Binghamton Recruiting 2013: A Look Back at the Making of the Highly-Ranked Class

 
 
Recruiting for the Class of 2014 has been officially underway for a little over a week.  However, before we completely shift our focus forward, we took a quick look back at the class that Binghamton put together for the fall of 2013.

According to the rankings produced by a number of wrestling publications, Binghamton had the best recruiting class of the Division I programs in New York this year. Flowrestling slotted the Bearcats into the #25 spot nationally while D1 College Wrestling.net, placed the team at #24. (Columbia also made an appearance in Flo’s article, garnering an honorable mention nod).

When looking at the Binghamton class, what immediately stands out is the strong Empire State presence. Among the seven New Yorkers are eight state championships, 21 All-State showings and more than 10 All-American performances. There’s representation from Section 3 with three-time state titlewinner Nick Tighe and two-time champion Zack Zupan as well as a pair of Shenendehowa standouts – 2013 state gold medalist Nick Kelley and third placer David Almaviva. Adding to the mix in the lightweights are two-time state champion Kyle Kelly from nearby Chenango Forks and Nassau County’s Robert Person, with the upperweights adding Bryce Mazurowski, who was the Division II state runner up as a junior and senior at 195. When the “Top Seniors in New York” feature was done prior to the start of the campaign, Zupan, Kelley and Tighe were ranked 1-2-3.

So, how did Binghamton land many of the Empire State’s best and a top 25 class nationally in Matt Dernlan’s first year as head coach? The program’s recruiting coordinator, Jasen Borshoff, provided some insight.

“We sat down and talked about how we wanted to keep the best kids in state and get them to Binghamton,” Borshoff said. “If you look at the results from the last 10 years, you see New York is way up there in All-Americans. We felt that if you can keep the best New York kids here, you can succeed at the national level. That’s not to say we won’t recruit some kids from out of state. We probably will since we’re close to Pennsylvania and Ohio. But we believe we need to keep New York’s best here and we can win with New York wrestlers.”

Borshoff continued by referencing the 30 for 30 ESPN special about the University of Miami football team during their championship years.

“That part of Florida produces all these awesome football players,” he said. “Miami set up a 200 mile radius and said they weren’t going to let those kids go anywhere else. They were determined not to be outrecruited in their area.  That’s the mentality we have here with New York wrestlers. We don’t want to let anyone outrecruit us for the best around here.”

The Bearcats were able to do it by targeting a relatively small set of wrestlers.

“In the past, I probably called over 100 kids in the summer and hadn’t seen many of them wrestle,” he said. “But last year, before the New York State tournament, we were looking at around 16 kids, who we watched wrestle and got to know pretty well. We kept a pretty small focus.”

With that focus, they were able to emphasize the direction that the new staff planned for the Bearcats going forward.

“Most of the guys weren’t really interested in Binghamton at first – they wanted to go out of state or had other schools in mind,” he said. “Coach Dernlan got in front of them at their houses and told them all about the vision and philosophy. Things went from there and they came on board. Hopefully, we can reproduce that success with this year’s class and set ourselves up even more for the next several years here.”

The wrestlers are excited to get started, as all will be spending the summer on campus, getting their feet wet both academically and on the mat.

“We think we have a bunch of tough kids coming in,” Borshoff said in late June. “They’ll all be here in early July. They’ll be taking classes. They’ll be putting in work. We believe some of them will be starters this season. The great thing is, every single one of them asked to come up for the summer. They want to be here, getting started. That’s exactly what we want. We believe we have the best recruiting class in Binghamton wrestling history.”

 

It's Almost Tournament Time: Division I State Tournament Preview

First, we will be doing a LIVE BLOG of the tournament, starting Friday morning. To access the blog, see here: LIVE BLOG link

Here are some weight class by weight class thoughts on the upcoming Division I state tournament in Albany.  We will be posting a similar article on Division II. The votes have been rolling in, but if you haven’t already, feel free to give us your thoughts on who will win the titles by participating in our prediction contests.

For the Division I contest, click on this link.

For the Division II contest, click on this link.

 

99 Pounds:

Returning 2012 State Placers: None

Huntington’s John Arceri got the top seed, but it’s far from an easy road for him. In a 35-2 season (one of his losses was at 106), he defeated five of the grapplers in this bracket, including the number two, three and four seeds. His reward? A possible meeting with the undefeated Vito Arujau of Syosset if both make the quarterfinals. An intriguing first round bout pits CHSAA winner Garrett Baugher, who has been a force throughout the campaign, against NHSCA Middle School National Champion Kelan McKenna of Section 3.

On the bottom of the bracket, we’re excited to see Jesse Dellavecchia of East Islip against Vinny Vespa of Monroe Woodbury in the opening round. Having Vespa back on the mat this year has been an amazing story after his well-documented battle with cancer. But beyond that, it is always interesting to watch two medal contenders clash early in the event. Speaking of Section 9 wrestlers, number two seed Chris Cuccolo recovered from some early season setbacks to win the Eastern States and breezed through the remainder of the year (other than a loss to Arceri). He could have a meeting with Hilton’s Yianni Diakomihalis in the Round of 8. Diakomihalis has won just about every event he’s entered in the past year and is nationally ranked.

So . . . We’ve had Diakomihalis at #1 and Arujau at #2 for the entire season at this weight. While 99 is often unpredictable at the state tournament, we wouldn’t be surprised to see those two put on a show in the finals as they did in the Super 32 Middle School tournament in the fall when Diakomihalis came out on top and took the title.

106 Pounds:

Returning 2012 State Placers:
Alex Tanzman, Westhampton Beach (Third at 99)
Jimmy Overhiser, Corning (Fourth at 106)
Nick Barbaria, New Rochelle (Sixth at 99)

Alex Tanzman, the top seed, has followed up a stellar junior season with an even better senior campaign. He has a 32-1 mark, with the only loss coming at the hands of state champion Nick Piccininni up a weight at 113. Fellow Section 11 grappler Steven Lee is back in Albany after coming within one win of placing last year. He’ll be part of an intriguing first round bout against Colonie’s Golan Cohen, a wrestler who stood out with a fourth place showing at the Eastern States Classic.

On the bottom half, a number of wrestlers with experience at the Times Union Center will take the mat. Spencerport’s Jon Haas was one bout from making All-State last year and has been on a roll, winning 14 matches in a row since a loss to Diakomihalis. If he gets to the quarters, he could face Nick Barbaria, who made the medal stand a year ago and has an unblemished record (40-0) this year. On the way to the Eastern States Classic title this season, Barbaria topped Corning’s Jimmy Overhiser in an overtime bout and Wantagh’s Kyle Quinn in the championship match. Those two wrestlers are also very much in the mix for titles and could collide in the Round of 8 if they both advance there. (Quinn’s only two losses are to Barbaria).

So . . . This should be a very interesting class, but in the end, we expect Tanzman, the senior from Section 11, to end his career on a high note on Saturday night against the very tough Barbaria.

113 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers:
Kyle Kelly, Chenango Forks (Champion at 99)
Nick Piccininni, Ward Melville (Champion at 106)
Joe Calderone, Walt Whitman (Fourth at 99)
Bryan Lantry, Wayne (Fifth at 99)
John Stramiello, Pine Bush (Sixth at 106)

It’s clear that there are many very good wrestlers at this weight, especially considering how many returning state placers are in the bracket. Bryan Lantry of Wayne and Johnny Stramiello of Pine Bush competed for third at the Eastern States and have both been on the state podium before. Corey Ali of Shenendehowa and Thomas Hill of Fulton have won multiple Section 2 and 3 championships, respectively. Joe Calderone also was All-State last year.

So . . . Despite the obvious quality throughout the field, if anyone other than Ward Melville’s Nick Piccininni and Chenango Forks’s Kyle Kelly takes the mat in the Saturday night finals, it will be a huge upset. It’s a match that fans in Sections 4 and 11 have been talking about all season and one that both Piccininni and Kelly have expressed excitement about in interviews we did with them prior to the season. Both are nationally ranked by at least one publication and both were undefeated state champions in 2012 (Kelly at 99 and Piccininni at 106). The last time Piccininni lost a match in New York, it was to Kelly in the 2011 99-pound semifinals when Kelly went on to win his first state crown. How similar will this match be to that close decision? We expect it to be an absolute battle between two of the very best wrestlers the Empire State has to offer. We’ve had Piccininni in the top spot in the rankings all year . . . we’ll see if we were right.

120 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers:
Anthony Orefice, Lockport (Fifth at 106)
Robert Person, Bellmore JFK (Fifth at 113)
Steve Michel, Lancaster (Sixth at 120)

We go from two state champions, Kelly and Piccininni, to a field full of grapplers who can make the finals. Who will win at 120 Pounds? Great question. Recently, I asked a handful of people and, predictably, I got a handful of different answers.

Will it be Steve Michel, the top seed? He is a returning placer and has had a strong season, including wins over Division II state champion Sean Peacock, three victories over multi-time placer Anthony Orefice and a pair of triumphs against Kellen Devlin of Amherst. At Eastern States, however, where a sizable number of wrestlers in this bracket competed, Michel didn’t place. Neither did another returning All-Stater, Robert Person. However, the Nassau County wrestler seems to be back to form. After all, he lost to MacArthur’s Chris Cataldo at SUNY Sullivan but responded with a commanding major against the same opponent in the Section 8 final.

Ok, but if those guys didn’t place in Loch Sheldrake – who did? The answer: lots of wrestlers who will compete in Albany. John Muldoon of Pearl River took second, Blaise Benderoth was third, Travis Passaro grabbed fourth, Blake Retell picked up seventh and Santo Curatolo took eighth. Alex Delacruz was in the semis before being disqualified.

Let’s face it, everyone mentioned above is capable of being on the podium. As is Mike D’Angelo, who has a win over Muldoon. And Orefice, who has been a placer before. Only one thing seems safe to say – there shouldn’t be a dull match at this weight.

So . . . The winner here will have navigated tough customers in every round. Who will it be? We’ll put forward the wrestler who got the most votes in our informal poll – John Muldoon.

126 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers:
Dylan Realbuto, Somers (Champion at 113)
TJ Fabian, Shoreham Wading River (Fourth at 120)

Fabian, Photo by Josh Conklin

There are so many good story lines here. One that we’ll definitely be watching is how seventh grader Frankie Gissendanner of Penfield fares in his first state tournament appearance. He sure hasn’t looked at all intimidated so far, including during his seventh place finish at Eastern States in a very challenging class. He sits in the top part of the bracket, along with a number of accomplished wrestlers. The #1 seed is Shoreham Wading River’s TJ Fabian, a returning placer who was upset in the Section 11 tournament but came back for bronze. The match that many thought would be the Suffolk finals – Fabian vs. Hauppauge’s Mark West, didn’t come to fruition last weekend. However, it could be a semifinal showdown. Both Section 11 grapplers have plenty to contend with early on, however. For example, West gets Freddie Dunau of St. Anthony’s a former state placer, in Round 1.

The lower half is no cakewalk, either. Returning state champion Dylan Realbuto of Somers begins with upstart Owen Bachelder of Hewlett, who starred in the Nassau County event, including a pin against NHSCA National Champion Chris Araoz of Wantagh. Aroaz, however, will be in the field in Albany for the first time and will start off in another excellent opening round contest as he takes on Frontier’s Rocco Russo. Both Jacob Green of Chenengo Forks and Keanu Thompson have significant Times Union Center experience and will be a challenging matchup for anyone.

So . . . Realbuto has been in the finals for two consecutive years and we think he’ll leverage that experience to get back for the third time, where we could see a rematch of the Eastern States title bout with Fabian. Fabian beat Realbuto on a third period reversal at SUNY Sullivan this year. Realbuto won his state title last year on a last second takedown. With a late charge, Realbuto may do it again.

132 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers:
Matt Leshinger, Sayville (Third at 120)
Brandon Lapi, Amsterdam (Fourth at 113)

Matt Leshinger, the top seed, looks to move up a few spots on the ladder after taking third as a junior. He has wrestled well all year, avenging his one loss against Vinny Turano by beating the Wantagh wrestler the next day to grab bronze at Eastern States. There could be a third meeting in the semis but plenty of wrestlers are capable of stopping that from happening. Turano will have an immediate challenge from freshman Chris Mauriello of Hauppauge.

Brandon Lapi of Amsterdam, the #2 seed, has been on the podium multiple times but will be tested right away by returning qualifier Richie Burke of Ithaca, who has put together a 38-3 season. Also sitting in the bottom half is Fordham Prep’s Sam Melikian, the Eastern States runner up. The CHSAA champion has blitzed through the season.

So . . . Leshinger was the top seed last year at 120 and took third. This time, as the top seed, we think he’ll finish with the gold against Melikian.

138 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers:
Nick Kelley, Shenendehowa (Third at 132)
Vincent DePrez, Hilton (Second at 113)

Shenendehowa’s Nick Kelley and Hilton’s Vincent DePrez had one thing in common last year – both only lost once, and it was at the Times Union Center. Kelley was edged in the semifinals by eventual champion Jamel Hudson while DePrez lost in the waning seconds of the title bout against Dylan Realbuto.

They are the top seeds at 138 (Kelley is at #1). Among the wrestlers on the top half of the bracket to watch are Derrick Gray of Indian River, a five-time Sectional champion, who came within a bout of placing last year and North Rockland’s Matt Caputo, who has over 50 wins according to the NWCA Scorebook.

There are some first round matchups in the bottom half that we’re excited about. One is Rocky Point’s Tommy Dutton, who has been dominant nearly the entire season, against undefeated Danny Graham of West Seneca East. In addition, Isaiah Perry of Massena, who has been at this tournament for many years, will give it one last shot to make the podium, beginning against Joey Butler of Burnt Hills, a returning qualifier who gave Kelley his closest match against a New York wrestler this year in an 8-6 loss.

So . . . Kelley, one of the top pound-for-pound wrestlers in New York and a regular in Albany since seventh grade, has been waiting for the chance to get on top of the podium. We think he’ll get there this time, with a challenge from Dutton.

145 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers:
David Almaviva, Shenendehowa (Third at 138)

Hernandez, Photo by Josh Conklin

When David Almaviva of Shenendehowa and Louis Hernandez of Mepham squared off in the quarterfinals of the Eastern States, a fan sitting nearby told me it was a preview of the state finals. It could be. Hernandez won that day, 4-2, and went on to win the tournament.

A number of wrestlers will provide very formidable challenges to those two, however. In the top half, where Hernandez sits as the #1 seed, he could see a wrestler such as Anthony DePrez of Hilton, who has just a single loss this year and has been impressive. In addition, Fox Lane’s Tom Grippi is a big threat. He handed Almaviva his only loss at the Times Union Center last year. Jackson Mordente of Sachem East is yet another to keep tabs on.

In the bottom half, Brendan Dent may be under the radar for those outside of Long Island, but he has been strong all year and has yet to lose. In addition, Eric Lewandowski of Lancaster is a very dangerous wrestler who has been to the finals before and is on a mission to get back. Trevor Hoffmier is a formidable first round foe for Almaviva as well.

So . . . We believe the fan at the Eastern States had the title bout pegged. The stage is brighter, but we expect a similar match in Hernandez vs. Almaviva II to what we saw in the Eastern States quarters.

152 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers
Corey Rasheed, Longwood (Second at 145)

Longwood’s Corey Rasheed is a three-time state placer, including two runner up finishes. If he wrestles the way he has all year, he will be extremely difficult to beat. Eastern States provided a great example of that. In a solid bracket, he pinned his first three foes and then outscored the opposition 28-4 in the semis and finals to earn the crown. He could face some of the other medalists from that event as both Joe Mastro of Yorktown and Dan DeCarlo of Port Jervis sit in the top of the bracket.

Columbia’s Angelo Kress is the number two seed and has topped the wrestler in the number three spot, Zach Joseph of Shenendehowa, twice by a single point in February. For them to meet again, they will have to overcome a number of very strong wrestlers, among them, returning qualifier Zach Colgan of Johnson City, Section 3’s Tommy Quinlan and two-time NHSCA All-American Chris Koo.

So . . . Rasheed has been unbelievable this season. He’s been close to a state title twice before and this time takes gold instead of silver against the very solid (and currently unbeaten) Koo.

160 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers
Tyler Grimaldi, Hills West (Second at 160)
Dale White, John Jay East Fishkill (Fifth at 145)

Tyler Grimaldi was the runner up in this class last year. He has dedicated himself to making sure he gets that elusive last victory in 2013 before heading to Harvard. Who stands in his way? Clarence’s Jake Weber has put together a good season in Section 6 as has Derek Holcomb of Newark Valley, an NHSCA All-American. Holcomb will have an interesting first match as he faces returning medalist Dale White of John Jay East Fishkill, a wrestler who missed the bulk of the season with an injury but has looked solid upon his return.

Andrew Psomas of Monsignor Farrell announced his presence among the state’s elite with his fourth place showing at the Eastern States. In the bronze bout, he lost to MacArthur’s Steve Schneider. The Nassau County champion has appeared to get better and better as the season progressed and is the #2 seed.

So . . . Grimaldi and Schneider have already faced off twice this season with the Hills West senior getting his hand raised both times. The finals may give us a third battle. Harvard thinks they found a champion.  We agree.

170 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers
Danny McDevitt, Wantagh (Fifth at 138)

McDevitt, Photo by http://www.phototrens.com

Wantagh’s Danny McDevitt is familiar with being the number one seed in Albany as he was on the top line of the 138-pound bracket a year ago, and took fifth. His senior campaign has been nothing short of spectacular as he has seamlessly adjusted to wrestling four weight classes higher. On the way to his Eastern States crown, McDevitt saw (and defeated) some of his challengers, including Half Hollow Hills West’s Joe Piccolo, who is the fourth seed. A number of other grapplers who have appeared in the state rankings are in the top part of the bracket, such as St. Anthony’s John Vrasidas and Monroe Woodbury’s AJ Voelker.

Another one of McDevitt’s victories at SUNY Sullivan was against John Jay East Fishkill’s Brett Perry, who resides in the bottom of the bracket. Perry will have a very tough opening battle with Brockport’s Jared Mesiti, a returning qualifier who is 36-2 this season. Carlos Toribio of Brentwood has suffered just one setback in his senior campaign – against Piccolo by fall. However, he beat Piccolo twice, including a dominant victory in the Suffolk finals in which Toribio looked like he was healthy again after an injury.

So . . . McDevitt completes the perfect season before he begins his Ivy League career as a Quaker at Penn with a squeaker against the impressive Toribio.

182 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers
Shayne Brady, Carthage (Second at 170)
James Benjamin, Vestal (Fifth at 182)
Gio Santiago, Sachem North (Sixth at 182)

Shayne Brady went all the way to the championship bout last year at 170. After placing at the Super 32 Classic and going 32-1, he’s on top of the bracket this time. A couple of returning placers with a tendency to pin could be in his path. Vestal’s James Benjamin notched four pins at the state tournament last year and 28 overall this campaign. Gio Santiago also knows how to throw opponents to their backs, with 30 falls. Don’t forget about Thomas Murray of Yorktown. At the beginning of the year, when asking about potential sleepers in Section 1, we were told to watch out for Murray and he has delivered with a good season.

James Corbett of Wantagh and Anthony Liberatore of Williamsville South both lost 6-4 decisions to Trent Egenlauf of Spencerport. It was Liberatore’s only setback of the year, while Corbett had only one more (to Zack Zupan). There are a number of other tough wrestlers in the bottom half, but one of these three is likely to get a shot in the finals.

So . . . Finals experience helps Brady get back to the Saturday night main event, but in an upset, we’ll pick Egenlauf to stay undefeated for the title with very close decisions in the semis and finals.

195 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers
Reggie Williams, Johnson City (Second at 195)

Reggie Williams has been among the best upperweights in the state for years now. As a freshman, he took sixth and last year he was second with all of his losses coming to state champion Tony Fusco of Shenendehowa. He has been focused on one thing since stepping off the mat in Albany last February and that’s winning it all. So far, he has an unblemished record in 2012-13 and sits as the top seed. Will he get that crown? There will certainly be some obstacles for him. Before the brackets came out, we considered some possible finals opponents for Williams. Among those were Dan Choi of Syosset, undefeated pinning machine Chris Chambers of East Islip and Steven Sabella of Yorktown. (Williams beat Sabella with very late points, 7-5, at Eastern States). Guess what? A finals meeting between any of those guys won’t happen because they’re all on the top half.

So, who will emerge from the bottom? Colton Kells has marched through his senior year with an unblemished record. If he wins his first contest, he’ll certainly be tested by either Deon Edmond of Kingston, who came within one bout of placing last year or the tough Nick Weber of Kings Park. After earning All-American status in Fargo, Ben Honis has put together a nice resume with wins over several top 195 pounders and he’ll have a chance to add to that list when he faces Shenendehowa’s Levi Ashley in Round 1.

So . . . All in all, it’s an impressive group of big guys. But despite the many obstacles in his way, Williams has been here before and knows what it takes. We think he’ll get it done in a tight bout over Kells, who came within a match of placing last year and has improved on his feet.

220 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers
Nick Lupi, Huntington (Fifth at 220)

We were ready to go with a finals prediction of Nick Lupi of Huntington (31-1 after a fifth place showing in this class a year ago) against Rich Sisti of Monsignor Farrell (25-0, 20 pins). With the way the seeds fell, that won’t happen. There are candidates to upset either of those wrestlers, however. Minisink Valley’s Josh Bonneau showed resilience when he came back from a first round loss at Eastern States to take third. In addition, the winner of the first round tilt between Section 8 champion Tom Sinclair of Island Trees and Marshall Taylor of Lockport could certainly go far.

On the bottom, there are many wrestlers with finals potential. John Hartnett of Tappan Zee and Jason Johnson of Colonie put together solid seasons. We think both Steven Mills of Sachem North and Matt Mott of Lynbrook have been somewhat under the radar this year. Our prediction is that one or both won’t be after the weekend.

So . . . Sisti will make it difficult, but we’ll say Lupi’s experience at this tournament leads him to a crown, over a tough fellow Long Islander.

285 Pounds:

Returning 2012 Placers
El Shaddai Van Hoesen, Columbia (Second at 285)
Mike Hughes, Smithtown West (Sixth at 285)

Van Hoesen, Photo by BV

Our rankings have showcased El Shaddai Van Hoesen of Columbia at #1 and Mike Hughes of Smithtown West at #2 for the whole season. Van Hoesen, a silver medalist in 2012, has been nothing short of dominant as a senior, going 37-0 with 24 pins and only two regular decisions. “Nothing short of dominant” could be used to describe Hughes as well. His numbers read: 38-0, 29 pins, 1 regular decision (over qualifier James O’Hagan). If Van Hoesen and Hughes continue to wrestle the way they have all year, the two returning medalists would battle in the semis.

Like Van Hoesen and Hughes, Mike Manni of Tappan Zee is unbeaten this year. He defeated returning qualifier David Varian of Yorktown in the Section 1 finals and a rematch could happen in the semis. However, there are several wrestlers who could stand in the way. Austin Coleman of Spencerport has over 35 wins, as does Newburgh’s Terrence Cheeks, who has exchanged wins with Varian this year.

So . . . The top half winner gets the gold. We’ll say that will be Van Hoesen, who will add a few more pins to his collection before the weekend’s over. After testing himself throughout the year, we’ll say Cheeks gets through the bottom.

New York State High School Rankings #3 – Where Things Stand As The Postseason Really Begins

The postseason is finally here.  Soon, we’ll find out who will have the opportunity to battle for a state title in Albany.  But before the Sectional championships get underway, here’s a look at where our panel thinks things stand across the weights in New York State.  There are sure to be some surprises and some great performances in the coming weeks by these wrestlers and by others.  Please feel free to provide comments or suggestions and we’ll consider them as long as they are done respectfully.

Good luck to all . . .

99 Pounds:

Photo by BV

  1. Yianni Diakomihalis, Hilton (5)
  2. Vito Arujau, Syosset (8)
  3. Jesse Dellavecchia, East Islip (11)
  4. John Arceri, Huntington (11)
  5. Chris Cuccolo, Pine Bush (9)
  6. Garrett Baugher, St. Joseph’s Collegiate (C)
  7. John Busiello, Eastport South Manor (11)
  8. Andrew Flanagan, Holley (5)

A Few Notes: Busiello re-enters the rankings after splitting matches with John Arceri, although the Huntington wrestler came out on top in their bout this past weekend.  The Suffolk tournament will no doubt be tough at this weight with those two wrestlers and Jesse Dellevecchia all in the top 8.  Holley’s Andrew Flanagan also joins the list after edging Jake Yankloski of Wayne.  Flanagan looks to improve upon last year’s fourth place finish in this class in Albany.

106 Pounds:

  1. Alex Tanzman, Westhampton Beach (11)
  2. Nick Barbaria, New Rochelle (1)
  3. Kyle Quinn, Wantagh (8)
  4. James Szymanski, Shoreham Wading River (11)
  5. Jimmy Overhiser, Corning (4)
  6. Jonathan Haas, Spencerport (5)
  7. Tony Recco, Lyndonville (5)
  8. Luis Weirebach, Hoosick Falls (2)

A Few Notes: Golan Cohen of Colonie looked great at Eastern States and will likely be in the mix at the state tournament.  However, Luis Weirebach‘s recent decision against Cohen vaults him into the rankings, a year after placing at 99 pounds for Hoosick Falls.

Photo by BV

113 Pounds:

  1. Nick Piccininni, Ward Melville (11)
  2. Kyle Kelly, Chenango Forks (4)
  3. Dillon Stowell, Gouverneur (10)
  4. Bryan Lantry, Wayne (5)
  5. Tyler Walsh, West Islip (11)
  6. Andrew Shomers, Lewiston Porter (6)
  7. Joe Calderone, Walt Whitman (11)
  8. Cheick Ndiaye, Brooklyn International (P)

A Few Notes: The departure of Anthony Orefice to 120 pounds moved several wrestlers up a few slots from the last time.  In addition, Tyler Walsh of West Islip joins the rankings after his victory over Walt Whitman’s Joe Calderone, a returning fourth placer, in last weekend’s qualifier.  Andrew Shomers has been solid all year long with a 42-1 record, including wins over All-State wrestlers Orefice and Drew Marra.

120 Pounds:

  1. Alex Delacruz, Ossining (1)
  2. Mike D’Angelo, Commack (11)
  3. John Muldoon, Pearl River (1)
  4. Blaise Benderoth, North Rockland (1)
  5. Travis Passaro, Eastport South Manor (11)
  6. Blake Retell, Shaker (2)
  7. Steve Michel, Lancaster (6)
  8. Sean Peacock, Midlakes (5)

A Few Notes:  The top five hasn’t changed since the last version of the rankings. Muldoon did lose a match in overtime to Nanuet’s Anthony Calvano (who has a number of solid wins), but Muldoon avenged that loss shortly thereafter. The injury to Nick Tolli of Arlington moved him off the list and Steve Michel re-entered. The returning state placer from Lancaster has several quality wins this year including over Sean Peacock, Anthony Orefice (twice) and Kellen Devlin of Amherst (twice).  We expect to see strong surges from proven postseason performers such as Robert Person and Trey Aslanian.

Photo by Josh Conklin

126 Pounds:

  1. TJ Fabian, Shoreham Wading River (11)
  2. Dylan Realbuto, Somers (1)
  3. Chris Araoz, Wantagh (8)
  4. Mark West, Hauppauge (11)
  5. Brad Wade, Islip (11)
  6. Corey Jamison, Huntington (11)
  7. William Koll, Lansing (4)
  8. Dakota Gardner, Fredonia (6)

A Few Notes: The top four remain the same as last time at 126.  However, there is a bit of a shake-up afterwards. Islip’s Brad Wade moves into the rankings.  He has been impressive, beating Corey Jamison twice and state runner up Justin Cooksey. Honestly, eight slots don’t seem to be enough in this class.  Wrestlers such as Mike Raccioppi of Minisink Valley, Rocco Russo of Frontier, Laken Cook of Ilion, Jake Nicholson of Waterloo and Freddie Dunau of St. Anthony’s, among others, could do a lot of damage in Albany.

132 Pounds:

  1. Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, Cheektowoga (6)
  2. Tristan Rifanburg, Norwich (4)
  3. Sam Melikian, Fordham Prep (C)
  4. Matt Leshinger, Sayville (11)
  5. Brandon Lapi, Amsterdam (2)
  6. Vinny Turano, Wantagh (8)
  7. Conor O’Hara, Sachem East (11)
  8. Sam Ward, Locust Valley (8)

A Few Notes: Sam Ward of Locust Valley will be someone to watch in the Division II ranks. He upended Vinny Turano shortly after Eastern States and also had a win over Conor O’Hara in early December.  Two wrestlers that may be under the radar for those outside of Section 5, Jacob Sepor of Pavilion and Clyde Carey of Addison, are ones to keep tabs on as well.

Photo by Josh Conklin

138 Pounds:

  1. Nick Kelley, Shenendehowa (2)
  2. Nick Tighe, Phoenix (3)
  3. Connor Lapresi, Lansing (4)
  4. Tom Dutton, Rocky Point (11)
  5. Vincent DePrez, Hilton (5)
  6. Dan Reagan, Lewiston Porter (6)
  7. Derrick Gray, Indian River (3)
  8. Skylar Kropman, Penfield (5)

A Few Notes: Nothing has changed here. However, one wrestler we will be following the rest of the way is Danny Graham of West Seneca East.  Before the season, he was mentioned to us by a Section 6 coach as someone who could have a breakout year.  Thus far, he is undefeated.

145 Pounds:

  1. Louis Hernandez, Mepham (8)
  2. David Almaviva, Shenendehowa (2)
  3. Drew Hull, Royalton Hartland (6)
  4. Tom Grippi, Fox Lane (1)
  5. Brendan Dent, Connetquot (11)
  6. Eric Lewandowski, Lancaster (6)
  7. Jordan Torbitt, Whitney Point (4)
  8. Nick Koelmel, Immaculate Heart Central (3)

A Few Notes: Louis Hernandez holds the top spot and Eric Lewandowski remains in the rankings, although both dropped a match since our last update.  Hernandez’s only setback of the year came up a weight at 152 against the tough Michael Marrero. However, Hernandez’s run through some of New York’s best at Eastern States kept him in the same position. Tom Grippi has been on a tear since dropping a close one to Lewandowski at Eastern States.

Brendan Dent enters the rankings after an impressive campaign, including a win over Sachem East’s Jackson Mordente, while Jordan Torbitt blanked Norwich’s Frank Garcia, a wrestler who came within one win of placing in Albany last year. Nick Koelmel of Immaculate Heart Central handed Derrick Gray of Indian River (see 138 pound rankings) his only loss early in the season and has remained undefeated. Fredonia’s Jude Gardner placed in the Times Union Center last year and has only lost to Drew Hull this season (twice).  He may get another shot at Hull this weekend.

Photo by Josh Conklin

152 Pounds:

  1. Corey Rasheed, Longwood (11)
  2. Tyler Spann, Adirondack (3)
  3. Chris Koo, Great Neck South (8)
  4. Angelo Kress, Columbia (2)
  5. Brendan Goldup, LaSalle (2)
  6. Rowdy Prior, Phoenix (3)
  7. Joe Mastro, Yorktown (1)
  8. Alex Smythe, Eden (6)

A Few Notes: The small school tournament in Section 3 will be extremely tough this weekend at 152 pounds.  Tyler Spann, Rowdy Prior and two-time state placer Isaiah Riccio of Beaver River will fight it out for the  title.  Riccio has taken third and fifth the past two years in Albany and knows how to perform on the biggest stage. Rasheed and Koo keep cruising to victories.

160 Pounds:

  1. Burke Paddock, Warsaw (5)
  2. Tyler Grimaldi, HHHW (11)
  3. Steven Schneider, MacArthur (8)
  4. Mike Beckwith, Greene (4)
  5. Jake Weber, Clarence (6)
  6. Andrew Psomas, Monsignor Farrell (C)
  7. Austin Weigel, Onteora (9)
  8. Nick Gallo, Schalmont (2)

A Few Notes: There haven’t been any changes here.  Staying on our radar is General Brown’s Tyler Silverthorn, a placer in Albany last year, who seems to be picking up some steam as the most important matches of the year approach. In addition, returning All-Stater Dale White of John Jay East Fishkill is back after injuries kept him on the sideline for much of the season.  He’ll be someone to watch as well.

Photo by Josh Conklin

170 Pounds:

  1. Dan McDevitt, Wantagh (8)
  2. Christian Dietrich, Greene (4)
  3. Joe Piccolo, HHHW (11)
  4. Troy Seymour, Peru (7)
  5. Carlos Toribio, Brentwood (11)
  6. Zack Buckley, Fredonia (6)
  7. Johnny Vrasidas, St. Anthony’s (C)
  8. Mike Green, Cobleskill-Richmondville (2)

A Few Notes: Joe Piccolo goes to third after pinning Carlos Toribio at the Islip Cup.  Previously, Toribio had notched a 5-0 decision over Piccolo.  The rubber match could happen in a few days.  Mike Green makes his debut in the rankings. The Section 2 wrestler is 40-1 with his loss coming against Vrasidas.  He has defeated state placer Brad Burns and previously ranked Brett Perry of John Jay East Fishkill.  Brockport’s Jared Mesiti is another wrestler who could made a big impact at the state tournament.

182 Pounds:

  1. Zack Zupan, Canastota (3)
  2. Shayne Brady, Carthage (3)
  3. Tim Schaefer, Warsaw (5)
  4. Trent Egenlauf, Spencerport (5)
  5. James Corbett, Wantagh (8)
  6. James Benjamin, Vestal (4)
  7. Gio Santiago, Sachem North (11)
  8. Anthony Liberatore, Williamsville South (6)

A Few Notes: Williamsville South’s Anthony Liberatore, who won multiple matches in the state capital last season, comes in at number eight.  He has put together an impressive season with a single loss (to Egenlauf).  Thomas Murray of Yorktown is also a medal contender.

Photo by Josh Conklin

195 Pounds:

  1. Reggie Williams, Johnson City (4)
  2. Bryce Mazurowski, Avon (5)
  3. Colton Kells, Fairport (5)
  4. Chris Chambers, East Islip (11)
  5. Steven Sabella, Yorktown (1)
  6. Nick Weber, Kings Park (11)
  7. Ben Honis, CBA/Jamesville-Dewitt (3)
  8. Levi Ashley, Shenendehowa (2)

A Few Notes: Ben Honis made the podium at Fargo this summer and has followed up with a strong season, including wins over wrestlers like Hunter Ayen of Gouverneur, Tyler Smith of Midlakes and Scott Wymbs of Horace Greeley.  He also recently beat Joe Nasoni of Baldwinsville, who was in the last set of rankings.  The two could meet again for the Section 3 crown. Joining this list at 195 is Levi Ashley of Shenendehowa, who has moved up after spending much of the campaign at 182. Syosset’s Dan Choi has been dominant and should be a contender in Albany.

220 Pounds:

  1. Zack Bacon, Hornell (5)
  2. Ryan Wolcott, Waverly (4)
  3. Dan Breit, Nanuet (1)
  4. Nick Lupi, Huntington (11)
  5. Mike Silvis, Holley (5)
  6. Richard Sisti, Monsignor Farrell (C)
  7. Joe Sprung, Berne Knox Waterloo (2)
  8. Matt Mott, Lynbrook (8)

A Few Notes: Matt Mott of Lynbrook enters the rankings after his undefeated campaign.  He will definitely be tested this weekend, however, as he wrestles a very tough group in Section 8. Steven Mills of Sachem North will look to top Nick Lupi in Section 11 after a 34-1 season.

Photo by BV

285 Pounds:

  1. El Shaddai Van Hoesen, Columbia (2)
  2. Mike Hughes, Smithtown West (11)
  3. Matt Montesanti, Medina (6)
  4. Alex Soutiere, Ravena (2)
  5. James O’Hagan, Seaford (8)
  6. Terrence Cheeks, NFA (9)
  7. Austin DiCerbo, Colonie (2)
  8. David Varian, Yorktown (1)

A Few Notes: There was some movement here.  The trio of Austin DiCerbo of Colonie, David Varian of Yorktown and Terrence Cheeks of Newburgh have taken turns beating each other with Cheeks coming out on top of recent meetings.  Brandon Fayle of Lowville was upset last weekend, while Austin Coleman of Spencerport looks to be peaking at the right time and will be a tough matchup in the postseason.

————

Special thanks to Mike Carey.

2 weeks to go until the state tournament!

U-E Duals Recap: Wantagh Rallies to Capture the Title . . . Plus Other Dominant and Inspiring Performances

Wantagh entered the Union-Endicott Duals as the top team in the Empire State, and after two intense days of wrestling, the Warriors left with that number one ranking intact.

But it wasn’t easy.

After two blowout victories on Day 1 of the event, Sunday brought semifinal and final matches that came down to the wire.  Wantagh prevailed in both, rallying to defeat the number two seed, Sachem East, 35-27 for the championship.

“I’m really happy for our coaches, the guys and the fans,” said 220-pounder TJ Ragusa who has spent much of the season at 220 but wrestled at 285 at times this weekend. “A lot of times these duals are won by the guys who don’t get pinned; who don’t give up bonus. It was a total group effort.”

The finals began at 120 pounds and Sachem East controlled things early, winning six of the first eight bouts and earning a 24-10 lead after Zac Nobre’s decision at 170.

Despite trailing by a sizable margin, members of the team said they believed they would turn things around.

“Our confidence never wavered,” Ragusa said. “We never lost it. I was having a conversation with Danny McDevitt during the dual when we were losing and we were saying that we knew we’d keep fighting and win. One of the keys for our team is that we’re always confident.”

That appeared to be the case, as Wantagh took over from there, capturing six of the remaining seven matches, beginning with a pin from McDevitt at 182.

Afterwards, Wantagh received wins from James Corbett (195), Ragusa (285) and Jonathan Loew (99) to trail by just a point – 27-26.

The Section 8 power then regained the lead in emphatic fashion when 106-pounder Kyle Quinn earned a first period fall to push his squad ahead 32-27. Joe Hill then closed out the championship with a decision at 113.

“Before the match I was thinking I had to get a pin for the team,” Quinn said. “It means a lot for us to win – it gives us something to go home with. I think Wantagh just did a great job as a team.”

The excitement wasn’t limited to the finals.  The third place dual between Islip and Shenendehowa as well as both semifinals (Shenendehowa vs. Sachem East and Wantagh vs. Islip) all were decided in the very last bout.

In the battle for the bronze, the Plainsmen got out to a fast start and following a major decision for 195-pounder Levi Ashley, the Section 2 school was in front 31-15 with five matches to go.  However, Islip took the next four (including two by Shenendehowa forfeit and a huge pin at 106 pounds by Johnny DiPalma) to win 36-34.

Close matches were on tap in the semifinals as well, which started at 106 pounds. Going into the last match at 99, both duals had two point differentials – Sachem East led Shenendehowa 32-30 and Islip was ahead of Wantagh 27-25.

The wrestlers from Sachem East (Bobby Fazio) and Wantagh (Jonathan Loew) both trailed early in their respective matches.

Fazio was behind 4-1 in the second period before notching an escape and a takedown late in the stanza to tie things up going into the third. And he took over from there, earning a technical violation point, an escape, a takedown, near fall and eventually, the pin, to push his team to a 38-30 triumph.

Wantagh’s Loew faced a 2-0 deficit heading into the third but got on the board with a takedown early in that final stanza and rode his opponent out for the last minute and a half to force overtime.  In that extra session, Loew immediately went on the attack, getting the winning takedown and a 28-27 Warrior win.

In other placement matches, Clarence topped Monroe Woodbury for fifth, 34-28, and MacArthur beat Spencerport, 33-29, for seventh.

For full results from all 15 teams see:  Full results here.

A Few Additional (Random) Notes:

Dominance from the Binghamton Trio:  There was some talk at the event about who the most impressive wrestler was for the weekend.  While there was no absolute agreement, two names came up numerous times – Nick Kelley of Shenendehowa and Kyle Kelly of Chenango Forks. Both cruised through the competition.

Their future Binghamton teammate, David Almaviva of the Plainsmen, also was outstanding, including controlling a 2-0 bout with the tough Jackson Mordente of Sachem East in the semifinals.

Long Island Looking Good: Suffolk squad Rocky Point, currently ranked #2 in the state Dual Meet poll, wasn’t at U-E this weekend, but Long Island did just fine, taking the top three spots at the event. In addition, MacArthur was seventh despite missing some key contributors such as Justin Cooksey.

Look Out for Clarence:  The Section 6 team didn’t come in as one of the tournament’s most talked about groups, but was very impressive in racking up a 4-1 record on the way to fifth place.  The Red Devils defeated the teams listed #4 and #5 in the first New York State Sportswriters Dual Meet rankings, North Rockland and Monroe Woodbury, by eight and six points, respectively.  (The one loss was to Sachem East).  The lineup’s bookends, heavyweight Nate Ward and 99-pounder Dylan Arena were among those who looked good over the weekend and the team is solid throughout.

And One Last Thing. . . : It’s always a pleasure to see such high level wrestling, but one of the standout performances came from Monroe Woodbury’s Vinny Vespa. Many New York wrestling fans know about Vespa’s fight with cancer this spring and summer. From the start, he and his family were confident that he would not only beat cancer, but also get back on the mat and win. Watching him do that in person was inspiring.

New York State Rankings #1 for 2012-13 Season

Here we go . . . the first and probably most difficult rankings of the year.  Soon, wrestlers will settle into their weights, more top wrestlers will go head to head and others will be back from injuries. Rankings, especially at this time of year, are subjective and we’re sure there are some wrestlers not included who will make an impact.  They are the opinions of those who collaborated on this project and are meant to generate conversation. We will seriously consider all of your feedback . . . as long as it’s done respectfully.  So, have at it.

Special thanks to Mike Carey for his incredible work to make these rankings happen.

Diakomihalis, Photo by BV

99 Pounds:

  1. Yianni Diakomihalis, Hilton (5)
  2. Vito Arujau, Syosset (8)
  3. Jesse Dellavecchia, East Islip (11)
  4. Peter Pappas, Plainview (8)
  5. Ryan Hetrick, Southwestern (6)
  6. John Arceri, Huntington (11)
  7. John Busiello, Eastport South Manor (11)
  8. Vinny Vespa, Monroe Woodbury (9)

A Few Notes: There are some terrific young wrestlers in this weight, but #1 is Hilton’s Yianni Diakomihalis, who has been extremely impressive not only on the mat for Hilton thus far but all over the country over the past several months.  Before this high school campaign began, he captured the Junior High Championship at the Super 32 Challenge in North Carolina. On his way to that title, Diakomihalis defeated Syosset eighth grader Vito Arujau (who took third). Arujau has been dominant thus far, both at 106 and 99. Suffolk county will have quite a battle in this class.  Over the holidays, Jesse Dellevecchia edged John Busiello in a very close and entertaining match while Arceri won the Windsor Christmas Tournament with a technical fall in the title bout.

106 Pounds:

  1. Alex Tanzman, Westhampton Beach (11)
  2. Jimmy Overhiser, Corning (4)
  3. Tony Recco, Lyndonville (5)
  4. Andrew Flanagan, Holley (5)
  5. Kyle Quinn, Wantagh (8)
  6. Jake Yankloski, Wayne (5)
  7. Jonathan Haas, Spencerport (5)
  8. Steven Lee, West Babylon (11)
A Few Notes: Tanzman took bronze at 99 a year ago, and started the season up at 113 (where he dropped a decision to state champion Nick Piccininni). Overhiser took fourth at this weight a year ago and has picked up where he left off, including a title at the Windsor Christmas Tournament.  Recco, a state champion in 2012, and Flanagan, a placer, have done well up a weight after competing at 99 a year ago. Yankloski caught our attention when he defeated qualifier Bryan Ruggeri of Fairport by technical fall early in the year.  He won his first 16 bouts.

 

Piccininni, Photo by BV

113 Pounds:

  1. Nick Piccininni Ward Melville (11)
  2. Kyle Kelly, Chenango Forks (4)
  3. Anthony Orefice, Lockport (6)
  4. Bryan Lantry, Wayne (5)
  5. Dillon Stowell, Gouverneur (10)
  6. Nick Barbaria, New Rochelle (1)
  7. Johnny Stramiello, Pine Bush (9)
  8. Cheick Ndiaye, Brooklyn International (P)

A Few Notes: This is one of two weights where there was a lot of back and forth on who is #1 and who is essentially 1A. We expect Piccininni and Kelly to settle things on the mat in the finals at the Times Union Center.  Two years ago, Kelly defeated Piccininni in the state semifinals and neither has lost in the state of New York since.  The Ward Melville wrestler’s outstanding performances against top competition outside the state, and a victory over the nation’s top sophomore, Zahid Valencia, gave him the edge.  Of course, Kelly’s many achievements are extremely impressive, including two state titles and placements at Fargo and Virginia Beach.  Anthony Orefice also has had a lot of success both inside and outside of the Empire State.  He was 40-2 a year ago, with his losses coming to Piccininni and Jimmy Overhiser (by default) and he registered a solid 7-1 win over Stowell over the holidays. Like Orefice, Bryan Lantry was fifth in 2012 in the state capital.  After a slow start at the Madison Square Garden title bout, Ndiaye gave Kelly a tough match a few weeks ago, dropping a two point decision.

Person, Photo by BV

120 Pounds:

  1. Robert Person, Bellmore JFK (8)
  2. Rocco Russo, Frontier (6)
  3. Steve Michel, Lancaster (6)
  4. Mike D’Angelo, Commack (11)
  5. Sean Peacock, Midlakes (5)
  6. Trey Aslanian, Edgemont (1)
  7. Kellen Devlin, Amherst (6)
  8. John Muldoon, Pearl River (1)

A Few Notes: Person, a two-time placer out of Section 8 is looking to make the finals for the first time after placing multiple times in the past. A number of these wrestlers have met this year.  Russo defeated Michel early on and then Michel beat Peacock.  Meanwhile, in last year’s state finals at 113, Peacock topped Aslanian.  The Edgemont grappler, headed to Princeton, is on a mission to win a state title after two runner up finishes in Albany.  Mike D’Angelo may not be a familiar name to those outside of Long Island but he suffered only three losses last year – all to Nick Piccininni.  In fact, Piccininni had only four regular decisions prior to Albany and three were against D’Angelo.  Truthfully, D’Angelo won’t have an easy time in Section 11 this year, because a pair of wrestlers who made it to the Round of 12 at the Super 32, Connetquot’s Steven Bulzomi and Eastport South Manor’s Travis Passaro, are also very strong.

Realbuto, Photo by BV

126 Pounds:

  1. Dylan Realbuto, Somers (1)
  2. TJ Fabian, Shoreham Wading River (11)
  3. Chris Araoz, Wantagh (8)
  4. Corey Jamison, Huntington (11)
  5. William Koll, Lansing (4)
  6. Blake Retell, Shaker (2)
  7. Dakota Gardner, Fredonia (6)
  8. Antonio DeLuco, Rome Free Academy (3)

A Few Notes:  Realbuto captured a state title a year ago and will have a challenging group to beat to repeat. Fabian took fourth last season at a deep 120 pound weight and has impressed so far for Shoreham Wading River, as he did while winning seven straight after an opening round loss at the Super 32.  Chris Araoz knows about long winning streaks at national events as he took the 120 pound NHSCA National title last spring. Meanwhile, former state gold medalist William Koll has made the move up a few weights.  He took second this weekend at the Windsor Christmas Tournament behind Corey Jamison, who came into Albany as the number two seed last year but didn’t compete the second day.

Rodriguez-Spencer, Photo by BV

132 Pounds:

  1. Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, Cheektowoga (6)
  2. Matt Leshinger, Sayville (11)
  3. Tristan Rifanburg, Norwich (4)
  4. Sam Melikian, Fordham Prep (C)
  5. Cody McGregor, Tonawanda (6)
  6. Brandon Lapi, Amsterdam (2)
  7. Vinny Turano, Wantagh (8)
  8. Ben Ettlinger, Fox Lane (1)

A Few Notes: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer is currently ranked nationally at this weight and has a boatload of achievements in the international styles. Last year, he took second in Albany behind Nick Tighe in an entertaining, back and forth, match. Future Columbia Lion Matt Leshinger of Sayville, a returning bronze medalist, went through one of the state’s toughest brackets (Section 11, 120 pounds) just to get to the Times Union Center last season.  Rifanburg, McGregor and Lapi have made a number of appearances on the medal stand and Melikian came within one match of joining them a year ago.

Kelley, Photo by BV

138 Pounds:

  1. Nick Kelley, Shenendehowa (2)
  2. Nick Tighe, Phoenix (3)
  3. Connor Lapresi, Lansing (4)
  4. Tom Dutton, Rocky Point (11)
  5. Vincent DePrez, Hilton (5)
  6. Eric Lewandowski, Lancaster (6)
  7. Codie Gillette, Saranac (7)
  8. Derrick Gray, Indian River (3)

A Few Notes: A pair of Binghamton-bound wrestlers are the favorites to capture titles at this weight in 2013. On the Division I side it’s Kelley, who is looking for his first crown to cap off a terrific career. On the other hand, Tighe is aiming for his third straight championship in Albany. Tighe may have to battle returning 132 pound gold medalist Connor Lapresi, who will wrestle for Bucknell in the future. On the large school side, Tom Dutton had a stellar offseason, placing at both the NHSCA Nationals and Fargo after a successful regular season in Section 11. DePrez and Lewandowski have both competed in the Saturday night finals in the past and will look to get back there this February.

Almaviva, Photo courtesy of Anthony Almaviva

145 Pounds:

  1. David Almaviva, Shenendehowa (2)
  2. Louis Hernandez, Mepham (8)
  3. Isaiah Riccio, Beaver River (3)
  4. Dan Reagan, Lewiston Porter (6)
  5. Jude Gardner, Fredonia (6)
  6. Joey Butler, Burnt Hills (2)
  7. Jackson Mordente, Sachem East (11)
  8. Colby Kash, Clarkstown North (1)

A Few Notes: Almaviva, an All-American, lost some matches this year but did so while making the Round of 12 at the prestigious Reno Tournament of Champions. After taking bronze in Albany last year, he’ll be looking to get to the finals this time. A number of other wrestlers on this list have solid experience at the Times Union Center, such as All-Staters Riccio, Reagan and Gardner. Hernandez made the trip to the state capital last year and wrestled with a severe injury. Now back in form, he dominated tough competition in and outside of the Empire State in the offseason and is looking for big things in a return trip.

Rasheed, Photo by BV

152 Pounds:

  1. Corey Rasheed, Longwood (11)
  2. Tom Grippi, Fox Lane (1)
  3. Drew Hull, Royalton Hartland (6)
  4. Angelo Kress, Columbia (2)
  5. Tyler Spann, Adirondack (3)
  6. Chris Koo, Great Neck South (8)
  7. Rowdy Prior, Phoenix (3)
  8. Kyle Halliday, Chenango Valley (4)

A Few Notes: Rasheed is a three-time placer and two-time runner up going into his junior year.  He took second at 145 in D-I last season while Drew Hull, a two-time medal winner, was the silver placer in the small school tournament.  Tom Grippi handed our #1 at 145 David Almaviva his only loss in Albany last year and finished one match from placing.  He already has over 20 wins.  Kress pinned his way through the PSAL Holiday tournament and racked up a number of wins in offseason events in the international styles. At the state tournament last season, he lost to nationally ranked Nicky Hall in the opening round before winning three straight in the consolations.  Chris Koo has been an All-American twice in Virginia Beach but has yet to travel to the state capital.  He has the ability to not only qualify but go far at the Times Union Center. He most recently was the Outstanding Wrestler at the Massapequa Holiday Tournament. Prior had a 32-3 season last year but two of his setbacks came in the Section 3 tournament (including to Spann).  He has been on fire this year thus far.

Grimaldi, Photo by BV

160 Pounds:

  1. Tyler Grimaldi, HHHW (11)
  2. Burke Paddock, Warsaw (5)
  3. Brendan Goldup, LaSalle (2)
  4. Jake Weber, Clarence (6)
  5. Mike Beckwith, Greene (4)
  6. Nick Gallo, Schalmont (2)
  7. Tyler Silverthorn, General Brown (3)
  8. Austin Weigel, Onteora (9)

A Few Notes: Speaking of 1 and 1A back at 113, Grimaldi and Paddock are both in the national rankings.  Some have Grimaldi higher and some have the reverse. We expect both to stand on top of the podium in Albany in their respective divisions.  Why do we have Grimaldi higher?  He defeated Paddock at the New York State Freestyle championships this year and placed at Fargo while both were in the same bracket. Needless to say, Paddock has a plethora of achievements over the years and will be difficult to beat. Mike Beckwith encountered a number of setbacks a year ago but with very little practice under his belt won Section 4 and a match in Albany.  He has blistered through the competition this year. Silverthorn was one of the few non-senior medalists in either division at 160 in 2012. Gallo came within a bout of the podium as a freshman and Goldup, a former All-Stater, is off to a great start. Weigel was one bout from the All-State status at 170 and will be a handful down at 160. [Dale White has been out injured].

170 Pounds:

  1. Troy Seymour, Peru (7)
  2. Dan McDevitt, Wantagh (8)
  3. Carlos Toribio, Brentwood (11)
  4. Zack Buckley, Fredonia (6)
  5. Christian Dietrich, Greene (4)
  6. Johnny Vrasidas, St. Anthony’s (C)
  7. Joe Piccolo, Half Hollow Hills West (11)
  8. Andrew Voelker, Monroe Woodbury (9)

Seymour, a national runner up and fourth placer at the state tournament last year, stands on top of 170.  Behind him are a number of talented competitors, none of whom have tasted the podium yet at 170.  However, McDevitt was on the medal stand as a fifth placer in 2012 — down at 138. After a growth spurt, he is up several classes and after beating some tough customers this summer, he’s looking like a solid bet to medal again. Johnny Vrasidas made it to the top 8 in Albany in February.  Toribio has started off the year on fire in Section 11, beating All-Stater Gio Santiago and returning qualifier Matt Roberts, both while wrestling up a weight. He also handled Piccolo this past week at the Long Island Challenge. An interesting wildcard is Deitrich, who medaled at 152 as a seventh grader in 2011 and who looked overpowering as he cruised to the Windsor Christmas Tournament title.

Zupan, Photo by BV

182 Pounds:

  1. Zack Zupan, Canastota (3)
  2. Shayne Brady, Carthage (3)
  3. Tim Schaefer, Warsaw (5)
  4. James Corbett, Wantagh (8)
  5. James Benjamin, Vestal (4)
  6. Trent Egenlauf, Spencerport (5)
  7. Gio Santiago, Sachem North (11)
  8. Levi Ashley, Shenendehowa (2)

A Few Notes: Zack Zupan, the top ranked recruit in New York, stands at #1 while fellow Section 3 wrestler Shayne Brady, the Division I runner up a year ago comes in at #2.  The two met in the finals of the Herkimer Invitational, which ended quickly after some good early action when Brady injury defaulted.  Tim Schaefer, a multi-time state placer, is off to another great start for Warsaw after taking third at this weight in 2012.  Benjamin is back after his All-State showing out of Section 4 and fellow medalist Gio Santiago returns to the rankings. Above him is Wantagh’s James Corbett, who has impressed during his undefeated start, including a solid win over the Sachem North wrestler. Egenlauf has won multiple tournaments so far this campaign including the Teike Bernabi.

Williams, Photo by BV

195 Pounds:

  1. Reggie Williams, Johnson City (4)
  2. Bryce Mazurowski, Avon (5)
  3. Dan Choi, Syosset (8)
  4. Tyler Smith, Midlakes (5)
  5. Colton Kells, Fairport (5)
  6. Tyler Morris, Salem (2)
  7. Collin Pittman, Spencerport (5)
  8. Nick Weber, Kings Park (11)

A Few Notes: Reggie Williams conquered all challengers as a sophomore at 195 with the exception of four losses to state champion (and now graduated) Tony Fusco of Shenendehowa. Williams is the favorite to win his first state title.  Next up is another state silver medalist, Bryce Mazurowski of Avon, a future member of the Binghamton Bearcats.  Two 2012 fourth placers also sit here, Tyler Smith of Midlakes (at 195) and Tyler Morris of Salem (at 182). Colton Kells finished in the top 8 in Division I at 195 a year ago while Choi did the same at 182. Pittman gave Williams a lot to handle in the finals of the Teike Bernabi tournament despite a previous setback.

 

Bacon, Photo by BV

220 Pounds:

  1. Zack Bacon, Hornell (5)
  2. Ryan Wolcott, Waverly (4)
  3. Mike Silvis, Holley (5)
  4. Nick Lupi, Huntington (11)
  5. Dan Breit, Nanuet (1)
  6. Chris Saden, Fredonia (6)
  7. Joe Sprung, Berne Knox (2)
  8. Richard Sisti, Monsignor Farrell (C)

A Few Notes: Zack Bacon of Hornell, currently ranked #16 in the country by Intermat, leads the way. Bacon is familiar with Silvis and they are sure to meet this year again. Lupi also earned a spot in the national polls (by Amateur Wrestling News). The Huntington wrestler was upset in the Windsor Christmas Tournament finals by Ryan Wolcott, a returning Top 8 wrestler (at 170). Breit, Sprung and Sisti all made appearances at the Times Union Center in 2012.

Van Hoesen, Photo by BV

285 Pounds:

  1. El Shaddai Van Hoesen, Columbia (2)
  2. Mike Hughes, Smithtown West (11)
  3. Matt Montesanti, Medina (6)
  4. Alex Soutiere, Ravena (2)
  5. Brandon Fayle, Lowville (3)
  6. James O’Hagan, Seaford (8)
  7. David Varian, Yorktown (1)
  8. Anthony Puca, Huntington (11)

El Shaddai Van Hoesen earns the top spot with his absolute dominance thus far as a senior after taking second in 2012.  Another silver medalist, Alex Soutiere, has followed up his run at the Times Union Center with an unbeaten start.  A pair of sixth place finishers are also included, with Smithtown West’s Mike Hughes and Medina’s Matt Montesanti in control just about every time they’ve stepped on the mat.  Brandon Fayle of Lowville fell one bout short of placing in 2012 and has put up solid results again, with the one blemish on his record via disqualification.  Rounding out the rankings are Seaford’s James O’Hagan, an NHSCA Nationals third place finisher who went 31-3 last year and who has lost only to Hughes this campaign (the only match Hughes hasn’t won by fall).  Anthony Puca of Huntington and David Varian of Yorktown, a qualifier out of Section 1, round things out.

* Results based on NWCA Scorebook

Live Stream to Begin at 5 for Windsor Christmas Tournament; Finals Matches Set

The live stream is now complete.  Thank you for your attendance.

Finals Results:

99 Pounds: John Arceri (Huntington) TF Collyn Shippos (Ithaca), 16-0

106 Pounds: Jimmy Overhiser (Corning) fall Kyle Mock (Huntington) :45

113 Pounds: Kyle Kelly (Chenango Forks) fall Dylan Wood (Walton) 1:12

120 Pounds: Nate Hayes (Windsor) dec Anthony Colon (Chenango Valley), 4-0

126 Pounds:  Corey Jamison (Huntington) dec William Koll (Lansing), 3-1

132 Pounds: Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich) fall Jesse Griswold (BGA), 1:52

138 Pounds: Connor Lapresi (Lansing) dec Justin Cirigliano (BGA), 8-4

145 Pounds: Brandon Mendez (Huntington) maj Trevor Parrish (Greene), 11-1

152 Pounds: Kyle Halladay (Chenango Valley) dec Dan Dickman (Greene), 3-2

160 Pounds: Mike Beckwith (Greene) dec Leland Slawson (Unatego), 4-0

170 Pounds: Christian Dietrich (Greene) TF Ryan Marszal (Unatego), 16-0

182 Pounds: Mike Beers (Walton) dec Andy Martinez (Liberty), 4-0

195 Pounds: Mark Viviano (BGA) fall Matt Brozovic (ME), 1:38

220 Pounds: Ryan Wolcott (Waverly) dec Nick Lupi (Huntington), 2-1

285 Pounds: Anthony Puca (Huntington) dec Andrew Brinser (Union Endicott), 3-0

Final Team Scores

1. Huntington 168

2. Greene 123

3. Canandaigua 115

4. Union Endicott 111

5  BGA 106

 

Windsor Christmas Tournament Features Several State Title Contenders – Watch LIVE STREAM of the Finals

 

 

To watch the live stream of the Windsor Finals, see HERE.

————————————————————————-

For over a half-century, some of the best in the state have traveled to Section 4 at the end of December for the oldest organized tournament in New York.

The Windsor Christmas Tournament will once again boast talent from around the Empire State and beyond, including squads from at least five Sections and from Pennsylvania.

Last year’s field included four 2012 state champions as well as more than 13 state placewinners, according to Windsor head coach Jeffery Nolan.

A number of those wrestlers will be back, including two-time state champion Kyle Kelly of Chenango Forks, who will be looking to add to his storied career.

“Kyle Kelly has won three times,” Nolan said. “In all these years we’ve only had five wrestlers win four titles. It would be special if he joined that pretty elite group.”

Kelly is one of six returning champions from the 2011 event, along with Suffolk County’s Corey Jamison and Anthony Puca of Huntington, Greene teammates Mike Beckwith and Joel Roselle and Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich.

Fans can watch these wrestlers try to get on top of the podium again as for the first time in the tournament’s history, the finals will be available to watch via livestream.

“We take a lot of pride in this tournament,” Nolan said. “When I started here, it became one of my biggest priorities right away. We’ve tried to make small improvements, mostly technological. We are excited for the opportunity to livestream our finals, which is something we’ve wanted to do in the past but hadn’t pulled the trigger.”

The title bouts are scheduled to begin on Friday, December 28 at 5 p.m.  However, given the developing weather situation in the area, that time may change.  Stay tuned.

The link to the livestream is : HERE

Those finals should feature state title contenders at a number of classes.

“There is quality depth at a lot of weights,” Nolan said. “A few stand out right away. 126 should be interesting and 220 is shaping up to be a heck of a weight.”

William Koll, Photo by BV

At 126 pounds, entrants include former state champion William Koll of Lansing, defending champion (at 120) Corey Jamison of Huntington (the number two seed in Albany a year ago) and qualifier Jake Green of Chenango Forks. Green, who recently won a tough class at the PSAL Holiday tournament at Madison Square Garden, split matches with Jamison a year ago.  Additionally, a pair of state qualifiers — the currently undefeated Richie Burke of Ithaca and Austin Ryan of Unatego — will add to the competitiveness at 126 as will Susquehanna Valley’s Ian Lupole.

Another bracket to watch will be at 220 pounds, led by nationally-ranked Nick Lupi of Huntington. The Section 11 wrestler dropped a one-point overtime decision to 2012 state champion Kyle Stanton of Greene in the Windsor title bout last December. Lupi will see some great matches with returning Section 4 champion Ryan Wolcott of Waverly, Matt Abbott of Windsor (third at this tournament in 2011), Canandaigua’s Tyler Ordiway and Union Endicott’s Lucas Depofi in the mix.
In all, more than half of the wrestlers ranked in the top two of their weight classes in the Section 4 rankings are scheduled to be in attendance at the tournament.

Last year, Section 2’s Colonie took the team title by 20 points over Suffolk County’s Huntington. Less than 10 points behind were squads in third to sixth place – Greene, Norwich, Towanda and Union Endicott.  This year, Nolan calls the field “wide open” and believes last year’s ninth place finisher, Unatego, will have an impact on the tournament with wrestlers such as Austin Ryan, Leland Slawson, Codie Nichols, Kevin Thayer and Ryan Marszal.

Action will begin at 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 27, weather permitting.

This year’s participating teams:

Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton, Canandaigua, Chenango Forks, Chenango Valley, Corning, Greene, Huntington, Ithaca, Lansing, Liberty, Maine Endwell, Norwich, Saratoga Springs, Southern Cayuga, Susquehanna Valley, Towanda PA, Union Endicott, Unadilla Valley, Unatego, Walton, Waverly, Windsor

Top 5 Seeds at Each Weight

99 Pounds:

  1. John Arceri (Huntington)
  2. Richard Schrade (Saratoga Springs)
  3. Colyn Shippos (Ithaca)
  4. Jake Lehr (Chenango Valley)
  5. Grant Gannon (Union Endicott)

106 Pounds:

  1. Jimmy Overhiser (Corning)
  2. Cole Rifanburg (Norwich)
  3. Kyle Mock (Huntington)
  4. Jared Lines (Towanda)
  5. Declan Levine (Ithaca)

113 Pounds:

  1. Kyle Kelly (Chenango Forks)
  2. Dominic Inzana (Saratoga Springs)
  3. Kobe Garrehy (Maine Endwell)
  4. Dylan Wood (Walton)
  5. Mikey Carr (Union Endicott)

120 Pounds:

  1. Hunter Rumpf (Saratoga Springs)
  2. Nate Hayes (Windsor)
  3. Logan Robinson (Walton)
  4. Ryan Castle (Greene)
  5. Kyle Hughes (Union Endicott)

126 Pounds:

  1. William Koll (Lansing)
  2. Corey Jamison (Huntington)
  3. Richie Burke (Ithaca)
  4. Jacob Green (Chenango Forks)
  5. Ian Lupole (Susquehanna Valley)

132 Pounds:

  1. Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich)
  2. Jesse Griswold (BGA)
  3. Brock Post (Maine Endwell)
  4. Terrick Vargason (Towanda)
  5. Carl Rouse (Chenango Forks)

138 Pounds:

  1. Connor Lapresi (Lansing)
  2. Justin Cirigliano (BGA)
  3. Zak Garrehy (Maine Endwell)
  4. Austyn Bostick (Waverly)
  5. Vinny Romeo (Canandaigua)

145 Pounds:

  1. Codie Nichols (Unatego)
  2. Trevor Parrish (Greene)
  3. Evan Vershay (Canandaigua)
  4. Brandon Mendez (Huntington)
  5. Joey Peters (Waverly)

152 Pounds:

  1. Dan Dickman (Greene)
  2. Kyle Halladay (Chenango Valley)
  3. Kevin Thayer (Unatego)
  4. Brandon Hamilton (Maine Endwell)
  5. Ian VanValen (Ithaca)

160 Pounds:

  1. Mike Beckwith (Greene)
  2. Leland Slawson (Unatego)
  3. Brandon Ellers (Waverly)
  4. Justin Hunsinger (Towanda)
  5. John Mallouk (Huntington)

170 Pounds:

  1. Ryan Marszal (Unatego)
  2. Christian Dietrich (Greene)
  3. Nathan Bomysoad (Union Endicott)
  4. Isaiah Zimmer (Chenango Forks)
  5. Robert Woodward (Chenango Valley)

182 Pounds:

  1. Andy Martinez (Liberty)
  2. Mike Beers (Walton)
  3. Seth Gordon (Windsor)
  4. Tristian Roche (Susquehanna Valley)
  5. Riley Hanrahan (Unatego)

195 Pounds:

  1. Mark Viviano (BGA)
  2. Matt Brozovic (Maine Endwell)
  3. Gustavo Loarca (Saratoga Springs)
  4. Danny Dillon (Canandaigua)
  5. Jeff Klossner (Waverly)

220 Pounds:

  1. Nick Lupi (Huntington)
  2. Ryan Wolcott (Waverly)
  3. Matt Abbott (Windsor)
  4. Tyler Ordiway (Canandaigua)
  5. Lucas Depofi (Union Endicott)

285 Pounds:

  1. Anthony Puca (Huntington)
  2. Steve Kerrigan (Susquehanna Valley)
  3. Jim Helin (Saratoga Springs)
  4. Austin Lamb (Canandaigua)
  5. Andrew Brinser (Union Endicott)

 

Next Generation of Studs Shine at the PSAL Holiday Tournament

 

By Matt Diano

With many of their collegiate wrestling heroes competing directly next to and/or across from them, the student-athletes from nearly 40 schools, spanning everywhere from Long Island, the five boroughs, and New Jersey proved that it will not be long before it is them participating in the main event at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.

Having earned the right to take part in the historic Grapple at the Garden (the first college wrestling event ever hosted by the 34th Street Mecca of sporting events) by surviving an elimination tournament the previous day at Harry S. Truman High School, the top 8 grapplers in each weight class excitedly took their turns creating lifelong memories. Whether they won or lost their respective placement matches, no one will ever be able to take away the fact that their legacies are forever carved into foundation of the building that knows no equal and needs no introduction. And, in the end, hand raised or not, there were no losers. We (fans, competitors, media, etc.) all won because we got the experience the best of both worlds; we were privy to seeing the best of the present, while equally mindful that we were getting treated to a rare and unmatched look at the future. For every Dake/Caldwell or Garrett/Waters match, there was a scholastic equivalent, such as Kelly/Ndiaye, Roberts/Rose, or Thompson/Green. While only 26 (including the ladies) individuals would leave as titlists, all entered and exited as champions.

Getting the party started at 99 pounds would be freshman phenom John Busiello from Eastport South Manor in Suffolk County. A decorated wrestler on the youth level, Busiello, who was a 20+ match winner for the varsity as an 8th grader, entered the Garden as the #3 ranked wrestler in his weight class in Section XI. If he wrestles the rest of the season the way he did this weekend, there is every reason to foresee him moving up a few spots on that totem pole. Going 3-0 between the two day affair, Busiello recorded bonus points in all of his bouts, outscoring his first and last victims by a combined tally of 31-3, sandwiched around a third period fall in the semifinals. He would claim the hardware with a 19-3 technical fall over fellow Long Islander Matt Maquet, of Long Beach in Section VIII.

Brooklyn would be in the house at the 106-pound weight class as defending NYS Private School Champion, Noah Malamut of Poly Prep, would score one for the five boroughs when he bested Maquet’s teammate, Charlie Spada, in a high scoring finals battle. Jumping out to the early lead, including a pivotal tilt for near-fall points, the junior from PP would have to contend with a late rally from his opposition, showing strong defense down the stretch to emerge with the 11-8 decision. Malamut would be the only individual champ for Poly Prep, leading the hometown favorite to a top-10 (8th) finish in the team standings.

Kelly vs. Ndiaye, http://www.phototrens.com

113 would be one of the highlight bouts of the afternoon as Chenango Forks’s two-time defending NYS DI Champion, Kyle Kelly, would be pitted against the 2012 NYS DII runner-up, Cheick Ndiaye, of Brooklyn International. With points expected to be at a premium in such a hotly contested battle of returning Empire State finalists, it would be the Binghamton University bound Kelly that struck in a big way, locking up a cradle and taking it over to gain the early lead. He would not look back, fending off the athletic and immensely polished Ndiaye 6-4. For the weekend, Kelly went 3-0, with Ndiaye being the only foe who was able to make it out of the first period against him.

Two weight classes later, it would be Kelly’s teammate, Jake Green, making it 2-for-2 for Forks over opponents from Brooklyn. Regarded as a slight underdog in the 126 pound title bout after his opponent, 2012 PSAL Large School Champion, Keanu Thompson (Grand Street Campus), defeated NHSCA All-American Travis Passaro (ESM) 7-3 in the semifinals, Green refused to be intimidated, scoring the only takedowns of the match to win a hard fought 4-2 decision. This victory should serve as a major confidence booster for Green as he looks to repeat as a Section IV champion and earn his first All-State placement in 2013. For Thompson, who prior to the loss had been on a hot streak (including a win over Ndiaye earlier in the season), the goal is to put the loss behind him and get back on track. The senior captain from Grand Street Campus came one victory short of the podium last season in Albany.

Getting Staten Island in the win column was standout extraordinaire, Santo Curatolo. A senior who is seeking his fourth career PSAL DI title, Curatolo might be among the fastest growing prospects in the Empire State. After falling to place in Albany for the third straight season, the Tottenville student-athlete has been on a tear, commencing with an All-American finish in Junior Greco-Roman in Fargo this past summer. Curatolo would show no mercy on the field this weekend, pinning two of his opponents and adding a 13-1 major decision to reign supreme at 120 pounds. His finals win, a 1:38 fall via cement mixer (I call it a Billman Mixer in tribute to former Pennsylvania great, Jamarr Billman, who hit a similar variation of the move in the 1997 AAA state finals his senior season) came over Wingate’s Kenton Greaves in what could potentially represent a preview of the 2013 NYC finals.

After watching two of his PSAL peers fall short of their championship goals, one wrestler who had no intention of kowtowing to Coach Rick Gumble’s mighty Forks squad was New Utrecht 132 pounder, Saidyokub Kahramonov. A runner-up in 2012 to current Brown University freshman, Ahmed Elsayed, Kahramonov is a heavy favorite to make his second consecutive trip to the state capital after being an injury placement last season. He certainly had his “A” game on full display 72 hours ago, finishing a perfect sweep of pins when he stuck returning Section IV bronze medalist, Carl Rouse, with 24 seconds remaining in the second period. Kahramonov also had falls over 2012 USA Wrestling Schoolboy Greco-Roman All-American, Leonard Merkin (Poly Prep), and 2012 Catholic High School Athletic Association returning placewinner, Ralph Maio, of Monsignor Farrell.

Starting a trend that would see his school take the titles at three of the next four weight classes was Long Branch’s Nick Menkin. A winner of just under 30 matches as a sophomore, the wrestler who missed out on the chance to compete at the New Jersey State tournament when he finished 4th at the regional qualifier, was not in a generous mood on Saturday and Sunday. 4-0 on the weekend, Menkin did not have a match closer than six points (his 9-3 win in the finals over Farrell’s Karl Weisner), pinning one of his opponents, teching another, and major decisioning the third (15-4) en route to the title bout and the eventual hardware. Complementing the efforts of their teammate were a pair of Georges (cousins). Striking first in the battle for ultimate family bragging rights would be 145-pounder, Nick, who after hanging on for a 6-4 decision in the semifinals over two-time PSAL runner-up, Nigel Williams of Eagle Academy, really poured it on in the finals, controlling all of the action and scoring the only takedowns of the match, defeating Columbia High School’s (Section II) Jim Devine 8-2 in the championship bout. Not to be outdone, at 160, it was Jake, whose older brother, William is a wrestler at Cornell University, making it an even 2-for-2 for the family when he made it back-to-back victories over foes from Columbia (their third consecutive finalist), outlasting Chris Morrissey, 7-5 in overtime. 220-pounder, Vincent Roselli, would also win in overtime, 5-3 over Paul Okeke of Clarkstown South, to account for the fourth and final individual gold for the eventual team champs from across the bridge.

Preventing Columbia from dropping three straight championship matches was Angelo Kress at 152 pounds. A state qualifier at this weight last season as a sophomore, Kress finished 6th (in the adjusted placements that do not include CHSAA or PSAL representatives). If he wrestles in Albany the way he did in the Big Apple, it is almost a surefire guarantee that the defending Section II champion will move up a few rungs on the proverbial ladder. Pinning his first two opponents in an average time of 2:22, Kress must have had big plans on Sunday afternoon as he wasted no time at all coming, seeing, and conquering. Pitted against 2012 PSAL Large School bronze medalist, Konstantin Parfiryev, from James Madison, Kress would put leave no doubt as to who the best of the best was, pinning his finals opponent in 54 seconds, the quickest fall of the championship round. One of two champs on the day for Columbia (the other coming in the last bout of the tournament), Kress would lead his team to a runner-up finish in the final polls.

Having gone four straight weight classes without some local flavor taking home a title, junior Adis Radoncic of RKA, would nip the issue in the bud, snapping the streak with 10-4 decision over Long Branch’s Nick Pappayliou at 170 pounds. Already a two-time PSAL Small School champion (on pace to be a four-time NYS DII qualifier), Radoncic just missed placing at the Times Union Center in 2012, falling one victory short of the podium. A lethal thrower, next to Ndiaye, Radoncic is considered the best medal threat for the PSAL in the Division II ranks. Pappayliou, who transferred to the Garden State perennial powerhouse for his senior season after competing for Ocean Township the first three years of his scholastic career, finished 4th in the district tournament in 2012.

Matt Roberts, Photo by Philip Rufo

Winning a war of returning NYS qualifiers was Monsignor Farrell’s Matt Roberts at 182. Trailing 2-0 early on in his title match against Eagle Academy’s Nathanael Rose, the 2012 CHSAA State Champion, Roberts, did what he does best, utilizing his deep gas tank to claw his way back into the match. Pushing the pace against Rose, who won the PSAL DII title as a freshman last season, Roberts would ascend to the top step of the podium following an 8-5 victory. The senior leader would be the lone champion for the Staten Island program who for the first time in history (after dominating the Mayor’s Cup since its inception) finished behind a fellow five borough school (Brooklyn Tech) in a major city wide tournament.

Speaking of B’Tech, the Todd Bloom led program would not be shutout this weekend, getting on the scoreboard at 195 with senior Kevin Tynes. A PSAL runner-up last last season to McZiggy Richards (the wrestler who finished 3rd in NYS and is currently attending St. Benedicts Prep), Tynes may be one of the hungriest wrestlers in the city this season after seeing the success of the man who beat him in last year’s Large School finals. Cruising in his first three matches (pin, 16-1 TF, 10-1 MD), Tynes would get his first test of the tournament in the finals when he faced the twin brother of the 170 pound runner-up, Chris Pappayliou. A 3rd place finisher at the district tournament, the Long Branch transfer would make his NYC counterpart work for every point, leading to perhaps the most entertaining and competitive title bout. In the end, the home court advantage would be too much for the Jersey boy to overcome as he dropped the bout 7-6 to Tynes.

El Shaddai VanHoesen, Photo by BV

Closing the show in emphatic fashion would Columbia’s other champion, returning NYS DI runner-up, El Shaddai VanHoesen. A full sized heavyweight who makes his impact felt every bit as much on the football field as he does on the wrestling mat, VanHoesen has every reason in the world to want to end his grappling career on top. Having suffered an injury early in the football playoffs, the big man had the misfortune of having to watch as his team was eliminated, powerless to do anything about it. A student-athlete with championship dreams, with one door having been closed, you can bet he will not let anything stop him from going all the way on the mat. He seemed every bit the proverbial man on a mission, notching four straight pins (including two in under 1:00) to stream roll his way to the last title of the afternoon. While not sure if it would be considered a benefit or a curse, the wrestler who found himself in the position of being the final notch on the belt of the VanHoesen locomotion was Tynes’s teamamte, Shaq Williams. The top-ranked 285 pounder per the GCW rankings, Williams will be looking for revenge when the calendar hits February.

Turning our attention to the fairer sex, leading the group of 10 champions for the young ladies was All-American Rosemary Flores of Curtis. A double freestyle champion in Fargo two summers ago, you name it and Flores has seemingly won it at some point in her career. An ASICS 1st Team honoree last year, Flores had little trouble adding another trophy to her growing collection, spending a combined 90 seconds on the mat in pinning two opponents to earn the the 132 pound crown. While she is by far the most well known, Flores is not the only elite philly in the Curtis stable as he was joined on the top step of the medal stand by teammates Leslie Schoberl (120) and Shannon Henry (138). In similar fashion to Flores, Shoberl and Henry would never see the third period as the three blue chippers combined for seven falls in seven matches. Curtis was the only program on the ladies side to have three gold medalists. Other champions in the women’s tournament included the following: 99- Kim Cardenas (Petrides), 106- Ana Salazar/160- Karina Lozano of Grover Cleveland, 113- Jennifer Juarez (Robert Wagner), 126- Sarah Andresen (Hunter), 145- Idalis Graciano (Springfield), and Wingate’s Destane Garrik at 170 pounds.

To see the full results from both the male and female varsity tournaments, please click the following links: 2012 Boys; 2012 Girls

For more information on New York City wrestling, visit Gotham City Wrestling

Binghamton Wrestling Announces Nationally Ranked Recruiting Class

By John Hartrick (hartrick@binghamton.edu), Courtesy of bubearcats.com

VESTAL, N.Y. – Head wrestling coach Matt Dernlan and his staff have produced the best early decision recruiting class in the program’s history, locking in six high school standouts. The class includes a pair of top 100 wrestlers and two more multi-state champions.

Amateur Wrestling News has ranked the class 14th best in the nation.

Set to join the Bearcats for the 2013-14 season are: Zack Zupan (Canastota, N.Y./Canastota), Nick Kelley (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa), Nick Tighe (Phoenix, N.Y./Phoenix), David Almaviva (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa), Kyle Kelly (Chenango Forks, N.Y./Chenango Forks) and  Bryce Mazurowski (Avon, N.Y./Avon)

“This class makes a good statement for our program moving forward,” Dernlan said. “We accomplished our objectives on a number of fronts … first we brought in guys who will help us contend for an NCAA title and center our program around kids from New York State. These are six of the 10 best kids in the entire state. They also have characteristics we’re looking to build on. Each of these wrestlers has unbelievable talent but more than anything, they have a huge upside at the next level. They have fundamental qualities we’re looking for, which is the fight to be successful. All six can make an impact for us right out of the gate and we’re very excited to welcome them to our program.”

Below is a capsule look at each recruit.

Photo by BV

Zack Zupan
– 2012 NYS champion
– Three-time NYS placewinner
– No. 87 overall recruit in country (Flowrestling)
– No. 1 recruit in NYS (New York Wrestling News)
– Won Virginia Beach Freshman Nationals and was runnerup at Sophomore Nationals
– Placed eighth at 2012 Flo Nationals
– Set NYS football record for most tackles in a season
– Projected to wrestle at 174/84

Coach Dernlan says …
“Zack is an incredibly gifted athlete. He has talent through the roof but it’s untapped because he’s a three-sport athlete. We’re excited about his upside once he solely focuses on wrestling.”

 

Photo by BV

Nick Kelley
– Five-time NYS qualifier
– No. 93 overall recruit in country (Flowrestling)
– No. 6 132-pounder in country (Flowrestling)
– No. 2 recruit in NYS (New York Wrestling News)
– Placed fifth at 2011 Flo Nationals and fourth at Fargo Junior Nationals
– Projected to wrestle at 141/49

Coach Dernlan says …
“Nick has incredible talent but on top of that, he wrestles as hard as any kid I’ve been around my entire life … and that’s a big statement. He’s going to benefit from the extra minute in college wrestling because he doesn’t get tired. That’s going to be a difference maker for him.”

 

Photo by BV

Nick Tighe
– Two-time NYS champion (2011, 2012)
– No. 15 recruit in country at his weight
– No. 3 recruit in NYS (New York Wrestling News)
– Placed seventh at 2011 Virginia Beach Sophomore Nationals and fourth as freshman
– Projected to wrestle at 133/41

Coach Dernlan says …
“Nick had one of the finest scholastic careers of anyone in the past decade of wrestling in New York State, He’s tenacious and has an unbelievable work ethic. He’s really good on top and has a motor that can go all day.”

Courtesy of Anthony Almaviva

David Almaviva

– Placed third at 2012 NYS Championship
– Two-time NYS qualifier
– Placed eighth at 2012 Fargo Junior Nationals
– No. 7 recruit in NYS (New York Wrestling News)
– Projected to wrestle at 149/57

Coach Dernlan says …
“David is another extremely gifted athlete. He’s probably one of the most technically sound kids I’ve been around in number of years.”

Photo by BV

Kyle Kelly

– Local recruit
– Two-time NYS champion
– Posted back-to-back undefeated sophomore and junior seasons (75-0)
– Placed fifth at 2012 Virginia Beach Junior Nationals
– Two-time Junior National Greco Roman All-American (7th, 7th)
– Ranked No. 6 at his weight in country (Flowrestling)
– No. 9 recruit in NYS (New York Wrestling News)
– Projected to wrestle at 125

Coach Dernlan says …
“On paper, Kyle is probably the most credentialed wrestler in the state. It’s always our goal to keep the Section 4 kids at home so getting Kyle is huge. He’s going to be a very special athlete at the next level.”

Photo by BV

Bryce Mazurowski

– Three-time NYS qualifier
– Runnerup at 2012 NYS Championship
– Went 46-2 as junior with 30 consecutive wins
– Projected to wrestle at 197

Coach Dernlan says …
“Bryce has an unbelievable upside once he gets the proper training. He has all the ability and hunger to get better and will jump to extremely high levels. I’m excited to be part of his growth.”

Section 4 Preview: State Champions Kelly, Lapresi, Koll and Rifanburg Look for More Titles; Williams for His First

Section 4 has nine 2012 All-State wrestlers returning, including former state champions Kyle Kelly, Connor Lapresi, William Koll and Tristan Rifanburg, as well as runner up Reggie Williams.  For the teams and wrestlers to watch in 2012-13, please read on.

Division I 

Returning State Placewinners (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Kyle Kelly, Chenango Forks, State Champion

106 Pounds: Jimmy Overhiser, Corning, Fourth Place

182 Pounds: James Benjamin, Vestal, Fifth Place

195 Pounds: Reggie Williams, Johnson City, Second Place

 

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

113 Pounds: Jake Green, Chenango Forks

120 Pounds: Richie Burke, Ithaca

126 Pounds: Brock Post, Maine-Endwell

132 Pounds: Curtis Grant, Elmira

138 Pounds: Trevor Hoffmier, Newark Valley

152 Pounds: Greg Kleinsmith, Johnson City

160 Pounds: Zach Colgan, Johnson City

 

Leading the Way:

Kyle Kelly, Photo by Boris V

Let’s start with two-time titlewinner Kyle Kelly of Chenango Forks.  Kelly boasted a perfect 37-0 junior season with 31 wins by bonus points.  His dominance wasn’t limited to the regular season, as he outscored his opponents in Albany 17-3 and also recorded a pin.  The Section 4 standout, who took fourth as a freshman, will try to finish his career as a Blue Devil with three straight times at the top of the podium at the Times Union Center, likely up a weight or two.

Reggie Williams of Johnson City isn’t a state champion … yet.  But he’ll be favored to get his first title this year. Williams has been one of the top upperweights in the state since his freshman season.  In his ninth grade year, he was sixth in Albany and as a sophomore, he took a few more steps forward, notching second in the Empire State after going 40-3 with all three losses coming to New York champion Tony Fusco of Shenendehowa. To learn more about Reggie Williams, see the link here.

James Benjamin rarely needed a full six minutes for his matches last season. The Vestal wrestler went 38-3 a year ago with 32 pins.  In fact, he won four bouts at the state tournament on his way to fifth place and all four victories were by fall (and all in less than three minutes).  As the highest returning placer from the 182-pound bracket in Albany, Benjamin will have a good chance to end his career at or near the top of the podium.

Jimmy Overhiser, Photo by Boris V

Also looking to step up higher on the medal stand is Jimmy Overhiser, who racked up a 31-4 mark on the way to fourth at 106 pounds and who participated in some high profile offseason events, such as the Disney Duals with Team New York Kong in Florida.

 

Also Keep an Eye On . . .

Reggie Williams isn’t the only person to watch on the Johnson City squad.  He is surrounded by quality wrestlers, including returning qualifiers Greg Kleinsmith (26-10 as a freshman 152 pounder) and Zach Colgan (39-8 at 160 pounds with a pin over Fox Lane’s Matt Pasqualini in Albany).  Winning Section 4 titles meant more than just a trip to the state tournament for Colgan and Kleinsmith last year.  According to head coach Jordan Glenn, both made “family history” as their fathers and/or uncles had wrestled for the Wildcats in the past and had come close to capturing Section crowns, but hadn’t quite achieved the feat.  Glenn believes that both will win more matches this year in Albany, and also has high hopes for a number of young wrestlers on the squad, including another Colgan (Isaiah), who won over 20 matches as an eighth grader at 99 pounds.

Jake Green (Chenango Forks) – Kyle Kelly is unlikely to be the only person racking up points for Chenango Forks this year in the postseason. Jake Green went 1-2 at the state championships in 2012, but he did so with a very challenging draw. His three matches were against the top two seeds in the bracket (Mark Raghunandan and Corey Jamison) and the eventual champion, Dylan Realbuto.  Green was in every match, defeating Jamison, while dropping a 6-4 decision to Realbuto and a three-pointer to Raghunandan.  He proved he could hang with some of the best and will look to get over the top in 2013.

“He was good enough to place last year but faced some really tough wrestlers in a strong weight class,” said Union Endicott coach Josh Ruff.  “He put in the time after the season and I would be really surprised if he didn’t place this year.”

Richie Burke (Ithaca) – As a ninth grader, Burke made his second trip to wrestle at the Times Union Center.  He capped off a 29-7 year by going 1-2, losing to the fourth and fifth place finishers. Four of his other setbacks during the season came to qualifier Jake Green (three times) and state champion William Koll, while he registered a victory over Division II qualifier Nate Hayes of Windsor.  Burke will look to build off victories such as that one in his sophomore season.

Trevor Hoffmier and Derek Holcomb (Newark Valley) – As a sophomore, Hoffmier compiled an impressive 28-4 mark with 18 pins.  In Albany, he began with a loss against runner up Alexis Blanco of Section 11 but rebounded with a victory before a one-point setback against Section 1’s Tom Grippi ended the competition for him.  However, he and teammate Derek Holcomb should once again form a formidable duo in the Newark Valley lineup.  Holcomb, who had over 30 wins in 2011-12, recorded several quality victories, including one over All-State wrestler Dan Dickman from Greene.  In addition, Holcomb made the medal stand at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach.  He hopes to add to his accolades in February in the state capital.

“They’re both really talented kids,” Ruff said.  “I could see both of them winning matches at the state tournament.  Holcomb got caught up in a tough match at Sectionals and got upset, but he has a great chance of getting to Albany this year.”

Alex Francik (Vestal) – As a 152-pound junior, Francik sported a 34-2 record, with 23 pins and only six regular decisions.  He defeated Greg Kleinsmith 7-5 in late January before the Johnson City wrestler returned the favor with a one-point win in the Section tournament.   In his final high school season, Francik will look to take the next step to the state championships.

 

The Team Race . . .

Union-Endicott ran away with the Division I team title in 2012 by over 40 points with tremendous balance – 13 wrestlers were fourth or higher in their weight class (and two others competed in the fifth place tilt).  Ten of those grapplers are back, including second place finisher Mikey Carr (106) and third place medalist Heze Morgan (120).  In addition, fourth placers Kyle Hughes, Xavian Hughes, Nathan Bomysoad and Lucas Depofi are slated to take the mat again.

Ruff believes that many of those wrestlers are ready for breakout years. Bomysoad, for example, earned 30 wins at 152 pounds, including a victory over Greg Kleinsmith (who won the rematch).  Ruff believes he is ready to take the next step.

“Nate wrestles so hard,” the coach said. “His work ethic is incredible and he showed he could beat high caliber kids last year.”  Two of the many other wrestlers Ruff believes are ready to compete at a higher level are Zack Bendick, who won over 20 matches as a freshman and Xavian Hughes, who took fourth in the Section as a sophomore at 132 pounds.

“I’m confident that Xavian can wrestle with anyone in the section on his feet.  If he improves on the mat, he could qualify for states.  And Bendick is very talented.  He has improved so much since last season and is ready to wrestle the top caliber guys.”

All of those returners will certainly put significant points on the board, but sizable scoring was lost with the departure of Section champions Richie Lupo and Tyler Bayer as well as Jordan Billet (second), Tyler Hubbert (third) and Tyler Allen (third).  In addition, 2012 Section 4 runner up at 160 pounds, Sammy Davis, suffered an injury in football that will keep him out at least until January.  Those losses will open the door for challengers such as last year’s runner up and third place team, Vestal and Johnson City, respectively.

“We were very well balanced last year,” Ruff said. “We didn’t really have superstars, but we had a tough guy in every weight class.  This year is a little different. We bring back Lucas Depofi at 220 but we graduated most of our other upperweights and now with Sammy Davis’s injury, we’re a little thin there.  We do feel, though, that we’re stacked in the lightweights and middleweights and we do bring back a lot of points.  I think if we continue to work really hard, we’ll be challenging for the title at the section tournament.”

Reggie Williams, Photo by Boris V

Also clearly in the mix is Johnson City, which has significant firepower. The squad is led by the trio discussed above: Reggie Williams, Zach Colgan and Greg Kleinsmith.  In addition, four wrestlers who lost only once at the Section tournament a year ago, juniors Anthony Johns, Joseph Hamdan and Conner Halladay as well as freshman Isaiah Colgan, will look to improve upon their showings.  Meanwhile, Corey McCormick, Nick Bidwell, Joshua Dember and Nikola Cejic will bring experience to the table.  Reggie Williams spoke with excitement about his squad’s potential in 2012-13.

“We have a great coaching staff and a great team,” Williams said. “We’re better than people think.  The sky’s the limit for us at Johnson City.”

Union Endicott and Johnson City will be tested by Vestal, which returns six wrestlers who were top four a year ago, including All-Stater James Benjamin. The Golden Bears graduated 220-pound state qualifier Anthony Osman and fourth placer Andre Strano, but will be a threat with Alex Francik, heavyweight Juwin Jumpp and young up and comers Robert Mastronardi (third at 126 as a freshman), Owen Jarrold (third at 132 in ninth grade) and Hunter Beck (fourth at 106 as an eighth grader).  Other experienced wrestlers who competed in the fifth place bouts last year such as Alex Crostley, Tom Flynn, Collin Vangordon and David Gardner will try to push Vestal higher in the race.

Newark Valley has some heavy hitters to account for, including returning champion Trevor Hoffmier and other top three placers Vinnie Darpino, Dan Geisenhof and Derek Holcomb.

While Union Endicott won the section by a significant number of points a year ago, a 40-point margin between first and second seems a lot less likely this year.

 

Division II

Returning State Placewinners (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Joe Nelson, Oxford, Third Place

113 Pounds: William Koll, Lansing, Third Place

126 Pounds: Tristan Rifanburg, Norwich, Sixth Place

132 Pounds: Connor Lapresi, Lansing, State Champion

152 Pounds: Dan Dickman, Greene, Fourth Place

 

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Dylan Wood, Walton

106 Pounds: Sean Ballard, Whitney Point

113 Pounds: Nate Hayes, Windsor

120 Pounds: Austin Ryan, Unatego

132 Pounds: Frank Garcia, Norwich

145 Pounds: Kyle Halladay, Chenango Valley

160 Pounds: Mike Beckwith, Greene

170 Pounds: Ryan Wolcott, Waverly

182 Pounds: Mike Beers, Walton

195 Pounds: Mark Viviano, Bainbridge-Guilford-Afton

220 Pounds: Dillon Hurlbert, Marathon

 

Top Wrestlers:

Senior Connor Lapresi of Lansing is looking to end his high school career with a second consecutive state crown before heading off to Bucknell.  After avenging his only regular season loss (to Wesley Blanding) in the semifinals in Albany, Lapresi controlled the finals against Curt Rowley to end his junior campaign with a gold medal.  Lapresi hasn’t limited his wrestling success to the Empire State, as he was an All-American in Virginia Beach at both the NHSCA Freshman and Sophomore Nationals in 2010 and 2011.

William Koll, Photo by Boris V

Lapresi isn’t the only Bobcats grappler with title aspirations.  Teammate William Koll has made the medal stand in both of his appearances at the state tournament.  As a freshman, he captured the 103-pound crown with a fall over multiple-time state placer Trey Aslanian of Edgemont.  This past February, Koll took third at 113 pounds in a bracket that featured at least five past medalists.   He also was the New York State Greco Roman and Freestyle champion in May, winning both brackets in dominant fashion.  Additionally, Koll has demonstrated his national competitiveness on multiple occasions, with strong performances at the Disney Duals and a runner up finish at the NHSCA Freshman Nationals in 2011.

Tristan Rifanburg also knows what it’s like to place second nationally, as he did just that at the NHSCA Freshman tournament this spring.  That showing came after the Norwich wrestler earned his third consecutive medal in Albany, taking sixth in a deep 126-pound class.  Rifanburg will look to get back to a familiar place in 2013 at the Times Union Center – the Saturday night finals.  He was a state champion as a seventh grader at 96 pounds and a runner up a year later.  For all his accomplishments, Intermat has Rifanburg ranked as the #45 sophomore in the country.

Joe Nelson, Photo by Boris V

Section 4 offers a number of other wrestlers who can challenge for top billing this season in Albany.  Joe Nelson of Oxford entered the state tournament as the top seed last year and after absorbing an upset to eventual runner up Nick Casella of Locust Valley, bounced back to earn third place.  Greene’s Dan Dickman also lost his second bout at the Times Union Center last year at 152 pounds, but came back to take fourth.

But other than those who were All-State before, here are some other wrestlers to keep tabs on this year . . .

Lightweights and Middleweights:

Austin Ryan (Unatego) – In his freshman season, Ryan picked up over 30 wins and made an appearance at the state tournament, where he went 1-2.  Scott Stafford, who handed him four of his losses, has graduated and one Section 4 coach mentioned that he believes Ryan is primed for a breakout year.  Unatego teammate Codie Nichols is another wrestler who could have a big campaign after going 37-6 last season.

Frank Garcia (Norwich) – The Norwich wrestler had a strong ninth grade season at 132 pounds, racking up a 36-5 mark with 11 falls and coming within one win of becoming All-State in Albany.  Garcia dropped multiple close decisions to state champion Connor Lapresi, including a 3-2 result in the quarterfinals at the Times Union Center.  The medal stand seems within the sophomore’s reach this season.

Jordan Torbitt (Whitney Point) – Torbitt wasn’t intimidated as an eighth grade middleweight, compiling a 29-6 record with 14 pins at 145 and 152 pounds.  Half of his losses were close decisions against wrestlers who placed in the top five at the state tournament – Dan Dickman of Greene, Wesley Blanding of Chittenango and Isaiah Riccio of Beaver River.  After the tough competition during the season, Torbitt excelled on the national stage, winning the NHSCA Middle School national title at 154 pounds in Virginia.  He will be a freshman to watch.

Kyle Halliday (Chenango Valley) – The senior boasted a 33-3 record in 2012, with 29 victories coming by bonus points.  He injury defaulted out of the state tournament after an opening round defeat, but registered several quality wins during course of the year, including over state qualifiers JT Romagnoli, Tyler Spann (twice), Greg Kleinsmith, and Richie Lupo.

And moving into the higher weights . . .

Mike Beckwith (Greene) – Beckwith faced a number of setbacks in an abbreviated 20-2 season in 2011-12.  However, he was able to get back on the mat for the Section 4 tournament, where he was completely in control of his bouts with two pins and two major decisions.  He has the talent to be on the podium, and although he dropped a pair of two-point matches at the state tournament this past year, he will be looking for more in 2013.

“Mike had a tough year,” Greene coach Tim Jenks said. “First an injury, then a car accident. He only had 11 days of practice between Christmas and the Section finals.  It’s amazing that he won the Section with so little practice.  What hurt him at the states was his conditioning.  In the close matches, he just didn’t have the gas.  We believe he’ll have a great year.”

Christian Dietrich (Greene) – Dietrich has the potential to be one of the Section’s best as he is set to return from a knee injury that kept him out for the 2011-12 campaign.  He accomplished the rare feat of placing in the middleweights as a seventh grader as he took sixth at 152 at the 2011 state tournament.  Now an upperweight who may compete anywhere from 170 to 195 according to Jenks, he is ready to pick up from where he left off two years ago and ascend higher on the podium as a freshman.  Jenks also mentioned that junior Joel Roselle may open some eyes this year after a solid sophomore season where he took third in the Section. “It was the first time he wrestled in a while,” Jenks said.  “He’ll be back and he’ll be tough at 170 or 182.”

While Greene offers some tough wrestlers like Beckwith, Dietrich and Roselle in the upperweights, they’ll have plenty of competition in the Section as three returning top 8 wrestlers will take the mat – Mike Beers, Ryan Wolcott and Dillon Hurlbert, as will qualifier Mark Viviano.

Mike Beers (Walton) – Keegan Cerwinski was a bit of nemesis for Beers last year, handing him three losses. Still, Greene coach Jenks was impressed with what Beers showed in those bouts and pointed to him as a wrestler to watch in 2012-13. The Walton grappler notched 28 victories, including 19 pins and came within one win of earning All-State honors in Albany after he dropped a 2-1 decision in his last bout at the Times Union Center.

Ryan Wolcott (Waverly) – Wolcott didn’t get an easy road in Albany, going 2-2 with both of his losses to top three finishers (Nick Mitchell and Burke Paddock).  Wolcott and Paddock were the only entrants at 170 pounds that weren’t juniors or seniors.  He’ll have a great opportunity to get on the podium this time.

Dillon Hurlbert (Marathon) – Like Beers and Wolcott, Hurlbert split his four matches at the state tournament.  He was third in Section 4, but there was no shame in that, as he stood behind state champion Kyle Stanton and fourth place finisher Nick Talcott.  As a junior, the Marathon wrestler went 40-8 with more than 25 pins.  With only three of the top 8 competitors at 220 pounds returning, he will have a good chance to end his career with a medal.

Not to be forgotten is fellow upperweight Mark Viviano from Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton, who got a wildcard bid to Albany.  He had close to 30 wins, including a victory over state qualifier Kegan Levesque in the Section 4 tournament after losing to him the previous week. With the graduation of Ryan Todd, who defeated Viviano twice, including at the Times Union Center, Viviano will be expected to make a return trip to the state capital.

 

Division II Team Race . . .

Greene, the returning champion, lost All-Staters Keegan Cerwinski and Kyle Stanton to the college ranks.  But the Trojans, who won the Section 4 title by 13.5 points, will enter the campaign as the favorites as they bring back gold medalists Dan Dickman and Mike Beckwith as well as three other placers – Brendan Wheeler (third at 106), Joel Roselle (third at 170) and Trevor Parrish (fifth at 138). The addition of Christian Dietrich will also be significant.

“We have great kids coming back, including some who missed last year with injuries,” Jenks said.  “I think we should be the team to beat, but we do have some questions. I’m not sure whether we’ll have a 99 pounder and we need to figure out some things with our lineup.  We have a lot of great kids in the same weight classes and we’re not sure yet how we’re going to iron it out.  I look forward to a great year.”

Who can challenge Greene for the title?  The list of possibilities is long.

Connor Lapresi, Photo by Boris V

There are teams that are lead by a few top-notch wrestlers, such as Lansing and Norwich, the second and third place teams in 2012, respectively.  The Bobcats feature state champions William Koll and Connor Lapresi as well as freshman Greg Lee, who was fourth at 106 as an eighth grader.  However, they will have to replace the points of standouts Ryan Todd and Corey Dake.

As for Norwich, Rifanburg and Garcia will tally significant points, but they, like Lansing, lost substantial points in the form of four graduated Section placers.

Jenks mentioned a pair of teams that could challenge on the strength of a number of wrestlers that saw success in last year’s postseason – Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton and Unatego.  Bainbridge offers a solid team, with five of its six Section placers returning, including runner up Mark Viviano and a trio of fourth placers – Austin Carr, Justin Cirigliano, and Jesse Griswold.

Unatego had three finalists a year ago and all three are back – Austin Ryan, Kevin Thayer and Codie Nichols.  When you add Ryan Marszal (third at 145), Leland Slawson (fourth at 152) and Lucas DeJoy (sixth at 132) into the mix, it seems likely that the team can improve upon its eighth place showing.

Also looking to make its mark again is Chenango Valley, led by Kyle Halliday and a pair of sophomores – Anthony Colon and Billy Liberati, and Tioga with five 2012 Section medalists, including fourth placers Kaleb Stone and Tyler Spires.

Special thanks to all the coaches and wrestlers who contributed to this story.

 

More Season Previews:

Section 1 Preview

Section 3 Preview

Section 4 Preview

Section 7 Preview

Section 8 Preview

Section 9 Preview

CHSAA Preview

 

Season Preview Features (more to come):

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 11 Feature: Nick Piccininni Looks to Continue Winning Streak