The weather impacted action in some parts of New York, but there was still plenty of great wrestling. Here are a few thoughts on some of this weekend's competition.
1. State champs, anyone?
There were a bunch of them at the Sgt Richard Romesser Attica Blue Devil Challenge, including Burke Paddock of Warsaw and Sean Peacock of Midlakes. Both won their brackets at 170 and 132, respectively, and had some teammates join them on top of the podium. Warsaw captured the tournament title with Aaron Paddock winning the 182 bracket and Corey Farrell doing the same at 145. For Midlakes, which grabbed second in the standings, additional titlewinners were 2013 NYS placer Ralph Mateo (126), Hammond Raes (106) and Derian Woodard (138). Another state champion, Tony Recco of Lyndonville competed at 113, where he was defeated by Victor's Mike Venosa. The winner of that 113-pound bracket was 2013 NYS bronze medalist Ryan Hetrick of Southwestern.
2. The Show Went On . . .
Another tournament that promised some top notch action was the Jerry McGuire Invitational at North Rockland High School. Some top Section 1 teams were set to attend as were representatives of the PSAL, CHSAA and Sections 8 and 9. The snow altered those plans, but duals were held instead with the squads that were able to make the trip. North Rockland put forth some dominant (shutout) performances and a solid win over Tappan Zee, 63-21.
Meanwhile, also in Section 1, the Patriot Invitational at John Jay East Fishkill took place with the host team finishing atop the standings, led by champions Grant Frederick at 138, Brandon White at 170, Brett Perry at 182 and Jay Albis at 120. Albis beat 2013 All-State grappler Austin Ingraham of Highland for the title, while another state qualifier was defeated in the finals, as Damani Burns of Newburgh Free Academy pinned Section 1 champion Noah Kelvas of Putnam Valley at 126.
3. 132 on the Island . . .
Last year's Division I state champion at 132 pounds was from Long Island (Sayville's Matt Leshinger). Coming into the season, Suffolk appeared tough once again at that weight, with returning NYS placer Mike D'Angelo of Commack and NHSCA Nationals champion Chris Mauriello of Hauppauge leading the charge. Sean O'Hagan of Sachem North, a double finalist at the NYS Freestyle and Greco championships in May who took fifth in the Section last year, made it clear on Saturday that he is also very much in the mix. O'Hagan pinned D'Angelo to win the title (and Most Outstanding Wrestler honors) at the Andrew Peers tournament at Walt Whitman. A number of wrestlers mentioned in our initial NYS rankings also won the event, including Joe Calderone and Vincent Feola of Walt Whitman, James Szymanski of Shoreham Wading River and Jakob Restrepo of Sachem East (who will be in the middleweight rankings when they are posted this week).
Speaking of 132 in Long Island, Adam Smith of East Meadow collected a quality 7-4 win over the Most Outstanding Wrestler of last year's Section 8 championships, Owen Bachelder of Hewlett, at the Sprig Gardner tournament. Smith was a finalist at the Nassau County tournament last year, losing by one point to Steve Sewkumar of Long Beach, the eventual bronze medalist in Albany. Hewlett was the team champion at the event.
4. Three's a Charm at Penfield
At the Penfield Hunter Holiday Tournament, Mt. Anthony (Vermont) captured first in the team standings, with six champions. The host squad from Penfield was second, fueled by the Most Outstanding Wrestler in the lightweights (Frankie Gissendanner, 132) as well as a title by Parker Kropman at 113.
New Hartford was fourth in the team race, but boasted three champions - a trio of McKennas - Ian at 99, Kelan at 106 and Sean at 138. Kelan McKenna, a state placer a year ago, pinned his way through the tournament, as did Ian McKenna. Neither had any match last into the third period. Another note: in last week's Section 5 preview, Chris Fantauzzo of Greece was mentioned as a possible "breakout" wrestler. He demonstrated why when he won the 126 pound crown, defeating NHSCA All-American Freddy Eckles of Lake Shore.
For brackets, see here.
5. Notable at the Herkimer . . .
In the Section 3 preview posted a few weeks ago, John Drew of cnywrestling.com said Mexico had its most powerful lineup in recent memory. The squad looked solid over the weekend, nabbing the Herkimer Invitational title with four champions - Austin O'Reilly (99), Theo Powers (106), Austin Whitney (138) and Trevor Allard (160). Powers was a state placer last year. It's worth noting that Phoenix's William Hilliard turned in another strong performance at 182. The sophomore earned All-American accolades at the NHSCA Nationals in the spring and has continued his winning ways this season with an undefeated record thus far. He pinned Sammy Davis of Union-Endicott, a former Section 4 finalist, to win the Matthew Marino Invitational last weekend and on Saturday he beat last year's Section 3 champion, Lane Frost of VVS, on the way to the Herkimer title.
For the brackets, see here.
6. Dual Dominance . . .
There were a number of dual tournaments around the Empire State this weekend - and several strong team showings (more than we can name). Back in late November one of the earlier duals of the campaign took place between Hilton and Lockport, with the former coming away with the victory. This weekend, both squads went 5-0. At the Pioneer Duals, Hilton scored at least 60 points in each contest, with the closest result a 62-24 triumph over St. Francis. Returning state qualifiers Yianni Diakomihalis, Vincent DePrez, Anthony DePrez and Lou DePrez won nearly all their matches by bonus points, as did multiple teammates, including Mike Spallina (four pins and a technical fall).
Lockport also won five times at the Demeco-Trainor tournament, piling up 48 or more points every dual. Two of the top 220 pounders in the Empire State squared off, with Churchville Chili's Sam Eagan pinning Lockport's Marshall Taylor.
Speaking of unblemished showings at dual events, General Brown swept five meets at home, led by Wyatt Dees, who was named to the Outstanding Wrestlers list. Also included were Tanner Lapiene of Ogdensburg Free Academy, Bryce Reed of Carthage, Corey Grill of Immaculate Heart Central, Travis Edwards of Beaver River and Baldwinsville's Kevin Paul. Paul defeated three-time state placer Ryan Snow of General Brown, 3-2.
7. And Some More Dual Dominance
Spencerport won the Warrior Duals at Cheektowaga, besting Lewiston Porter in the final round, 42-31. The Rangers were led by undefeated wrestlers Tyler Mitchell (99), Mike Wicks (106), Chris Cottom (170), Collin Pittman (182) and Trent Egenlauf (195). Pittman and Egenlauf were both in our initial state rankings. The same will be true for Ryan Kromer of Lewiston Porter when we post the middleweights this week. In a meeting of state qualifiers, West Seneca East's Danny Graham topped Lew Port's Andrew Shomers.
Shenendehowa went unbeaten at the Bruins Cup in Nassau County, topping Baldwin, Longwood, Syosset and Chaminade. Former state qualifiers Levi Ashley, Kevin Parker and Jesse Porter all had four pins.
Minisink Valley lost on tiebreakers in an exciting championship match against Monroe Woodbury for the Section 9 dual title. This weekend, the squad bounced back in a big way, going a perfect 9-0 to win the Colonie Duals. Leading the way for the team was Gerard Daly, who picked up six points for his team in each of his nine bouts at 120. His twin brother Thomas Daly went 8-1 at 113, while returning state qualifier Mike Raccioppi posted the same record, with his only loss coming on an illegal slam. He bested 2013 NYS qualifier Nick Toutant of Indian River along the way. Jarred Greiner also had eight wins at 99 for the Section 9 school.
In addition to Minisink Valley's strong showing at Colonie, the 170 pound weight class showcased a number of wrestlers who could make their marks in the postseason. Jake Ashcraft of Burnt Hills, who represented Section 2 at the Times Union Center last year, registered quality wins over two-time NYS qualifier Geno Brancati of Hudson Falls and returning Section 3 champion (and NHSCA All-American) Sonny McPherson of Indian River. After dropping that bout, McPherson turned around and beat 2013 NYS medalist Franky Nassivera of Queensbury. And that was all on Day 1 of the event. At the end, the Most Outstanding Wrestler honors were awarded to Colonie's Austin DiCerbo and Golan Cohen and Joey Butler of Burnt Hills.
(Thank you to Mike Carey for that Colonie Duals coverage).
7. The Century Mark . . . and Out of State Action
Thanks to everyone who sent in nominees for wrestler of the weekend. One very familiar name was Yianni Diakomihalis, who not only continued to roll with a technical fall over NHSCA All-American Anthony Argentieri at 120, but who picked up his 100th victory. Not too shabby, especially considering he's only a month into his freshman year of high school.
We were also told that East Islip teammates Jesse Dellavecchia and Dennis Ferro hit the century mark in victories while competing at the Cliff Clark Duals at Bay Shore this weekend.
Many of the other nominees sent in were mentioned above and we'll keep an eye on other names we received like Zack Bendick of Union-Endicott and Ryan Marriott of Fillmore Central.
Just two more things from out of state action . . . Lansing's William Koll was third at the very tough King of the Mountain tournament in Pennsylvania, while former Lewiston Porter grappler Brandon Dallavia took sixth at the prestigious Ironman in Ohio for Blair Academy, including a victory over the nation's #9 wrestler, Lance Dixon of Oklahoma.
Snow couldn't stop another great weekend of wrestling in New York. Looking forward to what next week brings . . .