NYS Finalist Jhordyn Innocent (Kong) defeats Cadet Greco Champion Kolby Franklin (Pennsylvania)
In 2017 Team Kong United would win their first 1000 Islands Duals tournament. In 2018, Kong United was back and ready for a repeat.
Coaches Anthony Ciolino, Miguel Rodriguez and John Paniccioli would have their star studded team well prepared for the long grueling weekend which saw temperatures in the mid-80's.
After cruising through Newark Valley (77-6), Raritan (68-3) and Howell (49-14), Team Cobra (Section 6) was their semi-final opponent. Kong would go onto defeat Cobra 40-14. One main highlight would come at 130lbs when defending State champion Zach Redding (Kong) would defeat NYS Bronze medalist Tyler Kellison (Cobra) 8-2. 2x NYS Runner-Up Justin McDougald (Cobra) would dominate NYS Bronze medliast Logan Sciotto (Kong) in the very next match. In what would be the most exciting match of the dual, at 147lbs Cobra's Warren McDougald would mount a heroic comeback to defeat Kong's Ryan Burgbacher.
Kong's final opponent would be Anisim Wrestling Club, based out of Section 3. AWC would have a slew of Pennsylvania grapplers join their team for the weekend. Team Kong would not be phased and would coast to their 2nd straight 1000 Islands Duals title.
Highlights of the final match include the aforementioned Redding defeating foe Logan Patterson (AWC) 3-0. Redding had defeated Patteron 4-2 at the 2018 NYS tournament. In the 167lb bout, NYS Champion Dempsey Carroll (AWC) would use a powerful lift and mat return on Corey Connolly (Kong) and secure the fall which got fans on their feet and hopeful. At 215lbs, NYS Runner-Up Jhordyn Innocent (Kong) would defeat Cadet Greco Champion Kolby Franklin of Pennsylvania 6-5.
Most would agree that the 155lb match between Kong's Hunter Shaut and AWC's Jake Null was worth the price of admission. With Shaut holding on to a 6-5 lead late, time would run out declaring Shaut the winner. With speculation coming from the coaches and head table in regards to the score. It was determined by the head referee that the score was deemed incorrect and thus the remining 36 seconds would be considered "bad time" according to the rule book. After retrieving Shaut from the locker room, the match would continue. Null would push the pace however Shaut would cling to 6-5 lead and secure the win.
9 Kong members would go undefeated on the weekend.
105lbs - Stevo Poulin (Shenendehowa)
112lbs - Jordan Titus (Center Moriches)
119lbs - Greg Diakomihalis (Hilton)
119lbs - Josiah Encarnacion (Wantagh)
125lbs - Marco Vespa (Monroe Woodbury)
130lbs - Zach Redding (Eastport South Manor)
147lbs - Dylan Martinsen (Long Beach)
155lbs - Hunter Shaut (Central Valley Academy)
215lbs - Jhordyn Innocent (East Ramapo)
The remaining Kong wrestlers who also contributed to their 2018 title include:
NJ's Justin Bierdumpfel and Luke Chakonis, Rocky Point's Logan Sciotto and Corey Connolly, Connecticut's Tyler Sung, Patchogue Medford's Ryan Burgbacher and Dylan Gianikos and Wantagh's Matt Rogers and Ben Rogers.