Aerial Conquest: Rodriguez-Spencer Uses the Flying Squirrel to Win National Championship

For Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, it was time to take flight.

Trailing by a point with under 15 seconds to go in the NHSCA 138-pound Junior Nationals title bout on Saturday, the Cheektowoga junior knew he’d have to try something different as his previous offensive attempts had been thwarted by his opponent, Maryland’s Alfred Bannister.

“He was pretty low and I couldn’t get to a shot,” Rodriguez-Spencer said. “The obvious option was to go over the top. Once I decided to do it, I knew I had to hit it hard and do it strong.”

That’s what he did, using the “Flying Squirrel” to earn the winning takedown and a 4-3 victory over Bannister, a champion at this event the past two years and Intermat’s #14 ranked recruit in the Class of 2014. See it here.

The triumph made him a national champion at an event he hadn’t attended in the past. In fact, Rodriguez-Spencer, who enjoys wrestling the international styles in the offseason, wasn’t really considering attending the NHSCA event until his high school coaches persuaded him to do so.

Photo by BV

“I initially wasn’t planning to go,” he said. “I was going to get ready for the freestyle season, but my coach thought I could be a national champion and talked me into it. I’m glad I went, it was a good tournament overall and a good time.”

He certainly made the most of the trip, even playing some golf at a driving range in Virginia Beach.

But when it came time for competition, Rodriguez-Spencer was all business at 138 pounds (up from 132, where he was the 2013 Division II New York State Champion).

He majored his first two opponents and then doubled up fellow New Yorker Matt Caputo, 6-3. The Section 6 wrestler then showed his offensive explosiveness again in a 11-3 quarterfinal victory and in his 13-8 semis win over Brock Wingbermuehle, leading him to the title bout where he would win in dramatic fashion with the Flying Squirrel.

It wasn’t the first time he used the maneuver famously utilized by Greco star Ellis Coleman.

“I sometimes do it in practice and I think it did it twice during the year,” he said. “I know it’s there if I need it. It’s one of those moves that no one expects and I know it works.”

Those in attendance certainly appreciated it.

“I normally don’t hear much when I wrestle,” he said. “But I heard the crowd a little bit when I hit the move. And then once I got my hand raised, it was pretty loud.”

Beating an accomplished foe like Bannister and adding a new trophy to his collection made it a great weekend for Rodriguez-Spencer, but he said on Sunday that he already moved on.

“It’s nice to beat good opponents, but it doesn’t change much for me,” he said. “I went there to win and now it’s time to get back to practice to win more national tournaments.”

Photo by BV

Next on the schedule: the FILA Juniors, a freestyle and Greco event in which Rodriguez-Spencer has been successful in the past.

“My goals now are of course to win FILA Juniors in Las Vegas, make a World Team and finally win a Fargo national championship this summer,” he said.

He has placed at Fargo before, including a bronze showing in Greco in 2012.

But he emphasized that it’s time for him to take gold in North Dakota. Who knows, he could get to the top of the podium by going over the top of his opponents again, Flying Squirrel style.


Fabian and Burgos Capture Championships, Many Others Make the Podium as NHSCAs and FloNationals Come to an End

A weekend full of national-level competition came to an end on Sunday, with many more trips to the podium for New York wrestlers.

Fabian, Photo by BV

TJ Fabian capped off his spectacular senior year by adding a national title to the state gold medal he earned in Feburary. The Shoreham Wading River wrestler won six matches in Virginia Beach, including a 10-4 decision over Pennyslvania’s Kyle Krasavage in the 126-pound championship bout at the NHSCA Senior Nationals.

He was joined on the medal stand by a number of other Empire State grapplers on Sunday, including fellow Long Islander Michael Hughes of Smithtown West, who was the runner up at heavyweight. For a full list of New York All-Americans at the Senior NHSCA competition, see below.

In addition, a number of Middle School and Elementary wrestlers put their talent on display at the FloNationals in Pennsylvania, with G2 World Wrestling Academy’s Ryan Burgos winning a national crown of his own at 75 pounds. Burgos pinned his way to the finals, where he captured an 8-4 decision over Jimmy Carmany of Ohio.

See below for more information on additional New Yorkers who placed at the event.

For the NHSCA Middle School, Freshman, Sophomore and Junior medalists as well as the FloNationals High School All-Americans, see this link.



126: TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River)

Second Place:

285: Michael Hughes (Smithtown West)

Fourth Place:

106: Steven Lee (West Babylon)

Fifth Place

106: Jake Yankloski (Wayne)
138: Nick Tighe (Phoenix)
170: Carlos Toribio (Brentwood)

Sixth Place

113: Mat Bradice (William Floyd)
126: Chris Araoz (Wantagh)
160: Troy Seymour (Peru)
170: Dan McDevitt (Wantagh)

Seventh Place:

113: Dillon Stowell (Gouverneur)
132: Matt Leshinger (Sayville)
152: Chris Koo (Great Neck South)

Eighth Place:
113: Steven Sewkumar (Long Beach)
126: Dylan Realbuto (Somers)
170: Johnny Vrasidas (St. Anthony’s)



Middle School (MS) 75: Ryan Burgos

Third Place:

MS 126: Louie DePrez
Elementary 68: Greg Diakomihalis

Fourth Place:

MS 119: Matt Grippi
MS 135: Conor Melbourne
MS 145: Andrew Passaro
MS 157: Mike Spallina
Elementary 105: Hunter John

Fifth Place:

MS 145: Ray Cotto
MS 157: Jason Hoffman
Elementary 78: Ethan Ferro

Seventh Place:

MS 95: Sammy DePrez
MS 135: Josh Shamp

Mauriello, Torbitt, Rodriguez-Spencer, Rasheed Earn High School National Titles; Numerous Others Become All-Americans at NHSCAs and FloNationals

There’s going to be a lot of hardware headed back to New York. On Saturday, numerous Empire State wrestlers earned All-American status, including several who went all the way to the top.

At the NHSCAs in Virginia Beach, two ninth graders earned crowns as Hauppauge’s Chris Mauriello captured the 132 pound title and Whitney Point’s Jordan Torbitt joined him as a gold medalist at 152.

Later in the day, a pair of 2013 state champions – Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (138) and Corey Rasheed (152) added national titles to their resumes when they were victorious in the NHSCA Junior event. Also making it all the way to the finals were Reggie Williams (195) and James O’Hagan (285) in the 11th grade tournament and as well as a trio of freshmen – Kellen Devlin (120), Christian Araneo (182) and Edwin Rubio (285).

But that wasn’t all. The Empire State boasted some gold medalists in the Middle School competition as well – Mack Berkowitz at 127 and Travis Race at 165. (New York grabbed first in the team standings in both the Junior and Middle School competitions).

Tomorrow, two grapplers who stood atop the podium at the Times Union Center – TJ Fabian (126) and Mike Hughes (285) – will try to add their names to the list of champions when they take the mat in the finals of the Senior tournament.

Meanwhile, Virginia wasn’t the only place Empire Staters were showing off their skills. A number of New York wrestlers made the medal stand at the FloNationals, including runner up Nick Piccininni (113) and bronze medalist Tyler Grimaldi (160).

For more information on the placers at all of those events, see below.


Second Place:
113: Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville)

Third Place:
160: Tyler Grimaldi (Hills West)

Fourth Place:
132: Nick Kelley (Shenendehowa)
170: Christian Dietrich (Greene)

Seventh Place:
152: Joe Mastro (Yorktown)

Eighth Place:
120: Travis Passaro (Eastport South Manor)



National Champions
138: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowoga)
152: Corey Rasheed (Longwood)

Second Place:
195: Reggie Williams (Johnson City)
285: James O’Hagan (Seaford)

Fourth Place:
220: Ryan Wolcott (Waverly)

Fifth Place
170: Adis Radoncic (RKA)

Seventh Place
106: Danny Murray (Brentwood)
120: Sean Peacock (Midlakes)
152: Derek Holcomb (Newark Valley)

Eighth Place
113: Bryan Lantry (Wayne)


Third Place
106: Kyle Quinn (Wantagh)

Fifth Place
106: Jesse Dellavecchia (East Islip)

Sixth Place
113: Nick Casella (Locust Valley)
138: Jakob Restrepo (Sachem East)
145: Brandon Aviles (Newfield)
160: Richie Jones (St. Joseph’s)

Seventh Place
113: Ben Lamantia (St. Anthony’s)
160: Trevor Allard (Mexico)

Eighth Place
132: Sam Ward (Locust Valley)
220: Vincent Feola (Whitman)


National Champions
132: Chris Mauriello (Hauppauge)
152: Jordan Torbitt (Whitney Point)

Second Place
120: Kellen Devlin (Amherst)
182: Christian Araneo (Ward Melville)
285: Edwin Rubio (John Glenn)

Fourth Place
220: Owen Albanese (Canastota)

Fifth Place
170: Wil Hilliard (Phoenix)
182: Ricardo Dawkins (General Brown)

Sixth Place
106: Anthony Argentieri (Kenmore West)

Seventh Place
113: Andrew McFarland (Carthage)
132: Freddy Eckles (Lake Shore)
170: Sonny McPherson (Indian River)


127: Mack Berkowitz
165: Travis Race

Second Place:
100: Hector Colom

Third Place:
85: John DeRidder
90: Dane Heberlein
100: Anthony Cirillo
154: Jeffrey Browne

Fourth Place
75: James Langan
85: Mitch Seaver
100: Benjamin Tepperman

Fifth Place

230: Larry Baker

Sixth Place
75: Riley Retell
105: Zachary Ancewicz
112: Hunter Dusold
180: Dominic Pistone

Seventh Place:
95: William Sims
142: Nick Bushey

Eighth Place
80: Christopher Rivera
90: James Trezza
100: Jacori Teemer
135: Nick Coppola
142: Richard Dawkins


126: TJ Fabian
285: Mike Hughes

Others All-Americans:
106: Steven Lee, Jacob Yankloski
113: Mat Bradice, Dillon Stowell, Steven Sewkumar
126: Dylan Realbuto, Chris Araoz
132: Matt Leshinger
138: Nick Tighe
152: Chris Koo
160: Troy Seymour
170: Johnny Vrasidas, Dan McDevitt, Carlos Toribio

In Contention: See the New York Wrestlers Still Battling at NHSCAs and FloNationals

On Friday, FloNationals began in Indiana, Pennsylvania while the second day of the NHSCA Freshman, Sophomore and Junior events took place. Many New York wrestlers stayed in contention for national championships in both tournaments. All the remaining grapplers at the Freshman, Sophomore and Junior NHSCAs have clinched All-American honors.
Continue below to see who will be wrestling on Saturday both in Virginia Beach and at Flo. (We will update Senior NHSCAs on Saturday as well). Please provide comments below with any additions.

NHSCA Semifinalists


138 Pounds: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowoga)
152 Pounds: Corey Rasheed (Longwood)
195 Pounds: Reggie Williams (Johnson City)
220 Pounds: Ryan Wolcott (Waverly)
285 Pounds: James O’Hagan (Seaford)


106 Pounds: Kyle Quinn (Wantagh)
113 Pounds: Nick Casella (Locust Valley)
138 Pounds: Jakob Restrepo (Sachem East)
160 Pounds: Richie Jones (St. Joseph’s)

106 Pounds: Anthony Argentieri (Kenmore West)
120 Pounds: Kellen Devlin (Amherst)
132 Pounds: Chris Mauriello (Hauppauge)
152 Pounds: Jordan Torbitt (Whitney Point)
170 Pounds: Wil Hilliard (Phoenix)
182 Pounds: Christian Araneo (Ward Melville), Ricardo Dawkins (General Brown)
220 Pounds: Owen Albanese (Canastota)
285 Pounds: Edwin Rubio (John Glenn)

NHSCA Wrestlebacks (Wrestling for 3rd-8th)

106 Pounds:
 Danny Murray (Brentwood)
113 Pounds:
 Bryan Lantry (Wayne)
120 Pounds:
 Sean Peacock (Midlakes)
152 Pounds: 
Derek Holcomb (Newark Valley)
170 Pounds: 
Adis Radoncic (RKA)


106 Pounds: Jesse Dellavecchia (East Islip)
113 Pounds: Ben Lamantia (St. Anthony’s)
132 Pounds: Sam Ward (Locust Valley)
145: Brandon Aviles (Newfield)
160: Trevor Allard (Mexico)
220: Vincent Feola (Whitman)


113 Pounds: Andrew McFarland (Carthage)
132 Pounds: Freddy Eckles (Lake Shore)
170 Pounds: Sonny McPherson (Indian River)



Champions Bracket – Quarterfinalists

106 Pounds: Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton)

113 Pounds: Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville)

120 Pounds: Travis Passaro (Eastport South Manor)

132 Pounds: Nick Kelley (Shenendehowa)

160 Pounds: Tyler Grimaldi (Hills West) and Andrew Psomas (Monsignor Farrell)

170: Christian Dietrich (Greene)

In the Consolations

138: Vincent DePrez (Hilton) will meet David Almaviva (Shenendehowa) Saturday morning

145: Zach Joseph (Shenendehowa), Mitchell Klein (Horace Greeley) will meet Anthony DePrez (Hilton) on Saturday morning

152: Joe Mastro (Yorktown)

170: Michael Green and Joe Piccolo (Hills West)

182: Daniel Norris (Hilton)

195: Collin Pittman (Spencerport)

220: Joe Sprung (Berne-Knox)

285: Alex Soutiere (Ravena CS)

Logan Barcomb (Hudson Falls)

NHSCA Nationals Underway: Who From NY Advanced to the Round of 16?

On Thursday, the NHSCA Freshman, Sophomore and Junior National tournaments got underway in Virginia Beach.  Championship action ran through the Round of 16, with many New Yorkers making the cut.  The Empire State is well represented throughout, but has four or more representatives alive in the winners bracket to this point in:

  • Juniors 170 (Franky Nassivera of Queensbury, Ronnie King of Islip, Jake Weber of Clarence and state champion Adis Radoncic of RKA)
  • Sophomores 113 (Donny McCoy of Niagara Falls, James Szymanski of Shoreham Wading River, Chris Donnelly of Island Trees and Nick Casella of Locust Valley.  (Donnelly and Casella meet next).
  • Sophomores 160 (Ryan Marszal of Unatego, Richie Jones, Trevor Allard of Mexico, Nick Wentland of Minisink Valley and Anthony Ottaviano of Hauppauge)
  • Freshmen 132 (Connor Remy of Patchogue-Medford, Freddy Eckles of Lake Shore, Nathaniel Grubham of Whitney Point, Chris Mauriello of Hauppague and Holden Pelton of South Jefferson)

Radoncic, Photo by BV

Below is a list of wrestlers who advanced to the Round of 16 as well as those who are in the consolation bracket (as of Thursday evening on the official brackets).  With any additions, or changes, please comment below.

JUNIORS – In the Championship Round of 16:

106 Pounds:

Danny Murray

113 Pounds:

Johnny Stramiello and Paul Capobianco

120 Pounds:

Joseph Russ and Sean Peacock

126 Pounds:

Blake Retell

138 Pounds:

Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer and Matt Caputo (Will meet each other in the Round of 16)

145 Pounds:

Dennis Ferro

152 Pounds:

Corey Rasheed

160 Pounds:

Burke Paddock

170 Pounds:

Franky Nassivera, Ronnie King, Jake Weber and Adis Radoncic

182 Pounds:

Connor Watson

195 Pounds:

Reggie Williams

220 Pounds:

Ryan Wolcott and Matt Kaminer

285 Pounds:

James O’Hagan


JUNIORS – Consolations

106 Pounds:
David Yablans

113 Pounds:
Matt Boyle
Joseph Hill
Timothy Johnson
Bryan Lantry

120 Pounds:
Joshua Straub
Thomas Hill
Abdul Fatah Alshawai
Nathan Gilligan and Danny Amancio

126 Pounds:
Jake Lerner
Ryan Snow
Marshall Winston
Paddy Quinlan
Anthony Messina
Tom Reina
Carter Merecki

132 Pounds:
Brandon Hill
Jack Reina
Said Kahramonov
Ralph Cazzetta
JP Ascolese
Mat Lauro
Oran Revivo
Zach Ayen
Eric St. John
Adrian Berry

138 Pounds:
Nick Forget
Matt Langan
Ryan Kromer
Jon Silveri
Anthony Feola
Warren Oderkirk
Daniel Lucey
Corey Ashe

145 Pounds:
Eduardo Ramirez
Marc DChutiis
Zachery Lugo
Raymond Prouty
James Farrell
Trevor Hoffmier
Nate Martin
Vinny Romeo
Jimmy Devine
Frankie Hernandez
Nigel Williams

152 Pounds:
Michael Pistone
Angelo Kress
Cory Kostrzycki
Derek Holcomb
Daniel Jones
Vincent Drago
Alex Smythe
Will Jacobs

160 Pounds:
Michael Peterson
Daniel Kerr
Konstantin Parfiryev
Tyler Silverthorn
Erik Adon
Jaison White

170 Pounds:
Isaiah Zimmer
Mark Tracy
Joseph Russo
Jordan Formicola

182 Pounds:
Jake Horton
Dominic Pirraglia
Dominic Holder

195 Pounds:
Nick Weber

220 Pounds:
Bryan Tenny
Luke McKee
Charles Pederson
Sean Ferguson
Caden Watson


SOPHOMORES – In the Round of 16

106 Pounds:

Kyle Quinn and Jack Scurti

113 Pounds:

Donny McCoy, James Szymanski, Chris Donnelly and Nick Casella (Donnelly and Casella meet next)

120 Pounds:

Dandre Norman and Mike D’Angelo

126 Pounds:

Nick Toutant, Blaise Benderoth and Mike Raccioppi

132 Pounds:

Tyler Gross, Chris Truglio and Sam Ward

138 Pounds:

Donny Donnelly and Jakob Restrepo

145 Pounds:

Brandon Aviles

152 Pounds:

Vincent Darpino and Nathan Schwab

160 Pounds:

Ryan Marszal, Richie Jones, Trevor Allard, Nick Wentland and Anthony Ottaviano

195 Pounds:
Andrew Rakitzis and Nathaneal Rose

220 Pounds:

Brad Cunningham and Vincent Feola

285 Pounds:

Garrett Rath


SOPHOMORES – Consolations

106 Pounds:
Joe Abelgore
Dominick Mazzella
Joe Barber
Lucas Yankloski
Jesse Dellavecchia

113 Pounds:
Hector Guerrero
Joseph Rorick
Logan Robinson
Ben Lamantia
Christian Briody

120 Pounds:
Andrew Taber
Mitchell Shambo
Chris Meloni

126 Pounds:
Dashea Edwards
Austin Whitney
Alan White
Joseph Loconte
Cody McGregor

132 Pounds:

Hunter Hulse
Christian Hollister
Andrew Shomers
Zack Bendick
Nick Nieves
Matt Gund
Naquan Warren

138 Pounds:
Francisco Bisono
Peter Pasqualino
Sheldan Clute
Joseph Demasi
Kevin Jackson
Jordan Bushey
Danny Murphy
Kyle Greene

145 Pounds:
John Donohue
Elias Kokalis
Bailey Phelps

152 Pounds:
Nick Wyckoff
Ricky Panciroli

160 Pounds:
Greg Kleinsmith

170 Pounds:

Brett Lewis
Marcello Gennaro

182 Pounds:
David Hamil


FRESHMEN – In the Round of 16:

106 Pounds:

Anthony Argentieri and John Arceri

113 Pounds:

Ryan O’Rourke

120 Pounds:

Kellen Devlin

126 Pounds:

Jack Taddeo and Nick Garone

132 Pounds:

Connor Remy, Freddy Eckles, Nathaniel Grubham, Chris Mauriello and Holden Pelton

138 Pounds:

Joshua Farrar

152 Pounds:

Nick Saporito, Jordan Torbitt and Jack Freischlag

160 Pounds:

Timothy Heitmann and Luke MacIntosh

170 Pounds:

Sonny McPherson, Aaron Paddock and Wil Hilliard

182 Pounds:

Christian Araneo, Ricardo Dawkins and Nick McShea

195 Pounds:

Ryan Gray

220 Pounds:

Owen Albanese

285 Pounds:

Edwin Rubio


FRESHMEN – Consolations:

106 Pounds:
Brandon Gould
Derek Spann
Theo Powers
John Kalinoglu
Hunter Olena
Bobby Pease
Dominic Poggoli
Shawn Bourne
Tyler Ayers
Kelan McKenna
Thomas Michel

113 Pounds:
Ramel McIntosh
CJ Archer
Chris Pereira
Zachary Burke
Andrew McFarland
Dakota White
Andrew Hollister
Hunter Owen
Tito Colom
Dylan Wood
Jack Gold

120 Pounds:
Nick Shenck
Michael Berkowitz
Josh Bressette

126 Pounds:
Andrew Garcia
Devin Wrieth
Jeremy Boyle
Zach Bierfeldt
Owen Bachelder
Marc Paez

138 Pounds:

Jordan Kayes

145 Pounds:
Bryce Dusold
Dylan Studer