Courtesy of G. Ferro
In New York, unlike most other states, fans get to watch junior high wrestlers competing at the varsity level. We've seen a seventh grade NYS champion (Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich) and some others make the state finals as seventh graders, like Corey Rasheed of Longwood in 2009 and Adam Busiello of Eastport-South Manor in 2014.
In contrast, there weren't any seventh graders in the field at the Times Union Center a year ago. Will there be this season? It's hard to say, but we decided to take a look at three wrestlers from the high school class of 2021 (listed alphabetically) who may earn that opportunity.
Brock Delsignore (South Glens Falls): Before the campaign began, Journeymen's Frank Popolizio said that Delsignore would be someone to watch as he began his varsity career. He was right. According to trackwrestling, Delsignore has compiled a 33-2 record at 99 pounds, with his losses against the #2 (Greg Diakomihalis of Hilton) and #4 (Trent Svingala of Albany Academy) wrestlers in the state. All but three of his wins are by bonus points (one of which was at 106 pounds). He recorded a fall over 2015 state qualifier Wade Harris of Red Hook.
Ethan Ferro (Palmyra-Macedon): The winner at the Wayne-Finger Lakes Championships, Ferro has amassed a 34-3 mark this year, according to trackwrestling. His setbacks at 99 pounds were against a pair of wrestlers ranked in the state (the previously mentioned Svingala and Preston Maucere of Deer Park), while he battled returning state qualifier Sam Wolf of Warsaw after bumping up to 106 in a 10-8 setback. Ferro has otherwise been dominant, with more than 20 pins and close to 30 total bonus victories, as well as a title at the Bradshaw tournament.
Cooper Kropman (Penfield): 'Kropman' is a name well known to wrestling fans in New York State. Seventh grader Cooper Kropman has shown already that the family will have yet another impact grappler. Competing at 120 pounds, he wasted no time picking up his first tournament title, taking the Penfield-Hunter championship in December. He then grabbed a third place finish at the Monroe County championships, pushing returning state placer Austin Hertel of Hilton to the limit in the semis before losing in the ultimate tiebreaker, 4-3. Kropman is 32-3, with victories over a number of wrestlers who placed high in state qualifying tournaments last year - SuperSectionals runner up Austin Kassel of Rush-Henrietta, third placer Dillon Callaghan of Greece and fourth placer Jacob Bell of Fairport as well as Nassau county bronze medalist Matt Maquet of Long Beach. He'll be a factor for years to come.
There have certainly been some other seventh graders who have impressed this year. For example, Ty Lukens of North Babylon, who is part of a tough lightweight group for his team, defeated 2015 state qualifier Brandon Marohn of Clarke. Brody Oleksak of BGAH was a Clyde Cole runner up and has won around 30 times, including over two other seventh graders who have caught our attention, Hunter McKenna of Warrensburg and Mason Bush of Central Valley. (Marek Bush has also won quite a bit for CVA as well).
There are more . . . we'd be happy to hear about some of the other seventh graders that have stood out to you in 2015-16.