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2023 Eastern States Classic Preview (Girls)

By MD, 01/10/23, 1:15PM EST

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9 Nationally Ranked Gems Anchor the Field at the 2023 Eastern States Classic

After a two-year hiatus temporarily halted the movement, the Empresses of the mat will be back sharing center stage with their gentlemen peers by partaking in the 2nd edition of the Women's Eastern States Classic...

Seven of the nine weight classes touting national top-30 competitors, there will be no shortage of dynamic, intense action, from start to finish on January 14th! 

A future "Queen-maker" as the event grows in reputation, one look at the 2020 champs (filled with World Team members, collegiate All-Americans, etc.) and you see the potential...

100 pounds


#15 in the Nation, Charlie Wylie (Port Jervis)

Expect for the host section (9) to come out of the gates on fire in the lowest weight class, as they will march-out none other than nationally ranked (#15) Charlie Wylie (Port Jervis) to do their bidding...

The only entry currently holding top-30 status in the recently released edition of the USA Girls HS polls, despite wrestling an almost exclusively "boys'" schedule, the Raider fab freshman boasts an unblemished record, highlighted by tournament victories at the Cuneen Doane and most recently, the Stan Elinsky...

Last season, Wylie made history when she became the first female to win an individual crown in section 9...Presented ranked 3rd in our DII State polls, she is a favorite to not only repeat that feat in 2023, but also a strong candidate to add some NYSPHSAA hardware to her glowing resume.

Nationally, she is a three-time All-American, finishing as a 14U runner-up in 2021 before being earning double AA last season (14U titlist; 15U bronze medalist)...

While it need not be said that the smart money is undeniably going to be on Wylie, if there is a person in the field that could make her work for the prize, that person would be our guest from Maine, Hannah Perro....Winning bronze all the way back in 2019 in the 12U Division of Women's Nationals, the rep from the "Pine Tree State" secured her spot on the podium again in 2022, finishing 5th in 14U last May....A female version of Bill Belichick, she has racked up countless state and New England titles throughout her career...Right before the new year, she was a 5th place performer in the boys' division of the Noble Invitational!

Don't sleep on the possibility of there being an All-NY finale, as Arlington's Aislin Kellner, has more than proven herself on all stages during the past two years...Like Wylie, the Admiral 10th grader has been a starter on the boys' varsity every step of her career and has found success, finishing 6th at the sectional championships in 2022...Approaching the 20-win mark in 2022/2023, she enters the ESC with momentum, having claimed 3rd place the Jamie Mormile Invitational this past weekend....She has achieved All-American honors in back-to-back attempts at Girls Folk Nats,  finishing 4th in 2021 in the 14U division, and then following it up with a 5th in 2022 as a 16U entry!

Bethpage freshman, Gabi Severin, is another name to know in this bracket...A Fargo NY Qualifier junior runner-up last season, the Golden Eagle youngster has held her own in boys competitions (3rd at the Hank Paris; 6th at the Sprig Gardner) and has been a force to be reckoned with in girls tourneys (champion at the Giampaolo Cyclone)!


107


Top-seed, Mora Peterson (Islip)

Headlining the Evil Empire sorority at 107 pounds is a young lady whose skillset far surpasses her current resume, Mora Peterson (Islip)....

A bona fide future All-American, the 2022 NYWAY State Champion/2022 Long Island Girls titlist has a pair of Northeast Regional medals to her name (16U 2nd in 2021; 4th in 2022) and is on the cusp of breaking out and putting herself on the national radar!!!  

A bronze medalist last March at the NYS Girls' Folk State Championships (in a loaded bracket won by Wylie), the Bucs' 11th grader presently sports a +.500 winning percentage against male competition, including a top-5 showing at the Joe Davidson Memorial Tournament just prior to the ball dropping on 2023...

Doing the deed on behalf of our neighbors across the bridge (NJ) will be the standout from Lodi, Leeana Mercado....Possessing a top notch freestyle arsenal, the junior from the Garden State recently finished 4th in the women's division at the Super 32 and previously (summer of 2021) just missed All-American honors in Fargo, falling in the blood round of the 16U tournament...A rising star in the national rankings, Mercado shot up from 29th to 16th in recognition of her recent success on the grand stage!!!...She is expected to be seeded 2nd, but in truth, we see her as a co-#1 and on paper, the possible odds-on favorite!

Sitting in the #3 spot of the bracket will 2022 Team NY Fargo member, Carlye Ana Boenau (LaSalle Institute)...A 3rd place finisher at NYS Freestyle States, Boenau took 7th at the 2022 Northeast Regional Championships last may...Thus far during her sophomore campaign in Section II, she has experienced no jinx, as she has battled hard against the boys, registering a 7th place effort in late-December at the Cooperstown Invitational!!!

The ultimate spoiler/wildcard is a name that NYS women's wrestling pundits have come to know well and hold in the highest regard....Pauls!!!....The younger sister of multiple-time Fargo and/or USA Girls Folk National All-American, Grace, if you compare their careers at similar stages, evidence suggests that it is Sara Pauls that is actually projecting as the higher level national prospect...Already seeing action as an 8th grader on the juggernaut that is Minisink Valley (2x defending state dual champs; 2022 NYSPHSAA DI Tournament titlists), Pauls has garnered a 7-2 record while bouncing between the J.V. and Varsity levels.  She recently was the Junior Varsity gold medalist at the Brewster Tournament....As a youth, she was a two-time Women's Nationals finalist, winning the Intermediate crown in 2018 as a symbol of the glory that awaited her....Is her time to ascend now?  We shall find out!....In the augural ESC Women's event, Grace was 3rd at 132 pounds!


114


Nationally Ranked, Teegan Sibble (Bolivar-Richburg)

Stepping on the mats this weekend as the owner of the #10 ranking in the land, Bolivar-Richburg sophomore, Teegan Sibble, is without question in the driver's seat of this bracket; but her coronation is far from a formality as there are several credentialed and lethal foes in the weeds waiting to trip her up if the opportunity presents itself...

The runner-up to Wylie (4-3 loss) in 2022 at the NYS Girls Folk State Championships, the ferocious Wolverine super soph came into her own and made a real name for herself on the national circuit when she traveled to Virginia Beach and emerged as an All-American (5th) at the NHSCA Championships...As an encore to her impressive display in VA, she took the pilgrimage to Fargo and just missed being on the podium, dropping her blood round match in the 16U division....More polished in folk at this juncture of her scholastic career than free, she is approaching 20 wins this season as a mainstay on the BR boys' varsity squad...in Mid-December, she finished 3rd at the Jamestown Holiday Classic!

Nipping at her proverbial heels with be a pair of fellow 2022 NYS Girls Folk State medalists and/or champs---Yianna Foufas (Mepham) & RaeAnn Craft (Oswego)...

Foufas, a double State Champion last season (NYS Girls Folk + NYWAY) pinned Craft in the semifinals en route to her triumph in on the Tamarac campus this past March and would probably have to be labeled as the favorite if they were to meet with the berth in the finals on the line...A winner of six matches between two age groups in Fargo, her 4-2 tally in the 16U division left her just two dubs short of top-8 distinction...Competing up a weight class, she was the bridesmaid in early-December at the Queen of the Mat tournament!

Craft, a 2022 NYWAY brass ring winner, as well as the Section IV Girls champion (first year of the event) placed 4th last year at the NYS Girls Folk State Championships, but has been rock solid during the 2022-2023 season, as she has gotten her arm raised in 10 of 15 bouts versus her gentlemen counterparts, and most recently took home the crown in the girls division of the Tioga Winter Classic!

Not to be overlooked will be the junior out of Shaker, Cailan Drake...A history-maker and inspiration to all young ladies in section 2, as a 10th grader in 2022, she became the first female to qualify for the DI sectional tournament....She has continued to add this this growing legacy as she commenced the 2022-2023 campaign by placing 6th at the Mohonasen Invitational!!!


120


Pine Bush 11th grader, Brooke Tarshis, Leads a Deep field at 120

Perhaps the most wide-open of the respective brackets we have looked at thus far, what 120 may lack in terms of a nationally ranked superstar, it more than accounts for with killer depth from top to bottom!!!  

No exaggeration; we very feasibly could see any one of FIVE (maybe even six) ladies surviving the gauntlet and hoisting hardware at the end of the weekend...

Rumored to towing that precious top line of the bracket will be Pine Bush 11th grade, Brooke Tarshis...An All-American at Women's Nationals as recently as 2021 (U15 5th), the Bush(wo)man junior is the reigning S9 Women's titlist and will feed off of the buzz created by wrestling on home soil and having the crowd in her corner....In addition to her top-5 at Women's Nats, Tarshis later seized 3rd at the 2021 Journeymen Fall Classic, proving that she belongs in the company of the elite!!...A win this weekend just may just launch her into the national polls...Last weekend, she was a 7th place performer at the Stan Elinsky Tournament, but has her sights set on "title or bust" at the ESC...One of the original participants when the ladies' division debut in 2020, she finished 4th in a five-person round-robin at 106 pounds!

Speaking of our ESC  "founding mothers",  returning tournament runner-up @99 pounds, Alyssa Reed (Port Jervis), is another local face that has no intention of taking a back seat to anyone as she seeks the gold that alluded her two years ago...A bronze medalist last week at the Elinsky, Reed was a back-to-back Women's Nationals runner-up on the youth level in 2017 and 2018, but has yet to quite find her groove since entering high school...Ranked 3rd in S9 (boys division) just prior to the start of the 2022 postseason, if the pieces click this weekend, she is a very formidable adversary to Tarshis!

Occupying the role of "thorn in the side" to the two hometown girls cited above will be a Viking by team name and by mission....Ashley Diaz (Seaford)....Already a top-3 placer in two different boys' events this season (2nd at the Manhasset tournament; 3rd at Uniondale Knights' Classic), the junior from Long Island is repeatedly in the hunt for AA, but has yet to register that one or two additional wins she needs to be on the podium.  Such was the case in both Virginia Beach and Fargo where she won multiple contests each time, but just fell slightly short of the goal...Don't let the #3 seed fool you; she has the stuff to make magic happen!

A true testament to the depth possessed by this bracket is the notion that John Glenn sophomore, Taylor Aiello, is supposedly seeded 4th...Putting it bluntly; there will not be another occasion during the remainder of her high school career that the Razor WC trained student-athlete will appear that low in a bracket...A double NYS medalist (2nd at NYWAY; 3rd at NY Girls Folk States) as a freshman last year, the "pink Knight" has kept her foot squarely on the pedal, finishing as the Northeast Regional runner-up in May...Thus far in 2022-2023, she has been a champion at the Queen of the Mat (pinned Foufas in the finale) and battled her way to a bronze in the boys' division of the Rick Herrmann Memorial!

Compiling a 54-18 career record against mostly male opponents is the a girl whose abilities mirror her name---Beautiful Robinson (MLK)....The senior from the Manhattan based program did not place at the NYS Girls Folk States last season; so she will be wrestling with a point to prove this weekend!

And no discussion is complete without putting respect on the name of Ms. Ava Capogna (Rocky Point)....A member of the Eagles' program for the last four years (since 7th grade), Capogna is another member of the "nostalgia posse", having wrestled one match before being forced to forfeit the remainder of her bouts...A winner of approximately 40 contests during her scholastic tenure, Capogna was a champion in the weight class above Aiello at the Queen of the Mat last month...


126


Future Iowa Hawkeye, Emily Frost, Puts her #3 National ranking on the line

Looking to go from basement to penthouse will be the highest ranked of any lady in the field (regardless of weight class), Tamarac senior, Emily Frost... 

An All-American (6th each time) at both Fargo Nationals (2021 16U) and Women's Nationals (2022 U17), the section II sensation has climbed to #3 in the land in the latest USA Girls HS ranks and does not seem intent on stopping until the title of "numero uno" belongs to her...

Committed to the University of Iowa, where she will further hone her talents under the eye of  2008 World Champion/2012 Olympic Bronze medalist, Clarissa Chun, Frost has been nearly unbeatable against men and women alike in 2022-2023, as TrackWrestling credits her with a 12-1 record versus the boys, while she has dominated her female peers, including the crown in Mid-December at the Coxsackie-Athens Girls Tournament...

Winless when she competed at the 2020 ESC at 99 pounds, the Curby Training Center bred star's return to Loch Sheldrake is destined to be grandiose!

Looking to stand in the way of future "Corn on the Cob" Queen's victory party will be a trio of accomplished fillies---Alexandra Viera (Rocky Point), Crisia Bonilla (Great Neck South), and Mia Collins (Ballston Spa)-- who will absolutely test her in the semis and finals.

Viera, who has had to overcome some hardships brought about by the bite of the injury bug, missed much of the 2022 summer circuit after earning Fargo All-American honors the year prior (16U 5th)...Now stronger than ever, ESC would be the perfect occasion to make up for lost time by toppling a giant!!!

Bonilla made school history as a sophomore in 2022 when she became the first Lady Rebel to win a varsity match...She did not stop collecting accolades as she later added a bronze medal at the LI Women's Championships, finished 4th at NYWAY States, and was a FS state runner-up to se a spot on the plane to Fargo!!!....Her junior season got off to a very promising start, as she was a silver medalist at the Queen of the Mat!

Collins has been on a tear since last March, pinning her way to the 132-pound crown at the 2022 NYS Girls Folk State Championships, finishing 6th at USAW Girls Folk Nationals to obtain AA status, and then blitzing (41-0 margin in terms of points) the field at the Northeast Regionals....Making her Fargo debut this past July, she accumulated a 9-4 overall record, losing in the 16U blood round, while coming just two wins short of the podium in the junior division...Quite the literal powerhouse (has competed as high as 138 in 2022/2023), her size/strength advantage is sure to give even the best of technicians nightmares!!!

For the sake of throwing one more name into the hat, be sure to give a look to another very promising, but raw talent coming out of the Minisink Valley Camp---Jaida Macaluso....Perhaps still a year or two away from being the impact beast that all Mac girls seem to develop into, "Baby Bully" is the youngest of a four-girl sisterhood that witnessed older siblings, Mia & Sofia both win inaugural ESC gold in the 120 and 126-pound brackets...The former [Mia] has since gone to be a 2021 UWW World Team member (10th)/2022 Women's Collegiate All-American (4th), while the latter [Sofia] concluded her high school career last season ranked 1st in the nation at 120 pounds and spent this past summer winning World Silver in the U20 age group in Bulgaria...We eagerly look forward to seeing the emergence of the next chapter of the "Mac Attack" saga!!


132


Zoe Griffith (Gouverneur) Posing After Locking Up AA in Fargo

A bracket that would have been even deeper had it been blessed to include the current #1 ranked wrestler in the nation (Emily Sindoni), even with the absence of the heralded Tiger senior, 132 has the potential to steal the show...

On paper, all signs point at a collision course between our two nationally ranked entries---#13 Zoe Griffith (Gouveneur) & #19 Ragan Retell (Tamarac)...

Griffith, who won the 99-pound crown at the 2020 ESC, earned the title of "Comeback Queen" this past summer in Fargo when after losing in the blood round of the 16U tournament and then dropping her opening bout of juniors, she rallied to win NINE straight appearances en route to finishing 4th under the Dome...Her heroics in North Dakota marked the second time last season that she achieved top-8 status, as she previously had finished 3rd in Virginia Beach at NHSCA Nationals.....Just prior to the beginning of her swan song campaign as a Wildcat, she tacked on yet another top-8 display, when she advanced to the semifinals before setting for 6th at the 2022 Super 32!!!....A two-time Section 10 champ/NYSPHSAA DII Qualifier in the boys' division, Griffith never fails to rise to the occasion, as she has placements of 4th and 3rd in 2022-2023 at the North County Invitational and the Tioga Winter Classic!!

Retell, who still has the remainder of her junior year and her entire senior year to resume build, is not too shabby either (despite nagging injuries) when it comes to career bullet points....Propelled by a monster 2021 spring/summer that witnessed her finish 5th at Women's Nationals (U15) and then complement it a bronze medal in Fargo (16U), she is a Bengal that affirms and then reaffirms that she is worthy of her stripes....This past July, she got her arm raised on seven unique occasions (7-4 combined record) in Fargo, barely missing her second straight 16U AA when she was upended in the blood round...Transitioning her focus into helping her school launch the ladies' program, she has competed in multiple girl tournaments, winning "yellow medals" at both Coxsackie-Athens and LaSalle!

"Strong Island" will be determined to crash the party as Nassau and Suffolk will each be sending at least one hammer apiece in their attempt to disrupt the apple cart!!!

Representing the Section VIII contingent will be Talia Robles (Mepham)...A double State silver medalist (NYWAY, Girls Folk Championships) as a sophomore for the Pirates in 2022, not to mention the LI Girls Championship bronze recipient last year, Robles had that "All I see is Gold" mentality at the onset of her junior season, winning titles at the Queen of the Mat in early-December and then hoisting hardware a few weeks later at the Giampaolo/Cyclone Tournament!!!

Bay Shore senior, Gabby Baker, was 5th at the 2020 Eastern States Classic, but should move several steps higher up on the podium in the sequel....Pinning Robles to win the NYWAY State crown in 2022, she capped off a brilliant 16-2 junior year....Sustaining some losses in boys' tournaments at the start of her last year donning the Marauder colors, she did earn 7th at the Raider Invitational just prior to the new year; so there is some momentum on her side as she embraces this weekend's challenge!

2022 NYS Girls Folk State bridesmaid, Daniela Parisi (Tappan Zee) is a "bad draw" out of the sixth spot in the bracket....


138


Madison Westerberg Celebrates with Coaches After 3rd Place finish in Fargo

With all due respect to every talented young lady in the bracket, the question at 138 is not, "Will Madison Westerberg win the crown?"; but rather, "Will anyone be able to go the distance against the Waterloo sophomore?"....

Ranked 6th in the nation, the multi-sport student-athlete (she hits the big fly on the softball diamond like her name was Jocelyn Alo) enters this weekend's festivities with a major mental advantage...

She knows that when she faced-off with her primary challenger (13th-ranked Zoey Lints; Duanesburg-Schoharie), she came away with a 15-0 technical fall in the semifinals of the 2022 NYS Girls Folk State Championship tournament...The "w" over Lint occurred one round following a 3:13 fall in the quarters over 2021 Fargo 16U stop-sign winner/current #15 in the land, Alessandra Elliott (Tottenville; not attending ESC)...Westerberg then pinned Parisi in 3:25 in the finals to culminate her title journey!!!

In her Fargo debut this past July, she racked up a 7-1 record (all wins by TF or pin) on her way to a 3rd place finish!!!

Empowered with a "Joe Williams" /"Jordan Burroughs" caliber double-leg, and a "Joe Heskett"/"Ed Ruth" cradle as an accompaniment,  the girl with the "Eye of the Tiger" has wrestled almost exclusively on the boys' varsity this season, compiling a 15-5 record!

Lints, who shook off the head-to-head loss to Westerberg to eventually seize the bronze last March at Girls' Folk States, was a quarterfinalist in Fargo,  winning four of her six bouts to just miss top-8 status in the 16U division... A natural pinner, the Curby TC mentored senior has falls in six of her seven wins this season over male competition...

Making the trek from Section VI will be West Seneca junior, Christina Evans....Immaculate this season against her fellow ladies, if you were not familiar with Evans prior to 2022-2023, she is certainly going above and beyond to demand and capture your full attention in her junior year....Listed as 20-0, she has claimed women's gold this season at the ladyjack Tournament, the Knuutila Memorial, and the Chautauqua Lake Invitational...In mixed competition, she was a victor on the J.V. level at the North Tonawanda Tournament!

2020 ESC 5th, Hailey DeGroff (Waraw), brings a 13-3 record with her into her return the event....Thus far in her senior season, she has posted tournament wins (ladies' division) at the Fred Large Memorial and the Eden Tournament...She recently was the runner-up to Evans at Chautauqua Lake!

Rounding out the list of contenders will be 2022 Connecticut Women's State Champion, Kelly Aspras...


145


Nationally Ranked/Fargo AA, Adriana Palumbo, Smiles brightly after winning the crown at the NE Regionals

With only three individuals currently registered at this weight class, expect for the highlight bout to occur in the last match of the round-robin as respective nationally ranked and/or 2022 Fargo All-Americans---May Cuyler & Adriana Palumbo---butt heads in a match with rankings ramifications...

Cuyler, the present-day #21 in the country, complemented a 7-0 record at the 2022 USAW National Duals by winning seven (7-4) additional bouts between two age groups in Fargo to travel home with a 16U 5th under her belt....A Virginia State titlist in both folk and freestyle, she not rested on her laurels to the slightest degree, as prior to traveling to NY for ESC, she ventured to PA where she was a champion at the 2022 Powerade!

The pride of Pleasantville, Palumbo, should enjoy a bit of a size advantage as she is cutting down from 152 pounds where she is currently sits in the #17 spot in the polls....

A Double NYS Champion (NYWAY + Girls' Folk States) as a freshman on behalf of the Panthers last season, the Grant Paswell (GPS) protege took the act on the road during the spring and summer months, winning the Northeast Regional crown in May and then finishing 7th in Fargo...In October, she lost in the blood round of the Super 32 in Greensboro, NC!!

Per TrackWrestling, she has split 16 bouts this season against her male counterparts!!

Central Valley freshman, Arica Pearson-Leary, rounds out the field...Compiling a 10-2 record, just before saying goodbye to 2022, she was the J.V. gold medalist at the Middletown Tournament! 


165


Ariel Ofri-Akman After Winning the 2022 NYS FS Gold medal

Another "limited entry" weight class, 165 is shaping up to be a clash of NYC vs. S9 as each will be lead by a respective sectional medalists...

Answering the call of duty for the five boroughs will be 2022 NYS FS gold medalist, Ariel Ofri-Akman (Bronx Science)....A 3rd place finisher in folkstyle at the PSAL Championships as a junior, Ofri-Akman may have dropped both of her bouts in her Fargo debut last summer, but she gained valuable experience that will benefit her in a tightly-contested bout such as the one she should anticipate on Saturday!

Waving that hometown flag for the S9 faithful will be sectional runner-up, Zoe Kip (Liberty)....A bronze medalist at the NYS Girls' Folk State tournament in 2022, Kip finished 6th in a mixed bracket this season at the Coach Bloom JV Invitational...

While the properties of math hardly ever hold up in  the realm of sport, it is worth noting that in winning her aforementioned freestyle state gold, Ofri-Akman pinned pinned Angelina Caban of Bathgate....Caban had previously pinned Kip at Girls' Folk States!!!

Pine Bush 9th grader, Stella Torres, is also entered and will be out to demonstrate that cream rises to the top regardless of age or past credentials!

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