Hector Colom, Dylan Ryder and Ivan Garcia Finish in the Top Four at the Suplay Kickoff Classic in Tulsa

BY MATT DIANO

With the start of the 2013-2014 high school season right around the corner, a quartet of Empire Staters would make the trek all the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma to compete in the 2013 Suplay Kickoff Classic.  When the dust had settled after two fierce days of battle, three-fourths of the New Yorkers would find themselves in the top-four as Hector Colom would take second and Dylan Ryder would emerge with a third place finish in the 15 & Under division while youngster Ivan Garcia would claim a strong fourth in 10 U competition.

Ryder, a Candlewood resident who was representing the 631 Elite Wrestling Club, would post five wins at 75 pounds. He began with a defeat at the hands of the eventual champion, Kyle Biscoglia of Iowa, in the opening round of the tournament.  (Biscoglia is Flo’s #42 overall junior high prospect and was second at the 2013 Super 32 Middle School Tournament).  Up against a proverbial wall, finding himself in the consolation bracket a lot sooner than he is accustomed, the young Suffolk County stud would respond in a big way, pitching the 7-0 shutout over Oklahoman Spencer Edwards, and then following it up with back-to-back pins in a combined 3:37 against five-time Georgia Kids State Champion, Trevor Burdick (2:59) and 2013 Ohio Junior High State qualifier, Kyle Ryan (0:38).  In the consolation semifinals, Ryder would keep the momentum going, jumping out to a 5-0 lead before surrendering a late takedown to win 5-2 over 2013 Ohio Grade School State Champion, Gabriel Tagg.  In the bronze medal bout, Ryder would be in control from the opening whistle to the final buzzer, recording the only points of the match in a 5-0 decision over Pennsylvania’s Brandon Seidman. (He would lose his true second bout to Malik Heinselman).

Like Ryder, Hectom Colom’s tournament would begin on a bit of a sour note as he too would find himself on the short end of a decision (3-1) in the first round.  In a 101-pound match versus the host state’s Colton Denney, the Dunkirk eighth grader created multiple scramble positions in the third period in an attempt to even the score with a takedown.  To the credit of his foe, Colom would be unable to get himself sufficiently untangled to score the much needed points.  This hard fought loss would be the only one of the weekend for the Buffalo Wrestling Club representative as he would go on to utilize his excellent skills from the top position to reel off seven consecutive wins. Commencing his comeback effort with a 15-0 technical fall over Kansas’s Dante Rodd, Colom would find himself in a bit of a dogfight in his next bout against another opponent from the Jayhawk State, two-time Youth State placewinner (2nd in 2012; 3rd in 2013), Kaj Perez.  With the score all deadlocked at two apiece heading into the third period and Perez having choice, the New Yorker would come up clutch, breaking the tie with a tilt for three near-fall points.  This would prove to be the difference as he would ride out the full 90 second duration to advance with the 5-2 decision. Colom would have a much easier time of it in his next match, dominating Derek Holschlag to the tune of a 4-0 decision.  The runaway train of success would refuse to stop in the consolation quarterfinals when Colom earned a third period reversal to get a 6-4 win over 2013 Missouri Kids bronze medalist, Jackson Henson.

In the consolation semis, a rematch with Denney would await him.  However, unlike the first matchup, Colom would never allow himself to fall behind, fighting off a deep shot attempt in the first period, earning an escape in the second, and then riding out the entire third to walk away with the 1-0 decision.  In the third place match, it would be a case of déjà vu against New Jersey’s Christopher Cannon.  In identical fashion to his previous victory over Denney, a second period escape would be all Colom would need as he rode his way to victory, working a crab ride for much of the last 45 seconds and just missing near-fall on at least two occasions in the last half minute.

He then tackled one more challenge – a true second bout against Tanner Ward.  He emerged victorious in that contest by a 6-4 score to nab silver, a finish that caps off what has been an unbelievable offseason for Colom, as he adds this medal to the gold he won at the Journeymen Classic in September and the bronze he won in the Middle School division of the Super 32 tournament last month.

Last, but by no means least, would be Port Chester’s Ivan Garcia, who went 5-2 with both of his losses coming to the same opponent, California’s Alex M. Ramirez (3-1 decision in the quarterfinals; by fall in 2:27 in the third place bout).  Aside from his inability to master his rival from the West Coast, Garcia would cruise this weekend, using his excellent defensive skills to limit the offense of his foes. He would outscore his five victims by a cumulative tally of 22-2, beginning with 5-0 and 7-1 decisions in the first two rounds over Isaac Klinkhammer (2013 South Dakota Novice State runner-up) and Mitchell Mesenbrink (5th in the 2013 Wisconsin Kids State Tournament), respectively. Garcia would then shake off the disappointment of his first loss to Ramirez by going on a mini winning streak, beating back-to-back Arkansas wrestlers, Tristan Stafford (2-0) and Tripp Mays (1-0), before getting his hand raised one final time in the consolation semifinals, 7-1 over Jackson Eller.  The win over Eller would have to be considered one of the best of Garcia’s career when you consider that the former entered the tournament as a six-time ASICS/USA Wrestling Kids All-American in the international styles (including an Intermediate National Title in Greco-Roman in 2012).  While the weekend would end in defeat, there is no question that the Section I wrestler should be very proud of his effort as his top-4 finish here surpasses the sixth place showing he put forth last month at the Super 32 Tournament.

Tito Colom of Dunkirk was also in action this weekend, going 2-2 at 108 pounds.

For Full results, please visit Trackwrestling.com.

Moving to the Midwest: State Placer John Muldoon of Pearl River Selects SIUE

Pearl River’s John Muldoon was really excited to be first.

First for what? The first announced recruit at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville under new head coach Jeremy Spates.

Courtesy of John Muldoon

“That’s a pretty cool thing to be able to say,” Muldoon said. “It felt like a perfect time to go to SIUE. You’re going somewhere you know you’re wanted and you know they’ll be taking care of you.  Coach Spates has been around success wherever he’s been and I’m excited to help him build a program.”

Spates, an All-American at Missouri who recently was an assistant at Oklahoma and Cornell, took over the SIUE program a few months ago, just a year after the team moved into Division I.

Muldoon, who also considered schools like Sacred Heart, didn’t expect the Midwestern institution to be his destination when he began the recruiting process.

“Going in, I really didn’t think I would be going there,” he said. “But on my visit, I met the community and everyone was so friendly and nice.  They are putting so much time and effort into the wrestling program.  There is so much support academically and athletically and the coaches were great.  It’s a little far from home, but it just felt right. It felt like a perfect fit.”

In fact, Muldoon called his college decision the biggest accomplishment he’s had in wrestling to this point.

“Placing at the states [fourth at 120 pounds] was great, but finding a college that fits me is even better,” he said. “All the summers I missed out on vacations and hanging out with friends, all the work – it’s great to see it all pay off.”

It seems that it’s been paying off for years for the Pearl River senior.  As a freshman, he notched third in Section 1 after racking up close to 25 victories.  A year later at 113 pounds, he went 30-5, moving up to second in the Section behind [2013 state gold medalist] Alex Delacruz of Ossining. [It was a loaded bracket, as Dylan Realbuto of Somers, the state champion that season, took third in the Section].

Going into his 2012-13 junior campaign, Muldoon felt that he was ready to take a few more steps forward.

“Before last season, I had teammates, coaches, everyone telling me I could I compete at the highest level in the state of New York,” Muldoon said. “I started believing it myself.  I felt like the sky was the limit.”

He certainly followed through with a breakout year in another brutal weight in Section 1.  [Both the Division I and II state champions at 120 came from Section 1 and between the two divisions, four Section wrestlers placed in Albany].

“There were no slouches,” Muldoon said. “It was pretty cool to see how stacked it was at 120. You knew what to expect when you went to states after wrestling everybody.”

Muldoon said he believes many of those wrestlers will spread out among different weight classes in 2013-14 to make a stronger Section 1 squad at the Times Union Center.  But there’s one familiar opponent he welcomes another battle with this year.

“You could see another Muldoon-Delacruz matchup,” he said. “He might bump up to make it happen. That would make me happy – to get an extra shot at him.”

Muldoon took two of three contests from Delacruz in 2012-13, including a victory by disqualification on the way to a silver medal at the prestigious Eastern States Classic and a triumph in the Section 1 championship bout to earn his first title.

However, at the state tournament, Delacruz captured an overtime win in a semifinal bout on his way to the New York State crown.  Muldoon bounced back strong, winning his first consolation match and earning All-State honors with a fourth place finish.

This year, Muldoon plans to wrestle at 132 pounds, and while he has personal goals, he is focusing just as much on some other things he’d like to see happen before he leaves the Empire State for college.

“Pearl River hasn’t had a winning team record in a while,” he said. “For the coaches and everyone, this would be the year to do it.  I’d like to see more guys from Pearl River make names for themselves in the Section this year – I think we can be good county-wise.  I obviously also want to win a state title, for myself and also for my coaches. Last year, I thought I had a pretty good shot.  Knowing where I’m going to college, now I can focus on the state title. Before I go to SIUE, that’s another goal I want to knock off my list.”

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John Muldoon wanted to thank the Pearl River coaches — Grier Yorks, Billy Allison and Billy Donnelly — as well as the Pearl River alumni who helped to train him – Phil Donnelly and Matt Homenick.  In addition, he wanted to thank Bob Gullo, the Pearl River parents, all of the people that help out with the Michael O’Connell tournament, Athletic Director Mr. Santabarbara and of course, his parents.

From Shut Down to the Garden: Westchester Wrestling Ready to Grapple Again in 2013-14

Wrestling was back at Westchester Community College for the first time in quite a while.  And then, all of a sudden, the season came to an abrupt halt. The planned trips to national qualifying and then Nationals were no longer possible.

It began in the fall of 2012 for head coach Joe Regan and the squad, operating as a club team out of the student FSA (Faculty-Student Association) office.  Westchester performed well early on, in a tri-meet against Stony Brook and the University of New Haven and then at the Long Island Open and the New York State Intercollegiate ‘B’ event on the campus of Cornell University.

“We had basically three or four weeks to get the guys prepared for the New York tournament, so it was an accelerated process,” Regan said. “Our guys got beat, but were competitive. We had some top five placers at the Long Island Open. I was pretty satisfied with how they competed against a lot of Division I and Division III wrestlers.”

Next up was another tri-meet, this time against Mount St. Vincent and a Division III squad from Ohio.

“We didn’t have a full lineup but it was tough,” Regan said. “We got our butts kicked by the Division III team. We were winning against Mount St. Vincent before we got pinned in two straight matches and wound up losing.  It was frustrating.”

Regan and the Vikings went from being a bit frustrated about the results on the mat to a more significant frustration.

“What happened next – we basically were shut down by the institution because we were being run as a club and clubs needed a faculty sponsor,” Regan said. “It was awful, just terrible.  We were looking forward to going to NCWA [National Collegiate Wrestling Association] qualifying tournament and then the national tournament.  We saw Stony Brook do pretty well at NCWA nationals.  We beat them and I thought we had a couple of guys who could have been All-Americans.  But it was out of our control.  We weren’t allowed to continue.”

According to Regan, the group was determined to find a solution, but didn’t find success initially. In essence, the season was over for the Vikings.

“It didn’t look good for the continuing of our team as a club. There were all these roadblocks,” Regan said. “And then the athletic department called and said they would take us on.  I was flabbergasted. We were working with Adam Frank [the Director of Student Involvement] and he went to bat for us.  He thought we didn’t belong with the Spanish club and all the other clubs – we belonged in athletics.  The Athletic Director told us he didn’t have much of a budget for us, but we could be a part of the department. It was incredible.”

So, according to Regan, the team will return to action in 2013-14.  The Vikings will compete as part of the NCWA, but there’s a different long term plan.

“The next goal is to join the NJCAA [National Junior College Athletic Association] and field a great junior college program in the future,” he said.

Whatever happens next, Regan believes the team has been embraced the surrounding area.

“There’s good support behind us,” the coach said. “We’re excited this is happening for the community. Wrestling is popular in Westchester and Putnam counties and we also draw from Beat the Streets.  It’s a fantastic thing to have an opportunity for wrestlers here.  Not everybody is ready to stop wrestling after high school and only a small percentage go to Division I. With student loans going the way they are, you’ll see more and more kids going local.  Here, guys can go to open tournaments to wrestle Division I and Division III guys but in the end have their own national tournament.”

The nationals won’t be the only big event next season.  The Vikings will also have the chance to take the mat at the World’s Most Famous Arena for the Grapple at the Garden on December 1 alongside some of the country’s top teams.  [Westchester will battle Stony Brook in a dual meet].

“I don’t want to take one ounce of credit for making that happen,” Regan said. “It was all [Stony Brook head coach] Shaun [Lally].  He’s doing a fantastic job and I’m grateful that he wanted to include us as a part of that great event.  He had a good idea to promote local teams at the NCWA level at the Grapple at the Garden and obviously we’re very excited to be a part of it.”

Regan’s also excited about what the future holds.

“We have a lot of work to do,” the coach said earlier in the summer. “We need to recruit and fill some spots. But we have some very good wrestlers back too.”

Among the grapplers that Regan mentioned were David Rivera (149), Justin James (157) and Ray Ramos (174).

Regan had positive things to say about the performances of those wrestlers on the mat and about their development throughout the course of the year.  And, they were also significant in another way, according to the coach.

“Those guys were a huge part of pounding the pavement on campus, fighting for our survival,” Regan said. “They were completely essential in fighting the good fight.”

Regan also thanked Dave Colagiovanni and Dominick Oddo for their help and acknowledged all the work of Alex Yntriago, who worked with the program from the start with initial head coach Joe Boxer, originally as an assistant and heavyweight coach and now in some other capacities as well.

“Alex [Yntriago] has a history with some of the kids from the Beat the Streets program and does a really good job with his relationships in the New York City area,” Regan said. “He likes the promotion side of things and does very well for us in that regard too.”

“Promotions is something I do for a living,” Yntriago added. “I like to work on ways to get coaches and wrestlers interested. My objective is to expand the program by getting New York City hyped about it. I think this program can be a launching pad for New York City, Long Island and local kids. My efforts are also on teaching guys how to be champions in life.”

His efforts also may be spent on the mat, as Yntriago has a year of eligibility left and could compete at heavyweight this season.

So, after a dramatic year, Westchester looks forward to competing again.  Regan discussed a solid schedule, including events such as the Grapple at the Garden, meets with Yeshiva and Bergen Community College, an invitational at the University of Southern Maine and the New York State Championships at Cornell.

“We didn’t think we were having a team for a while, so to be where we are is fantastic,” Regan said. “We have a lot to look forward to here at Westchester.”

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Westchester CC is working to raise funds to continue moving the program forward. (For more information on how to help, see this link).

'Pack' Mentality: Yorktown's Joe Mastro Commits to North Carolina State

 
 
Joe Mastro went to the ACC wrestling tournament in March as a fan. He plans on attending in the future as well – but as a competitor.  

The Yorktown senior, a third place finisher at the Times Union Center in February recently committed to North Carolina State.

“It’s a great environment and a great school,” Mastro said, adding that he chose the Wolfpack over Duke and Air Force. “I’ve known Coach [Pat] Popolizio for a while and I think with Coach Beasley and Coach Kelly, NC State is going to do great things.”

Photo by BV

Mastro sees his future team as a group on the rise. His Yorktown squad was the same way during his career, led by the Class of 2013, which boasted a quartet of state qualifiers, including Mastro, Steven Sabella, David Varian and Thomas Murray. The program achieved new heights, including a runner up showing at the Section 1 tournament this year with three champions and a top 15 finish in the team race in Albany.

“This senior class has been together since eighth grade and we’ve been progressing ever since and moving our way up,” Mastro said. “It’s been exciting. We all want to see continued success of the program. We want to see the guys there now break the records we set.”

One of those marks certainly won’t be broken. Mastro will always be the first-ever state placer from the school, albeit by a thin margin.

“It’s funny because right after I took third, I ran over and my teammate Thomas Murray was just starting his [182-pound] match for third,” Mastro said. “I was the first placer, but it was pretty close – I probably got it by about five minutes.”

Given his bronze medal performance, Mastro also currently owns the best-ever finish in Yorktown history (Murray earned fourth). But it wasn’t easy.

In his first trip to the state tournament, Mastro said the nerves got to him in his opening bout with Konstantin Parfiryev of the PSAL. Before he knew it, he was in a 5-0 hole and despite a furious comeback, he dropped into the consolation bracket with a 7-5 loss.

But it didn’t take him long to turn things around.

“I had to regroup,” he said. “I loosened up and told my coach it was time to come back and take third. It was long and grueling, but I was able to get it done. I really turned it up and felt like I wrestled the way I should have in my first match. It was a total 180 from how I started. I had a short term memory about it and put a lot of points on the board.”

He definitely did.

First, a 17-1 technical fall, then a pair of major decisions over the number two and three seeds, Angelo Kress of Columbia and Zach Joseph of Shenendehowa.

Then, in the consolation semifinals, he met Dan DeCarlo of Port Jervis, a grappler who had beaten him at SUNY Sullivan in January in a close decision.

“I felt like I had controlled that whole match at the Eastern States,” Mastro said. “I had a 1-0 lead with about 10 seconds left and gave up a reversal. I really screwed up. I wanted to go out and prove that I was better than him and the first match was a fluke. I was excited to wrestle him again.”

His excitement showed as he blanked DeCarlo 5-0 to advance to the third place bout, where he captured his fifth straight contest with an 8-4 triumph over Johnson City’s Zach Colgan.

So he’ll enter NC State having finished his high school career on a high note. And he’ll join a growing number of New York grapplers heading to Raleigh.

“I’m definitely looking forward to the warm weather,” Mastro said. “But I think what’s really exciting is that I already know people down there. I’ve known [former Section 1 star and 2013 NCAA qualifier] Sam Speno for a long time and it will be fun to compete with him and some other guys from New York. It’s great that it will be a familiar environment even though it’s pretty far away.”

Who Has Earned Spots in Albany? Sectional Championship Results

 
 
For the results of the Sectional Championships around the state (by Section), click here.

For the list of qualifiers by weight class, click here.

We will update these as information becomes available.
 
 

Two-Time State Finalist Trey Aslanian of Edgemont Picks Princeton

Trey Aslanian, Photo by Boris V

The 2012-13 Princeton roster includes three New York wrestlers.

There will be at least one more next fall as Edgemont’s Trey Aslanian gave a verbal commitment to the Tigers on Thursday after also considering Harvard and Penn.

“Princeton is such a good academic school and that was important to me,” he said.  “But what really separated Princeton was that I fell in love with the coaches.  I felt really comfortable around them and I think they can take me to that next level.”

The Tigers have had recent success in the lower weight classes.  Last season, the squad sent Garrett Frey (125 pounds) and Adam Krop (141) to the NCAA tournament and in the offseason two-time NCAA champion Joe Dubuque joined the staff.

“It’s definitely a great environment for lightweights,” he said, adding that he plans to compete at 125 pounds. “I loved the intensity that I saw.   What really stood out to me was that the team was like a family. Everyone is so close to each other yet they were able to push each other during practice.  I could see myself fitting in really well.”

The future Economics major said he’s happy to have made his decision so he can fully direct his attention to his goal of winning his first state title after making the podium in New York each of the past three seasons (in addition to earning All-America honors at Fargo).

“Now I can focus that much more on getting better,” he said. “I’ve been putting a lot of time in on the mat, rolling around with my brothers, [Cornell recruit] Dylan Realbuto and working with Vougar Oroudjov.  I’m just sharpening my skills, getting ready.”

He’s getting ready to make a run at the top of the medal stand at 120 pounds after taking second at 103 and 113 the past two campaigns.  And then, it’s off to New Jersey.

“I definitely want to thank my parents who have helped me every step along the way,” he said. “Also, [Princeton head coach Chris] Ayers, who has been very welcoming and has helped throughout the process. I’m really happy with my decision. Once I took my visit to Princeton, I knew it was where I wanted to be.”

For more on Trey Aslanian, see this article from earlier in the fall.

Somers State Champion Dylan Realbuto Selects Cornell

Dylan Realbuto, Photo by Boris V

The 2012-13 Cornell wrestling roster has three sets of brothers – the Bosaks, the Davids and the Scotts.  In the future, there will be at least one more to add as state champion Dylan Realbuto committed to join his brother Brian with the Big Red.  (Brian is currently taking a greyshirt year with the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club).

“Having Brian there was a big factor for me,” Dylan Realbuto said. “He never pushed me towards Cornell – he let me make my own decision.  But he always made sure to tell me that he would like if I came to Cornell too.  There were a lot of reasons for my decision.   I really like the school and the campus.  The entire feel I get when I’m there is great – it reminds me of home.  I also know that the training set up is really good.  There are so many good wrestlers between 125 and 141 to train with.”

Realbuto, who chose Cornell over Columbia and North Carolina State, said he plans to compete at either 133 or 141 pounds in college.

As for this season, Realbuto is shooting for a third straight appearance in the state finals in Albany.  As a 96-pound sophomore, he was the runner up to two-time champion Kyle Kelly of Chenango Forks.  This past February, he grabbed the gold medal at 113 pounds in what might have been the tournament’s most dramatic ending.   Realbuto earned a takedown as time expired in the third period against previously undefeated Vincent Deprez of Hilton High to capture an 8-7 victory.

“There were four seconds left on the clock and we had a restart.  I remember thinking that I just couldn’t lose,” he said. “When we got on the starting line, I was nervous but I never doubted myself.  I thought I could win that title.”

He attributes part of that belief to Max Askren, who has coached him closely over the past few years.

“Max has helped me tremendously,” he said. “Before he got here, I talked about winning a state championship, but he made me believe it was really possible.  He inspired me to take my wrestling to the next level.”

He’s now striving to make it two titles in a row, either at 126 or 132 pounds.  Then, he looks forward to moving up to Ithaca.

“I’ve gone to visit Brian a couple of times,” he said.  “I was actually there this past weekend and then went up to Buffalo with him [for the Buffalo Invitational, where Brian took third, dominating in his victories and losing only to champion Josh Demas of Ohio State in multiple overtimes].  I think he wrestled well. Brian’s style hasn’t really changed much, but he’s improved so much over the past few months.”

Dylan Realbuto feels that he’s improved as well.  He looks to prove it not only at the Times Union Center in late February but at several events in the spring and summer.

“I want to win states again this year,” he said.  “But I also want to go to NHSCAs in Virginia Beach for the first time and win a title there.  Then I want to go and win Fargo.  I want to end my career ranked and as an All-American before I go to Cornell.”

For more on Dylan Realbuto, see this story, from earlier in the fall.