As we said in that article, it may be a bit early to post rankings, and there will certainly be significant changes as the season progresses, both with wrestlers changing weights and with new stars coming to the forefront. However, we wanted to get things going. We appreciate the comments provided so far and will consider all feedback as long as it's provided in a respectful manner. Comments can be sent to email@example.com.
We decided not to provide rankings for 99 pounds at this point, but will do so later in the campaign. Here you go with 106-132 . . .
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1. Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton - 5)
2. Matteo DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson - 11)
3. Vinny Vespa (Monroe Woodbury - 9)
4. Kelan McKenna (New Hartford - 3)
5. Ryan Hetrick (Southwestern - 6)
6. Josh LoGiudice (Guilderland - 2)
7. Theo Powers (Mexico - 3)
There isn’t much doubt at the top. Yianni Diakomihalis isn’t just the top-ranked 106 pounder in the state, he’s #1 in the nation. DeVincenzo had a terrific freshman year, losing only to Vito Arujau (see 113) during the season and then in the DII state finals. He had a busy offseason, winning solid brackets that included multiple All-State wrestlers at the NUWAY Nationals and the Journeymen Classic.
After that, the rankings order could go a number of ways. Hetrick was third in Division II in 2013 at 99, with his loss coming in double overtime to DeVincenzo. Vespa and McKenna were All-State last year (fifth and sixth at 99 in Division I). However, we do realize that LoGiudice defeated Vespa at the Journeymen Classic after a 38-1 regular season for Guilderland during which he topped Powers (who placed at 99 pounds in 2013).
Also earning some big wins at the Journeymen Classic was Plainview's Peter Pappas, a wrestler who could do some damage this year, as could Dunkirk's Hector Colom. The Section 6 wrestler dominated his bracket at the Journeymen Classic and earned All-America honors at the Super 32 Middle School tournament and Tulsa Nationals. Returning state placer Chris Cirigliano of BGAH could move into the rankings if he remains at this weight (although he took a loss last weekend).
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1. Vito Arujau (Syosset - 8)
2. Kyle Quinn (Wantagh - 8)
3. Golan Cohen (Colonie - 2)
4. Nick Barbaria (New Rochelle - 1)
5. Joe Calderone (Walt Whitman - 11)
6. Johnny Stramiello (Pine Bush - 9)
7. Tony Recco (Lyndonville - 5)
At the top is Syosset's Vito Arujau, a returning state runner up, who will certainly battle 2013 state champ Kyle Quinn all year long. The two have met twice in the past few months, with Arujau winning by decision at the Journeymen Classic in the fall and at the Battle at the Beach last weekend. The Syosset star is #15 in the nation at 113 (according to Intermat) and was impressive during unbeaten showings at the Iron Horse Invitational and the Waterway Duals. He also notched a Round of 12 performance at the Super 32 Challenge.
Cohen and Barbaria are back after All-State finishes in 2013. Barbaria won his first two bouts against Quinn last year before the Wantagh wrestler came out on top in Albany.
Calderone had a victory over Arujau in the offseason and has been on the podium in the past. (He was one win shy of placing last year at 113). Meanwhile, Stramiello has been sixth at the state tournament the past two years. Recco compiled over 40 wins at 106 last year before an injury ended his campaign before the postseason started. He has had success in Albany in the past, capturing a state title as a freshman, and should be formidable again.
Another former NYS champion, Derek Spann of Adirondack, dropped a match at 120 this season, but should be a contender. And there are some more heavy hitters we're watching: Huntington's John Arceri, St. Anthony's John Twomey and Locust Valley’s Hunter Dusold to name just a few.
Massena's Nathan Marshall, a former state qualifier who is back from a year abroad recently defeated 2013 fourth placer Tanner Lapiene.
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1. Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville - 11)
2. Nick Casella (Locust Valley - 8)
3. Bryan Lantry (Wayne - 5)
4. Luis Weierbach (Hoosick Falls - 2)
5. Dylan Booth (Port Jervis - 9)
6. Ralph Mateo (Midlakes - 5)
7. Ben Lamantia (St. Anthony's - C)
Nick Piccininni sits in the top five in the country at 120 and after two consecutive undefeated state championship seasons, is New York's #1. Casella has also been a regular in the state finals, taking second the past two years. He'll try to get over the hump for NYS gold in 2014.
Lantry, a two-time state placer in Division I committed to Buffalo, will transition to the small school bracket this year. Also on his way to college wrestling is Hoosick Falls standout Luis Weierbach (Army), who was an undefeated state champ last season at 106. Booth and Mateo both made the medal stand a year ago, while Lamantia was one match short of placing and then earned All-American honors at the NHSCA Nationals.
We believe some others who made the podium in Virginia Beach, such as Freddy Eckles of Lake Shore and Jesse Dellavecchia of East Islip (fourth at 99 in Albany last year) could make strong runs this year. As always, Suffolk will be challenging, with the previously mentioned Piccininni and Dellavecchia plus James Szymanski of Shoreham Wading River, a bronze medalist at Eastern States last season, who is capable of making noise. (He had quality wins over All-State wrestlers like Golan Cohen and Jimmy Overhiser last year, although he didn't advance to Albany). We're also tracking grapplers such as Jon Errico of Byram Hills and former state placers Austin Ingraham of Highland and Drew Marra of Olean.
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1. Travis Passaro (Eastport South Manor - 11)
2. Alex Delacruz (Ossining - 1)
3. Kellen Devlin (Amherst - 6)
4. Anthony Orefice (Lockport - 6)
5. Ryan Snow (General Brown - 3)
6. Blake Retell (Shaker - 2)
7. Joe Russ (St. Anthony's - C)
Last year, we had Delacruz at #1 in our last rankings prior to the postseason (at 120). So after he won the state crown, why isn't he in the poll position now ahead of Travis Passaro, who was third in the same bracket in Albany? Well, the two didn't meet head to head last year, but when they did, a few weeks after the state tournament, Passaro captured a major decision win. Then, the future Hofstra wrestler earned All-American status at the FloNationals, went 10-1 at the Disney Duals and won a tough group at the Journeymen Classic.
Delacruz was on the Disney Duals squad as well and is always an exciting wrestler to watch. The returning state champ racked up more than 35 wins last year and will be a threat for two in a row in Albany.
Devlin had a great freshman year and was a finalist at NHSCA Nationals. Orefice is a multi-time placer, as is Snow, who has taken second, third and fourth during his career at the state tournament.
Retell has represented Section 2 three times in Albany and came within one match of placing in 2013. (He notched some solid victories in 2012-13, including over Division II state champ Trey Aslanian as well as All-Stater Santo Curatolo).
Joe Russ of St. Anthony's pushed number two seed John Muldoon to the limit in the opening round at the Times Union Center in an overtime loss. He won over 35 times last year. (We are aware he lost a match to an out-of-state wrestler at the Wyoming Seminary Duals).
Huntington's Corey Jamison was the only wrestler to defeat both 126-pound state champions last year - Division I's TJ Fabian and Division II's William Koll. For good measure, he also beat DI runner up Keanu Thompson and qualfiers Michael Fera and Richie Burke. He may be at this weight when he takes the mat, and he'll be a significant factor wherever he goes.
Who just missed the list? Barton Peters of Brockport. He was ahead against Kyle Kelly in the first round in Albany last year until he chose bottom in the third (and got turned). He fought injuries all year, but if healthy, the three-time state qualifier has what it takes to have a special senior year.
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1. William Koll (Lansing - 4)
2. Sean Peacock (Midlakes - 5)
3. Mike D'Angelo (Commack - 11)
4. John Muldoon (Pearl River - 1)
5. Chris Mauriello (Hauppauge - 11)
6. Saidyokub Kahramonov (New Utrecht - P)
7. Cody McGregor (Tonawanda - 6)
William Koll, a two-time state champ already, will look for a third. Two years ago, Peacock defeated the Lansing grappler on his way to a NYS title. The two met again last weekend, with Koll coming away with a 2-0 decision.
D'Angelo, Muldoon and Kahramonov all made All-State in 2013 for the first time. (D'Angelo topped Muldoon during the regular season). Mauriello competed in the state capital last season and then went on to capture an NHSCA National championship for the second consecutive year. He sought out tough competition and will be a factor.
McGregor is a two-time state medalist who had three NYS placers at his weight in Section 6 last season. After winning four matches at the Super 32, he appears ready to return to the medal stand.
There were many other wrestlers we had on the list during different drafts of the rankings. One was Carter Merecki of Salem, who earned All-State accolades last season. In addition, we believe Richie Burke (Ithaca), Laken Cook (Ilion), Nick Tolli (Arlington), Frankie Gissendanner (Penfield), Brad Wade (Islip) and Owen Bachelder (Hewlett) are among those capable of being on the podium this year.
For the rankings for 170-285 pounds, see this link.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to these rankings around the state. Special thanks to Mike Carey, Matt Diano, Keith Maute and Kris Harrington.