Cornell Captures the New York State Intercollegiate Championships, Led By Five Titlewinners

Dean, Photo by BV

In an event featuring more than 20 teams from the Empire State, Cornell captured the New York State Intercollegiate Championships on Sunday in Ithaca, winning five of the 10 weight classes in the “A” bracket.

The Big Red champions were Mark Grey (133), Chris Villalonga (149), Brian Realbuto (157), Gabe Dean (184) and Jace Bennett (197). Those five wrestlers won 21 matches on the day – and 15 of those victories were by bonus points.

In addition, Bricker Dixon nabbed bronze at 125 for the Big Red while Craig Eifert and Dylan Palacio were second and third, respectively, at 165.  (Both lost to Hofstra’s Joe Booth).

Speaking of Hofstra, the Pride earned second, led by a trio of titlewinners – Jamie Franco (125), Luke Vaith (141) and the previously mentioned Joe Booth (165) as well as three silver medalists – Jamel Hudson (133), Cody Ruggirello (149) and Nick Terdick (157).

The Big Red and the Pride accounted for eight of the 10 champions on the day.  The other two were Columbia’s Eric Fajardo at 174 and Binghamton heavyweight Tyler Deuel.   The Bearcats finished third in the team race, with Army and Columbia rounding out the top five.

Cornell saw success in the “B/Open” tournament as well, picking up six crowns.  Logan David won at 133 as did Alex Cisneros (149), Chris Dowdy (157), Duke Pickett (174), Steve Congenie (197) and Jacob Aiken-Phillips (285).  Also collecting titles were Mike Soria of Buffalo (125), Nick Kelley of Binghamton (141), Alex Dahl of Army (165) and Troy Hembury of Columbia (184).

More coverage from the tournament, including match videos, will be posted in the next few days.

For full brackets and scores, see http://www.trackwrestling.com and search for “NYS Intercollegiate Championships.”

Here are the placewinners for the A and B/Open brackets:

A – 125
1st Place – Jamie Franco of Hofstra
2nd Place – Penn Gottfried of Columbia University
3rd Place – Bricker Dixon of Cornell University
4th Place – David White of Binghamton University
5th Place – Max Soria of University at Buffalo
6th Place – Asher Kramer of Brockport State
7th Place – Enriquez DeJesus of Nassau Community College
8th Place – Jimmy Kaishian of Ithaca College

A – 133
1st Place – Mark Grey of Cornell University
2nd Place – Jamel Hudson of Hofstra
3rd Place – Nick Tighe of Binghamton University
4th Place – Joe Moita of Columbia University
5th Place – Angelo Amenta of Columbia University
6th Place – Logan Everett of Army
7th Place – Justin Farmer of University at Buffalo
8th Place – Alex Gomez of Ithaca College
A – 141
1st Place – Luke Vaith of Hofstra
2nd Place – Matt Bystol of Columbia University
3rd Place – Nick Flannery of University at Buffalo
4th Place – Dylan Caruana of Binghamton University
5th Place – Mark Marchetti of Army
6th Place – Brian Bistis of SUNY Cortland
7th Place – Corey Dake of Cornell University
8th Place – Dominick Giacolone of Ithaca College

A – 149
1st Place – Christopher Villalonga of Cornell University
2nd Place – Cody Ruggirello of Hofstra
3rd Place – Robert Dierna of SUNY Cortland
4th Place – Joe Bonaldi of Binghamton University
5th Place – Brad Mayville of Rochester Institute of Tech.
6th Place – Kevin Strong of Niagara Community College
7th Place – Ryan Tadora of University at Buffalo
8th Place – Alexis Blanco of Nassau Community College

A – 157
1st Place – Brian Realbuto of Cornell University
2nd Place – Nick Terdick of Hofstra
3rd Place – Markus Scheidel of Columbia University
4th Place – Paul Hancock of Army
5th Place – John Northrup of University at Buffalo
6th Place – Tyler Bruce of Niagara Community College
7th Place – Kyle Wade of Nassau Community College
8th Place – Colton Perry of Binghamton University

A – 165
1st Place – Joseph Booth of Hofstra
2nd Place – Craig Eifert of Cornell University
3rd Place – Dylan Palacio of Cornell University
4th Place – Josh Houldsworth of Columbia University
5th Place – Coleman Gracey of Army
6th Place – Chandler Smith of Army
7th Place – Joeseph Cataldo of SUNY Cortland
8th Place – Tory Cain of Rochester Institute of Tech.

A – 174
1st Place – Eric Fajardo of Columbia University
2nd Place – Lou Puca of SUNY Cortland
3rd Place – Brian Harvey of Army
3rd Place – Forfeit Forfeit of Unattached
4th Place – Alex Smith of Army
5th Place – Roy Daniels of Brockport State
6th Place – Owen Scott of Cornell University
7th Place – Frank Affronti of Hofstra
8th Place – Victor Pozsonyi of Hofstra

A – 184
1st Place – Gabriel Dean of Cornell University
2nd Place – Tony Lock of University at Buffalo
3rd Place – Caleb Wallace of Binghamton University
4th Place – Zack Hernandez of Columbia University
5th Place – Scott Bova of SUNY Oswego
6th Place – Nickolas Bellanza of SUNY Cortland
7th Place – Dennis Melendez of Hunter College
8th Place – Tyler Brent of Rochester Institute of Tech.

A – 197
1st Place – Jace Bennett of Cornell University
2nd Place – Bryce Barnes of Army
3rd Place – Cody Reed of Binghamton University
4th Place – Angelo Malvestudo of University at Buffalo
5th Place – Joey Giaramita of SUNY Cortland
6th Place – Chad Obzud of Oneonta State
7th Place – Mathew Booth of Ithaca College
8th Place – Zeal McGrew of Hofstra

A – 285
1st Place – Tyler Deuel of Binghamton University
2nd Place – Jim Donner of Niagara Community College
3rd Place – Lance Moore of SUNY Cortland
4th Place – El Shadai VanHoesen of Niagara Community College
5th Place – Michael Hughes of Hofstra
6th Place – Stephen Snyder of Army
7th Place – Cole Tristram of Brockport State
8th Place – James Benjamin of University at Buffalo

 

B (OPEN) – 125
1st Place – Mike Soria of University at Buffalo
2nd Place – Johnson Mai of Columbia University
3rd Place – Dillon Stowell of Brockport State
4th Place – Sean Badua of USMA Prep School
5th Place – Nathan Santhanam of Army
6th Place – Tyler Walsh of Nassau Community College
8th Place – Kyler Agoney of Brockport State
8th Place – Austin Keough of Alfred State College

B (OPEN) – 133
1st Place – Logan David of Cornell University
2nd Place – Chris Araoz of Columbia University
3rd Place – Kyle Krasavage of Hofstra
4th Place – Mike Lanasa of Stony Brook Wrestling Club
5th Place – Dylan Realbuto of FlWC
6th Place – Jaydon Rice of University at Buffalo
8th Place – Austin Marsico of Army
8th Place – Robert Person of Binghamton University

B (OPEN) – 141
1st Place – Nick Kelly of Binghamton University
2nd Place – Maverick Passaro of Hofstra
3rd Place – Patrick Hogan of FlWC
4th Place – Joshua Kennedy of Cornell University
5th Place – Matt Leshinger of Columbia University
6th Place – Jason Estevez of Unafilliated
8th Place – Eli Bienstock of Cornell University
8th Place – Daniel Palmerino of Brockport State

B (OPEN) – 149
1st Place – Alex Cisneros of Cornell University
2nd Place – Connor Melde of Army
3rd Place – Alec Mooradian of Columbia University
4th Place – Cory Goshkagarian of Hofstra
5th Place – Jahlani Callender of Hofstra
6th Place – Adam Troy of Brockport State
8th Place – Connor David of Cornell University
8th Place – Shane Connolly of Army

B (OPEN) – 157
1st Place – Chris Dowdy of Cornell University
2nd Place – Taylor Simaz of Cornell University
3rd Place – Chad Ryan of Columbia University
4th Place – Joeseph Byrne of SUNY Cortland
5th Place – Kevin Brown of Columbia University
6th Place – Jake Kazimir of Columbia University
8th Place – Muhammed McBride of University at Buffalo
8th Place – Sam Friedfeld of New York University

B (OPEN) – 165
1st Place – Alex Dahl of Army
2nd Place – Anthony Risaliti of Army
3rd Place – Russ Benner of Hofstra
4th Place – Conner Burns of RPI
5th Place – Rrok Ndokaj of University at Buffalo
6th Place – Ryan Therrien of University at Buffalo
8th Place – Troy Taylor of USMA Prep School
8th Place – Jacob George of Cornell University

B (OPEN) – 174
1st Place – Duke Pickett of Cornell University
2nd Place – Jesse Shanaman of Cornell University
3rd Place – Jared Lux of University at Buffalo
4th Place – Austin Weigel of University at Buffalo
5th Place – Jack McKeever of Binghamton University
6th Place – Austin Coniker of Columbia University
8th Place – Josh Reed of SUNY Cortland
8th Place – Patrick Rooney of US Merchant Marine Academy

B (OPEN) – 184
1st Place – Troy Hembury of Columbia University
2nd Place – Michael Alexander of Cornell University
3rd Place – Austin Wilding of Army
4th Place – Liam Korbul of Ithaca College
5th Place – Jack Wedholm of USMA Prep School
6th Place – Nathan Dow of Army
8th Place – McZiggy Richards of FlWC
8th Place – Zachary Baron of Nassau Community College

B (OPEN) – 197
1st Place – Steve Congenie of Cornell University
2nd Place – Matt Idelson of Columbia University
3rd Place – Daniel Choi of Cornell University
4th Place – Stuart Curtis of RPI
5th Place – Michael Fetchet of Columbia University
6th Place – Tom Murray of Unafilliated
8th Place – Scott Votino of USMA Prep School
8th Place – Josh Kettel of FlWC

B (OPEN) – 285
1st Place – Jacob Aiken-Phillips of Cornell University
2nd Place – Trevor Smith of Army
3rd Place – Wyatt Baker of Columbia University
4th Place – Connor Sweeney of Columbia University
5th Place – Brian Walker of US Merchant Marine Academy
6th Place – Mike Silvis of University at Buffalo
8th Place – Dennis Atiyeh of FlWC
8th Place – David Farr of Army

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Ready to Roll: NY Wrestlers to Face Top Competition at the Super 32 Challenge and "Freak Show"

As the season rapidly approaches, numerous New York wrestlers will test themselves against some of the best in the nation this weekend at a pair of events in two different areas of the country.  Close to 100 Empire State grapplers are registered for the Super 32 Challenge in Greensboro, NC while another group will make the trip to Las Vegas for the Southwest Kickoff Classic, aka, the Freak Show.

Photo by BV

Last year, Carthage’s Shayne Brady, now a freshman at North Carolina State, made the podium at the Super 32 at 182 pounds for New York.  Several others came within one victory of the medal stand, including Ward Melville’s Nick Piccininni, Eastport South Manor’s Travis Passaro and Shoreham Wading River’s TJ Fabian (now competing for Sacred Heart).

Piccininni and Passaro will look to go further this time around at 120 and 126 pounds, respectively. Joining them in the field are a number of 2013 state champions, including Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton), Kyle Quinn (Wantagh), Louis Hernandez (Mepham) and Adis Radoncic (Poly Prep) as well as 2013 NYS finalists Matteo DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson), Vito Arujau (Syosset), Nick Casella (Locust Valley), Vincent DePrez (Hilton), Frank Garcia (Norwich) and Steve Schneider (MacArthur).

New York saw plenty of success at the Super 32 Middle School event in 2012, with titles from the previously mentioned Diakomihalis as well as Adam Busiello, who will be a seventh grader at Eastport South Manor this year. Plainview’s Peter Pappas was a runner up, while the aforementioned Arujau took third, as did Hilton’s Michael Spallina.  Other Middle School placers included Dylan Ryder, Hector Colom (Dunkirk) and Lou DePrez (Hilton).

Meanwhile, out in Nevada, state champions William Koll of Lansing and Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich are among the wrestlers registered to take the mat at the “Freak Show”, along with New York placers Connor Calkins of Alfred-Almond and Theo Powers of Mexico as well as Suffolk County gold medalist John Arceri.

A year ago, a number of youth wrestlers performed well in Vegas, with Carter Schubert taking gold and Michael Gonyea and Carson Alberti earning silver.  Schubert will be back, looking to win it all two years in a row.

For the list of registered Empire State wrestlers at each of the events, see below (registration as of the morning of Oct. 23). Check back for updates on both events over the weekend.

 

Freak Show (Southwest Kickoff Classic)

High School Elite

108 John Arceri (Ascend)

108 Theo Powers (NYWAY)

128 William Koll (NYWAY)

138 Tristan Rifanburg (NYWAY)

143 Julian Korfine (NYWAY)

288 Connor Calkins (NYWAY)

 15 & Under

95 Pounds Thomas Cox (631 Elite/VHW)

95 Pounds Jonathan Gomez

108 Anthony Cirillo (Rocky Point)

125 Jackie Gold (Rocky Point)

9&10

61 Carter Schubert (Superior Wrestling Academy)

 

Super 32 – High School

106

Zach Ancewicz (John Glenn)

Joseph Barber (Cicero North Syracuse)

Tito Colom (Dunkirk)

Chris Cuccolo (St. Benedict’s, formerly Pine Bush)

Matteo DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson)

Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton)

Sean Miller (Connetquot)

Brady Robin (Arlington)

113

Anthony Argentieri (Kenmore West)

Vito Arujau (Syosset)

Ryan Burns (Clarence)

Jesse Dellavecchia (East Islip)

Hunter Dusold (Locust Valley)

Danny Murray (Brentwood)

Kyle Quinn (Wantagh)

120

Joe Calderone (Walt Whitman)

Nick Casella (Locust Valley)

Timothy Johnson (Harborfields)

Ben Lamantia (St. Anthony’s)

Bryan Lantry (Wayne)

Dandre Norman (Rome Free Academy)

Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville)

Jack Scurti (John Glenn)

James Szymanski (Shoreham Wading River)

Michael Wisniewski (West Seneca West)

126

Travis Alexander (Long Island Lutheran)

Michael Berkowitz (Long Island Lutheran)

Christian Briody (Chaminade)

Jake Derechin (Iona Prep)

Tristin DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson)

Kellen Devlin (Amherst)

Travis Passaro (Eastport South Manor)

Joe Russ (St. Anthony’s)

132

Mike D’Angelo (Commack)

Tommy DiBenedetto (John Glenn)

Freddy Eckles (Lake Shore)

Evan Mayer (Comsewogue)*

Cody McGregor (Tonawanda)

John Muldoon (Pearl RIver)

Adam Santoro (Fordham Prep)

Ryan Snow (General Brown)

138

Blaise Benderoth (North Rockland)

Mack Berkowitz (Long Island Lutheran)

Aidan Conroy (Northfield Mount Hermon)

Justin Cooksey (MacArthur)

Donny Donnelly (Ward Melville)

Danny Graham (West Seneca East)

Kevin Jackson (St. Anthony’s)

Jimmy Leach (Eastport South Manor)

Ralph Maio (Farrell)

James Matias (Rocky Point)

Hunter Sharf (NSHS)

Sam Ward (Locust Valley)

145

Corey Ashe (PMHS)

Vincent DePrez (Hilton)

John Doherty (Monticell0)

Tommy Dutton (Rocky Point)

Frank Garcia (Norwich)

Jakob Restrepo (Sachem East)

Karl Wiesner (Monsignor Farrell)

152

Anthony DePrez (Hilton)

Dennis Ferro (East Islip)

Louis Hernandez (Mepham)

Jon Silveri (Arlington)

160

Mitchell Klein (Horace Greeley)

170

Derek Holcomb (Newark Valley)

Justin Karas (Port Chester)

Alexander Melikian (Kennedy Catholic)

Jerrett Norton (Cicero North Syracuse)

Adis Radoncic (Poly Prep)

Joseph Russo (Rocky Point)

Steve Schneider (MacArthur)

Jake Weber (Clarence)

Jaison White (Jericho)

182

Nicky Hall (Wyoming Seminary, Longwood)

Dominic Pirraglia (Shoreham Wading River)

Collin Pittman (Spencerport)

195

Mike Newman (Monsignor Farrell)

220

Vincent Feola (Walt Whitman)

Rafal Rokosz (Southampton)

285

Peter Strassfield (Southampton)

 

Super 32 Middle School

70

Ivan Garcia (Apex)

75

Ryan Burgos (G2)

Michael Gonyea (Journeymen)

80

Dylan Ryder (631 Elite)

85

Adam Busiello (631 Elite)

95

Luke Bokina (631 Elite)

AJ Burkhart (Waverly)

Haily Finn (Journeymen)

Sal Jones (VHW)

Dillan Palaszewski (Journeymen)

100

Jack Bokina (631 Elite)

Hector Colom (Scorpion/Cobra)

105

Jack Ward (Locust Valley)

112

Anthony Sobotker (631 Elite)

145

Tyler Barnes (Journeymen)

 

*means wrestler was listed in two weights

 

 

 

A Look at the Juniors: Who are the 11th Graders to Watch in New York?

We have been discussing some of the top wrestlers in New York over the past month or so.  We started with our #1 Junior High School grappler in the state, Penfield eighth grader Frankie Gissendanner (see link),then profiled top freshman Yianni Diakomihalis and discussed other ninth graders to watch.  Then, we wrote about the wrestler at the top of the Class of 2016 rankings – Christian Dietrich and other standout sophomores. Next, we discussed stellar junior Nick Piccininni.

Now it’s time to talk about some of the other 11th graders to keep tabs on this season. There were significant differences of opinion on how these wrestlers stack up against each other.  The order of this list could go numerous different ways and will no doubt look different as the season progresses.  For now, however, here’s a look at some of the stars in the Class of 2015.

 

Piccininni, Photo by BV

#1 Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville)– In the eyes of some, Piccininni is the top pound-for-pound wrestler in New York.  The two-time state champion breezed through his sophomore campaign, winning all 43 matches with only four regular decisions.  In a bout many were anticipating the entire season, Piccininni completely dominated multiple-time state titlewinner Kyle Kelly, 14-4, to grab his second gold medal in Albany.  The Ward Melville standout finished second at the FloNationals this spring and went undefeated at the Disney Duals in the summer against top flight competition.  He did the same thing at the Journeymen Classic and the Iron Horse Invitational. Currently ranked #12 among juniors by FloWrestling and #30 by Intermat, Piccininni is a heavy favorite to capture state crown number three.  For more on Piccininni see this link.

#2 Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich) – Rifanburg burst onto the scene several years ago when he grabbed a state championship as a seventh grader.  He has been back to the title bout at the Times Union Center two more times, earning second place in 2011 and 2013, while finishing sixth in 2012.  As a freshman, Rifanburg also earned the silver at the NHSCA National championships. The Section IV standout is ranked as one of the top 100 juniors in the nation by FloWrestling.

#3 Adis Radoncic (Poly Prep) – The PSAL’s first-ever state champion (for RKA) didn’t face an easy path to gold in February, defeating top-seeded Christian Dietrich and multi-time placer Troy Seymour.  In fact, by defeating Dietrich 4-3 in the title bout, Radoncic avenged one of his two losses in a 27-2 campaign.  The three-time state qualifier also came within one win of placing at the state tournament in 2012. Radoncic, who transferred to Poly Prep and confirmed that he will be a junior in 2013-14, was active in the offseason, taking fifth at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach and competing at Fargo, the Journeymen Classic and the Iron Horse Invitational.

#4 Kyle Quinn (Wantagh) – Quinn had an excellent 36-2 campaign for Wantagh, picking up a state title at 106 pounds.  The multiple-time NHSCA Nationals All-American (third at 106 in 2013) defeated a number of New York state medalists, including Steven Sewkumar and Jon Haas, in the regular season.  In Albany, he pinned All-State wrestler Jimmy Overhiser in the second round before avenging his only two losses of the campaign by beating New Rochelle’s Nick Barbaria, 7-1.  In the state title bout, Quinn came out on top against Westhampton Beach’s Alex Tanzman.  The Nassau County standout also collected victories for Team Kong at the challenging Disney Duals.  His credentials land him high on this list and he will certainly face challenges as a junior, as he may get to face wrestlers who have defeated him in recent weeks – Jesse Dellavecchia, Vito Arujau and Yianni Diakomihalis.

#5 Tommy Dutton (Rocky Point) – Dutton has been competitive at the varsity level for quite some time.  In his 10th grade season, he made his first appearance on the podium in the state capital, taking fourth at 138 pounds after an impressive 50-4 campaign.  The Section 11 star picked up fourth at the Eastern States Classic with his only setbacks coming against an out of state grappler, Derek Arnold of Virginia.  Dutton collected All-American status in 2012, both at the NHSCA Nationals and at Fargo in Freestyle.  He didn’t compete at those events in 2013, but his activity this fall demonstrates that he’s ready to go in his 11th grade campaign.  Dutton took second at the Journeymen Classic up at 152 pounds, losing only to returning state champion Louis Hernandez of Mepham. He then captured the title at the Iron Horse Invitational, including an impressive victory over Gary Dinmore, a two-time New Jersey state runner up who is ranked among the top 100 seniors in the land.

#6 Nick Casella (Locust Valley) – After taking second place at the 2012 New York State championships, Casella earned his way back to the finals in Albany this February where he picked up his second silver medal, this time up at 113.  It was the end of a 39-4 campaign in which half of his losses were to eventual state champion Dillon Stowell of Gouverneur.  Casella followed up the high school season by showing he could compete with some of the nation’s best.  He collected All-America accolades at Virginia Beach and at Fargo, where he took seventh in Greco Roman.  He also competed at the Junior Duals for Team New York in Oklahoma in a busy offseason.

#7 Jesse Porter (Shenendehowa) – Porter has made only one trip to Albany after taking the Section II title as a freshman.  A year ago, he didn’t have the opportunity, as an injury sidelined him after the end of December.  However, he demonstrated clearly this summer that he is formidable wrestler on the national level when he went all the way to the finals in Cadet Greco Roman at Fargo at 152 pounds before placing second.  He followed that showing with a fifth place medal in Freestyle in North Dakota.  Porter looks to be ready for a breakout year in the Empire State.

#8 Nick Gallo (Schalmont) – Gallo grabbed the silver medal at the state tournament in February at 160 pounds, after falling one win shy of the podium as a freshman at 152 (losing to the third and fourth place finishers).  This February, Gallo had a tough path to the finals, besting placers in each of his first three bouts – Gunnar Van Curen (6th), Tyler Silverthorn (5th) and Matt Fisher (3rd).  He went 45-4 as a sophomore in Section II, also making the medal stand at the Eastern States Classic where his losses were in sudden victory to Virginia’s Steven Aiello and 4-2 to the state runner up in Division I, Steve Schneider (and by disqualification).

Garcia, Photo by BV

#9 Frank Garcia (Norwich) – The Division II state runner up at 145 pounds this year also took fifth at the Eastern States Classic in January.  After missing time early in the season, Garcia came back strong, avenging a loss to fellow All-Stater Jordan Torbitt to win the Section IV title and collecting a win against past state medalist Isaiah Riccio along the way. The Norwich grappler was one match from placing at 132 as a freshman where he was edged by eventual state champion Connor Lapresi, 3-2.

#10 Anthony Orefice (Lockport) – The two-time placer from Lockport began last season at 113 pounds, where he notched impressive wins such as a convincing 7-1 triumph over eventual Division II state champion Dillon Stowell.  He transitioned up to 120 as the season progressed and went 41-6 overall. All but one of his losses were to All-State wrestlers – three times to New York runner up Steve Michel as well as to Travis Passaro and Mike D’Angelo. A multiple-time NHSCA All-American, Orefice will likely be right back in the mix in 2013-14.

#11 Sam Ward (Locust Valley) – Ward notched his first appearance on the medal stand at the Times Union Center when he took fifth at 132 pounds.  He compiled a 38-4 mark, including quality wins over state placers Vinny Turano and Ryan Kromer.  Three of his losses were to top three medalists in New York – champion Matt Leshinger (by a 3-2 score), runner up Tristan Rifanburg (by a 3-1 tally) and Clyde Carey.  He has also made his mark on the national stage, capturing All-America status at Fargo in 2012 and in Virginia Beach in 2013.  He recently was second at the Journeymen Classic.

#12 Jesse Dellavecchia (East Islip) The Section 11 grappler had a great year at 99 pounds for East Islip, earning fourth at the state tournament and beating several strong opponents.  He also tacked on a fifth place showing at the NHSCA Nationals tournament and notched a victory over the previously mentioned Kyle Quinn at the Journeymen Classic.  He’ll be moving up in weight, but has the potential to go very high on the podium in Albany once again.

Mike D’Angelo was discussed by a number of contributors to this article as someone who will no doubt move up this list as the season moves forward. In a tough weight in Suffolk County, he had a strong sophomore campaign in which he racked up 40 victories and took fifth in Albany. He was defeated twice by state champion Alex Delacruz and twice by third placer Travis Passaro, but registered solid wins over state qualifiers Joe Russ and Lou DePrez as well as All-Staters John Muldoon, Santo Curatolo and the aforementioned Anthony Orefice.  The previous season, as a freshman, D’Angelo was also stellar as he went 33-3 with all three setbacks coming by decision to Nick Piccininni.

Speaking of accomplished wrestlers, Tony Recco of Lyndonville was a state champion as a freshman, but was injured prior to the postseason as a tenth grader and was unable to go for another title in Albany.  We look forward to seeing him back in the fray.

Another lightweight to consider is Mike Raccioppi of Minisink Valley.  The Section 9 grappler faced many of the Empire State’s best last year and took sixth at the Eastern States as well as winning two matches in Albany to come one win from a medal at 126.  Richie Burke of Ithaca, did the same, capturing two victories at the Times Union Center at 132 while Andrew Shomers of Lewiston Porter also got his hand raised in Albany. While we’re mentioning lightweights, Shoreham Wading River’s James Szymanski put on a show at the Eastern States Classic, taking third at 106 pounds.  He didn’t earn a bid to the state tournament, but will be someone to monitor this year as well.  Another wrestler who notched third at SUNY Sullivan, North Rockland’s Blaise Benderoth, a multiple-time state qualifier, will look to place for the first time.  As will Islip’s Brad Wade, a wrestler with a number of quality wins who looks join three other ‘Wades’ on top of the state podium.

How about some others who did find a spot on the medal stand in 2013?  Monroe Woodbury’s Vinny Vespa earned fifth at 99 pounds while Dolgeville’s Danny Fox grabbed second at 106.  Cody McGregor placed twice in NYS for Tonawanda but didn’t make an appearance on the mats at the Times Union Center this year.  He’ll look to get back in 2014.

One of the wrestlers who has grabbed our attention this offseason is Jakob Restrepo of Sachem East. He and Jordan Bushey of Peru both earned All-American status at Fargo at 145 pounds.  (Connetquot’s Gino Titone also picked up five wins in the same bracket, just missing the podium). In the last few weeks, Restrepo has defeated a trio of state silver medalists – Brandon Lapi and Frank Garcia at the Journeymen Classic and Vincent DePrez at the Iron Horse Invitational.  It looks like he’s ready for a breakout year.

In addition to those victories, Restrepo was also sixth at the NHSCA Nationals in the spring where other New York wrestlers placed.  They are: Brandon Aviles (Newfield), Ben Lamantia (St. Anthony’s), Richie Jones (St. Joseph’s Collegiate), Vincent Feola (Walt Whitman) and Trevor Allard (Mexico).

In the middleweights, Connor Lawrence of Duanesburg came within a match of placing in Albany, defeating another 40-win wrestler, Max Lloyd of Palmyra Macedon along the way. Section 2’s Jake Ashcraft and Geno Brancati also have been mentioned as wrestlers with the potential to make a jump, along with Clarence’s Nathan Schwab, Locust Valley’s Michael Dusold and Indian River’s Nick Toutant.

In the upperweights, Ryan Marszal is another wrestler to keep tabs on in 2013-14. The Unatego wrestler nabbed fifth at 182 pounds in his sophomore campaign in Division II and is the only returning placer in that bracket. Marszal had a 36-win season where he moved between 170 and 182 pounds.  Another 182-pounder to mention is Nathanael Rose of Eagle Academy, who went 0-2 as a freshman in Albany at the Division II tournament, but bounced back this February in the Division I event, coming within one win of placing at 182 pounds.  He also fell just one victory short of medaling at Eastern States.  This could be the year he finds his way onto the podium.

Who else will make their presence felt in Albany in 2014 from the Class of 2015? There are bound to be other juniors ready for outstanding seasons. Send us an e-mail at newyorkwrestlingnews@gmail.com with suggestions.

——————————

Thank you to Mike Carey and Matt Diano for all their hard work to make this article possible and to Kris Harrington for his insights.  Thanks to all of the other contributors around the state – too many to name, but they know who they are.

Super Sophomores: Take a Look at Tenth Graders to Watch in New York in 2013-14

We have been discussing some of the top wrestlers in New York over the past few weeks.  We started with our #1 Junior High School grappler in the state, Penfield eighth grader Frankie Gissendanner (see link),then profiled top freshman Yianni Diakomihalis and discussed other ninth graders to watch.  Then, we wrote about the wrestler at the top of the Class of 2016 rankings – Christian Dietrich

Now it’s time to talk about some of the other sophomores to keep tabs on this season. There were significant differences of opinion on how these wrestlers stack up against each other.  The order of this list could go numerous different ways and will no doubt look different as the season progresses.  For now, however, here’s a look at some of the stars in the Class of 2016.

Top Sophomores

Photo by BV

#1 Christian Dietrich (Greene) – Dietrich made a splash when he finished on the New York state podium (6th) as a seventh grader at 152 pounds.  While he spent the following season recovering from an injury, his return as a freshman was stellar.  He cruised through the year with a 39-3 record, taking second at the Eastern States Classic and picking up runner up honors in Albany.  Those achievements were impressive, but he solidified his spot in the national spotlight with a fourth place showing at the FloNationals in the spring, including wins over state champions from Michigan, California and Ohio. Currently listed as the 10th best grappler in the land at 170 pounds by Flowrestling, Dietrich is also highly ranked in the Class of 2016.  Intermat has him #12 in the nation for sophomores, while Flo has him 15th.  He went up to 195 pounds recently for the Journeymen Classic and won the title there. For more on Dietrich, see this link.

#2 Kellen Devlin (Amherst) – A very impressive freshman year catapulted Devlin up the charts. In his second trip to the state tournament, he looked sharp, taking third at 120 pounds.  He went 5-1 with a pin, a tech fall and two major decisions while defeating multiple All-State wrestlers. And in his sole loss, he led eventual champion Trey Aslanian for most of the match before the current Princeton Tiger from Section 1 came back for a 4-3 victory. The bronze showing was a strong end of the season for Devlin, who sported a 46-3 mark with his only other losses coming to Division I runner up Steve Michel by one point.  He also made his mark nationally, taking second at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach (after earning third the year before at the same event).

#3 Jordan Torbitt (Whitney Point) – Torbitt has been a national champion two years in a row at the NHSCAs in Virginia Beach.  He captured the Middle School crown in 2012 and followed up with gold at the Freshman event this spring. The latter performance came after he earned All-State recognition in 2013 at 145 pounds, following a 39-2 regular season.  He split matches with New York State silver medalist Frank Garcia, defeating the Norwich standout 7-0 in early February.  In Albany, Torbitt was edged 5-4 in his opening contest, however, he rebounded with three consecutive wins in the consolations before injury defaulting his final two bouts to place sixth.

Photo by BV

#4 Chris Mauriello (Hauppauge) – Like Torbitt, Chris Mauriello collected national championships in Virginia Beach in 2012 and 2013.  (He defeated Kellen Devlin on the way to that first title). Ranked in Intermat’s Top 50 in the Class of 2016, Mauriello had a highly successful season at 132 pounds in ultra-competitive Suffolk County.  The state qualifier racked up 42 wins and four of his six losses were to top-five New York state medalists – (Matt Leshinger, Brandon Lapi, Vinny Turano and Marcus Popp).  He recently took fourth at the Journeymen Classic, defeating state runner up Justin Cooksey in the process.

#5 Dakota Gardner (Fredonia) – Already a two-time state placer, Gardner went from sixth in New York as a 120-pound eighth grader to runner up at 126 as a freshman.  In a 46-2 year, Gardner picked up 36 bonus point wins with his lone setbacks against fellow All-Stater Brandon Muntz of Falconer (now wrestling at Buffalo) and two-time champion William Koll.   He also took bronze at the NHSCA Nationals in 2012.

#6 Derek Spann (Adirondack) – Other than a late December loss to Wayne’s Jacob Yankloski, Spann had a perfect ninth grade year, going 45-1 and winning a state championship at 99 pounds.  He recorded 18 pins along the way. His tough mat wrestling was on display in the finals at the Times Union Center as he made up for an early deficit with strong top work to earn gold.

#7 Matteo DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson) – There was a lot of talk about the tough 99-pound bracket in Division I in Suffolk County, but the small school champion in Section 11 had a terrific year as well.  DeVincenzo went 35-2 and grabbed second place at the state tournament, with his only setbacks coming against Division I state finalist Vito Arujau and the previously mentioned Derek Spann.  DeVincenzo had some solid offseason results as well, including winning a bracket full of state placers at the NUWAY Nationals in New Jersey, and following up with first place at the Journeymen Classic in a talented field.

#8 John Arceri (Huntington) – Arceri came into the state tournament as the top seed at 99 pounds in Division I after winning a deep weight class at the Section 11 championships.  While he went 2-2 in Albany, Arceri proved himself to be among the best in New York with victories over a number of All-Staters during the campaign, including John Busiello (twice), Jesse Dellavecchia and Vinny Vespa. He also defeated Eastern States champion Chris Cuccolo.

#9 Leonard Merkin (Poly Prep) – As a private school wrestler, Merkin won’t be competing at the New York State tournament.  However, he looks to make noise again after winning the New York Prep title in 2013 at 132 pounds, defeating defending champion Thomas McLoughlin, before earning a victory at the National Preps. (He drew Joey McKenna of Blair, one of the top 10 wrestlers in the Class of 2014, in round one of that tournament). Merkin makes the list not only because of his folkstyle prowess, but also because of his work in the international styles.  He went unbeaten for Team New York at the Cadet National Duals in Freestyle and then earned All-American honors at the FILA Cadet Nationals in Greco.  Merkin just missed the podium at Fargo in both styles, but responded by winning all three of his bouts recently at the Journeymen Classic. [On the topic of international styles, another sophomore, Alexis Bleau of Schoharie, a 2012 New York state qualifier, placed second and fourth nationally in women’s freestyle at Fargo this summer and will no doubt continue to represent the Empire State well].

#10 Owen Bachelder (Hewlett) – Bachelder didn’t get the friendliest draw at the state tournament, first facing two-time finalist/2012 state champion Dylan Realbuto before squaring off with eventual fourth placer Jake Green of Chenango Forks at 126 pounds.  However, it was his run to a Nassau County title that really put him on the radar.  He caught fire at the Section 8 championships, going 5-0 with three pins, including wins over 2012 NHSCA Junior National champion Chris Araoz (currently in the midst of his freshman year at Columbia University) and Manhasset state qualifier Michael Fera, on the way to the crown.

The final few spots were discussed quite a bit and some other candidates are likely to have great campaigns as 10th graders as well.  New Hartford’s Kelan McKenna earned his first podium finish at the NYS tournament when he was sixth at 99 pounds in Division I.  The Section 3 standout missed time with an injury early on, however, he got into the swing of things as the campaign progressed to make the medal stand.  In his first round match in Albany, however, McKenna was topped 3-0 by Garrett Baugher (St. Joseph’s Collegiate), a wrestler who was dominant throughout the year, notching 40 wins (35 of which came by bonus points).  At the Times Union Center, Baugher led eventual third placer John Busiello [now at Wyoming Seminary] early on in the quarterfinals before he injury defaulted out of the event.  Those performances came after Baugher racked up more than 30 wins as an eighth grader for Royalton Hartland, taking third in Section 6 that year.  Baugher will be moving up in weight this year but will be someone to keep track of this season.  Also of note –  Theo Powers of Mexico, who picked up All-State accolades in 2013, registered quality wins this summer and will be formidable in the lightweights.

Who are some other sophomores to watch?

Well, there are additional wrestlers that placed at the state tournament last year: Ryan Hetrick of Southwestern (third at 99), Ryan O’Rourke of Adirondack (fourth at 106), Chris Cirigliano (sixth at 106) and Brad Bihler of Maple Grove (third at 106). [Bihler was defeated by Dunkirk’s Tito Colom three times a year ago and after an impressive performance at the Journeymen Classic, Colom is one to keep tabs on as well].

Another lightweight on the radar is Penfield’s Parker Kropman, who had a solid 34-8 year at 99 in 2012-13 with two of those losses out of state (at 106) and three more to eventual state champions (Yianni Diakomihalis and Derek Spann). Fellow Section 5 grappler Hunter Olena of East Rochester was the top seed in Division II at the Times Union Center at 99.  Peru’s Ethan Feazelle has twice won a match in Albany and is looking to put together a string of a few more victories this time around, as is Noah Kelvas who got his hand raised in 2013 in the state capital. We haven’t forgotten about Shenendehowa’s Kevin Parker, a former Section 2 champion, who had multiple victories over state qualifiers last season.

Aaron Paddock was a lightweight in 2011 when he placed 6th at 103.  After his amazing return to the mat, he won 40 matches all the way up at 170 pounds in 2012-13. Speaking of 170 pounds, Sonny McPherson of Indian River did well at that weight a year ago and was the only ninth grader to win a Division I Sectional title above 152 last season. He followed up with All-American honors in Virginia Beach — and he wasn’t the only one to make the podium there.

A pair of Suffolk grapplers were national finalists at the NHSCA event after registering over 30 wins in Section 11 in the upperweights as freshmen — Ward Melville’s Christian Araneo at 182 and John Glenn’s Edwin Rubio at 285.  Araneo also made the medal stand at the Eastern States Classic, notching eighth. And the talent in Suffolk isn’t limited to those wrestlers.  There are others to keep an eye on, including CJ Archer of Rocky Point, who won over 30 times as a ninth grader.

Other NHSCA All-Americans from the Class of 2016 at Virginia Beach were: Owen Albanese (Canastota, 220), Wil Hillard (Phoenix, 170), Ricardo Dawkins (General Brown, 182), Andrew McFarland (Carthage, 113), Anthony Argentieri (Kenmore West, 106) and Freddy Eckles (Lake Shore, 132).  Eckles had some stellar offseason results and will make some noise this year.

One final wrestler who commanded our attention as he looks to return to All-State form is Holland Patent’s Alex Herringshaw. Joining Dakota Gardner as the only other 2012 state placewinner on this list (6th at 99 pounds), the Golden Knight jumped up several weight classes during his freshman campaign.  Victorious in his first 20-plus bouts of 2012-2013 while competing predominantly at 126, when Herringshaw moved up even higher to the 132 pound class, he was met with mixed results, finishing the season with an overall record of 37-10. That included a runner up finish at the Section III tournament and a 1-2 record at the “Big Dance.”

We appreciate the additional names sent in after our freshman article.  Once again, this list isn’t all-inclusive.  There will always be some new faces who have breakout performances.  Feel free to send us more sophomores to look out for at newyorkwrestlingnews@gmail.com.

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Thank you to Mike Carey and Matt Diano for all their hard work to make this article possible and to Kris Harrington for his insights.  Thanks to all of the other contributors – too many to name, but they know who they are.

Super 32 Qualifier Recap: Restrepo and Feola Win Titles; Calderone Takes Third and Several NYers Earn Fourth

It’s less than 60 days until some huge national preseason tournaments begin, including the Super 32 Challenge in North Carolina.  After Sunday’s qualifying event in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, we know some of the New York wrestlers that will be heading down to the Tar Heel state in late October to battle for the Super 32 championship belt.

Jakob Restrepo of Sachem East is one of them.  Representing Vougar’s Honors Wrestling (VHW), the Section 11 grappler went 5-0 to take first place at 145 pounds.  Along the way, he outscored his opponents 20-4, including a 3-0 victory in the title bout over Frank Carrozza of Pennsylvania.

Also winning his weight was Walt Whitman’s Vincent Feola at 220 pounds.  Feola made quick work of the competition, registering pins in 1:08 and :43 to capture the crown. (Carter Cooper of Falconer was third).

Feola’s high school teammate Joe Calderone also saw success, nabbing third at 113 pounds with a 5-1 mark.  Three of those wins were by bonus points (two majors and a fall).  To capture bronze, Calderone topped fellow New Yorker Jesse Dellavecchia of East Islip.  Dellavecchia also had five victories on Sunday on his way to fourth.

A number of other Empire State grapplers took fourth in the high school division as well.  They included several wrestlers representing Ascend, such as Mike D’Angelo (Commack, 132), Sam Ward (Locust Valley, 138) and Christian Briody (126) as well 631 Elite’s James Szymanski (Shoreham-Wading River, 120).  D’Angelo and Briody won five matches apiece while Ward traveled a different path.  The Section 8 standout began with a sudden victory loss in his first bout to Travis Roper of Pennsylvania.  He then responded by winning seven in a row in the consolations, including a 9-3 triumph in a rematch with Roper, before notching fourth.

The top four placers in the high school action qualified for early entry into the Super 32 Challenge.  Just missing top four status were the following grapplers: Matteo DeVincenzo (106), Danny Murray (113), Ben Lamantia (120), Joe Russ (126), Derek Holcomb (170), and Jeffrey Lombardi (170).

At the middle school level, a pair of New Yorkers grabbed top three spots, as 631 Elite’s Zachary Redding was the runner up at 70 pounds and VHW’s Ryan Meisner was third at 80.

The Super 32 Challenge takes place October 26-27 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

For the brackets from the event, see here.

Ready for Year 3 at NYWAY: G2's Generous Gift Puts Technology on Track (and More on the Upcoming Season)

The use of certified referees? Check.

The use of uniform technology across all events? Now, that’s possible as well.

After the conclusion of NYWAY’s second year of operations in 2012-13, the organization’s leadership talked about what to focus on to continue to improve in Year 3.  Officiating and technology were high on the list.

With officiating, the leadership agreed to move forward with all certified referees in the coming year.

However, in order to standardize technology, a significant amount of hardware was necessary.  During the discussion on this topic at the NYWAY Retreat this spring, Western Region Director (and co-owner of the G2 World Wrestling Academy) Adam Burgos thought he might have a solution. He excused himself to call his G2 business partner Todd Wheaton, the President at Maven Technologies, a certified electronics recycler.

“We talked about it and I asked Todd if there was something we could do to help,” Burgos said. “A few minutes later he said we could.  I came back into the meeting and told everyone G2 would take care of the laptops and monitors.  You could hear a pin drop.  It wasn’t grandstanding, but about our love of the sport.  I’ve been one of those parents at tournaments over the years, wishing things were going more smoothly and saying if I could help, I would.  This was the chance. It just so happened that we could help fill a need and we jumped at the opportunity.”

Courtesy of G2 World Wrestling Academy

In mid August, 64 laptops and monitors were dropped off by G2 to NYWAY.  And now the improvements in the IT area will begin, including the use of Track Wrestling to assist with registration, event management and more.

“The level of competition brings kids to a tournament, but what keeps families, parents and wrestlers coming back is how well that tournament is run,” Burgos said. “Technology is such a big part of that.”

“By running all of our tournaments through the TrackWrestling system, we are able to not only offer top notch, consistent tournaments, but all of the results automatically enter into a statistical management system so that we will be able to track all the results,” added NYWAY President Clint Wattenberg. “This will enable us to potentially develop leaderboards, rankings, seeding and eventually postseason awards based on these statistics.  We were hoping to trial one region on this system this year, but the incredibly generous gift from Adam [Burgos] and G2 has empowered us as an organization to roll this out statewide this coming season*.”

One place the technology will certainly be useful is at the NYWAY state championships, which will be held on March 15-16, 2014 at Onondoga Community College in Syracuse.  Last year, over 900 wrestlers competed at the event, with representation from all corners of New York.

That competition will signal the end of the season. But there’s a lot to look forward to beforehand, including the kickoff in late December with a pair of events on back-to-back days at SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake.

First, on December 28, a dual tournament will be held with each of the eight NYWAY regions entering a squad made up of wrestlers from Kindergarten to sixth grade. Then, the following day, an individual tournament will take place in the same location.

However, there will be plenty of participation in other events as well.  For instance, the NYWAY Western Region will take on the Far West Region (essentially a Section 5 vs. Section 6 clash) at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on September 21.

In addition, NYWAY will send representatives to high level competitions such as the Freak Show in Las Vegas, the Super 32 Challenge in North Carolina, the Junior Mid Cals in the Golden State, the Border Wars in Cleveland and the NUWAY National Duals in Columbus, among others.

“The organization wants to keep providing opportunities for New York wrestlers to get great competition to continue to develop,” Burgos said. “Over the last few years, we’ve seen where we need to improve.  We believe Year 3 of NYWAY will be much better than Year 1 and Year 2 and that the future is bright.  It’s an exciting time to be a parent, a coach and a fan here in New York.”

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* Wattenberg mentioned that individual tournaments may opt out, however, trained pairing directors will be available across the state to assist with the new technology or run the tournaments.

Who From New York is in the Updated National Rankings?

Last week, Flowrestling released the post-Fargo national rankings.  10 New Yorkers are currently included, with two grapplers positioned sixth in their weight classes — Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville at 120 and James O’Hagan of Seaford at 285.  The Empire State grapplers have combined for nine state titles at this point in their careers.

The New Yorkers ranked are:

8th at 106 pounds: Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton, Section 5, Freshman)

6th at 120 pounds: Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville, Section 11, Junior)

17th at 132 pounds: Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich, Section 4, Junior)

8th at 138 pounds: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowoga, Section 6, Senior)

10th at 152 pounds: Louis Hernandez (Mepham, Section 8, Senior)

11th at 160 pounds: Corey Rasheed (Longwood, Section 11, Senior)

13th at 160 pounds: Burke Paddock (Warsaw, Section 5, Senior)

9th at 170 pounds: Christian Dietrich (Greene, Section 4, Sophomore)

15th at 220 pounds: Rich Sisti (Monsignor Farrell, CHSAA, Senior)

6th at 285 pounds: James O’Hagan (Seaford, Section 8, Senior)