Going into the competition, Minisink Valley's Sofia Macaluso knew that five competitors stood in her way to accomplishing her goal of becoming a national champion. Leading Team NY into battle, Sofia set the pace early with convincing wins over opponents from Rodiah Adeduntan of Minnesota 10-0 and Emily Paulino Hawaii 12-2.
Connecticut's Destiny Mateo was next in line. After a scoreless 45 seconds and a verbal, Sofia locked up an over/under and launched Mateo for 4 and the fall thus earning a spot in the semi-finals. Cayden Condit of Colorado looked as if she was going to crush Mac's dreams in the semis. Condit would jump out to a 5-0 early lead with a throw and takedown. An unsuccessful challenge from Sofia's corner kept the score 5-0 as the competitors restarted on their feet. Determined as she was, Sofia would battle Condit for position and then execute a flawless pancake throw with about 25 seconds remaining and securing the fall and a spot in the Cadet Finals.
Onto the finale at 122lbs, pinning machine Kelly Escamilla of California came into this bout on a tear, pinning each of her first four opponents in the first period. With other ideas in mind, the Warrior from Minisink Valley went straight to work against the California juggernaut. Mac would send Escamilla flying through the air 25 seconds into the match to take an early 4-0 lead. Momentum rolling, Escamilla would roll through and come back to the neutral position and again Sofia Mac would execute a near perfect throw just seconds later to take a commanding 8-0 lead. The icing on the cake came with a 2 point takedown, a 10-0 tech fall and a national championship.
New York would finish tied for 6th place with 4 All-Americans on the women's side. On top of Sofia Macaluso's National Championship, Lynbrook's Ally Fitzgerald would battle to a 4-2 record and a solid 5th place finish. McKenzie Samuels 3-3 record was good enough to earn an 8th place finish and NY's 3rd All-American. Sujeydy Matos would be NY's final All-American going 3-2 and taking 4th place. A true team effort by all the girls that represented the Empire State.
Columbia's Michael Altomer getting his hand raised after his quarterfinal win
Most would wonder how Columbia's Michael Altomer was adapt to wrestling at a higher weight. During the 2018-19 season, Michael would compete at 145/152 for the Blue Devils. After compiling a 36-7 record which concluded with a loss in the Section 2 finals, the soon to be sophomore bulked up and competed at 182lbs this past weekend in Fargo.
In total 56 competitors entered at 182lbs including Altomer. From a fan's point of view it looked as if Mike adjusted just fine to the higher weight. The Columbia Blue Devil would cruise through his first three opponents outscoring them 32-2. A quarterfinal date with Ohio's Evan Anderson would be the true test for the Empire Grappler. Mike would get on the board quickly with a russian tie to single leg for the takedown just a mere 12 seconds into the bout. Altomer would go into the break up 3-2 on Anderson. A comeback from Anderson would fall short as Altmoer would hold on for the win and earning all-american status.
Michael's bid for a national title would come up short as he would fall to eventual runner-up Michael Tal-Shahar of Florida 10-0. An exciting 11-10 victory over Harley Andrews of Oklahoma landed Altomer into the bronze medal bout. His opponent, Nicholas Feldman of Pennsylvania, proved too much offensively for Michael. Feldman would secure the fall late into the first period and thus dropping Michael to a 4th place finish overall.
Honeoye Falls-Lima's Carter Schubert put together an solid run just falling short of placing. Carter would drop his opening bout to eventual bronze medalist Matthew Bianchi of Wisconsin 3-1. On the backside Schubert would reel off five straight wins outscoring his opponents 35-2. Jack Milos of Illinois would halt Schubert's run with a 6-4 defeat. Kudos to Carter, a 5-2 record as a first year Cadet is a great platform to build on.
Like Schubert, Corning's Chase Daudelin would drop his opening bout also. The NYS place finisher would go right to work on the backside reeling off five straight wins. A valiant effort against Thor Michaelson of Washington would end Chase's run for all-american honors. Daudelin would trail 9-2 at the break but storm back scoring 6 straight points before time ran out and a 9-8 heartbreaker defeat.
At 152lbs, two New Yorkers made deep runs just falling short in the Blood Round. Both Nick Sanko of Pittsford and Keon Ayala of Bay Shore blasted into the quarterfinals just one win away for earning the prestigious all-american label. Unfortunately, Sanko would be defeated by runner-up Manuel Rojas of Michigan and Ayala would drop a heartbreaker to eventual Champion Stoney Buell of Michigan 4-2. The backside wouldn't be too kind for our Empire State wrestlers. Sanko would drop his bout to 5th place finisher Kamdyn Munro of Georgia and Ayala would fall to 3rd place finisher Robert Weston of Georgia.
As many may know there are times where you may have to go through a wrestler from your home state to advance further in the bracket. That was the case at 170lbs. Two up and coming grapplers battled it out to earn a spot into the blood round. Windsor's Gabriel Monroe took on Section 2 Champion Sean Malenfant of Averill Park. Malenfant would get on the board first 2-0. Monroe would rally back and score seven of the final 8 points and lock up a 7-3 victory. Damien Schunke of South Dakota ended Gabriel's tournament with a 12-2 win in the Blood Round.
New York's final bid for a second all-american ended when Vestal's Todd Degroat came up just one win short in the quarter 4th place finisher David Harper of Georgia. An forfeit from Degroat on the backside ended his tournament for 2019.
Thirty seven wrestlers entered at 106lbs in the junior division and Bay Shore's Elijah Rivera came out in 7th place and is now an all-american. Highly touted out of Long Island, the Bay Shore Marauder definitely earned his stripes and made his named known to the rest of the country. Losing early makes that trek towards all-american status that much harder. Losing early when you're leading 9-5 at the break is an even more demoralizing. However, the senior to be Rivera put the 13-11 opening round loss behind him and went to work.
Four wins stood between Elijah and his goal. Hunter Brown of Washington would be the first of four victims to face defeat courtesy of Rivera. Next up was Lane Cowell of Iowa. After finding himself in a deep 4-0 hole Rivera would storm back with 6 straight points and the victory. Advancing on, Robert Sagaris of Ohio would attempt to knock off Rivera however the comeback effort would fall short as Elijah would defeat Sagaris 6-5.
The all important Blood Round and returning freestyle AA Colin Noel of Ohio was his opponent. After a scoreless first minute, Elijah would score the first takedown of the match to take a 2-0 lead. He would soon follow that up with a 4 pointer and two successful 2 point turns to put an abrupt end to the match 10-0.
Already earning AA status, a familiar foe in Nebraksa's Caleb Coyle would yet again give Elijah his second defeat of the tournament this time 7-3 and dropping him into the 7th place bout. The Bay Shore senior would pick up his fifth and final victory of the tournament by defeating Quade Smith of Utah 8-4. A solid 7th place finish is just the launching pad for Elijah as many expect him to reach the NYS podium in his final season for the Marauders.
New York would get 4 close bids for all-americans however each wrestler would come up just one round short. Hilton teammates and 2019 New York State Champions Gregor McNeil and Ryan Burgos put together solid 5-2 records. McNeil would fall to Washington's Yusief Lillie 12-5 and Burgos to Trey Crawford of Missouri 17-16. On the frontside, McNeil would lose to eventual runner-up Nico Provo of Connecticut and Burgos would lose to eventual champion Dominick Serrano of Colorado.
Hauppauge standout Anthony DiBartolo would account for 7 wins against 2 losses. Six of those wins on the backside would put Anthony into the blood round. Fourth place finisher Nathaniel Pullman of Missouri proved too much for the Hauppauge Eagle. Anthony would lose via Tech Fall 13-2. Fellow NY'er Luca Errico would suffer the same defeat. A 10-0 Tech Fall at the hands of Caden McCrary of Georgia would end Luca's run one round short of AA status.
Finishing 9th overall with 5 All-Americans, Team NY put together a solid showing in the Women's Junior division. Although no finalist this year, New York showed grit and toughness as each inched closer to the placement rounds.
Mia Macaluso would take 4th place at 127lbs with a 6-2 record. Riley Dalrymple would follow suit with identical 6-2 record and a 4th place finish at 122lbs. A pair of New Yorkers, McKenzie Samuels and Joanna Jones, both wrapped up their freestyle tournament with a 5th place showing at 164 and 180 respectively. Grace Pauls rounded out the quintet placing 6th at 132lbs. Impressively, Pauls would 4 straight matches on the backside before bowing out in the consi-semis.