This is an absolute no brainer. The number 1 ranked wrestler in the class of 2020 belongs to Greg Diakomihalis. Nothing can be taken away from ranks #2-#10 as all have impressive resumes however no one can compare to Greg D. The Hilton junior just recently verbally committed to wrestle at Cornell in college. Even without all the national rankings and performances throughout the country, Greg’s in-state credentials would still land him at number 1. Last year’s state finals match was an instant classic as he defeated defending state champion Dylan Ryder of Hills West in the ultimate tie-breaker. It was an absolute pleasure watching those two battle it out. Greg’s first state title came against Ryder as well. One of his two career losses was against Ryder so needless to say that these two definitely had some history. As 2019 approaches, a new season for Diakomihalis and the Hilton Cadets provides not only individual goals but team aspirations as well. The Cadets are looking to get back to the state dual meet championships and are led by Diakomihalis, #20 Ryan Burgos, freshman #4 Rocco Camillaci and Top 20 senior Sammy Deprez. Individually, barring a zombie apocalypse, Greg D will be back in Albany for a fourth time competing for a fourth title. They may be some competition as reigning state kings Terry Adams (106), #3 Zach Redding (120), Top 5 senior Adam Busiello (126) and #4 Willie McDougald (132) are all returning.
Noto (Top) defending a shot against Jordan Titus (Bottom) - 2018 NYS Finals
Anthony Noto has already put together a career that most would be satisfied with. However, the two time state champion from Honeoye Falls-Lima isn’t done yet. Our number two ranked junior has an astonishing 99-3 career record and has been in cruise control for the past two seasons. The level that Noto is on is noteworthy to say the least, his flow and pace during his matches almost seem scripted. His two state title runs were remarkable considering the names that he took down. Sophomore #2 Jordan Titus of Center Moriches has been the state finals victim in both seasons. The exciting overtime match in 2017 which ended with Noto getting the fall and 3-1 chess match in 2018 proved these two hammers know how to put on a show for the fans. Let’s not forget the ESC battle which went to overtime as well. Titus would upend Noto with a reversal and backs to gain the win. The entire state is definitely in for a treat if these two studs decide to go the same weight again. The credentials and accolades will continue to grow in 2019 as Anthony looks to become a 3x NYS champion.
Coming in at number 3 is a stud from Suffolk County. The credentials on Zach Redding are far too long to list. Before 2017, Redding was still fairly an unknown outside of maybe the Long Island region. With the wildcard system in place it allows some high quality wrestlers who may not win their section a chance to wrestle and earn their worth at the state tournament. Redding falls under that category as he is a 2x county runner-up however has earned 2 wildcard spots in consecutive years. Zach’s debut in Albany was definitely a memorable one. A third place finish, losing to eventual champion Dylan Ryder of Hills West in the semis 3-1. Zach earned a major decision in every single match with his closest match coming against Chris Perry of Yorktown 8-0. Onto to 2018 and Zach hit the ground running. Prior to states, Redding would defeat a plethora of ranked wrestlers including sophomore #13 Dan Gibson of Port Washington and #9 Brock Delsignore, Christian Encarnacion of Wantagh, Marco Vespa of Monroe Woodbury, Connecticut’s Chris Trelli, junior #83 Gavin Damasco and #39 Anthony DiBartolo. Losing in the county finals to Anthony Sciotto of Rocky Point halted some momentum however the confidence was still there. After methodically defeating three straight opponents at states, which included #2 seed Devin Woodworth 13-4, a rematch with Sciotto was set with a state crown on the line. A back and forth battle would end in a 9-6 decision in favor of Redding resulting in a well-earned state championship and the emotion shown by the ESM Shark was truly remarkable.
McDougald crowned champion after downing defending champ Justin Vines of Wantagh
The first of two McDougald’s in the top 10 is 2018 New York State Champion Willie McDougald of Niagara Falls. Willie is already a 3x section 6 champion and to go with his state title is a 6th place finish in 2017. McDougald 2017 state tournament proved to be vital for his championship run in 2018. He would lose to eventual state champion Justin Vines of Wantagh 9-6 in the quarterfinals. In the blood round he would defeat 2016 state runner-up John Devine of Columbia 4-3 to earn his first all-state honors. Fast forward a year, back in Albany as the number 2 seed and a 35-5 record, the magic would unfold. After blasting through Billal Zamani in round 1 and a solid 5-2 win over PSAL’s Zacc Romero, Willie was in the semi-finals and was set to battle Ward Melville’s Rafael Lievano. After alternating wins and losses with Lievano at ESC, the game plan was exactly the same going into their semi-final bout. This time around was a 9-6 decision in favor of McDougald. Going into the finale against the aforementioned Vines, something must change in order to dethrone the reigning champ. Willie had already lost to Vines at states in 2017 and a close battle at ESC 4-3. Willie would take down the champ 4-3 in the ultimate tie-breaker. A theme for the dramatics sent the Times Union Center in an uproar as the clocked struck zero and Niagara Falls had their first ever New York State Champion.
McDougald (Orange) locking up a cradle on Michael Gonyea (Bottom) - 2018 126lb NYS Semi-Finals
Joining Cousin Willie in our class of 2020 rankings is Justin McDougald. The accolades continue to grow for Justin as he enters his junior season for the Falcons. He is already a 3x section 6 champion winning the western NY crown since his 8th grade year. McDougald was a runner-up at 99lbs as a 7th grader. Needless to say, Justin is set to become perhaps the most decorated wrestler in section 6 history joining the likes of Newfane’s Ryan Needle, Fredonia’s Kenny Betts and Niagara Wheatfield alumni Angelo Malvestuto. With a 146-24 career record, Justin is approaching and may even surpass to unparalleled 200 win mark. Beyond wins is a more important goal, bringing a state title to Niagara Wheatfield which would be their fifth overall and first since Angelo Malvestuto in 2010. One can’t fault McDougald for his back to back state finals losses. His losses would come to the hands of junior #1 Greg Diakomihalis and Penn St. recruit Adam Busiello of Eastport South Manor. Lead by McDougald and his brother Warren, Niagara Wheatfield brings back a lot of talent and experience in 2019, possibly enough to overthrow the Lancaster Legends and represent western NY at the state duals in Syracuse.
Garcia (Blue) in on a shot against Terry Adams (Black) - 2017 NYS Semi-Finals
Section 1’s highest ranked junior is an absolute hammer. Ivan Garcia has already built quite the resume and reputation heading into his junior season at Port Chester. Supporting a 96-10 career record, Garcia is also a 2x section 1 champion and placed 5th in NYS in back to back seasons. As a freshman and the number 2 seed at states, Garcia would lose in the semi-finals to runner-up Terry Adams of Monsignor Farrell in the ultimate tiebreaker. After losing to Myles Griffin of JD/CBA, he would defeat #7 Josiah Encarnacion in the 5th place bout 9-4. With his sights set on a state title in 2018, Garcia would yet again enter states as the number 2 seed and a 46-2 season record. In a loaded 106lb bracket, 8th grade phenom and freshman #1 Jayden Scott would squash Ivan’s bid for a state crown with a 3-2 UTB rideout win. After falling to the other Griffin brother Matt 4-3, his 2018 season concluded with a 5th place finish again over Greg Fischer 10-2. Garcia is aiming for his third straight sectional title in 2019 and a spot on top of the podium when it’s all said and done.
Encarnacion (Green) battling #18 Jake Eckerle (Blue) @ 2017 NYS Tournament
Section 8’s highest ranked junior was part of the 2018 Wantagh Warriors squad who went 31-0 and won the inaugural NYSPHSAA Division 1 Dual Meet Tournament. Josiah is a 2x Nassau County champion and carries a 118-20 career record. The warrior lightweight has made the most of his two state tournament stints by placing 6th in 2017 and 4th in 2018. Those finishes are completely justified as many may know that 99lbs and 106lbs are generally two of the deepest weights in the state. Some of the names that Encarnacion has defeated include #18 Jake Eckerle of Commack, Christian Gannone of Eastport South Manor, #13 Dennis Robin of Arlington and Greg Fischer of Newburgh. Josiah seemed to be clicking on all cylinders in 2018 and with Jayden Scott knocking off Garcia, a state finals berth was definitely on the horizon. Yet again, Scott would silence the section 8 hopeful with a 5-3 decision over Encarnacion sending him to the backside for the second straight season. His 51st and final win of the season would against the aforementioned Fischer by a 7-2 decision. Likely to win his third straight section 8 crown in 2019, expectations are through the roof for Josiah as he aims to give Wantagh its third state champion is the past 3 seasons.
Geislinger (Top) running an armbar on Devin Coleman (bottom) @ 2018 NYS Finals
The highest ranked section 4 junior is our fifth and final state champion in the top 10. With a career record of 73-11, the 99lb division 2 state champion joins Mikey Squires as the Norwich Tornados have two ranked wrestlers in the top 20. Both grapplers played a huge role in Norwich winning the section 4 division 2 dual meet title. Norwich would lose a nail biter in pool play 41-39 to eventual runner-up Canisteo Greenwood of section 5. Geislinger would pin NYS qualifier Hunter Kurtz in that dual. Dante’s state championship run was beautifully crafted as he showed such poise and composure maneuvering through four quality opponents. He pinned sophomore #30 Jake Murphy late in the 3rd period, pinned 47 match winner Jace Schafer in the quarterfinals, masterfully defeated 2x NYS place finisher Mason Bush 6-2 and put on quite the show leading off the state finals in dominating Devin Coleman of Camden 9-4. The target will definitely be on Dante’s back in 2019.
Balducci (top) picking up the fall against Section 3's Matt Garland @ 2017 NYS Tournament
Already a 2x section 1 champion, 2x state place finisher and with 110 career wins, Balducci is set to become one of the most decorated wrestlers in Panther history. The Pleasantville lightweight continues to improve and maneuver his way through the downstate region. Len is expected to be a leader for the panthers in 2019 and help them return to section 1 dominance. Individually, Balducci has made his two state tournaments appearances memorable finishing 4th in 2017 and 3rd in 2018. Last season, Len would lose in the semis again this time to junior #2 Anthony Noto of HFL. Going toe to toe with Noto at states and with sophomore #2 Jordan Titus @ ESC is a great step forward to getting to the next level. The ultimate goal in the end for Balducci is to become the Panthers first state champion.
Smith (top) keeping control against Diresta (bottom) @ 2018 NYS Tournament
Rounding out the top 10 is 2018 NYS bronze medalist Luke Smith. Smith was also a section 11 runner-up for the eagles losing to #17 Thomas Diresta of Kings Park. Both Smith and sophomore #49 Andrew Maiorini have anchored the eagles’ lineup at 99lbs and 106lbs in 2018. Many spectators were looking forward to the second round of Smith/Poulin. Poulin defeated Smith 3-0 at Eastern States Classic in January. Freshman #4 Rocco Camillaci of Hilton had a different plan as he would go on to defeat Smith in the quarterfinals 8-4. After defeating #59 Shawn Muratov via tech fall and #22 Sean Flick via fall, Smith was looking to avenge his previous loss to Diresta in the county finals. As a fan, it was a great battle between two fierce competitors and absolutely enjoyable to watch. Smith would prevail when it counted 6-4 in overtime. Rounding out his 2018 season, a convincing 5-2 win over Matthew Schreiber of Horace Greeley capped off a 36 win season. Heading into 2019 with a 79-14 career record, Luke is looking for his first county title and potentially a spot in the finale in Albany
|Rank||Wrestler||School-Section||Division||Last year's weight|
|12||Logan Sciotto||Rocky Point-11||1||113|
|14||JD Moore||Levittown Division-8||1||160|
|17||Thomas Diresta||Kings Park-11||1||99|
2018 Section 8 champion Matt Rogers of Wantagh
All wrestlers in ranks #11-#20 are nearly on the brink of a top 10 worthy ranking. This suburb group is Long Island heavy as six of the ten grapplers have represented either Nassau or Suffolk at the state tournament.
Just missing out on the top 10 is Matt Rogers of Wantagh. An amazing sophomore campaign resulting in a 4th place finish at states and 45 wins. Rogers would be one of five warriors to claim a section 8 championship in 2018 in dominant fashion if I may add. In the finale, Matt would down Dominic Palma 20-6. Rogers would earn a spot in the state semi-finals on Saturday morning by coasting through first round opponent Derek Wojciechowski 13-4 and pinning Steven Bilali in 4:54. Nationally ranked and current North Carolina St. freshman Tyler Barnes would put an abrupt end to Matt’s run at a state title with a shocking 17 second pin dropping him into the wrestlebacks. Rogers would tech fall Wojciechowski 25-8 and lose a tough battle to section 11 stud David Miele-Estrella 3-0 to wrap up his 4th place finish.
#12 Logan Sciotto trying to escape from Thomas Hughes (Fulton) @ 2018 NYS Tournament
Number 12 is a miracle story in itself and proof that perhaps the wildcard point system may be a little flawed. Rocky Point’s Logan Sciotto took 3rd place in the section 11 tournament. He wouldn’t have enough points to earn a wildcard. An unbeknown absence from Saratoga Springs Jordan Sartin allowed the next alternate, Sciotto, to join the bracket. Logan would drop his first match to CJ McMonegal 4-3. With his back against the wall, his uphill battle to prove his worth began. Arlington’s Tim Bova would be the first to fall as Logan advances with an 11-2 major decision. Fulton’s Thomas Hughes and Corning’s Drew Witham were next to fall, Logan was now an all-state wrestler. Dylan Earl would get pinned by Sciotto in the consi-semis. Logan’s miracle run concluded as he defeated section 11 champion Sean Carter 3-2 in overtime claiming 3rd place at 113lbs. I absolutely love stories like this. Logan’s grit and determination showed as he went from a wrestler who wasn’t even supposed to be competing at states to finishing 3rd.
Arlington's Dennis Robin battling Newburgh's Greg Fischer @ 2018 ESC
One of four wrestlers sandwiched in between the long island contingent in Arlington’s Dennis Robin at #13. Dennis a 3x NYS Qualifier, a 4th place finisher in 2017 at 99lbs. Robin has defeated a slew of quality wrestlers in his career rightfully earning him his spot in the rankings. The combination of Robin and Tim Bova has Arlington sitting pretty at 113-126 in 2019.
Freeport's Lee Mauras wrestling State Champion Justin Vines of Wantagh in the section 8 finals
Back to Long Island we go with #14 and #15. Two section 8 wrestlers with some impressive resumes. Levittown Division’s JD Moore amasses 40 wins en route to his 4th place finish at states. The section 8 champion would make the semi-finals by defeating Niagara Wheatfield’s Josh Thibeault and Pine Bush’s Shaun Burgos. An 11-0 loss to Jake Sliverstein of Hauppauge drop JD into the wrestlebacks against familiar foe Shawn Regan of East Meadow. Moore would win convincingly over Regan 6-2 setting up a battle with PSAL’s Demetrius Henry of Grand Street Campus. Unfortunately, Henry would outlast Moore in a back and forth battle with a 9-6 decision. Wildcard Lee Mauras of Freeport is at number 15. Losing to state champion Justin Vines of Wantagh in the section 8 finals is nothing to hang your head on. Lee, outside of section 8, seemed to enter states as an unknown. Drawing line 12 and Victor’s Alex Samson, many wrote him off expecting Samson to prevail. The Red Devil had different plans and would pin Samson advancing to the quarterfinals. Riding the wave, Lee would put on a show against #4 seed Connor Greiner as he would win via major decision 15-6 setting up a rematch with Vines on Saturday morning in the semi-finals. Vines would prevail yet again, 12-2. After making quick work and pinning Alex Samson again in 1:54, Lee would cap his 42 win season with a heartbreaking 9-7 loss to Ward Melville’s Rafael Lievano.
Stencel getting his hand raised after winning his second straight section 6 championship
A 2x section 6 champion is our #16 ranked junior. Lancaster’s Ryan Stencel has been a force in western NY the past two seasons. His dominance has shown on the biggest stage in section 6. During his two championship runs, Stencel would blank his opponent both times, 2-0 and 6-0. Ryan is destined to earn all-state honors in 2019 after back to back blood round appearances. Stencel would fall short in his opening bout on Saturday both years losing to the always tough Derek Osman of Vestal 4-3 in 2017 and Hills West’s Anthony Dushaj 2-0 in 2018. Being that close should ignite and propel Ryan as he heads into 2019. We fully expect the Lancaster junior to be sporting the black and orange for two more seasons.
Eckerle defeating Longwood's Ean Segarra in the 2018 County Finals
The next and final two Long Island stars in this portion of our rankings are section 11 champions Thomas Diresta (#17) of Kings Park and Jack Eckerle (#18) of Commack. The Suffolk County lightweights would win 99lbs and 106lbs respectively in dramatic fashion. Diresta would defeat stellar junior Luke Smith of Hauppauge and Eckerle would defeat Longwood’s Ean Segarra. Diresta would go on to finish in 6th place at 99lbs with a loss coming to Smith in the consi-semis in overtime. Eckerle wouldn’t be as fortunate as he would miss out on a podium finish losing in the blood round to senior Greg Fischer of Newburgh. Jake was also a NYS qualifier in 2017 going 1-2. His lone win was against junior #20 Ryan Burgos of Hilton. The future is bright for both section 11 champions as they head into their junior seasons.
Squires nearly getting a pin in the section 4 finals against Owen Wormuth of Deposit-Hancock
Section 4’s second highest ranked wrestler in our junior rankings belongs to Norwich’s Mikey Squires. The Norwich junior is a 2x section 4 champion for the tornados. Mikey would put on quite the showing at states as he would finish in 5th place in both of his appearances. Squires would end up losing to the state runner-up each season as well. In 2018, Mikey would defeat #21 Matt Campo, sophomore #12 Ethan Ferro and #38 Bryce Smith. That is very impressive if you ask me and a well-earned 5th place finish.
Burgos getting his hand raised after winning his second section 5 title
Hilton’s Ryan Burgos caps off this section at #20. The Cadet is a 2x Section 5 champion and has been a solid piece of the puzzle for a Hilton team that has been atop of section 5 and the state in the previous 3-5 years. Ryan would make the blood round in 2018 losing to Dan Gibson of Port Washington. He would have two major wins over junior #29 Aidan Rabideau of Clarence via fall in 2:40 and sophomore #8 Brock Delsignore of Shenendehowa 6-1. Burgos will be back in Albany in 2019 with the expectations of a podium finish.
|Rank||Wrestler||School-Section||Division||Last year's weight|
|21||Matt Campo||Mt. Sinai-11||2||126|
|22||Sean Flick||St. Anthony's-C||1||99|
|30||Logan Patterson||Indian River-3||1||120|
|33||Liam Dietrich||Red Hook-9||2||285|
|34||Nik Koch||Averill Park-2||1||220|
Hauppauge's Danny Mauriello (Blue) putting Corning's Matthew Kline (Red) on his back @ 2018 NYS Tournament
Suffolk County has two representatives in this portion Matt Campo of Mt. Sinai at #21 and #28 Danny Mauriello of Hauppauge. Campo is a 2x section 11 champion with 2 different results at states. In 2017, Matt would be unseeded and make the semi-finals. After a loss to Caleb Robinson of Walton, Campo would finish strong by defeating Shane Hetrick 11-1 and Keith Cassar 3-0 and wrap up a 3rd place finish. An injury riddled 2018 state tournament would prevent Matt from a repeat podium finish. Mauriello would win the section 11 tournament at 145lbs in exciting fashion with a come from behind 5-4 win over Ryan Burgbacher of Patchogue-Medford in the last 10 seconds of the match. Both Mauriello and Burgbacher, along with sophomore #20 Jack Spahn, qualified for states for section 11 at 145lbs. A 5 seed was waiting for Danny in Albany. After a measly premiere, Mauriello was left watching the remaining of the tournament after the first two rounds.
Two 99lbers at #22 and #27 respectively would meet at the state tournament in 2018. Sean Flick, the CHSAA champion, and Justin Morales, the section 9 champion, would both find themselves fighting to stay alive after round one losses. After scrapping back and forth for nearly 5 minutes of action, Flick would end up pinning Morales and advancing to the next round. Justin would finish with 31 wins for a Middletown team that is on the rise. Sean would end up losing in the blood round to Luke Smith of Hauppauge. We expect both competitors to be back in Albany and the fans would seeing enjoy another classic battle.
In 2018, Mason Wersinger joined a prestigious list of sectional champions from Spencerport. The section 5 star would enter the 138lb bracket as the 3 seed. A loss in the blood round to Farmingdale’s Joe Simons wasn’t the outcome Mason had expected. This just proves that seeds are just a number; you still have to wrestle the matches. Mason’s 41 wins will lead the Rangers into 2019.
Eli Rodriguez of Norwich is our #24 ranked junior. Eli has been on the varsity squad since 7th grade. In 8th grade, Eli would finish in 3rd place at states at 99lb in division 2 as a wildcard. As a freshman, Rodriguez would claim his first section 4 title at 113lbs. A deep 113lb class at states prevented Rodriguez from placing for the second straight year. Unsure of the regression in 2018, Eli would end up taking 5th at the section 4 tournament and ending his sophomore season 2 week earlier than normal. A rebound year for Eli is likely in 2019.
Following Rodriguez is #25 Maxx DeCapua of Newburgh. DeCapua fell victim of a “hiccup” in the section 9 tournament as he was upended by Sam Santander on Monroe Woodbury in the semi-finals. Luckily for DeCapua, Santander would win the tournament allowing Maxx to earn a wildcard into states. At states, the entire lower half of the 195lb bracket was blown up, three of the four seeded wrestlers would lose in round one including DeCapua who was the #3 seed. Maxx would rebound and reel off three straight wins and earn all state status. The roller coaster 2018 season ended with a 6th place finish and 45 wins.
Frontier League all-stars Micah Roes of Lowville and Logan Patterson of Indian River come in at #26 and #30. Both wrestlers were section 3 champions in 2018. Roes would accomplish a feat that only few can claim. He would lose round one at states and then proceed to win 4 consecutive matches to earn a spot in the consi-finals. An 11-1 loss to Len Balducci brought a successful sophomore campaign to an end with a 4th place finish.
Patterson made a huge statement in the section 3 finals as he would dominate 2017 NYS 3rd place finisher Myles Griffin of JD/CBA 6-0. That win would bolster Logan to a #3 seed at states. He would manhandle sophomore #13 Dan Gibson 14-0 before a quarterfinal matchup with Zach Redding of Eastport South Manor. Eventual state champion Redding would defeat Patterson 4-2 dropping him into the wrestlebacks against a familiar opponent in Griffin. A 5-1 decision set up Patterson in the blood round on Saturday morning against the always tough Marco Vespa of Monroe Woodbury. Vespa would squash any further advancement for Patterson with a 2-1 decision.
Aidan Rabideau is a 2x section 6 champion and 3x NYS qualifier. He has yet to make day 2 at states due to being in some extremely deep weight classes. Aidan has been a staple in section 6 and will continue to reign over western NY in 2019.
The next wrestler had such an up and down year that his ranking could have easily been higher or quite possibly even lower if it wasn’t for his magical run in Albany. Brady Worthing of Tioga would finish 2018 with 10 losses and was a NYS runner-up at 120lbs losing to 2x state champion Trent Svingala of Maple Hill. Scratching your head yet? Looking through his 2018 resume, Worthing beat some real good kids and lost to some good kids, he rose to the occasion and he would lose to a kid he would probably beat 99 of 100 times. Regardless of results, Brady turned it on when it counted. The bright lights of the Times Union Center were his platform and he did not disappoint. Three straight wins over sophomore #37 Brendan Ramsey, junior #68 Mike O’Brien and stud senior Bradley Cheek set up his finale rendezvous with Svingala.
The next two wrestlers would both finish 5th in NYS, however it would be in separate years. Dalton Gardner of Fredonia did not compete in the section 6 tournament in 2018 due to injury. Previously though, he won the section 6 tournament twice and finished in 5th place in 2016 as an 8th grader. Liam Dietrich of Red Hook nearly took the same route as the above mentioned Micah Roes. Coming in as a seeded wrestler, Dietrich would stagger in round one and end up losing 8-4 to Kiar Parker of Cheektowaga. Liam would show some resiliency and win his next three matches and locking up all state honors. The Raider heavyweight should solidify his dominance in section 9 for two more years.
Lastly, Averill Park’s section 2 champion Nik Koch. Proving yet again that seeds are just a number, Koch would knock off #8 seed Nick Serce of Irondequoit in round one 7-5. Koch would alternate a loss and a win to earn a Saturday morning challenge with Will Leonard of Cornwall in the dreaded blood round. The 220lb warrior couldn’t overcome the Cornwall Dragon and would end his season with 34 wins.
|Rank||Wrestler||School-Section||Division||Last year's weight|
|35||Kai Yudelson||Brooklyn Tech-P||1||113|
|36||Matthew Romano||Valley Central-9||1||126|
|37||Tyler Albis||John Jay East Fishkill-1||1||126|
|40||Caleb Svingala||Maple Hill-2||2||99|
|41||Joe Contrastano||Carle Place-Wheatley-8||2||113|
|42||Ethan Cooper||Cobleskill Richmondville-2||2||160|
|43||Jayden Cardenas||Grand Street Campus-P||1||138|
|47||Tyler DeSena||Garden City-8||1||138|
2x Section 2 Champion Caleb Svingala in on a single leg against Mason Bush of Central Valley @ 2018 NYS Tournament
Being in the top 50 is an amazing accomplishment in itself but it does come with a sense of pride, determination, grit and sacrifice. When a wrestler is ranked in the top 50 that means resumes become longer, accolades become greater, adversity become easier and the will to become #1 is as important as breathing. Ranks #36-#50 is an interesting group with a lot of state tournament experience.
For as far back as I can remember, which is a long time if I may add, the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) isn’t known statewide as a powerhouse section. In the history of the PSAL, there has only been one division 1 state champion in Brandon Nunez and two division 2 state champions in Nate Rose and Adis Radoncic. In recent years however, the PSAL grapplers have been more competitive and proving their worth at the state tournament. PSAL lightweight Kai Yudelson of Brooklyn Tech leads off at #35. A 1-2 performance doesn't take away from how far Yudelson has come. Getting a win over John DeConno 5-3 was a great rebound after losing a heartbreaker in round 1 to Parker Rozler 8-5. Being at 113lbs is always a grueling uphill battle. This weight year in and year out is jam packed with studs and getting one win is nothing to be ashamed of.
Valley Central's Matthew Romano is a 2x state qualifier. In 2017, Matt would earn a wildcard. In 2018, he decided to lock up a guaranteed spot by winning the 126lbs class in section 9. Romano's 30th win of the year came as he defeated #6 seed Najashi Sharpe of Mt. Vernon. Matt would take 2x NYS runner-up Justin McDougald to the brink in the quarterfinals losing a tough one 4-2. Eli Sims of Rush Henrietta would end the Viking’s season with a 7-3 defeat.
Three of the next four are all 2x NYS qualifiers. Tyler Albis of John Jay East Fishkill joined Romano is that brutal 126lb weight class. Albis would go 1-2 picking up a win over freshman #8 Nick Sanko 5-4. Bryce Smith was at 126lbs also however it was in division 2. Smith, who enters at #38, has worn the gray and blue section 7 singlet 3 times in Albany. The past two seasons Bryce would finish in 6th place. Bryce joins teammate Robert Foley as the second Saranac Chief in our junior rankings. At #40, Caleb Svingala of Maple Hill is a 2x Section 2 champion. His dominance in section 2 is like no other. On the big stage he has yet to find a groove. Each year he would find himself in the wrestlebacks thanks to a pair of stud brothers Mason and Marek Bush of Central Valley. We expected Caleb to join standout brother Trent again this season as they represent the host Capital region at states.
Sandwiched in between Albis, Smith and Svingala is a wrestler who many people, outside of Long Island, may not know. He has not made an appearance at states...yet. Anthony DiBartolo of Hauppauge was a 3rd place finisher in section 11 behind two absolute hammers in Anthony Sciotto and Zach Redding. The Hauppauge Eagle is a true grinder just buying his time. Keep your eye on this young man in 2019 as he will turn some heads and start dropping ranked wrestlers.
Nassau County has three wrestlers in this group, most of any sections. At #41, Joe Contrastano is a 2x Section 8 champion and a NHSCA All-American. Contrastano would have a disappointing ending to his 2018 season by going 0-2 at states. Heading into his junior season, Joe is looking for a 3-peat at the Nassau county tournament. Another division 2 grappler from Nassau County is Osmond Bouyer from Clarke. Bouyer was a county champ in 2018 and would make the blood round at states. Osmond would get the closest to making the podium as possible by losing in the ultimate tiebreaker to Keagan Carmenatty of South Seneca 3-2. The third part of the section 8 trio is Tyler DeSena of Garden City. DeSena would earn his spot in the finals with a solid win over Massapequa’s Jeremy Scutellaro 5-2. Tyler’s run at a division one county tournament championship would falter as he would lose a barnburner to Joe Simons of Farmingdale 14-8.
Section 2 standouts Ethan Cooper of Cobleskill-Richmondville and Jake Edwards of Columbia represent the Capital Region in this portion of our junior rankings. Cooper, at #42, was a section 2 champion for the bulldogs in 2018 and would earn the #4 seed at the state tournament. Disappointment would soon follow after a 1-2 showing. Edwards wasn’t as fortunate as Cooper as he would fall in the section 2 finals to Andrew fountain of Averill Park. Edwards come with extreme upside and talent, a solid 2019 season with an appearance at states is the expectation for the Columbia junior.
At #43, the PSAL has another rising star in Jayden Cardenas of Grand Street Campus. GSC is on the rise as they keep producing quality wrestlers. I, for one, love the fact that the PSAL is starting to piece together a decent team at states. Seeing these kids compete and succeed is astounding and enjoyable. To prove how much depth the PSAL is developing, Cardenas would not make the state tournament in 2018. He was however a 2017 PSAL Champion. Cardenas would go 0-2 in 2017 losing a close one in the wrestlebacks 4-3 to Ithaca’s Darren Rich.
New to 2018, the NYSPHSAA voted upon allowing Independent schools to participate at the state tournament. Our #44 ranked junior decided to make a splash and surprise the entre Times Union Center by placing 6th at 113lbs. Hackley’s Jack Bosco would only win 20 matches in 2018 including 3 big wins to earn his 6th place finish. His wins would come in dramatic and close fashion. He would defeat Brandon Mogul of Ravena 5-3, Chris Graham of Canisteo Greenwood 2-0 and in the blood round freshman #11 Eric Tigue 11-9 in sudden victory overtime.
The next two competitors on this list are section 3 champions Camrin Galvin of Fulton and Dean Shambo of Mexico. Both wrestlers failed to make day 2 after 1-2 performances. Galvin is an integral part of a Fulton team that is the top dogs in section 3 division one year in and year out. Shambo is the favorite for repeating as sectional champion in 2019. He has set the bar high and will meander through the season with a target on his back.
Brandon Fallon of Petrides is a 2x PSAL champion and #50 in the class of 2020 rankings. After going 0-2 in 2017, Fallon would make the blood round in 2018 losing via fall to Micah Roes of Lowville. Brandon is on the lip of the cup and could easily finish on the podium in 2019. Aiming for a third straight PSAL title, the lightweight Fallon will be expected to be a leader for a young PSAL squad.
|Rank||Wrestler||School-Section||Division||Last year's weight|
|52||Tommy Askey||Pine Bush-9||1||132|
|55||Adam Daghestani||Grand Island-6||1||152|
|57||Sean Savacool||Minisink Valley-9||1||126|
|58||Brendan Carroll||Roy C. Ketchum-1||1||126|
|59||Shawn Muratov||James Madison-P||1||99|
|60||Tom Szilaygi||St. Anthony's-C||1||113|
Aidan Cullen (Bottom) trying to escape from Dean Shambo (top) @ 2018 NYS tournament
A pair of 113lbers have won their respective sections twice. Alijah Seymour of Peru and Alex Santana of Pawling were actually on schedule to wrestle in round 1 of the state tournament but an injury prevented Santana from competing and was replaced by sophomore #72 Hunter Lundberg of Putnam Valley. Seymour would pin Lundberg to advance into the quarterfinals where he lost to 4th place finisher Zac Cummings of Salem. After pinning junior #96 Darryl Adler, Alijah’s would conclude his season with a blood round loss to another section 2 foe Connor Lyons of Watervliet.
With the graduation of 2018 section 9 champion Connor Greiner of Minisink Valley, Tommy Askey is focused on securing his first section 9 crown. Greiner would pin Askey in 2018 and ending his sophomore campaign. At #52, Askey has put together quite the resume thus far and is looking to build on it in 2019.
Right after Askey at #53 is 285lb section 5 champion Josh Barber of Attica. Barber, who was the #3 seed at sectionals, would upend the #2 seed Jake DeWall of Waterloo 4-2 and pin Isaiah Chisom of Avon in the finale. Heading into states with an astounding 41 wins, Josh wouldn’t get the best draw as he bowed out on Friday losing to 4th place finisher Leroy Williams of Onteora and 5th place finisher Liam Dietrich of Red Hook.
There are many wrestlers who fall short and end up in second place. Those anxious yet hopeful young men now must wait in the balance for the release of the wildcards to see if they earn a spot at the big dance. Fortunately for our #55 and #56 they would get the call saying they got in. Grand Island’s Adam Daghestani and Greenville’s Aidan Cullen were determined to prove that they belonged. With absolute awful draws, Cullen would go 0-2 losing to section 3 champion Dean Shambo of Mexico 8-6 and Nick Bierfeldt of Olean 4-2. Two 2 point losses ended Aidan’s season and must weigh on his mind daily. Let's hope Aidan grows from his experience and carries it into 2019. Daghestani would make the most of his appearance as he would finish with a modest 2-2 record losing in the dreaded blood round on Saturday morning to Michael Marcy of Holy Trinity 7-3. Both Cullen and Daghestani have built great foundations and should only improve and progress in 2019.
Minisink Valley's Sean Savacool would finish runner-up at 126lbs in section 9. That weight was very fun to watch as a fan as it included four wrestlers that could win that win on four different days. Losing 5-0 to Valley Central's Matthew Romano, Savacool joined Cullen and Daghestani in waiting of the release of the wildcards. Unfotunately he did not get in. Savacool also played an important role in Minisink Valley's run towards a state dual meet title. In section 1, the 126lb weight class was very similar to section 9's. Four different wrestlers could have won that weight. Ketchum's Brendan Carroll, our #58, came in as the number 2 seed. Senior Najashi Sharpe would end Carroll's bid for a title by pinning him in the first period. Carroll's loss in the 3d place match ended any chance of him earning a wildcard. Brendan would end his season with 38 wins.
2018 PSAL champion Shawn Muratov of James Madison enters at #59. Muratov unfortunately participated in a 99lb weight class that was absolutely loaded with studs. He would pick up a win on the backside against Mason Phillips of Massena. Shawn’s 31 wins is a great building block heading into 2019.
Lastly at #60, St. Anthony's Tom Szilaygi would win the CHSAA title and earn a spot in Albany. Drawing defending state champion Dylan Ryder landed Szilaygi into the wrestlebacks. Section 8 champion Xavier Pommels would close out Tom by a 6-2 decision.
|Rank||Wrestler||School-Section||Division||Last year's weight|
|62||Blake Bielec||Grand Island-6||1||195|
|63||Joe McGinity||Monroe Woodbury-9||1||138|
|65||Ryan Stern||Clarkstown North-1||1||132|
|66||Eric Griskowitz||Saratoga Springs-2||1||120|
|67||Mike O'Brien||Mt. Sinai-11||2||120|
|69||Jordan Suarez||Minisink Valley-9||1||113|
|71||Mike Catanzaro||Williamsville North-6||1||113|
Mt. Sinai's Mike O'Brien (Right) battling Joe Powers (Left) @ 2018 NYS Tournament
Ranks #61-#72 definitely has some fire power to the bunch which includes three sectional champions and one wildcard recipient.
Bobby Treshock of Tamarac leads off this section at #61. The top seed at 138lbs in section 2, Treshock didn’t have the outcome he had hopes for as he finished 5th. One bad tournament doesn’t negate an entire body of work. Treshock is expected to be at the top of section 2 throughout the entire 2019 season.
Section 6 has two grapplers representing the black and orange. 2018 runner-up Blake Bielec of Grand Island looks to claim a title in 2019 as 2018 champion Cam Walter of Williamsville North graduated. Speaking of Williamsville North, our #71 ranked junior leads his Spartan team into 2019. Mike Catanzaro is in the same boat as Bielec. Catanzaro would finish 3rd however behind seniors Parker Rozler and Cody Pool. Mike should be the front runner for a state tournament berth in 2019.
Joe McGinity of Monroe Woodbury and Jordan Suarez of Minisink Valley both felt the agony of defeat in the section 9 finals. Both didn’t have enough wildcard points to earn a berth so 2019 should be an exciting year as Monroe Woodbury and Minisink Valley always has multiple state tournament qualifiers every year.
Jerome Scott and Ryan Stern, both from section 1, are the next two on this list at #64 and #65. Scott was a 2018 section champion from Pawling. Jerome would get 2 solid wins at states. He would defeat Hunter Kurtz of Canisteo-Greenwood 4-0 and sophomore #39 Cody Merwin of Walton 5-4. Stern didn’t win the section but earned a wildcard berth. Stern sole win came against section 2 champion Billal Zamani of Schenectady via fall 4:16.
Saratoga Springs has their first wrestler in the junior rankings in Eric Griskowitz. The section 2 runner-up ran into a buzzsaw in Brock Delsignore. A 10-3 defeat left Griskowitz on the outside looking in. Eric should be there again fighting for a section 2 title in 2019.
Section 11 champion Mike O’Brien comes in at #67. Mike was also an important member of a Mt. Sinai team that won the inaugural NYSPHSAA Division 2 dual meet championship in Late January. O’Brien would have respectable 2-2 showing at states. He would defeat Joey Powers of Port Byron 5-2 and Joe McIntosh of Gouverneur via fall in 4:14.
The Horseheads varsity squad wrapped up the section 4 division 1 dual meet title in 2018. Two-time section 4 champion Jacob Scibek is one of many hammers for the Blue Raiders, who ended up with 4 total section 4 champions in 2018. Jacob wouldn’t fare so well individually at states as he would fall to Rafael Lievano of Ward Melville 12-10 and Kyle Althenn of Mepham 7-1. Scibek aims for his third section 4 title in 2019.
Rounding out this portion of our class of 2020 rankings are two tough kids from division 2 in section 5. Like the aforementioned Catanzaro, Cole Leitten of Perry fell behind two absolute studs at 113lbs. Leitten would finish strong in third place. Leroy’s Andrew Englerth earned his spot in the section 5 finals by defeating a former section 5 champion Zach Flaitz of Canisteo-Greenwood. Englerth aimed for a wildcard berth as he was defeated by state runner-up Nick young of Alexander. Neither Englerth nor Leitten could generate enough points but with solid finishes in 2018 and the strength of section 5 division 2 I wouldn’t be surprised seeing both wrestlers sporting the purple “V” singlet at the Times Union Center.
|Rank||Wrestler||School-Section||Division||Last year's weight|
|78||Alfred MacNeil||Franklin Academy-10||2||152|
|80||Devin Earl||West Genesee-3||1||145|
|81||Gage DeNatale||Locust Valley-8||2||126|
|84||Dawson Mower||Central Valley-3||2||106|
|85||Justin Smith||Marcus Whitman-5||2||120|
George Lebberes (Blue) wrestling Stephen Taylor (Red) @ 2018 NYS Tournament
Highlighting ranks #73-#85 are five sectional champions from five different sections. Section 1 champion George Lebberes of Ardsley comes in at #73. Unfortunately, Lebberes would draw top seed Anthony Robinson of Starpoint in round 1 at states. After defeating Gouverneur’s Zach Macaulay 9-2, George would drop his next match to senior Stephen Taylor from Tioga ending his season with a respectable 30 wins.
The next two sectional champions are Alfred MacNeill of Section 10’s Franklin Academy and Devin Earl from Section 3’s West Genesee. These two provide some depth for their respective sections and could earn some team points in the process. There should be no reason that both wrestlers won’t return to Albany in 2019.
The last two sectional champions are lightweights Gage DeNatale of Locust Valley and Robert Foley of Saranac. DeNatale was a sectional champion in 2017 and was a runner-up in 2018 yet again proving that section 8 division 2 is on the upswing. Foley would win Section 7 in 2018. A solid 2-2 performance at states has Foley ready for 2019. Robert would have a nice win over freshmen #14 Dylan Winchell of Warrensburg 11-7 in sudden victory overtime.
At #74 and #85, Austin Lints and Justin Smith both reaped the benefits of the wildcard system. Lints earned a wildcard in 2018 and Smith in 2017. Both grapplers should be in contention for claiming their first sectional title in 2019.
Two wrestlers in this installment of the junior rankings fell short in the section 3 finals, one in division 1 and one in division 2. Carthage’s Fombo Azah is at #77. Azah would lose to Oswego’s senior Stephen Demong in the finale. At #84, Dawson Mower of Central Valley would be the runner-up at 106lbs losing to another wrestler in the junior rankings Micah Roes of Lowville. Fombo has a really good chance to punch his ticket to the big dance in late February. Dawson is still sandwiched in the section 3 plethora of stud lightweights. Practicing with Marek and Mason Bush will only make Mower better and potentially make Central Valley the most dangerous team in the state from 99lbs-120lbs.
The remaining four wrestlers all have potential to make some noise in 2019. Brock Conaway, at #56, finish as a section 5 runner-up to Sam Wolf of Warsaw. Unfortunately, Brock didn’t have enough points to earn a wildcard berth. Somers’s Matt Kelly had a solid 2018 season that shouldn’t go unrecognized. At 195lbs in section 1, there happened to be two studs ahead of him. State Finalist Jhordyn Innocent of East Ramapo and Johnny Santos of Fox Lane prevented Kelly from advancing to the big stage in Albany. With Santos graduated, Kelly should be right in line with Innocent as both should be representing section 1 this year.
Two long island wrestlers fell victim at their sectional tournaments. Myles Norris of Freeport and Gavin Damasco of Commack concluded 2018 not as they had expected finishing 3rd and 5th respectively.
|Rank||Wrestler||School-Section||Division||Last year's weight|
|86||Elijah Rivera||Bay Shore-11||1||99|
|92||Griffin Biviano||Saratoga Springs-2||1||106|
|99||Nick Picariello||Minisink Valley-9||1||106|
|100||Josh Post||Newark Valley-4||1||126|
Fulton's Cole French behind Minisink Valley's Connor Greiner @ 2018 NYS Tournament
Bay Shore’s Elijah Rivera kicks of this installment at #86. Rivera would finish 5th at 99lbs in section 11. That is quite the feat considering the top 3 all qualified for states. Rivera would represent team NY at Fargo in 2018 in both Greco and Freestyle. His offseason work will definitely pay dividends this upcoming season. Don’t be surprised if we see Elijah dawn the Penn St replica blue and white section 11 singlet in late February.
Two grapplers from the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) got their feet wet in Albany in 2018. Petrides’ Mike DiForte would go 0-2 in a short lived tournament. DiForte is a 2x PSAL Champion and is aiming for his third straight PSAL title in 2019. Riverdale’s Darryl Adler went 1-2 at states in 2018. He would pick up a win in Albany by pinning freshman #24 Mohamed Alshawi in 3:24.
Pleasantville teammates Nayshawn Marks and Aiden Canfield were both section 1 runner-ups in 2018. The Panther lightweights will provide some stability and strength to a Pleasantville team expecting to compete for a sectional title in 2019.
Fulton’s Cole French was a section 3 champion in 2018. An inexperienced French would go 0-2 at states. Cole should be in the mix yet again as Fulton is one of section 3’s top division 1 teams. Another section 3 grappler who could make some noise this season is Carthage’s Collin Null. The heavyweight would finish 3rd in 2018. Carthage has been known for their success in the 285lb class in the past.
Section 2 has three representatives in this portion of our junior rankings. Watervliet’s Pat Moore is at #89 while Amsterdam’s Brennan Rivas and Saratoga Springs’ Griffin Biviano are at #91 and #92. All three grapplers were place finishers in section 2 with Rivas finishing the highest, a silver medal at 113lbs.
The next two wrestlers are from section 4. They may not be household names however they will be making waves in 2019. At #88, River Burgess battles with the best of them. Burgess has finished 3rd in section 4 twice and expects to contend for a title this season. Horseheads lightweight Tommy Dale is also a 3rd place finisher in 2018. Like Burgess, Dale should be in contention for a section 4 title in 2019 with 2018 champion Dante Rigal most likely moving up to 106.
Section 5 runner-up Joey Pollack of Canandaigua comes in at #94. Coming off line 6 at sectionals, Joey would pin the #3 seed Tom Foos of Hilton and the #2 seed Mason Everhart of Victor to make the finals. He would get pinned by top seed Zach Condello of Fairport in the finale. 2019 could be a huge year for Pollack as he is looking to become the first sectional champion for the Braves since Mitch Fisher in 2014.
Nick Picariello of Minisink Valley is at #99. A runner-up in section 9 to Newburgh's Greg Fischer by a 6-4 decision. With Fischer now graduated, Nick should be in line for a section 9 title. He has gained a lot of experience in big matches in 2018 as he was apart of the warrior team that lost to Wantagh in the inaugural NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Tournament.
Newark Valley's Josh Post rounds out the top 100. Post was a section 4 runner-up in 2018. He was also a runner-up in 2016.
Class of 2020 rankings by the numbers:
8 – New York State Championships
2 – NYS Runner-Up
27 – NYS Place Finishers
55 – Sectional Champions
Top 10 overall career record – 1160-131 (89.8 Win %)
Number of wrestlers ranked by section:
12 - Section 1
11 - Section 2
11 - Section 11
10 - Section 5
9 - Section 9
9 - Section 8
9 - Section 3
8 - Section 6
8 - Section 4
6 - PSAL
3 - Section 7
2 - CHSAA
1 - Private Schools
1 - Section 10