On to Buffalo: State Champion Sean Peacock Commits to the Bulls

Sean Peacock took third place in New York as a freshman at 96 pounds, but when it came time for the next season, the Midlakes wrestler wasn’t sure what to expect.

“I went up two weight classes [to 113],” he said. “People were surprised I didn’t certify at 108.  Going up those two classes, I expected less than the year before – I definitely wanted to place but I didn’t know what would happen.”

Photo by BV

But as the season progressed and Peacock continued to pile up victories at his new weight, his goals began to change.  In fact, despite enduring his second loss of the campaign at the SuperSectionals to Austin Keough of Warsaw, Peacock shared a prediction with his mother while traveling to the Times Union Center.

“When it came time for the state tournament, I felt more confident in myself,” he said.  “I told my mom on the way to Albany for the tournament that I somehow knew I would come away a winner that year.”

He did, in more ways than one.  In a loaded bracket full of medalists and champions, such as William Koll, Dillon Stowell and Trey Aslanian, Peacock earned New York State gold.

“Everything just kind of flowed and I had some good matches and ended up winning,” he said.  “It was kind of surreal.  It was shocking to know that I beat everyone in my bracket and for Division II, I was the #1 guy in the state.  It’s something I can’t describe.”

But Peacock said it wasn’t necessarily the highlight of the year.

“I think the biggest accomplishment was winning the [dual] state title as team,” he said. “I grew up with those guys and we’ve been working together for so long – since seven years old.  We’ve wrestled year round together, always putting in the time. The team part was very meaningful.”

A similar sense of team was one of the reasons Peacock recently decided to continue his academic and athletic pursuits at the University at Buffalo, where he projects to compete at 133 pounds.  (Peacock said he also considered Old Dominion and Bucknell).

After traveling to the campus in early September, he knew he wanted to return for an official visit.

“As soon as I met the team and witnessed how things were with them, I knew it was the right fit for me,” he said.  “Everyone seemed to mesh together really well and I really liked the coaching staff and the academic support they have in place. Knowing a lot of the New York guys was a factor too.”

Before he gets there, Peacock has things left to do in Section 5 and statewide.  Right now, for the three-sport athlete, that includes finishing the cross country season. (He plays lacrosse as well).  But no matter how many squads he’s a part of, Peacock always finds significant time for wrestling.

That time has been well spent over the years and has resulted in multiple All-America finishes at the NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach (including seventh at 120 in 2013) as well as a rewriting of the Midlakes record books.  Peacock already is the leading pinner in Screaming Eagles history, with over 100 falls in his career.

The individual state title he captured was the first ever for a Midlakes wrestler.  He tried to make it two golds in 2013, earning a spot in the New York championship match for the second straight year against Edgemont’s Trey Aslanian.  This time, however, the current Princeton grappler came out on top, 4-2.

“Last season wasn’t my best performance,” Peacock said. “Even though I was second last year and third as a freshman, I feel like my freshman year was more successful.  I realized that I needed to improve a lot more.  It’s definitely a motivator for me now.”

Peacock feels that he has improved this offseason, especially on his feet. He credits his frequent sessions with Wayne’s Bryan Lantry and Webster Schroeder’s Tom Lancie for some of his progress.

“My neutral has gotten a lot better and we’ve been working on a lot of different situations,” he said. “I’ve fine tuned my work on top.  I’m more prepared now.”

He’s prepared to take on all comers at 132 pounds, looking for another magical weekend in the state capital.

“That was one of the best weekends of my life,” Peacock said. “Wins or pin records aren’t important.  I’m going out to be a state champ, nothing less.”


Sean Peacock wanted to thank his parents, his teammates, Coach Steve Howcroft, Coach LaPaglia, Papa Brooks, and everyone he’s trained with over the years.


Regional Showdown: Section 5 (Western) Comes Out on Top at NYWAY Dual Event Featuring New York Standouts

The scene at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on Saturday was no doubt an interesting one. At the 23rd American International Karate Championships hosted by Kyokushin Karate Fitness USA, there were teams from several continents participating in various competitions, including those involving swords and boards. (The events included kata, weapons kata, knockdown fighting, grappling, clicker fighting and creative breaking).

And in the middle of it all, was a wrestling mat with some of New York’s top grapplers competing for regional bragging rights.

At the 1st Annual NYWAY Challenge Duals, wrestlers from Sections 5 and 6 took the mat.  After an overtime bout and a number of close matches, it was Section 5 (NYWAY Western Region) that came out on top 37-13 in a contest that included more than 10 state qualifiers.

“It was absolutely incredible,” said Adam Burgos of the G2 World Wrestling Academy, who was an event organizer. “It was a really diverse environment and great to be a part of it.  The wrestling was really intense and it was just exciting overall.”

Spencerport state qualifier Collin Pittman got the meet off to a good start for Section 5 (NYWAY Western Region) with a tight victory over Section 6 champion Jake Weber at 184 pounds.  But Pittman’s job wasn’t done.  He took the mat again in the final bout of the dual at 197, picking up his second victory of the day, this time by major decision.

“It started with a bang with two guys who were at the state tournament last year,” Burgos said of the Pittman-Weber bout. “It was an intense match – 0-0 going into the second.  Pittman wound up taking it 6-4.”

After Mitch Sever of Section 6 (NYWAY Far West Region) evened things up on the scoreboard with a victory over Hilton’s Sammy DePrez at 101, Section 5 went on a run with four wins in five matches, including three bonus point triumphs.

Penfield’s Parker Kropman picked up a close win over Hector Colom at 108 before state champion Yianni Diakomihalis notched a technical fall at 115, Tommy Lancie topped state qualifier Garrett Baugher by major at 128 and, in a battle of state qualifiers, Lou DePrez pinned Andrew Shomers at 134.

Following that last bout, Freddy Eckles took back some momentum with a big win of his own over Frankie Gissendanner at 140. However, Section 5 closed out the dual with victories in four of the last five, including wins by Skylar Kropman (147), Anthony DePrez (154), Joe Lupisella (162, against state qualifier Ryan Kromer) and the previously mentioned Pittman.

Also coming out on top for Section 6 (NYWAY Far West Region) were Sectional champion Ryan Burns, who captured a hard-fought overtime decision over Jake Morley at 122, and Nate Schwab, who edged Josh Goodman at 172.

(Full results are posted at the end of the article).

It was the first time wrestling made an appearance at the longstanding karate event, but it sounds like it won’t be the last.

“The tournament director [Shihan Michael Monaco] was ecstatic about how the wrestling went,” Burgos said. “He definitely wants to expand on it next year.  There was definitely enough space to put in more mats.  With an international presence in the karate tournament, we may even consider doing an international freestyle event.  This was a great start. Two hours of intense wrestling with a lot of high quality kids. It’s great to have this kind of wrestling in September.”

Courtesy of Adam Burgos


RESULTS (courtesy of Adam Burgos)

184: Collin Pittman (Western) over Jake Weber (Far West), 6-4

101: Mitch Sever (Far West) over Sammy DePrez (Western), 7-4

108: Parker Kropman (Western) over Hector Colom (Far West), 4-1

115: Yianni Diakomihalis (Western) over Tito Colom (Far West), 16-3

122: Ryan Burns (Far West) over Jake Morley (Western), 9-7 (OT)

128: Tommy Lancie (Western) over Garrett Baugher (Far West), 8-0

134: Lou DePrez (Western) over Andrew Shomers (Far West), Pin 3:10

140: Freddy Eckles (Far West) over Frankie Gissendanner (Western), 17-8

147: Skylar Kropman (Western) over Nate Martin (Far West), 9-3

154: Anthony DePrez (Western) over DJ Marshall (Far West), TF

162: Joe Lupisella (Western) over Ryan Kromer (Far West), 8-3

172: Nate Schwab (Far West) over Josh Goodman (Western), 4-3

197: Collin Pittman (Western) over Tyler Hall (Far West), 14-6

Head Coaches:

Western: Adam Burgos

Far West: Dave Hockenberry


After a Championship Year, NY's Top Freshman Yianni Diakomihalis Aims For Even More

Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing some of the top wrestlers in New York for the upcoming campaign.  We started with our #1 Junior High School grappler in the state, Penfield eighth grader Frankie Gissendanner (see link).  The following takes a look at top freshman Yianni Diakomihalis of Hilton High School.  A glance at more ninth graders to watch will be next.

It was a time of celebration at the Times Union Center last February, but Yianni Diakomihalis didn’t scream or pose or run around.

“I just went into relaxed mode,” he said. “I won the state championship and it was over.  A lot of people get really excited in that type of situation, but I kind of shut myself down and relaxed.”

He deserved the relaxation after finishing off a tremendous eighth grade campaign at 99 pounds in which he went 51-0 with 45 victories by bonus points.  In fact, according to the NWCA Scorebook, Diakomihalis won his first 34 bouts by either pin, technical fall or forfeit.

Photo by BV

His domination continued after those first 34 matches and even into the state tournament as he outscored his first three opponents in Albany 31-3 before taking on Syosset’s Vito Arujau in the championship contest.

It was not the first showdown between the eighth grade superstars.  In October of 2012, the two met in an entertaining battle in North Carolina that Diakomihalis won 10-8.

The state title bout was also exciting.  It went to the ultimate tiebreaker, where Diakomihalis grabbed a 3-2 victory and his first state crown.

“Winning the states was a pretty cool thing as an eighth grader,” he said when asked about the victories that stood out most to him over the past few years. “And winning the Super 32 was also really cool. It’s such a big tournament with so many top wrestlers from all over.  It was a big deal to me, especially beating a really good kid in the finals.”

The grappler he beat for the Super 32 title was Oklahoma’s Daton Fix in a 7-1 decision. Fix was a Cadet Triple Crown winner this year, including Fargo titles in Freestyle (113 pounds) and Greco Roman (106) this summer.

Diakomihalis was not in the field at either of those events in North Dakota as he wasn’t old enough to compete this year.  However, he looks forward to challenging himself in the international styles in 2014.

“I practiced a little bit in Freestyle this year, but I was too young for Fargo,” he said. “Next year, I plan to go to the big Freestyle tournaments.”

Fargo is a place where many wrestlers make a name for themselves.  Diakomihalis has already done that, as he is ranked in the top five in the country by both Intermat and Flowrestling in the Class of 2017.

“It’s really nice to see your hard work paying off and other people recognizing your hard work,” Diakomihalis said. “It’s exciting to see your name on those national rankings.”

But he mentioned that there’s work to be done to continue his climb.

“My dad always tells me that the summer is where you pass kids by and get a lot better,” he said. “During the season, everyone’s working hard.  If you put in the work in the summer, you can really pass other guys.”

He said in the “offseason”, he typically practices around five or six days a week, often in “The Garage” at his house, a wrestling room where grapplers such as Vincent, Anthony and Lou DePrez come to train.  In addition, he puts in significant time at the G2 World Wrestling Academy.

“When I’m home, I’m always thinking about wrestling,” Diakomihalis said. “I like watching videos or talking to my dad about wrestling.  When I’m at tournaments, I’m always watching, trying to see what I can learn from the high level guys. I also watch a lot of college wrestling and some of the world championship wrestlers.”

He mentioned Jordan Burroughs, Jordan Oliver and Kyle Dake as three of his favorites.  He also follows Dake’s former teammates as a big fan of the Cornell wrestling team.  [He even sports headgear with a “C” modeled after the equipment worn by Big Red All-American Nahshon Garrett at the NCAA tournament].

So while he enjoys thinking about the next level, his focus is on the high school scene for now.  He made an immediate impact for Hilton as a seventh grader in 2011-12, racking up a 35-3 record at 99 pounds with his only setbacks coming against All-Staters Jon Haas of Spencerport and Bryan Lantry of Wayne.

As an eighth grader, he avenged those losses to Haas, bumping up to 106 pounds to defeat the Spencerport grappler 3-2.  [Haas took third at the state tournament at that weight].

So, how does Diakomihalis improve upon an undefeated, state championship season?

“I’ve gotten bigger and I think I’ve become more explosive,” he said.

Diakomihalis said he may start out at 113 this year, with the current plan to drop to the 106-pound class after Christmas.  But while his weight will be different than last year, his goals are similar.

“I’m definitely looking to win states again,” he said. “That will always be a goal.  But I also want to win big tournaments on the national level.  I’ll be in the high school division of the Super 32 this year, which is huge.  My goal is to win that and then after the season win at FloNationals too.”

If he does all of those things, people around him will likely celebrate. And like in Albany in February, Diakomihalis may then take just a few minutes to relax.

NY's Top Junior High Wrestler Frankie Gissendanner Striving for the Top After Stellar Seventh Grade Season

Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing some of the top wrestlers in New York for the upcoming campaign.  We begin with our #1 Junior High School grappler in the state, Penfield eighth grader Frankie Gissendanner. Stay tuned for more … the freshman class will be next.

Earlier this summer, Frankie Gissendanner opened the Flowrestling website and next to the main story about the top Junior High School wrestlers in the country was a photo of . . . Frankie Gissendanner.

“I was proud of myself when I saw my picture there,” he said.  “I was excited to achieve one of my goals to be nationally ranked, but I was a little surprised too.”

Courtesy of Nikki Gissendanner

The Penfield star may have been a bit surprised, but most of those who watched him in New York last year weren’t shocked at all.  After an offseason in which he seemed to win a championship just about every weekend, Gissendanner had a stellar campaign in his first year on the varsity squad, racking up a 44-6 mark while capturing multiple tournament titles and placing at the toughest in-season event in the Empire State.  And all of this happened as a seventh grader at 126 pounds.

Did Gissendanner expect so much success so quickly?

“I wanted to win a state championship or at least make the top three,” he said of his expectations for the 2012-13 season. “I thought it was possible as a seventh grader.”

He certainly started off with a bang.  On the first weekend of December, Gissendanner went undefeated at the Mark Stephens Classic, earning the Most Outstanding Wrestler award for the lightweights.  It wouldn’t be the last time he nabbed MOW honors. In fact, he did it again more than once, including later that month at the prestigious Top Hat tournament in Pennsylvania when he grabbed an individual title against tough Keystone State opposition.

“It motivated me when I was facing that kind of competition,” Gissendanner said.

He again faced top talent at the Eastern States Classic in January at SUNY Sullivan.  In fact, the 126-pound bracket included more than 10 All-State wrestlers, including four state champions.  Gissendanner was undaunted, going 5-2 and defeating a pair of New York state silver medalists on the way to the podium.

After dropping his quarterfinal bout to now two-time state champion William Koll, Gissendanner rebounded with an 8-4 victory over 2013 state runner up Keanu Thompson.  And then, in the seventh place match, he defeated 2012 New York second placer Justin Cooksey 3-1 in sudden victory.

“When I took seventh at Eastern States, I thought I had a lot of opportunities to win or place at big tournaments,” he said. “I thought I would do well at the state championships.”

But first, he had to get there.  And he got the job done, earning the right to represent Section 5 by winning the SuperSectional title in Division I.  Among his wins at the event was a decision over James Arao of Fairport, who had topped Gissendanner early in the season.  In the championship contest, Gissendanner bested Schroeder’s Rosario Venniro 3-1 in overtime to punch his ticket to the Times Union Center. He was again chosen as the MOW.

“I think my biggest win last year was my Supers match in the finals,” Gissendanner said. “It qualified me for states and I did it against a senior – I took his position.”

He was excited to make his debut in Albany.  But he was less excited about the way things turned out in his first appearance in the state capital as he went 1-2, with his second setback coming at the hands of multiple-time state finalist Dylan Realbuto.

“I choked at states,” Gissendanner said. “I was really nervous. It was definitely a big change. It was so big with so many people, and it was like, ‘wow’. The atmosphere got to me.  I wish I went to states in sixth grade just to see what it was like to know what I was walking into.  But I hadn’t been there before and it was actually my first time being in an arena like that, ever.  It got to me.  But it will help me for the future.”

It may help this fall as he prepares for the upcoming campaign at high quality preseason events, where he said he plans to compete at 132 pounds.

“I’m going to Super 32 and the Journeymen Classic,” he said. “I’ll be ready. I’m really hyped.”

Gissendanner also gets hyped to talk about some of his favorites – Jordan Burroughs, Jon “Bones” Jones and the Iowa Hawkeyes.

“Iowa is my favorite college team,” he said. “Dan Gable was a great coach and I like the Brands brothers.  I like their motto in wrestling and their attitude. I went to see Iowa wrestle Buffalo last year.  That was a lot of fun.”

Gissendanner has fun on the mat, but also as a member of the Junior Varsity football and lacrosse teams.  Even in the other seasons, however, he can’t stay away from the wrestling room, training with the G2 World Wrestling Academy and Titan Worldwide.

The Penfield standout had ambitious goals going into his first varsity season a year ago and he once again has set the bar high as eighth grade approaches.

“I learned last year from the state tournament that every match should be treated like you’re just going live with your partner in the wrestling room,” he said. “You should always be calm and not let the crowd get to you.  This year, I want to win every tournament I step into.  And win every match.”

If he’s able to do that, there’s a good chance Frankie Gissendanner will find his photo on the front page of the national rankings once again. And instead being slotted in the #14 spot nationally, he could be ranked even higher.

Q&A With Warsaw Star Burke Paddock on His Commitment to Iowa and More

Last week, Warsaw state champion and four-time state placer Burke Paddock went to Iowa City.  Before leaving the University of Iowa campus, Paddock informed head coach Tom Brands and his staff that he will be joining the Hawkeyes in the fall of 2014.   New York Wrestling News spoke to Paddock about his decision and what else the future holds.

New York Wrestling News (NYWN): What were the main reasons you chose Iowa?

Burke Paddock (BP): I’ve always loved the way the Iowa team wrestles.  I always liked watching the Hawkeyes because the style there matches my style.  When I visited, I loved the guys, the coaches, the facilities – everything. I watched a practice and everything just felt right.

NYWN: You had planned on making more unofficial visits this summer.  What made you commit this week?

BP: I knew I had to go with my gut.  My brothers [Paul and Ian] gave me the same advice. Paul (Edinboro) told me to take all my visits if I wanted to, but that if something felt right, I should just do it. Edinboro was one of the first places he visited and he said he knew it was what he wanted. Ian (Ohio State) said the same thing.  Instead of messing around with other schools, I realized I just wanted to commit.

NYWN: What other schools were you considering?

BP: I saw a few other campuses.  I went to Binghamton, I saw Ohio State with my brother.  I went out to Clarion with my coach.   I liked all of them, but I didn’t feel they were 100% right like Iowa was.  Now I definitely feel some pressure is off.  I don’t have to worry about all the phone calls.  It was really hard telling Coach [Troy] Letters [of Clarion] and Coach [Jasen] Borshoff [of Binghamton]. I really liked them both a lot.

NYWN: What stood out to you on your visit?

BP: Carver Hawkeye Arena was one of the first places I went with Coach [Ryan] Morningstar.  Walking down those stairs, onto the floor – it was just awesome. I can’t wait to wrestle Coach Morningstar and guys like Mike Evans. There are so many great wrestlers there. 

NYWN: What weight do you plan to wrestle at Iowa?

Either 165 or 174.  I have a whole year to go in high school and then a redshirt year, so we’ll see how big I am then.

NYWN: You’re finally home – talk about the last few weeks prior to your visit to Iowa.

BP: I thought I wrestled pretty well at the Junior World Team Trials, except for my first match.  I wrestled back for third, but after watching the finals, I’m pretty sure I could have been there.

At the Junior Duals in Greco, I wrestled more All-American kids than not, and didn’t have too many close matches. In Freestyle, I was undefeated going into the last match.  The last wrestler [Ryan Blees of North Dakota] was tough, I beat him twice already at the tournament.  It was my 19th match of the week and I guess I was a little out of gas.  

[Paddock had four techs and two pins in Greco while going 7-0; he had six techs and a pin while going 8-1 in Freestyle].

NYWN: What’s next for you?

BP: I’m leaving pretty soon for Fargo.  I definitely want to bring back the gold for New York this year. I’m confident I can do it; now it’s time to just get it done.   I’m focused on winning Greco first.

After that, I’ll keep working out back home and I’ll play football in the fall.

NYWN: You pinned your way through the state tournament last year at 160.  What are your goals for this year?

BP: I want to get that state title again and help my brother [Aaron] get to states.  I’ll probably wrestle 170.

NYWN: Anything else?

I want to thank my family and especially my dad for being on the road with me for the last three weeks, driving me around to all these places.   I’m really excited to be a Hawkeye.

Photo by BV


From Bronze to Buffalo: Holley's Mike Silvis Stays Close to Home with the Bulls

Mike Silvis grew up less than an hour from the University at Buffalo, but his first-ever trip to the campus came just a few weeks ago when new head coach John Stutzman took the reins of the Bulls program.

He was sold right away.

“I didn’t think I would like a large school and I originally wanted to move away from home for college,” Silvis said. “But when I visited, I really liked it. It’s a strong school academically and I really want to be part of what Coach Stutzman is going to build.”

Courtesy of the Silvis Family

Silvis developed a strong relationship with the coach during the recruiting process when Stutzman was at Bloomsburg. In fact, the Holley senior gave a verbal pledge to the Huskies in the spring and was ready to wrestle in the EWL.

However, when Stutzman was brought on board as the new leader at Buffalo, Silvis began to reconsider.

“When I heard about [the coaching change], I was a little surprised, but I immediately got into contact and arranged my visit,” Silvis said. “Coach Stutzman is a very straightforward guy. He’ll tell me how it is and how it will be and I really believe he’ll build this team into a top notch program. He’ll help me achieve my dreams, even though I didn’t accomplish all my goals in high school.”

While the 220-pounder said he didn’t collect the state title he wanted while competing in Section 5, he did achieve plenty in a Holley singlet. Silvis reached the 150-win milestone and was a two-time state qualifier and placer, taking fifth as a junior and third as a senior at the Times Union Center.

That bronze showing in his final campaign was a highlight for the future MAC grappler, allowing him to not only get his hand raised in his last high school bout, but also to avenge an earlier loss against Nanuet’s Dan Breit.

“I lost to [Breit] in the finals at Eastern States,” Silvis said. “It meant a lot to get another chance against him. It felt really good to win a match I should have won the first time around and also to end my career on a win. That was really important to me.”

It wasn’t the last “big” match for Silvis as a high schooler, however. Although it was an exhibition, Silvis took the mat once again at the Long Island vs. Upstate Challenge at the end of March in Ithaca.

“It was truly an honor to be part of that event,” Silvis said of the All-Star meet. “I was really glad to be asked by the coaches. I met a lot of guys I never otherwise would have met and the atmosphere was great. All the Cornell guys were there, cheering us on, and it was a really good feeling. You had a four-time national champ [Kyle Dake], an Upstate guy, waving his arms, cheering in the crowd.”

Silvis gave Dake and the others in attendance something to clap for, capturing a 7-3 decision over Division I state runner up Steven Mills of Sachem North. Right after the bout, Team Long Island lost a team point in a dual that ended in a 27-27 deadlock.

“[Mills] was substantially taller than me and had a bigger build,” Silvis said. “I think a lot of kids look at me and don’t think I look very intimidating. I don’t think he expected the match to go the way it did. But I always go hard for six minutes and leave it all out there on the mat. It showed. I felt strong and wrestled really well to win.”

That’s exactly what he plans to do next year for the Bulls, likely at 285.

“I think I’ll be at heavyweight to start off with because that’s where the team needs me,” Silvis said. “After that, I may go to 197.”

Wherever he wrestlers, Silvis said he’s excited to be surrounded by other New Yorkers. Since Stutzman’s hire, a number of Empire State competitors have announced their intentions to attend Buffalo, including James Benjamin (Vestal), Alex Francik (Vestal), Anthony Liberatore (Williamsville South), AJ Voelker (Monroe Woodbury) and Corey Hollister (Perry). All, like Silvis, were state placers.

According to Silvis, it didn’t always seem like All-State status was in the cards.  The three-sport athlete, who also plays football and baseball, said he started to realize that his future was on the mat around 10th grade.

“As a little kid, I wanted to be a pro football player, but then I stopped growing,” he said. “Around my freshman year, I knew football wasn’t a fit for me long term. I didn’t really become a solid wrestler until I was a sophomore. I matured a lot the summer before and had a breakout season, beating kids that killed me the year before. That’s when I knew I wanted to keep wrestling.”

Helping with his transition to become one of the best in the Empire State were his coaches and teammates, especially assistant Andrew Grillo, a former state champion.

“Andrew Grillo has been my right hand man,” Silvis said. “I’m really thankful. He’s always there to practice with me and has made me into the wrestler I am today.”

The wrestler he is today is someone getting ready to take on the challenges of Division I.

“I am truly excited about the opportunity I have at Buffalo, being part of a rebuilding of the program,” he said. “I think we’ll do great things over the next few years and personally, I’m looking forward to showing everybody that I have a lot left in me. I wasn’t a state champion like I wanted to be, but I have a lot of room to grow and I believe Coach Stutzman will build me into a champion.”

Long Island 27, Upstate 27 – Results from Saturday's Challenge


Long Island 27, Upstate 27

99 pounds: Yianni Diakomihalis (U) dec John Busiello (LI), 9-3 Upstate leads 3-0

285 pounds: Mike Hughes (LI) dec El Shaddai Van Hoesen (U), 5-4 Tied at 3

106 pounds: Jon Haas (U) dec Kyle Quinn (LI), 7-4 Upstate leads 6-3

220 pounds: Mike Silvis (U) dec Steven Mills (LI), 7-3 Upstate leads 9-3

LI loses team point

113 pounds: Nick Piccininni (LI) dec Anthony Orefice (U), 6-0  Upstate leads 9-5

195 pounds: Reggie Williams (U) win by fall Dan Choi (LI) Upstate leads 15-5

120 pounds: Travis Passaro (LI) major Alex Delacruz (U), 17-7 Upstate leads 15-9

182 pounds: Gio Santiago (LI) win by fall Tim Schaefer (U), Tied at 15

126 pounds: William Koll (U) dec TJ Fabian (LI), 5-4 Upstate leads 18-15

170 pounds: Dan McDevitt (LI) major Jake Weber (U), 14-4 LI leads 19-18

132 pounds: Brandon Lapi (U) dec Chris Mauriello (LI), 6-0 Upstate leads 21-19

160 pounds: Burke Paddock (U) dec Tyler Grimaldi (LI), 9-5 Upstate leads 24-19

138 pounds: Connor Lapresi (U) dec Vinny Turano (LI), 5-0 Upstate leads 27-19

152 pounds: Corey Rasheed (LI) tech fall Kevin Thayer (U), 15-0 Upstate leads 27-24

145 pounds: Brendan Dent (LI) dec Vincent DePrez (U), 5-4 Tied at 27

Section 5 41, Finger Lakes Wrestling Club 29

120- Sean Peacock (Midlakes) tech fall Kaleb Stone (Tioga), Section 5 leads 5-0

126- Lou Deprez (Hilton) major Ryan Snow (General Brown), Section 5 leads 9-0

132- Frankie Gissendanner (Penfield) major Jesse Manuel (Tioga), 15-7, Section 5 leads 13-0

138- Trevor Hoffmier (Newark Valley) dec Vinny Romeo (Canandaigua), 8-5, Section 5 leads 13-3

145- Jordan Torbitt (Whitney Point) win by fall Skylar Kropman (Penfield), Section 5 leads 13-9

152- Anthony Deprez (Hilton) dec Tyler Silverthorn (General Brown), 7-5, Sec 5 leads 16-9

160- Josh Powell (Churchville Chili) dec Leland Slawson (Unatego), 4-2, Sec 5 leads 19-9

170- Christian Dietrich (Greene) major Jared Mesiti (Brockport), 12-4, Sec 5 leads 19-13

182- Shayne Brady (Carthage) win by fall Max Kowal (Webster Thomas), 19-19 Tie

195- Collin Pittman (Spencerport) win by fall Andrew Barnhart (Whitney Point), Sec 5 leads 25-19

220- Ryan Wolcott (Waverly) major Sam Eagan (Churchville), 14-6, Sec 5 leads 25-23

Hwt- Ian James (Greece) win by fall Connor Calkins (Alfred-Almond), Sec 5 leads 31-23

99- Brandon Gould (Watkins Glen) win by fall Parker Kropman (Penfield), Sec 5 leads 31-29

106- Andrew Flanagan (Holley) major Jackson Bell (Owego), Sec 5 leads 35-29

113- Bryan Lantry (Wayne) win by fall Zack Ruggles (Marcellus), Sec 5 wins 41-29

Division II New York State Tournament Recap: PSAL Gets First Champion; MOW Tighe Earns Third Straight and Much More

The New York state high school season has come to an end.  30 wrestlers walked out of the Times Union Center as champions on Saturday night and many others fought to become All-State.

(This article focuses on the Division II tournament.  The Division I recap can be found here.)

In Division II, it was a tight race, but in the end Section 5 reigned supreme, led by the top two schools in the standings – Midlakes and Warsaw.  Midlakes featured five All-State wrestlers – 120-pound runner up Sean Peacock, sixth placer Tyler Smith (195) and a trio of grapplers in the fifth position – Jason Charlette (106), Ralph Mateo (113) and Collin Fox (170).

Just five points behind was Section 6, propelled by the third place squad – Fredonia.  The Hillbillies boasted four medalists, led by the Gardners – Dakota (second at 126) and Jude (third at 145).  Also making the podium for head coach Alex Conti’s squad were Tyler Cassidy and Chris Saden.

Only one team had more than one champion over the weekend, and it was Gouverneur.  Seniors Dillon Stowell (113) and Hunter Ayen (195) made their final high school matches count as they brought a pair of titles back to Section 10.

Speaking of titles, Most Outstanding Wrestler Nick Tighe added another to his collection.  For the third consecutive year, the Phoenix grappler stood on top of the podium.  Joining him was Adis Radoncic, who made history of his own when he became the first-ever state champion from the PSAL.


99 Pounds:

The Champion: Derek Spann of Adirondack came in as the number three seed but went all the way to the top, utilizing his solid mat skills to get there.  In the finals, he was trailing after giving up a pair of takedowns to his opponent, Matteo Devincenzo, in the first period, but when Devincenzo took down to start the second, the complexion of the match changed.  Spann used back points there and then again in the third when he chose the top position to seal the title.

And Also . . . Devincenzo was Section 11’s highest placer in the Division II tournament. He had only one loss coming into the weekend (to Division I runner up Vito Arujau) and although not highly seeded, he looked strong throughout the tournament and will be someone to watch in the coming years.


106 Pounds:

The Champion: Top-seeded Luis Weirebach opened with a pin and then registered a trio of two-point wins the rest of the way, concluding with a 3-1 victory over Danny Fox in the finals.  The junior, who took fifth in 2012, became the first-ever state champion from his school.

And Also . . . Maple Grove’s Brad Bihler is pretty stingy with points.  Other than his 2-0 loss to Weirebach in the semis, he outscored his foes 31-0 (and added a pin) on the path to third place.  The Section 6 wrestler entered the tournament on a nine-match winning streak and continued to wrestle well in Albany.


113 Pounds:

The Champion: Dillon Stowell has significant experience at the Times Union Center, having placed numerous times in the past.  In his last chance as a senior, he reached the top of the podium after beating Nick Casella in the title bout.  In the semis, Stowell topped another veteran of the state tournament, Warsaw’s Austin Keough, by the same score (4-2) as their bout at Eastern States.

And Also . . . Casella knows how to make it to Saturday night. Last year as an unseeded wrestler, he competed for the 99-pound crown, losing a close decision. This weekend he was on a mission to finish higher and once again reached the title bout after defeating the #4 and #1 wrestlers in the bracket.  As a junior, he’ll no doubt be back for another crack at a championship.


120 Pounds:

The Champion: The third time was definitely a charm for Trey Aslanian of Edgemont.  In 2011, he led 5-0 before falling to William Koll in the state title match at 103 pounds.  In 2012, he dropped a decision to Sean Peacock of Midlakes for the 113 crown.  But on Saturday night, in a rematch with Peacock, Aslanian came out on top, 4-2, in his final high school contest.  The Section 1 grappler leaves as a champion, with his next destination Princeton University.

And Also . . . The finale against Peacock was a tough, close match but it wasn’t the only one for Aslanian.  In the quarters, the Edgemont standout trailed super freshman Kellen Devlin for much of the match.  (Aslanian won 4-3). Devlin, who came back to take the bronze, completed the year with just three losses and will be among the favorites for the next three seasons.


126 Pounds:

Koll, Photo by BV

The Champion: William Koll, a state champion in 2011, said he was disappointed with his third place showing last season.  He got back to the top of the medal stand over the weekend, cruising through the event with his closest match a 6-2 victory over Dakota Gardner in the last bout.

And Also . . . After medaling as an eighth grader in 2012, Gardner had only one setback during the season, in the Section 6 final against Brandon Muntz.  That result likely dropped him to the sixth seed in the bracket, however, he overcame that to get to the title bout as a freshman.  With three campaigns left for Fredonia, New York fans will certainly see Gardner on the podium a few more times.


132 Pounds:

Rodriguez-Spencer, Photo by BV

The Champion: In last year’s quarterfinals, Renaldo-Rodriguez-Spencer topped Tristan Rifanburg in overtime, a victory that propelled the Cheektowoga wrestler to the silver medal.  This year, the duo met again, but this time it was in the finals and both came in undefeated.  Rifanburg led 1-0 late into the third period on the strength of an escape and a rideout in the second.  However, Rodriguez-Spencer stayed aggressive on his feet and notched the winning takedown with time winding down.

And Also . . .  Rifanburg is now a three-time state finalist (2010 champion) and a four-time placer . . . and he still has two years of high school left.  Clyde Carey, on the other hand, has now completed his career at Addison. However, he finished on a high note.  A year ago, he wrestled with a significant injury in Albany and came within one match of a medal.  His road wasn’t easy over the weekend as he faced (and topped) returning All-Stater Zach Ayen in round one.  After losing to Rodriguez-Spencer, he captured four straight in the consolations to grab third place.


138 Pounds:

Tighe, Photo by BV

The Champion:  Upstate fans were excited about a potential clash between then two-time state champion Nick Tighe and 2012 titlewinner Connor Lapresi at the Eastern States.  It didn’t happen there, but it did occur on Saturday night.  Tighe broke a 1-1 tie in the third with a takedown to pick up his third consecutive crown for Phoenix.  CAA wrestling at Binghamton is next for him.

And Also . . . Lapresi leaves Lansing with another All-State showing as he prepares to take on Division I wrestling at Bucknell.  Also concluding his career with multiple medals was Lewiston Porter’s Dan Reagan.  After taking fourth in this class last year, he moved up to third as a senior.


145 Pounds:

Hull, Photo by BV

The Champion:  Royalton Hartland’s Drew Hull outscored his opponents 22-5 on his title run.  Last year, he lost a tight bout in the finals to take second.  This time, he got his hand raised in a 2-0 victory over Norwich’s Frank Garcia.

And Also . . . Garcia, a sophomore, opened with a pin and then won two close matches, in overtime in the quarters and 3-2 in the semis.  After jumping from the top 8 in 2012 to second in 2013, he’ll return looking for more as a junior.

The bronze finisher Jude Gardner of Fredonia had a stellar senior campaign.  He suffered just four losses – and all four were to state champion Hull, including in the semifinals on Saturday morning.  With Hull, Gardner and Eric Lewandowski (second in Division I), there’s no doubt Section 6 was strong at this weight this year.


152 Pounds:

Thayer, Photo by BV

The Champion:  At the Section 4 championships, where he took second, Kevin Thayer had an incredible 18-16 victory over returning state placer Dan Dickman of Greene.  His finals victory over Rowdy Prior on Saturday was similarly action-packed.  Prior, a prolific pinner, chose top for the third while trailing and locked up a cradle that seemed likely to give him the gold medal.  Somehow, however, Thayer not only avoided the fall but also got the reversal to seal the title.

And Also . . . Prior provided an exciting semifinal victory.  He was behind 4-2 late in the match but got the pin over Alex Smythe.  Smythe’s tournament is worthy of mention as well.  After taking fifth at the state tournament in 2011, he didn’t get a bid last year.  However, he moved up several weights and had a solid season, coming into the Times Union Center with just two losses (to the previously mentioned Hull and Lewandowski).  One of only two medalists in the bracket not graduating (fifth placer Trey Duvall of Addison is the other), Smythe will look to make a run in 2013-14.


160 Pounds:

Paddock, Photo by BV

The Champion: In the semifinals, Mike Beckwith of Greene lasted over three minutes before getting pinned by Burke Paddock.  Beckwith was the only wrestler to stay on the mat with Paddock for that long.  The Warsaw junior stuck all four of his opponents to conclude a tremendous season and collect his first state championship.

And Also . . . Sophomore Nick Gallo fell one victory shy of place on the podium a year ago.  This year, he took several steps forward with a runner up showing.  The Section 2 wrestler defeated third placer Matt Fisher as well as returning medalist Tyler Silverthorn to earn his slot in the title bout.  He should be a force as a junior.


170 Pounds:

Radoncic, Photo by BV

The Champion: Coming into the tournament, some were pegging last year’s runner up Cheick Ndiaye, the top seed at 113, as someone who could give the PSAL its first-ever state champion.  Instead, it was Adis Radoncic of Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy who was the first to stand on top of the podium.  The junior did it the hard way – defeating the top two seeds in the bracket.  In fact, it appeared he might be in for an uphill battle in the title bout as he faced #1 Christian Dietrich once before this season at Eastern States and lost that bout 13-4.  However, Radoncic was undaunted and fought off a number of deep shots by the Greene grappler to take a 4-3 decision. Radoncic now has his sights set on being the PSAL’s first two-time champion.

And Also . . .  It’s easy to forget that Dietrich is just a freshman, especially given the way he performed all year.  He amazed many when he placed at 152 pounds as a seventh grader and looked very good all year at a higher weight.  Keeping him out of the top spot over the next several seasons will be a tall order for the rest of the field.

Dietrich’s first round opponent, John Messinger of Putnam Valley, fought back to take fourth.  Winning four in a row to get to the bronze match is an accomplishment, but the way he did it was even more impressive.  He trailed late in nearly all of his wrestleback matches and found a way to come out on top, multiple times in the waning seconds.   In one bout, he tied the match up with two points dangerously close to the third period buzzer and then picked up a takedown a few seconds into overtime to move forward.


182 Pounds:

Zupan, Photo by BV

The Champion: Zack Zupan had his eye on a repeat championship all year long and he finished the job.  The future Binghamton Bearcat had little trouble making the title bout as he racked up bonus points in his first three contests before controlling the finale, a 3-2 victory over Warsaw’s Tim Schaefer.  He joined future teammates Nick Kelley and Nick Tighe as titlewinners on Saturday night.

And Also . . . Schaefer finishes high school with a plethora of accolades.  He made the podium five times during his career, beginning with a sixth place finish as a seventh grader.

Hoosick Falls had its first champion in Luis Weirebach at 106 and added a third placer in Brad Burns at 182.  The Section 2 grappler was beaten in double overtime in the quarters but bounced back with four in a row to grab bronze.


195 Pounds:

Ayen, Photo by BV

The Champion:  Gouverneur had Dillon Stowell win it all at 113.  And then, the Wildcats crowned a second champion at 195 pounds when Hunter Ayen sent Bryce Mazurowski to his second consecutive silver medal.  Ayen fell behind 6-0 in the match, but climbed back into the bout when he threw the Avon wrestler onto his back.  When he was close to the pin, the referee stopped the action for blood time, but Ayen was unfazed as he added another takedown to win 9-6.  The Gouverneur senior had pinned his first three opponents.

And Also . . . One of those foes for Ayen was Matt Booth.  The Section 6 wrestler excelled in the consolation bracket, outscoring his opponents 30-5 to take third.  In the bronze match he topped Dusty Lewis of Salamanca, the wrestler he beat to qualify for the tournament a few weeks ago.


220 Pounds:

Bacon, Photo by BV

The Champion: A pair of undefeated wrestlers marched through the tournament and faced off in the finals with Hornell’s Zack Bacon utilizing strong mat wrestling to take the title 1-0 over Ryan Wolcott.  Bacon came back after a silver medal a year ago to end his career in the top spot.

And Also . . . Wolcott made a smooth transition from 170 pounds, where he won two matches in Albany in 2012, up to 220.  He pinned his way to the championship bout and the 1-0 loss to Bacon was his only setback all season long.  In 2013-14, he’ll look to go from second to first the same way Bacon did in his senior campaign.


 285 Pounds:

The Champion: Windsor’s Matt Abbott came into the tournament with a 33-1 mark and 19 pins.  (The sole loss was to the previously mentioned Wolcott).  He exited the Times Union Center as a champion.  Heavyweight matches are often low scoring but Abbott put a lot of points on the board, including 11 in the semis and eight in the finals.

And Also . . . Alex Soutiere, last year’s runner up in this class, took third after winning five wrestleback bouts.  In 2012, Soutiere upset top-seeded Kacee Sauer.  The tables turned this year as Soutiere (the #1 seed) was upended in the opening round by junior Connor Calkins of Section 5. Calkins wound up fifth and as the only non-senior placer, will be in the mix for top honors in 2014.

For all the brackets, see this link.

Congratulations to the Division II wrestlers on a great season.

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.

Necessary Toughness: Three-Sport Star Colton Kells Leads Fairport to First-Ever County Title

No matter what time of year it is, you’ll find Fairport’s Colton Kells immersed in a contact sport . . .  (or two, or even three).

“Colton is always passionately doing something athletic,” said head wrestling coach Michael Kohl. “He loves sports, especially those of a physical nature. He just loves to lift and work out and especially to compete.”

An All-State linebacker this fall on the gridiron, Kells also suits up for the school’s rugby team in the spring.  And of course, the senior is a standout on the mat where he is currently ranked third in New York after an undefeated start to the 2012-13 campaign.

Courtesy of Colton Kells

Kells said that to “stay sharp”, he does some work in all three sports year round.  And for good measure, he adds some additional exercise to his regimen through his work at a local greenhouse, doing things like moving the plants, and through his summer job which involved lifting furniture.

Of all his endeavors, Kells didn’t hesitate when asked what he found most physically demanding.

“Wrestling is definitely the most intense,” he said. “There are four quarters of football and 80 minutes of rugby but the six minutes in a wrestling match are the toughest.”

So far in his senior season, Kells hasn’t had to wrestle the full six minutes very often.  Only eight of his first 38 matches went the distance.

However, last weekend, he was on the mat even longer than three periods in a contest that was significant for a number of reasons.

In the title bout of the Monroe County championships, Kells took on Spencerport’s Collin Pittman, a wrestler he defeated several times last year and 5-1 earlier this season.  After knotting the score late in the third period on a stalling point, the Fairport grappler got the 5-3 victory on a takedown in overtime.

“Colton stayed focused throughout the match and kept hustling,” Kohl said. “He was rewarded for his hustle and ultimately found a way to win.”

“[Pittman] has improved a lot over the past year,” Kells added. “You can see each of our matches gets closer and closer if you look at the scores. In [overtime], he shot in, I sprawled and I ended up on top after we scrambled for a little bit. It was a very physical match; the closest one we’ve had so far.”

It didn’t just mean a championship for Kells. It also was the 100th victory of his career.

“Once I realized I was getting close [to 100 wins], I started keeping track,” he said. “I knew going into the weekend that the finals could be my 100th win and I thought it would be cool to get it there.”

Hitting the century mark wasn’t the only reason the weekend was special, however. Kells was an important contributor to his team’s first-ever county championship, breaking the hold that Spencerport had on the title for more than 20 years.

“It meant a lot and it was great to do our senior year,” Kells said. “We’ve been together for years, working hard together.  We felt pretty confident coming in that we could win but you never know what will happen with a lot of tough teams there.”

“It was very exciting for us,” Kohl added. “It was a compilation of a lot of hard work and I know the boys take a lot of pride in the way they performed and that they were the first to win the county for our school.”

New achievements have been piling up for the Red Raiders. A year ago, Josh Lackey, now a freshman at North Carolina State, became Fairport’s first individual state champion when he put together an unbeaten campaign to capture the 220-pound crown in Albany.  Lackey said in an interview last summer that he hoped his showing would lead to more future championships for Fairport.

“Watching him win was actually a great inspiration for me,” Kells said. “We worked out most of last year.  We were drill partners; we lifted together.  Josh was great to work with. He never lets up.  He never stops pushing forward. It was amazing to see him win the title and it inspired me.”

The truth is, Kells wasn’t too far from joining Lackey on the medal stand last year. After dropping a number of matches to All-State wrestler Jesse Kozub as a sophomore and early in his junior campaign, Kells broke through and defeated the Brockport wrestler at the county tournament in 2012, a win that gave him a boost going into the latter stages of the season.

“Jesse had placed in the state the previous year and I knew after beating him that I could go with anyone.  It gave me a lot of confidence.”

Kohl agreed.

“I thought that was the turning point last season for Colton,” Kohl said. “I think he realized that he could wrestle with the elite kids.  He realized that there wasn’t a question of whether he was capable or not, it was all about how he performed.”

He performed well enough in his first trip to state tournament to win a pair of matches and come within one victory of making the podium.

And after he was finished competing, Kells took the floor at the Times Union Center to help Lackey warm up and prepare for his finals bout with Max Antone of Niagara Wheatfield.

It’s a place Kells hopes to visit again on February 23, 2013.  And the two-time captain is doing all the right things to get there, according to his coach.

“He’s not a flashy kid – he does everything the old fashioned way, through hard work and determination.  He’s extremely disciplined and does all the extra things. Kids like him, when you ask them to jump, they ask how high? If you asked him to run through a wall, he would.  He has that determined look in his eye this year and very high expectations for himself.”

Those expectations for success at the highest levels in New York won’t end in February.

“A couple days after states, I’ll be back in rugby,” he said. “We made it to the state finals the last two years and won once.  Hopefully we can get back there again and win.”

After all, every season is sports season for Kells.  Pity the obstacles in his way.