetquot all finished with 5-2 records in pool action.  Titone, who had a 25-5 mark last season, fell just short of placing.  However, Bushey, who came within one win of All-State status in Albany at 138 in 2013, was seventh in Fargo (with an injury default victory over Restrepo, who took eighth).  Look for all three to make a serious push for the medal stand at the Times Union Center next February.

Another Year, Another Medal

Pine Bush’s Chris Cuccolo is very familiar with the awards handed out at Fargo as he placed in both 2011 and 2012. This year was no different, as he picked up another plaque with a sixth place showing at 106 in Greco.  Alpha Diallo of the PSAL was also an All-American in that bracket, earning seventh.

In Summary . . .

So, in the end, a total of 25 All-Americans were crowned, with at least one medalist in all competitions except Junior Freestyle.

New York walked away with a pair of individual national titles and a team championship on the women’s side.  And every time a New York wrestler took the mat, the memory of Jeff Blatnick was honored for everyone in the Fargodome to see.

 

All-Americans from New York, Fargo 2013

Cadet Greco Roman

Jesse Porter, 2nd at 152

James Bethel, 3rd at 220

Garyn Huntley, 6th at 220

Nick Casella, 7th at 120

 

Cadet Freestyle

Jesse Porter, 5th at 152

Jordan Bushey, 7th at 145

Jakob Restrepo, 8th at 145

Youssif Hemida, 7th at 220

 

Junior Greco

William Koll, 3rd at 126

Roland Zilberman, 5th at 195

Rafal Rokosz, 6th at 220

Chris Cuccolo, 6th at 106

Alpha Diallo, 7th at 106

 

Women’s Cadet

Alexis Bleau, 2nd at 143

Jennifer Juarez, 3rd at 108

Vivian Vu, 6th at 154

 

Women’s Junior

Rachel Hale, Champion at 121

Alexis Porter, Champion at 148

Rosemary Flores, 3rd at 125

Destane Garrick, 3rd at 172

Alexis Bleau, 4th at 139

Yuneris Taveras, 6th at 198

Kim Cardenas, 7th at 97

Kennedi Eddins, 7th at 159

Mariana Olalde, 8th at 172

Cadet Freestyle Ends With Four NY All-Americans – Porter (5th), Bushey (7th), Restrepo (8th) and Hemida (7th)

On Friday, the final four All-Americans were crowned for New York at Fargo.  Jesse Porter collected his second medal of the week, this time in Cadet Freestyle, when he scored six points in the waning seconds of his last match to capture a 12-7 victory over Matt Ferraro of Illinois to grab fifth.

That performance came after the Shenendehowa wrestler took second at 152 in Greco earlier in the week. He compiled a stellar 14-3 record across the two competitions with his only two losses in Freestyle to the runner up (5-4 score) and the third placer (4-4 on criteria).

The Empire State took seventh and eighth in Cadet Freestyle at 145 pounds, with Peru’s Jordan Bushey and Sachem East’s Jakob Restrepo, respectively.  Bushey grabbed the seventh place bout over his state counterpart by injury default.  The Section 7 wrestler ended with a 6-2 record.

Youssif Hemida also earned a spot on the medal stand when he notched seventh at 220 pounds.  The upperweight earned a 13-1 triumph over Dustin Remer of Oklahoma that took just under a minute and a half for seventh place.  All four of his wins came by technical fall.

New York had eight grapplers begin the Junior Freestyle competition on Friday, however, none advanced to Saturday’s medal round.  Those wrestlers were:

113: John Twomey 4-2

120: Matthew Morris 3-2

126: William Koll 4-2

152: Trevor Hoffmier 3-2

160: Troy Seymour 5-2

160: Chris Koo 3-2

170: Andrew Psomas 3-2

182: Cedric Stephens 3-2

A full Fargo recap will follow in the next few days.

Porter, Restrepo and Bushey Clinch All-America Honors in Cadet FS; Hemida in Contention (Also See Who Survived Day 1 of Jr FS)

After the second day of Cadet Freestyle, three New York wrestlers clinched spots on the podium with another still in contention when action resumes on Friday.

Jesse Porter of Shenendehowa was the runner up in Cadet Greco earlier this week at 152 pounds and he assured himself two medals at Fargo in 2013 as he will compete for fifth place on Friday against Matt Ferraro of Illinois.  Porter compiled a 6-2 mark in Freestyle with five technical falls and a pin.  In his last match on Thursday, he came back from a late deficit to knot the score at 4, however, he lost on criteria.

Also earning All-America honors were a pair of Empire State grapplers who will take the mat against each other at 145 pounds.  Both Jakob Restrepo of Sachem East and Jordan Bushey of Peru racked up 5-2 records and will battle in the seventh place tilt on Friday. Also going 5-2 in that same bracket was Gino Titone of Connetquot, however, he fell just short of the medal stand.

Youssif Hemida stands at 3-1 and is one of five remaining wrestlers in his half of the 220 pound bracket. (Four of the five grapplers will make the podium).  Hemida’s victories have all been by technical fall and he’s looking for another when he squares off with Kyler Childers of Oklahoma in his next contest.

Also seeing action for New York on Thursday in the Cadet event, but finishing their runs at the tournament, were Ben Lamantia (who finished 4-2), Leonard Merkin (4-2), Gino Titone (5-2), Jacob Woolson (3-2), Tyler Hall (2-2), James Bethel (2-2) and Peter Strassfield (1-2).

JUNIOR FREESTYLE

Junior Freestyle got underway on Thursday and after the first two sessions, the following wrestlers are still alive for Team New York (with record in parenthesis):

113: John Twomey 3-0

120: Matthew Morris 3-1

126: William Koll 4-1

152: Trevor Hoffmier 3-1

160: Troy Seymour 4-0

160: Chris Koo 3-1

170: Andrew Psomas 3-1

182: Cedric Stephens 3-1

Porter, Titone, Bushey and Restepo Undefeated on Day 1 of Cadet Freestyle; NY Women Win Dual Meet Championship

With Greco Roman finished at Fargo for 2013, the Cadet Freestyle tournament got underway on Wednesday.  New York will be well represented as the competition continues on Thursday with more than 10 wrestlers remaining.

Cadet Greco Roman runner up Jesse Porter continued his strong run in North Dakota with a 5-0 record at 152 pounds.  The Shenendehowa grappler wasn’t the only unbeaten New Yorker, as Leonard Merkin won all four of his bouts at 132 and a trio of 145 pounders – Gino Titone, Jordan Bushey and Jakob Restrepo – all went undefeated.

The following is the list of Empire State wrestlers who are in the hunt for medals in Cadet Freestyle:

120: Ben Lamantia 4-1

132: Leonard Merkin 4-0

145: Gino Titone 5-0

145: Jordan Bushey 4-0

145: Jakob Restrepo 4-0

152: Jesse Porter 5-0

170: Jacob Woolson 2-1

195: Tyler Hall 2-1

220: Youssif Hemida 2-0

220: James Bethel 2-1

285: Peter Strassfield 1-1

(To see the additional wrestlers that competed in Cadet Freestyle, see the end of this page).

New York – Dual Meet Champions

In addition to boasting a pair of national champions (Alexis Porter and Rachel Hale), Team New York celebrated an additional title on Wednesday as the squad finished in first place in the Women’s Dual Meet event.

The team began with a 33-22 victory over Washington before losing to California while forfeiting seven bouts.

In the championship bracket, the team trounced Texas 49-8 while winning 10 of 12 matches. In the title meet, New York faced the Golden State group for the second time of the day and came out on top 39-17.  After California captured the opening bout, New York grabbed four consecutive matches, including two technical falls and a pin, to take control.  The West Coast group rebounded with two wins, but New York sealed the crown with triumphs in the final five contests.

Going undefeated on the day were Kelsey Gray (112), Rachel Hale (121), Rosemary Flores (125) and Alexis Porter (148).

 

The following wrestlers also took the mat for New York in Cadet Freestyle action on Wednesday:

88: Drew Schafer, Justin Lopez, Oscar Lainez

106: John Luke DeStefano, Vinny Vespa, Johnathan Lauricella, Sean Miller

113: Evan Barczak, Taylor Picciano

120: Nick Casella

126: Christian Briody, Michael Berkowitz, Ian Lupole

138: Zachery Bendick, Wyatt DeMarree, Sam Ward, Frank Jilling

145: Kevin Parker

152: William Marcil, Brandon Aviles, Collin LaBombard, John Vouzonis

160: Zafar Iskandarov, Andrew Cummings, Vance Cuffie, Logan Burnick

182: Colby Stayley, Joseph Sabia

195: Aidan Mathews, Nick McShea

220: Garyn Huntley

285: Alex Gonzolez