Who's #1? Yianni Diakomihalis Ascends to the Top of the National Rankings at 106; 10 NYers Included in the Polls

Diakomihalis, Photo by BV

It may not be a surprise after he captured the Super 32 Challenge title in a loaded field.  But on Wednesday, it became official.  Hilton’s Yianni Diakomihalis is the top ranked wrestler in the country at 106 pounds (according to FloWrestling).

Diakomihalis defeated the now-#2 grappler, Gage Curry of Pennsylvania, in the championship match in Greensboro, North Carolina and also beat current #3, Tyler Warner of Ohio, by a 14-3 score in the semifinals at the Super 32.  He’ll look to capture his second consecutive New York state crown in 2013-14 after winning gold at 99 pounds as an eighth grader last year.

Diakomihalis is one of 10 Empire State wrestlers in the rankings, including six others in the top 10 at their respective weights. Here’s the list of New Yorkers:

Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton, Freshman, Section 5) – 1st at 106

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

Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowaga, Senior, Section 6) – 5th at 138

Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich, Junior, Section 4) – 20th at 138

Louis Hernandez (Mepham, Senior, Section 8 ) – 6th at 152

Corey Rasheed (Longwood, Senior, Section 11) – 8th at 160

Burke Paddock (Warsaw, Senior, Section 5) – 9th at 160

Christian Dietrich (Greene, Sophomore, Section 4) – 14th at 182

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

James O’Hagan (Seaford, Senior, Section 8 ) – 8th at 285

Advertisements

Who from New York is in the Updated National Rankings?

Last week, Flowrestling released updated national rankings.  10 New Yorkers are included, with five grapplers positioned in the top 10 in their weight classes.  The highest ranking for an Empire State wrestler is fourth – Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville at 120.

The New Yorkers ranked are:

7th at 106 pounds: Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton, Section 5, Freshman)

4th at 120 pounds: Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville, Section 11, Junior)

19th at 132 pounds: Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich, Section 4, Junior)

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

12th at 152 pounds: Louis Hernandez (Mepham, Section 8, Senior)

9th at 160 pounds: Corey Rasheed (Longwood, Section 11, Senior)

11th at 160 pounds: Burke Paddock (Warsaw, Section 5, Senior)

11th at 170 pounds: Christian Dietrich (Greene, Section 4, Sophomore)

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

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

 

Nick Piccininni, Photo by BV

Cheektowaga to the Cyclones: National Champion Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer Picks Iowa State

Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer took his official recruiting visit to Iowa State last weekend not knowing what to expect.

He left Ames as a Cyclone, after giving head coach Kevin Jackson a verbal commitment before returning home.

“I just liked everything about it,” he said. “I liked the workout they had and the football game was fun.  I felt really comfortable.  The coaching staff is great and I really like the campus – it wasn’t too big where it was overwhelming.  I thought it was perfect for me.”

The Cheektowaga senior, who projects as a 141 pounder at the next level, said he was also considering Buffalo, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina State and Ohio State.

Rodriguez-Spencer with future coaches Kevin Jackson and Troy Nickerson, courtesy of Todd Rodriguez-Spencer

It’s easy to see why Rodriguez-Spencer, currently ranked #37 in the Class of 2014 by Intermat and #89 by Flowrestling, was highly sought after by schools around the country.

He has medaled at tough tournaments numerous times over the years, including at the Pan American Games in 2010 and at Fargo (third at 132 pounds in Greco Roman) in 2012.

He followed up that All-America performance last summer with a 48-0 junior campaign for Cheektowaga, winning 42 matches by bonus points.  After a runner up finish as a sophomore at the New York state tournament, Rodriguez-Spencer returned to the Saturday night finals this February at the Times Union Center and topped Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich 2-1 at 132 pounds to earn his first state crown.

“I was very excited about the way last year went,” he said. “I wrestled the way I wanted to most of the time. I wanted to go through the season without getting taken down. [He said he was taken down once]. I was really happy to win the title.”

It wasn’t long before he climbed to the top of the podium again.  A few weeks after the high school season concluded, Rodriguez-Spencer nabbed a national championship at the NHSCA tournament in Virginia Beach.  He cruised through his first five matches at 138 pounds before facing Maryland’s Alfred Bannister, a two-time title winner at the event.  Trailing by a point late in the third, Rodriguez-Spencer executed the “flying squirrel” to pick up the winning takedown just before time expired.

“He was pretty low and I couldn’t get to a shot,” Rodriguez-Spencer said a day after that event. “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.”

He stayed strong while transitioning into the international styles, taking fifth at the FILA Juniors in Las Vegas before representing Team New York well at the Junior Duals in Oklahoma.  In the Sooner State, he went 15-1 combined in Freestyle and Greco, and was ready to make some noise at the national championships at Fargo.

It started out well in Greco for Rodriguez-Spencer in North Dakota, as he captured victories in his first five bouts.  However, in his next contest, he suffered an injury.

“I hurt my elbow in the last few seconds of the match,” he said. “I couldn’t move my arm, so I had to drop out of the tournament. It was really hard to do.  I worked so hard getting prepared and went out there to do some big things. To get hurt like that was really tough.”

So, his pursuit of Fargo gold was put on hold.  But Rodriguez-Spencer has his sights set on more trophies as a senior before heading to Iowa State.  He said he will likely begin the 2013-14 campaign at 145 pounds and move to 138 after Christmas.

“I want to win another state title, go undefeated and not get taken down at all this time,” he said.

————————————————–

Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer wanted to thank his mom, dad and family as well as his coaches and everyone else who has supported him.

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)

Junior Greco Roman Recap: Koll Takes Third; Cuccolo, Zilberman, Rokosz and Diallo Capture All-America Honors

At the Cadet level, four New York wrestlers claimed spots on the podium in Greco Roman.  After the Junior competition, another five Empire State grapplers can be added to the All-American list.

Koll, Photo by BV

Two-time state champion William Koll of Lansing put together a 7-1 tournament, taking third at 126 pounds.  Along the way, he notched five technical falls, including a 10-3 win over Dante Rodriguez of Nebraska in the bronze bout.

A trio of wrestlers competed in the fifth place contest on Tuesday.

After going undefeated at the Junior Duals in Oklahoma a few weeks ago, Roland Zilberman continued his hot streak, nabbing fifth at 195 pounds after a 6-2 tournament in which all of his victories were by fall or technical fall. That included his 10-2 triumph over Eugene Martin of South Dakota in the medal round, which was over after only about two minutes of action.

Another upperweight making an impact for New York was Rafal Rokosz, who picked up sixth at 220 pounds after an unblemished record on Day 1 of the event. He pinned three of his foes during the event.

Also grabbing sixth was Pine Bush’s Chris Cuccolo, who has placed at this event multiple times in the past.  Cuccolo collected three wins during the course of the competition.

Alpha Diallo rounded out the placewinners for the Empire State when he earned seventh at 106 with a technical fall over Tyler Almaguer of Washington in less than 30 seconds.  He also had a pin and a technical fall during pool play.

A pair of wrestlers who captured All-America honors at Fargo in the past, Renaldo-Rodriguez Spencer (138) and Burke Paddock (160) also were eligible for Tuesday’s action. Rodriguez-Spencer won all five of his contested matches before injury defaulting out of the competition, while Paddock finished with a 5-2 mark with five technical falls.  Section 2’s Golan Cohen (113) also took the mat on the tournament’s second day, ending with a 4-2 record.

For full results, see http://www.trackwrestling.com.

More on the Women’s Junior Freestyle tournament will be posted after that event concludes Tuesday night.

 

Who Advanced to Day 2 of Junior Greco Roman and Junior Women's Freestyle from New York?

On Monday, the Cadet Greco Roman tournament concluded with Jesse Porter, James Bethel, Garyn Huntley and Nick Casella making the podium.  For a recap, see This link.

In addition, the first few sessions of Junior Greco Roman and Women’s Junior Freestyle took place.  See below for the wrestlers who are moving on in those competitions and those who also took the mat for the Empire State on Monday.

The following wrestlers are still in the running to place:

JUNIOR GRECO ROMAN

106: Alpha Diallo 3-1

106: Chris Cuccolo 3-0

113: Golan Cohen 4-1

126: William Koll 5-1

138: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer 5-1

160: Burke Paddock 5-0

195: Roland Zilberman 4-1

220: Rafal Rokosz 4-0

 

JUNIOR WOMEN’S FREESTYLE 

97: Kim Cardenas 1-0

112: Kelsey Gray 2-1

121: Rachel Hale 2-0

125: Rosemary Flores 2-0

130: Shannon Henry 1-0

139: Alexis Bleau 2-0

148: Alexis Porter 1-0

159: Vivian Vu 1-0

159: Keneddi Eddins 1-0

172: Mariana Olalde 0-1

172: Destane Garrick 1-0

198: Yuneris Taveras 1-0

 

Other wrestlers who took the mat for New York but have completed competition in Junior Greco Roman are:

106: Dolan McColgan, Dominic Riccio

120: Ryan Burns, Matthew Morris, Rashid Powell, Andrew Taber, Pedro Rosales, Cheick Ndiaye

126: Richard Antonacci

132: Nathan Hayes, Carl Rouse, Freddie Dunau, Ryan Snow

138: Jay Oakes, Saidyokub Kahramonov

145: Codie Gillette, Nathaniel Palmer

152: James Black, Maksimilian Garkusha, Trevor Hoffmier, Tanner Phillips, Nigel Williams

160: Troy Seymour, Alex Smythe

170: Andrew Psomas, Konstantin Parfiryev, Daniel Smith

182: Ben Honis, Cedric Stephens, Isaiah Zimmer

195: Allan-Michael Rios, Nick Weber, Reggie Williams, Nathanael Rose

220: Sam Eagan, Luke McKee

285: Gregory LaValley, Matthew St. Onge, Jeff Urbina, Matthew Abbott, Nolan Terrance

 

Others Taking the Mat for New York who have completed competition in Junior Women’s Freestyle are:

105: Jennifer Juarez

112: Susan Yang

117: Sara Andresen, Samantha Ouye-Gonzalez

130: Shirley Duman

2013 Fargo Preview for New York: Who Will Shine in the Summer's Biggest Tournament?

The eyes of wrestling fans will turn to Fargo, North Dakota over the next several days as many of the best competitors in the country will take the mat to crown Freestyle and Greco Roman national champions.  Who from the Empire State will shine in the biggest tournament of the summer?  There are always some surprises, but the following is a look at some of those who could make an impact for Team New York. 

Will there be repeat champions?

Alexis Porter

A year ago, New York had over 25 All-Americans at Fargo, with three national championships.  Those titles came from the women’s competition where Shenendehowa’s Alexis Porter took top honors in both the Cadet (143 pounds) and Junior (139 pounds) brackets and Mary Westman collected gold at Junior 159.

Porter, who will represent the USA at the World championships later this summer, will have the chance to add to her trophy collection.  Also looking to be a gold medalist at this event again is Rosemary Flores, a double champion in 2011 who was third a year ago at 130 pounds.

 

Who Will Excel at the Junior Level for New York?

In addition to the strong women’s contingent, the men’s side features a number of wrestlers who have the ability to win it all.  Among them are nationally-ranked grapplers who captured crowns in both Freestyle and Greco at the New York championships in Binghamton back in May.

Photo by BV

Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (138) is one of them.  The Cheektowoga standout was third in Greco last summer at the Fargodome and after another impressive performance at the Junior Duals in Oklahoma a few weeks ago (9-0 in Freestyle, 6-1 in Greco), he looks poised to challenge for the biggest prize.  Also starring for Team New York in the Sooner State were former Fargo placers Burke Paddock (160) and Reggie Williams (195).  Paddock, who recently committed to the University of Iowa, was a combined 15-1 at the Junior Duals, while Williams, who notched fifth at 215 in Cadet Freestyle two years ago, is ready to get on the medal stand again. (Perhaps also keep an eye out for Roland Zilberman, who went unbeaten at the Junior Duals across both styles at 195 and 220 pounds).

Another one of the Empire State’s top seniors, William Koll of Lansing, was dominant in winning double New York titles for the second consecutive year and after a strong showing at the Western Regional in April and at the Disney Duals, will look to pick up hardware in North Dakota at 126.

Like Koll, Adis Radoncic (170) and Matt Abbott (285) earned New York state folkstyle titles this February in Albany. Both will compete in Fargo, as will a bevy of other placers from the Times Union Center in 2013, including silver medalist Chris Koo and third placers Troy Seymour and Alex Smythe.  Koo, Seymour and Smythe will all wrestle at 160 pounds. Additional high school medalists from 2013 will represent the Empire State, such as Golan Cohen (113), Cheick Ndiaye (120), Freddie Dunau (132), Ryan Snow (132), Konstantin Parfiryev (170), Andrew Psomas (170), Nick Weber (195) and Sam Eagan (220).

Chris Cuccolo of Pine Bush, who was an All-American in 2011 and 2012 at Fargo will see action at 106, while another returning placer, Ben Honis, moves up from the Cadet ranks.  Matthew Morris, who grabbed first place in both styles at the New York championships and wrestled well at the Junior Duals, will be at 120.

 

Who Will Lead the Way in the Cadet Tournaments?

While there were a number of double New York champions in the Junior division, as discussed previously, there were more in the Cadet brackets, with 10 wrestlers grabbing titles in both Freestyle and Greco.

Two of those grapplers – Locust Valley’s Sam Ward (138) and Shenendehowa’s Jesse Porter (152) – placed at the Fargodome in 2012 in Greco Roman action and are threats to repeat as All-Americans.

A host of other Cadets look for breakthrough performances in the next week.  Leonard Merkin of Poly Prep and James Bethel are a strong candidates, as they impressed with undefeated showings at the Cadet Duals in Daytona Beach.  Meanwhile, Empire State champions in both international styles such as Nick Casella (120), Ian Lupole (126), Gino Titone (145), Jacob Woolson (170), Aidan Mathews (195) and Peter Strassfield (285) all look to make their marks.  Also keep an eye on state placer Vinny Vespa of Monroe Woodbury, who will make his Fargo debut at 106.

———————–

It all begins on Saturday afternoon with Women’s Cadet action.

Who will take advantage of the opportunity to face and beat some of the nation’s best over the next week or so at Fargo?  Stay tuned and check back for updates on New York wrestlers throughout the tournament.

(All the above wrestlers were listed as part of Team New York as of Thursday night).

Here’s the list of last year’s (2012) New York All-Americans at Fargo:

Junior Greco

106 Pounds: Kyle Kelly, 7th Place

113 Pounds: Josh Antoine, 8th Place

120 Pounds: Santo Curatolo, 6th Place

132 Pounds: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, 3rd Place

152 Pounds: Brendan Goldup, 5th Place

160 Pounds: Connor Sutton, 5th Place

182 Pounds: McZiggy Richards, 4th Place

182 Pounds: Chris Loew, 7th Place

 Junior Freestyle

132 Pounds: Nick Kelley, 4th Place

138 Pounds: Quinton Murphy, 2nd Place

145 Pounds: David Almaviva, 8th Place

152 Pounds: Brian Realbuto, 4th Place

160 Pounds: Dylan Palacio, 4th Place

160 Pounds: Tyler Grimaldi, 6th Place

Cadet Greco

94 Pounds: Chris Cuccolo, 5th

132 Pounds: Jesse Porter, 4th

132 Pounds: Sam Ward, 7th

182 Pounds: Benjamin Honis, 7th

 Cadet Freestyle

138 Pounds: Thomas Dutton, 8th Place

195 Pounds: Chris Tangora, 8th Place

Cadet Women

143 Pounds: Alexis Porter, Champion

143 Pounds: Kennedie Eddings,6th

172 Pounds: Yuneris Diaz, 3rd

Junior Women

112 Pounds: Hanna Grisewood, 2nd Place

130 Pounds: Rosemary Flores, 3rd Place

139 Pounds: Alexis Porter, Champion

159 Pounds: Mary Westman, Champion

172 Pounds: Yuneris Diaz, 5th Place