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What to Watch For in HS, College and Youth Wrestling this Holiday Weekend

By BV, 12/26/13, 6:45PM EST



It's a big weekend for wrestling, with numerous events taking place at the youth, high school and college levels.  What are we looking forward to?  Well, too many things to name, but we'll give you just a few.




Windsor Christmas Tournament

Let's start with the 57th Annual Windsor Christmas Tournament, the longest running holiday event in the state.

Waverly's Ryan Wolcott announced his presence at this event at 220 pounds last year by beating Huntington's Nick Lupi, a two-time NYS bronze medalist now wrestling at the Division I level.  Wolcott, the 2013 runner up in Albany, could square off with another Huntington star this year - Anthony Puca.  Puca was the champ at this event last season at 285 and qualified for the state tournament at heavyweight. Union Endicott's Andrew Brinser also competed at the Times Union Center at 285.  However, both Puca and Brinser are included in the seeds at 220.

There will be state champs in the field, including Norwich's Tristan Rifanburg and Lansing's William Koll. The latter could meet multi-time NYS qualifier Richie Burke of Ithaca at 132 pounds.

Rifanburg's teammate Frank Garcia split two matches with Whitney Point's Jordan Torbitt last year, before both placed at 145 pounds at the state tournament.  It appears from the seeds that Torbitt may not compete, however, returning champion Brandon Mendez of Huntington will look to challenge Garcia at 152 pounds.

Additional state placers - Christian Dietrich of Greene, Trey DuVall of Addison and Ryan Marszal of Unatego have all seen action at 182 pounds this season. However, Marszal will likely be at 170, where he could square off with state qualifier Sonny McPherson of Indian River (who has beaten All-Stater Franky Nassivera this season). 

Huntington's John Arceri was the 99 pound champion last year at Windsor.  In order to repeat, he could battle 2013 All-State wrestler Golan Cohen of Colonie.

The Outstanding Wrestler at last season's Windsor Christmas tournament, Corey Jamison of Huntington, has not yet competed this season, but is listed at 126 pounds.


Massapequa Holiday Tournament

The second oldest holiday tournament in New York will feature some great action.

Wrestlers in the field such as Long Beach's Jacori Teemer, Hauppauge's Jake Silverstein, Massapequa's Garrett Gibbons and Monroe Woodbury's Marco Vespa have impressed so far this year at 99 pounds.

At 106, it's a similar story, with a returning state placer (Vinny Vespa of Monroe Woodbury) and other talented grapplers, such as Hauppauge's Ben Tepperman, Long Beach's Matt Maquet, Connetquot's Sean Miller and Division's Chris Ponce.

There are also a bevy of returning champions looking to repeat - Gino Titone and Greg Chery of Connetquot, Monroe Woodbury's Evan Barczak (a 2013 state qualifier), the previously mentioned Vinny Vespa and Massapequa's Tim Gungor. Also keep an eye out for some wrestlers in our initial NYS rankings such as Hauppauge's Chris Mauriello and Monroe Woodbury's Rob Kelly.


Teike Bernabi

At the Teike Bernabi at Spencerport, the 195-pound class jumps out as one that could be spectacular, with three wrestlers included in our initial state rankings (#1 Reggie Williams of Johnson City, #2 Levi Ashley of Shenendehowa and #4 Trent Egenlauf of Spencerport).  In addition, NYS qualifier James Empfield of Lancaster, among others, could join the fray.

Several state qualifiers have seen action in the 152/160 pound range this year – Jesse Porter of Shenendehowa, Nate Schwab of Clarence, and Andrew Paulsen of Iroquois.  Could we see some battles among them?  And how about returning champion Jake Weber of Clarence, who could meet 2013 state placer Zach Colgan of Johnson City at 170?

In addition to Weber, Williams and Egenlauf, several other grapplers who won titles at this event last year are scheduled to be back, including Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer of Cheektowaga and the Lockport duo of Anthony Orefice and Marshall Taylor.

Clarence's Dylan Arena was second at this tournament in 2012.  He could be back at 99 pounds, battling with quality opponents such as Mitchell Seaver (Lockport), Tyler Mitchell (Spencerport), Cory Day of Iroquois and Derek St. James (Gates Chili), among others.


That's just a small sampling of what's to come over this holiday period.  There are squads going to New Jersey (Minisink Valley), Pennsylvania (Smithtown East) and Connecticut (St. Anthony's).  There are events on college campuses (the very tough Kenneth Haines Memorial at SUNY Oswego) and dual tournaments all over, from the Mountain Duals at Dolgeville to the Dick Vincent Duals at Letchworth to the Joe Davidson Memorial and Clarke Duals on Long Island.  We can't name everything here, but we'll be watching the first month of the high school season wind down with great interest over the next few days.

Boley, Photo by BV




Matt Bystol made the transition from 141 to 133 pounds after the Midlands last year.  At his new weight, he went on a hot streak, riding it all the way to the EIWA finals and the NCAA tournament.  The Lion is off to a strong start this year, with a 10-2 record and a national ranking in the top 20.  Will he continue to make a name for himself on the national scene this weekend where he was pre-seeded #5 at 141?

Bystol’s Columbia teammate Markus Scheidel, a freshman from Ohio, also was listed in the Midlands pre-seeds (ninth at 157).  He’s just ahead of a New York native he defeated earlier this season – John Greisheimer of Edinboro (Wantagh).

Additional Empire State natives in the pre-seeds were Indiana’s Ryan LeBlanc (11th at 165), Maryland’s Christian Boley (second at 197) and Edinboro’s Ernest James (12th at heavyweight).


Cradle Gear Invitational

The Cradle Gear Invitational* at Lock Haven is where you’ll find two of New York’s Division I teams over the holiday break.  Binghamton has 14 wrestlers registered, while Buffalo signed up 19.  New York fans will not only see the wrestlers from the Bearcats and the Bulls take the mat, but also a number of other New York natives, such as Nick Wilcox (Greene) and Kevin Hartnett (Monsignor Farrell) of Bloomsburg, Mac Maldarelli of Lock Haven and several grapplers from Franklin & Marshall - Paul Alessandrini (St. Anthony’s), Ekow Eshun (Long Island City), Colin Gironda (Comsewogue) and Thomas Quinlan (Fayetteville-Manlius).

Cornell, Hofstra and Army are scheduled to compete at the Southern Scuffle, which takes place January 1-2 in Tennessee.  More to come on that closer to the event.

(*Cradle Gear entrants as of the 12/26 in the afternoon)



NYWAY Kickoff Classic

It’s time for the NYWAY season to get underway with two events on consecutive days at SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake.  Saturday brings a dual competition, with each of the eight NYWAY regions entering a squad made up of kindergarten to sixth grade wrestlers. And on Sunday, more champions will be crowned at the NYWAY State Kickoff Classic Individual Tournament.