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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

99 Pounds:

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

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

 

106 Pounds:

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

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

 

113 Pounds:

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

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

 

120 Pounds:

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

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

 

126 Pounds:

Koll, Photo by BV

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

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

 

132 Pounds:

Rodriguez-Spencer, Photo by BV

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

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

 

138 Pounds:

Tighe, Photo by BV

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

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

 

145 Pounds:

Hull, Photo by BV

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

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

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

 

152 Pounds:

Thayer, Photo by BV

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

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

 

160 Pounds:

Paddock, Photo by BV

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

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

 

170 Pounds:

Radoncic, Photo by BV

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

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

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

 

182 Pounds:

Zupan, Photo by BV

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

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

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

 

195 Pounds:

Ayen, Photo by BV

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

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

 

220 Pounds:

Bacon, Photo by BV

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

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

 

 285 Pounds:

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

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

For all the brackets, see this link.

Congratulations to the Division II wrestlers on a great season.

Check Out Video Interviews With Numerous Wrestlers from the State Tournament

The following are video interviews with a number of wrestlers at the state tournament.  Special thanks to Adam Burgos and Nick Garone for their amazing contributions!

Some browsers may take a little extra time to load.

(To view on youtube, see youtube.com/nywrestlingnews)

 

Tyler Grimaldi (160 Pound State Champ, Hills West) and coach Mike Patrovich with Nick Garone

 

Adis “The Beast” Radoncic (RKA) – First Ever PSAL State Champ (170)

 

Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton), 99 Pound State Champion

 

Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville), 113 Pound State Champion and MOW

 

TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River), 126 Pound State Champion

 

Trey Aslanian (Edgemont), 120 Pound State Champion (3x Finalist)

 

William Koll (Lansing), 2x State Champion

 

Burke Paddock (Warsaw), 160 Pound State Champion

 

Corey Rasheed (Longwood), 152 Pound State Champion

 

Louis Hernandez (Mepham), 145 Pound State Champion

 

Dan Choi (Syosset), 195 Pound State Champion with N. Garone

 

Rich Sisti (Monsignor Farrell), 220 Pound State Champion with N. Garone

 

Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowoga), 138 Pound State Champion

 

Luis Weirebach (Hoosick Falls), 106 Pound State Champion

 

Hunter Ayen (Gouverneur), 195 Pound State Champion

 

Alex Delacruz (Ossining), 120 Pound State Champion

 

Nick Tighe (Phoenix), 138 Pound State Champion (3x Champion)

 

Shayne Brady (Carthage), 182 Pound State Champion

 

Mike Hughes (Smithtown West), 285 Pound State Champion with N. Garone

 

Dillon Stowell (Gouverneur), 113 Pound State Champion

 

Derek Spann (Adirondack), 99 Pound State Champion D2

 

POST SEMIS VIDEOS

Matteo Devincenzo (Port Jefferson, 99 D2)

 

Adis Radoncic (RKA, 170 D2)

 

Nick Casella (Locust Valley, 113 D2)

 

William Koll (Lansing, 126 D2)

 

TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River, 126 D1)

 

Corey Rasheed (Longwood, 152 D1)

 

Rowdy Prior (Phoenix, 152 D2)

 

Luis Weirebach (Hoosick Falls, 106 D2)

 

Derek Spann (Adirondack, 99 D2)

 

DAY 1/Medal Round VIDEOS

Keanu Thompson (Grand Street after Pinning #2 Seed in Quarters)

 

Dan Choi (Syosset after Beating #1 Seed in Quarters)

 

James O’Hagan (Seaford after Topping #1 Seed)

 

Steve Schneider (160, MacArthur after overtime victory)

 

Nick Barbaria (New Rochelle, 106 after the quarters)

 

Nick Weber (Kings Park, 195 Pounds after defeating #2 seed)

 

Jonathan Haas (Spencerport, 3rd place 106 D1)

 

Austin Coleman (Spencerport, 2nd place 285 D1)

 

Levi Ashley (Shenendehowa, 2nd place, after beating #3 seed)

 

Eric Lewandowski (Lancaster, 2nd place, 145 D1)

 

Josh Powell (Churchville-Chili, D1, 160)

 

Marshall Taylor (Lockport, 220 pounds D1, after 3 OT victory)

 

Shayne Brady (Carthage, 182 pound champion on Day 1)

 

Zack Joseph (Shenendehowa, 152 pounds, D1 on Day 1)

 

Donny McCoy (Niagara Falls, 99 Pounds, D1 on Day 1)

 

 

 

 

 

Two-Time State Finalist Trey Aslanian of Edgemont Picks Princeton

Trey Aslanian, Photo by Boris V

The 2012-13 Princeton roster includes three New York wrestlers.

There will be at least one more next fall as Edgemont’s Trey Aslanian gave a verbal commitment to the Tigers on Thursday after also considering Harvard and Penn.

“Princeton is such a good academic school and that was important to me,” he said.  “But what really separated Princeton was that I fell in love with the coaches.  I felt really comfortable around them and I think they can take me to that next level.”

The Tigers have had recent success in the lower weight classes.  Last season, the squad sent Garrett Frey (125 pounds) and Adam Krop (141) to the NCAA tournament and in the offseason two-time NCAA champion Joe Dubuque joined the staff.

“It’s definitely a great environment for lightweights,” he said, adding that he plans to compete at 125 pounds. “I loved the intensity that I saw.   What really stood out to me was that the team was like a family. Everyone is so close to each other yet they were able to push each other during practice.  I could see myself fitting in really well.”

The future Economics major said he’s happy to have made his decision so he can fully direct his attention to his goal of winning his first state title after making the podium in New York each of the past three seasons (in addition to earning All-America honors at Fargo).

“Now I can focus that much more on getting better,” he said. “I’ve been putting a lot of time in on the mat, rolling around with my brothers, [Cornell recruit] Dylan Realbuto and working with Vougar Oroudjov.  I’m just sharpening my skills, getting ready.”

He’s getting ready to make a run at the top of the medal stand at 120 pounds after taking second at 103 and 113 the past two campaigns.  And then, it’s off to New Jersey.

“I definitely want to thank my parents who have helped me every step along the way,” he said. “Also, [Princeton head coach Chris] Ayers, who has been very welcoming and has helped throughout the process. I’m really happy with my decision. Once I took my visit to Princeton, I knew it was where I wanted to be.”

For more on Trey Aslanian, see this article from earlier in the fall.

State Champion Realbuto and Returning Placers White, Barbaria and Aslanian Lead the Way for Section 1 in 2012-13 (Season Preview)

New York Wrestling Newswill be taking a look at the Sections across the state over the next few weeks.  We began with a story on Section 1 stars Dylan Realbuto and Trey Aslanian, which can be found here.

In addition to returning state champion Realbuto and runner up Aslanian, Section 1 welcomes back two other placewinners from 2012 and more than 15 additional qualifiers.  The following takes a look at some wrestlers to keep an eye on this year, some potential breakout stars and the teams to beat for the 2013 campaign in Section 1. 

 

Division I

 

Returning State Placewinners (from 2012)

State Champion: Dylan Realbuto (12) Somers, 113 Pounds

Fifth Place: Dale White (12) John Jay East Fishkill, 145 Pounds

Sixth Place: Nick Barbaria (11) New Rochelle, 99 Pounds

 

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

113 Pounds: Alex Delacruz (11), Ossining

120 Pounds: Jake DeMarsico (12), North Rockland

126 Pounds: Matt Caputo (11), North Rockland

138 Pounds: Tom Grippi (12), Fox Lane

170 Pounds: Steven Sabella (12) Yorktown

285 Pounds: David Varian (12) Yorktown

 

Seniors to Watch

Dylan Realbuto (Somers) – Realbuto won his first state championship in dramatic fashion, taking Hilton’s Vincent DePrez down as the buzzer sounded in the third to capture an 8-7 decision.  He’ll try to add a second title in his last year, which would bring his family’s total to five (older brother Brian captured championships in 2009, 2011 and 2012).

Dale White (John Jay East Fishkill) – White showed he was a contender for All-State honors last year at the Eastern States where he pushed two-time New York champion Jimmy Kloc in the finals before losing 7-6.  White had only five other setbacks during his junior season, four of which were by one point (and another by two points).  He looks to climb higher on the podium than his fifth place showing in 2012.

Tom Grippi (Fox Lane) – A returning Section champion, Grippi began his run in Albany last season by defeating eventual third-place finisher David Almaviva of Shenendehowa.  Grippi went on to a 2-2 record at the state tournament, falling one win short of placing.  He posted a 45-6 mark as a junior while splitting time between 138 and 145 pounds and will be a strong candidate to earn All-State honors in Feburary.

Steven Sabella (Yorktown) – Sabella went 42-4 in 2011-12 at 170 pounds with 21 pins.  He won a pair of matches at the state tournament, coming within one round of medaling in Albany.

 

Also Keep an Eye On . . .

Nick Barbaria (New Rochelle) – Barbaria stood sixth on the podium at 99 pounds as a sophomore following a 36-7 season.  He defeated All-State wrestlers Cheick Ndiaye (the Division II runner up) and notched a pair of victories over fourth place finisher Joe Calderone and a win over Bryan Lantry. (Both Calderone and Lantry also both avenged those results).  In January, Barbaria had a strong run to the silver medal at the Eastern States Classic. Barbaria has been active in the offseason, competing at events such as the Ken Lesser Memorial Summer Heat and the Journeymen Classic.

Blaise Benderoth (North Rockland) – As a ninth grader, the North Rockland wrestler went 36-6 at 106 pounds and made the podium at the prestigious Eastern States Classic.  Benderoth had several quality victories, including wins over state placer Nick Barbaria of New Rochelle and a pair of triumphs against qualifier Vinny Skokos of Nanuet.  However, he missed the state tournament after he dropped the Section 1 final to Michael Parise of Brewster 3-2, who eventually came within one match of getting on the podium in Albany.  Benderoth made the trip upstate for the postseason as an eighth grader and looks to do it again in 2013.

Alex Delacruz, Photo by Boris V

Alex Delacruz (Ossining) – Delacruz earned a ticket to Albany last year after upsetting eventual state champion Dylan Realbuto during the Section 1 tournament, avenging an earlier loss to the Somers grappler.  Although he went 1-2 at the Times Union Center, Delacruz had a strong 36-6 season in which he defeated another state finalist – Division I runner up Justin Cooksey of MacArthur.  With big victories like that one, he will be expected to have a big year in 2012-13.

Of those who haven’t been to the state tournament before, keep tabs on Thomas Murray of Yorktown who lost in the Section 1 final to eventual state runner up Jacob Berkowitz of Scarsdale.  “Tom’s been working really hard and I think if he’d gone to state last year, he could have placed,” coach Max Askren said.

Also working hard and ready to take another step forward is Byram Hills freshman John Errico.  As a 99-pound eighth grader, Errico took third in the Section and was 34-4 overall.  He also tested himself against some of the Northeast’s best at the recent Journeymen Classic.

Team Race

In 2012, Fox Lane took the Division I title, sending longtime coach Joe Amuso out with a flourish.   The Foxes went into the last session of the Sectionals needing all four of their finalists to win in order to grab the team title and they all delivered.  Three of those wrestlers, Sam Speno, Matt Pasqualini and Dan Ventura graduated.  However, Tom Grippi returns and the new coach has talent at his disposal, including a pair of juniors who won over 30 matches last season and placed at the Sectionals – Ben Ettlinger and Brendon Fay.

Last year’s second place team, North Rockland and 2012’s fifth-place group from Yorktown return a handful of Section placewinners and look to be leading contenders for the championship.

North Rockland, which was edged by just 3.5 points by Fox Lane in February, boasts three returning finalists – Jake DiMarsico (Champion at 120), Blaise Benderoth (2nd at 106) and Matt Caputo (2nd at 126).  In addition, new head coach Jeff Swick can expect to pick up points from a trio of grapplers who were fourth a year ago — Derek DiMarsico, Troy Feniger and Conner Reigotti.

Yorktown also has significant firepower scheduled to come back, including 2012 Section 1 champions Steven Sabella (170) and David Varian (285) as well as runner up Thomas Murray (182).   Fellow senior Joseph Mastro was 40-3 last campaign, with two of his losses to state placers (Mike Caputo and Dale White).  Mastro is coming off a silver medal in the Sections at 145 while classmate James Kaishian earned 36 wins at 120 and a fifth place showing at Pace University.

The teams that took third and fourth last year, New Rochelle and Somers, both have some standouts, but suffered heavy losses to graduation.  The Huguenots feature All-State wrestler Nick Barbaria in the lightweights as well as Justin Douglas, who was a runner up in the Sectionals, but graduated placers Aaron Butler, Jonathan Stokes, Tyler Lilly and Bryan Ferrandi.  Somers will have Albany title threat Dylan Realbuto in the lineup although his brother Brian and Dom DeVita are among the highly successful wrestlers who completed their Tuskers careers.

Division II

Returning State Placewinners (from 2012)

Second Place: Trey Aslanian (12) Edgemont, 113 Pounds

Additional Returning State Qualifiers (from 2012)

99 Pounds: Tyler Aslanian (11) Edgemont

99 Pounds: Joe Dillon (11) Nanuet

106 Pounds: Vinny Skokos (10) Nanuet

120 Pounds: Anthony Calvano (12) Nanuet

126 Pounds: Drew Longo (12) Ardsley

138 Pounds: Matt Dillon (12) Nanuet

145 Pounds: Brett Pastore (12) Irvington

170 Pounds: John Messinger (12) Putnam Valley

195 Pounds: Dan Breit (12) Nanuet

220 Pounds: Matt Acevedo (11) Pawling

 

Seniors to Watch

Trey Aslanian (Edgemont) – The three-time state placer hopes this will be the year.  Aslanian qualified for the finals the past two seasons in Albany but came away with runner up status at 103 in 2011 and 113 last year.  He looked tough over the summer, registering a 7-1 record for the Empire State at Junior Duals in Freestyle and competing at Fargo.

Drew Longo (Ardsley) – In 2012 he found himself out of the medals at a loaded 126-pound bracket at the state tournament, but he’s been on the stand before.  In fact, as a freshman, Longo was the runner up at 96 pounds and he followed that up with a fifth place finish in 2011.  He looks for one more drive to the podium in his last campaign for Ardsley.

 

Also Keep an Eye On . . .

Tyler Aslanian (Edgemont) –  The second of three Aslanian brothers currently wrestling for Edgemont, Tyler went 30-8 as a sophomore at 99 pounds.  He notched a pair of victories over fellow Section 1 state qualifier Joe Dillon and came within one bout of making All-State at the Times Union Center.

“Tyler was just short of placing last year and he has worked tremendously hard since the end of the season,” Edgemont coach Peter Jacobson said.  “Our hope is that he makes All-State this year – he’s definitely an All-State caliber wrestler.”

Vinny Skokos (Nanuet) – Skokos had a strong ninth grade campaign for the Golden Knights, earning 32 victories and a Section title.  He topped All-State wrestlers Nick Barbaria and Cody Carbery as well as NHSCA All-American Kyle Quinn of Wantagh.

“Skokos has a track record for working hard and making big improvements,” Jacobson said.  “He had a tremendous freshman year and works year round.  I would expect him to make a big jump this year and turn some heads.

Anthony Calvano (Nanuet) – Calvano went 16-5 a year ago and made a dominant run through the Section tournament with a pin and two decisions in which he outscored his opponents by a combined 16-3 tally.  He went 0-2 in Albany but at least one opposing coach thinks he’ll be far better this time.

“I thought his showing at the state tournament last year was not at all reflective of the wrestler that he is.  I believe he will place at the state level this year,” Jacobson said.

 

Team Race

In Division II, Nanuet won the crown by over 40 points a year ago and has a slew of contributors back.  In addition to Section champions Vinny Skokos (106), Anthony Calvano (120) and Dan Breit (195), the team offers four more finalists in Joe Dillon (99), Matt Dillon (138), Mike Buhlmann (160) and Kevin Brundage (182).  But that’s not all. Nanuet has several other wrestlers who were in the top six in 2012 on its roster, including three bronze winners.

Mounting a strong challenge will be Edgemont, led by the Aslanian brothers. Three-time state placer Trey was the Section titlist at 113 a year ago after defeating teammate Skylar KorekTyler Aslanian was the Panthers’ other Section 1 victor at 99 pounds, where sibling Kyle also wrestled as an eighth grader (and won 18 bouts).  Silver medalists Colin Hopkins, Jack McCormack and Chris Kim will once again be in the mix, as could Will Graybeal and Ross Kantor, who were both top four.

“We both have a lot of returning finalists and placefinishers,” Jacobson said. “A lot will depend on who ends up going what weight — matchups will be key.  But none of it on paper means that much. It’s going to be a product of what guys have done for the past nine months and will do for the next few months and who has a better weekend. [Nanuet] is the team to beat.  They do a great job, consistently developing their athletes and that isn’t going to change.  But I think the team title could go either way.”

Overcoming those squads will be difficult, but 2012’s bronze team Putnam Valley aims to put some wrestlers on the podium.  One grappler to watch is John Messinger, the 170-pound titlewinner who pinned his way through the event last season.

 

Special thanks to all of the contributors to this article.

All results from the NWCA Scorebook.

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

Photos by Boris V

Over the next few weeks, New York Wrestling News will previewing New York’s high school Sections. We begin in Section 1 with a look at two of the top lightweights the Empire State has to offer.

—————————————————————

The 113-pound finals at the state tournament in February presented a bit of a pleasant challenge for Section 1 fans.  Two of the area’s best, John “Trey” Aslanian of Edgemont and Dylan Realbuto of Somers, were on the mats at the same time, each battling to win the championship against a Section 5 opponent a year after finishing second in Albany.

Having both wrestlers make the title bout at the Times Union Center two years in a row wasn’t an accident.  In fact, they helped each other get there.  Although Edgemont and Somers are at least 30 minutes away from each other, the two wrestlers have trained together since fifth grade and have continued to work out quite a bit, often at the Askren Wrestling Academy.

“I feel lucky because it’s such a good situation for both of us,” Aslanian said. “Dylan’s one of my best friends.  Since he’s big school and I’m small school, we know we won’t have to compete with each other at states, so it’s ideal.  Dylan is incredibly hard to score on with his funk, so if I can score on him, I feel like I can score on anyone in the state.  I think we push each other so much because we’re such different wrestlers and seeing a totally different style is never a bad thing.”

Not a bad thing at all.  In fact, it’s a really good thing, according to coach Max Askren.

“They are almost exactly opposite in their styles,” Askren said. “But it’s totally complementary.  Both are very, very technical wrestlers. But Trey wrestles from ties, likes to control things that way.  Dylan really wrestles from out in the open. So it works to have them train together.  If these guys want to wrestle in college, they should be wrestling together.”

Both Realbuto and Aslanian do plan to compete at the Division I level, with Aslanian considering Penn, Princeton and Harvard.  However, they first have some business to take care of at the high school level.

For Aslanian, that means a first state title.  He took fifth as a freshman and second the last two seasons at 103 and 113, respectively.

“Finishing second the last two years was obviously disappointing,” Aslanian said. “I go into every year wanting to win a state championship and when you come so close but don’t get it, it’s really difficult.  Last year, I was more confident because I had already been in the finals before, so I think I was that much more disappointed not to get the job done.”

Aslanian felt he dropped the title bout to Sean Peacock of Midlakes because he was focused too much on his opponent and not on himself.

“I didn’t get to my gameplan and most importantly, I didn’t get to my offense,” he said. “I needed to force my offense – my shots and my takedowns – and instead I was thinking too much about what he was doing and lost sight of what I do well.”

Since stepping off the mat in Albany, Edgemont coach Peter Jacobson believes Aslanian has made significant improvements, partially due to his offseason wrestling.

The outstanding student made a smooth transition to freestyle, getting his hand raised often. At the Junior Duals in Oklahoma City, Aslanian went 7-1 for Team New York and he won four matches at Fargo. (He was an All-American in North Dakota in 2011).

“There’s great translation from strong freestyle skills to folkstyle skills and Trey has taken that to heart,” Jacobson said.  “He wrestled some really strong matches at the Junior Duals and at Fargo went up against some very high level competition.  I know he feels that he didn’t wrestle as well as he could have, but I can see already that the experience has made him better.”

“I think I grew a lot as a wrestler,” Aslanian added. “I got to wrestle some of the best kids in the country and I think I grew, just getting to see that national competition. I hoped to place or possibly win Fargo and I didn’t have my best performance.  But I know I’ve gotten better.”

In addition to the top-notch opposition and additional practices in places like Vougar’s Honors Wrestling on Long Island, Aslanian’s improvement stems from significant time invested in video study.

“I love watching John Smith,” Aslanian said of the multiple-time NCAA and World Champion who now coaches at Oklahoma State. “He’s always attacking and pushing his offense. I also watch a lot of Ben and Max Askren.  They’re so entertaining with their funk.  Not too many people use the techniques they use.  I learn so much by watching.”

“I think Trey’s biggest strength is the amount of time he puts into honing his craft,” Jacobson added.  “He’s very much a student of the sport.  He watches films of himself and standout wrestlers from around the world.  If you line him up against the best in the state, he won’t be the strongest kid or the best natural athlete.   He’s achieved what he has by working hard to play to his strengths.”

Helping him do that are two other members of his family and team – younger brothers Tyler and Kyle.  Tyler, a junior, was one match from placing a year ago in Albany, while Kyle competed at 99 pounds as an eighth grader.

“It really benefits them to be pretty close in weight.  They can work out at home or can drill whenever and wherever they want,” Jacobson said of the three Aslanians.  “It’s not like the 190-pound older brother wrestling the 120-pound younger brother and expecting it to be beneficial.  Having them all in the room couldn’t be better – they’re supportive of each other with totally different personalities.  Tyler has the ability to make the podium this year and Kyle will make a huge jump.  He’s the best natural athlete of the group and most of the matches he lost last year were size and strength related. He’ll be a full-sized 99 pounder this year and will see more success.”

Trey Aslanian believes more success is in the cards for all of the Aslanian brothers in 2013. (A fourth brother, Wyatt, is in elementary school).

“Last year’s Sectional tournament was probably the most memorable moment for me in my career, with Tyler and I both winning titles,” he said. “That’s probably the best I ever felt in wrestling.  The plan for this year is for all three of us to win.”

But that’s only part of the plan.  Trey Aslanian said he hopes to go undefeated after a 39-2 campaign in 2012, but even that isn’t most important.  There’s one thing he can’t get out of his mind.

“I want to be a state champion,” he said.  “I’ve wanted that ever since I started in this sport in fifth grade.  I think about it every second of every day.”

He’s come close twice before and he knows this is the final opportunity before he heads off to the Ivy League.

“This season is the last of a lot of things,” he said. “I really enjoy wrestling with my brothers and it’s the last time to compete with them.  It’s such a unique situation and I’ll miss it. I want to win states and I know there’s a lot of pressure because it’s now or never.”

Now or never was the situation Realbuto was in during last year’s state finals bout. He trailed by a point with just a few seconds left and it looked like he was going to get the silver again.  But in dramatic fashion, he took Hilton’s Vincent DePrez down as time expired to win.

“I thought it was over just the same as everyone else thought it was,” Askren said. “Some people said Dylan was lucky, but if that’s true then he put himself in the position to be lucky.”

Realbuto and his frequent training partner Aslanian will try to put themselves in that gold medal position in February.  Realbuto will make another leap in weight, according to Askren, going either 126 or 132.  Aslanian, according to Jacobson, is still growing and will be at 120 or 126.

If both are at 126, Section 1 fans hope to have to divide their attention between the mats during the state finals, as they did in 2012, to watch Aslanian and Realbuto both try to complete their careers with a state championship.