Running with the Bulls: South Jefferson's Daniel Smith Chooses Buffalo

Daniel Smith estimates that he has wrestled around 100 matches since his junior campaign with South Jefferson came to a close.

“When the offseason started, I went to school, lifted at school and then a few times a week, I drove two hours to Chenango Forks to practice with Team Worldwide,” he said.  “Coach Rick Gumble runs a great freestyle practice and it was worth it to make the drive.  From the end of the high school season, I probably wrestled every weekend.”

While he was busy on the mat, in the weight room and in the car, he wasn’t too busy to decide on his future home – the University at Buffalo.

Smith, who also considered Binghamton, Bloomsburg and Drexel, said that his comfort with the coaching staff was one of the big factors for him.

“My brother [Darrick] wrestled for John Stutzman so I’ve known him for a long time,” Smith said. “They called me on July 1st – the first day they were allowed to call recruits. When I went on my visit, I loved the campus and liked all the coaches.   They were on the coaching staff at Fargo too.  I felt like we had a great relationships and it made my decision pretty easy.”

Courtesy of Daniel Smith

Smith said he expects to compete at 197 pounds at the college level after wrestling at 170 as an 11th grader in Section 3.

“I gained around 15 pounds since last season,” he said. “In college, they’ll put me on a diet and weight program to fill out my 6-foot-2 frame.  I’ll be going up to 182 for this season.”

Smith expects great things in his senior year in the new weight class after a 46-3 junior campaign that didn’t conclude the way he imagined it would.

“I was unhappy with how my season ended,” he said of a 1-2 showing in Albany. “I believe I was better than where I finished.  It was my first time at the state tournament and in a way I don’t think I was prepared because after the first weekend of the season, I didn’t really have a contested match.  Some of my matches weren’t high scoring but I always felt like I was in control.”

He didn’t have to wait long to face a tough challenge in Albany.  After winning his opening bout, Smith faced top-seeded Christian Dietrich.  The nationally-ranked Greene star defeated Smith 3-1 on his way to the title bout.

“I lost that heartbreaker [to Dietrich] and kind of fell apart after that,” he said. “I was really frustrated because I wanted to be in the finals.”

While he didn’t reach the finals as an individual, Smith experienced championships on the team level in 2013-14.  South Jefferson had a stellar season, winning the Section 3 Dual Meet and tournament championships while going 28-0 overall.

“It was great,” Smith said. “It’s a lot of fun when you’re winning. When I was an eighth grader our team went undefeated and it was really exciting.  I was hoping we could do it again.  Then, this year we did it with probably one of the best teams we’ve ever had at South Jefferson.”

He expects good things from the squad again despite the losses of some key performers to graduation.  In addition, longtime coach Pat Conners retired.  (John Babcock, who Smith said has been coaching him since he was in seventh grade, has taken the reins of the program).

In addition to another strong showing on the team level, Smith expects a different ending for himself.  He has demonstrated the ability to wrestle with top notch opponents, including wins this spring over Christian Stackhouse of New Jersey, who went on to place third at Fargo and Pennsylvania’s Ryan Preisch, who was fourth in North Dakota.  Smith picked up All-American honors of his own at the NHSCA Nationals as a sophomore.

He plans to get onto another podium this year —  at the Times Union Center — before moving on to the MAC to wrestle for the Buffalo Bulls.

“I think being at the state tournament before will help me this year,” he said.  “My team is also supposed to go to Eastern States, so hopefully I’ll beat some kids there and have some seeding criteria for the end of the year. My goal is to be a state champion and whoever I have to beat to do it, I plan on beating.”


A Champion and a Worthy Cause: VHW Teams Up With Watertown Wrestling to Help Keep the Program Alive

In 2008, Watertown wrestling celebrated a New York State champion as Luke Bohn brought home the gold at 135 pounds for the Section 3 school.

Just two years later, however, the program was removed from the budget.  But head coach Chris Adams and the wrestling community weren’t ready to let go.

“The school cut wrestling and field hockey at the same time,” Adams said. “They said it was about the numbers, but we had decent numbers. It was outrageous.  The field hockey team disbanded, but we weren’t going to do that.”

So, it was fundraising time.  According to Adams, the squad has to come up with around $6,000 each year to cover all costs, including entry fees to events and transportation.  (Adams said the coaching staff works as volunteers for the school team and at a local club).

“It gets harder and harder every year because we’re asking the same people to help; doing the same fundraisers,” Adams said.

A new opportunity emerged earlier this spring, however.  When Adams was in Indianapolis coaching the New York team at the Schoolboy Nationals, he told Watertown’s story to World champion and Olympic medalist Vougar Oroudjov, who was there with his son Vito, a New York State runner up at 99 pounds as an eighth grader.

“I heard about their problems with the budget and said I would come and do a clinic for free to try to help,” Oroudjov said. “It’s important to keep wrestling teams going so we promised to help out.”

Oroudjov brought five of the wrestlers from his Long Island club, Vougar’s Honors Wrestling (VHW), up to Watertown and back last Friday, to ensure they’d be back in time for Saturday’s Summer Heat event at Hofstra.

“It was amazing for him to drive six hours there on Friday, do the clinic and then drive six hours back that night,” Adams said. “It was a huge favor for us and he was great. Local kids weren’t used to that style of wrestling and it was a huge hit with the wrestlers who were there. It was great that the kids got to learn a lot and meet someone like Vougar. The clinic made a bit of a dent financially.”

Adams said that the money raised will help some wrestlers enter local tournaments, but there is still plenty of work to do.

“Our chicken barbecue is usually our big fundraiser,” Adams said. “We had it in June and it was highly successful.  Sometimes important causes come up. We have a modified wrestler who suffered a concussion in December and wasn’t able to go back to school the rest of the year.  He needs to travel back and forth to doctors a lot and we donated funds for him and his family.”

The campaign continues on for Adams and Watertown wrestling.

“We’ll have our pee wee tournament and we’ll do some other things like sell discount cards,” he said. “I love the sport and I went to Watertown High School.  We have more Section 3 champions than anyone.  Around here, that’s huge. We also have more state champions than anyone in our league. We have a very rich tradition.”

A rich tradition and a promising future, according to the coach, as there are over 100 kids in the pee wee program.

“Those wrestlers will come up to the varsity level down the road,” he said. “We want to make sure they have a program to wrestle for.  It’s difficult, but as long as the kids keep coming, I’ll keep coaching.”

Wrestling Dominates at Art of Combat Four



New York wrestlers from Section Four appeared on the Art of Combat Four card five times on Friday at the Broome County Arena, ending the night with four wins and only one loss.

The first fight on the preliminary card featured Tyler Bayer, a two-time Section Four champion out of Union Endicott. Bayer made quick work of his opponent Jon Ferguson, getting a very quick takedown before transitioning to full mount and raining punches down on his opponent for a TKO in the first round.

Next was another Section Four champion, Andrew Canale of Tioga Central, who got in the cage with John O’Brien. Canale started the fight with a takedown and got some punches in before surrendering a reversal. Things weren’t looking too good for Canale until he caught his opponent in an arm bar and forced the tap out to win by submission in the first round.


Another Section Four finalist, Jon Conklin of Union Endicott, took on Dave Lust Jr in one of the best fights of the night. In round one, Conklin and Lust stayed on their feet, exchanging strikes until Conklin got in deep on a double with about three seconds to go and slammed Lust to the mat to secure the round.

In the second, things didn’t go as planned for Conklin as he was knocked down twice. However, after that, something seemed to click for Conklin and he came out looking for blood. He secured three takedowns and unloaded with punches from the top position on multiple occasions.

“After the second round I asked my coaches if I won,” Conklin said. “They said ‘just go out and win the third round.’ So all I had on my mind was really decisively winning the third round.”

He did just that, coming out with a unanimous decision victory.

In another contest decided by decision, Matthew Kurey from Chenango Valley matched up against Tyrone Tilson at 185 pounds. The clash started slow, with the fighters feeling each other out. Kurey seemed to win the first when he capitalized on a throw attempt by Tilson with a takedown at the end of the round.

In the second, the competitors battled for good position and Tilson threw knees and a few punches to win the round. The third was decided when Tilson slammed Kurey to the mat and kept him there, throwing punches and knees to the body. When the winner was announced, it was Tilson.

Perhaps the most well-known wrestler on the card, Derak Heyman, was also the most dominant. He began the fight with Jon Lopez in a three-point stance as if in a wrestling match.

“It was a part of the plan because he’s a kickboxer and you can’t kick an opponent with three points on the ground, and I wanted to get in his head,” Heyman said.


The two-time New York state champion came out looking for a takedown early with a low ankle pick attempt that was easily stuffed by Lopez. From then on, whenever Lopez kicked, Heyman caught the leg and ended it with a takedown. He had three in the first round alone.

Entering the second, Heyman picked up another takedown before transitioning to full mount, locking up a merachonda hold and getting the submission victory.

Both Conklin and Heyman said afterward that they want to go professional in mixed martial arts eventually. Both said, however, that they need a bit more amateur experience before taking that big step.

“I want about five more fights before October, and then take eight or nine months just to train. After that get two more fights, see how I feel and then decide if I want to go pro,” Heyman said.

The Section Four alumni weren’t the only New York wrestlers in action. A pair of former grapplers from New Hartford also competed. Marc Giordano lost by submission in the first round to Paul McDonough at 170 while Mike Karam won a decision over TJ Duran at 135.

Overall, Friday was a great night for the wrestlers turned MMA fighters. For the Section Four competitors it was five fights and four wins. More Art of Combat action is coming soon to the area in Elmira on June 8.

Full results from this weekend’s action can be found at this link.

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.

Back on Top: South Jefferson and Johnson City Capture Dual Meet Titles in Sections 3 and 4


It had been three years for South Jefferson and a decade for Johnson City, but the wait is over for both. The squads captured the Section 3 and 4 Dual Meet titles, respectively, after living up to their number one seeds.

For South Jefferson, the run had a lot of similarities to the one in 2010.  In that year, the Spartans came into the Section 3 dual tournament undefeated and left as champions.

But the path wasn’t all the same, according to head coach Pat Conners.

“This was a new role for our program,” Conners said. “Instead of being the underdog this year, we were the favorite.  That definitely wasn’t how it was three years ago.  No one believed then that we could beat Fulton in the dual meet finals.  I had people tell me if we even made the finals, it would be great for us.  Then we knocked off Fulton to win it.  There were people who felt that was an ‘on any given day’ kind of thing where the better team doesn’t always win.  This weekend was different because I think our team proved that we are the best in Section 3 this year.”

It certainly looked that way.  Prior to the tournament, (last Thursday) South Jefferson faced off with General Brown in a battle of teams ranked in the latest New York State dual meet poll.  The lower-ranked Spartans came out on top, 40-25.

“Having that huge dual and knocking off General Brown only a few days before actually made me a little nervous,” Conners said. “We were confident going into the weekend, but sometimes it’s tough to get everyone refocused and ready so soon after a big win. But our team has a good mix of veterans and young kids and our six seniors did a nice job of leading.”

Things started off a little slow, according to Conners, in the first meet against Cicero-North Syracuse but the Spartans emerged with a 51-23 victory and followed that up with a 58-22 win over Cazenovia.

The next round brought Baldwinsville.  The Bees took a 10-3 lead after three bouts, but South Jefferson responded, recording falls in four of the next five matches to take a commanding advantage.  Registering pins were Trevor Cowles (160), Daniel Smith (170), Logan LaFlamme (182) and Ryan Charlebois (up a weight at 220). Despite forfeiting the last bout, the Spartans punched their ticket to the finals with a 43-31 result.

“In that case, the 160 to 195 pounders did the job,” Conners said. “They are all good wrestlers and when we get there, we count on bonus points.  We’ve had solid balance all the way through the lineup this year, though. Our 99 and 106 pounders (Jared Carroll and Caleb Beach) are a combined 62-4. [132 pounder] Jon Crast has made a nice comeback from surgery. Many other guys have wrestled very well. What’s been really great to see as a coach this year is that the bigger our matches have been, the better the kids have wrestled.  Our top wrestlers have won with bonus points and the kids who aren’t our top wrestlers have wrestled hard and given up only three points.”

That was true as South Jefferson topped squads such as Northern Adirondack, Victor and Cortland earlier in the campaign.  And it held true in the finals when the Spartans met General Brown for the second time of the week.

In the championship dual, the Lions won five of the first eight matches.  However, all five victories were by decision and with South Jefferson’s two pins and a decision, the score was knotted at 15.  That was the last time it was close.

“Losing five matches but all of them only three point losses was big,” Conners said. “When you wrestle the other team’s top kids and keep it close, it’s as important as a big win on your side.  We were tied and in good shape. And then we got on a roll and poured on points after that.  We only lost one match the rest of the day.”

So a 15-15 tie turned into a 45-19 rout.

“Each week, we’ve been challenging the kids and they’ve stepped up stronger and stronger,” Conners said.  “It’s rare to have a team wrestle well every weekend without real letdowns but this group did that.  It was a total team effort and our depth played a big role.  We had some guys stepping on the mat for the first time in the semis or finals while other teams were exhausted.”

That was one of the reasons Conners cited for the lopsided scores in the event.

“Our goal was to win the duals,” the coach said. “But I never, ever thought we would be as dominant as we were because of the caliber of teams in Section 3.  I was not surprised that we won but very pleasantly surprised that our kids were as dominant as they were.”

Dominant enough to stand atop Section 3.  But will that translate to the top of New York State?

Conners said he might reach out to Midlakes coach Steve Howcroft to see if a dual between the unbeaten Division II powerhouses could be arranged.  (Midlakes is ranked first among small school teams). But whether that happens or not, it’s been a great ride for the Spartans as they demonstrated that they are among the Empire State’s elite.

Johnson City’s Return to the Top

Being among the elite is something Johnson City head coach Jordan Glenn can relate to very well.  When he was a competitor for the Wildcats, he remembers his team being among New York’s best every season.

“In our heyday, from the early 90s to mid 2000s, there was a stretch where we didn’t lose to a Section 4 team for 10 years,” Glenn said.  “I don’t think we finished outside the top 5 at the state tournament very often.  Winning this weekend is absolutely a big deal for us because this is the first event we’ve won as a team in recent years.  The last time we won Section 4 Duals was in 2003.  This builds a good foundation for us and with a team full of juniors and younger wrestlers, we think we can raise the bar for next year and continue to excel.”

They excelled this weekend, beginning with a dominant 50-24 victory over Sidney in the first round of the event. The Wildcats got out to a 31-6 advantage and never looked back.  The second dual was similar, in a 42-27 triumph over Vestal.

“In those first two matches, we were in control most of the way,” Glenn said. “We never take anything lightly because with duals it can come down to matchups and a coin flip. We knew those teams had potential to match up with us, but we were solid all the way through. Our depth also was important. We had a couple of guys injured and we were fortunate to have some other guys fill in and do very well.”

That was the case in the finals match against Union-Endicott.  With the loss of state qualifier Greg Kleinsmith to injury, Johnson City bumped a number of wrestlers up a weight and adjusted the lineup.

One of the wrestlers stepping in was one of the squad’s few seniors, Ben Fay. With his team trailing 6-0 (Johnson City forfeited at 132), he took the mat for his first action of the tournament against  Xavian Hughes, the top-ranked wrestler in the Section.  He held the Tiger wrestler to a decision.

“Ben hasn’t necessarily been one of the guys competing for individual championships, but he had a solid performance. He filled a void and allowed maneuverability that we otherwise wouldn’t have had,” Glenn said. “He preserved points when we needed him to.”

Facing a 9-0 deficit, Johnson City took over, capturing the next six bouts.  It started with a decision by Nick Bidwell at 145 and was followed by another three points for Joseph Hamdan at 152.

“Joe Hamdan was out of the lineup for the better part of a month with injury,” Glenn said. “This was his first competition back and he came through with three wins.  The first two were by pin. In the finals, it was tougher.  The lack of mat time got to him a little. But he found a way to win a close match in overtime. That turned out to be huge.”

Photo by BV

Also huge were the flurry of bonus points the Wildcats racked up next with pins by Zach Colgan (160), Dominic Taylor (182) and Reggie Williams (195).  Added into the mix was a technical fall by Conner Halladay at 170.

“When you have anchors you can count on like Zach Colgan and Reggie Williams, it sets the tone,” Glenn said. “We have a very strong core from 138 to 195 and those guys really came through for us.”

After Williams stuck his opponent at 195, Johnson City had a 29-9 lead.

Union-Endicott mounted a comeback, with Lucas Depofi and Andrew Brinser coming out on top at 220 and 285 to cut the team score to 29-18.

But lightweights Tyler Brazinski (99 pounds) and Isaiah Colgan (106) picked up victories by technical fall and pin, respectively, to put their team up 40-18 and clinch the championship.

“Tyler has had a really good week,” Glenn said. “He was bumped out of lineup last year and didn’t place in the section.  But he came back ready this year and this past week alone he’s beaten three of the four top ranked kids in the Section. He didn’t get scored on by any of them. And Isaiah Colgan has been really solid all year. He won three matches at Eastern States and is certainly on a level where he can compete for a Section championship, as he did last year.”

Union-Endicott finished strong as Mikey Carr, Anthony Noce and Zack Bendick recorded falls in the final three matches of the dual to make the final score 40-36.

“We had the dual meet clinched, but their 113, 120 and 126 wrestled really well with three pins in a row,” Glenn said. “We did our jobs to have the lead that we did. We were talking [Saturday] night that we’re starting to develop a little bit of a rivalry with U-E after they beat us in the semis last year at this tournament. We know they are getting better and developing; you can see the progression with their wrestlers.  As for us, we set lofty goals this year and even though we didn’t do as well as we hoped at U-E Duals [in early January], we are excited to be back as the top Dual Meet team in Section 4 this year.”

Back at the top.  South Jefferson and Johnson City earned it after their performances this weekend.


Weekend Notes: New Dual Meet Champs in Sec 3 and 4, Fairport Earns First Monroe Title Plus Recaps from Shen, Edgemont, Kohl, Islip Cup and More

What a weekend. From dual meet championship tournaments to tough individual events, there were great matchups all over the state. The following touches upon some of the notable results and more may be added later.

South Jefferson and Johnson City captured Dual Meet Championships in Section 3 and 4, respectively. The Spartans dominated their finals matchup with General Brown while the Wildcats won a four-point dual over Union-Endicott. 

In individual tournament action:

• Shenendehowa won its own event with five champions, with St. Anthony’s and Yorktown taking second and third. Among the titlewinners for the Plainsmen were highly ranked Nick Kelley, David Almaviva and Levi Ashley.

• Monroe County in Section 5 has a new champion for the first time in 22 years. Spencerport had captured the last 21 titles, but this weekend it was Fairport earning that school’s first county championship. A number of wrestlers who appear in our latest state rankings won titles at this event, including Colton Kells of the champion Red Raiders, who topped Spencerport’s Collin Pittman in overtime at 195.

• At the Islip Cup, a pair of New York contenders at 170 pounds, Joe Piccolo of Half Hollow Hills West and Carlos Toribio of Brentwood, squared off for the second time this season. Toribio took the first meeting by decision but in the rematch, Piccolo recorded an early pin. It continues a strong run by Piccolo, who was third at the Eastern States Classic last Saturday.

• Huntington took first at the Kohl Invitational with five titlewinners, including Most Outstanding Wrestler Joseph Puca at 152 pounds. Puca upset state ranked Dan DeCarlo of Port Jervis.

• Edgemont, led by 120-pound winner Trey Aslanian, was the team champion at its tournament over the weekend, finishing ahead of Section 1 foe Pearl River.

• Clarence took the ECIC Championship, led by champions Ryan Burns (106), Jake Weber (160) and Nate Ward (285).  Taking MOW honors was Cheektowoga’s Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, who won the 132 pound class with a pin.

• At the Beacon, Valley Central won a close team race by three points over Arlington. Leading the way was top ranked Alex Delacruz of Ossining, who notched a technical fall in the finals.

For more details on these stories, read on:

Section 3 and 4 Dual Meet Championships

Johnson City, the top seed in Section 4, opened with a 50-24 victory over Sidney before defeating Vestal by a 42-27 score in the semifinals. In the championship dual, Johnson City took a commanding lead, clinching the dual with three matches remaining. Union-Endicott’s late rally made the final score 40-36.

In Section 3, the conclusion lacked drama. Top seeded South Jefferson, ranked seventh in the latest state dual poll, looked like one of New York’s elite squads throughout the competition. The Spartans began with a 51-23 result against Cicero-North Syracuse before topping Cazenovia 58-22. In the semifinals, the team had its closest meet of the event, 43-31, over Baldwinsville. In the finals, South Jefferson left little to chance, emerging with a dominant 45-19 score.

Earning wins in the opening three duals for the champions were Jared Carroll (99), Caleb Beach (106), Trevor Cowles (160), Dan Smith (170), Logan LaFlamme (182) and Ryan Charlebois (220).

For more on the championships by Johnson City and South Jefferson, check back tomorrow for a more detailed story.

Shenendehowa Tournament

The host team collected 209.5 points, well ahead of St. Anthony’s at 149 and Yorktown’s 95. The Plainsmen received championship performances from five grapplers – Kevin Parker (120), Nick Kelley (138), David Almaviva (145), Chris Naccarato (160) and Levi Ashley (195).

A host of additional wrestlers ranked statewide took the mat in Section 2. At 113 pounds, returning state runner up Cheick Ndiaye edged St. Anthony’s Ben Lamantia 3-2 and Joe Mastro of Yorktown grabbed gold at 152.

A pair of ranked wrestlers were upended in the finals – Luis Weirebach of Hoosick Falls topped Eastern States medalist Golan Cohen of Colonie at 106 while Elliot Antler of Xavier edged St. Anthony’s Johnny Vrasidas at 170. In a battle of 182-pound wrestlers we expect to make some waves in Albany, Thomas Murray of Yorktown topped Hoosick Falls’s Brad Burns.

For further results from the event, see here.

Monroe County Tournament

As mentioned previously, Fairport won its first Monroe County league title after 21 consecutive years of championships for Spencerport. The Red Raiders had a large number of placers, including titlewinners Colton Kells at 195 and Jordan Seidel at 170.

Courtesy of Jason DePrez

This event featured a number of grapplers who are featured prominently in the latest individual state rankings. Among them were top 99 pounder, Yianni Diakomihalis of Hilton, who earned a major in the title match and took lightweight Most Outstanding Wrestler honors. He was joined on top of the podium by teammates Vincent DePrez (138), Anthony DePrez (145) and Mike Spallina (152), an eighth grader. Spallina wasn’t the only young wrestler to take top billing. After impressing nearly everyone in attendance at the Eastern States last weekend, seventh grader Frankie Gissendanner of Penfield put up another outstanding performance, taking the 126-pound crown over top seed Rosario Venniro, 3-1.

Spencerport was well represented among the titlewinners as well, with champions Jonathan Haas at 106, Trent Egenlauf at 182 and Austin Coleman at heavyweight. Grabbing heavyweight MOW honors was 160-pound champion Josh Powell of Churchville-Chili.

For more details, see here.

Islip Cup

Brentwood sat atop the team standings at the Kris McDonald Islip Cup, ahead of Sachem North and Islip. Leading the way for the top squad were champions Alex Romero (145), Luis Rodriguez (152) and David Rodriguez (285).

Photo by BV

Several state title contenders also picked up first place as the Half Hollow Hills West duo of Tyler Grimaldi (160) and Joe Piccolo (170) were victorious. As mentioned earlier, Piccolo avenged an earlier season loss to Brentwood’s Carlos Toribio with a first period pin. Both will be in the podium picture in Albany. Sachem North’s Gio Santiago has experience on the medal stand at the Times Union Center, as he took sixth a year ago. He continued his solid campaign with a fall over Jagger Rebozo in the 182-pound final.

For more results, see here.

Kohl Tournament

Huntington racked up 268 points, outdistancing Monroe Woodbury (201.5) and Port Jervis (166) for the title. The Blue Devils were led by Most Outstanding Wrestler Joseph Puca, who upset state-ranked Dan DeCarlo of Port Jervis for the 152-pound crown, 1-0. Also making the top of the podium for Huntington were John Arceri (99), Corey Jamison (126), Nick Lupi (220) and Anthony Puca (285).

For full brackets, see here.

Edgemont Panther Tournament

Photo by BV

Edgemont won its own tournament by five points over Pearl River on Saturday, spurred by champion Trey Aslanian at 120 pounds. Also making the finals for the host team were Kyle Aslanian (99), Chris Kim (170) and Jason Worobow (182). One of the top 145 pounders in the Empire State, Tom Grippi of Fox Lane, pinned his way to the title.

For more results, see 2013 Edgemont Bracket FINAL RESULTS


ECIC Championships

In Section 6, Clarence won the title by almost 100 points over Lancaster.  Clarence had eight finalists, including three title winners.  For full results, see here.


In addition to the dominance of Ossining’s Alex Delacruz, there were many standout showings at this tournament. One of those was the 195-pound championship for Horace Greeley’s Scott Wymbs. When Wymbs, named the Outstanding Wrestler, beat Kingston’s Deon Edmond for the title, he became his school’s all-time wins leader.

Dual Meets

For additional dual meet results from the weekend, see here.

Joining the Pack: Carthage's Shayne Brady Chooses North Carolina State

Shayne Brady was the first Carthage wrestler to ever make the state finals last year when he was the runner up at 170 pounds as a junior to Dan Spurgeon of Plainedge.

While he recognized the significance of the achievement, especially for his school’s alumni, he wasn’t totally satisfied.

“It meant a lot to all the former Carthage wrestlers because they know it takes a lot to get to the finals,” Brady said. “They were really to happy to see someone get that far.  But I really didn’t expect anything less than getting to the state finals.”

His run to the title bout didn’t go unnoticed.  Brady was recruited by a number of college wrestling programs and earlier this week gave his verbal pledge to North Carolina State, where he anticipates competing at 184 pounds.

“[NC State] has very good coaches and it is an up and coming program.  I really liked the team and the campus is a really nice place in a good location,” Brady said, explaining his decision to choose the Wolfpack over schools such as Maryland, Virginia and Brown as well some Division III programs.

Photo by Boris V

Since his silver medal showing in Albany, Brady has stayed active on the mat, participating in events such as the Journeymen Classic in late September and the prestigious Super 32 Challenge in October.

More than 50 New York wrestlers competed at the Super 32 in the high school division but Brady was the only Empire State representative to make the podium, as he took eighth at 182 pounds.

“I thought I had an up and down tournament,” he said. “I was recovering from mono so it made my matches a little more interesting.  I wasn’t really ok with my performance because my goal going in was to be at least top six and I fell short. But it was a good time and a tough tournament.”

Brady will remain at 182 for the upcoming campaign, where he has set his goals high.

“I want to be an undefeated state champion,” he said.

To get there, Brady said he has been focusing on a number of things.

“I’ve worked a lot on power and strength,” he said. “And also perfecting my technique and the moves that I do well instead of trying to add many more moves.”

He believes those improvements plus the experience he gained at the Times Union Center in February of 2012 will assist him his senior campaign in Section 3 and beyond.

“I was pretty happy with my performance last year at the state tournament,” he said. “But I was really nervous being in the state finals and it took a little bit of time to get over that.  I think that made the difference in that finals match.  I’ll be ready this year.”


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


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)



Zack Zupan of Canastota Discusses His Commitment to Binghamton and His Drive For Another State (and National) Title

Photos by Boris Veysman

Zack Zupan celebrated his commitment to Binghamton this weekend by getting some much needed, and rare, time off.

“One of my buddies has a camp up North with a big fishing area,” he said. “We went up there and hung out a little bit.  It’s nice to go away and do some relaxing activities because my schedule has been pretty jam-packed.”

It would be fair to say that Zupan has been busy. Five days a week this summer, he’s been doing speed sessions and weight training for five hours, beginning at 8 o’clock in the morning, under the guidance of Todd Cutrie.  When he’s finished, he heads to work on a nearby farm for several hours before either teaching pee wee wrestling or participating in football practice in the evening.

The work he’s put in has been obvious on the mat throughout his high school career, as he has made his presence felt both in New York and on the national scene.  His accolades include a national title at the NHSCA Freshman tournament in 2010 at 160 pounds and two other All-America finishes at national events.  He also placed at the New York states on three occasions, including a championship at 170 pounds in 2012, which he believes had a lot to do with the training he put in with Cutrie.

While Zupan was happy to get his first New York crown in February, his performance in the title bout against Nick Mitchell of Frewsburg [a 3-2 decision] left him less than totally satisfied.

“I was a little disappointed with my finals match,” Zupan said. “I didn’t wrestle the entire six minutes like I could have. I definitely hesitated on some opportunities and could have scored more points than I did.  I’m looking to put on a better show next year.”

Before he takes the mat for Canastota, however, he has some business to take care of on the gridiron.  He is excited to begin double sessions with the football squad shortly, as he hopes to reach some milestones this fall.  He said if things go as planned, he believes he can break the state record for tackles and go over 5,000 yards rushing in his last days wearing his helmet and shoulder pads.

“I’ve played football for a long time and it’s not easy knowing I won’t be able to play anymore,” he said. “I know it’s hard to get recruited in New York as a 5-10, 200 pounder.  But you have to realize what you were given and commit to the amazing opportunities you have and make the most of them.”

That’s what Zupan plans to do.  He expects to compete at 182 pounds on the mat as a senior, wrestling for his father Nick (also a Section 3 champion), his coach who has taught him so much in the sport.

“My father went about it the right way,” he said. “He didn’t force me to wrestle.  He was busy coaching high school and getting back late on Saturdays from tournaments.  He told me if I really wanted to wrestle, I should set an alarm and wake him up on Sundays.  That way, it was my choice.  I always set the alarm.  We traveled all over the country and he coached me all the way through.”

So, do father and son still go toe-to-toe in the room?

“I wrestled with him a lot when I was younger, but he knows what’s good for him now,” Zack Zupan said. “He knew when the day would come and he retired when he was undefeated against me.”

When he goes off to college, Zupan feels he will be surrounded by familiar instruction.  In fact, similarities between his father’s Canastota staff and the Bearcat coaches contributed heavily to Zupan’s commitment.

“I think the coaching staff at Binghamton has the same philosophy,” Zupan said. “They believe in training smarter, not harder.  I think I’ll have a nice adjustment to college with the staff they have in place.”

Head coach Matt Dernlan took the reins of the program a few months ago and Zupan takes pride in being the first recruit of the Dernlan era.

“It’s absolutely significant to me,” he said. “I feel like I’m going to help start a great thing.  I get to be one of the first stepping stones in where this program wants to go.  The coaches believe there is so much talent in New York and they want to keep the best in state and win national titles that way.  I’m excited to be part of that.”

Zupan added that he chose the Bearcats over schools like Cornell, Virginia, North Carolina State and Lehigh for other reasons as well.

“I took an unofficial visit and liked that it’s not huge,” he said. “I mean, 16,000 people is a lot to me — it’s more people than are in my town.  But it’s on the smaller side for college and I feel like I’ll be taken care of there and I’ll be one of their main guys and I really appreciate that.  I don’t think I’ll be just another piece of meat which sometimes happens in Division I wrestling.”

He also is excited to follow the path of Section 3 alum Justin Lister, an All-American for Binghamton.

“I watched [Lister] a lot growing up,” he said. “He was coming out of high school when I was coming in.  I just liked the way he wrestled.  What I always remembered about him was that he was a really mean kid on the mat.  Off the mat, he was polite and nice.  But when it came to wrestling, he wasn’t shy.  He was a Section 3 All-American and I think it will be cool wrestling at the same school as him.”

But first things first.  Before he tackles the college scene, Zupan has a few more wrestling honors in mind.

“I want to be a dominant state champion and then win FloNationals,” he said. “Then, I can’t wait to go to college.  I’m really looking forward to working toward a national title at Binghamton.”