Diakomihalis Captures the Super 32 Title as Five Others Place in High School Action; Adam Busiello Strikes Middle School Gold

BY MATT DIANO

One year removed from the heartbreak that witnessed several New York wrestlers come close, but only one Empire Stater (Shayne Brady) make the podium at the 2012 Super 32 Challenge, one could not help but feel that when the NY wrestlers took to the mats this weekend in Greensboro, North Carolina, they would be competing with a chip on their shoulders; a little extra motivation; a need to prove that last year was an exception and not the rule.

With all the dust having now settled in the Coliseum, 2012 has officially been put in the rearview mirror following an amazing collective effort which yielded six top-8 finishes, the second most ever earned by New York in the 14-year existence of the Battle for the Belt. (New York had nine placers in 2009).

Led by 106-pound champion Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton), the Empire State would also emerge with a runner up finish at 182 (Nicky Hall), a bronze medal showing at 152 (Louis Hernandez), a pair of fourth place finishes (Nick Piccininni at 120 and Vincent Feola at 220), and a seventh place effort from Thomas Dutton at 145 pounds.

Diakomihalis

Diakomihalis entered the tournament as the #3 ranked wrestler in the nation per Flo after winning the 2013 NYS large school title as an eighth grader in the 99-pound weight class. The Hilton star would be nothing short of dominant on Sunday, going 3-0, including back-to-back bonus point performances in the quarter and semifinal rounds to punch his ticket to the title bout.  Kicking off the morning by securing a first period fall over Ohio’s Hunter Lucas via cradle, Diakomihalis would make a huge statement in the semifinals when he upended 2013 Ohio DII state champion Tyler Warner, 14-3, in a clash of the #2 and #3 ranked wrestlers in the country.   The fab frosh would take the title with a methodical 3-0 decision over sixth-ranked Cage Curry of Pennsylvania in a bout that was not as close as the score would indicate.  Scoring a takedown in the first period and then adding an escape in the second, Diakomihalis would never give his Keystone State foe an opportunity to get on the board, racking up a plethora of riding time.  After winning the Middle School crown in 2012,  Diakomihalis becomes only the second New York wrestler to ever win a Super 32 High School title. (Joe Booth in 2007 was the first).

Hall, a fifth-year for coach Scott Green at Wyoming Seminary (PA), would make his home state proud in finishing second at 182.  Because he is considered a postgraduate, the former Longwood standout is not eligible for an individual national ranking.  However, this weekend more than proved that he is among the nation’s elite as he would go on to defeat the #20 wrestler in the land, Stephen Loiseau of Lancaster Catholic (PA), 6-0 in the quarterfinals, before besting 2013 Michigan third place finisher/#19 (@195) ranked, Ty Wildmo (who upset the 11th ranked wrestler in the quarters), to advance to the finals.  In the championship match, the recent North Carolina State commit would give a game effort, constantly looking for his offense.  But alas, a second title for the Empire State would not be in the cards as Hall dropped a 5-2 decision to Zack Zavatsky.  With the #9 ranked Zavatsky headed to Virginia Tech next fall, Sunday’s finals match could have been the commencement of a long ACC rivalry between these two talented competitors.

Taking the long way to the bronze medal would be the defending NYS large school champion from Mepham, Hernandez.  A product of the Ascend Wrestling Club, with his mentor, Craig Vitagliano in his corner, the day would begin with a bit of whimper for the #13 ranked wrestler in the nation.  Pitted in a tight quarterfinal bout against #4 Jake Danishek, Hernandez appeared to be the aggressor for much of the duration, but would be unable to convert on any of his takedown attempts.  With the match deadlocked at 1-1, the three-time Ohio state champion out of Dayton would explode for a controversial takedown in the final half minute and would hold on in the closing seconds to earn the 3-2 decision.  This questionable loss would be the only one of the day for the stud from Nassau County as he would go on to win four consecutive bouts in the consolation bracket, highlighted by a 7-5 decision over the nation’s #3 wrestler, Fox Baldwin (Florida) in the wrestleback semifinals.  Hernandez would also post 10-2 and 8-3 victories over National Prep third place finisher, Toby Hague, and New Jersey fourth place medalist Zack Hertling prior to his aforementioned win over the Floridian.  In the bronze bout, Hernandez would win a low scoring affair, recording the only takedown of the match to secure the 3-2 decision over 2013 Virginia runner up, Jack Bass.

Piccininni would demonstrate the heart and perseverance that has made him a two-time NYS champion for Ward Melville, rebounding from Saturday’s disappointing upset loss in the round of 16 to go 4-1 on Sunday.  Beginning his journey back to a top-four placement with a 3-0 shutout over 2013 Pennsylvania bronze medalist Tyrone Klump of Nazareth, the wrestler from Suffolk would survive a bit of a scare when he was taken into sudden victory by fellow nationally ranked (13th) opponent, Kyle Akins of Illinois.  With the match all knotted up at 3-3, Piccininni would waste little time in making sure he advanced, quickly getting in deep and finishing on the 2013 Illinois state champion.  In the consolation quarters, Piccininni would run into a familiar foe in the person of New Jersey’s Anthony Cefolo.  A 3-0 winner over the Garden State representative two weeks ago at the Iron Horse Invitational, the Ward Melville standout would make it two-for-two against the Hanover Park product, notching an 8-4 decision. The Empire State’s top-ranked junior would pick up his final win of the tournament in the consolation semifinals, defeating fan favorite Troy Gregor, from the host state, 5-1.  In the bout for the bronze, Piccininni would come up just short of third place honors, losing a hard fought 4-3 decision to the nation’s top-ranked wrestler, Sean Russell from Georgia powerhouse Collins Hill.  Russell finished second at the Super 32 last season.

Perhaps the most surprising top-8 finisher for New York would be Feola, who came to the Tar Heel State as a relative unknown, but leaves it as a hot commodity following his 2-2 effort on the final day of competition.  The Walt Whitman High School and Vougar Honors Wrestling Club representative may have raised his stock more than any other Empire Stater this weekend.  A fourth place finisher at the Suffolk County Tournament in 2013 for Walt Whitman, he would lock up a spot on the podium when he jumped out early and then kept his composure late to earn a 5-4 decision in the quarterfinals over LaSalle College High School’s Antonio Pelusi.  However, in the semifinals, 2013 Massachusetts state champion Ian Butterbrodt would have his arsenal from the top position on full display, earning several series of back points to deny the Long Islander a spot in the finals with the 11-1 major decision.  Feola would split his final two bouts of the weekend, sticking his consolation semifinal opponent, 2013 Florida runner up Ben Cruz, in 84 seconds before finding himself on the short end of an 8-3 decision in the third place bout to 2012 Georgia silver medalist, Matthew Moore.

Speaking of stock that continues to skyrocket, Rocky Point’s Dutton had another stellar outing. Two weeks after winning the Iron Horse, the junior who finished fourth in Albany last season, would come up clutch again, posting a .500 record (2-2) on day two in North Carolina to become the second member of his family to finish in the top-8 at this event. (Older brother, Stephen, who currently wrestles for the University of Michigan, was a two-time S32 placewinner, including a runner up showing in 2009).

Dutton’s morning would begin on something of a sour note following an 11- 2 major decision loss to two-time Missouri champion/#8 ranked wrestler in the country, Grant Leeth. However, Dutton would need less than a minute in the consolation bracket to guarantee himself a placement finish, earning the fall at the 58 second mark over 2013 Pennsylvania sixth place finisher, Billy Barnes.  Like Feola, Dutton would split his final two matches of the tournament, losing a 10-3 decision to eventual third place finisher, Nick Bennett of Michigan in the consolation semis, but then putting an exclamation on a solid weekend with a 4-3 decision over two-time New Jersey runner up, Gary Dinmore.  This “w” makes two in a row for Dutton over Dinmore, as he also defeated him by one point (3-2) at the Iron Horse.

Falling just short of the podium, but still very deserving of recognition were the following wrestlers who lost in the round of 12: Vito Arujau (113, Syosset), Vincent DePrez (145, Hilton), and Steven Schneider (170, MacArthur).  All were 2013 large school state silver medalists. Arujau would drop a 1-0 decision to eventual eighth place finisher, Eric Hong (PA); DePrez would be defeated by the fourth place medalist, Micheal Longo of California (6-1); and Schneider would be nipped 2-1 by the seventh placer from Ohio, Seth Williams.

Showing that not only is the present bright, but so too is the future were the following Middle School Division placewinners: Adam Busiello (1st @85), Hector Colom (3rd @100), Michael Gonyea (5th @75), Ivan Garcia (6th @ 70), and AJ Burkhart (6th @95).

With a 1-0 victory over Colorado’s Colton Yapoujian in the title bout, Busiello becomes the first New York State wrestler to win multiple Youth Super 32 titles, after cruising to the crown in 2012.  Yapoujian, who won a Super 32 gold medal in 2011 and placed second last season, entered the tournament as the pound-for-pound #6 junior high prospect on the Flo rankings board.  Busiello is expected to compete on the varsity this season as a seventh grader for coach Nick Garone’s Eastport-South Manor squad.

Colom, who set the school record for victories in a single season as a 7th-grader with 37 (37-5) for Dunkirk, would compile a 5-1 record on the day, opening the tournament with three straight wins, including a 4-2 decision over Flo’s #19 junior High School prospect, Mason Turner of Olathe, Kansas. In fact, the 2013 Section VI 4th place finisher appeared destined to go all the way to the winner’s circle before being tripped up in the semifinals by the 32nd rated youth wrestler, Brian Stuart of Maryland. The 12-year-old superstar would return to his winning ways in the consolation bracket, pitching shutouts in each of his final two bouts of the tournament, including a 3-0 decision in the bronze medal match against Council Rock, PA’s Benjamin Radner.

Notching four pins in his five overall victories would be the Journeymen Wrestling Club protege, Gonyea, who went 5-2 with victories over opponents from Vermont, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.  The two opponents who were successful in getting their hands raised against him would later go on to finish 2nd and 3rd overall in the tournament.

Garcia (representing the Apex Wrestling Club) and Burkhart (Waverly) would go a combined 7-6 in rounding out the NYS youth contingent’s performance with their previously noted sixth place finishes.

Congratulations to all NYS placewinners!

FINAL High School BRACKETS

Final Middle School Brackets (free registration required)

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Super 32 Update: State Champs Diakomihalis and Hernandez Among the NY Wrestlers Still in Contention in Greensboro

Hernandez, Photo by BV

After a full day of competition in Greensboro, NC, New York has a number of wrestlers alive in the chase for the Super 32 championship belt.  That includes a pair of 2013 state titlewinners – Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton, 106) and Louis Hernandez (Mepham, 152).

Diakomihalis, who won a Middle School crown at this event last year, was dominant with two pins and a technical fall during the day.  Hernandez cruised as well, with seven and nine point wins in his first two bouts before receiving a forfeit in the Round of 16.

After winning a challenging bracket at the Iron Horse a few weeks ago, Rocky Point’s Tom Dutton followed up with four straight victories at 145 to punch his ticket to the quarters.  Another champion at the Iron Horse, Steve Schneider of MacArthur, posted a trio of wins, including a pin at 170. Fellow Long Island wrestler Vincent Feola of Walt Whitman notched a fall and a one-point decision at 220, while former Longwood standout (and current Wyoming Seminary grappler) Nicky Hall will also appear in the Round of 8 tomorrow, at 182 pounds.

In addition to the quarterfinalists mentioned above, several other Empire State wrestlers remain in contention for spots on the podium, including state champion Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville at 120 pounds and NYS finalists Vito Arujau of Syosset (113) and Vincent DePrez of Hilton (145).  Also still in the mix after a successful first day on the mat in North Carolina are East Islip’s Dennis Ferro at 152, Clarence’s Jake Weber and Rocky Point’s Joseph Russo at 170 and former Pine Bush competitor Chris Cuccolo at 106.

Sunday’s Scheduled Matches for NY Wrestlers – Super 32 Challenge

In the quarterfinals:

106: Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton) vs. Hunter Lucas (OH)

145: Tommy Dutton (Rocky Point) vs. Grant Leeth (MO)

152: Louis Hernandez (Mepham) vs. Jacob Danishek (IN)

170: Steve Schneider (MacArthur) vs. Chance Marstellar (PA)

182: Nicky Hall (Wyoming Seminary/Longwood) vs. Stephen Loiseau (PA)

220: Vincent Feola (Walt Whitman) vs. Antonio Pelusi (PA)

 

In the wrestlebacks:

106: Chris Cuccolo (St. Benedicts/Pine Bush) vs. Jarrett Reisenbichler (MO)

113: Vito Arujau (Syosset) vs. Patrick D’Arcy (NJ)

120: Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville) vs. Tyrone Klump (PA)

145: Vincent DePrez (Hilton) vs. Chandler Pyke (GA)

152: Dennis Ferro (East Islip) vs. Paden Bailey (OK)

170: Jake Weber (Clarence) vs. Jacob Cooper (MI)

170: Joseph Russo (Rocky Point) vs. Joe Heyob (OH)

Ready to Roll: NY Wrestlers to Face Top Competition at the Super 32 Challenge and "Freak Show"

As the season rapidly approaches, numerous New York wrestlers will test themselves against some of the best in the nation this weekend at a pair of events in two different areas of the country.  Close to 100 Empire State grapplers are registered for the Super 32 Challenge in Greensboro, NC while another group will make the trip to Las Vegas for the Southwest Kickoff Classic, aka, the Freak Show.

Photo by BV

Last year, Carthage’s Shayne Brady, now a freshman at North Carolina State, made the podium at the Super 32 at 182 pounds for New York.  Several others came within one victory of the medal stand, including Ward Melville’s Nick Piccininni, Eastport South Manor’s Travis Passaro and Shoreham Wading River’s TJ Fabian (now competing for Sacred Heart).

Piccininni and Passaro will look to go further this time around at 120 and 126 pounds, respectively. Joining them in the field are a number of 2013 state champions, including Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton), Kyle Quinn (Wantagh), Louis Hernandez (Mepham) and Adis Radoncic (Poly Prep) as well as 2013 NYS finalists Matteo DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson), Vito Arujau (Syosset), Nick Casella (Locust Valley), Vincent DePrez (Hilton), Frank Garcia (Norwich) and Steve Schneider (MacArthur).

New York saw plenty of success at the Super 32 Middle School event in 2012, with titles from the previously mentioned Diakomihalis as well as Adam Busiello, who will be a seventh grader at Eastport South Manor this year. Plainview’s Peter Pappas was a runner up, while the aforementioned Arujau took third, as did Hilton’s Michael Spallina.  Other Middle School placers included Dylan Ryder, Hector Colom (Dunkirk) and Lou DePrez (Hilton).

Meanwhile, out in Nevada, state champions William Koll of Lansing and Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich are among the wrestlers registered to take the mat at the “Freak Show”, along with New York placers Connor Calkins of Alfred-Almond and Theo Powers of Mexico as well as Suffolk County gold medalist John Arceri.

A year ago, a number of youth wrestlers performed well in Vegas, with Carter Schubert taking gold and Michael Gonyea and Carson Alberti earning silver.  Schubert will be back, looking to win it all two years in a row.

For the list of registered Empire State wrestlers at each of the events, see below (registration as of the morning of Oct. 23). Check back for updates on both events over the weekend.

 

Freak Show (Southwest Kickoff Classic)

High School Elite

108 John Arceri (Ascend)

108 Theo Powers (NYWAY)

128 William Koll (NYWAY)

138 Tristan Rifanburg (NYWAY)

143 Julian Korfine (NYWAY)

288 Connor Calkins (NYWAY)

 15 & Under

95 Pounds Thomas Cox (631 Elite/VHW)

95 Pounds Jonathan Gomez

108 Anthony Cirillo (Rocky Point)

125 Jackie Gold (Rocky Point)

9&10

61 Carter Schubert (Superior Wrestling Academy)

 

Super 32 – High School

106

Zach Ancewicz (John Glenn)

Joseph Barber (Cicero North Syracuse)

Tito Colom (Dunkirk)

Chris Cuccolo (St. Benedict’s, formerly Pine Bush)

Matteo DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson)

Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton)

Sean Miller (Connetquot)

Brady Robin (Arlington)

113

Anthony Argentieri (Kenmore West)

Vito Arujau (Syosset)

Ryan Burns (Clarence)

Jesse Dellavecchia (East Islip)

Hunter Dusold (Locust Valley)

Danny Murray (Brentwood)

Kyle Quinn (Wantagh)

120

Joe Calderone (Walt Whitman)

Nick Casella (Locust Valley)

Timothy Johnson (Harborfields)

Ben Lamantia (St. Anthony’s)

Bryan Lantry (Wayne)

Dandre Norman (Rome Free Academy)

Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville)

Jack Scurti (John Glenn)

James Szymanski (Shoreham Wading River)

Michael Wisniewski (West Seneca West)

126

Travis Alexander (Long Island Lutheran)

Michael Berkowitz (Long Island Lutheran)

Christian Briody (Chaminade)

Jake Derechin (Iona Prep)

Tristin DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson)

Kellen Devlin (Amherst)

Travis Passaro (Eastport South Manor)

Joe Russ (St. Anthony’s)

132

Mike D’Angelo (Commack)

Tommy DiBenedetto (John Glenn)

Freddy Eckles (Lake Shore)

Evan Mayer (Comsewogue)*

Cody McGregor (Tonawanda)

John Muldoon (Pearl RIver)

Adam Santoro (Fordham Prep)

Ryan Snow (General Brown)

138

Blaise Benderoth (North Rockland)

Mack Berkowitz (Long Island Lutheran)

Aidan Conroy (Northfield Mount Hermon)

Justin Cooksey (MacArthur)

Donny Donnelly (Ward Melville)

Danny Graham (West Seneca East)

Kevin Jackson (St. Anthony’s)

Jimmy Leach (Eastport South Manor)

Ralph Maio (Farrell)

James Matias (Rocky Point)

Hunter Sharf (NSHS)

Sam Ward (Locust Valley)

145

Corey Ashe (PMHS)

Vincent DePrez (Hilton)

John Doherty (Monticell0)

Tommy Dutton (Rocky Point)

Frank Garcia (Norwich)

Jakob Restrepo (Sachem East)

Karl Wiesner (Monsignor Farrell)

152

Anthony DePrez (Hilton)

Dennis Ferro (East Islip)

Louis Hernandez (Mepham)

Jon Silveri (Arlington)

160

Mitchell Klein (Horace Greeley)

170

Derek Holcomb (Newark Valley)

Justin Karas (Port Chester)

Alexander Melikian (Kennedy Catholic)

Jerrett Norton (Cicero North Syracuse)

Adis Radoncic (Poly Prep)

Joseph Russo (Rocky Point)

Steve Schneider (MacArthur)

Jake Weber (Clarence)

Jaison White (Jericho)

182

Nicky Hall (Wyoming Seminary, Longwood)

Dominic Pirraglia (Shoreham Wading River)

Collin Pittman (Spencerport)

195

Mike Newman (Monsignor Farrell)

220

Vincent Feola (Walt Whitman)

Rafal Rokosz (Southampton)

285

Peter Strassfield (Southampton)

 

Super 32 Middle School

70

Ivan Garcia (Apex)

75

Ryan Burgos (G2)

Michael Gonyea (Journeymen)

80

Dylan Ryder (631 Elite)

85

Adam Busiello (631 Elite)

95

Luke Bokina (631 Elite)

AJ Burkhart (Waverly)

Haily Finn (Journeymen)

Sal Jones (VHW)

Dillan Palaszewski (Journeymen)

100

Jack Bokina (631 Elite)

Hector Colom (Scorpion/Cobra)

105

Jack Ward (Locust Valley)

112

Anthony Sobotker (631 Elite)

145

Tyler Barnes (Journeymen)

 

*means wrestler was listed in two weights

 

 

 

Super 32 Qualifier Recap: Restrepo and Feola Win Titles; Calderone Takes Third and Several NYers Earn Fourth

It’s less than 60 days until some huge national preseason tournaments begin, including the Super 32 Challenge in North Carolina.  After Sunday’s qualifying event in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, we know some of the New York wrestlers that will be heading down to the Tar Heel state in late October to battle for the Super 32 championship belt.

Jakob Restrepo of Sachem East is one of them.  Representing Vougar’s Honors Wrestling (VHW), the Section 11 grappler went 5-0 to take first place at 145 pounds.  Along the way, he outscored his opponents 20-4, including a 3-0 victory in the title bout over Frank Carrozza of Pennsylvania.

Also winning his weight was Walt Whitman’s Vincent Feola at 220 pounds.  Feola made quick work of the competition, registering pins in 1:08 and :43 to capture the crown. (Carter Cooper of Falconer was third).

Feola’s high school teammate Joe Calderone also saw success, nabbing third at 113 pounds with a 5-1 mark.  Three of those wins were by bonus points (two majors and a fall).  To capture bronze, Calderone topped fellow New Yorker Jesse Dellavecchia of East Islip.  Dellavecchia also had five victories on Sunday on his way to fourth.

A number of other Empire State grapplers took fourth in the high school division as well.  They included several wrestlers representing Ascend, such as Mike D’Angelo (Commack, 132), Sam Ward (Locust Valley, 138) and Christian Briody (126) as well 631 Elite’s James Szymanski (Shoreham-Wading River, 120).  D’Angelo and Briody won five matches apiece while Ward traveled a different path.  The Section 8 standout began with a sudden victory loss in his first bout to Travis Roper of Pennsylvania.  He then responded by winning seven in a row in the consolations, including a 9-3 triumph in a rematch with Roper, before notching fourth.

The top four placers in the high school action qualified for early entry into the Super 32 Challenge.  Just missing top four status were the following grapplers: Matteo DeVincenzo (106), Danny Murray (113), Ben Lamantia (120), Joe Russ (126), Derek Holcomb (170), and Jeffrey Lombardi (170).

At the middle school level, a pair of New Yorkers grabbed top three spots, as 631 Elite’s Zachary Redding was the runner up at 70 pounds and VHW’s Ryan Meisner was third at 80.

The Super 32 Challenge takes place October 26-27 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

For the brackets from the event, see here.

On the Cusp of Greatness: Brady Takes Eighth; Several NY Wrestlers Fall Just Short of the Podium (Super 32 Recap)

 

By Matt Diano

When the Empire State reflects upon this weekend’s collective effort at the Super 32 Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina, the word “almost” will be a term that gets dropped often in the conversation.   Heading into day two with a squad of six strong, on paper, New York knew it would need to catch some breaks in order to maximize real estate on the podium.  Unfortunately, the cosmos would just never align, as one-by-one, after battling hard against the nation’s best for the past two days, five of the six student-athletes would fall just short of placing in the top 8.

Setting the tone for the kind of day it would be for NYS was Nick Piccininni of Ward Melville (Section XI).  Less than 24 hours removed from pulling the most significant upset of the opening day of the tournament when the 2012 NYS DI champion upended the top-ranked wrestler in the nation, Zahid Valencia of California, everything seemed to be falling into place for the super sophomore who was looking to win his third Flo major in as many weeks.  All that would separate him from the top step on the medal stand would be a pair of wins over nationally-ranked foes.  After all, having already defeated the “best of the best,” many looked at Piccininni as an invincible force.  Unfortunately, the #11 wrestler in the land, Georgia state champion Sean Russell had different plans, as he asserted his offense early and often, halting Piccininni’s trek to title town with a 10-6 decision.  This loss would set up a rematch in the consolation round with Valencia.  And this time, it would be the native of the Golden State reversing the decision, eliminating Piccininni by the slimmest of margins, 2-1.  Valencia would go on to win his remaining matches to finish third, with Russell losing to his high school teammate, Ryan Millhof, in the finals.  By virtue of losing only to the silver and bronze medalists in a loaded 113-pound bracket, Piccininni easily showcased that he is deserving of a spot in the national rankings.

Another wrestler riding a high after an impressive day one performance was Connetquot senior Steve Bulzomi.  Perhaps a bit of a surprise to those outside of Suffolk County, the 120-pounder who finished fourth in section XI in 2012 would find himself closing in on All-America honors this weekend.  Posting a 3-1 record on the first day (with his only loss being a narrow defeat at the hands of #20 ranked Nathan Boston from Kentucky), Bulzomi would take to the mat this morning needing three wins to secure a place on the podium.  Beginning the day on a high note, Bulzomi would win his opening match, 4-2, but would be unable to string together the winning streak he would need as his day was ended one round later via a loss by fall to 2012 New Jersey sixth place finisher, Christian Innarella, at the 4:58 mark.  Innarella would conclude his weekend with an eighth place finish.

Also entering play today with a 3-1 tally was Eastport South Manor junior Travis Passaro.  A runner up at the Journeymen Classic a few weeks ago, no one has ever questioned the talents of the 2011 NHSCA Freshman All-American.  However, having watched as older brother Maverick placed last season at the “Battle for the Belt,” this weekend was about making it two-for-two for the family.  Passaro lost two consecutive bouts to NJ state qualifier Sal Profaci during the lead-up to this tournament.  So when an opening win this morning set up the trilogy, it would have been easy for Passaro to get down on himself.  However, that simply is not the “Strong Island” way; rather, he would use the previous outcomes as a motivation.  It would work, as Passaro controlled the entire match, cruising to the 8-2 victory, putting him one more “w” away from placement.  Again, it would be a familiar foe that opposed Passaro as he would be pitted against the only wrestler to beat him up to this point, Florida’s Jared Prince.  Determined to avenge the loss, Passaro undoubtedly gave 110 percent effort, but much like yesterday, it would be the kid from the Sunshine State pulling out the decision, 5-2.

TJ Fabian, Photo by Boris V

The unofficial award for biggest heart/guts this weekend goes to returning NYS DI fourth place finisher T.J. Fabian of Shoreham Wading-River.  Dropping his opening bout of the tournament, the multiple-time NHSCA All-American would put together one heck of a rally, winning seven straight matches (including a 1-0 victory this morning against 12th ranked Ken Bade of Michigan).  In agreement with the emerging theme, the win over the blue chipper would put the New Yorker a single victory away from pulling off a feat that 24 hours earlier had seemed impossible.  But, as evidence that a higher power has a cruel sense of humor, after all of the blood, sweat, and grit that went into his comeback story, yet again, a NYS representative would see his effort met with humble pie as Fabian would get pinned by Pennsylvania’s Colby Ems, a wrestler who came in as an unknown, but rode a hot streak to a seventh place showing at 126 pounds.  To call this twist of fate heartbreaking would be a gross underestimation of the situation.  If there was a single wrestler this weekend that deserved to go out with a “w”, without hesitation it would be the senior from Suffolk County.

The shutout streak would finally be broken at 182 pounds when 2012 NYS DI runner-up Shayne Brady of Carthage rebounded from a 4-0 quarterfinal loss to Cornell recruit (and eventual champion) Jacob Taylor of Pennsylvania, to reign victorious in his first consolation bout, etching out the 6-5 decision over New Jersey’s Nick Zak.   The win guaranteed that the senior from Section III would finish in the top 8.  Brady would get the short end of the stick in his final two bouts of the tournament, losing a pair of decisions to Ohio’s Alex Belaia and nationally-ranked Keystone Stater (#3) Dakota DesLauriers by respective 4-2 and 5-0 scores.  The loss to DesLauriers was in the match for seventh.

220-pounder Nelson Wymbs of Horace Greeley would be defeated in his only bout of the day, getting bested by 2012 Virginia State runner-up, Eldon Valery, 6-1. Valery would win one more match before dropping his remaining bouts to finish up with an eighth place showing.

New York Middle Schoolers Pile Up Hardware

Yianni Diakomihalis, Photo by Boris V

While the day may not have belonged to the NYS scholastic level athletes, it did prove to be a banner day for the next generation as the Empire State would crown a pair of champions in the middle school tournament.  Sixth-grader Adam Busiello (75 pounds) and 100-pound eighth-grader Yianni Diakomihalis (who competed on the Hilton High School varsity last season), went 5-0 and 4-0 to win their individual weight classes.  In doing so, they became the first New York State wrestlers since 2007 (Joe Booth) to win a Super 32 title at either level of competition. Busiello finished third here in 2010.  90-pounder Peter Pappas would finish second at his weight, compiling a 4-1 record this weekend.

Other middle school top 8 finishes included the following (in weight order):

  • Dylan Ryder: 6th at 70
  • Hector Colom: 7th at 95
  • Vitali Arujau: 3rd at 100
  • Louie Deprez: 7th at 120
  • Michael Spallina: 3rd at 157

Piccininni Prevails Over Nation's #1 Wrestler, Joins Carthage's Shayne Brady in the Quarterfinals

It will be hard to keep him out of the national rankings now.

Nick Piccininni has won a string of tournaments in recent weeks, dominating in most of his bouts, but he didn’t appear in the latest national rankings at 113 pounds.  On Saturday, he stated his case once again with pins in his first three matches before an overtime triumph over the country’s #1 sophomore wrestler, Zahid Valencia of California, to advance to the quarterfinals at the Super 32 Challenge against Sean Russell of Georgia.

Shayne Brady, Photo by Boris V

Also making the quarterfinals was state runner up Shayne Brady of Carthage, who tallied a 3-0 record at 182 pounds to earn a meeting tomorrow morning with Cornell recruit Jake Taylor of Pennsylvania with a semifinal berth on the line.

After dropping his first bout at 126 pounds, Shoreham Wading River’s TJ Fabian navigated a difficult path to the second day of competition, impressively winning five in a row to set up a battle with Michigan’s Ken Bade on Sunday.

In the 120-pound class, a pair of Suffolk County grapplers, Steven Bulzomi of Connetquot and Travis Passaro of Eastport South Manor, moved forward after each compiling 3-1 marks in Saturday’s action. Bulzomi will meet Tommy Ziegler of Ohio while Passaro will take on Zacheri Ulerick of Pennsylvania.

Also continuing in consolation action is Horace Greeley’s Nelson Wymbs, who will face Eldon Valery of Virginia at 220.

The brackets are here.

Additional Results for New York wrestlers

106 Pounds:

Nick Barbaria (New Rochelle) – (2-2)

Christian Briody (Chaminade) – (0-2)

Ryan Burns (Clarence) – (4-2)

Nick Casella (Locust Valley) – (2-2)

Tito Colom (Scorpion/Cobra) – (1-2)

Jon Errico (Byram Hills) – (1-2)

Brandon Fay (Fox Lane) – (0-2)

Andrew North (Pine Bush) – (2-2)

Jack Scurti (Half Hollow Hills East) – (1-2)

113 Pounds:

Joe Nelson (Oxford) – (1-2)

Andrew Flanagan (Holley) – (1-2)

Timothy Johnson (Harborfields) – (0-2)

Ben Lamantia (St. Anthony’s) – (3-2)

120 Pounds:

Travis Alexander (Long Island Lutheran) – (0-2)

Anthony Calvano (Nanuet) – (4-2)

Mike D’Angelo (Commack) – (4-2)

Jeffrey Gould (Pittsford Mendon) – (0-2)

Joe Russ (St. Anthony’s) – (2-2)

126 Pounds:

Freddie Dunau (St. Anthony’s) – (2-2)

Blaise Rufo (Monsignor Farrell) – (1-2)

Ryan Snow (General Brown) – (3-2)

132 Pounds:

Chris Araoz (Wantagh) – (3-2)

Sam Melikian (Fordham Prep) – (1-2)

Conor O’Hara (Sachem East) – (3-2)

Jon Silveri (Arlington) – (1-2)

138 Pounds:

Vincent Deprez (Hilton) – (1-2)

Kevin Jackson (St. Anthony’s) – (1-2)

Sam Ward (Locust Valley) – (0-2)

145 Pounds:

Nick Alessandrini (St. Anthony’s) – (0-2)

Anthony Deprez (Hilton) – (0-2)

Isaiah Riccio (Beaver River) – (1-2)

152 Pounds:

Mike Dusold (Locust Valley) – (1-2)

Matthew Haenel (Half Hollow Hills East) – (0-2)

Joseph Koshakow (Scarsdale) – (3-2)

Connor Lawrence (Duanesburg) – (0-2)

Rowdy Prior (Phoenix) – (2-2)

Matthew Russo (Horace Mann) – (3-2)

Paul Schoenberg (Baruch) – (1-2)

160 Pounds

Joe Mastro (Yorktown) – (2-2)

Andrew Psomas (Monsignor Farrell) – (3-2)

Jun Yoo (Jericho) – (0-2)

170 Pounds:

Johnny Vrasidas (St. Anthony’s) – (2-2)

Austin Weigel (Onteora) – (3-2)

182 Pounds:

Kevin Rodriguez (Patchogue-Medford) – (0-2)

Dan Smith (South Jefferson) – (1-2)

195 Pounds:

Chris Chambers (East Islip) – (1-2)

Collin Pittman (Spencerport) – (2-2)


New York Wrestlers Ready to Make Their Mark at the Super 32 Challenge

Last year, Jamel Hudson and Maverick Passaro kicked off their state championship seasons by making the podium at one of the nation’s toughest tournaments, the Super 32 Challenge in Greensboro, North Carolina. Both showed their skills in fields loaded with All-Americans and top 100 recruits, with Hudson (now a Hofstra freshman), grabbing fourth at 132 pounds while Passaro (Rutgers) earned eighth in the 126-pound bracket.

This year, over 60 New York wrestlers are entered in the high school division and an additional 19 in the middle school competition.  Action begins on Saturday and runs through Sunday.

Sean Peacock, Photo by Boris V

So, who from the Empire State will earn a spot on the podium this weekend? Here are some of the many candidates:

A pair of 2012 state champions will be taking the mat as Ward Melville’s Nick Piccininni and Sean Peacock of Midlakes are registered at 113 and 120 pounds, respectively.  In addition, 2012 state silver medalists Justin Cooksey (126), Vincent Deprez (138), Drew Hull (152) and Shayne Brady (182) are entered, as is bronze winner Isaiah Riccio, who will be at 145.

The parade of All-State wrestlers continues as New Rochelle’s Nick Barbaria, Locust Valley’s Nick Casella and Holley’s Andrew Flanagan are set to go at 106 while Shoreham Wading River’s TJ Fabian, General Brown’s Ryan Snow and 2011 NYS placer Freddie Dunau will be at 126.  In addition, Oxford’s Joe Nelson (113) and Bellmore JFK’s Robert Person (120) will take the mat, as will NHSCA Junior National champion Chris Araoz (at 132).

But the previous New York medalists aren’t the only threats to excel.  In 2011, John Keck (now a freshman at Navy) took third at the Super 32 without having earned All-State honors in his career to that point.  Many other New Yorkers look to follow that path.

Several of the top young wrestlers in New York are set to compete in the Middle School event.  One interesting matchup could take place at 100 pounds where  Intermat‘s #5 ranked Junior High wrestler in the nation, Yianni Diakomihalis of Hilton, could collide with Syosset’s Vitali Arujau.  They were both victorious in different brackets at the Journeymen Classic near Albany a few weeks ago.

The full list of Empire State participants at the Super 32 is below:

 

High School

106 Pounds:

Nick Barbaria (New Rochelle)

Christian Briody (Chaminade)

Ryan Burns (Clarence)

Nick Casella (Locust Valley)

Tito Colom (Scorpion/Cobra)

Jon Errico (Byram Hills)

Brandon Fay (Fox Lane)

Andrew Flanagan (Holley)

Andrew North (Pine Bush)

Jack Scurti (Half Hollow Hills East)

113 Pounds:

Timothy Johnson (Harborfields)

Ben Lamantia (St. Anthony’s)

Joe Nelson (Oxford)

Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville)

120 Pounds:

Travis Alexander (Long Island Lutheran)

Steven Bulzomi (Connetquot)

Anthony Calvano (Nanuet)

Mike D’Angelo (Commack)

Jeffrey Gould (Pittsford Mendon)

Sean Peacock (Midlakes)

Robert Person (Bellmore JFK)

Joe Russ (St. Anthony’s)

Adam Santoro (Fordham Prep)

126 Pounds:

Justin Cooksey (MacArthur)

Freddie Dunau (St. Anthony’s)

TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River)

Travis Passaro (Eastport South Manor)

Blaise Rufo (Monsignor Farrell)

Ryan Snow (General Brown)

132 Pounds:

Chris Araoz (Wantagh)

Sam Melikian (Fordham Prep)

Conor O’Hara (Sachem East)

Jon Silveri (Arlington)

138 Pounds:

Vincent Deprez (Hilton)

Kevin Jackson (St. Anthony’s)

Jakob Restrepo (Sachem East)

Sam Ward (Locust Valley)

145 Pounds:

Nick Alessandrini (St. Anthony’s)

Anthony Deprez (Hilton)

John Doherty (Monticello)

Matthew Haenel (Half Hollow Hills East)

Isaiah Riccio (Beaver River)

John Vouzonis (Herricks)

152 Pounds:

Mike Dusold (Locust Valley)

Declan Gray (Chaminade)

Drew Hull (Royalton Hartland)

Joseph Koshakow (Scarsdale)

Connor Lawrence (Duanesburg)

Rowdy Prior (Phoenix)

Matthew Russo (Horace Mann)

Paul Schoenberg (Baruch)

160 Pounds

Joe Mastro (Yorktown)

Andrew Psomas (Monsignor Farrell)

Jun Yoo (Jericho)

170 Pounds:

Johnny Vrasidas (St. Anthony’s)

Austin Weigel (Onteora)

182 Pounds:

Shayne Brady (Carthage)

Matt Roberts (Monsignor Farrell)

Kevin Rodriguez (Patchogue-Medford)

Dan Smith (South Jefferson)

195 Pounds:

Chris Chambers (East Islip)

Collin Pittman (Spencerport)

220 Pounds:

Roman Accetta (Poly Prep)

Nelson Wymbs (Horace Greeley)

 

Middle School

70 Pounds:

Michael Gonyea (East Greenbush)

Drew Schafer (Marion)

75 Pounds:

Adam Busiello (Eastport South Manor)

Salvatore Jones (Lindenhurst)

Dylan Ryder (Candlewood)

80 Pounds:

Joseph Russo (Wantagh)

85 Pounds:

John DeRidder (Carle Place)

Tony Negron (631 Elite)

90 Pounds:

AJ Burkhart (Waverly)

Peter Pappas (POB)

Jack Ward (Locust Valley)

95 Pounds:

Hector Colom (Scorpion/Cobra)

Zachery Lawrence (Duanesburg)

100 Pounds:

Vitali Arujau (Syosset)

Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton)

105 Pounds:

Zachary Ancewicz (John Glenn)

112 Pounds:

Hunter Dusold (Locust Valley)

120 Pounds:

Louis Deprez (Hilton)

157 Pounds:

Michael Spallina (Hilton)