This past weekend, the road to Super 32 took the men and women of New York to the Keystone State to compete in the annual Journeymen Fall Classic!!!
Regarded as one of, if not THE PREMIER, warm-up and/or forecasting events for success in Carolina, between two days (September 25th-26th) and FIVE separate divisions, NY emerged with a solid eight individual titlists, highlighted by two pairs (one male, one female) who secured the top prize available to them!
Featuring 30+FloWrestling nationally ranked competitors on the gentlemen's side and countless others among the ladies, there was no shortage of talent gathered under one roof; so, win or lose, to compete was to move the needle and get at least 1% better!
THE MAIN EVENT
2020 NYS DI Champion, PJ Duke, posing with club coach extraordinaire, Khaled Dassan
In his return to his mats after a prolonged absence due to injury coupled with commitments to his other passion, judo, the 2020 NYSPHSAA DI State Champion at 99 pounds (for Carmel; now attending Minisink Valley) demonstrated why many of the pundits regard him as the #1 overall prospect in the 2025 class!!!
Entering the weekend ranked 10th in the country @126 per Flo, Duke compiled a 5-0 tally, including exacting some revenge in his finals bout.
Deadlocked at one apiece at the end of regulation following an exchange of escapes in the 2nd and 3rd periods against two-time New Jersey State bronze medalist/20th ranked Tyler Vasquez, Duke seized the hardware in overtime...Beginning the first of the two alternating :30 periods on top, Duke showcased Dake-like tendencies, as he repeatedly lifted and returned his Garden State foe to the mat to remain on top for the full duration...Taking his turn on bottom, the section IX standout pulled off the 11th hour Houdini routine, earning his escape with a mere :01 still on the clock to emerge with the 2-1 decision.
As a true testament to how much of a difference one year can make, when these two elite combatants last squared off in November of 2020, it was Vasquez coming away with a 9-2 decision...
With the exception of the finale, Duke cruised for much of Sunday, as his path to the finals included a 9-1 major decision against 2021 National Prep Open 4th/2021 NHSCA All-American (7th) Hunter Sloan, a 23-4 technical fall over 2021 Virginia State Champion, Tristan Corbin, and a 4-0 decision versus 2x NJSIAA placer/2021 NJ 3rd, Brady Conlin, to close out pool play...
Duke punched his ticket to the championship bout behind a 4-0 decision versus 2021 National Prep Open Champ/2021 NHSCA Bronze winner, Spencer Barnhart (Honorable Mention in the polls).
2021 Journeymen NYS Champion, Jordan Suriano
The current #9 ranked student-athlete on the NYWN 2022 big board does not just represent the Savage Wrestling Academy; he might actually be a bona fide "savage" (in the best of ways)!
A runner-up at this event a season ago, the 2021 Journeymen NYS titlist/2021 NHSCA All-American refused to let anything or anyone deny him of triumph in his last shot at the Fall Classic glory...
Getting his tooth knocked out during the second of his five-bout body of work yesterday, the #18 ranked wrestler in the land out of section VIII Clarke had his fair share of close calls, but ultimately survived them all en route to being the last man standing in the 135-pound weight class...
On the receiving end of a "questionable" takedown call in the last :03 of the third period to send the championship match into sudden victory (tied at 6-6), Soriano displayed immense poise in not allowing the situation to rattle him...On the contrary, he toed the line and immediately got back on the offensive, requiring just seven ticks of the clock before he secured the winning TD to give him the 8-6 decision over 2021 National Prep Open 3rd, Sam Cartella.
The win against Cartella was one of two bouts in which the Nassau stud was forced to go extra frames...Encountering his biggest scare of the tournament in the second round of the pool action, Soriano needed an escape (after allowing a reversal) in the last 40 seconds of the 3rd period to extend his match with 2020 California State qualifier, Abel Gaitan, to the 1:00 SV period....Soriano would take advantage of his foe's over-aggressiveness, scoring a counter takedown with :28 left in sudden victory.
During the course of the afternoon, Soriano also registered respective 7-0 and 9-5 decisions in his pool against Alessio Perentin (Former USAW Youth Triple-Crown Winner; 2021 USAW Fargo 16U FS 7th) and 2021 Pennsylvania State runner-up, Scott Johnson...
Converting one takedown in each of the first two periods and then tacking on the deciding point via a third escape, Soriano also posted a 5-4 semifinal decision versus 2021 Minnesota State titlist/2x Fargo All-American, Koy Buesgens.
2021 Journeymen NYS Champion, Kole Mulhauser
While he may have come up short of the goal, our #1 ranked 2022 prospect/future Princeton Tiger hailing from Central Square, still had one heck of an impressive showing in earning runner-up distinction in a deep 182-pound field.
Boasting a 3-1 overall record, Mulhauser got his arm raised against opponents that combined to claim two state titles, a pair of state runner-up finishes, four NHSCA All-American honors, and one Fargo AA!!!
Bulldozing his way through the pool portion of Sunday, the pride and joy of section III did not allow a single point in posting an 11-0 major and a 16-0 tech over Caleb Uhlenhopp (2020 Nevada State titlist/2x NHSCA AA) and Kingsley Menifee (2021 Virginia runner-up; 2021 NHSCA 3rd; 2021 USAW 16U Greco-Roman 4th).
The stakes a little higher and the bout quite tighter, Mulhauser converted a takedown in the last 52 seconds of the third period to knock off 2x West Virginia finalist (2021 champ)/2019 NHSCA All-American, Ian Bush, 3-1 in the semifinal round.
The money match would be a clash of top-10 nationally ranked superstars and was much closer than the 10-2 score might suggest.
Pitted against #10 (@170) Ryder Rogotzke (3x Minnesota bronze medalist/2021 UWW Cadet GR World Team member), #7 Mulhauser found himself in a quick 3-0 hole when he allowed a TD and then had request injury time, giving his opponent from the Gopher State choice of position (yielded an eventual escape)...
The New York boy clawed his way back into the match with a TD of his own off a low-level attack to cut the deficit to 3-2....However, the back-breaker would come moments later when Rogotzke successfully stepped over on Mulhauser's tilt attempt, trapping the 2021 Journeymen NYS Champ/2021 NHSCA Junior National 2nd on his back for 2+2 to lead 7-2 at the end of the 1st period.
Rogotzke tacked on a TD in the 2nd and an escape in the waning moments of the 3rd to account for the final score.
Additional Noteworthy Wins that Caught Our Eye:
*Jackson Polo (Cold Spring Harbor): The 3x NYS (3-3-5) placer/2021 NHSCA All-American bound for UPenn pinned 2021 New Jersey State runner-up, Joey Cangro, in the last round of pool play en route to a 4th place finish at 140 pounds....Earlier in the day, the future Quaker earned an 8-5 decision in a battle of NYS medalists over 2021 J-Men State 5th, Jashon Holmes (Shenendehowa).
*Joe Sparacio (Mattituck): The two-time NYS medalist (6-4) out of Suffolk pitched a 10-0 shutout in the finals over 2x Nevada bronze medalist, Sam Gallardo, to win the "B" bracket and give New York a sweep of the 135 pound weight class!
*Aiden Poe (Indian River): The 2021 Journeymen NYS 4th place performer polished off a perfect 5-0 resume in round-robin format by getting the best of a scramble in a 6-4 sv win over 2021 NHSCA 4th, Justin Griffith, of New Jersey, to hoist "B" gold at 170 pounds!
Ladies Take Center Stage
Seaford Sophomore, Ashley Diaz, makes a name for herself
If you did not know the name Ashley Diaz at the start of this past weekend, you ABSOLUTELY know her on Monday morning!!!
Pinning her way to the brass ring at 117 pounds, the Seaford sophomore logged just just north of 4:00 of total mat time in making a statement!
Transitioning from a sweep-single into a suplay for the 2pt exposure half a minute into her first bout of the tournament, the Lady Viking ran for a tight bar to secure the mat slap in 36 ticks over 2020 Connecticut Girls State Individual 5th, Valerie Turgeon.
Pitted in collisions for Empire supremacy in rounds 2 and 3, the Vougar Honors Wrestling trained protege made it two-for-two in terms of sub-1:00 sticks when she switched from high-c to a double-leg for the initial TD, locked in a half for a 2pt exposure, before dancing with the devil that brought her to the dance (the arm bar) to put 2020 PSAL Girls State Invitational 3rd, Destiny Gibson, on her back for the fall at the 38-second mark...
Racking up three takedowns, two turns, and pushout in her last appearance on Saturday, Diaz was forced to wrestle a full period for the only time all tourney, but was nonetheless in full control, as she clinched the title via an 11-0 technical fall over 2020 PSAL Girls State Invitational 6th, Kathryn Louie.
#3 In the Nation, Sofia Macaluso, is all smiles after conquering the field at 127 pounds
The field at 127 pounds was by no means weak; Minisink Valley senior, Sofia Macaluso, is just so incredible that often times, she makes "good" look "bad" without batting an eyelash!
Fresh off of and still riding the momentum of a perfect 4-0 weekend (including victories over the #10 and #18 ranked ladies in the country) at the Ultimate Duals, there was no resting on laurels for the multiple-time national champion (2019 Double USAW Girls Folk Nationals; 2019 USAW 16U FS) hailing from Otisville...
On a crusade since losing in the 2021 Fargo Junior FS finals, the present-day #3 ranked filly was nothing short of outstanding, as she matched her win total from the week prior, highlighted by two dubs versus fellow top-20 competition to add the hammer to her trophy case!
Facing nothing but All-Americans in her path to the path to prosperity, Macaluso got herself off on the right foot when she jumped out to an immediate 8-0 lead and then connected with a 4pt throw to wrap up a 12-2 tech over #18 ranked/2021 Fargo 16U 7th/2020 Connecticut State Invitational titlist, Camryn Brown...Saturday marked the second time in as many tries that Macaluso defeated Brown. She posted an identical score the prior weekend at the aforementioned Ultimate Duals.
Her second match, a face-off of respective top-3 in the polls, did not quite live up to the paper hype, as Macaluso needed just 18 seconds to toss #3 (@122)/2021 USAW 16U National runner-up, Julianna Morris, for the pin + win!!
Having already navigated past the only other nationally recognized ladies in her weight, Macaluso capped off her day by out-scoring her last two foes----Jordyn Fouse (2021 Women's Nationals 14U 4th) and Nora Quitt (2021 USAW Girls Folkstyle Nationals 4th) by margins of 11-0 and 10-0!!!
2021 USAW 16U FS National Champion, Alessandra Elliott
After getting off to an ideal start to the day with back-to-back 10-0 technical falls versus Sofia Holodick and Destiny Bennett, the nation's #8 ranked 138-pounder [Elliott] had the misfortune of running into one of the most promising up-and-comers in the sport in the person of Sarah Henckel....
A 2021 Women's Nationals 14U Champion, who also took 4th in the 15U division, the 8th grader out of Connecticut [Henckel] had everything working for her in the title-deciding victory against the New Yorker...
Exhibiting a strong defensive posture, Henckel snapped down and spun behind for a pair of takedowns before the cementing the "w" when she countered Elliott's deep shot by locking up and rolling through a crotch lift from feet-to-back for the last four points in a decisive 12-0 triumph.
While the appearance may have ended on a sour note,there was still much for which Elliott ought to be proud.
In her two wins, the full range of her arsenal was apparent, as she scored with two power doubles, defended a throw attempt, and drove a power-half over for exposure in the match against Holodick...The bout over Bennett afforded the Tottenville dynamo the opportunity to brandish her par terre skills as four of her 10 points came by way of textbook leg-laces!!!
Just Call Him "OverFlo" Joe....Wantagh sophomore, Joe Clem, wins at 120 Pounds
While main event winners tend to hog the headlines and command the respect, it is important to acknowledge all of the windfalls (and pin falls; LOL) of anyone that steps to the table and brings prestige back to the "Evil Empire"
And in the case of the sophomore sensations, Joe Clem (Wantagh) and Cameron Catrabone (Williamsville North), that status came in the form of bracket-winning performances on Saturday to get the proverbial ball rolling!!!
Clem, the 2020 NYSPHSAA DI at-large entry, made a habit of silencing the doubters....Seeded 7th at 120 pounds, he posted a 4-0 record on day #1, including a 10-0 major decision over 2020 Virginia State runner-up (5th in 2021), Zach Rios, in the quarterfinals and a stick at the 1:43 mark (via cradle) in the finals against 2021 Ohio State 4th, Landen Duncan....The Warrior 10th grader passed his most difficult test when he secured a TD in sudden victory to emerge with a 3-1 decision over fellow section VIIIer, Ray Adams (Calhoun).
Returning to action for day #2, Clem solidified his position as a VERY significant medal threat in 2022 when he won back-to-back bouts over 2020 NYS DII 3rd, Brayden Fahrbach (Mt. Sinai) and 2x NYS small school state placer, Michael Schiffhauer (Iroquois) by scores of 6-3 and 5-3 en route to taking 4th in Sunday's "B" bracket!
Catrabone, the #5 ranked wrestler on the NYWN 2024 class polls, etched yet another notch on his career belt by compiling his own 4-0 resume on Saturday at 135 pounds...
Tested just once (4-3 quarterfinal decision over 2020 Connecticut titlist, Joey Iamunno), the 2021 NHSCA Freshman National Champion/2x NYS place-winner (3rd in 2021) had the automatic pilot going in his remaining three matches, winning a 13-0 major decision in his opening bout over 2021 PIAA Regional 5th, Mj Turi, and then following it up with 7-0 decision over former California State qualifier, Ibrahim Ahmed, in the semis ....
Using a pair of takedowns and two sets of swipes to hold a 10-1 edge at the end of the 1st period in his finals contest, Catrabone never took his foot off the pedal, hitting a Peterson from bottom for a reversal at the onset of the 2nd and then readjusting and stepping over for the fall in 2:35 versus 2x New Jersey Regional placer, Ryan Kozdra.
Expected to compete at the Grappler's Fall Classic next week, Catrabone opted to sit out Sunday!
The two youth tournaments would not yield any additional gold, but, a trio of budding superstars did have reason to celebrate after finishing as the runners-up in their individual divisions and/or weight classes...
Combining to go 6-2 in the Elementary tournament, Hunter Phillips and Daniel Jones, claimed silver at 65 and 85 pounds!
The former [Phillips] posted his top win of the weekend in his first match when he recorded a 6-2 decision over 2020 Reno Worlds 3rd, Dominic Schuman....He would then close out his pool victory by pinning Brooke Dixon in 26 seconds, before accepting a forfeit versus Daniel Corbin...2020 Double Roller medalist (5th at the KO Classic, 6th at Reno Worlds), Dakota Sandy, denied him the title with a 4-0 decision.
The latter [Jones] got his arm raised in his first three bouts of a five-man round-robin, pinning Alex Hernandez in 1:09, prevailing in a 7-1 decision against Xavier Gusfa, and then pitching the 5-0 shutout in an All-NY affair against 2021 USAW-NY State 5th, Brady Zabriskie...2019 Super 32 Youth titlist, Nathan Fenner, spoiled the party in the last round of the competition, getting the stick of Jones at 1:26.
Joining his older brother [Cameron], Tanner Catrabone made it a banner weekend for the entire family as he took 2nd in the middle school division at 75 pounds...
Commencing his tourney with a 14-0 major decision against Zack Dixon, Catrabone survived a gauntlet of fellow NYS blue chip youngsters in his next two bouts...
Hitting a throw in sudden victory (off of a crazy scramble) to earn the 6-1 decision over 2021 USAW-NY State Champ/2019 Double State titlist, Chase Phillips, to win his pool, the kd6 rep broke a 2-2 tie in the semifinals when he turned 2021 USA-NY State champ, William Soto, for 2NF to seize the 4-2 victory...
The Mat Gods giveth and unfortunately, they also taketh away, as it was a two-point near-fall in the 2nd period by Gabe Benyo that proved to be the difference-maker in the 2-0 finals loss.