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Grappler Gold

Results from the First Annual D1 vs D2 Challenge

By BV, 03/15/14, 8:00AM EDT



99: Dane Heberlein (D2 State Champ) dec Bennie Baker (D1 Sixth), 2-0

106: Vinny Vespa (D1 Third) dec Theo Powers (2x D2 Placer), 3-0

113: Yianni Diakomihalis (D1 State Champ) tech fall Derek Spann (D2 Runner Up), 21-5

120: Parker Kropman (D1 Fourth) dec Ryan O'Rourke (D2 Fifth), 2-0

126: Ryan Snow (D2 Runner Up) dec Jon Haas (2x D1 Placer), 7-4

132: Paddy Quinlan win by injury default Cormac Green (D2 Sixth)

138: Tristan Rifanburg (D2 State Champ) major Rocco Russo (D1 Fourth), 12-0

145: Laken Cook (D2 Runner Up) major Vinny Romeo (D1 Qualifier), 9-1

152: Tyler Silverthorn (D2 Runner Up) dec Anthony Bell (D1 Round of 8), 3-1 SV

160: Alex Smythe (D2 Third) dec Joe Lupisella (D1 Round of 8), 7-0

170: *Trevor Allard (State Champ) dec Ryan Marszal (D2 Runner Up), 3-1 OT

182: Christian Dietrich (D2 State Champ) major *Jacob Woolson (D2 Fourth)

195: Reggie Williams (D1 State Champ) pin Nathanael Rose (D2 State Champ), 3:59

220: Ben Honis (D1 Third) pin Miguel Perez (D2 Fifth), 3:30

285: Vin Feola (D1 Runner Up) dec Jake Morris (D2 Round of 8), 7-3

99: Jacori Teemer (D1 State Champ) dec Dane Heberlein (D2 State Champ), 8-4

Overall Score: 32-24 victory for Division 1 over Division 2 (The injury default at 132 did not figure into the team score)

*D2 wrestler who represented D1 in the dual


This was our preview:

On March 1, Johnson City's Reggie Williams and Eagle Academy's Nathanael Rose both captured 195-pound state championships within minutes of each other.  On Saturday night, they'll face off to determine the "Champion of Champions" at that weight.  The same can be said of 99 pound champs Jacori Teemer of Long Beach and Dane Heberlein of Alexander.

There will also be several other matches pitting top notch wrestlers against one another at the first annual NYWAY D1 vs D2 Challenge Dual.

Fans will catch another glimpse of the #1 wrestler in the country (Yianni Diakomihalis of Hilton) as he takes on two-time state finalist Derek Spann of Adirondack. In all, close to 20 grapplers who finished in the top three at the Times Union Center are scheduled to see action, representing either Division 1 or Division 2.

The list of scheduled matches (as of press time) is at the end of this article.  Let's take a look at them now.

See the front page of this website, for a livestream of the event!


99 Pounds:

Division 2 state champion Dane Heberlein of Alexander was incredible to watch all season long, going 43-0 with only five regular decisions.  He outscored his opponents 30-0 in his four matches at the state tournament on his way to gold.  He'll face another young gun, Newark Valley's Bennie Baker, who made his presence felt (and earned All-State status) as a seventh grader.  Baker notched 40 wins on his way to the Division 1 podium, while losing only to fellow medalists and a wrestler from Wyoming Seminary during his varsity debut campaign.  These two wrestlers will continue to impress Empire State fans for years to come.

We were informed late Saturday that Heberlein is set to do double duty - taking on Division 1 champion Jacori Teemer of Long Beach in a late addition to the competition.


106 Pounds:

Monroe Woodbury's Vinny Vespa, a two-time All-State wrestler, nabbed bronze this year with his only loss in Albany coming against Diakomihalis.  Vespa won close to 40 matches and avenged one of his two regular season losses in the state capital when he defeated Penfield's Parker Kropman in the third place bout.  He'll clash with Luke Yankloski of Wayne, another wrestler who placed at the Eastern States Classic in January.  Yankloski captured over 40 bouts and had a strong run at the Times Union Center where he won his first three contests and was the New York State second place finisher in Division 2.  Who will come out on top - the bronze winner in Division 1 (Vespa) or the silver medalist in Division 2 (Yankloski)? 


113 Pounds:

Hilton's Yianni Diakomihalis, the top wrestler in the land at 106, was nothing short of spectacular throughout the season, including during his run in Albany where he earned bonus points in all of his contests.  He won Division 1 gold at the Times Union Center in both 2013 and 2014.  His opponent, Adirondack's Derek Spann, has also been in the finals the past two seasons, winning a title in 2013 before notching second a few weeks ago in Division 2.  Spann had a strong year at 113 with 48 victories and more than 35 pins.


120 Pounds:

Multi-time NYS placer Bryan Lantry finished his career on top, earning a Division 2 state championship at 120 pounds during a 49-win campaign. The future Buffalo wrestler edged 2013 state champ Luis Weierbach in the finals at the Times Union Center and owns quality victories over Division 1 runner up Jesse Dellavecchia of East Islip (whom he split with during the campaign) and D2 silver medalist (at 126) Ryan Snow, among others.

Lantry will face Penfield's Parker Kropman, who had a breakthrough 2013-14 year when he captured the Eastern States championship and made his first appearance on the NYS podium with a fourth place showing in Division 1.  Who will take the Section 5 battle?


126 Pounds:

Ryan Snow of General Brown made the Division 2 medal stand in Albany several times during his career, ending with a runner up finish in 2014 as a senior.  The 40-plus match winner had nearly 20 falls during the campaign.  His opponent also is familiar with the podium as Jon Haas of Penfield followed his third place showing in 2013 with another medal in 2014.  Which senior will pick up another quality victory?


132 Pounds

132 pounds was a solid class in Section 3 this year, with three wrestlers (Cormac Green of Port Byron, Austin Whitney of Mexico and Tyler Field of Onondoga) earning bids to the state tournament in Division 2 and Pat Quinlan of Fayetteville Manlius entering the Times Union Center as the number three seed in Division 1.

We'll get to see a battle for Section 3 bragging rights on Saturday night as Green, who recorded sixth in the state capital, will take on Quinlan.  Both seniors had around 40 victories and would like to collect another.


138 Pounds:

Frontier's Rocco Russo, a senior headed to the University at Buffalo, finished his career with All-State honors after notching fourth in Division 1.  His two losses in Albany were by a point to runner up Justin Cooksey, a future teammate with the Bulls, and in overtime in the bronze bout.  He'll clash with a wrestler who has seen tremendous success in the postseason - Norwich's Tristan Rifanburg. Rifanburg  is already a four-time state finalist and two-time champ - and he still has another year of high school to go.  He cruised through the NYS tournament this year, outscoring his opponents 39-1 on the way to the top of the podium. 


145 Pounds:

Buffalo-bound Trevor Hoffmier of Newark Valley ended his scholastic career with a fourth place performance in Division 1, upsetting #3 seed Tommy Dutton of Rocky Point along the way. He also made the podium at the prestigious Eastern States Classic in January.  He'll square off with Central Valley Academy's Laken Cook, a Division 2 runner up this year who placed at the NYS tournament three times over the years. Both standouts lost their final match in Albany.  Who will get back on the winning track in Syracuse?


152 Pounds

Tyler Silverthorn of General Brown is no stranger to the NYS podium as he placed as a sophomore, junior and senior.  The NHSCA All-American finished his high school career with a second place showing at 152 this year in Division 2.  He'll meet Fairport's Anthony Bell, a wrestler who came within one bout of All-State status at his first NYS tournament, losing to the eventual champion and fourth place finisher to cap off a 39-win campaign.


160 Pounds:

Alex Smythe of Eden, a three-time NYS placer, bounced back from a quarterfinal loss in multiple overtimes to take Division 2 bronze in his last scholastic match.  The future University at Buffalo competitor will square off with Webster Schroeder's Joe Lupisella, who won over 40 bouts in his junior campaign, including two at the Times Union Center where he came within one victory of the podium.


170 Pounds:

Trevor Allard of Mexico had a terrific weekend in Albany, defeating multiple seeded wrestlers (including the previously discussed Smythe) to win the small school state title at 160. However, he will represent Division 1 when he takes on the challenge of Unatego's Ryan Marszal, a two-time state placer in Division 2 who was second at 170 in 2014 with his only loss coming in the NYS title bout against Warsaw's Burke Paddock.  Will Allard keep his winning streak going or will Marszal come out on top?


195 Pounds:

Two state champs embraced the chance to compete at 195. Binghamton-bound Reggie Williams of Johnson City ended his senior campaign on a high note with his gold medal in Division 1 and looks to keep things going against Eagle Academy's Nathanael Rose, the second-ever PSAL NYS titlewinner.  Who will win the clash of champions?


220 Pounds

This bout features a pair of 195 pounders who excelled in the state capital. Ben Honis of Jamesville-Dewitt put together an impressive senior campaign with his only two setbacks coming at the hands of the previously discussed Reggie Williams.  Honis took third in Division 1 at 195.  The Jamesville-Dewitt grappler met his upcoming opponent, Lane Frost of VVS, in early December, earning a victory by decision.  However, Frost rebounded from that early season loss to win over 35 matches and go all the way to the state finals at 195 where he took second in Division 2 behind the aforementioned Nathanael Rose.  Will Honis take two in a row over Frost?  Or is it revenge time for the VVS grappler?


*State champion Christian Dietrich of Greene agreed to represent Division 2 at 182 pounds, however, his opponent wasn't yet finalized. Division 1 runner up Vin Feola of Walt Whitman agreed to participate as well.


Tune in at 7 p.m. on Saturday night on to see some of the best in the state battle!


The Division 1 vs. Division 2 Challenge is just part of the NYWAY State Championship weekend (March 15 and 16) at Onondoga Community College in Syracuse. A year ago, the event featured over 900 grapplers, from high school heavyweights to 37-pound youth wrestlers.

"We are the only New York State-wide youth championship," said NYWAY President Clint Wattenberg. "We are trying to develop a statewide event and organization that can meet the needs of all NYS wrestlers and coaches and to reinvest back into development and off season clinics.  That mission is what makes the NYWAY States more than just a tournament."

In alignment with that mission, all placewinners will be funded by NYWAY to participate in the NUWAY Nationals or FloNationals tournaments.

Wattenberg anticipates another strong turnout again for the event, which will include the First Annual Girls NYWAY States for which nearly 50 entrants are registered.

In addition, Gene Mills will be holding clinics before the Saturday and Sunday morning sessions.

For more information on the NYWAY State Championships, which begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, see this link.