Shenendehowa All-American Nick Kelley Gives Verbal Pledge to Binghamton

Nick Kelley Photo by Boris Veysman

In an interview earlier this summer, Binghamton All-American Donnie Vinson talked about how committed the new coaching staff was to compiling a top recruiting class this year.

The Bearcats are certainly off to a great start, as Shenendehowa All-American Nick Kelley gave his verbal pledge to the CAA school on Friday, a few weeks after Canastota’s Zack Zupan did the same.

Kelley, a future 141 pounder, made a splash this summer when he took fourth place at 132 pounds at the Freestyle Junior Nationals at Fargo in a bracket full of acclaimed grapplers.  It wasn’t the first time on a national podium for the Section 2 star, as he took fifth at FloNationals in 2011 and third at NHSCA Freshman Nationals in 2010.

Intermat’s #93 senior recruit has been a standout in New York for years, as he first qualified for the state tournament as a seventh grader.  He has made the podium in the Empire State on multiple occasions, including a third place showing at 132 pounds in 2012.  Kelley is currently ranked #9 in the country by Flowrestling at 132 and will look for his first state title in February, likely up a weight, for the Plainsmen.

Please check back for a full story on Nick Kelley’s commitment in the coming days.

NY Wrestlers Clinch Spots on the Podium During Day 1 of Cadet Greco Nationals

After watching his sister Alexis win a National Championship on Saturday, Jesse Porter went undefeated as well during the first day of Cadet Greco Roman action at Fargo, North Dakota.  Porter was 5-0 at 132 pounds, as was fellow New Yorker Sam Ward of St. Anthony’s.  Both Porter and Ward have clinched spots on the podium and will face each other in the next round on Monday.

Two other New York wrestlers are guaranteed All-America honors. Chris Cuccolo, who took fifth in this event in 2011, notched four victories and will place no lower than sixth at 94 pounds.  Meanwhile, Benjamin Honis of Jamesville-Dewitt will wrestle for seventh place against Wyatt Richardson of Minnesota at 182 pounds tomorrow.

Eden’s Alexander Smythe tallied a 4-1 record on the day at 152 pounds and will take on Ricky Regas of Texas in his next bout.

For full results on these Empire State grapplers for the Cadet Greco Roman competition, see below:

94 Pounds: Chris Cuccolo (Pine Bush)

Match #1 Chris Cuccolo (New York) over Tanner Tidswell (Tennessee) Fall 2-0,1:15
Match #2 Paul Fitterer (Minnesota) over Chris Cuccolo (New York) Dec 3-0,3-0
Match #3 Chris Cuccolo (New York) over Bridger Carpenter (Idaho) Dec 1-0,4-0
Match #4 Chris Cuccolo (New York) over Jacob Gardiner (California) Fall 3-0,1:12
Match #5 Chris Cuccolo (New York) received a bye.
Match #6 Chris Cuccolo (New York) over Jon Gabriel (Pennsylvania) Dec 1-1,6-4

132 Pounds: Jesse Porter (Shenendehowa)

Match #1 Jesse Porter (New York) over Brandon Arteaga (Illinois) Dec 1-2,4-0,2-0
Match #2 Jesse Porter (New York) received a bye.
Match #3 Jesse Porter (New York) over Grant Bolduan (Minnesota) TF 6-0,6-0
Match #4 Jesse Porter (New York) over Austin Kraisser (Maryland) Dec 6-0,2-1
Match #5 Jesse Porter (New York) over Troy Wilson (Washington) Dec 6-0,5-1
Match #6 Jesse Porter (New York) over John Kenyon (Idaho) Dec 4-0,1-0

132 Pounds: Sam Ward (St. Anthony’s)

Match #1 Sam Ward (New York) over Jacob Johnson (Minnesota) Dec 1-0,6-
Match #2 Sam Ward (New York) over Griffin Rose (Illinois) Fall 1-0,1:12
Match #3 Sam Ward (New York) over Maxwell Meddings (Ohio) Dec 3-0,3-1
Match #4 Sam Ward (New York) over Joseph Hayek (Nebraska) Dec 1-0,3-0
Match #5 Sam Ward (New York) over Troy Vandall (Arizona) Dec 2-0,1-0
Match #6 Sam Ward (New York) received a bye.

152 Pounds: Alexander Smythe (Eden)

Match #1 Alexander Smythe (New York) over Andy Hinrichs (Virginia) Dec 6-0,4-1
Match #2 Alexander Smythe (New York) over Jeric Kasunic (Pennsylvania) Dec 2-0,1-0
Match #3 Alexander Smythe (New York) over CJ McKinnis (Oregon) Dec 2-0,3-0
Match #4 Bobby Reece (Washington) over Alexander Smythe (New York) Dec 3-0,3-2
Match #5 Alexander Smythe (New York) over David Witczak (Illinois) Dec 5-0,1-0

182 Pounds: Benjamin Honis (Jamesville-Dewitt) – will be in the 7th place match vs. Wyatt Richardson (Minnesota)

Match #1 Benjamin Honis (New York) over Andrew Fenton (Ohio) Dec 2-1,3-1
Match #2 Benjamin Honis (New York) over Hunter Dunn (Michigan) Dec 4-2,2-1
Match #3 Benjamin Honis (New York) over Samuel Colbray (Oregon) Dec 3-2,0-6,1-0
Match #4 Tim Grote (Illinois) over Benjamin Honis (New York) Dec 0-1,1-0,3-0
Match #5 Benjamin Honis (New York) received a bye.
Match #6 Nick Osowski (Wisconsin) over Benjamin Honis (New York) Dec 2-1,4-1

Alexis Porter Discusses Her National Championship at Fargo and Her Quest for More

Before she competes, Alexis Porter likes to visualize her matches.   But even she didn’t imagine winning a National Championship with a first period pin.

“That wasn’t really in my plan,” Porter said from Fargo on Sunday. “But the opportunity was there and I had to take it.  I was a little surprised.  I didn’t expect it to be that short of a match.”

It was short – 1:32 to be exact.  That’s how long it took for the Ballston Lake native to notch an early takedown and a pair of throws, leading to the fall over California’s Anna Naylor and a Cadet Women’s Freestyle National Title at 143 pounds.

The victory came a year after a successful debut in North Dakota, during which Porter earned All-America honors in both the Cadet (third place) and Junior (fourth) divisions.

“Last year was a little difficult because it was my first time and I wasn’t sure what to expect,” she said. “Considering it was my first time, I was okay with how I finished. It left me with something to do because I knew I hadn’t given it everything I had.  I wanted to work harder and get first place this year.”

She was able to achieve that, and will look for another appearance on top of the podium when she takes the mat on Tuesday in the Junior division at 138 pounds, closer to her actual weight.

But before she does that, she’ll watch another member of her family, her brother Jesse, in Cadet Greco action.

Wrestling is truly a family affair for the Porters.  Her father, Jesse, introduced the whole clan to the sport, including her mother Melovee.  Alexis was learning wrestling even prior to officially stepping on the mat.

“I was always my brother’s practice partner,” Porter said.  “Even before I knew much about wrestling.”

At age nine, she made a decision to delve deeper into the sport as more than just a hobby.

“When I first started, it was just a fun thing to do and a good way to stay active.  I didn’t care that much about winning and losing,” she said. “But as I got older, I started to take it seriously.  I dropped other sports (track and field, skiing and gymnastics) and made wrestling a priority. I fell in love with the sport and I set a lot of goals for myself.”

She has reached quite a few of them with the help of great workout environments both inside and outside her household.

The grappler trains not only with her family, but with Journeymen Wrestling with coaches such as Frank Popolizio and Jeff Blatnick, among others.  She is also part of one of the Empire State’s best high school programs at Shenendehowa with head coach Rob Weeks.

In fact, during the season with the Plainsmen, Porter found herself in an excellent situation, practicing with a pair of 2012 New York State bronze medalists, Nick Kelley (132) and David Almaviva (138).

“We have one of the toughest rooms in the state,” Porter said.  “It’s definitely helped me.  I get pushed further than I think I can go.  I get pounded by the boys at times, but I’m glad they beat me up a little bit.  It helps me a lot when I get out there in touraments like Fargo.”

So when it comes down to it, does she like wrestling with the boys or girls better?

“Wrestling with the boys is a challenge that helps me get better,” she said.  “But I like to win and I don’t do that as often with the boys.”

She has done a lot of winning, including titles at the Gene Mills Eastern Nationals and New York Freestyle and Greco States, among others.  She is grateful to those who have assisted her on her path.

“I definitely want to thank my parents,” she said. “They are the most supportive people in my life. They’ve done so much for me. Ever since I started, they’ve put time, money and energy into it with me, hoping one day I’d get here.”

But it doesn’t end in Fargo.  Porter, who wants to wrestle at the collegiate level, has her sights set on another medal stand in the future.

“I’d say, if you’re doing something, do it with your whole heart,” she said. “Dream big, whether it seems realistic or not, dream big.  Yesterday’s championship [at Fargo] is my biggest accomplishment so far as far as Freestyle goes.  But I’m going to keep working because I want to win an Olympic medal someday.”

Alexis Porter Wins National Title at 143 Pounds on Opening Day at Fargo

Alexis Porter of Ballston Lake made sure New York didn’t have to wait long to capture a National Title at Fargo, winning the 143-pound championship in the first day of competition in the Women’s Cadet division.

The Shenendehowa grappler made quick work of her finals opponent, Anna Naylor of California, earning a first period fall after building up a large lead.  Porter opened the scoring with an early takedown and followed with a three-point throw for a 4-0 advantage.  Shortly afterwards, Porter picked up the pin after another big throw.

It was an impressive ending to a dominant day for Porter, who was a double medalist in Fargo in 2011. The Section 2 wrestler was in control all day, defeating her first foe, Washington’s Vanessa Dixon by technical fall before pinning Alyssa Hernandez of California.  She then topped Marlie Gillis of Wisconsin in straight periods to garner her spot in the finals.

Porter wasn’t the only Empire State placewinner at 143 pounds.  Kennedie Eddings, a returning medalist, once again made the podium, taking sixth at that weight.

Also making the medal stand for New York was Yuneris Diaz, who was third in round robin action at 172 pounds.

Women’s Cadet Freestyle – New York All-Americans

Alexis Porter (Shenendehowa), 143 Pounds, Champion

Finals: Pin Anna Naylor (California), 1:32

Porter TF Vanessa Dixon (Washington), 6-0, 6-0

Porter Pin Alyssa Hernandez (California), 3-0, 0:51

Porter D Marlie Gillis (Wisconsin), 7-0, 3-2

 

Kennedie Eddings (Niagara Falls), 143 Pounds, 6th Place

Fifth Place Match: LBF Alyssa Hernandez (California), 1-4, 1:55

Pin Leslie Hernandez (Georgia), 2-0, 1:00

L Anna Naylor (California), 0-3, 3-0, 0-1

LBF Hannah Gladded (Alabama)

 

Yuneris Diaz (Bathgate), 172 Pounds, 3rd Place

LBF Kaitlyn Hill (Michigan)

D 1-0, 7-1 Alana Quackenbush (Wisconsin)

LBF Azusenna Molina (California)