New York Boasts Multiple Champions, Including Repeat Winner Nick Piccininni, at the Iron Horse Invitational

Last year, two New York wrestlers emerged as champions at the Iron Horse Invitational in New Jersey.  On Sunday, the Empire State boasted many more first place finishers, including a repeat performance by Nick Piccininni.

The Ward Melville grappler went 4-0 on the day, outscoring his opponents 29-1 along the way.  One of his victories was over New Jersey state champion Anthony Cefolo.

In addition to Piccininni, Long Island was well represented in the Garden State with Eastport South Manor’s Jimmy Leach, Rocky Point’s Tommy Dutton, MacArthur’s Steve Schneider and Syosset’s Vito Arujau also collecting crowns.

Steve Schneider, Photo by BV

All four of those wrestlers finished with unblemished records.  Leach, a Section 11 finalist in February, beat 2013 NYS placer Sam Ward 6-3 on his path. Meanwhile, Dutton notched an impressive 3-2 triumph over two-time New Jersey runner up Gary Dinmore, a competitor ranked as one of the top 100 seniors in the land by Intermat and FloWrestling. Schneider bested state champion Adis Radoncic a few weeks after losing to him at the Journeymen Classic, while fellow Nassau representative Arujau notched a trio of victories, including a 4-0 decision over All-Stater Jesse Dellavecchia of East Islip.

There were many more gold showings for New York, including by returning state silver medalists Levi Ashley of Shenendehowa and Christian Dietrich of Greene.  [Ashley’s only setback was to fellow New Yorker Nick Weber of Kings Park, another All-Stater in 2013]. For Dietrich, it was another offseason title after taking first at the Journeymen Classic a few weeks ago.

We haven’t forgotten about Anthony DePrez of Hilton and Brett Perry of John Jay East Fishkill, who also returned to the Empire State on Sunday night as champions.

Quite a few New Yorkers ended the top notch event with second place showings.  John Muldoon of Pearl River was one of them, after going 3-1 with his only loss in overtime to New Jersey medalist Christian Innarella of Delbarton.

Yianni Diakomihalis of Hilton pinned Wantagh’s Kyle Quinn in a meeting of returning state champions and defeated New Jersey’s Nick Santos, before dropping a 5-3 battle to Nick Suriano, the #1 ranked grappler in the land at 113 pounds, to take second.

In addition, Jakob Restrepo continued his stellar offseason with silver, including a 5-4 decision over two-time New York runner up Vincent DePrez of Hilton.  Restrepo wasn’t the only Section 11 wrestler to take second – Greg Chery of Connetquot and Jesse Dellavecchia of East Islip did the same.

To see full results, follow this link.

 

 

 

 

Iron Horse Invitational: Elite New York Wrestlers Ready for Top Notch Competition in New Jersey

The ninth annual Iron Horse Invitational will take place on Sunday in East Hanover, New Jersey.  The event features some of the very best from the host state as well as representatives from Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Florida, Maryland and of course, New York.

Last year Ward Melville’s Nick Piccininni and Pearl River’s John Muldoon won their brackets at the event, and both are back to try to make it two in a row.

Who will come out on top this weekend? Here are some of the New Yorkers scheduled to participate*:

Vito Arujau, Syosset
Jake Ashcraft, Burnt Hills
Levi Ashley, Shenendehowa
Brandon Aviles, Newfield
Nick Casella, Locast Valley
Greg Chery, Connetquot
Mike D’Angelo, Commack
Jesse Dellavecchia, East Islip
Anthony DePrez, Hilton
Vincent DePrez, Hilton
Matteo DeVincenzo, Port Jefferson
Yianni Diakomihalis, Hilton
Christian Dietrich, Greene
Tommy Dutton, Rocky Point
Ken Gallagher, Northport
Louis Hernandez, Mepham
Jimmy Leach, Eastport South Manor
Chris Mauriello, Huappauge
John Muldoon, Pearl River
Kevin Parker, Shenendehowa
Travis Passaro, Eastport South Manor
Brett Perry, John Jay East Fishkill
Nick Piccininni, Ward Melville
Jesse Porter, Shenendehowa
Kyle Quinn, Wantagh
Adis Radoncic, Poly Prep
Jakob Restrepo, Sachem East
Blake Retell, Shaker
Rafal Rokosz, Southhampton
Steve Schneider, MacArthur
Tyler Silverthorn, General Brown
Daniel Smith, South Jefferson
Ryan Snow, General Brown
Sam Ward, Locust Valley
Nick Weber, Kings Park

 

*Participation subject to change

Journey for the Journeymen: Albany-Area Club On the Way to Europe for a Wrestling and Cultural Experience

A contingent from the Journeymen Wrestling Club will soon be headed to Austria and Italy, staying for almost two weeks.  But it won’t quite be a European vacation.

“It will be fun, but it’s not a tour of those countries,” Journeymen’s Frank Popolizio said. “It’s not like we’re going to the Coliseum and spending the day there. We’ll see a little bit and do some excursions but we’ll mostly be seeing the mats.  We’ll be getting the feel of the European experience from a wrestling standpoint.”

The trip will continue an exchange program that the Journeymen Club has had with European wrestling over the past decade, especially with Italy.

According to Popolizio, it all started when he attended the 2003 World Championships in New York City.

“I went to see the best wrestlers in the world in our backyard, but I had a secondary thing in mind,” he said. “My brother was fourth on the Olympic ladder at the time, but Cael Sanderson was at his weight.  It didn’t look too promising for him to get the nod for the USA, so I started inquiring about wrestling for Italy since our entire family is from there.  I went with some information and materials to give to the Italian coach and in the process, wound up meeting Michele Liuzzi.”

Liuzzi, perhaps Italy’s best competitor at the time, was at the tail end of his career.  Popolizio saw a great opportunity to work with him in the United States.

“I reached out to him over and over,” Popolizio said. “I really wanted to bring him over for a clinic, but he didn’t want to – he had removed himself from wrestling.  But I was tenacious about it and it took years, but I finally got him to come over.”

A relationship was born.  Liuzzi consistently visited the Albany area and began to bring some Italian athletes with him.  In turn, Journeymen made the journey to Italy.  And an exchange ensued.

“This will be our third time going,” Popolizio said. “We’re bringing a really good lineup of dedicated, focused guys who are all very involved in our club.”

Indeed, the list includes multiple All-State wrestlers from 2013, including a pair of silver medalists – Brandon Lapi of Amsterdam and Levi Ashley of Shenendehowa.  In addition, Frank Nassivera of Queensbury (sixth at 170) made the podium while a number of other grapplers – Jake Ashcraft (Burnt Hills), Josh Logiudice (Guilderland), Connor Lawrence (Duanesburg), John McHugh (Columbia) and Blake Retell (Shaker) were all state qualifiers this February.  (For the full list of attendees, see the end of the article).

“I’m definitely excited,” said John McHugh, who attends Columbia High School. “It’s a phenomenal opportunity not only for wrestling but for the whole cultural experience and a chance to go overseas.”

The impressive group of wrestlers will get plenty of opportunities to hone their freestyle skills, first for five or six days in Austria and then in Italy.

“We’ll train there and then we’ll compete,” Popolizio said. “In Austria, we’ll have a quad meet with teams from Germany, Switzerland and Austria.  And the Italian camp has about 130 kids coming in from a bunch of European nations like Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and probably some others.”

The competition part is something both McHugh and Popolizio remember well from the last time the Europeans traveled to New York.

“When they were here, we had a dual meet with the Italians and Austrians,” McHugh said.  “That was a crazy experience.  It was at one of our gyms and tons of people showed up to watch. They’ve been wrestling Freestyle and Greco their whole lives, but we did pretty well.”

Popolizio agreed.

“When they came here last time, it was fun training with the guys all week and then there are the matches and it’s like, ok, now it counts,” Popolizio said. “Our style of wrestling in the United States isn’t as technical as the Europeans.  They’re putting a lot of time into freestyle, while it’s secondary for us.  Sometimes, our technique isn’t up to snuff, but from a competitive standpoint, we have an advantage.  When it was time to compete, the mindset changed and we lit them up.  They had no idea what hit them. It was a lot of fun.”

There will be some fun off the mat as well.  Popolizio said that the hosts will dictate the schedule, but he knows of an excursion including a hike climbing in the Alps where the group will wind up in a location that overlooks several different countries at once.

“That should be a pretty exciting day, even though we know we’re not primarily there to see Austria or Italy,” Popolizio said. “It will be heavy wrestling with some pleasure mixed in. We’re there to compete and have a cultural exchange to continue to build relationships with wrestlers in other parts of the world.”

 

Journeymen Wrestling Club – Attendees

Jake Ashcraft, Burnt Hills

Levi Ashley, Shenendehowa

Josh Bressette, Fort Ann

Steve Colbert, Galway

Christian Gramuglia, Burnt Hills

Dominic Inzana, Saratoga

Brandon Lapi, Amsterdam

Connor Lawrence, Duanesburg

Josh Logiudice, Guilderland

John McHugh, Columbia

Matt McHugh, Columbia

Frank Nassivera, Queensburg

Tony Papa, Burnt Hills

Kevin Parker, Shenendehowa

Blake Retell, Shaker

Check Out Video Interviews With Numerous Wrestlers from the State Tournament

The following are video interviews with a number of wrestlers at the state tournament.  Special thanks to Adam Burgos and Nick Garone for their amazing contributions!

Some browsers may take a little extra time to load.

(To view on youtube, see youtube.com/nywrestlingnews)

 

Tyler Grimaldi (160 Pound State Champ, Hills West) and coach Mike Patrovich with Nick Garone

 

Adis “The Beast” Radoncic (RKA) – First Ever PSAL State Champ (170)

 

Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton), 99 Pound State Champion

 

Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville), 113 Pound State Champion and MOW

 

TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River), 126 Pound State Champion

 

Trey Aslanian (Edgemont), 120 Pound State Champion (3x Finalist)

 

William Koll (Lansing), 2x State Champion

 

Burke Paddock (Warsaw), 160 Pound State Champion

 

Corey Rasheed (Longwood), 152 Pound State Champion

 

Louis Hernandez (Mepham), 145 Pound State Champion

 

Dan Choi (Syosset), 195 Pound State Champion with N. Garone

 

Rich Sisti (Monsignor Farrell), 220 Pound State Champion with N. Garone

 

Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowoga), 138 Pound State Champion

 

Luis Weirebach (Hoosick Falls), 106 Pound State Champion

 

Hunter Ayen (Gouverneur), 195 Pound State Champion

 

Alex Delacruz (Ossining), 120 Pound State Champion

 

Nick Tighe (Phoenix), 138 Pound State Champion (3x Champion)

 

Shayne Brady (Carthage), 182 Pound State Champion

 

Mike Hughes (Smithtown West), 285 Pound State Champion with N. Garone

 

Dillon Stowell (Gouverneur), 113 Pound State Champion

 

Derek Spann (Adirondack), 99 Pound State Champion D2

 

POST SEMIS VIDEOS

Matteo Devincenzo (Port Jefferson, 99 D2)

 

Adis Radoncic (RKA, 170 D2)

 

Nick Casella (Locust Valley, 113 D2)

 

William Koll (Lansing, 126 D2)

 

TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River, 126 D1)

 

Corey Rasheed (Longwood, 152 D1)

 

Rowdy Prior (Phoenix, 152 D2)

 

Luis Weirebach (Hoosick Falls, 106 D2)

 

Derek Spann (Adirondack, 99 D2)

 

DAY 1/Medal Round VIDEOS

Keanu Thompson (Grand Street after Pinning #2 Seed in Quarters)

 

Dan Choi (Syosset after Beating #1 Seed in Quarters)

 

James O’Hagan (Seaford after Topping #1 Seed)

 

Steve Schneider (160, MacArthur after overtime victory)

 

Nick Barbaria (New Rochelle, 106 after the quarters)

 

Nick Weber (Kings Park, 195 Pounds after defeating #2 seed)

 

Jonathan Haas (Spencerport, 3rd place 106 D1)

 

Austin Coleman (Spencerport, 2nd place 285 D1)

 

Levi Ashley (Shenendehowa, 2nd place, after beating #3 seed)

 

Eric Lewandowski (Lancaster, 2nd place, 145 D1)

 

Josh Powell (Churchville-Chili, D1, 160)

 

Marshall Taylor (Lockport, 220 pounds D1, after 3 OT victory)

 

Shayne Brady (Carthage, 182 pound champion on Day 1)

 

Zack Joseph (Shenendehowa, 152 pounds, D1 on Day 1)

 

Donny McCoy (Niagara Falls, 99 Pounds, D1 on Day 1)

 

 

 

 

 

High School Round Up: Weekend News and Notes from the Road to Albany

It’s February and that means the road to the state championships has begun.  On Saturday and Sunday, a number of postseason events took place across the state, helping to shape the brackets for this weekend’s Sectional qualifiers.

There were too many big matches and results to recap, but here are just a few of the things that caught our eye.  The countdown to the first whistle at the Times Union Center is now just about two and a half weeks away!

In Section 1, Yorktown has had a strong presence in our individual rankings this season with Joe Mastro, Steven Sabella and David Varian included in the last version and Thomas Murray falling just outside our top 8 at 182.  Those wrestlers continued their winning ways this weekend, with Sabella having a tough match with another high quality wrestler – Scott Wymbs of Horace Greeley.  Both of those wrestlers have what it takes to make some noise later this month.

Dale White of John Jay East Fishkill made the medal stand at 145 a year ago and was someone we were tracking as a potential state title contender coming into the campaign.  However, he didn’t compete due to injury until January.  This weekend, he picked up a title and is undefeated in limited action thus far at 160.  Perhaps his time off will benefit him down the stretch run.

Ashley, Photo by Josh Conklin

In Section 2, Levi Ashley spent a bulk of the season at 182 pounds for Shenendehowa where he took fourth at the Eastern States Classic and nearly placed at the Reno Tournament of Champions against some of the nation’s best.  For the past few weeks, however, he has been up at 195 pounds and has gone undefeated there.  That run includes multiple wins over the tough Wayne Burt of Colonie, including a major decision in the finals over the weekend.  He seems primed for a strong postseason.

Meanwhile, El Shaddai Van Hoesen continued his total dominance, quickly pinning Colonie’s Austin DiCerbo, a wrestler who could contend for the medal stand in Albany if he earns the opportunity.

In Section 3, a few wrestlers ranked in the state were upset. At heavyweight, Canastota’s Jacob Morris beat Brandon Fayle of Lowville 3-2 in the semifinals of the Class C tournament before topping Brandon Yager of Ilion for the championship.  Fayle pinned Morris to win the Class title a year ago.

In addition, Ryan O’Rourke of Adirondack (ranked at 99), fell at 106 pounds to Hunter Owen of Sherburne-Earlville while Ben Honis, who was in the honorable mention section of the rankings, continued his strong season with a 3-2 win over Baldwinsville’s Joe Nasoni.  It was Nasoni’s first loss at 195 this year.

In Section 4, Jordan Torbitt of Whitney Point took center stage at the Class B Championships. Last year as an eighth grader, Torbitt won more than 25 matches and took second at the Sectional tournament at 152 pounds behind All-Stater Dan Dickman of Greene.  He has continued to shine as a freshman, bringing a 33-1 mark into the weekend after avenging his only loss to Newark Valley’s Trevor Hoffmeir.  Torbitt impressed again on Saturday, beating Norwich’s Frank Garcia, a returning state qualifier who was ranked in New York.

Dietrich, Photo by Josh Conklin

The Greene middle/upper weights looked solid with Mike Beckwith and Christian Dietrich grabbing first place. Teammate Joel Roselle missed some time in the lineup but returned at 182 pounds where he took second behind Unatego’s Ryan Marszal.

In Section 5, a pair of wrestlers ranked in New York squared off in the finals of the Class A tournament at 99 pounds, with #1 Yianni Diakomihalis pinning Wayne’s Jake Yankloski.  It was a good day for a number of Diakomihalis’s teammates as well, as brothers Vincent, Anthony and Lou Deprez all won Class A crowns.

In that same tournament, Yankloski’s teammate Bryan Lantry picked up a major decision over Brockport’s Barton Peters, who had come in with a 22-2 mark.

Like Diakomihalis, Hornell’s Zack Bacon sat atop our last set of individual New York State rankings.  The 220 pounder has rarely been challenged this season as he won by bonus points in his first 33 matches.  However, John Martisch presented an formidable obstacle as Bacon edged the Penn Yan wrestler 2-1.

In Section 6, in a battle of All-State wrestlers, Steve Michel of Lancaster pinned Anthony Orefice for his second victory over the Lockport wrestler this season at 120 pounds. (The first was a close decision). It wouldn’t be surprising to see the two of them square off again next weekend as they look to get back to Albany.

In another meeting of previous placers, returning state runner up Drew Hull of Royalton Hartland edged Jude Gardner at 145 pounds.  It was Hull’s second victory over the Fredonia wrestler this year.

Gardner’s teammate Chris Saden brought an unblemished record into the weekend, however, he was upended in the finals, as Steven Warthling of Tonawanda earned a 9-6 decision.  It should be an interesting weight at Sectionals.

Troy Seymour became the first-ever wrestler from Section 7 to reach 200 wins.  On Thursday night, the Peru senior pinned Hunter Bishop in the first period at 170 pounds to pick up the milestone victory.  In addition, Peru captured the Champlain Valley title over Saranac.

Hernandez, Photo by Josh Conklin

In Section 8, Mepham’s Jamie Dunn was an All-County wrestler in 2012 and figured to contend for the Nassau title this year.  However, he entered the qualifier with a 23-15 record.  He exited with a title, winning four straight matches, including avenging a loss to Matt Krause and beating top seeded Lucas Pincus in the finals.  His teammates Louis Hernandez and Dan Tracy breezed to championships as well with all bonus wins and look to return to the Times Union Center for the second straight time.

138 pounds will certainly be interesting in the Nassau tournament. Highly ranked wrestlers like Rob Bennett of MacArthur, Quinn Knauer of Baldwin and Rob Rosenberg of Hewlett were among those upset and new contenders emerged, such as Brian Quiroz of Valley Stream Central who came in with a 3-1 record with all four matches in December up at 152 pounds.

Also of note, returning state runner up Justin Cooksey of MacArthur didn’t compete.

Section 9 held its JV Championships over the weekend.  For full results, see here.

In Section 10, Gouverneur closed out another undefeated conference season with a home victory over Massena.  Senior Dillon Stowell collected his 150th career victory and will try for his first state title in a few weeks after placing multiple times.

In Section 11, there were a number of rematches between wrestlers ranked statewide. At 99 pounds, John Arceri of Huntington avenged a loss by fall to John Busiello by edging the Eastport South Manor wrestler 3-2 on Saturday.

In another rematch between two of the top grapplers in New York, Alex Tanzman defeated James Szymanski again, this time by pin. The two had recently wrestled a close bout at 106.

In addition, Islip’s Brad Wade topped Huntington’s Corey Jamison at 126 pounds by a 2-1 score for the second time this season. Wade has been on a very impressive run after a few early losses and looks like a threat to win some matches in Albany – if he can get through the challenging 126-pound Suffolk bracket.

Tyler Walsh of West Islip lost 9-4 to returning fourth placer Joe Calderone of Walt Whitman earlier in the campaign.  This weekend, he prevailed by the same score against Calderone.  Walsh has quietly had a very strong 32-2 year with his only other setback coming against Danbury’s Kevin Jack, the Eastern States Champion at 120.

An article on the PSAL Dual Championship won by Brooklyn Tech, can be found here.

In CHSAA action, Monsignor Farrell crowned seven champions in the New York City qualifier and at least 19 wrestlers from the squad will compete in the Catholic States next weekend.  In the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA League Finals, St. Anthony’s Johnny Vrasidas was named Most Outstanding Wrestler while teammate Joe Russ earned Champion of Champion accolades.

The following is a compilation of some of this weekend’s results. More will be added when available.  That countdown to Albany continues . . .

 

Section 1, Divisional Results

Section 2 Class Results

Section 3 Results

Section 4 Results

Section 5, Class A

Section 5, Class AA

Section 5, Class B

Section 5, Class BB

Section 5, Class BBB

Section 6, Class A

Section 6, Class AA

Section 6, Class C

Section 6, Class D

Section 8, Division I at Mepham

Section 11 Results

Catholic Qualifier (Upstate)

Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA