Buffalo Bound: Onteora's Austin Weigel Set to Join the Bulls

Austin Weigel knows the route from Onteora to the Albany area well.

Extremely well.

At least three times per week, the Section 9 standout made the 1.5 hour trip after school up to Journeymen Wrestling Club practices. And afterwards, he’d get back in the car for another 1.5 hour drive, typically arriving home around 9 p.m. to start his homework.

However, as Weigel talked about his recent commitment to the University at Buffalo, he had no doubt that all the time on the road was worth it, helping him emerge as a Division I prospect.

“I really got into wrestling after my sophomore year,” Weigel said. “Before that I was a three-sport athlete who wanted to get better but wasn’t totally into it yet. As a sophomore, I lost in the Section 9 finals and it motivated me. Wrestling was what I wanted to do and I wanted to win – not just the Section, but everything.”

Courtesy of Austin Weigel

He decided that competing in the offseason, in addition to his training with Onteora, would provide him with a boost.

“Working with Journeymen pushed me to more serious tournaments and competition,” he said. “I went to Super 32 and Fargo. I went to a lot of new and different places and got more experience.”

That experience showed during his 38-4 junior campaign at 160 pounds (after a 26-11 mark as a sophomore).

“It took me a few matches to realize how different things were, how much better I was,” he said. “I wasn’t cutting a lot of weight and I felt good the whole year.”

He captured the Section 9 title with ease, winning all of his bouts by bonus points. And he followed up with a pair of victories at the state tournament, falling one win shy of All-State status.

“Being there in Albany wasn’t good enough,” he said. “I wasn’t seeded but I just wrestled hard and was just one match away from placing. It was a close [3-1] loss [to the eventual bronze medalist] and it definitely motivated me.”

Weigel perhaps used some of that motivation at the Journeymen Classic in the fall, winning a round robin bracket full of accomplished wrestlers – fourth place finishers Daesean Johnson (New Jersey, 160), John Messinger (New York DII, 170) and Dale White (New York DI, 160).

“It was a really tough group up at 170,” he said. “I wrestled really well and had a lot of good wins there.”

He had a lot of good wins as his senior campaign began for Onteora as well, including a major over 2012 All-State grappler Andrew Martinez of Liberty. In the earlygoing, Weigel wrestled up at 170 but wasn’t sure where he would finish the season.

“I contemplated staying at 170 with my coaches but we felt that my best shot at a state championship was at 160,” he said. “I committed to 160 at Eastern States and knew that’s where I would be the rest of the year.”

It looked like a solid choice as he made the medal stand at the prestigious tournament held at SUNY Sullivan. After winning his first two contests, he faced nationally-ranked Burke Paddock in the quarterfinals. In a hard-fought match, Paddock came out on top, 1-0, his closest victory of a dominant season.

Courtesy of Austin Weigel

Weigel then won two of his three consolation bouts, to grab seventh. His setback was to eventual state placer Andrew Psomas in sudden victory.

“I was pretty happy with how that tournament went overall,” he said. “Getting down to weight wasn’t always ideal this year, but I felt pretty good there. I thought I could beat Paddock and wrestled a tough match against him. I was a little shaky afterwards, and had a really disappointing loss to Psomas. I was in on his legs the whole match, but I just couldn’t score. He kept going out of bounds. It was a frustrating loss.”

He rebounded to pin his way to his second straight Section title and picked up his 100th victory during the campaign for good measure.

He began his quest for a state title well, picking up a major in round 1. He then met Greene’s Mike Beckwith, who handed him a defeat in Albany in 2012. One year later, the outcome was the same and Weigel moved into the wrestlebacks where he dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to Section 6’s Gunnar Van Curen.

“It’s hard to think about, but [Beckwith] just wrestled the better match,” he said. “I didn’t get to do anything I wanted to. He got an early takedown and rode me well. I was really disappointed and tried to get my head straight afterwards. In the next one, I don’t know what it was. It was like the Psomas match because I was in on his legs a lot and couldn’t score. It was one of the worst losses of my career because he escaped with 30 seconds left to win 1-0 and I knew my high school career was over. I didn’t perform like I should have and know I could have. For a while, I felt bad about myself but looking back now, I realize I can’t take away from the rest of my accomplishments because of one disappointing weekend. I’ve beaten kids that did much better at states, but that’s the way it went.”

He got a chance to face some of those that fared better in Albany this spring, at the Journeymen Freestyle Duals. He said he expected to wrestle at 182, but due to team needs, he cut to 170.

In the first dual of the day, Journeymen met Vougar’s Honors Wrestling (VHW), the eventual winner of the event. Weigel was set to face Division I 160-pound state runner up Steven Schneider of MacArthur.

“I was really tired that morning after the cut, but I was excited because we were wrestling a team of Long Island studs first,” he said. “I saw Schneider at Eastern States – he beat Psomas and other guys I lost to. My teammate Jimmy Marquez got a pin at 160 and he came off the mat and slapped my hand and got me all amped up because he lost to Schneider at the state tournament. He told me I could beat him and I got fired up.”

Weigel took the first and third periods to get the victory in what he called an important win for him.

“I was in a funk, still getting over the season and that was a big momentum moment – wrestling to my potential against a great wrestler. I was relaxed and wrestled the match I wanted.”

There wasn’t much time to celebrate, however, as he next faced Matt Fisher, the Sacred Heart-bound senior who earned bronze in the same bracket as Weigel at the state tournament.

“I knew he beat Beckwith to take third at states,” he said. “I was thinking about the win I just had and there wasn’t a time I was worried about giving up points or losing. I got back on track and showed what I didn’t show at the state tournament.”

The future exercise science major hopes to keep showing what he can do at Buffalo, where he believes he will begin at 174 pounds but could go up higher given his six-foot-one frame.

“I took trips to other schools and liked every school I saw,” he said, mentioning Binghamton and Bloomsburg, among others. “I really liked Coach Stutzman when I went to Bloomsburg and when I heard he moved to Buffalo, I felt like I was basically done with the process. I liked everything about Buffalo – the campus, the facilities, the big school atmosphere. I’m really excited to be part of a program that’s going in the right direction and revamping everything. I think Coach Stutzman will rebuild the program strong.”

Austin Weigel had a long list of people he wanted to thank.

“I want to thank my family, friends, coaches and the community for everything. The support for the program is amazing and helped me to get where I am.”

He mentioned the huge contributions of Journeymen’s Frank Popolizio and his high school coaches Lou Chartrand and Eric Pezzello “who are more than coaches – they are second and third fathers to me.” He also thanked Donnie Van Buren, CJ Goldizen and Dustin MacKenzie for being influential workout partners and his “brother” Avery Leighton who “was my best practice partner because we did everything together. I owe a lot to him. He made me the hardest worker I could be and was a huge part of my wrestling career.”


'The Right Fit': Monroe Woodbury State Placer AJ Voelker Chooses Buffalo

AJ Voelker left his recruiting trip to Bloomsburg with an interesting dilemma.

“After visiting and meeting Coach Stutzman [at Bloomsburg], AJ felt the coach was the right fit, but not the school,” said Bob Voelker, AJ’s father.

So Voelker continued to look around, focusing on institutions such as George Mason until he heard that Stutzman was leaving the EWL college to take the reins of the Buffalo program.

“I started looking at Buffalo right away,” AJ Voelker said. “Once I saw the campus and talked to [Stutzman] again, that was pretty much it. The campus is unbelievable. It’s just what I wanted. The facilities are very nice. Coach Stutzman is very intense; his practices are very tough and give me the best chance of placing at Nationals. He reminds me a lot of my coaches now [at Monroe Woodbury].”

Photo by BV

Voelker saw a lot of success for the Crusaders throughout his career, placing in Section 9 multiple times. But 2012-13 was a breakthrough year, as he made the podium at the Eastern States Classic, won the Sectional crown and took fourth in New York in his first trip to the state tournament.

That success came as a result of a lot of offseason effort. After missing out on a spot in Albany as a junior, Voelker wanted to make sure he was ready to make the most of his last chance. He said he worked out at Apex Wrestling, trained with Champion Athletes, lifted on his own and spent a lot of time with Coach Johnny Gartiser.

He also continued his move up in weight, going from 112 as a sophomore to 145/152 as a junior to 170 for his last high school run.

“I cut a lot of weight my freshman and sophomore years,” he said. “Since then, I grew a lot and my coaches recommended that I cut less weight because they thought I wouldn’t be as tired at the end of the season. It worked out. Size wise, I wasn’t the biggest guy out there at 170, but I felt strong and I thought I could wrestle with anyone.”

He set his objectives: to be top four in New York, to control everyone in Section 9 and to join the 100-win club. He accomplished all of them, spurred by his performance at the Times Union Center in February.

After winning his opening two matches against Sonny McPherson of Indian River and Cedrick Stephens of Wingate in Albany, he said he injured his knee in the semifinals in a loss to St. Anthony’s Johnny Vrasidas. In order to make the bronze medal bout, he needed a victory against Franky Nassivera of Queensbury in the consolations.

“That was a really big match for me,” he said. “My knee was all messed up and I was down by four. I had to wrestle different because I couldn’t put pressure on my knee, I couldn’t really shoot the way I normally do. I hit a throw with about 30 seconds left to take the lead and rode him out to win it.”

That 5-4 triumph pushed him into the third place match, where he was defeated by Wantagh’s Dan McDevitt.

So with all those victories, what was the highlight of Voelker’s final high school season?

The future MAC grappler discussed Monroe Woodbury placing at the Union-Endicott Duals and earning a state ranking. And of course, he talked about winning the Section and making the medal stand at his last high school event. However, when asked about the top moment of the year, Voelker mentioned something else.

“The first highlight was seeing Vinny [Vespa] step on the mat,” he said of his teammate, who fought cancer to return to action about six months after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma. “I absolutely knew we’d see him wrestling again sometime because he’s the toughest kid I know. But for him to do it this year, it was insane.”

Voelker and his family were deeply involved in the fundraising activities for the Vespa family. At the Takedown Tournament held last summer, Voelker stepped on the mat against Vinny’s older brother Michael in an exhibition match. In an entertaining bout, Vespa hit a “flying squirrel”.

“It was a lot of fun,” Voelker said. “We were just going out there to goof around and [the flying squirrel] happened. It was actually something I was teaching him earlier that week and he did it.”

Voelker clearly did a good job of teaching and that’s something he hopes to do a lot more as he plans to pursue a degree in early education at Buffalo.

In addition to his academic path, Voelker also expects to pursue success on the mat – right away. He said he will compete for a spot in the lineup as a true freshman.

“I don’t plan to redshirt my first year,” he said. “I talked to Coach Stutzman and he thinks I’ll be fine after working out in the room with the way I push the pace on my feet and my top and bottom wrestling. I trust him. I can’t wait to get back on the mat. There aren’t a lot of guys that go Division I from Section 9. I want to rack up wins at the college level.”

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.

'A Unique Opportunity for NY Kids': SUNY Sullivan Adds Wrestling Program Starting This Fall

For years, SUNY Sullivan has welcomed some of the best wrestlers in New York to its Loch Sheldrake campus for a weekend in January for the Eastern States Classic.

And grapplers have again ascended on the campus in the summertime for top-notch camps, including the J Robinson Intensive Camp in 2012, run by the longtime University of Minnesota head coach.

Now, wrestling will be a fixture at SUNY Sullivan year round, as President Dr. William Murabito and Director of Athletics Christopher DePew announced earlier this month that wrestling will be one of two sports added, beginning this fall.  (Women’s volleyball is the other).

According to DePew, the move to bring wrestling to Loch Sheldrake was in the making for some time, as he and the institution have become more and more connected to the sport over the years.

“We have developed very strong relationships with the Friends of Section 9 wrestling and also with members of Beat the Streets such as Al Bevilacqua and Bill Crum,” DePew said.  “Those individuals have been suggesting starting a wrestling program here for a while.”

DePew began to look at the possibility but was uncertain whether some of the start up costs, like new mats, might be prohibitive.

But when a new mat arrived, courtesy of Beat the Streets wrestling, the enthusiasm continued to grow.

And when DePew presented the proposal to add wrestling, as well as women’s volleyball, to the leaders of the institution, the Board not only approved it, but demanded that it go forward as part of the college’s five-year growth strategy.

It is believed that the programs will be an important recruitment tool for up to 40 new students in the next year and will be the first step of an overall plan to add four more athletic programs by 2015.

In addition to meeting the strategic needs of the institution, DePew believes there will also be a profound impact on the wrestling community.

“There are limited opportunities for wrestlers on the collegiate level and we’re happy to be providing a great option,” he said. “We believe we offer a unique opportunity for New York kids to get away from home and have the true college experience, but still be close enough to get home if they need to.  There is a bus from the Port Authority in New York City that goes to the flagpole at our school. We know there are so many good high school wrestlers in the state of New York, including in the Beat the Streets program, and we want to offer them a place to continue wrestling.”

There are of course some things currently being worked out.  Student housing is currently at capacity and there is an ongoing initiative to expand on-campus living.

And the leader of the program is still being determined, with the search for the head coach underway.  According to DePew, a number of candidates have already expressed interest and he is hoping to have the coach on board by mid February.

Even without the staff in place, the enthusiasm for the sport came through in conversations with DePew and was very clear during the Eastern States Classic.  In fact, DePew worked in the concession stand from the opening of the tournament in the morning through its close on both Friday and Saturday.  His excitement about making wrestling events a bigger fixture at the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse was palpable.

“I think this is a great opportunity for SUNY Sullivan and for the New York wrestling community,” he said. “We have some work to do, and I would say I’m cautiously optimistic.  We have seen NJCAA programs like Nassau and Niagara do very well in New York and we expect that we can have that kind of success as well. This fits in well with our continued quest to be the very best Junior College Athletic Program in the country.  I believe that the success of our current programs will breed immediate success for our future programs. We expect to become a national Junior College power in year one.”

Eastern States Recap: The Champions and Other Highlights from the Weekend in Section 9

Another Eastern States Classic is in the books. Wrestling fans were treated to a tremendous weekend of many of the best New York (and a few other states) have to offer.  Wantagh won the team title, led by heavyweight Most Outstanding Wrestler (MOW) Dan McDevitt, the champion at 170 pounds.  Also taking MOW honors were Shenendehowa’s Nick Kelley (middleweights) and Shoreham-Wading River’s TJ Fabian (lightweights).  Fabian had more hardware to take home as well as he captured Champion of Champions honors after winning an absolutely loaded bracket at 126 pounds.

There were many highlights over the two days. Let’s take a look at some of them.

99 Pounds:

Champion: Chris Cuccolo of Pine Bush came into the event as the second ranked wrestler in his weight . . . in Section 9. (He took fifth in the section in 2012).  Cuccolo has had success on the national level in the international styles and came up with a huge weekend in folk, outscoring his opponents 14-4 plus a pin.

And Also . . .  The semifinal matchup between Jake Yankloski of Wayne and John Busiello of Eastport South Manor looked like a battle between two wrestlers we will hear from in the postseason.  (Yankloski won in the tiebreakers). Yankloski began the season dominant up at 106 and has continued to look good at 99 while Busiello won his first three matches by technical fall or pin before a solid win over top seed Andrew Flanagan for third.

106 Pounds:

Photo by Josh Conklin

Champion: Nick Barbaria of New Rochelle was stingy on his path to the championship. After a first round technical fall, he shut out his next two opponents and defeated Wantagh’s Kyle Quinn in the title bout. Barbaria repeated victories over two of the state’s top grapplers  – Quinn and Corning’s Jimmy Overhiser on his way to gold.  He had defeated Quinn a few weeks ago and Overhiser at the Journeymen Classic.

And Also . . . Shoreham-Wading River’s James Szymanski, the eighth seed, impressed throughout the tournament, taking third.  He dropped a 3-2 battle to top-ranked Tony Recco in the quarterfinals but earned four straight wins in the wrestlebacks, including a pin against Overhiser and a major decision over Golan Cohen for bronze.  Cohen, the #10 seed from Colonie, also had a strong run in the consolations to take fourth.

113 Pounds:

Champion: Nick Piccininni began the event as the favorite and showed why as he cruised through a bracket filled with former state placers with a pair of technical falls, a pin, a major and a 5-0 victory in the finals against Gouverneur’s Dillon Stowell.

And Also . . .  There was only one wrestler on the podium at Eastern States who wasn’t All-State in 2012. Rafael Mateo of Midlakes, who made the medal stand in Loch Sheldrake after being seeded 14th, tallied four pins over the weekend and took eighth.

120 Pounds:

Photo by Josh Conklin

Champion: Danbury’s Kevin Jack was an Eastern States Classic champion for the second straight year, this time at 120.

And Also . . .  It’s clear that Section 1 is stacked at 120 pounds as three of the four semifinalists – John Muldoon, Alex Delacruz and Nick Tolli were from that area. Muldoon went all the way to the finals while Tolli was fifth after making an early statement by defeating highly regarded Steve Michel of Lancaster.  Delacruz was in medal position before being disqualified. But that wasn’t all.  Blaise Benderoth, the ninth seed, grabbed third with an 8-1 showing. The North Rockland wrestler was pinned by Eastport South Manor’s Travis Passaro in the Round of 16 but then responded with six consecutive victories, including a win over state champion Sean Peacock and a 7-2 triumph over Passaro in the third place bout. Throw two-time state runner up Trey Aslanian of Edgemont and Nanuet’s Anthony Calvano into the mix (both were at the tournament) and it should be a very interesting postseason for Section 1 at this weight.

126 Pounds:

Champion: When the #8 seed is a recent national champion (Wantagh’s Chris Araoz), you know you have a tough bracket. Emerging above the rest in a field with a plethora of accomplished wrestlers was Shoreham-Wading River’s TJ Fabian, a fourth place finisher at the state tournament in 2012.  Fabian demonstrated his outstanding mat wrestling and his ability to come through in close matches on his way to the title.  He topped former state champions in both the semis and finals (William Koll and Dylan Realbuto, respectively).

And Also . . . There was a lot of talk about seventh grader Frankie Gissendanner of Penfield, and with good reason.  He placed at 126 pounds in a deep weight in which multiple All-State wrestlers didn’t make the medal stand. Gissendanner, who has made a rapid adjustment to the varsity level, reached the quarterfinals before losing to Koll.  He bounced back like a veteran, beating Grand Street’s Keanu Thompson (who was top 8 in Albany last year) in the consolations before edging 2012 state runner up Justin Cooksey to take seventh.  For more on Gissendanner, from an article we published back in May, see here.

132 Pounds:

Champion: Tristan Rifanburg, the number two seed, controlled his matches on the way to the crown. He picked up an opening round fall before outscoring his next three foes 20-0.  In the finals, he defeated Sam Melikian of Fordham Prep, 8-5.

And Also . . . Melikian came within one victory of placing in the state capital last year.  However, he seems to have taken his wrestling to the next level, dominating in his first five bouts before dropping the finals contest to Rifanburg.

138 Pounds:

Champion: Nick Kelley of Shenendehowa repeated as a champion at this event after winning at 132 last season.  Westfield’s Derek Arnold gave Kelley a battle in the semis (a 3-2 Kelley victory), but otherwise, the future Binghamton Bearcat cruised.  He notched pins in his first three bouts and recorded a 9-1 major over Lansing state champion Connor Lapresi for the title.

And Also . . . Unseeded Skylar Kropman of Penfield took fifth place, including victories over the number six and eight seeds, John Diekel of Whitehall and Joey Butler of Burnt Hills.  Rocky Point’s Tom Dutton, an All-American at both the NHSCAs and Fargo this offseason, once again was impressive to watch.  He took fourth after a pair of losses to Arnold, the Virginia native.

145 Pounds:

Champion: One of the matches we were looking forward to after the brackets were released was Mepham’s Louis Hernandez versus Shenendehowa’s David Almaviva, two of the best in the state.  Hernandez not only beat the number two seed Almaviva 4-2 in that match but also top-ranked Beau Donahue of Westfield, 7-3, to win the championship.  Hernandez came into the event seeded seventh, but will be a force in Albany.  A year ago, he went 1-2 wrestling with a significant injury at the Times Union Center.  This time, he expects much more.

And Also . . . There could be some great matches in late February between wrestlers who looked very good this weekend – Hernandez, Almaviva, Lancaster’s Eric Lewandowski and Fox Lane’s Tom Grippi. On the Division 2 side, Frank Garcia of Norwich, who came within a match of placing last year as a freshman, took fifth.  He had missed a chunk of the season with an injury but has made a nice return.

152 Pounds:

Champion: Not much doubt about the top wrestler here. Corey Rasheed of Longwood pinned his first three opponents, then won 15-4 and 13-0 to earn gold.  He has racked up numerous honors, including three All-State medals, in his career and is the favorite to win his first state title next month.

And Also . . . Although he lost to Rasheed in his last bout, Phoenix’s Rowdy Prior showed that he takes the “Pin2win” mentality of his head coach Gene Mills to heart. Prior registered falls in all four of his matches prior to the finals, including over the sixth and seventh seeds, Dan DeCarlo of Port Jervis and Zach Joseph of Shenendehowa.

160 Pounds:

Photo by Josh Conklin

Warsaw’s Burke Paddock positioned himself for a run at his first state title when he dispatched two top small school opponents in Mike Beckwith and Austin Weigel and then defeated Division I returning runner up Tyler Grimaldi of Half Hollow Hills, 8-4.

And Also . . . While some New York fans may have been surprised by MacArthur’s Steve Schneider’s third place finish, those on Long Island certainly weren’t. The Nassau County wrestler lost to Grimaldi for the second time in the past few weeks, but captured his other six bouts and showed his ability to win the close ones.  All four of his consolation victories came by two points or less, including over the fifth-seed Nick Gallo and the sixth-seed Mike Beckwith.  The performance of Schneider’s third place match opponent, Andrew Psomas of Monsignor Farrell, should also be mentioned.  Psomas was unseeded coming into the event and went all the way to fourth, including victories over four seeded grapplers (Tyler Silverthorn, Stephen Aiello, Austin Weigel and Nate Bomysoad).

170 Pounds:  

Champion: If anyone was unsure whether Dan McDevitt could make the leap from 138 pounds to 170 and stay among the state’s elite, this weekend provided the answer. The Wantagh wrestler showed he belongs in the upperweights, topping Christian Dietrich of Greene 6-2 for the title. He also defeated the third and fifth place finishers, Joe Piccolo and Brett Perry.

And Also . . . Both Dietrich and Piccolo defeated top-ranked Troy Seymour, boosting their stock for the rest of the season.  It wouldn’t be very surprising to see a rematch of Dietrich’s 3-2 semifinal win over Seymour in the Saturday night finals in Albany for Division II gold.


182 Pounds:

Champion: Zack Zupan was in charge all the way through.  We may get to see him wrestle multi-time state placer Tim Schaefer again in Albany, after Zupan earned a 5-2 win over the Warsaw grappler in the championship tilt.

And Also. . . Several wrestlers outperformed their seeds.  Yorktown’s Thomas Murray was in the eighth spot in the bracket but came in fifth, with his losses to Zupan and in the tiebreakers to Shenendehowa’s Levi Ashley.  Speaking of Ashley, the Shenendehowa wrestler topped unseeded Andrew Grella from Beacon in the first round, 8-6, but Grella then won five straight to eventually grab sixth.  Also making a solid run was #15 Christian Araneo of Ward Melville, a freshman, who took eighth after three consolation wins.

195 Pounds:

Williams, Photo by BV

Champion: Reggie Williams had a very exciting and interesting weekend. He had two matches come down to the wire – his opening bout against Garrett Duval, which he won 12-11, and a 7-5 victory over Steven Sabella in which he scored the winning points close to the buzzer.  The Johnson City star also won two bouts by fall, including his title victory over Gouverneur’s Hunter Ayen.

And Also. . .  Ben Honis of Jamesville-Dewitt/CBA made a statement this summer when he earned All-America status at Fargo. He made another statement over the weekend when he took third place, including a win over All-Stater Tyler Smith of Midlakes. The only loss for Honis was a default in the semis against Ayen.

The opening round match between #15 seed Dan Fowler of Chaminade and Jeff Senecal of Duanesburg probably didn’t get much attention (Fowler won by fall).  However, both wrestlers made the medal stand, with Fowler defeating seeded wrestlers Deon Edmond and Scott Wymbs to take fifth and Senecal beating Wymbs and Canastota’s Wyatt Albanese to notch seventh.

220 Pounds:

Champion: Dan Breit of Nanuet breezed through the competition early with big wins in his first three bouts and then won close ones late, picking up 3-2 victories in the semis and finals against Dillon Hurlbert of Marathon and Mike Silvis of Holley, respectively.

And Also . . . During our Pick Your Champions contest, Minisink Valley’s Josh Bonneau received quite a few votes.  The #15 seed showed why. He lost to Breit in his first bout but then picked up six consecutive wins to finish third. Among the wrestlers he beat were Alex Ortiz of Middletown, Hurlbert and Holland Patent’s Josh Langley.

285 Pounds:

Van Hoesen, Photo by BV

Champion: El Shaddai Van Hoesen continued his winning ways.  It’s become customary for him to pin nearly everyone in his path and he did record three falls, including over Alex Soutiere in the title bout.  He also had an 8-1 decision and a 1-0 victory over Rocky Point’s Brennan Strovink.

And Also . . . Strovink proved that his close match with Van Hoesen wasn’t a fluke when the #16 seed made the podium in the sixth position after a solid tournament.  We also saw that the quality 285 pounders in Section 2 go beyond Van Hoesen and Soutiere. Austin DiCerbo of Colonie was pinned by Van Hoesen but picked up four falls of his own, including over Yorktown’s David Varian, on his way to third place.

Team: It was another great weekend for Wantagh. After capturing the Union-Endicott Duals last Sunday, the Warriors again finished on top with 138.5 points.  Shenendehowa was second with 111.5 while Westfield, Virginia (102.5) and Danbury, Connecticut (77) were next.  Tied for fifth were Colonie and Eastport South Manor with 73.5 points.

For full results, see here.

The results of our Pick Your Champions Contest will be released soon.

Congratulations to the Friends of Section 9 Wrestling, including Tournament Director Jeff Cuilty and the many others involved, who made this an outstanding event.  Thank you to SUNY Sullivan, especially Director of Athletics Chris DePew, for assistance with our live coverage.

And a huge thank you to Matt Diano for his incredible work on the live coverage on Saturday!

UPDATED: Brackets Posted (and Seeds for the 2013 Eastern States Classic)


Brackets have been posted.  You can find them here.

Check back at escapesports.com during the day for bracket updates. (Click on Escape tournaments, then 2012-13, then High School, then Eastern States).


Here are the seeds for the 2013 Eastern States Classic:

99 Pounds: 

1. Andrew Flanagan, Holley

2. Vinny Vespa, M-W

3. Jake Yankloski, Wayne

4. Parker Kropman, Penfield

5. Chris Cuccolo, Pine Bush

6. Alfredo Olmedo, Arlington

7. John Busiello, Eastport South Manor

8. Brandon Fay, Fox Lane

9. CJ Archer, Rocky Point

10 Chris Martorello, Fordham Prep

11. Tommy Michel, Lancaster

12. Tristan Almeter, Iroquois

106 Pounds: 

1. Tony Recco, Lyndonville

2. Jimmy Overhiser, Corning

3. Nick Barbaria, New Rochelle

4. Kyle Quinn, Wantagh

5. Anthony Donofrio, Longwood

6. Matt Grippi, Fox Lane

7. Kevin Rodriguez, Port Chester

8. James Szymanski, SWR

9. Hunter Dusold, Locust Valley

10 Golan Cohen, Colonie

11. Nick Robbins, Queensbury

12. Jon Errico, Bynam Hills

13. Evan Barczak, M-W

14. Paulo Friedas, Danbury

15. Chris Velazquez, Amsterdam

16. Nicky Garone, ESM

113 Pounds: 

1. Nick Piccininni, Ward Melville

2. Dillon Stowell, Gouverneur

3. Austin Keough, Warsaw

4. Bryan Lantry, Wayne

5. John Stramiello, Pine Bush

6. Cheick Ndiaye, Brooklyn International

7. Nick Casella, Locust Valley

8. Steve Sewkumar, Long Beach

9. Corey Ali, Shenendehowa

10. Austin Ingraham, Highland

11. Hunter Richard, Holland Patent

12. Tyler Hartinger, Lancaster

13. Dylan Booth, Port Jervis

14. Rafael Mateo, Midlakes

15. Kyler Agoney, Peru

16. Christian Briody, Chaminade

120 Pounds: 

1. Kevin Jack, Danbury

2. Sean Peacock, Midlakes

3. Trey Aslanian, Edgemont

4. Robert Person, Bellmore JFK

5. Steve Michel, Lancaster

6. John Muldoon, Pearl River

7. Alex Delacruz, Ossining

8. Travis Passaro, ESM

9. Blaise Benderoth, N Rockland

10. Kevin Parker, Shenendehowa

11. Blake Retell, Shaker

12. Nick Tolli, Arlington

13. Chris Cataldo, MacArthur

14. Santo Curatolo, Tottenville

15. Anthony Calvano, Nanuet

16. Austin Acquard, Iroquois

126 Pounds: 

1. Dylan Realbuto, Somers

2. Will Koll, Lansing

3. TJ Fabian, SWR

4. Mark West, Hauppauge

5. Justin Cooksey, MacArthur

6. Ryan Snow, General Brown

7. Steve Giampapa, Burlington

8. Chris Araoz, Wantagh

9. Keanu Thompson, Grand Street

10. Alex Herringshaw, Holland Patent

11. Mike Raccioppi, Minisink Valley

12. Rocco Russo, Frontier

13. Antonio DeLuco, Rome Free Academy

14. Joe Ginley, Warwick Valley

15. Joe Dillon, Nanuet

16. John McHugh, Columbia

132 Pounds: 

1. Matt Leshinger, Sayviile

2. Tristan Rifanburg, Norwich

3. Brandon Lapi, Amsterdam

4. Sam Melikian, Fordham Prep

5. Johnny Do, Framingham

6. Chris Mauriello, Hauppauge

7. Zach Ayen, Gouverneur

8. Jake DiMarsico, N Rockland

9. Vinny Turano, Wantagh

10. Eric Harley, Penfield

11. Kyle Greene, Columbia

12. Donald Brown, Middletown

13. Dan Murphy, Ketcham

14. Jack Reina, Garden City

15. Liam Erickson, Brewster

16. Sam Ward, Locust Valley

138 Pounds: 

1. Nick Kelley, Shenendehowa

2. Nick Tighe, Phoenix

3. Connor Lapresi, Lansing

4. Tom Dutton, Rocky Point

5. Derek Arnold, Westfield

6. John Diekel, Whitehall

7. Drew Longo, Ardsley

8. Joey Butler, Burnt Hills

9. Colby Kash, Clarkstown N

10. Matt Caputo, N Rockland

11. Jordan Bushey, Peru

12. Zach Tepper, Danbury

13. Thomas Wightman, Warwick Valley

14. Freddy Pechette, Ravena

15. Matt Dillon, Nanuet

16. Brett Johnson, Cornwall

145 Pounds: 

1. Beau Donahue, Westfield

2. David Almaviva, Shenendehowa

3. Isaiah Riccio, Beaver River

4. Eric Lewandowski, Lancaster

5. Tom Grippi, Fox Lane

6. Frank Garcia, Norwich

7. Louis Hernandez, Mepham

8. JT Romagnoli, JD-CBA

9. Matt Schmelzinger, Garden City

10. Brad Marvin, Ketcham

11. Noah Phillips, Peru

12. Zach Lugo, Deer Park

13. Shane Jennings, Danbury

14. Mike Dusold, Locust Valley

15. Nick Accardi, Rocky Point

16. Brandon Aviles, Newfield

152 Pounds: 

1. Corey Rasheed, Longwood

2. Dan Dickman, Greene

3. Rowdy Prior, Phoenix

4. Angelo Kress, Columbia

5. Brendan Goldup, La Salle

6. Joe Mastro, Yorktown

7. Dan DeCarlo, Port Jervis

8. Zach Joseph, Shenenedehowa

9. Zach Colgan, Johnson City

10. Drake Barczak, M-W

11. Luke Nigro, Burlington

12. Jake Ashcraft, Burnt Hills

13. Mark Stucke, Kenmore West

14. Connor Lawrence, Duanesburg

15. Nik Hansen, Oxford

16. Steve Azzano, Wayne

160 Pounds:

1. Tyler Grimaldi, HHHW

2. Burke Paddock, Warsaw

3. Tyler Silverthorn, Gen Brown

4. Stephen Aiello, Westfield

5. Nick Gallo, Schalmont

6. Mike Beckwith, Greene

7. Austin Weigel, Onteora

8. Danny Tracy, Mepham

9. Steven Schneider, MacArthur

10. Joe Koshakow, Scarsdale

11. JP Vandercliff, M-W

12. Travis Edwards, Port Jervis

13. James Marquez, Amsterdam

14. Nate Bomysoad, U-E

15. Johnny Garcia, Danbury

16. Keith Langdon, Penfield

170 Pounds:

1. Troy Seymour, Peru

2. Danny McDevitt, Wantagh

3. Joe Piccolo, HHHW

4. Christian Dietrich, Greene

5. Adis Radoncic, RKA

6. AJ Voelker, M-W

7. Jack Hatton, Burnt Hills

8. Collin Fox, Midlakes

9. Brett Perry, JJEF

10. Kyle McGuire, Newburgh

11. Matt Guerrisi, Rocky Point

12. John Messinger, Putnam Valley

13. Geno Brancati, Hudson Falls

14. Franky Nassivera, Queensbury

15. Anatoliy Anchakov, Grand Street

16. Greg Kleinsmith, Johnson City

182 Pounds:

1. Zack Zupan, Canastota

2. Tim Schaefer, Warsaw

3. Levi Ashley, Shen

4. James Corbett, Wantagh

5. Connor Leavell, Warwick Valley

6. Matt Roberts, Msgr Farrell

7. Zeki Yazak, Rocky Point

8. Thomas Murray, Yorktown

9. Steve Lambert, Mepham

10. Nathanael Rose, Eagle Academy

11. Jagger Rebozo, HHHW

12. Andy Martinez, Liberty

13. Randy Wilson, Port Jervis

14. Tyler Morson, Westfield

15. Christian Araneo, Ward Melville

16. AJ Buchanan, Highland

195 Pounds:

1. Reggie Williams, Johnson City

2. Tyler Smith, Midlakes

3. Hunter Ayen, Gouverneur

4. Steven Sabella, Yorktown

5. Deon Edmond, Kingston

6. Andrew Maxam, Glens Falls

7. Ben Honis, JD-CBA

8. Race Viedt, Burnt Hills

9. Scott Wymbs, Horace Greeley

10. Xavier Carmona, Hackley

11. Wyatt Albanese, Canastota

12. Kevin Tynes, Brooklyn Tech

13. Wayne Burt, Colonie

14. Kevin Brundage, Nanuet

15. Dan Fowler, Chaminade

16. Garrett Duval, Sherburne-Earlville

220 Pounds

1. Mike Silvis, Holley

2. Dan Breit, Nanuet

3. Dillon Hurlbert, Marathon

4. Jason Johnson, Colonie

5. Josh Langley, Holland Patent

6. Rich Sisti, Msgr Farrell

7. Rob Kelly, M-W

8. Corey Gaffney, General Brown

9. Lucas Depofi, U-E

10. Alex Ortiz, Middletown

11. Luke McKee, Peru

12. Nico Fragale, Burnt Hills

13. Robert James, Longwood

14. TJ Ragusa, Wantagh

15. Sean Fergerson, Rocky Point

16. Josh Bonneau, Minisink Valley

285 Pounds:

1. El Shaddai Van Hoesen, Columbia

2. Alex Soutiere, Ravena

3. David Varian, Yorktown

4. Terrence Cheeks, Newburgh

5. Austin DiCerbo, Colonie

6. Brent Lobien, Horace Greeley

7. Justin Douglas, New Rochelle

8. Matt Vitale, Garden City

9. Tim Wade, Middletown

10. Jacob Morris, Canastota

11. Steve Kerrigan, Susquehanna Valley

12. Mazen Hassan, Msgr Farrell

13. Mason Cross, Penfield

14. Anthony Tufano, New Paltz

15. Shaquille Williams, Brooklyn Tech

16. Ethan Smith, JJCR

17. Brennan Strovink, Rocky Point

Eastern States Pick Your Champions Contest!

The Eastern States Classic is nearly here.  Over 115 teams will be represented from four states. 13 former state champions are in the field, as are 60 state placers.  The competition will be fierce at every weight.

Can you correctly pick the most champions?  Enter our Eastern States Pick Your Champions Contest and find out. The winner receives an iTunes card.

To participate in the contest, Click Here. (THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. WE WILL ANNOUNCE THE WINNER NEXT WEEK).

Unstoppable: Vinny Vespa Wrestles Again After Confronting Cancer

When Vinny Vespa was first diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, doctors told his mother Lisa Vespa that he could need treatment for up to a year.

Instead, five months later, almost to the day, Vinny Vespa returned to live wrestling with his teammates at Monroe Woodbury High School.

“I’m working really hard,” he said. “I definitely missed it. I’m really happy to be back on the mat.”

The truth is, he never really left.  While Vespa wasn’t allowed to go live during the treatment process, partially because of a port he had in his chest, he never stopped training and lifting.

And he certainly never lost connection with the wrestling community.

Vinny and his mother Lisa were amazed by the many contributions and well wishes they received, not only in Section 9 but throughout New York State and even beyond.

While they appreciated everything that was done for them, the Takedown Tournament held at Monroe Woodbury High School on June 30 was the highlight.  Over 350 wrestlers competed in the event, which also featured carnival games and other family entertainment.

“It was really fun to watch everyone come out that day not only to wrestle but also to support me,” Vinny Vespa said. “I even got to see my brother Michael wrestle again, which was really cool to watch.  I was surprised that people came from all over.  I knew there were a lot of people supporting me, but I didn’t expect that many people to be there.  I was really grateful.”

“It was surreal for me,” Lisa Vespa added. “It was so heartfelt and it showed the tremendous commitment that the wrestling family has.  I was taken aback by the level of support and I was so appreciative.  It was amazing.”

It was a high point, followed by a summer filled with treatment regimens and hospital visits.  A few days receiving chemotherapy.  A few days at home.  More chemotherapy.  Then a few weeks off and the process started all over again.

“The whole summer was a blur,” Lisa Vespa said. “It was definitely rough, but Vinny was an amazing patient.  He never complained.  He just did what he needed to do.  He was never looking for pity or praise.”

In September, even when in the midst of radiation treatments (and attending school again), Vinny felt like he had turned a corner.

“I really started to feel better,” he said. “I felt less nervous about things – like I knew I was going to be alright.  I started thinking about wrestling and getting back to it as soon as possible.”

A few weeks later, in October, Vinny had a PET scan and the doctors shared good news.

“I’m grateful to say that he’s in remission now,” Lisa Vespa said.  “We know it’s a long haul.  He’ll have another PET scan in January.  But we don’t have to go back to the doctor until then.  There aren’t any restrictions on him now, he just has to listen to his body to figure out what he can and can’t do.”

It took no time at all for Vinny to join Monroe Woodbury practice.  In fact, he participated the same day he was cleared.

“I started right away,” he said. “It’s been really cool, being around the team and wrestling with my teammates.  I think I’m starting to get fully back into it, but I’m definitely already better than last year because of how I feel.”

How he felt last year during matches was tired and out of breath.  He was unable to do what he wanted to late in matches and he was often unable to escape when he was in the down position.

“We couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t get out on bottom when he wrestled,” Lisa Vespa said. “I actually took him out of practice on a Saturday morning in January and asked his coach’s permission to send him to a clinic focusing on that.  Looking back now, it was insane.  Vinny had been wrestling since he was three or four years old — of course he knew how to do it. We were just grasping at straws, trying to come with any reason why he was having trouble.  I knew something was wrong, I just couldn’t figure out what.”

The Vespa family explored a number of options, including a new mouthpiece, asthma and bronchitis.  In addition, Lisa Vespa said she considered cancer back in November of 2011 when Vinny complained of terrible itching, which was the only symptom a friend of the Vespa family had when diagnosed with cancer.  However, after a doctor’s visit and some blood work, the Vespas came home with cream for the itching and went back to the drawing board.

It was months later, after Vinny struggled while winning the New York State Freestyle championship in May, that a tumor was found in his lungs that indicated that he had Stage 4 Lymphoma.

Having overcome so much, some people would be satisfied with simply putting on a singlet and getting on the mat again.  Not Vinny Vespa.

“My plan is to wrestle every chance my coach gives me to wrestle,” said the 2012 state qualifier. “As long as it benefits the team, I will go out and wrestle, even I have to bump up a weight.  But for Sections and the end of the year, I’m planning to go 99 pounds again.  I’m still light.  I was at the state tournament and I want to be there again.  This time I want to get to the finals and try to win it.”

That would be a fitting ending for a wrestler who has already won significant battles.

“For me, the most important thing is to look at him and know that he feels 100% again,” Lisa Vespa said.  “Because it was obvious last year that he didn’t feel anywhere near 100%.  Getting back on the mat five months after starting treatment says so much about Vinny.  But I also attribute a lot of it to the tremendous support from the wrestling community and to the sport of wrestling itself.  From wrestling, Vinny has learned an inner strength and perseverance.  He learned that you don’t give up and you dig deep when things get tough.  Wrestling gives you a level of confidence that no other sport can give you. I have no doubt that wrestling has helped him get where he is now.”


More Season Preview Articles:

Section 1 Preview

Section 3 Preview

Section 4 Preview

Section 7 Preview

Section 8 Preview

Section 9 Preview

CHSAA Preview


Section 1 Feature:  Aslanian and Realbuto, All-State Wrestlers and Workout Partners, Seek to End Their Careers on Top of the Podium

Section 4 Feature: Looking for “Number Nine”: Reggie Williams Aims to Make History at Johnson City

Section 5 Feature: The “Miracle” Continues: The Return of Aaron Paddock

Section 11 Feature: Nick Piccininni Looks to Continue Winning Streak

Section 9 Preview: Stramiello and Martinez Look to Make All-State Again, While Fans Await the Return of Vinny Vespa


By Mike Carey, sectionixwrestling.com


Division I

Returning State Placewinner:

Sixth Place: Johnny Stramiello, Pine Bush, 106 Pounds


Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Gerard Daly, Minisink Valley

99 Pounds: Vinny Vespa, Monroe Woodbury

106 Pounds: Michael Raccioppi, Minisink Valley

160 Pounds: Dan DeCarlo, Port Jervis

195 Pounds: Deon Edmond, Kingston

220 Pounds: Connor Leavell, Warwick

Wrestlers to Watch . . .

Johnny Stramiello, Photo by Boris V

Johnny Stramiello, Pine Bush – The three-time defending Section 9 champion placed sixth at the state tournament last season.  His offseason work at Apex Wrestling plus his appearance at tough events such as the Journeymen Classic will greatly improve his chances of ascending up the podium.

Michael Raccioppi, Minisink Valley – Raccioppi is as tough as they come.  Last season, he finished 39-7, was a state qualifier and took seventh at the Eastern States Classic.  His “offseason” has included a fourth place finish at the MAWA Eastern Nationals, a 10-day J. Robinson Intensive Camp and an appearance at the Journeymen Classic.

Dan DeCarlo, Port Jervis – DeCarlo is as strong and athletic as any wrestler in the state but he typically only wrestles four months of the year.  His skill and technique are improving each season, so don’t be surprised if you see him on the podium in Albany.

Gerard Daly, Minisink Valley – As a first year varsity wrestler, Daly recorded impressive wins over state qualifiers Steven Sewkumar of Long Beach (Section 8), Kevin Parker of Shenendehowa (Section 2) and Josh Antoine of the PSAL.  He also earned sixth at the Eastern States Classic.  Daly went 1-2 at the state tournament and was eliminated when he dropped a closely contested 8-5 bout to fourth place medalist Joe Calderone of Walt Whitman (Section 11).

Deon Edmond, Kingston – Edmond is talented, hard working and well coached.  He was one win from making All-State last year when he went 2-2, including an impressive victory over Mike Spinelli from Mahopac in Albany.  Edmond has set his goals very high for his senior campaign.

Also Keep an Eye On . . . 

AJ Voelker, Monroe Woodbury – Talented and self-motivated; he can “taste” it

Travis Edwards, Port Jervis – Wrestled hard all summer; very athletic

Terrence Cheeks, Newburgh Free Academy – Has the ability; defeated Ethan Stanley (New York State fourth placer) in 2012

Brett Johnson, Cornwall – May surprise some opponents; on the cusp of the next level

Donald Brown, Middletown – Explosive wrestler with lots of “upside”

Bryan Mongiello, Washingtonville – 2012 Section 9 finalist looking for his first trip to Albany

Dylan Booth, Port Jervis – Will his 10-day stint at the J. Robinson camp put him over the top?

Team Vinny V

In the hearts and minds of the entire Section 9 wrestling community, the most anticipated moment of the upcoming season will be when Monroe Woodbury sophomore Vinny Vespa steps on the mat for the first time.  Vespa, a New York state qualifier last season, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma this past spring and has been undergoing treatments for several months. Those who know Vinny can attest to the following statement — it’s a matter of “when”, not “if” he returns to the mat in a Monroe Woodbury singlet.

Team Race

Although they graduated five state qualifiers, two-time defending tournament champions Warwick Valley cannot be discounted. However, on paper, Monroe Woodbury and Minisink Valley seem to be the favorites going into the 2012-2013 season.

All three teams finished last season ranked in the top 20 in New York State.  Monroe Woodbury, the 18th ranked team a year ago, returns nearly its entire lineup.  Expect the Crusaders to be led by AJ Voelker, Vinny Vespa, PJ Smoot, Rob Kelly, JP Vandercliff and Drake Barczak.

Minisink Valley also returns the majority of last year’s team which finished the season as the 20th ranked team in the state.  The Warriors are expecting big things from qualifiers Gerard Daly and Michael Raccioppi as well as returning starters Chris Truglio, Nick Truglio, Nick Wentland and Josh Bonneau.

Although hit hard by graduation, last year’s 19th ranked team, Warwick Valley, is expecting another solid year.  The Wildcats will be led by returning state qualifier Connor Leavell as well as Joe Ginley, Thomas Wightman and Andy Sliter.

Several other teams have the potential to be in the hunt for the team title in Section 9.  Cornwall, led by New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame coach Don Blaine, is always tough.  This year’s squad will be no different and has several wrestlers who can make a splash at the sectional tournament including Brett Johnson, Sean Sweeney, Luke Zsido and Quinn Zsido.  NFA is always a solid team, however this year’s squad will have to contend with the loss of Hall of Fame coach Jeff Cuilty, who stepped down from his position in August. Port Jervis, Middletown, Valley Central and Washingtonville are ever-improving and may surprise some teams.


Division II

Returning State Placewinner:

Sixth Place: Andy Martinez, Liberty, 182 Pounds


Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Dean Stanton, Tuxedo

106 Pounds: Austin Ingraham, Highland

113 Pounds: Declan Dwyer-McNulty, Red Hook

120 Pounds: Eric Januszkiewicz, New Paltz

160 Pounds: Austin Weigel, Onteora

170 Pounds: Mike Rauch, Red Hook

195 Pounds: Dustin Mackenzie, Onteora

285 Pounds: Anthony Tufano, New Paltz

Wrestlers to Watch . . .

Andy Martinez (12) Liberty – Martinez is determined to prove that last season’s sixth place finish in Albany was no fluke.  The gritty and talented senior went 2-3 at the Times Union Center including a 7-5 victory over eventual fourth place finisher Tyler Morris of Section 2’s Salem.

Austin Weigel (12) Onteora – The senior was 2-2 at the state tournament last year.  His hard fought 3-1 loss to eventual third place finisher Hayden Wagner of South Seneca prevented Weigel from making it to the medal stand.  A busy offseason schedule including frequent trips up the Thruway to Journeymen Wrestling Club have continued his progress.  At the Super 32 qualifier in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, Weigel took second at 170 pounds, outscoring his opponents 14-3 to make the finals where he dropped a two-point decision to nationally ranked Garrett Peppelman.  He followed that up by winning his bracket at the Journeymen Classic. The podium is looking like a solid possibility this year.

Austin Ingraham (11) Highland – Prior to the beginning of last season, Ingraham made a commitment to improve his skills and become a competitive wrestler at the state level.  His work paid off.  The Highland junior had a great regular season and was one victory away from placing in Albany.  This year, he has his sights set on the podium.

Eric Januszkiewicz (12) New Paltz – Januskiewicz almost pulled off a huge upset in the first round of last year’s state tournament when he narrowly lost 4-3 to finalist Jeff O’Lena of East Rochester.  The New Paltz senior plans to take home his fourth Section 9 title this year and then cap off his high school career with a trip to the medal stand.

Also Keep an Eye On . . . Jesse Corcoran (12) Eldred – Placed at Eastern States, season ended early due to injury

Team Race

Expect a three-way race in Section 9 D2 between Onteora, Red Hook and Rondout Valley.  Onteora and Red Hook both return two state qualifiers from last year’s squads and neither team was decimated by graduation.  Rondout Valley graduated three Section 9 champs, however coach Dave Hodes always seems to have a competitive team take the mat.  New Paltz returns two state qualifiers and may sneak up on some teams.


More Season 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

Section 3 Preview