Wrestling has begun, so it's time for a first look at the New York State landscape for this season. Taking a quick glance back, all 15 wrestlers ranked #1 last year in the opening polls finished in the top three in Albany, with 13 making the finals. Overall, 24 of last year's 30 state champions were the first or second ranked wrestler in their Division in our opening rankings.
How will those at the top this year fare? Six different Sections have #1 wrestlers below. We know some of the weights will change and certainly new stars will emerge, but here's a first look at New York in 2015-16.
Please note: this is a combined ranking for Divisions 1 and 2 and only includes wrestlers who can compete at the NYSPHSAA tournament. The intention is to put wrestlers in the classes they will be in at the end of the year, although we were not able to confirm in all cases.
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A Note on 99: As we've done at times in the past, we will wait until the second set of rankings to include 99 pounds, to get a better look at the influx of young wrestlers that could make an impact. A number of returning state qualifiers could potentially be back there (including placer Justin Lopez of Yonkers and Round of 8 wrestler Tony Negron of North Babylon). Feel free to send us wrestlers to watch at this weight. Stay tuned!
Busiello, Photo by BV
1. Adam Busiello (Eastport-South Manor-11)
2. Mitch Seaver (Lockport-6)
3. AJ Burkhart (Waverly-4)
4. Michael Gonyea (Columbia-2)
5. Drew Schafer (Palmyra Macedon-5)
Adam Busiello is ranked #1 not only in New York, but also in the nation. He handed Lockport's Mitchell Seaver his only loss in the postseason a year ago (in a 43-2 season) at the state tournament before Seaver came back for third at 99 pounds, with a one-point win over Michael Gonyea for bronze.
Division 2 state champ AJ Burkhart will look to make it two in a row. At the Journeymen Classic this fall, he topped Gonyea in sudden victory. Burkhart will face challenges from his NYS finals opponent Orion Anderson of Schuylerville and a wrestler he split with during the year, Drew Schafer (state third). All of these wrestlers are up from 99 pounds.
On the Verge ... Orion Anderson was right on the cusp of this list and could easily be on there. Both he and Schafer beat small school placers Dillan Palaszewski and Jack Bokina, however, Schafer also added victories over state champ Burkhart, Peru's Carson Dobozy and Division 1 placer Kyle Mosher. Those wins put him over the top, however, Anderson will be in the thick of things for the title again without a doubt.
A number of wrestlers who got their hand raised at the state tournament last year were also discussed, such as Monroe Woodbury's Marco Vespa, Shoreham-Wading River's Kevin Meloni, Sean McGarvey of Pearl River, Sam Wolf of Warsaw, Trey Wardlaw of East Ramapo, Rick Chastine of Union-Endicott, Brandon Marohn of Clarke, Matt Griffin of CBA/Jamesville-Dewitt and NHSCA Middle School National champ Zach Braddell of Tonawanda. Justin Vines of Wantagh received an at large bid for the state tournament and was unable to wrestle, but could be a factor. Cahal Donovan of Phoenix majored another returning qualifier, Cody Anders of Brockport this weekend, while Jacob Ruggeri of Fairport may return to this weight after taking the mat in Albany.
Additional qualifiers back include: Dylan Ebanks of Xavier, Kevin Velez of Petrides, Chris Recore of Malone, Wade Harris of Red Hook, Dominic Grant of Eagle Academy, Brandon Nunez of John Bowne (Cadet Greco All-American) and Mike Bruno of Putnam Valley (although we are told some of them may be back at 99).
Cox, Photo by BV
1. Tommy Cox (Deer Park-11)
2. Kelan McKenna (New Hartford-3)
3. Anthony Cirillo (Rocky Point-11)
4. Chris Cirigliano (BGAH-4)
5. Austin O'Reilly (Mexico-3)
Tommy Cox currently sits in the national rankings at this weight - and with good reason. After taking third at 106 a year ago in New York, he went on to win the NHSCA Nationals title at that weight and then placed at the Super 32 Challenge for the second consecutive year. At the New York vs. New Jersey All-Star Dual a few weeks ago, he defeated multi-time Garden State placer Jonathan Tropea as well.
New Hartford's Kelan McKenna was Cox's opponent in the final at the NHSCAs at Virginia Beach, taking second. He is a three-time state medalist who also sits in the national polls. We could see another meeting between the seniors in Albany.
But there are others right in the mix, including Anthony Cirillo, a returning fourth placer at this weight who put together an impressive season for Rocky Point. Also back after making the medal stand at 113 a year ago is Chris Cirigliano of BGAH, who was third in Division 2. He handed large school state champ John Arceri his only loss in 2014-15. Austin O'Reilly of Mexico was third a year ago at 106 and added an All-American finish at the NHSCA Nationals to his resume in the spring.
On the Verge: Anthony Sulla of North Rockland got a lot of support for the list and certainly could be on there in the near future. (His losses at the state tournament were to Cox and twice to McKenna on his way to sixth at 106 in Division 1 a year ago). The same goes for South Jefferson's Trey LaFlamme who also earned All-State honors in Albany, as did AJ Putt of Maple Grove, Jack Bokina of Mattituck and Carson Dobozy of Peru.
Getting their hand raised in Albany were Trent Nadeau of Columbia, Connor Greiner of Minisink Valley, Kyle Sams of Putnam Valley, Shane Hetrick of Maple Grove, Dylan Callahan of Schoharie, Vin Miceli of Port Jefferson, Nick Young of Alexander, Connor Wilkins of Livonia and Caleb Wiggins of Chenango Valley.
The following wrestlers also competed at the state tournament: Warren McDougald of Niagara Wheatfield, Dean Artrip of Suffern, Ryan Brown of Canton and Thomas Trombley of Malone. Keep an eye on Matt Caccamise of Wayne.
Gomez, Photo by BV
1. Jon Gomez (Locust Valley-8)
2. Jake Silverstein (Hauppauge-11)
3. Theo Powers (Mexico-3)
4. Anthony Sparacio (North Babylon-11)
5. Dane Heberlein (Alexander-5)
A pair of nationally-ranked wrestlers sit in the top two spots and there was a lot of discussion and debate on the order. Jon Gomez was a state champ last year and followed with a title at the NHSCA Sophomore Nationals before taking fourth place in a weight of over 85 competitors in Cadet Freestyle at Fargo. FloWrestling has him at #14 at 113. Meanwhile, Jake Silverstein is listed by Intermat at #19 at 120 and has quite a resume as well. After taking second at the state tournament last year (losing in the ultimate tiebreaker to Jacori Teemer), he was also the runner up at the NHSCA Nationals. Silverstein, a 2014 placer at the Super 32 Challenge, went 6-2 at that event this fall with a win over Matteo DeVincenzo.
Theo Powers is a three-time NYS placer who won his first state title a year ago. He captured a solid bracket at the Matthew Marino tournament over the weekend, in a field that included three All-State wrestlers. North Babylon's Anthony Sparacio has two fourth place finishes to his credit at the state tournament and will be in the mix again. He topped two-time NYS finalist Dane Heberlein of Alexander 4-2 at the Journeymen Classic a few months ago.
On the Verge ... Austin Hertel of Hilton and Anthony Argentieri of Kenmore West both made the podium last year, at 113 and 120, respectively. Hertel edged Argentieri over the weekend, 2-1. In addition, Saranac's Jacob Nolan lost an overtime match to Gomez at the state tournament last year and will be someone to watch.
That's also true of several other grapplers who have made the medal stand in Albany in the past, such as Tito Colom of St. Francis, CJ Walz of Central Valley, Dillan Palaszewski of Galway, Nolan Foster of Hoosick Falls, Ryan Hetrick of Maple Grove, Dean Raymond of Deposit and Kyle Mosher of South Side. (Mosher was topped in the ultimate tiebreaker by Long Beach's Josh Bourne, who then lost to Wantagh's Michael Killard last weekend).
Others to make the blood round at the state tournament last year were: John Devine of Columbia, Randy Earl of John Jay East Fishkill (who split bouts with state placer Anthony Sulla), Satoshi Abe of Putnam Valley, Dylan Walker of Attica and Joe Sliwoski of Wayne. Also getting their hand raised in Albany were Jon Lauricella of Leroy and Cody Fields of General Brown.
Others returning state qualifiers from 2015 include: Jeffrey Gress of Lyndonville (who was defeated by Dylan Arena of Clarence this season), Cordell David of Ogdensburg, Jordan Sartin of Saratoga Springs, Noah Carpenter of Elmira, Ian McKenna of New Hartford, Zach Roberts of Ogdensburg, Brandon Goddeau of Peru and Justin Crawford of St. Anthony's.
Pappas, Photo by BV
1. Peter Pappas (Plainview-8)
2. John Arceri (Huntington-11)
3. Matteo DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson-11)
4. Jacori Teemer (Long Beach-8)
5. Matt Seitz (Monsignor Farrell-C)
It's fair to say that the order and included wrestlers in this weight changed throughout the process more than in any other class. There are plenty of guys who have good arguments to be on the list and it might be the most exciting group to watch in Albany.
Peter Pappas is a two-time state finalist, whose only losses in the biggest tournament of the scholastic season have come to Yianni Diakomihalis. His performance in a loaded bracket at the Super 32 Challenge, where he took sixth, was impressive. So was his second place showing at the Journeymen Classic. He's currently the only New Yorker in the 126 pound Intermat rankings, at #16.
John Arceri also looked tough at the Super 32, winning five matches to just miss the podium in another stacked field (at 132). He won a state title a year ago at 113 in a season in which he dropped just one match. He also had a quality win over two-time state champ Kellen Devlin at the Journeymen Classic.
Matteo DeVincenzo has placed in the top three each of the past three seasons at the state tournament, including a title in 2014. He lost just once a year ago (1-0 to eventual champ Jimmy Overhiser), and captured an Eastern States crown. He was an NHSCA All-American and won five matches at the Super 32.
It's strange to have a two-time state champ at #4 but that's what happened here with Jacori Teemer moving up three weights. A Cadet Fargo All-American at 120 over the summer, Teemer had a win over PA standout Julian Chlebove of Pennsylvania at the high school All-Star event at the Journeymen/Northeast Duals. He also sits in some of the national polls at 120.
Matt Seitz came within one win of making the podium at 132 pounds last year, losing in overtime to two-time state finalist Jesse Dellavecchia and to placer James Szymanski. He notched some quality wins in the offseason with Apex, and his performance in taking third at the NHSCA Junior Nationals at this weight was a factor in our process.
On the Verge ... There were times during our discussions where a number of other wrestlers made the cut. Three-time state finalist Derek Spann of Adirondack was certainly one of those. He won a title in 2013 and has been second the past two years. Alex Vargas of Syosset is also a fast riser who has the ability to win a loaded class in Nassau which includes Pappas and Teemer. In fact, Vargas topped Pappas to win the Section 8 crown a year ago and we expect to see great things from him this year. What about Nick Gaiser of Alexander, who put together a third place showing at the state tournament a year ago, with the only loss coming against Devlin. He looked extremely tough in Albany and will be someone to watch again.
Also talked about quite a bit was Mike Venosa of Victor, who didn't receive a wildcard to the state tournament after taking second behind Yianni Diakomihalis in Section 5, but who was an NHSCA All-American and registered numerous wins over state placers and qualifiers in the offseason. In fact, he topped Hauppauge's Ben Tepperman, another candidate for the list (who beat multiple All-State wrestlers last year), at Virginia Beach, where Tepperman also made the podium. One of the wrestlers to beat Tepperman in 2014-15 was Monroe Woodbury's Kevin Kelly, who had a stellar year and won twice in Albany after given the unenviable task of facing Nick Piccininni in his opening match.
All of that - and we're still not done. Phil Spadafora of Half Hollow Hills East lost by a point to Arceri in the Suffolk title bout and then nabbed fifth at the state tournament. He's someone to watch, as is another fifth placer from 2015, Hunter Dusold of Locust Valley (a 2014 NYS champ) as well as placers like Brandon Gould of Watkins Glen, Edgemont's Kyle Aslanian and multi-time medalists Brad Bihler of Maple Grove and Zach Lawrence of Duanesburg.
Roland LaPoint of Northern Adirondack won twice in Albany last year, including over a previous finalist.
Additional 2015 qualifiers include: Derek Osman of Vestal, Brandon Merchant of Cobleskill-Richmondville, John Fiebelkorn of Akron, Kevin McColgan of Petrides, Daniel Mullin of Gouverneur, Amir Johnson of Petrides, Brandon Santiago of Madison and Donald Baker of Ogdensburg.
Arujau, Photo by BV
1. Vito Arujau (Syosset-8)
2. Kellen Devlin (Amherst-6)
3. Parker Kropman (Penfield-5)
4. Hector Colom (St. Francis-C)
5. Jake Kurzhals (Pearl River-1)
Vito Arujau is one of the nation's top juniors and will look to win his third consecutive state title in 2016. Among his accomplishments this year - NHSCA National champ (and MOW), Cadet Freestyle National champ (and MOW), Journeymen Classic title and third at the Super 32. Arujau defeated two-time NYS champ Kellen Devlin, an NHSCA National champ, at an All-Star match at the Pop & Flo Duals in the spring.
Parker Kropman has notched fourth twice in a row at the state tournament and the Binghamton recruit will be a threat to break through to the finals this time around. Hector Colom piled up quality wins last year, including over Anthony Argentieri, Dean Raymond, Matt Seitz, Mike Venosa and John Devine. The 2014 state placer didn't compete in the postseason last year, but should make a splash this winter. Jake Kurzhals made a tremendous run in Albany last season, beating returning All-State wrestlers in each of his first three matches before Devlin beat him in the finals at 126.
On the Verge ... One of the wrestlers Kurzhals beat, Ryan O'Rourke of Adirondack, is a multi-time placer who was considered. In addition, Palmyra-Macedon's Emerson Block was fourth at the Times Union Center a year ago, wrestling back well after losing in round one to eventual champ Nick Casella.
Dylan Wood of Walton had some solid wins on the way to placing at Eastern States. He got his hand raised at the NYS championships, as did Isaiah Colgan of Johnson City, Max Tempel of Averill Park, Brett Frole of Babylon, Joe Diforte of Petrides, Connor Steria of Lowville, Audey Ashkar of Liverpool and TJ Philpotts of Holland Patent.
Other 2015 qualifiers include: Fred Eckles of Lake Shore, Connor Day of Iroquois, Kevin Knox of Carmel, Christian Gramuglia of Burnt Hills, Gavin Perrine of Massena and Doniyorkhon Mukhamadiev of Brooklyn International. Tanner Lapiene of Ogdensburg is a past state placer.
Diakomihalis, Photo by BV
1. Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton-5)
2. Matt Grippi (Fox Lane-1)
3. Charlie Johnson (Warwick-9)
4. Jesse Manuel (Tioga-4)
5. Brad Dietz (Phoenix-3)
Any questions about Yianni Diakomihalis at #1? Didn't think so. After that, this is a tricky weight. Matt Grippi of Fox Lane defeated state champion Nick Casella last year and has been in the mix since his seventh grade campaign. He had a solid offseason and won his bracket at the Journeymen Classic. [He also topped NHSCA Nationals runner up Conor Melbourne in a Section 1 showdown earlier this week]. Charlie Johnson is a new name to the discussion because he's in his first season of high school wrestling in New York. However, he entered the Pennsylvania state tournament undefeated last year at 34-0 before taking fifth place in the PA AA tournament. (He lost to the state champ and third placer by a point each). There are a couple of returning placers in the mix here, with Tioga's Jesse Manuel and Phoenix's Brad Dietz in the fray after strong showings in the state capital in 2015. Dietz took second at the Matthew Marino Invitational last weekend behind Diakomihalis.
On the Verge . . .
Owen Bachelder of Hewlett has wrestled in Albany three times in his career and was considered. [Mike Choi of East Meadow topped Bachelder at the Battle at the Beach last weekend]. 2014 state placer Tanner Cook of Central Valley returned to the state tournament last year, as did Tyler Brazinski of Johnson City.
Taylor Benson of Red Hook won a match in Albany as did Jack Chesman of Pearl River (as an eighth grader).
Other returning qualifiers: Josh Bressette of Whitehall/Fort Ann, Gavin Perrine of Massena, Colin Hogan of Peru, Jason Fallon of Petrides, Casey Provost of Beekmantown, Cole Rifanburg of Norwich and Dillon Ross of Onteora.
Gissendanner, Photo by BV
1. Frankie Gissendanner (Penfield-5)
2. Hunter Richard (Holland Patent-3)
3. Jack Taddeo (Shoreham-Wading River-11)
4. Evan Barczak (Monroe Woodbury-9)
5. John Busiello (Eastport-South Manor-11)
Frankie Gissendanner won a state title as a freshman at 138, beating nationally-ranked Mike D'Angelo in the finals for the second time of the year. A three-time qualifier and two-time placer in New York already, Gissendanner went on to medal at the FloNationals and will be the favorite to top the podium again as a 10th grader. He's ranked ninth nationally by Intermat.
Hunter Richard also earned state gold in 2015, winning as a sophomore at 138 pounds. He also had an impressive showing at the Eastern States Classic and was in the national rankings this offseason, during which he earned Cadet Greco Roman All-American honors.
Jack Taddeo returns after notching fifth at this weight a year ago. He got on the medal stand at the NHSCA Nationals and will look to climb higher as a senior before heading to the Naval Academy.
Evan Barczak, a three-time state qualifier, got on the podium at the state tournament last year at 132 pounds. He defeated eventual state third placer Da'mani Burns 8-1 in the Section 9 finals and picked up wins over quality out of state foes this offseason, including two New Jersey medalists and NHSCA All-American Nick Santos of New Jersey at the New York vs. New Jersey All-Star dual at Madison Square Garden.
John Busiello took third in New York back in 2013 at 99 pounds before going to Wyoming Seminary, where he was a Prep All-American. Busiello had some solid wins, including over New Jersey state champ Shane Griffith, who is currently ranked in the top three nationally. He'll look for a big finish to his career now that he's back at Eastport-South Manor.
On the Verge ... Joey Bush of Gouverneur stood out at the state tournament, taking fourth at 138 pounds. Look for him to make another run to represent Section 10 on the medal stand. Conor Melbourne of John Jay Cross River looked ready to do some damage last year after beating eventual state placer Naquan Warren and taking both Mike D'Angelo and Brad Wade to overtime at the Eastern States. He did take second at the NHSCA Nationals in the spring, but his third place finish in Section 1 didn't get him a ticket to Albany. Brady Robin of Arlington won that weight and was a candidate to be ranked as well. Tristan Almeter of Iroquois could also be in this class and he returns after amassing near 40 wins again last year, including over Robin in Albany. Nate Grubham of Whitney Point is someone to look out for as well after winning a pair of bouts in Albany a year ago at this weight and putting in a solid offseason.
Also winning in Albany was Austin Trombley of Northern Adirondack.
The following wrestlers competed at the Times Union Center last year: Kyle Jasenski of Albany Academy, Michael Brown of Massena, Brody Sheppard of Ogdensburg, Noah Curreri and Isaac Mathews. Troy Keller of North Tonawanda made the Round of 8 there in the past.
Mauriello, Photo by BV
1. Chris Mauriello (Hauppauge-11)
2. Ryan Ferro (Warwick-9)
3. Tristan Ierlan (Victor-5)
4. Dakota Gardner (Fredonia-6)
5. Grant Cuomo (Brewster-1)
Chris Mauriello, a 2014 state champ at 132, nabbed sixth all the way up at 160 last season. The 2015 NHSCA Junior Nationals champion at 145, he'll look to win a second title before leaving for Old Dominion in the fall. Ryan Ferro made the Round of 8 as a freshman at this weight, took third in a tough 145-pound bracket in 2015 and now looks to go even higher on the podium back at 152. [He did drop a one-point match to Division's Ricky Stamm last weekend at 160 pounds].
Tristan Ierlan of Victor made his first state tournament last year and took full advantage, grabbing fifth place at this weight. Ierlan went head-to-head with another wrestler on the list, Fredonia's Dakota Gardner, over the weekend, with Ierlan emerging with a 1-0 win. Gardner is a four-time state placer.
Grant Cuomo of Brewster had a very successful freshman year last season, defeating wrestlers like Tristin DeVincenzo and taking second in a tough weight in Section 1. He went on to win his bracket at the Journeymen Classic, defeating the previously discussed Evan Barczak in overtime to finish off an unbeaten day.
On the Verge . . . Kobe Garrehy made a statement with a major decision over another wrestler under consideration, Madison Hoover of BGAH, who was the #4 seed at this weight in Albany last year. Alex Leone of Carmel placed at the Eastern States, while Tyrese Byron of Long Beach bested multiple state placers.
State qualifiers like Kyle Pittman of Spencerport, Zach Bierfeldt of Olean and Austin Amo of Massena won at least once in Albany, while Matt McHugh of Columbia, Caleb Beach of South Jefferson, Eoghan Sweeney of Niskayuna and Austin Milone of Gouverneur also competed.
Herringshaw, Photo by BV
1. Alex Herringshaw (Holland Patent-3)
2. Jason Hoffman (Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George-2)
3. AJ Aeberli (Minisink Valley-9)
4. Ricky Stamm (Division-8)
5. JP Puca (Huntington-11) Adam Santoro (Fordham Prep-C)
Nationally-ranked Alex Herringshaw is a two-time state champion headed to Army West Point. The NHSCA Nationals champion will be the favorite to earn gold medal number three in Albany. The wrestler he topped in the finals in 2015, Jason Hoffman, sits at #2. Hoffman, who was fourth as a freshman at 145 pounds, lost just once last year (to Herringshaw) and is one of the top pinners in New York. [He took a loss by injury default last week].
AJ Aeberli returns to this class after a fifth place showing in 2015 at 160 at the Times Union Center. He made the podium at NHSCA Nationals after the season as well.
Ricky Stamm's resume in the past year includes a fifth place finish at the NYS tournament after entering unbeaten. He topped state finalist Sam Ward during the season as well. Stamm picked up NHSCA All-American honors at Virginia Beach in the spring and a few weeks ago represented New York at the high school All-Star dual at Madison Square Garden with a win over Kyle Cochran (double Fargo All-American this summer and NJ state medalist). Stamm went on to defeat returning New York third placer Ryan Ferro last weekend. That body of work put Stamm at #4, however, we haven't forgotten that he lost by major against Fordham Prep's Adam Santoro at the Waterway Duals. Santoro, a multi-time state qualifier, won a match in Albany last year and got some momentum going in the offseason, winning his bracket at the Journeymen Classic and taking four bouts at the Super 32 Challenge. That put him in the mix, along with JP Puca of Huntington, a returning sixth placer at 170 pounds, who won his opening tournament of the season down at this weight. He'll be in contention at whatever class he chooses.
On the Verge ... Marcus Bisono of Hauppauge came within one victory of placing at 182 a year ago and will be someone to watch - this time down a weight or two.
Bisono topped Newark Valley's David Crow in Albany last year, another wrestler who likely will be at a lower weight than during the postseason.
Winning at least one match at the state championships were Liam Heslin of Chester, Ramel McIntosh of MLK and Ben Cuppett of New Paltz.
Others to compete at the state tournament were Shawn Mosca of Carle Place/Wheatley, Gavin Thornton of Canton, Hunter Perrine of Massena and Vance Cuffee of Eagle Academy.
DePrez, Photo by BV
1. Louie DePrez (Hilton-5)
2. Sonny McPherson (Indian River-3)
3. Nunzio Crowley (Eastchester-1)
4. Travis Race (Fulton-3)
5. Will Marcil (Saranac-7)
Louie DePrez rose to the top of a deep field in Division 1 at 160 pounds last year to earn a state title as a sophomore. He kept going from there, placing at FloNationals and then taking second over a month ago at the super-tough Super 32 Challenge at 170. Ranked sixth nationally by Intermat at this weight, DePrez leads off the rankings.
Sonny McPherson has made his way to the state tournament since his freshman year and in 2015, broke through with a fourth place finish. Also making the podium at this weight was Nunzio Crowley, who expects to return to 170 after taking fifth in Albany. At the Times Union Center, he avenged his early defeat to All-State wrestler JP Puca in his final match.
Travis Race of Fulton represented Section 3 in Albany for the second time in 2015. The NHSCA All-American had a number of quality wins during the year over multi-time medalist Geno Brancati, All-Stater Willie Messinger and qualifiers like Kendall Elfstrum and Mike Spallina, among others. That elevated him to the fourth spot.
Will Marcil of Saranac nabbed sixth at 160 a year ago in Albany and will look for a second podium finish.
On the Verge . . . Ballston Spa sophomore Tyler Barnes got to the blood round as a freshman at 160 and is someone who will be a staple in the rankings for years to come. In fact, a number of wrestlers made the "blood round" last year and were discussed, including Edgemont's Cliffton Wang, Schuylerville's Tyler Green and Adirondack's Joe Hennessey. Wang topped another wrestler under strong consideration, Jeremy Hughes of MacArthur, at Waterway Duals, while Suffern's Stephen Lauro is back and in the mix after winning a match at the state tournament. Jacob Kramell of Perry also earned a win in Albany. Trevor Snow of General Brown was an All-American in Fargo this summer.
Parker, Photo by BV
1. Kevin Parker (Shenendehowa-2)
2. Aaron Paddock (Warsaw-5)
3. Cameron Caldarelli (Brockport-5)
4. Alex Melikian (Lakeland-Panas-1)
5. Tyreek Bromley (Long Beach-8)
Nationally-ranked Kevin Parker earned his first state championship as an 11th grader and followed with All-American performances at FloNationals and Fargo Junior Freestyle. Aaron Paddock will be looking to pick up state gold in his final season before heading to Edinboro. The two-time placer, a Junior Greco All-American this summer, was third at 170 in Division 2 in 2015 (and owned a win over the eventual 182-pound small school state titlewinner).
Cameron Caldarelli of Brockport nabbed fourth at 195 a year ago in a season in which he was undefeated heading into the state tournament. We are told he is considering the move to 182 pounds, which is why he's listed here. He recorded four falls and a major at the Matthew Marino tournament at 195 over the weekend, but did forfeit twice.
Alex Melikian emerged onto our radar at the Eastern States Classic last year, beating qualifier Marcus Bisono twice, as well as Division 2 third placer Phil Wilshire, on his way to fifth place in a tough bracket. He moved from the CHSAA to Section 1 and will be looking for a chance to compete at the biggest tournament of the year.
NHSCA All-American Tyreek Bromley beat Marcus Bisono and Kendall Elfstrum last season. His win over Elfstrum was at the state tournament, where he lost to the third and fourth placers, Tom Lane and Mike Dinardo. He's ready for a big year.
On the Verge . . . Kendall Elfstrum of Monroe Woodbury made the podium in Virginia Beach this spring, including a victory over another wrestler considered, Mike Spallina of Hilton. Elfstrum also won his bracket at the Journeymen Classic, although he dropped a match to Melikian. Tommy Mackay of Elmira edged Spallina this weekend at the Matthew Marino event. Jake Kubala of Newfane, a returning sixth placer at this weight, will be in the mix as well.
Two-time qualifiers Ian Chedzoy of Watkins Glen and James Hoeg of Mattituck won a bout at the state tournament last year, as did Johnny Nolan of Hampton Bays.
Meroj Aslov of RKA, Alex Kaley of Cold Spring Harbor, Justin Foster of Canton, Arden Ball of Gouverneur and Robert Welgoss of Petrides all took the mat in Albany.
1. Christian Araneo (Ward Melville-11)
2. Jack Buell (Sherburne-Earlville-3)
3. Mike Dinardo (Mahopac-1)
4. Jake Sweet (Brockport-5)
5. Kevin Morgans (Eldred-Liberty-Sullivan-9)
Christian Araneo had a phenomenal season on the way to his first state title at 195 pounds. A top 10 wrestler nationally at that weight, the Princeton recruit will be tough to beat as he tries to make it two in a row.
Another future EIWA wrestler, Jack Buell, who is committed to Army West Point, nabbed third in Division 2 at this weight a year ago. He registered a number of quality wins and gave undefeated state champ Nate Rose his closest match in New York all season (5-3).
Mike Dinardo was fourth (at 182) after a strong season and will be moving up in weight. He's certainly capable of going higher on the podium.
Jake Sweet of Brockport was very solid last year, with wins over placers like Aaron Paddock and Jake Kubala as well as qualifiers Hobie Strassner and Tanner Zagarino. He got off to a strong start this year at the Matthew Marino tournament with a title.
Kevin Morgans came within one victory of the podium at the NYS championships in 2015. He lost in overtime to Alex Melikian and placer Geno Brancati. He couldn't quite get over the hump last year, but we think he can this time around.
On the Verge . . . Dylan Dubuque, an NHSCA All-American, made his debut at the state tournament in 2015 and had a win over Tyreek Bromley last season. Connor Breit, now a junior, beat Division 1 medalist Andrew Rakitzis in a season in which he came within one win of making the podium. (He did drop a match to Ryan Ellefsen of Goshen last weekend).
Other qualifiers from last year: Judens Claude of Wingate won a match at the state tournament, while Mitch Currey of Kenmore West, Gage Cook of Beekmantown, Bryce Dusold of Locust Valley and Tanner Zagarino of Mattituck all competed in Albany a year ago. (Note: Jake Spreckman of Clarkstown South topped Claude and Robert Jones of Lockport beat Currey this year).
McShea, Photo by BV
1. Nick McShea (Monroe Woodbury-9)
2. Garyn Huntley (Oxford Academy-4)
3. Ricardo Dawkins (General Brown-3)
4. Aaron Mann (Warsaw-5)
5. Joe Messare (Burnt Hills-2)
It's our understanding that Nick McShea may be at 220 pounds or back at 195, where he finished second in New York last year with his only loss coming in the state championship match. He was an NHSCA All-American. As with all weights, we will make adjustments later in the year as necessary.
In the second spot is Garyn Huntley of Oxford Academy, who has earned All-American honors in the international styles and is the returning fifth placer in Division 2 with his only two setbacks at the Times Union Center to nationally ranked Wyoming Seminary grappler William Hilliard.
Ricardo Dawkins earned fifth at 195, losing only to two wrestlers all year - Buell (four times) and champ Nate Rose (twice). He topped the eventual second and fourth placers at 195 as well as the fourth placer at 220 during the campaign.
Both Aaron Mann and Joe Messare were one win from placing at the state tournament last year. Both lost to the eventual gold medalists.
On the Verge . . . Mason Hoose of Canisius took sixth in Division 2 at 195 a year ago for Southwestern.
Rubio, Photo by BV
1. Edwin Rubio (John Glenn-11)
2. Cameron Rohr (Irondequoit-5)
3. Nick Jones (Dunkirk-6)
4. Laith Alsous (Lewiston Porter-6)
5. Joe Humphrey (Middletown-9)
The nationally-ranked Edwin Rubio was last year's state runner up in Division 1, dropping an overtime bout to Nolan Terrance, a wrestler he had beaten earlier in the campaign. Rubio has been a runner up at the NHSCA Nationals multiple times and won the Eastern States Classic over highly regarded Michael Rogers of Wyoming Seminary. The next two spots are occupied by Cameron Rohr and Nick Jones, a pair of wrestlers who stood high on the podium at the Times Union Center in 2015. Rohr nabbed third in Division 1 after an excellent season in which he was dominant with just a pair of setbacks - by disqualification and 1-0 to the state champ in Albany. Jones, a junior, notched fourth in Division 2. He got past fellow Section 6 grappler Laith Alsous of Lewiston-Porter in the ultimate tiebreaker at the NYS championships, avenging a defeat in the Class tournament a few weeks prior. Alsous went 11-1 after taking over the heavyweight role for his team at the end of January leading up to the state event.
Joe Humphrey of Middletown had a large number of quality wins last year, including over state champ EJ Sampo, placer Garyn Huntley and qualifiers Joe Messare and Zach Gifford. He suffered an eye injury late in the season and was pinned by a wrestler he defeated 12-0 earlier in the year, but is back and we believe he will be a contender.
On the Verge . . . Jon Solorzano, a returning qualifier from Suffolk, won a match at the Times Union Center for Lindenhurst a year ago. Look for him to return to do some damage. David Carnie was just short of the medal stand a year ago, losing in overtime in the blood round to placer Nikola Cejic (graduated). He was beaten by Jared Crucitti of Fulton in the opening weekend (who in turn was topped by Tylor Rivera of Lockport and Owen Albanese of Canastota). Zach Gifford had a strong 2014-15, beating Garyn Huntley once (losing twice to him) while making the blood round at the state tournament after losing in the ultimate tiebreaker to the eventual champion in round two.
Albi Miraka of Madison won a match in Albany last year, while Spencer Matthaei of Locust Valley upset the top seed in the first round at 220.
Other 2015 qualifiers: Jake Warren of Burnt Hills, Jayson Gomez of Eagle Academy, Clay Watts of Beekmantown and Kelly Moore of Gouverneur all competed in Albany, along with Thomas Siller of McKee Tech. Look out for Mike Mattison of Brockport, the Matthew Marino champion.
Thanks to all the contributors to this process. Special thanks to Michael Carey, whose work makes the rankings possible, and Matt Diano.
Results from the past day or two or that have not been entered into trackwrestling may not be reflected.