New York Wrestlers Ready to Make Their Mark at the Super 32 Challenge

Last year, Jamel Hudson and Maverick Passaro kicked off their state championship seasons by making the podium at one of the nation’s toughest tournaments, the Super 32 Challenge in Greensboro, North Carolina. Both showed their skills in fields loaded with All-Americans and top 100 recruits, with Hudson (now a Hofstra freshman), grabbing fourth at 132 pounds while Passaro (Rutgers) earned eighth in the 126-pound bracket.

This year, over 60 New York wrestlers are entered in the high school division and an additional 19 in the middle school competition.  Action begins on Saturday and runs through Sunday.

Sean Peacock, Photo by Boris V

So, who from the Empire State will earn a spot on the podium this weekend? Here are some of the many candidates:

A pair of 2012 state champions will be taking the mat as Ward Melville’s Nick Piccininni and Sean Peacock of Midlakes are registered at 113 and 120 pounds, respectively.  In addition, 2012 state silver medalists Justin Cooksey (126), Vincent Deprez (138), Drew Hull (152) and Shayne Brady (182) are entered, as is bronze winner Isaiah Riccio, who will be at 145.

The parade of All-State wrestlers continues as New Rochelle’s Nick Barbaria, Locust Valley’s Nick Casella and Holley’s Andrew Flanagan are set to go at 106 while Shoreham Wading River’s TJ Fabian, General Brown’s Ryan Snow and 2011 NYS placer Freddie Dunau will be at 126.  In addition, Oxford’s Joe Nelson (113) and Bellmore JFK’s Robert Person (120) will take the mat, as will NHSCA Junior National champion Chris Araoz (at 132).

But the previous New York medalists aren’t the only threats to excel.  In 2011, John Keck (now a freshman at Navy) took third at the Super 32 without having earned All-State honors in his career to that point.  Many other New Yorkers look to follow that path.

Several of the top young wrestlers in New York are set to compete in the Middle School event.  One interesting matchup could take place at 100 pounds where  Intermat‘s #5 ranked Junior High wrestler in the nation, Yianni Diakomihalis of Hilton, could collide with Syosset’s Vitali Arujau.  They were both victorious in different brackets at the Journeymen Classic near Albany a few weeks ago.

The full list of Empire State participants at the Super 32 is below:

 

High School

106 Pounds:

Nick Barbaria (New Rochelle)

Christian Briody (Chaminade)

Ryan Burns (Clarence)

Nick Casella (Locust Valley)

Tito Colom (Scorpion/Cobra)

Jon Errico (Byram Hills)

Brandon Fay (Fox Lane)

Andrew Flanagan (Holley)

Andrew North (Pine Bush)

Jack Scurti (Half Hollow Hills East)

113 Pounds:

Timothy Johnson (Harborfields)

Ben Lamantia (St. Anthony’s)

Joe Nelson (Oxford)

Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville)

120 Pounds:

Travis Alexander (Long Island Lutheran)

Steven Bulzomi (Connetquot)

Anthony Calvano (Nanuet)

Mike D’Angelo (Commack)

Jeffrey Gould (Pittsford Mendon)

Sean Peacock (Midlakes)

Robert Person (Bellmore JFK)

Joe Russ (St. Anthony’s)

Adam Santoro (Fordham Prep)

126 Pounds:

Justin Cooksey (MacArthur)

Freddie Dunau (St. Anthony’s)

TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River)

Travis Passaro (Eastport South Manor)

Blaise Rufo (Monsignor Farrell)

Ryan Snow (General Brown)

132 Pounds:

Chris Araoz (Wantagh)

Sam Melikian (Fordham Prep)

Conor O’Hara (Sachem East)

Jon Silveri (Arlington)

138 Pounds:

Vincent Deprez (Hilton)

Kevin Jackson (St. Anthony’s)

Jakob Restrepo (Sachem East)

Sam Ward (Locust Valley)

145 Pounds:

Nick Alessandrini (St. Anthony’s)

Anthony Deprez (Hilton)

John Doherty (Monticello)

Matthew Haenel (Half Hollow Hills East)

Isaiah Riccio (Beaver River)

John Vouzonis (Herricks)

152 Pounds:

Mike Dusold (Locust Valley)

Declan Gray (Chaminade)

Drew Hull (Royalton Hartland)

Joseph Koshakow (Scarsdale)

Connor Lawrence (Duanesburg)

Rowdy Prior (Phoenix)

Matthew Russo (Horace Mann)

Paul Schoenberg (Baruch)

160 Pounds

Joe Mastro (Yorktown)

Andrew Psomas (Monsignor Farrell)

Jun Yoo (Jericho)

170 Pounds:

Johnny Vrasidas (St. Anthony’s)

Austin Weigel (Onteora)

182 Pounds:

Shayne Brady (Carthage)

Matt Roberts (Monsignor Farrell)

Kevin Rodriguez (Patchogue-Medford)

Dan Smith (South Jefferson)

195 Pounds:

Chris Chambers (East Islip)

Collin Pittman (Spencerport)

220 Pounds:

Roman Accetta (Poly Prep)

Nelson Wymbs (Horace Greeley)

 

Middle School

70 Pounds:

Michael Gonyea (East Greenbush)

Drew Schafer (Marion)

75 Pounds:

Adam Busiello (Eastport South Manor)

Salvatore Jones (Lindenhurst)

Dylan Ryder (Candlewood)

80 Pounds:

Joseph Russo (Wantagh)

85 Pounds:

John DeRidder (Carle Place)

Tony Negron (631 Elite)

90 Pounds:

AJ Burkhart (Waverly)

Peter Pappas (POB)

Jack Ward (Locust Valley)

95 Pounds:

Hector Colom (Scorpion/Cobra)

Zachery Lawrence (Duanesburg)

100 Pounds:

Vitali Arujau (Syosset)

Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton)

105 Pounds:

Zachary Ancewicz (John Glenn)

112 Pounds:

Hunter Dusold (Locust Valley)

120 Pounds:

Louis Deprez (Hilton)

157 Pounds:

Michael Spallina (Hilton)

 

Take a Look at More Videos from this Weekend's Journeymen Classic, Featuring Several NY State Placewinners

Here are a few more videos from the Journeymen Classic this weekend, featuring several more New York state placewinners.  For the remainder of the videos and results, see link

 

TJ Fabian (NYS 4th) vs. Sean Peacock (NYS Champion)

 

Nick Piccininni (NYS Champion) vs. Nick Casella (NYS Runner Up)

 

Justin Cooksey (NYS Runner Up) vs. Christian Vallis (New England Prep Champ)

 

Vitali Arujau (VHW) vs. Josh Logiudice (Journeymen)

 

Johnny Stramiello (NYS Placer) vs. Blake Retell (Journeymen)

 

Chris Koo (NHSCA All-American) vs. Logan Dean (Virginia State Placer)

Overcoming Forfeits and Wrangling Snakes: NY Kong Represents the Empire State at Disney Duals

 

Team NY Kong, Photo courtesy of Steve Hromada/Anthony Ciolino


There were some twists and turns along the way, but the Empire State’s debut in the All-Star division at the AAU Scholastic Duals (aka Disney Duals) was a success, as Team New York Kong took eighth place in Orlando in a competition that featured teams from all over the country.

“I’m so proud of these kids,” said coach Anthony Ciolino.  “What they did was awesome. To go to a national tournament, one of the toughest I’ve been to, and get to the All-American round is unbelievable, especially when you’re giving up as many points as we had to.”

According to Ciolino, who hadn’t participated in an AAU event before, the rules of the organization in New York limited the number of scoring team members by region of the state.  When he arrived in Florida, Ciolino was informed that some of the grapplers who had made the trip would not be allowed to figure into the scoring and therefore, every dual meet essentially began with a 12-0 deficit.

“We brought a great team – every one of the guys was an All-State wrestler,” Ciolino said. “I couldn’t believe we had to tell wrestlers like [state second placer finishers] Jacob Berkowitz, El Shaddai Van Hoesen and Nicky Hall that they could wrestle but their matches would be scored as forfeits for the other team.  Those guys wrestled very well, but every dual, 182 and 285 didn’t count.”

Early on, that didn’t matter.  The squad opened with four blowout victories over opponents from Ohio, Michigan and Delaware and went 6-1 overall in pool action, with the one setback against Pennsylvania’s Team Diesel, which was the eventual runner up.

The team then won its next two meets against teams from Missouri and Georgia before dropping its final two contests to Keystone Elite (PA) and Michigan’s MYWA Blue, bouts both Ciolino and Cornell-recruit Dylan Palacio felt would have gone differently with a full strength side.

“Looking at it, I think we were the third-best team there,” Palacio said.  “Diesel beat us, no question.  They were just really, really good.  But the other duals we could have won.  At that level, with nationally ranked kids everywhere, giving up 12 points in a dual [and 18 against Michigan with one team member having to leave], there’s no way to come back.  We took the challenge with a grain of salt and made the top eight.”

In the process of making the top eight, many individuals stood out.  Among them was a pair of undefeated wrestlers – Palacio and Frewsburg’s Nick Mitchell.

Palacio topped multiple nationally-ranked foes, including Pennsylvania state champion Garrett Peppelman, in his only close bout.  In fact, Peppelman took an early 5-0 lead, but Palacio chipped away at the deficit, eventually notching back points very late in the third period to get the victory.

“I wasn’t happy with how I wrestled in that match,” Palacio said. “I had to claw my way back.  There was a point in the match where I had to ask myself if I believed I could win.  But there was no going back. I wasn’t tired. I believed I should win every time I wrestled and I got it done.”

Nick Mitchell, Photo by Boris Veysman

Mitchell, who will attend Edinboro in the fall, got the job done as well.

“Nick Mitchell is one of the slickest kids in New York State.  He was really, really good,” Palacio said. “People like to talk about who’s better, D1 or D2 [Division 1 or 2] in New York.  After this weekend, I know that D2 kids are for real.  I might have been skeptical, but they shut me up really quickly.”

According to Ciolino, several other wrestlers registered seven or more victories for NY Kong during the event in addition to Mitchell and Palacio, including Marathon’s Lucas Malmberg, Lansing’s William Koll, Wayne’s Alec Dierna, Shenendehowa’s Nick Kelley, Williamsville East’s Dylan Cohen, Longwood’s Corey Rasheed, Medina’s Tristan Hamner and Niagara Wheatfield’s Max Antone.

“Hamner really battled and beat some very good kids,” Palacio said. “Antone surprised me. He was so athletic, doing flips and cartwheels.  I was in a state of shock.”

A similar state of shock may have been felt by a crowd at the team’s hotel as they saw a large snake on the premises. According to Ciolino, there was Palacio, standing near the lizard, speaking in an Australian accent, instructing people and trying to keep them calm.

“I was acting like the snake wrangler,” he said. “Everyone was listening to me.  That was a funny time, and there were so many others.  There was stuff like that all week. Everyone was funny and laid back.  We became really close – it was like wrestling with my friends and wrestling with family and there’s nothing better than that.”

“I couldn’t believe how the team jelled,” Ciolino agreed. “It didn’t feel like I brought a team from every corner of the state, even though that’s what I did.  It felt like the team was a bunch of guys who went to high school together.  They had a great time at the pool, at Disney World, playing jokes on each other. It was unbelievable.”

Despite some of the initial issues, it’s an experience Ciolino is hoping to repeat again in 2013.

“A lot of the juniors already told me they want to come back,” he said.  “It’s not a hard sell.  It’s a great place to be and you know the kind of competition you’ll see here.  The national exposure is great.  I had college coaches asking me about some of the guys. Now I know the rules and we want to do it again.”

That was a sentiment echoed by Palacio, although he’s headed to college.

“I went with a North Carolina team last year but this was way better,” he said. “I would love to do it all over again.  We took the good with the bad but in the end, I think we showed everyone that New York is for real.”

 

[Ciolino wished to thank Steve Hromada and Kim McClaugherty for all their work during the trip].

Team Members:

Lucas Malmberg, Marathon

Justin Cooksey, MacArthur

Jimmy Overhiser, Corning

William Koll, Lansing

Alec Dierna, Wayne

Nick Kelley, Shenendehowa

Dylan Cohen, Williamsville East

Corey Rasheed, Longwood

Tristan Hamner, Medina

Nicky Hall, Longwood

Dylan Palacio, Long Beach

Nick Mitchell, Frewsburg

Jacob Berkowitz, Scarsdale

Austyn Hayes, Phoenix

Max Antone, Niagara Wheatfield

El Shaddai Van Hoesen, Columbia