Is it too early to post rankings? Maybe. We didn't do the first set until the end of December last year. There's no doubt there will be a lot of change in the next set, as we understand that some wrestlers are still deciding on their end of season weights and new stars will certainly emerge. However, we decided to get the discussion going a little earlier this year. As always, we will consider all feedback as long as it's provided in a respectful manner. You can send comments to email@example.com.
Here we go, beginning with the five highest weight classes . . .
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1. Burke Paddock (Warsaw - 5)
2. Steve Schneider (MacArthur - 8)
3. Nick Gallo (Schalmont - 2)
4. Franky Nassivera (Queensbury - 2)
5. Jake Weber (Clarence - 6)
6. Zach Colgan (Johnson City - 4)
7. Isaiah Zimmer (Chenango Forks - 4)
Iowa-bound Burke Paddock is nationally ranked and a heavy favorite to add yet another state title to the Paddock family. Schneider, who was the runner up last season at 160 in Division I, looks to earn a gold medal of his own before attending Binghamton (he defeated both Gallo and Weber last year).
Like Schneider, Gallo took silver in Albany last year and there is a chance that he goes even higher in weight. While Weber didn’t place last year at 160, his only losses all season were to the top three finishers in the state (champion Tyler Grimaldi, Schneider and James Marquez). Nassivera picked up sixth in the state capital, while Colgan was fourth at 152.
Isaiah Zimmer of Chenango Forks made the round of 8 last year at this weight and, according to his coach, certified here again. There could be some battles in Section 4, as Buffalo recruit Derek Holcomb will be someone to watch as well, as will Richie Jones of St. Joseph's Collegiate (who dropped a match at 182 this season), Jake Ashcraft of Burnt Hills, Sonny McPherson of Indian River and Geno Brancati of Hudson Falls.
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1. Christian Dietrich (Greene - 4)
2. Brett Perry (John Jay East Fishkill - 1)
3. Ryan Marszal (Unatego - 4)
4. Daniel Smith (South Jefferson - 3)
5. Collin Pittman (Spencerport - 5)
6. Matt Lashway (Northern Adirondack - 7)
7. Trey Duvall (Addison - 5)
Christian Dietrich of Greene, ranked in the top 20 in the country at 182, medaled as a seventh grader at the state tournament, and took second last year. He’ll be tough to beat as a sophomore. Perry and Marszal placed last year (fifth in Division I and II, respectively), while Smith, a Buffalo recruit, earned All-American status at Virginia Beach in the past. At last weekend's Andersen Tournament, Smith defeated Pittman in the semifinals. (Dietrich then topped Smith in the title bout). There is a possibility that Pittman and teammate Trent Egenlauf may swap weights for Spencerport.
Lashway was one win from placing in Albany in 2013, while Duvall took fifth, albeit a few weights down. We also strongly considered Suffolk's Dom Pirraglia (Shoreham Wading River) and Jake Horton (Patchogue Medford) as well as Aaron Paddock of Warsaw, among others.
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1. Reggie Williams (Johnson City - 4)
2. Levi Ashley (Shenendehowa - 2)
3. Nick Weber (Kings Park - 11)
4. Trent Egenlauf (Spencerport - 5)
5. Ben Honis (Jamesville-Dewitt - 3)
6. Robert Ng (Plainedge - 8)
7. Nathanael Rose (Eagle Academy - P)
Reggie Williams spent all of last season at #1 before failing to place in Albany. He has made the New York medal stand twice before, and had a stellar offseason with a silver finish at the NHSCA Nationals. He is Intermat’s #9 wrestler nationally at 195, while Levi Ashley sits at #13. On his way to the state finals as a junior, Ashley topped Ben Honis in the opening round. Honis was the #3 seed, but wrestled with a significant injury and should be ready to go this year.
Nick Weber was fifth at 195 in Division I last year (and beat eventual state champion Dan Choi of Syosset during the regular season). Egenlauf won the Andersen Tournament at this weight and also bumped up to 220 to wrestle (and beat) 2013 state placer Sam Eagan this season. Last year, Egenlauf entered the state tournament undefeated as the #2 seed at 182. One of his losses in Albany was to Robert Ng in the consolations. The Nassau grappler came within one win of placing.
The same was true about Rose, who won two bouts in Albany in Division I. The PSAL star will transition to the small school tournament this season.
Wayne Burt is capable of a stellar season. Four of his seven losses last year came against Ashley. The Colonie wrestler took fourth in a tough Eastern States bracket.
1. Rich Sisti (Monsignor Farrell - C)
2. Ryan Wolcott (Waverly - 4)
3. Sam Eagan (Churchville-Chili - 5)
4. Vincent Feola (Walt Whitman - 11)
5. Marshall Taylor (Lockport - 6)
6. John Hartnett (Tappan Zee - 1)
7. Rob Kelly (Monroe Woodbury - 9)
Rich Sisti, ranked #14 in the country, is ready to go for two in a row in Albany. Wolcott was edged by Zack Bacon in the DII finals a year ago (his only loss of the season) and should be the favorite in Division II. Eagan was fifth at the Times Union Center a year ago and looks for more, while Feola burst onto the scene in the offseason with NHSCA All-American honors and a fourth place showing at the Super 32 Challenge. Taylor and Hartnett made appearances in the state capital and have what it takes to make the podium, as do Monroe Woodbury’s Rob Kelly and several others in consideration, including Lucas Depofi of Union-Endicott and Fargo All-American Rafal Rokosz of Southampton.
1. James O'Hagan (Seaford - 8)
2. Connor Calkins (Alfred-Almond - 5)
3. Mike Manni (Tappan Zee - 1)
4. Ian James (Greece - 5)
5. Wyatt Morris (Morrisville-Eaton - 3)
6. Anthony Puca (Huntington - 11)
7. Austin DiCerbo (Colonie - 2)
O’Hagan is Intermat’s #10 wrestler at heavyweight in the USA. Calkins has continued to pick up momentum following his first round upset of top-seeded Alex Soutiere at the state tournament. He placed at the Times Union Center, then won the Journeymen Classic with a win over national champ Jesse Webb of Vermont and captured another gold medal at the Freak Show in Vegas. Manni and James return after taking fifth and sixth last year in Division I, while Wyatt Morris was one victory from making the medal stand in Division II. Puca was the runner up in Section 11 behind current Hofstra starter Mike Hughes last year and is ready to make a run of his own.
DiCerbo didn't get a ticket to Albany last year, although he beat multiple wrestlers who did. He had six losses during the season - five to former state finalists El Shaddai Van Hoesen and Alex Soutiere. Jacob Morris of Canastota will challenge Wyatt Morris in Section 3 and Nolan Terrance looks to make the podium for Section 10. Also watch out for Union-Endicott's Andrew Brinser and Carthage's Trevor Gibbons.