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)

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)

Section IV's Greg Kleinsmith Ready for the Next Step at Wyoming Seminary

BY ZAKKARIAH ROLFE

In 2012, one of Section IV’s surprises at the state qualifying sectional championships occurred when Johnson City freshman Greg Kleinsmith took out Vestal’s Alex Francik 5-4 at 152 pounds to earn his first berth to the New York State tournament.

Unfortunately, 2013 didn’t end on quite the same high for Kleinsmith. His sophomore season began late after he sustained a concussion in late November, causing him to miss the first half of the campaign.  He returned, but during Section IV’s annual dual meet tournament, Kleinsmith suffered his second injury and was told his season was over.

“Concussions are a serious thing,” Kleinsmith said. “I knew I was out for at least half the season but when it happened again, I was just devastated. I knew I couldn’t just ‘let myself go.’ I had to run and lift whenever I could. Freestyle and Greco still have an important role in my wrestling [career] and my dad and family had a lot of encouraging stuff to say to keep me going.”

Kleinsmith continued to support his teammates and cheer them on as the Wildcats won the Section IV team title. Now, he will try to capture a different set of team championships with his new squad – Wyoming Seminary.

When asked why he’s going to ‘Sem’, Kleinsmith mentioned a number of reasons, but the first was related to academics.

“The education,” Kleinsmith said. “I know I have a better chance at going to a Division I school if I attend a school such as Wyoming Seminary.”

In addition, his familiarity with the leader of the Blue Knight program, Scott Green, played a role.  Kleinsmith wrestled at the Shamrock Wrestling Club out of Binghamton through his pee wee years with the coach and said that Green was a big part of his childhood success.

“Coach Green pushes me,” Kleinsmith said. “Even if I’m in tears, he doesn’t care because he knows it will make me better and I love that.”

“I’ve been Greg’s club coach for years and he is going to be a great asset to our program,” Green added. “He has the experience at national events in the international styles, and will now be fighting hard to earn a spot in our lineup. He will benefit greatly from guys in the room around his size. I am excited to watch him grow in our program.”

That growth will come not only from his practice partners but also the level of competition he’ll face throughout the year.

“They have one of the toughest wrestling schedules in the country and you know it, to be the best you have to beat the best,” Kleinsmith said.

He’ll attempt to do that this year, during which he plans to compete not only on the mat but also on the football field. When asked about his goals, he had a few things in mind.

“I want to wrestle as best as I can,” he said. “I know if I wrestle to my potential and I’m in shape I can give anybody in the country a run for their money.  My goal as a Blue Knight is to not just get a great education but to meet new people from around the world and just do the best I can in everything I do.”

Columbia Nabs First Recruit of 2014, Wyoming Seminary's Matt Doggett

 
 

BY MATT DIANO

After landing a touted 2013 recruiting class that included a pair of individual State Champions, a pair of respective State Runners-up, a 2013 National Prep Runner-up, a 2012 NHSCA Junior National Champion, as well as a 2013 NYS DI placewinner, among others, Columbia University head coach Carl Fronhofer wasted no time in getting an early start on building the future Class of 2018 when he landed his first rising senior in the person of Wyoming Seminary’s Matt Doggett.

Courtesy of Gotham City Wrestling

A key member of Seminary head coach Scott Green’s top-5 nationally ranked Blue Knight squad, Doggett would enjoy a very successful junior campaign that would witness him place in several nationally recognized tournaments. Competing for the second straight season at the 195-pound weight class, the native of Shavertown, PA would kick off the 2012/2013 season by notching three wins at the prestigious Walsh Ironman Tournament, falling a single victory short of placing in the top-8 of what many consider to be the #1 regular season high school event of the season.  Two weeks later, Doggett would again put forth a mighty fine showing, winning a trio of bouts at the Beast of the East Tournament, only to narrowly miss a spot on the podium for the second time in as many chances.  While he may not have met his individual goals, it should be noted that in each case, Doggett’s performance would assist his team in finishing second in the standings behind only rival Blair Academy.

For the remainder of Matt Diano’s story on GothamCitywrestling.com, see this link.

Another Shot at the Top: Peru's Troy Seymour to Compete at Wyoming Seminary

 
 

BY ZAKKARIAH ROLFE

208 victories is a huge accomplishment throughout a high school career, but Section VII’s all-time wins leader Troy Seymour remembers one of his rare losses very clearly.

In the eyes of many, the four-time New York state qualifier had a trip to the state finals ripped from him in Albany this February when he was hit with a second stall call late in the third period of the semis, resulting in the only point of a 1-0 loss. Seymour rebounded after the devastating result to come away with a third place showing and a second All-State honor.

Photo by BV

“When the ref got me for the second stall call, I was stunned,” said Seymour. “The only thought in my mind was to score, and when I didn’t, I was pretty upset. I decided third was my only option because after the loss I wasn’t going to fold.”

The Peru graduate has a chance to get back on top after being accepted to compete as a fifth-year wrestler at one of the top programs in the nation, Wyoming Seminary, a place he feels will prepare him for the next level.

“We decided that ‘Sem’ was the best option because not only do I want to be a Division One wrestler, I want to be a good Division One wrestler who is going to be on the NCAA podium,” he said.

Seymour has been busy this offseason. He became an All-American for the second straight year after a sixth place finish at the NHSCA Senior Nationals in Virginia Beach, then won the New York State freestyle championship and took third in Greco.

His recent experience against top competition this summer will be continued at Wyoming Seminary, which arguably has the toughest schedule in the country.

“Well, the only way to be the best is to beat the best,” Seymour said. “If that’s what I got to do, then I’m going to do it.  I’m excited.”

The former Peru star said he is entering next season with the goal of a Prep national title. But he isn’t thinking about that yet, as he first has some business to take care of in Fargo, North Dakota where he is looking to make his mark in both Freestyle and Greco.

All-State Wrestler Jimmy Overhiser Ready for New Challenges as He Transfers to Wyoming Seminary

 
 

BY ZAKKARIAH ROLFE

What do the “Walsh Ironman”, the “Beast of the East”, and “The Clash” all have in common? For one, they are all FloMajor wrestling tournaments for the upcoming season. What else? They’re all on the Wyoming Seminary schedule for 2013-14. And they are three of the reasons 2012 All-State wrestler Jimmy Overhiser of Corning is transferring to Intermat’s second-ranked high school program for his junior campaign.

“Have you ever seen a tournament in New York that nationally ranked guys go to and don’t place?” Overhiser asked about the schedule he is determined to dominate. “Well, that’s what happens at those tournaments. The biggest reason I’m transferring to Wyoming Seminary is opportunity. They wrestle the toughest schedule in the USA. If you want to get college recognition, you need to wrestle the top competition week in and week out. That’s something I can’t get in Corning. ‘Sem’ is the perfect fit – but not only for wrestling; for every aspect of my life. I feel it gives me the greatest chance to succeed in whatever I choose to do.”

A big part of that is the coaching he will receive from a familiar face to many New York wrestling fans – Scott Green, a former Binghamton assistant and leader of the Shamrock Wrestling Club.  Green’s list of achievements is long, including being named the USA Wrestling FILA Junior/University Person of the Year in 2009.

“We are excited to have Jimmy on board,” the coach said. “His success in New York shows he has the potential to compete at the national level.  Making a jump to a boarding school like ours is a big step and Jimmy has shown by taking it that he is serious about his academic and athletic goals. I was just as impressed with Jimmy’s academic profile as I was with his wrestling ability in the admissions process. We think we can surround him with the right training partners to help him achieve his goals.”

Indeed, there’s little doubt that Overhiser will have a number of stellar wrestlers to push him.

“I’m going to be surrounded by around 11 state finalists and 10 Prep National All-Americans,” Overhiser said. “I’ve wrestled in hundreds of wrestling rooms, and not one room has ever given me the stability the ‘Sem’ room will give me.”

That stability will also be in place off the mat, although there will be a transition academically and in living away from home.

“It’s going to be great – I’m going to be living thirty seconds from some of the best wrestlers in the country, and I’m going to be living with my friends,” he said. “Who doesn’t want that? As for the academic standards, I’m living on campus right next to a library if I need to study or work on a project, I have a quiet place to work. Seminary has great resources and I’m looking forward to being able to use them to the fullest extent I can.”

It’s something that many others have done before. It certainly worked for two-time National Prep Champion and future Ivy League wrestler Eric Morris.

“’Sem’ helped develop me in ways that I didn’t even realize I was lacking before coming,” Morris said on Facebook. “Suddenly I became more than an athlete; I became a student-athlete. I grew to love learning and as a result I was able to achieve higher grades and test scores than I thought I was capable of. My college ambitions changed from going to a good school to going to a great school. I came to Sem as a talented wrestler and I graduated as a promising Division I athlete and future student at Harvard.”

After a fourth place finish in New York at 106 pounds in 2012 and a 36-5 campaign in 2013 at the same weight, Overhiser has similarly high expectations for himself. (He will likely wrestle at 113 or 120 pounds this year).

He said he is looking to go undefeated and win a Prep National title, and in the long run Overhiser looks to compete for Cael Sanderson and the Penn State Nittany Lions.

“Wyoming Seminary gives me the best opportunity to complete all those goals,” he said. “My job is to take that opportunity and run with it.”