Fifth Annual Adam Frey Classic, Featuring High School and College Talent, To Take Place on Saturday at the Jersey Shore

 
 
The Jersey Shore has a lot to offer, especially this time of year. On Saturday, that will include the chance to watch high quality wrestling and contribute to a cause close to the hearts of many wrestling fans at the fifth annual Adam Frey Classic at Long Branch High School. Frey, a standout wrestler at Blair Academy and Cornell, passed away after a battle with cancer in 2009.

This year, the event will have a new feature – a high school dual meet tournament, featuring teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware that will begin in the morning.

“We changed it up a little bit this time, adding the dual tournament,” said organizer Josh Liebman. “We’re just trying to do different things to improve the day and make it more interesting. We’ve done exhibition matches in the past, we’ve done clinics in the past. I’m looking forward to this – we have some very good teams coming.”

Each of the squads will get between four and five matches, with a championship meet between winners of the two pools. (10 teams are slated to compete).

In the future, Liebman added that he’d like to ensure there’s at least one squad from each of the states Adam Frey was “from” – Pennsylvania (his home state), New Jersey (Blair Academy) and New York (Cornell).

Each of the participants in the dual portion of the day will then get a ticket into the evening main event beginning at 7 p.m.

“We’re excited to give all the kids a chance to see some great college wrestling up close,” Liebman said. “Some of them haven’t had the chance to see that kind of wrestling in person.”

That wrestling will feature four All-Americans, more than 10 other NCAA qualifiers and some elite high school talent.

“This year, we have a lot more younger guys competing,” Liebman said. “The timing was hard because a lot of guys were going to the World Team Trials and some camps have already started. We tried to get matchups that are as competitive as possible with guys that are aggressive and entertaining to watch.”

Some of the bouts that Liebman pointed to include a battle between All-American Evan Henderson of North Carolina and Ricky Durso of Franklin & Marshall, who came within one win of placing (and was the EIWA champion at 141). In addition, he mentioned a few future Lehigh-Rider battles (Randy Cruz vs. BJ Clagon) and (Darian Cruz vs. JR Wert).

“I think Cruz and Wert might just steal the show,” Liebman said. “They’ve gone 1-1 with each other in the past and they are both so much fun to watch.”

A pair of 2013 NCAA entrants, Jamie Franco of Hofstra and Sam Speno of North Carolina State will square off as will All-American Jarrod Garnett and Brown’s Billy Watterson. Former New Jersey stars Scott Delvecchio (vs.Mike Pongracz) and Rob Deutsch (vs. NCAA Round of 12 grappler Nathan Kraisser) will also take the mat, as will Deutsch’s future Rider teammate Jim Resnick. The Bronc upperweight will face Lehigh’s two-time NCAA runner up Robert Hamlin.

“I think a lot of people might be surprised with Resnick,” Liebman said. “He’s really tough and he’s on the cusp of something really great. His match with Hamlin will be a lot closer than people think.”

Another contest of interest will be the clash between FloWrestling’s #1 nationwide wrestlers in the classes of 2014 and 2015 – Chance Marstellar and Myles Martin, respectively.  And former All-American Tyler Nauman will meet Boston’s Nestor Taffur.

That’s just a sampling – the full slate of scheduled matches is below.

For those who can’t attend in person, Nside Wrestling is set to stream the All-Star matches.

“People can come online and make a donation to the Adam Frey Foundation and then watch the video,” Liebman said. “Nside will also archive it and share it. The high school dual matches will also be archived.”

But Liebman hopes to see many fans in person in Long Branch on Saturday to celebrate the life of Adam Frey and to contribute to the work done by his foundation.

“It should be a great day at the shore,” Liebman said. “If people want to come down, they can make a day of it – having a great time at the beach, enjoying the shore while things rebound from Hurricane Sandy and supporting the Adam Frey Foundation while enjoying some great wrestling.”
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Entry is $5 for the high school duals and $15 for the All-Star matches. For more information on the Adam Frey Foundation or the event, see this link.

Scheduled Matches

Nathan Kraisser N. Carolina (NCAA R12) vs Robert Deutsch, Rider (NCAA Qualifier)

Jarrod Garnett, Va Tech (All-American) vs. Billy Watterson, Brown (NCAA Qualifier)

Darian Cruz, Lehigh vs JR Wert, Rider

Sal Marandino vs. Jan Rosenberg, Rutgers

Sam Speno NC State (NCAA Qualifier) vs. Jamie Franco, Hofstra (NCAA Qualifier)

Evan Henderson, N. Carolina (All-American) vs. Ricky Durso F&M (NCAA R12)

BJ Clagon, Rider (NJ State Champ) vs. Randy Cruz, Lehigh (NCAA Qualifier)

Scott Delvecchio, NC State vs. Mike Pongracz UTC

Ryan Dunphy, Cornell vs. BJ Young, Newberry

Nestor Taffur, Boston (NCAA Qualifier) vs. Tyler Nauman, Pitt/Drexel (All-American)

Chris Dowdy, Cornell vs. Tj Guidice, Maryland

Tyler Hunt, NC State vs. Scott Festejo, Old Dominion (NCAA Qualifier)

Chance Marsteller (#1 HS Junior in the Nation) vs. Myles Martin (FloWrestling’s #1 Sophomore in the Nation)

Jermaine John, Hofstra vs. Bubba Scheffel, West Virginia

Jimmy Resnick, Rider (NCAA Qualifier) vs. Robert Hamlin, Lehigh (3x All-American)

AJ Vizcarrondo, WVU vs. Brandon Palik, Drexel (NCAA Qualifier)

AJ Mott, Grand View vs. Ophir Bernstein, Brown (NCAA Qualifier)

Josh Davis, Clarion vs. Eric Thompson, Grand View

Expected Club Teams in the Dual Meet Tournament
FURY WC NJ
SEAGULL WC NJ
LONG BRANCH NJ
MANALAPAN NJ
BOUND BROOK NJ
BEAT THE STREETS PHILLY
OCEAN TWP NJ
DELAWARE ALL-STARS
Team 78 (REGION 7 ALL-STARS) NJ
One more TBA

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

Gene Mills and Phoenix Seek Out Competition at Hall of Fame Duals in NJ; Tighe Goes Undefeated

Nick Tighe, 2012 States, Photo by Boris Veysman

 

For videos, see below:

“I’m a big believer that if you want to get good, you have to seek out the competition,” Phoenix High School head coach Gene Mills said. “These last two weekends, our guys definitely looked for some serious competition.”

After wrestling at the 1000 Islands Duals in the Empire State, his squad made its way down to the shore for the inaugural National Wrestling Hall of Fame (New Jersey Chapter) duals in Long Branch, New Jersey.

The squad from Section 3 began with three contests against some top club teams from the Garden State and Ohio on Friday before taking second place in the Small High School Division event on Saturday.

In the tournament on the second day, Phoenix began with three lopsided victories against teams from the host state (Northern Burlington, Holy Cross and Fury) before facing New Jersey Select – a group of “free agent” wrestlers. In a close dual, the Firebirds needed to score nine points in the final two bouts to win, but came up a bit short to take the runner up position.

“New Jersey Select was a really good bunch of guys,” Mills said.  “It came down to the last few matches and I’m really proud of our team.  I’m really glad we went.  We saw some great competition, which can only help us.  The way I look at it, they did phenomenal, especially compared to the guys that weren’t there.”

One wrestler who stood out was two-time state champion Nick Tighe, who wrestled at 143 pounds.

“Nick went 7-0 and pretty much dominated everybody he faced,” Mills said.  “He’s been working all summer to make sure he obtains his goals again next year.  He knows everyone is gunning for him.  I think he’s made improvements, especially in positioning and more crisply using his setups.”

In addition, Mills noted the efforts of Rowdy Prior, who notched over 30 victories a year ago for Phoenix, and Tommy Hill, who competed for Fulton in 2011-12.  According to the coach, both went 5-2.

The trip was an opportunity for Mills to participate in weekend of activities for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, of which he is a Distinguished Member.

“I think they did a great job initiating the process of doing something for the Hall of Fame,” Mills said.  “It was a great chance for the kids to get in some time at the beach too.  We had a great time swimming and bodysurfing.  Overall, it was awesome.   We saw some great competition and, honestly, that’s why you wrestle.”

For some videos of Team Phoenix, please see below:

Nick Tighe Talks About Going for 3 State Titles in a Row and College Options

 

Nick Tighe (Phoenix) vs. Tyree Edmund (N Burlington, NJ)

 

Tommy Hill (Phoenix) vs. Zach Verity (N Burlington NJ)

 

Aaron Wilkinson (Phoenix) vs. Casey Cliver (N Burlington NJ)

 

Theo Powers (Phoenix) vs. Anthony Foggia (N Burlington NJ)

 

Franky Nassivera (Phoenix) vs. Rahmil Davis (N Burlington NJ)

 

 

Cornell's Damion Hahn on 3 NCAA Champs, Next Year's Lineup and "Letting the Cat Out of the Bag"

Cornell assistant coach Damion Hahn stopped to talk about the Big Red’s three NCAA title winners and his thoughts on next year’s starting lineup, including where he sees returning champions Kyle Dake and Steve Bosak.