Nick Tighe Wins 2013 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award for New York

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum chose the 2013 winners of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Awards earlier this week and New York’s recipient was Nick Tighe of Phoenix.

Tighe, Photo by BV

Tighe, a three-time state champion, will wrestle for Binghamton beginning in the fall. The Section 3 senior took fifth as a freshman at 112 pounds for the Firebirds at the Division II state tournament, before going all the way to the top of the podium in Albany at 119, 126 and 138 pounds in his final three high school campaigns. He added several All-American showings to his resume, including a fifth place finish at the NHSCA Senior Nationals in Virginia Beach last month.

According to the press release, the award is based on “excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship and community service.”

The previous two Empire State honorees were Brian Realbuto of Somers High School in 2012 (now at Cornell) and Nick Gwiazdowski of Duanesburg High in 2011 (now at NC State).

For more information on the award, see here.

Weekend Recap: Titles for Wantagh, Johnson City and S. Jefferson; Mayor's Cup and More News and Notes from Around the State

As the postseason draws closer, the action continues to heat up.  Over the past few days, fans were treated to previews of some of the key matchups we’ll see at state qualifiers in the coming weeks.  We also saw teams like Wantagh, Johnson City and South Jefferson pick up additional trophies, as well as a plethora of other results.  Here are some of the highlights (and more may be added):

  • Wantagh, the Empire State’s top-ranked squad, followed up titles at the Union-Endicott Duals and the Eastern States Classic with the Nassau County Dual Championship at Clarke High School on Saturday. The Warriors ended a dominant four match run with a 45-16 result in the championship match against MacArthur.


  • South Jefferson and Johnson City followed up dual meet crowns in Sections 3 and 4 with additional first place showings at the Frontier League and STAC tournaments, respectively.  Nearby, Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton stood atop the MAC while Holland Patent did the same at the Center States and Phoenix won the Liberty/Patriot League.


  • The Mayor’s Cup in Manhattan showcased the best the five boroughs has to offer.  State contenders such as Sam Melikian, Cheick Ndiaye, Andrew Psomas and Richard Sisti were overpowering champions, while Monsignor Farrell captured the team race.


  • West Seneca West edged Kenmore West at the Ken-Ton Invitational, where Renaldo-Rodriguez Spencer of Cheektowoga was once again dominant in taking the title.  Also in Section 6, Lewiston Porter won the Peter Rao Memorial Tournament with 138-pounder Dan Reagan notching MOW honors at 138 pounds.


  • At the Rockland County Championships, John Muldoon of Pearl River responded to his recent overtime loss to Anthony Calvano by taking the rematch.  A number of other Section 1 stars were on display at that event as well as the Super 16 tournament in Yonkers, where Fox Lane took top billing.


  • John Arceri of Huntington upended Eastern States Champion Chris Cuccolo to take the 99-pound crown at the Big Ten Invitational in Albany over the weekend. More details on that tournament which had representation from Sections 1, 2, 7, 9, 11 and from Massachusetts.  The final results are here:  Big 10 Results


  • It’s worth noting that Westhampton Beach captured a league title over the weekend with a win over Shoreham Wading River in Section 11. A few days earlier, the Hurricanes put themselves in position for the championship when they topped the state’s third-ranked dual team, Rocky Point, 31-28.  In addition to a pin by the state’s top ranked 106 pounder, Alex Tanzman, Westhampton Beach was propelled by a pair of upsets. Jake Martin upended Sean Ferguson at 220 while Pete Broccoli‘s victory over James Matias sealed the victory for the Hurricanes.  Both Ferguson and Matias are ranked in Suffolk County.


  • In addition, Brockport ended a big week with a 71-15 win over Lansing on the campus of Cornell University. According to head coach Mike Ferris, 113-pounder Barton Peters had a standout performance with a technical fall at 113 while Bobcats junior William Koll also was impressive at 126.  The triumph in Ithaca came a few days after the Blue Devils recorded their first victory over rival Spencerport in 28 years to seal a league title.

For more on some of these stories, read on:

Another Title for Wantagh . . .

Quinn, Photo by Josh Conklin

Wantagh has continued to win week in and week out.  The state’s top-ranked squad captured the Union-Endicott Duals, the team title at the Eastern States Classic and, on Saturday, the Nassau County dual championship.  The Warriors cruised through the event, beginning with a 51-18 pounding of Island Trees.  They followed with a 57-12 win over Division, a 50-18 semifinal result against Mepham and a 45-16 triumph in the finals against MacArthur.  Leading the way were wrestlers ranked among the top 8 in the state –  Danny McDevitt (170), Chris Araoz (126), Vinny Turano (132), Kyle Quinn (106) and James Corbett (182), who combined for eight pins and eight technical falls.

Johnson City Picks Up More Hardware

Williams, Photo by Josh Conklin

Johnson City followed up last weekend’s Section 4 Duals title with another crown – this time at the STAC.  The Wildcats piled up 232.5 points to outdistance runner up Vestal and third place squad Union-Endicott. Johnson City was propelled by four champions (Isaiah Colgan at 106, Joseph Hamdan at 145, Zach Colgan at 152 and Reggie Williams at 195) as well as silver medalists Tyler Brazinski (99), Nick Bidwell (138), Conner Halladay (160) and Dominic Taylor (170).

Vestal’s run was highlighted by 182-pound champion James Benjamin, a returning All-State wrestler who won his title by fall in less than 30 seconds.

Benjamin will be in the mix in Albany for another spot on the podium.  Also prominently figuring into the title picture at the Times Union Center will be two-time state champion Kyle Kelly.  The Chenango Forks star earned a pin in the 113-pound finals against returning state placer Jimmy Overhiser of Corning, who bumped up from his usual weight. Another clash of contenders happened at 126 pounds, where Kelly’s teammate Jake Green edged Ithaca’s Richie Burke, 3-2 in the tiebreakers.  Former state champion Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich also earned gold with a technical fall at 132 pounds.

For more results, see STAC here.

Also in Section 4 . . . BGA Takes the MAC

Also in Section 4, Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton won the MAC tournament at Unadilla Valley.  Leading the way for BGA were a trio of titlewinners, Jesse Griswold (132), Justin Cirigliano (138) and Mark Viviano (195).  Second place Unatego was very strong in the middleweights, boasting winners in three consecutive classes – Codie Nichols (145), Kevin Thayer (152) and Leland Slawson (160).

For more results, see here.

South Jefferson Keeps the Momentum Going

South Jefferson and General Brown have seen a lot of each other lately.  The Spartans won a regular season dual against the Lions and then defeated them again for the Section 3 dual meet title a few days later.  On Saturday, South Jefferson added another trophy with the Frontier League championship, won by over 30 points over General Brown.

Jared Carroll (99), Caleb Beach (106), Jon Crast (132), Daniel Smith (170) and Ryan Charlebois (195) took gold for South Jefferson while Nick Toutant of Indian River was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler after defeating Ryan Snow for the 126 pound crown.

For more results, see here.

Also in Section 3 . . . Holland Patent and Phoenix Victorious

At the Center States tournament, the top three teams finished within seven points of one another, with Holland Patent taking first, followed by Dolgeville and Canastota.  The top squad featured a pair of champions – Hunter Richard at 113 and Josh Langley at 220.

The state’s top ranked 182-pounder, Zach Zupan of Canastota, breezed to the championship with a pin, while his teammates Jesse Puchales (170) and Wyatt Albanese (195) also won titles.

In matches featuring wrestlers who could figure into the picture at the Times Union Center, Ilion’s Laken Cook picked up a 3-1 decision over Rome Free Academy’s Antonio DeLuco at 126 pounds. In addition, highly regarded 99-pounder Ryan O’Rourke of Adirondack won a 2-0 battle against New Hartford’s Kelan McKenna while his teammates Derek Spann (106) and Tyler Spann (160) were named the event’s Most Outstanding Wrestlers.  In a bout between previous state qualifiers, Tyler Spann edged Oneida’s Matt Fisher.

In the Liberty/Patriot tournament, Phoenix was first by a margin of more than 25 points. Nick Tighe dominated his way to the 138 pound crown while teammates Rowdy Prior (152) and Justin Rhodes (160) joined him on top of the podium.

For more results, see Center States and Liberty/Patriot.

West Seneca West, Rodriguez-Spencer Shine at the Ken Ton Tournament

The Ken-Ton Invitational included some of the best in Section 6, including Cheektowoga’s Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer.  The returning state runner up cruised through the competition at 132 pounds, including a technical fall, a first period pin and a 15-6 major over All-State grappler Cody McGregor of Tonawanda.  West Seneca West was the 7.5 point winner of the event over second place Kenmore West.

For more on the event, see here.

Reagan, Photo by BV

A number of other standouts from the same area took part in the Peter Rao Memorial.  Lewiston Porter grabbed top billing, with Lockport next.  Lew Port’s Dan Reagan earned MOW honors after two pins and a major on his way to the 138 pound title.  Other notable winners included Lockport’s Anthony Orefice, an All-Stater who stood atop the podium at 120 pounds.



 Rockland County Championships and Super 16 Feature Section 1 Standouts

Muldoon, Photo by Josh Conklin

In Section 1, a pair of tough tournaments took place over the weekend – the Rockland County Championships and the Super 16. Among the finals bouts that stood out at the RCCs was the 120 pound contest between Pearl River’s John Muldoon and Nanuet’s Anthony Calvano.  Muldoon avenged a recent overtime loss to Calvano with a convincing victory.  Just to reach the title bout, the Pearl River wrestler had to beat the very tough Blaise Benderoth of North Rockland.  Another intriguing contest took place at 138 pounds where Benderoth’s teammate Matt Caputo topped Colby Kash, 9-2.

Among the champions at the Super 16 tournament were multi-time state placer Drew Longo of Ardsley (138) and Yorktown’s Thomas Murray (182), who has had a very strong season.

For an in depth look at these events, see here.


 Who is the Best in the City? Mayor’s Cup Results

Who is the best in the City?  That question was answered this weekend as the best from the five boroughs gathered at the Armory in Manhattan for the Mayor’s Cup.

Monsignor Farrell was the overall winner with 225 points, with Brooklyn Tech second (212 points) and Poly Prep third (168).

Farrell’s victory was fueled by dominant performances from a number of champions.  At 160 pounds, Andrew Psomas earned a pin or a technical fall in all five of his bouts on the path to the title.  Similarly, teammates Richard Sisti (220) and Matt Roberts (182) won by bonus points in all but one of their matches on the way to first place. The final gold medalist for Farrell was 138-pounder Karl Weisner, who topped teammate Blaise Rufo, 7-4, in the championship tilt.

Brooklyn Tech was paced by upperweights Shaquille Williams and Kevin Tynes. Williams defeated Quasar Hampton 1-0 but otherwise stuck all of his opponents at heavyweight while Tynes recorded a trio of falls in addition to his 3-1 title victory at 195.

Melikian, Photo by Josh Conklin

Poly Prep’s Noah Malamut put on an impressive show, pinning his way to the top of the 106-pound podium.  Also demonstrating complete control were a number of wrestlers who competed in Albany last season.  These included returning state runner up Cheick Ndiaye of Brooklyn International at 113, Sam Melikian of Fordham Prep at 132 and Nigel Williams of Eagle Academy at 145.  A highly anticipated showdown between Tottenville’s Santo Curatolo and Grand Street’s Keanu Thompson didn’t come to fruition in the 126 pound final as Curatolo got the win by default.

For the full results, see here.

In the female competition, Curtis had champions in three consecutive weights – Leslie Schoberl at 120, Rosemary Flores at 126 and Shannon Henry at 132.

For the results of the girls competition, see here.

To report results, e-mail

Binghamton-Bound Stars Tighe and Zupan Lead the Way for Section 3 in 2012-2013 (Section Season Preview)

Section 3 finished second in the Division II state championships last year, with five finalists and three champions.  Two of those titlewinners, Nick Tighe (Phoenix) and Zack Zupan (Canastota) look to finish their careers atop the podium before heading to Binghamton.  Carthage’s Shayne Brady made an impressive run to the finals a year ago in Division I and looks to move step higher on the podium in his final season of high school wrestling.  For more on the wrestlers and teams to watch in Section 3 in 2012-13, read on.  

(Special thanks to John Drew of for his significant contributions to this story).

Division II


2012 Returning State Placewinners 

Sixth Place: Alex Herringshaw, Holland Patent, 99 Pounds

Third Place: Ryan Snow, General Brown, 106 Pounds

State Champion: Nick Tighe, Phoenix, 126 Pounds

Third Place: Isaiah Riccio, Beaver River, 138 Pounds

Sixth Place: Tyler Silverthorn, General Brown, 160 Pounds

State Champion: Zack Zupan, Canastota, 170 Pounds

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

113 Pounds: Laken Cook, Illion

152 Pounds: Tyler Spann, Adirondack

160 Pounds: Matt Fisher, Oneida

285 Pounds: Brandon Fayle, Lowville


Seniors to Watch:


Zack Zupan, Photo by Boris V

Fans in Section 3 will be treated to two of the top seniors in New York this season with Zack Zupan of Canastota and Nick Tighe of Phoenix looking to pick up some more hardware in their final high school campaigns.

Both stood on top of the podium in Albany last year after making their way through two of the toughest weight classes at the event.

Zupan came out on top of a 170 pound bracket that included current Division I wrestler Nick Mitchell (who came into the tournament undefeated) and two wrestlers that finished second at the NHSCA Nationals a few weeks later (Burke Paddock of Warsaw and Troy Seymour of Peru).

Tighe, already a two-time champion, was simply dominant, earning three pins in four matches to capture the title in a field containing such wrestlers as Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (one of the top 50 juniors in the nation, according to Intermat), multi-time placer Corey Dake of Lansing and former state champion Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich.  His 47-2 year featured 31 total falls and only six regular decisions.

Tyler Spann (Adirondack) – Spann had big wins over Kaleb Smith and Rowdy Prior in the Section tournament last season to punch his ticket to Albany, and a return trip is very likely.  He tallied a 35-6 record as a junior at 145 and 152 pounds, going 1-2 at the Times Union Center with his losses coming against state champion Ben Haas and fourth place finisher Dan Dickman of Greene.

Matt Fisher (Oneida) – John Drew described Fisher as an “absolute gym rat” who “possesses freakish strength for someone his size”.  He won more than 35 bouts a year ago at 160 pounds and went 1-2 at the state tournament, although both of his losses were by one point.  He will look to take a few steps further next year to make the medal stand as a senior.


Also Keep an Eye On . . .

They weren’t state champions last year, but the following are wrestlers to watch this upcoming season.

Laken Cook, Ilion – Cook didn’t make the podium in 2012 but has in the past (fourth at 96 pounds as an eighth grader and fifth at 103 as a freshman).  He compiled a 36-7 record with 20 pins in 2011-12, including six straight falls in January.  With around 125 victories already in his career, he is a lightweight to watch as he tries to make a return to All-State status.

Brandon Fayle, Photo by Boris V

Brandon Fayle, Lowville – Fayle was within one victory of placing at the state tournament in 2012.  He won a pair of bouts in Albany and lost to both the fifth and sixth place finishers by one point.  The senior brought a 35-2 record into the Times Union Center, with his two losses to wrestlers he also beat during the campaign.  As one of three wrestlers returning from the top 8 a year ago, Fayle could get on the podium – and quite high on the podium – in his last season.

Isaiah Riccio, Beaver River – Riccio earned third place at the state tournament in 2012 at 138 pounds a year after taking fifth at 140 in Albany.  The senior has picked up 30 or more wins in each of the past three campaigns.  In 2011-12, he notched a 41-3 record with all of his losses coming to All-State wrestlers (two close decisions against runner up Anthony Finocchiaro and against fourth placer Nathan Silverthorn).

Tyler Silverthorn, General Brown – The junior reached the century mark in wins last season when he racked up a 46-5 mark and a sixth place finish at the Times Union Center at 160 pounds.  He was the only sophomore to medal at that weight in either Division. (In fact, only one other non-senior placed at 160 — Tyler Grimaldi of Half Hollow Hills West in Division I).  Silverthorn also earned All-America status at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach as both a ninth and tenth grader.

Ryan Snow, General Brown – Snow has finished in the top 3 in Albany in each of the past two seasons.  The lightweight dropped two bouts in December of his sophomore year, but then proceeded to get his hand raised 33 consecutive times before losing 4-2 to Cheick Ndiaye at the state tournament.  He rebounded to take third after earning second the previous February.  Snow will be in contention for a first state title this year.

There are also several others who didn’t get a ticket to Albany but have a great chance of finding themselves on the mats at the Times Union Center this February.

Rowdy Prior, Phoenix – Prior went 40-6 as a junior at 152 pounds.  He lost to All-State wrestler Frank Affronti of Wayne in the first week of the season in early December and then won 31 out of 34 bouts prior to taking fourth at the Section 3 tournament.  Prior defeated multiple state qualifiers during the campaign, such as Conner Fox of Midlakes, Josh Maier of Brockport and Tony Torrese of Fulton.  He will certainly be a contender to go to Albany and win some matches on the big stage.

Dan Smith, South Jefferson – According to Drew, Smith has earned All-America honors and is seeking to pick up some more accolades in the Empire State.  The junior notched a 35-12 mark last season, including a victory over state fourth place medalist Jared Soule.  Six of his losses were to Matt Fisher and Tyler Silverthorn and he may get another chance against those wrestlers again in 2012-13.

Tim Fargo, Lowville – Fargo was mentioned as a possible “sleeper” pick for the upcoming campaign.  He had over 35 wins last year with 19 pins at 132 pounds, with a victory over state qualifier Joey Love of Gouverneur.

Drew also believes that the 126/132 pound weight classes are worth tracking this year in Division II.  “Those weights look like they could be explosive,” he said. “Junior John Mazza of Mohawk and sophomore Triston Engle of Dolgeville put on some of the most entertaining head-to-head matches of the year last season.  Throw General Brown senior Brian Lear and Onondaga sophomore Tyler Field into the mix and you have potentially the deepest weight class in the section.  Those wrestlers faced off many times last year, and the results were rarely more than a point or two either way.  Very interesting weight class to watch, for sure.”  He added that Nick Tighe will of course be the strong favorite wherever he wrestles.

Team Race . . .

Canastota finished 24.5 points ahead of Phoenix last year (although the Firebirds came out on top of Division II statewide in Albany) and the two teams look like they will be fighting for the title again in February.

While both teams suffered significant losses to graduation, including Section finalists Anthony Finocchiaro, Steve Fallon and Travis Conklyn for the Raiders and state champion Tyler Button and Austyn Hayes for the Firebirds, the squads also return several formidable competitors.

In addition to Zupan, Canastota will boast Section runner up (at 113) Nate Walker, two third place finishers from a year ago, senior Wyatt Albanese and junior Jacob Morris and three other medalists – Connor Russ (fifth at 126), Joe Tiller (sixth at 145) and Jesse Puchales (sixth at 182).

For Phoenix, Tighe will lead the way while Rowdy Prior (fourth at 152) and fifth place wrestlers Brad and Nate Dietz will also put significant points on the board.

General Brown, which took third will also make some noise, with Ryan Snow and Tyler Silverthorn leading the charge.  Corey Gaffney, who was fifth at 195 will be among the upperweight favorites.

South Jefferson belongs in the discussion as well.  The squad went 24-4 last year and was a final four team at the Section 3 dual meet championship as well as fourth at the Section 3 tournament.  The Spartans bring back runner up Logan LaFlamme, fourth place finishers Adam Hutchinson (106) and Dan Smith (160) as well as sixth place medalist Ryan Charlebois (195) and could fare very well in the dual meet competition this year.


Division I


Returning State Placewinners (from 2012)

Second Place: Shayne Brady, Carthage, 170 Pounds

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Dempsey King, New Hartford

106 Pounds: Kevin Paul, Baldwinsville

113 Pounds: Thomas Hill, Fulton

120 Pounds: Derrick Gray, Indian River

126 Pounds: Antonio Deluco,  Rome Free Academy

132 Pounds: Connor Grome, West Genesee

145 Pounds: JT Romagnoli, Jamesville-Dewitt


Top Seniors . . . 

Shayne Brady, Photo by Boris V

Zupan and Tighe weren’t the only Section 3 grapplers in the Saturday night finals this past February. Shayne Brady of Carthage racked up a 38-2 record with 14 pins as a junior.  After an end of December loss to Burke Paddock, Brady reeled off over 25 straight victories to earn a state finals bid against Plainedge’s Dan Spurgeon.  After earning the silver medal, he’ll be looking to climb one rung higher on the ladder in 2013.

Derrick Gray, Indian River – The Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Section 3 tournament as a junior, Gray had a successful 2011-12 campaign.  The senior went 41-4 a year ago with 28 pins and a host of quality victories, including wins against state qualifiers Pat Webster, Curtis Barney, Codey Bond and Rocco Russo.  He was one round from making All-State and will no doubt be shooting for that achievement in his final season for Indian River.

Antonio DeLuco (Rome Free Academy) – DeLuco has been a section finalist three times, winning two titles.  He was 38-7 last year and earned a victory by major decision in Albany.  He will look to get on the medal stand in his final season for the Black Knights.

Tim Sposato (Baldwinsville) – After racking up a 36-5 mark last season, Drew believes the senior could be poised for breakout year in his final campaign.  He picked up a win over multiple-time All-State grappler Ryan Snow of General Brown last season.

Also Keep an Eye On . . .

Dempsey King, New Hartford – King sported a 28-5 record in his freshman year, with two wins over state placer Alex Herringshaw of Holland Patent.  His draw at states was difficult, as he dropped matches to the top two seeds, Kyle Kelly and Jon Haas, but he will be a threat to go further in 2013.

Ben Honis, Jamesville-Dewitt – Honis made his presence felt in Fargo, earning All-American honors in Cadet Greco and coming within one victory of doing the same in Freestyle.  His success in the ultra-competitive event in North Dakota built off a strong sophomore season at 182 pounds, after moving up from 135 pounds as a freshman.  Honis went 30-4 and was edged by a point in the Section 3 finals by Garrick Cook, who pinned him early in the season.  It seems likely that summer momentum will help him go further in the postseason as a junior.

Mitchell Woodworth, Fulton – “Woodworth never stops wrestling,” Drew said. “I think he’s going to have a huge sophomore year in Section 3.  He narrowly lost to Dempsey King in the section finals at 99 pounds (after defeating him in the class finals the week before) and he stood toe-to-toe with Chenango Forks two-time state champ Kyle Kelly at the Bradshaw Tournament last year before bowing out 6-0.”  He is likely to move up after a summer of weight training.

Tom Quinlan and Patrick Quinlan, Fayetteville-Manlius – The Quinlan brothers saw a lot of success last season, with junior Tom registering a 34-6 record with second place showings in five different events.  He’ll try to get over the hump from silver to gold this season while his brother, 30-9 a year ago will aim for a Section title.

Nick Toutant, Indian River – In his 37-3 freshman season at 106 pounds, Toutant lost three matches, each by a single point.  Two of those setbacks came against state qualifiers.  The Indian River lightweight also topped All-State wrestlers Alex Herringshaw and Cody Carbery.

Team Race . . .

Indian River was a 16.5 point winner over Fulton in 2012 and the Warriors will be tough again.  Most Outstanding Wrestler Derrick Gray returns after a 41-4 season in which he came within one win of placing at states.  The other two titlewinners for Indian River, Garrick Cook and Derrek Dalton graduated as did silver medalists Jordan Berry and Matt Simpson.  Trying to make up for those losses will be runner up Nick Toutant (106) and senior Michael Mullins (third at 113) as well as a duo of sixth place finishers Sonny McPherson and Jody Brown.

Like Indian River, Fulton brings back a first, second, third and two sixth placers.   Also like the Warriors, Fulton said goodbye to several standouts, including All-State grappler Adam Wallace, and Section victors Tony Torrese and Nick Woodworth. Junior Thomas Hill is the returning champion and Mitchell Woodworth the 2012 runner up.  Also back are Austin Whitney (third at 106), Connor Aldash (sixth at 132) and Brennan Roberge (sixth at 285).  Of course, another significant change for the squad is the loss of 500 match winner Mike Conners, the head coach who spent 25 years at the helm of the program.  Chris Stalker will try to start a new legacy as he takes over for a legend.

Carthage could be in the mix based on the firepower in the lineup.  Shayne Brady was 38-2 and will be a contender for a state title.  Trevor Gibbons, who was second at 285 returns after a 33 win campaign as does third placer William BateyQuintin Reid and Colin Ryan, fourth and fifth, respectively in 2012 will also be back in a Comets singlet as will Andy McFarland.  The only major pointscorer not returning is Josh McFarland, who was third at 145.


For more previews:

Section 1 Preview

Section 1 Feature:  Aslanian and Realbuto, All-State Wrestlers and Workout Partners, Seek to End Their Careers on Top of the Podium


Two-Time State Champion Nick Tighe Discusses His Commitment to Binghamton

Photo by Boris V

Nick Tighe had an abbreviated official visit to Binghamton due to a family commitment.  As a result, he wasn’t there for a lot of the recruiting activities, including playing paintball.

“I know I missed a lot of the really fun things,” Tighe said. “I basically just ate and walked around a little bit.”

It turns out, it didn’t matter that he missed the special events. The two-time state champion from Phoenix High knew Binghamton was the place he wanted to be already. (He chose the Bearcats over Rutgers).

“I had seen the campus before on an unofficial trip over the summer,” Tighe said. “I really got along with the guys and the coaches.  I guess the best way to say it is that I could really see myself there for the next four or five years.  I think they’re doing the right things with the program and they’re bringing in a lot of good guys.”

Those “good guys” include fellow top New York seniors such as Canastota’s Zack Zupan and Shenendehowa teammates Nick Kelley and David Almaviva.

“Having two guys like Kelley and Almaviva to train with for the next four or five years is definitely exciting,” Tighe said. “Also, having [assistant coach] Teyon Ware to work with is a huge deal for me.”

Tighe, who expects to begin his college career at 133 pounds, is accustomed to having quality partners, including Phoenix coach Tim Boda.  And of course, he has benefitted from the influence of Firebirds head coach Gene Mills.

“Coach Boda works out with me all the time, even when he’s hurt,” Tighe said. “I want to thank him for wrestling live with me and preparing me.  And Coach Mills has given me so much and done so much for me over the years.  He’s always there for me.  He’s taught me attention to detail and technique, but also so many more things.  It’s hard to even describe it all.”

One thing he has certainly passed along to Tighe is the ability to put opponents on their backs.

“Coach Mills has the national pin record and he’s all about pinning people,” Tighe said.

Some would say that’s what Tighe is about as well.

During his 47-2 junior campaign, he recorded 31 falls and won just six bouts by decision, according to the NWCA scorebook.  In fact, he pinned three of his four foes in Albany on his way to his second state crown (at 126 pounds).  He was the 119-pound champion in 2011 and took fifth as a freshman.

However, it’s the two contests that he didn’t win last year that drive him as he enters his final season in Section 3.

“I was terrible at Eastern States last year,” he said. “Unfortunately, the two wrestlers I lost to [Maverick Passaro and Sam Speno] graduated, so I can’t get another chance at them, but I am looking to win the Eastern States this year.”

In addition to atoning for his two losses, Tighe said his focus is on getting ready for the style of wrestling he will see with the Bearcats.

“I want this year to be about preparing for college,” he said. “I want to work on the things that will make me ready to compete when I get to Binghamton.  But obviously, that’s all part of preparing for the state tournament where I want to win another title.”

If Tighe does stand on top of the podium in late February at the Times Union Center, he will become only the second Section 3 wrestler to win three state crowns (Dan Hunt of West Genesee was the first), a feat Tighe admits is in the back of his mind.

“It would be awesome to be able to achieve that,” he said. “It would be the perfect way to end my high school career.”

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)