Every year, there are wrestlers who make a big impact in their first-ever appearance at the state tournament. Who will it be this year? Below, we profiled one competitor from each Section who hasn’t yet wrestled at the Times Union Center. However, we think they can get there and make some noise.
Section 1: Matt Kramer (John Jay Cross River)
Kramer took second at 126 pounds at the Section 1 tournament last year to cap off a campaign with nearly 40 wins. At the end of the year, he was the “A5”, meaning that he was one spot from making the NYS championships as an at large bid. We think he won’t have to rely on a wildcard this time around.
Section 2: Ethan Cooper (Cobleskill-Richmondville)
Cooper has been competitive at higher weights since middle school. The sophomore lost in overtime in the Section final last year to eventual state placer Fritz Sheffler, after taking third as an eighth grader in Section 2 at 152 pounds. He has seen significant success at the age group level, at events such as Schoolboy Nationals, Northeast Regionals and the NYS Freestyle and Greco championships.
Section 3: Tyler Kellison (CBA/Jamesville-Dewitt)
Kellison notched second in Section 3 as an eighth grader and took third last year, losing to Ian McKenna of New Hartford both times. In the offseason, Kellison racked up quality wins, including victories over state champion Matt Caccamise at Pop & Flo in May and at the King of the Mat, where he also defeated state runner up Cody Anders and qualifier Devin Woodworth.
Section 4: Chase Daudelin (Corning)
Daudelin was 23-3 before his eighth grade season ended prior to the Sectionals. However, he beat several state qualifiers, including Zayne Benedict (2016 Section 4 representative), Brody Oleksak and Drake Dille as well as NYS placer Mikey Squires. His only loss at 106 pounds was to Squires in overtime.
Section 5: Mason Wersinger (Spencerport)
Wersinger compiled a 42-2 record as a freshman at 132 pounds, losing by a point to Victor’s state runner up Mike Venosa in the SuperSectionals final. His other setback was also to an NYS silver medalist - Hector Colom of Fredonia. Wersinger topped state qualifiers Cooper Kropman of Penfield, Johnny Putney of East Aurora-Holland and Lucas King of New Hartford.
Section 6: Giuseppe Hoose (Southwestern)
Hoose beat state placers Dylan Ingrao and Dan Torres in a 30-4 season. He took second place in the 152 pound Sectional final, losing to Torres. The Southwestern wrestler also topped state qualifier Billy Seiders.
Section 7: Owen Rock (Saranac)
Rock went 24-4 a year ago, with half his losses to Clay Watts, the wrestler who entered the state tournament as the top seed in Division 2 at heavyweight. One of those setbacks was in overtime. With the graduation of Watts, can Rock take the lead at 285 in Section 7 and contend at the state level?
Section 8: Gavin Casey (Wantagh)
Casey went 31-3 at 220 and 285 pounds a year ago, coming about as close to making the state tournament as you can without doing so. He fell in the Section 8 finals match at heavyweight 3-2 in sudden victory against Ryan O’Shea and then missed out on the last at large bid by one point. His only other losses were to state champ Zachary Knighton-Ward and Eastern States champ Elijah Rodriguez. The catch - he’s injured right now. However, if he is healthy and back on the mat, we believe he’ll be a contender in the upperweights.
Section 9: Tim Ganuncio (Minisink Valley)
Ganuncio saw some of the state’s best last year, including at least nine matches against NYS placers. He defeated All-Stater Nick Munsch as well as qualifier Isaac Mathews and will be someone to keep tabs on this year.
Section 10: Joseph McIntosh (Gouverneur)
Gouverneur typically sends a group of wrestlers to the state tournament to represent Section 10. McIntosh hasn’t been there yet, but he did beat Tristian Richardson of Ogdensburg, a state qualifier in 2017, last season.
Section 11: JohnCarl Petretti (Shoreham-Wading River)
Petretti racked up 37 wins a year ago on his way to a third place finish in Section 11 at 152 pounds. He won the Super 32 Qualifier in Providence this offseason as well as the Overflo championship at the Journeymen Fall Classic, earning him a spot in the main event. (He took seventh there). Look out for Petretti to make a big splash in Division 2 this year, as Shoreham-Wading River transfers over to small school action.
PSAL: Hunter Hoo (Cardozo)
Hoo pinned his way to the finals of the PSAL tournament last year, taking second behind the eventual state champion Brandon Nunez of John Bowne at 99 pounds. He won more than 20 times a year ago and Gotham City Wrestling ranks Hoo as the #1 99 pounder in the city to begin the season.
CHSAA: Colin Realbuto (Iona Prep)
Like his brothers Brian and Dylan, Colin Realbuto is headed to the Ivy League to wrestle at the next level. Colin Realbuto has committed to Brown and will look to make an impact at the state tournament before doing so. He won 36 times in 2016-17 and was the CHSAA runner up at 132 pounds, falling in a 1-0 match in the finals.