St. Anthony's "Renaissance Man" Freddie Dunau, a Two-Time State Placer, Chooses Penn

Freddie Dunau is a national champion.

In 2011, he and his cousin captured a title at the Hershey Nationals – in hip hop dancing.

That’s the just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to extra curricular activities for the St. Anthony’s senior, a student with a weighted average over 100 and a 2220 SAT score.  He coaches a breakdancing team and a gymnastics squad.  (Dunau is a gymnast as well).  He rides unicycles.  And, of course, he’s an accomplished wrestler.

“He’s a very special kid,” said his club coach, Craig Vitagliano of Ascend. “He’s a Renaissance man.”

Indeed he is.  A number of elite schools noticed his impressive resume during the recruiting process.  However, he’s now off the market as he announced recently that he will attend the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania after considering colleges such as Columbia, Harvard and NYU.

Photo courtesy of Freddie Dunau

“After my visit to Penn, I felt like I knew where I wanted to be,” the future Division I 149-pounder said. “Everyone was very welcoming and it seemed like a really good environment for me. It’s nice to know where I’m going.  Now I have a lot of pressure off for the rest of the year.”

Dunau will be joining another CHSAA alum, Andrew Lenzi (Fordham Prep), in Philadelphia. Lenzi was a New York State champion, an accomplishment that Dunau hopes to repeat.  But first, he has another goal in mind.

“I want to be a four-time Catholic [CHSAA] state champion this year,” Dunau said. “A few people placed four times, but not many have won it all four years.  I would be part of a select group to accomplish that.”

He’ll be the favorite to do so, likely at 138 pounds.  He won his first CHSAA title as a freshman 96 pounder and then went on to make an impact at the state tournament.

“I knew I wanted to wrestle in Albany,” he said of his ninth grade campaign. “Getting there was awesome.  When I first got there, I was a little bit nervous, but once I was on the mat, I blocked everything out and it was just like any other match.  I didn’t pay attention to the crowd.”

It’s no surprise that a loud arena didn’t faze Dunau. After all, he performed in front of larger audiences at Madison Square Garden as a four-year member of the Knicks City Kids.

“I was on the dance team that performed at Knicks home games until I was 13,” he said. “We’d do hip hop routines, flips and all kinds of tricks.”

No tricks were needed by Dunau in that first appearance in the state capital in 2011 as he took fifth place at 96 pounds as a freshman with three wins, including a major and a pin.

He expected to achieve more as a sophomore at 106 pounds.  However, Dunau’s return trip to Albany didn’t quite go as planned.

“I thought I had a really good shot to win the state championship that year,” he said. “I wasn’t feeling well and when it came time to weigh in, I had 102 fever.  It was extremely challenging to make weight.”

He did, and actually pinned his first opponent.  However, he lost his next two bouts and went home without a second medal.

“One of the things I always pride myself on is good endurance,” he said. “I don’t think up to that point I had ever lost a match because I got tired. But I felt like I had no energy whatsoever.  When I watch the videos of myself, it was like I was crawling to the center of the mat.  It was disappointing. It made me angry that I didn’t wrestle the way I knew I could. It definitely motivated me.”

That motivation paid off in a 24-3 record as a junior in 2012-13 at 126 pounds.

When the brackets were released for the New York championships, Dunau saw that he was set to face former NYS champion and fourth seed Mark West of Hauppauge in round one.  West was one of the favorites after capturing the Suffolk County crown in a loaded bracket in which eventual state champion TJ Fabian (now at Sacred Heart) took third.

“At first, I was a little bit nervous, but then I figured if I was going to wrestle [West] at some point, it might as well be first,” Dunau said. “I found that my style works well against his because he did a lot of moves that I have counters for. It worked out well.”

It did, as Dunau came out on top by a 7-3 score.  He continued on with a 1-0 victory over Mike Raccioppi of Minisink Valley before losing in the semifinals to Fabian.  Dunau then split a pair of bouts in the consolations to earn fifth place for the second time in his career.

But despite the podium finish, that contest against Fabian remains fresh in his mind.  Especially since he estimates that he’s viewed it at least 60 times.

“I watched that match over and over and over again and I know what mistakes I made,” he said. “I’ve been working hard to correct them and hopefully that leads me to win it this year.”

Adding a state title to the resume?  It would just be another achievement for a “Renaissance Man” heading to the Ivy League.

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Freddie Dunau wanted to thank the members of his family.  He said “they take me everywhere I need to go, support me at all my matches, whether they’re in Ohio or Long Island, and are just great people.”

Wantagh's Danny McDevitt, Champion On and Off the Mat, Commits to Penn

 
 

By MATT DIANO

The story of Wantagh High School senior Danny McDevitt’s commitment to Coach Rob Eiter and the University of Pennsylvania wrestling team has become something of a running joke at New York Wrestling News.  An article that we had intended to bring to you in mid-January when the news became official, it seemed that every time we sat down to pen the piece, McDevitt would go on to win another big event later in that week, forcing us to start anew.

Photo by BV

With these sentiments in mind, it might seem peculiar that we are choosing now, fresh off of an event (the 2013 New York State tournament) that the Warrior student-athlete did not win, to finally publish. We would disagree.  Because, for those of you who know the future Quaker and have had the privilege of following his career, you already are keenly aware of the fact that independent of any scoreboards, brackets or podiums, Danny McDevitt is, was, and will be a champion, both on the wrestling mat and especially in life.  So no, this article is not about a 2013 New York State champion making his college selection; it is much bigger than that. It’s about a young man, with tremendous depth of character, realizing his dream.  This is an All-American story about an individual who has always done Wantagh proud and will continue to do so next fall when he steps foot on the Philadelphia-based Ivy League campus.

So who is Danny McDevitt?  If you answered, “wrestler”, you would be correct, but would also be guilty of painting the talents and attributes of this young man with much too broad a brush.  He is a scholar, ranking towards the top of his class academically; a brother, who has such a tight and loving bond with his siblings that after watching him win the 2013 Nassau County title, his sister could not help but be overjoyed and sing his praises on a live interview being conducted on MSG Varsity; and above all else, Danny is known as a generous and selfless friend.

The latter would be on full display this past weekend when despite being at the lowest point of his senior season (after losing for the first time), McDevitt did something that brings tears to my eyes, just thinking about it.  If you want to know what makes McDevitt special, it’s that without a second thought, he was the person who took it upon himself to go over to 2013 New York State runner up, John Vrasidas (who because he is from the CHSAA is not eligible for the full array of awards bestowed upon other placewinners) and hand him the second-place medal because as Danny was quoted as saying, “you deserve this.”

Photo by BV

All of the aforementioned having been said, we return to McDevitt’s prowess on the wrestling mat, a home away from home for him where he has been about as dominant as you can get during his six year varsity career.  A four-time Section 8 placewinner, winning the title the past two years at 138 and 170 pounds respectively, the only times McDevitt did not win the Nassau County title, he came pretty darn close, finishing as a bronze medalist as a freshman before taking home runner-up honors in 2011.  As important as individual honors may be, if you ask McDevitt, he is quick to redirect attention back on his teammates by reminding us that during the four years he was a student at Wantagh, the Warriors never failed to finish lower than second in the team standings, winning titles from 2011-2013.

State-wise, this consummate gentleman more than held his own, earning a pair of top-five finishes in Albany, including a bronze medal this past weekend that witnessed him shake off a heartbreaking loss in the quarterfinals to Vrasidas to win four straight bouts in the consolation bracket.  He added this hard-fought third place showing to the fifth place performance he notched last year, losing a pair of nailbiters in the semifinal and consolation semifinal rounds.

Nationally, the Paul Gillespie (at Wantagh) and Craig Vitagliano (at the Ascend Wrestling Club) trained student-athlete has also enjoyed success, demonstrating on multiple occasions that he possesses the skill level to go toe-to-toe with the country’s elite.  (Gillespie mentioned that the presence of former Hofstra All-American PJ Gillespie in the room during the 2012-13 season provided another boost to McDevitt’s performance).  Earning his first All-American distinction in 2011 at the NHSCA Sophomore National tournament with an eighth place finish, McDevitt would return to Virginia Beach last season, improving his lot by a few spots, placing fifth.  Should he make the decision to compete in the Senior tournament, it would hardly surprise anyone to see him ascend (no pun intended) to the top of the podium.

With regard to what awaits McDevitt in the future, I can tell you this; if desire to achieve is any indicator of success on the collegiate level, then this young man is going all the way.  Someone who could have attended pretty much any college or university in the country, it is impossible to overstate how much McDevitt is looking forward to being a Quaker.  In chatting with him for only a few moments, it is easy to tell how invested he is in making the next four years the most fulfilling of his life.

“I am ecstatic about UPenn,” McDevitt said. “My mother was always passionate about me going there and was extremely happy when I got in.”

As it pertains to what it was about the fourth oldest university in the country that ultimately won him over and convinced him that it was the best place for him, McDevitt, who intends to major in business, was quick to speak about the unmatched reputation of the Wharton School, which continues to produce some of the finest corporate minds in the world.  He also was very complimentary of Eiter, suggesting that his future coach’s immediate interest in him was confidence boosting and won him over.  Stating it succinctly, McDevitt said, “Everything about the school is just fantastic.”

Speaking candidly about his star pupil, Vitagliano could not contain his genuine pride.

“I’m extremely excited for Danny, his family and Coach Gillespie,” Vitagliano said. “Coach Eiter is getting a really special kid here! He and I have been through a lot together these past five years and I feel extremely honored to have been a part of his journey. This year has been exceptionally tough for him and the fact he was able to overcome his difficulties really shows what he is made of and is an indication of how well he will do in the future.”

 

Weekend Results Roundup – Binghamton Open, Oklahoma Gold, Michigan State Open and Hofstra Duals

It was a busy weekend for the New York Division I college teams.  Binghamton and Cornell competed at the Binghamton Open, while  Army and Buffalo took part in the Oklahoma Gold event.  Meanwhile, Columbia and Hofstra went to the Midwest, with the Lions wrestling at the Michigan State Open and the Pride taking on two Big 10 teams in dual meets.  The results are below.

Binghamton Open

The host Binghamton Bearcats crowned three champions at the West Gym on Sunday – Joe Bonaldi (141), Donnie Vinson (149) and Nate Schiedel (197) in a tournament that featured over 300 wrestlers. Also placing for Binghamton was Tyler Deuel, who was fourth at heavyweight.

New York also featured two other titlewinners – Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett at 125 and Finger Lakes Wrestling Club’s Brian Realbuto at 157.

Additional medalists for Cornell were: Bricker Dixon (fourth at 125), Nick Arujau (fourth at 133), Joe Stanzione (second at 141), Mike Nevinger (fourth at 141), Jesse Shanaman (sixth at 157), Duke Pickett (fourth at 174), Marshall Peppelman (sixth at 174), Craig Scott (second at 184), Billy George (fourth at 197), Jace Bennett (sixth at 197) and Stryker Lane.

In addition to Realbuto’s crown, the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club put the following wrestlers on the podium – Mark Grey (second at 133), Gabe Dean (fourth at 184) and Oney Snyder (at 285).

For full brackets see here

For video coverage see this link

Columbia Earns Three Titles at the Michigan State Open

The Columbia Lions were led by three champions at the Michigan State Open.  Steve Santos (149), Jake O’Hara (157) and Steve West (174) kicked off the 2012-13 campaign with the titles.  Also making the podium for the Lions were Chad Ryan, who was fourth at 157 and Nick Mills who earned fifth at 197.

Hofstra Drops Pair of Duals on Opening Weekend

Hofstra traveled to Big 10 country, taking on Minnesota and Wisconsin on the road to open the campaign.  The Gophers topped the Pride on Friday night before the Badgers earned a five-point dual win on Sunday.  For full stories, please see gohofstra.com.  The box scores are below:

#25 Wisconsin 18, #16 Hofstra 13
125 lbs.: #4 Steve Bonanno (HU) maj. dec. Matt Cavallaris (UW), 12-3
133 lbs.: #15 Jamie Franco (HU) dec. Tom Kelliher (UW), 9-7 in OT
141 lbs.: #3 Tyler Graff (UW) dec. #13 Luke Vaith (HU), 5-3
149 lbs.: Cole Schmitt (UW) dec. Matt Spataro (HU), 3-0
157 lbs.: Tyler Banks (HU) dec. Alex Yde (UW), 6-2
165 lbs.: Frank Cousins (UW) dec. Nick Terdick (HU), 9-7
174 lbs.: Jermaine John (HU) dec. Scott Liegel (UW), 3-2
184 lbs.: Dylan Iczkowski (UW) dec. Taras Luzhnyy (HU), 8-5
197 lbs.: Jackson Hein (UW) dec. Victor Pozsonyi (HU), 12-5
285 lbs.: Cole Tobin (UW) vs. Paul Snyder (HU), 4-3

#3 Minnesota 32, #16 Hofstra 6
125 – #11 David Thorn (UM) WBF #4 Steve Bonanno (HU), 3:00
133 – #6 Chris Dardanes (UM) dec. #15 Jamie Franco (HU), 9-5
141 – #13 Luke Vaith (HU) dec. #7 Nick Dardanes (UM), 6-4
149 – Matt Spataro (HU) dec. Tom Giamo (UM), 5-4
157 – Seth Lange (UM) dec. Tyler Banks (HU), 3-1 in SV
165 – #10 Cody Yohn (UM) tech fall Nick Terdick (HU), 15-0
174 – #6 Logan Storley (UM) maj. dec. Jermaine John (HU), 12-1
184 – #4 Kevin Steinhaus (UM) maj. dec. Taras Luzhnyy (HU), 10-0
197 – #11 Scott Schiller (UM) maj. dec.  Victor Pozsonyi (HU), 14-4
285 – #1 Tony Nelson (UM) dec. Paul Snyder (HU), 6-3

Oklahoma Gold (at Brockport)

Three New York teams competed at this year’s tournament, with Army taking third, Buffalo fifth and Brockport sixth.  (Oklahoma was the team champion).

The Black Knights were led by a trio of second place finishers – Daniel Young (149), Collin Wittmeyer (184) and Bryce Barnes (197) and a pair of bronze medalists – Jordan Thome (133) and Tyler Rauenzahn (141).

The Bulls also had a number of top three finishers, with Andrew Schutt grabbing second at 141 and Wally Maziarz (157), Angelo Malvestuto (197) and Justin Heiserman (285) taking third.

For full brackets see here