Weekend Notes: High School State Finalists Battle; Binghamton Picks Up First Two Victories and Much More


Here are a few news and notes from some of the college and high school action around the state this weekend . . .

Binghamton Goes 2-for-2, Army Tops Drexel

Donnie Vinson, Photo by BV

After dropping the first six duals of the season against a tough schedule that included ranked teams such as Cornell, Illinois, Oklahoma and Lehigh, Binghamton began a winning streak this weekend.  On Friday night, Matt Dernlan picked up his first victory as the leader of the Bearcats program as the CAA squad defeated Princeton, 23-12.  On Sunday, Binghamton followed up by capturing six of the 10 contests against league foe Boston to win 26-13.  Going unbeaten on the weekend were nationally ranked wrestlers Donnie Vinson (#3 at 149 pounds) and Nate Schiedel (#6 at 197 pounds) as well as Patrick Hunter (125), Vin Grella (165) and Cody Reed (184).  The Bearcats return to action at the Midlands in Illinois on December 29.

Army also was victorious, earning a 22-15 triumph over Drexel on Thursday night.  The Black Knights once again received key wins from 165-pounder Paul Hancock, who recorded a fall, as well as 141-pounder Connor Hanafee and 184-pounder Collin Wittmeyer in pivotal matches.  The squad will take the mat again on January 1 at the Southern Scuffle.

In the first dual meet action of the season for Buffalo, the Bulls were defeated by Central Michigan, 28-7. Six of the 10 bouts were decided by two points or less and unfortunately for Buffalo, the Chippewas came out on top in five of those six close matches.  Winning for the New York squad were Angelo Malvestuto at 197 and John-Martin Cannon, in his return to the mat after missing a few weeks with injury.

All-State Wrestlers and State Finalists Square Off 

A year ago, the dual between Wantagh and Shenendehowa at the Civil War Duals ended in a tie, with the Nassau County team earning the win on criteria.  With both squads going undefeated the remainder of the year, that result was instrumental in Wantagh earning the award as the state’s #1 Dual Meet team.   The powerhouses are both loaded again this year and were set to meet this weekend in Clifton Park as part of the 2012 Civil War Duals.  However, due to a tragic accident in which two Shenendehowa students were killed, the event was appropriately postponed.

However, there were still some top notch matchups this weekend as the 2012-13 season picked up steam.

Drew Hull, Photo by BV

In a dual meet in Section 6, two podium finishers from February took the mat at 152 pounds.  Two-time All-Stater Drew Hull of Royalton Hartland, who captured second place in Albany at 145 pounds a year ago, topped fourth place finisher (at 138) Dan Reagan of Lewiston Porter by the score of 6-0.  (However, Lewiston Porter won the dual 48-30).

At the Herkimer Invitational, a pair of state finalists, Canastota’s Zack Zupan and Carthage’s Shayne Brady sat on different sides of the 182-pound bracket.  The two cruised into the finals, setting up a meeting in the title bout.  However, that match didn’t go the distance, as Brady suffered an injury and defaulted.  (Zupan had taken the early lead).  We hope to see the runner up from Carthage back on the mat soon.

Another Section 3 standout, two-time state champion Nick Tighe of Phoenix, also met a state runner up this weekend, Hilton’s Vincent DePrez, in the 138-pound championship contest of the Matthew Marino Tournament at Webster Schroeder High.   The Binghamton-bound Tighe dominated, grabbing a 16-3 major decision.  It is worth noting that DePrez was one of three second placers for his squad – and for the DePrez family.  His brothers Anthony (145) and Lou (120) also took silver while nationally-ranked teammate Yianni Diakomihalis was the victor at 99 pounds.

In the team race at the Matthew Marino event, which featured strong entrants from Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6, Vermont’s Mount Anthony High took first.  Earning second place was Section 6’s Fredonia, led by four gold medalists — returning state placers Dakota Gardner (126 pounds) and Jude Gardner (145) as well as Zach Buckley (170) and Christian Saden (220).  Buckley had a solid win over Section 5 champion Jared Mesiti, 7-4.

Also taking top billing were state qualifier Colton Kells of Fairport at 195 and state placer Bryan Lantry of Wayne at 113.  Lantry’s teammate Jake Yankloski registered an impressive bonus point victory in the 106 title match against 2012 qualifier Bryan Ruggeri of Fairport.

More Contenders in Action

Matt Leshinger, Photo by BV

In the first weekend of action for Section 11, the Sayville tournament showcased several state title contenders.  Among them were Ivy League-bound seniors Tyler Grimaldi of Half Hollow Hills West (Harvard) and the host school’s Matt Leshinger (Columbia).  Grimaldi, who was second in the state at 160 a year ago, captured Most Outstanding Wrestler honors in Sayville after cruising at 160 pounds.  Meanwhile, Leshinger, who took bronze at 120 in February, had a solid debut up a few weights as he won the tournament at 138 pounds.

Another strong event on Long Island was the Bruins Cup at Baldwin, which provided another opportunity to see a number of strong wrestlers ramp up their seasons.

Steven Sewkumar of Long Beach collected Most Outstanding Wrestler honors for the second consecutive weekend as he took the 113 pound title in a close match against St. Anthony’s Ben Lamantia.  St. Anthony’s celebrated a number of champions, including former All-State grappler Freddie Dunau (126) and 2012 qualifier Johnny Vrasidas (170) as well as Joe Russ (120).

Vito Arujau, Photo by BV

Syosset’s Dan Choi, who came within one match of the medal stand at the Times Union Center in Albany registered four pins on the way to the 195-pound crown while his teammates Joe Scholl (182) and Vito Arujau (106) also made the top of the podium.  Arujau looked dominant for the second straight tournament, earning the title by technical fall.

Led by champions Anthony Messina (132), Jackson Mordente (145) and John Vigh (220) and runners up Conor O’Hara (138), Mike Pistone (152), Mark Tracy (170) and Josh Edmonsen (285), Sachem East took the team title by over 50 points, with Longwood next.


MacArthur Takes First at the Mahopac Duals

While multiple Section 8 teams wrestled at the tournaments listed above, MacArthur traveled to Section 1 for the Mahopac Duals.  The Generals were impressive throughout the competition, including a 42-25 victory over Section 4’s Johnson City in the title tilt.  The host team from Mahopac was fourth.

And From the Midwest . . .

While Empire State teams can’t compete at some of the large in-season national events, a pair of 2012 New York State silver medalists made the podium at one of the most challenging tournaments in the country this weekend —  the Walsh Ironman in Ohio.  Jose Rodriguez, who took second at 99 pounds last season while competing for Wantagh, was the runner up at 106 pounds at the Ironman behind Eli Stuckley of St. Paris Graham.  Rodriguez now attends Massillon Perry in the Buckeye State.

Former Longwood star Nicky Hall notched seventh place on Saturday while representing Wyoming Seminary.  Hall is a two-time New York medalist, including a second place showing at 152 pounds in 2012.

For more dual meet results from around the state, see here

To report results, e-mail newyorkwrestlingnews@gmail.com


All-State Wrestler Matt Leshinger of Sayville Selects Columbia University


By Matt Diano

Today, it was announced that second-year Columbia University Head Coach Carl Fronhofer picked up his first recruit from the class of 2013 when he landed returning NYS DI place-winner (3rd @120) Matt Leshinger out of Sayville High School in Suffolk County.  The news came on the heels of the super senior’s Honorable Mention selection to the NYS-10 list, a segment of the series published annually by InterMat Wrestling.

Projected as a 133-pounder in college, the addition of Leshinger further bolsters the strong stable of lightweight talent that Fronhofer has built in his short tenure at the helm of the Ivy League program.  Last season, it was Joey Moita (a multiple-time All-American in the international styles, as well as 2x State place-winner) and Johnson Mai (2x State finalist/2011 Champion, who also won the 2011 Junior National Greco-Roman title), both of California, leading the strong surge of young 125/133 pounders flocking to the Upper Manhattan based campus.

Photo by Boris V

Leshinger is also the fourth native Empire Stater in the past three years to commit to the Lions.  He joins current freshmen Chris Loew (184) and Connor Sutton (165), as well as sophomore Ben Villaret (also a 165-pounder) in making up a strong nucleus of in-state studs looking to take the EIWA conference member to the next level.

A much heralded student-athlete since his days competing as a Schoolboy, it was evident from a very early stage that Leshinger was going to be a special talent. A late starter in some respects (his first year competing was in 7th grade), it did not take long for the future Lion to demonstrate the vastness of his ceiling when he was a 2009 double All-American, placing 8th in both international styles. From here, the legend was born. And, with each passing year, like a fine wine, the product just seems to get better with age. A two-time All-Suffolk wrestler heading into his junior year (finishing 4th @96 in 2010 and 6th in 2011 @113), Leshinger would enjoy a breakout campaign last season, compiling a record of 44-6 en route to winning his first sectional crown, as well as earning the aforementioned spot on the podium at the NYS DI tournament in Albany. Included among this plethora of wins was a victory over eventual 2012 State Champion, Sean McCabe (currently a freshman at Rutgers), 3-2 in the Section XI quarterfinals. He would post an identical score the following round, besting 2009 State Champion, Mark West, before ultimately taking the title with a 5-4 double overtime win against fellow 2013 Honorable Mention, TJ Fabian (who he also defeated in the state bronze medal match a few weeks later) in the finals. So incredible was this run to the title that Leshinger joined a very exclusive company of individuals to be voted as both the Most Outstanding Wrestler and the Champion of Champions at the County Tournament. He heads into his swan song as the favorite to win the one piece of hardware that has escaped him during his scholastic career, the NYS title.

As gifted in the classroom as he is on the wrestling mat, prior to his commitment, Leshinger had been something of a hot commodity on the recruiting market, attracting the attention of the likes of Dave Amato (Brown), Chris Ayres (Princeton), Pat Santoro (Lehigh), Dan Wirnsberger (Bucknell), and Pat Popolizio (NC State) among the collection of suitors. With older brother, Steven, currently a sophomore on Ayres’s Tiger roster, today will certainly set up a battle for Ivy bragging rights in the Leshinger household.

Congratulations to Matt, his family, and the Sayville wrestling program on this tremendous accomplishment! On behalf of the entire NYS wrestling community, we look forward to seeing this young man do huge things in the Columbia Blue and White !

This article was originally published on http://www.gothamcitywrestling.com