This article is from 01/16/14
It's been about two weeks since the last set of rankings and quite a bit has happened. There are some new names and faces and the ranking orders have changed. However, there's only one new #1 (Brandon Lapi), although eight sections have at least one grappler in the top spot. We watched a lot of competition, talked to people around the state and went through a ton of results (although we recognize that not everything is updated in the NWCA Scorebook). We now have a new viewpoint on where things stand in the Empire State.
As always, we welcome feedback below or at email@example.com and will consider all of it, as long as it is provided respectfully. So without further delay, here you go . . .
1. Kelan McKenna (New Hartford - 3)
2. Derek St. James (Gates Chili - 5)
3. Dane Heberlein (Alexander - 5)
4. Kyle Mock (Huntington - 11)
5. Adam Busiello (Eastport South Manor - 11)
6. Jake Silverstein (Hauppauge - 11)
7. Alfredo Olmedo (Arlington - 1)
8. Jacori Teemer (Long Beach - 8)
McKenna's performance at the Eastern States was impressive, as he was in command throughout the event. He is undefeated at 99 after placing there at the state tournament in 2013, although he has a one-point loss at 106. Meanwhile, St. James pinned his way to another championship - at the Robert Bradshaw Invitational.
Mock moved down to 99 and edged Busiello a few days before the Eastern States. He then went on to win the Clarkstown South tournament. If the Huntington wrestler remains at the lightest weight, he can do some damage. Meanwhile, during his run to the finals at SUNY Sullivan, Busiello showed why he is ranked among the top junior high wrestlers in the country. Along the way, he notched his second victory over bronze medalist Silverstein.
Olmedo and Teemer collected some solid wins over the weekend on their path to fourth and fifth. Both topped Deer Park's Thomas Cox (the eighth placer). Cox will be right in the mix, however, as he has proven he can compete with anyone and owns wins over Busiello and Silverstein this season. We believe returning state qualifier Dean Raymond of Deposit-Hancock will be a contender when the postseason begins as well.
Some young wrestlers showed what they can do at the Eastern States, with seventh graders Bennie Baker of Newark Valley and Zach Lawrence of Duanesburg coming within one victory of the medal stand. (Lawrence beat Teemer).
We liked what we saw from Clarence's Dylan Arena at the Union-Endicott Duals and believe he could easily be on the list. Fellow Section 6 wrestler Trent Nadeau of Sweet Home continues to roll while senior Anthony Sgorrano of South Glens Falls and Anthony Sparacio of North Babylon are some of the others we're watching.
1. Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton - 5)
2. Parker Kropman (Penfield - 5)
3. Matteo DeVincenzo (Port Jefferson - 11)
4. Josh Logiudice (Guilderland - 2)
5. Ben Tepperman (Hauppauge - 11)
6. Vinny Vespa (Monroe Woodbury - 9)
7. Peter Pappas (Plainview - 8)
8. Chris Cirigliano (BGAH - 4)
Diakomihalis, the top-ranked grappler in the country at this weight, leads the way. Right behind him is a familiar face, fellow Section 5 wrestler Kropman, whose only loss this season is to the Hilton star. In 2013, Kropman placed at the Eastern States and this year he moved up the ladder to win it all at 106. On the way, he defeated All-State wrestlers Vespa and DeVincenzo (in the championship match).
But Kropman wasn't the only one to make a statement in this bracket. Tepperman came in unseeded and promptly defeated the #1 wrestler in the field, Chris Cuccolo of St. Benedict's. He had a lot left after that, registering several solid wins on his path to third. (He fell in overtime in the semis to DeVincenzo). To nab bronze, Tepperman avenged a December loss to Vespa.
Pappas, who beat Vespa in the offseason, has been impressive, while returning NYS medalist Cirigliano recorded an 8-1 win over 2013 All-Stater Theo Powers of Mexico a few days ago.
Who are some others to watch? Powers is one, as well as Rocky Point's Anthony Cirillo, an overtime winner against Tepperman earlier in the season. Cirillo beat John Devine in the opening round at SUNY Sullivan, but the Columbia grappler then took four in a row before finishing eighth. Hunter Olena of East Rochester was the top seed in the 99 pound DII bracket a year ago and Luke Yankloski of Wayne grabbed sixth place at Eastern States. Like Devine, Yankloski dropped his first bout, but he responded with six consecutive victories. The Wayne wrestler spent time at 113 and 120 for much of the season but had a successful tournament down at this weight and will look to carry that forward.
1. Vito Arujau (Syosset - 8)
2. Kyle Quinn (Wantagh - 8)
3. Joe Calderone (Walt Whitman - 11)
4. Johnny Stramiello (Pine Bush - 9)
5. John Arceri (Huntington - 11)
6. John Twomey (St. Anthony's - C)
7. Gerard Daly (Minisink Valley - 9)
8. Derek Spann (Adirondack - 3)
Nassau standouts Arujau and Quinn met again in the title bout at SUNY Sulllivan, with the Syosset freshman earning his second win of the year against the Wantagh state champ. Taking third was Calderone, who continues to impress. Two-time state placer Stramiello has three losses this season - all to Calderone.
Returning qualifiers Arceri and Twomey both remain undefeated, while Daly notched solid wins over wrestlers like Arlington's Brady Robin, John Jay East Fishkill's Jay Albis and Locust Valley's Hunter Dusold in the process of taking fifth in Loch Sheldrake. 2013 state champion Spann has compiled a 23-2 mark, with both losses up a weight against high quality opponents (undefeated Dandre Norman of Rome Free Academy and NYS titlewinner Luis Weierbach of Hoosick Falls).
Just outside the list is Portville’s Ryan Thierman. He sits on top of the Section 6 rankings and has racked up a 23-1 mark, splitting matches up at 120 pounds against 2013 bronze medalist Brad Bihler of Maple Grove.
Golan Cohen of Colonie, a returning state placer, has been up and down a bit, but made the podium at Eastern States, while former All-Stater Joe Nelson of Oxford recorded a fall over 2012 state champ Tony Recco at Eastern States (but didn't compete on Day 2). Others on the watch list include those mentioned above plus Ryan Hetrick of Southwestern, Andrew McFarland of Carthage, Danny Murray of Brentwood and Anthony Argentieri of Kenmore West, among others.
1. Nick Piccininni (Ward Melville - 11)
2. Nick Casella (Locust Valley - 8)
3. Jesse Dellavecchia (East Islip - 11)
4. Bryan Lantry (Wayne - 5)
5. James Szymanski (Shoreham Wading River - 11)
6. Ben Lamantia (St. Anthony's - C)
7. Luis Weierbach (Hoosick Falls - 2)
8. Dylan Booth (Port Jervis - 9)
Piccininni showed that he's unquestionably at the head of the class over the weekend by storming through the Eastern States, including a technical fall in the championship round.
There a number of quality wrestlers behind him, including two-time state finalist and Fargo All-American Casella and returning NYS placers Dellavecchia and Lantry (who split bouts at SUNY Sullivan) and took third and fourth, respectively. Szymanski was fifth and is capable of going higher as he topped Dellavecchia earlier this season.
Lamantia, a qualifier in 2013, went unbeaten at the Virginia Duals and the only blemish on his record this year came against national #1 Spencer Lee of Pennsylvania. Weierbach, a state champ in February, made the medal stand in the difficult bracket at Eastern States, as did 2013 All-Stater Booth (who beat Szymanski).
There are a group of wrestlers who have put together spectacular seasons and could certainly be on the list. They include Fulton's Mitchell Woodworth, Albany Academy's Matthew Morris (who owns a win over state champ Weierbach) and Rome Free Academy's Dandre Norman. Prior NYS placers Brad Bihler of Maple Grove and Drew Marra of Olean are also on the radar and young wrestlers such as Evan Barczak of Monroe Woodbury and Matt Grippi of Fox Lane look like they'll be racking up wins for years to come.
1. Travis Passaro (Eastport South Manor - 11)
2. Alex Delacruz (Ossining - 1)
3. Richie Burke (Ithaca - 4)
4. Kellen Devlin (Amherst - 6)
5. Anthony Orefice (Lockport - 6)
6. Joe Russ (St. Anthony's - C)
7. Rafael Mateo (Midlakes - 5)
8. Mike D'Angelo (Commack - 11)
Travis Passaro had arguably the toughest road to a championship, beating a pair of nationally-ranked wrestlers (Michael Knoblauch of Clovis West, CA and Kevin Jack of Danbury, CT) and a 2013 state champion (Delacruz) to win the Eastern States. Now, Intermat has him 15th in the country. Delacruz rebounded from a quarterfinal loss to Passaro with three straight wins over All-State wrestlers to make the third place bout.
Burke, a multi-time state qualifier, wrestled tough, losing only to the previously mentioned Knoblauch and Jack on his way to fifth. He topped Devlin, an NHSCA Nationals runner up who was third in Albany in the small school tournament last year. Devlin will be a force at the Times Union Center again.
Orefice and Russ kept successful seasons going (Russ was 5-1 at the Virginia Duals), while All-Staters Mateo and D'Angelo round out the list.
Blake Retell of Shaker is on the verge of the rankings along with several others. We have been impressed by wrestlers such as multi-time state placer Ryan Snow of General Brown, Walton's Dylan Wood, East Meadow's Adam Smith, Lake Shore's Freddy Eckles, Greece's Chris Fantauzzo, Port Jefferson's Tristan DeVincenzo, Webster Schroeder's Tom Lancie, Newburgh Free Academy's Da'mani Burns and Monsignor Farrell's Matt Seitz, to name just a few. Seitz was unseeded at the Eastern States, but topped a number of seeded wrestlers and took eighth.
1. William Koll (Lansing - 4)
2. Sean Peacock (Midlakes - 5)
3. Chris Mauriello (Hauppauge - 11)
4. John Muldoon (Pearl River - 1)
5. Frankie Gissendanner (Penfield - 5)
6. Cody McGregor (Tonawanda - 6)
7. Carter Merecki (Salem - 2)
8. Chris Truglio (Minisink Valley - 9)
Koll captured his first Eastern States crown over the weekend and will looking for his third NYS title before heading to Cornell. He beat three-time placer Sean Peacock of Midlakes earlier this year.
Mauriello, an NHSCA National champion, was the runner up to Koll at SUNY Sullivan and logged some impressive wins, including over returning state medalist Muldoon. Muldoon defeated Gissendanner, the eighth grader who continued to show that his age isn't an impediment. The Penfield wrestler grabbed his second Eastern States podium finish. McGregor and Merecki, both All-State wrestlers, made the medal stand as well, along with Truglio.
Sachem North's Sean O'Hagan is right on the cusp of the list. He has some good wins, including over Commack state placer Mike D'Angelo and Islip's Brad Wade. His only loss was to Saidyokub Kahramonov, a NYS medalist in 2013 who didn't place in Loch Sheldrake. Austin Acquard of Pioneer has lost only to Peacock.
1. Brandon Lapi (Amsterdam - 2)
2. Sam Ward (Locust Valley - 8)
3. Tristan Rifanburg (Norwich - 4)
4. Matt Caputo (North Rockland - 1)
5. Curtis Grant (Elmira - 4)
6. Justin Cooksey (MacArthur - 8)
7. Mike Raccioppi (Minisink Valley - 9)
8. Danny Graham (West Seneca East - 6)
Only one weight has a new #1 since the last rankings and this is it. The 138-pound bracket was loaded at Eastern States and Lapi marched through it unscathed to capture a championship. (His one loss this year is by one-point up at 145 to 2013 NYS bronze medalist Joey Butler of Burnt Hills). In the title match at SUNY Sullivan, Lapi topped Ward, who had a terrific run of his own, including a win over three-time NYS finalist and former #1 Tristan Rifanburg of Norwich. Ward also had a five-point win over two-time state placer Caputo.
Grant continued to pile up wins, while Cooksey emerged onto the list after some solid wins at the Union-Endicott Duals and a fifth place performance at Eastern States. Raccioppi and Graham were sixth and seventh at SUNY Sullivan.
We considered a number of wrestlers for this list. Rocco Russo of Frontier, a three-time state qualifier, was one of them, however, Graham avenged an earlier loss to Russo with a victory over the weekend. Among those in the conversation were 2013 NYS runner up Dakota Gardner of Fredonia, former state placer Laken Cook of Central Valley, unbeaten Codie Gillette of Saranac, Eastport South Manor's Jimmy Leach and Shenendehowa's Kevin Parker. St. Anthony's All-Stater Freddie Dunau got back to action at the Virginia Duals.
1. Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowaga - 6)
2. Vincent DePrez (Hilton - 5)
3. Jake Restrepo (Sachem East - 11)
4. Tommy Dutton (Rocky Point - 11)
5. Joey Butler (Burnt Hills - 2)
6. Trevor Hoffmier (Newark Valley - 4)
7. Andy Mollevik (Duanesburg - 2)
8. Jason Hoffman (Hadley Luzerne/Lake George - 2)
Nationally-ranked state champ Rodriguez-Spencer remains on top, with two-time NYS finalist DePrez in the second slot. DePrez had a 5-0 win over Dutton at the Union-Endicott Duals.
Speaking of Dutton, he avenged a loss in earlier January to Butler with a victory over the Burnt Hills grappler at Eastern States to earn a spot in the finals against Restrepo.
In that title tilt, Restrepo picked up a one-point triumph to keep an unblemished record for 2013-14. The Sachem East grappler continues to show that his outstanding offseason was a sign of things to come.
Butler nabbed fourth at SUNY Sullivan, while Hoffmier and Mollevik followed at fifth and sixth. Mollevik came all the way from the 16th seed, losing to top-seeded Chris Garcia of Clovis West (California) twice.
Hoffman has amassed 24 wins (all by bonus points) and looks like a freshman ready to make an impact. Connetquot's Gino Titone also is 24-0 according to the NWCA Scorebook and after winning a number of matches at Fargo last year, will battle Restrepo and Dutton for Section 11 supremacy. Israel Byler of Addison kept his winning ways going with another tournament title. Minisink Valley's Frankie Hernandez notched seventh at Eastern States.
1. Louis Hernandez (Mepham - 8)
2. Anthony DePrez (Hilton - 5)
3. Ryan Kromer (Lewiston Porter - 6)
4. Blaise Benderoth (North Rockland - 1)
5. Zach Lugo (Deer Park - 11)
6. Frank Garcia (Norwich - 4)
7. Jesse Porter (Shenendehowa - 2)
8. Angelo Kress (Columbia - 2)
Louis Hernandez didn't win his second Eastern States in a row. However, he did take third after being sent to the consolation bracket due to a disqualification (illegal slam). The nation's #7 wrestler (according to Intermat) had eight wins over the weekend to grab bronze.
DePrez had a decisive win over Porter at the Union-Endicott Duals in a tight dual and has a pair of victories over solid 160-pounder Nate Schwab of Clarence. The Hilton grappler is 26-0 and has been in control throughout the year. Kromer, a returning state placer, has blitzed through the season with a 32-0 mark, according to the NWCA Scorebook.
Benderoth recovered from losses to two top foes at the Union-Endicott Duals to earn a finals berth at the Eastern States. Along the way, the multi-time state qualifier topped Porter.
Lugo makes his debut on the list after beating previously ranked Dennis Ferro last week and following up with a fourth place showing in Loch Sheldrake. The 11th seed at SUNY Sullivan lost to the champion (Richard Viruet) and Hernandez, but earned six wins, including over state runner up Garcia (fifth place), Hauppauge's Francisco Bisono (eighth) and Kress.
General Brown's multi-time NYS placer Tyler Silverthorn lost to Garcia and Hernandez, but is always a posteason threat, while Pal-Mac's returning qualifier Max Lloyd has compiled a stellar 30-0 mark to this point. The previously mentioned Dennis Ferro of East Islip is someone else to keep tabs on as the season progresses.
1. Corey Rasheed (Longwood - 11)
2. Dan DeCarlo (Port Jervis - 9)
3. Alex Smythe (Eden - 6)
4. Derek Holcomb (Newark Valley - 4)
5. Dom Celli (Somers - 1)
6. Jordan Bushey (Peru - 7)
7. Zach Colgan (Johnson City - 4)
8. Connor Lawrence (Duanesburg - 2)
Rasheed didn't defend his Eastern States title, as he was a late scratch from the event. He is currently ranked eighth nationally by Intermat. DeCarlo went all the way to the finals at SUNY Sullivan before dropping a one-point decision to Massachusetts wrestler Jonathan Viruet for his first setback of the year.
Holcomb and Celli split two matches at the Eastern States, with Holcomb capturing the bronze bout. Both came into the event undefeated, according to the NWCA Scorebook. Bushey and returning state placer Colgan notched fifth and sixth in Loch Sheldrake, while Lawrence was seventh. He topped 2013 All-Stater Konstantin Parfiryev (as did Celli).
Parfiryev is certainly capable of making another podium run at the Times Union Center. We believe Clarence's Nate Schwab, Mexico's Trevor Allard and Jericho's unbeaten Jaison White can go far this postseason as well and we liked what we saw from wrestlers like Ian Van Valen of Ithaca and Jordan Formicola of Locust Valley, among others, over the weekend. Jordan Torbitt of Whitney Point, an NHSCA All-American and returning NYS placer, has wrestled at 160 and 170 this year and has what it takes to have a stellar end of the season.
1. Burke Paddock (Warsaw - 5)
2. Steve Schneider (MacArthur - 8)
3. Jake Weber (Clarence - 6)
4. Ryan Marszal (Unatego - 4)
5. Gio Gioielli (Brewster - 1)
6. Sonny McPherson (Indian River - 3)
7. Franky Nassivera (Queensbury - 2)
8. Triston Engle (Dolgeville - 3)
Paddock won it all at Eastern States for the second straight year and was in control the whole way. Schneider nabbed third, taking his first loss of the season to Poly Prep's Adis Radoncic in the ultimate tiebreaker. However, the MacArthur senior won all but one of the rest of his bouts by major and that one regular decision was by seven points.
Weber picked up another tournament title over the weekend, as did Marszal. Gioielli announced his presence with an impressive showing at SUNY Sullivan, including victories over the #4, 5 and 7 seeds to nab fourth. (His losses were to Paddock and Schneider).
The last three spots may have been the most difficult of any in the entire rankings. We had seven different wrestlers in those positions (Sonny McPherson of Indian River, Franky Nassivera of Queensbury, Erik Adon of East Islip, Jake Ashcraft of Burnt Hills, Triston Engle of Dolgeville, Geno Brancati of Hudson Falls and Mike Pistone of Sachem East), with a number of different orders.
To understand why there was so much discussion, here are a few of the factors we considered: NHSCA All-American McPherson has wins over Engle and Nassivera, with losses to Marszal and Ashcraft. Ashcraft also beat Brancati in December, but lost the rematch at the Eastern States, where he didn't make the podium. Meanwhile, Nassivera nabbed sixth at SUNY Sullivan with a win over Pistone, the seventh place finisher. He also topped the eighth placer, Brancati, in late December. Adon, ranked first in Suffolk County, defeated Pistone earlier in January and was undefeated . . . until losing to Tim Byrnes of Fayetteville-Manlius over the weekend. One of the two losses Byrnes endured this year was to Engle, who is 29-1 with his setback against McPherson. Got all that? One thing is for sure, 170 pounds will have some interesting matches this postseason.
1. Christian Dietrich (Greene - 4)
2. Daniel Smith (South Jefferson - 3)
3. Collin Pittman (Spencerport - 5)
4. Brett Perry (JJEF - 1)
5. Mark Tracy (Sachem East - 11)
6. Nick Gallo (Schalmont - 2)
7. David Hamil (Deer Park - 11)
8. Robert Ng (Plainedge - 8)
Christian Dietrich took home his first Eastern States crown with a dominant performance. He beat Daniel Smith for the second time this season in the finals (the only two setbacks for the South Jefferson wrestler this year). However, Smith had multiple quality victories in Loch Sheldrake, including over 2013 state placers Trey DuVall of Addison and Nick Gallo of Schalmont. Earlier in the season, he topped Spencerport's Pittman, who has otherwise gone unbeaten.
Perry and Tracy split a pair of bouts in Loch Sheldrake, with Perry capturing the second one to earn third place. Meanwhile, Gallo bested Hamil for fifth in a 3-2 decision. Ng, who was one match from placing at the state tournament last year, has had another stellar campaign with his only setback coming against Gallo.
Smith is the only Section 3 wrestler in the top 8 at this point, however, a few others are certainly on the map. Chris Pinckney of Port Byron has put together a perfect season so far, while William Hilliard of Phoenix, an NHSCA All-American, has some solid wins and just one loss (to Pinckney). The previously mentioned Trey DuVall of Addison is capable of having a great postseason. Two-time Eastern States placer Christian Araneo of Ward Melville could be a threat, however, he will face numerous challenges in Section 11, such as Dom Pirraglia, Jake Horton and Ronnie King (in addition to Tracy and Hamil). Isaiah Zimmer of Chenango Forks recently made his return to the mat and has dominated.
1. Levi Ashley (Shenendehowa - 2)
2. Reggie Williams (Johnson City - 4)
3. Nick Weber (Kings Park - 11)
4. Ben Honis (Jamesville-Dewitt - 3)
5. Trent Egenlauf (Spencerport - 5)
6. Nathanael Rose (Eagle Academy - P)
7. Andrew Grella (Beacon - 1)
8. Wayne Burt (Colonie - 2)
Levi Ashley ascended to the top spot in December with his championship at the Teike Bernabi tournament and he reaffirmed his claim to #1 with his Eastern States title, including his second victory over Williams this season.
Weber, a 2013 All-State wrestler who recently committed to Lehigh, has breezed through the season with 18 pins in 21 matches. Honis suffered his only loss of the year to Williams on the way to his second consecutive bronze medal at the Eastern States. He topped Rose twice at SUNY Sullivan, including in the third place bout. [Rose's only other loss this year was when he bumped up to 220 to face Rich Sisti].
Grella is having an impressive season and despite getting pinned while ahead in the first round at Loch Sheldrake, he responded well and took fifth place, with Burt sixth.
James Empfield of Lancaster is on the radar. He's had losses to some of the wrestlers on the list above, but his experience against tough competition should serve him well in the postseason. Gordon Truesdale of Brighton is still undefeated, according to the NWCA Scorebook, with a win over Empfield while Joe Nasoni of Baldwinsville and Logan LaFlamme of South Jefferson could make an impact. Brock Cvijanovich of Horace Greeley and Tim Flower of Schalmont made the medal stand at Eastern States.
1. Rich Sisti (Monsignor Farrell - C)
2. Ryan Wolcott (Waverly - 4)
3. John Hartnett (Tappan Zee - 1)
4. Sam Eagan (Churchville-Chilli - 5)
5. Marshall Taylor (Lockport - 6)
6. Tyler Schaefer (Pittsford - 5)
7. Rob Kelly (Monroe Woodbury - 9)
8. James Bethel (Saugerties - 9)
Sisti looked like a defending state champ at the Eastern States where he captured the crown. Wolcott, also a 2013 NYS finalist, continues to roll. It would be fun to watch those two compete.
In early January, John Hartnett lost in the finals of the Shoreline to Vin Feola, after an earlier loss to Rob Kelly. Then, at Eastern States he seemed to hit his stride, putting forth a very impressive performance at SUNY Sullivan in which he made the title bout with solid wins over Sam Eagan and California's second ranked grappler (Cortes Morales) by major. Some will disagree, but we went with momentum in moving Hartnett to #3.
Eagan nabbed fourth in Loch Sheldrake, while Kelly was fifth. Schaefer and Taylor kept their strong seasons going with tournament wins over the weekend (and the explanation for their order remains the same as in the last set of rankings).
The eighth spot was the subject of much debate. James Bethel of Saugerties made the podium at Fargo this summer and has stomped the competition thus far. Huntington's Anthony Puca is a returning state qualifier who took Wolcott to overtime in his only loss of the season. And he's not the only standout in Section 11. Anthony DiMatteo of Sachem North beat two strong wrestlers - Islip's Craig Hinrichs and Walt Whitman's Vin Feola (multi-time All-American) this campaign. Rafal Rokosz of Southampton and Bryan Tenny of Farmingdale notched seventh and eighth at the Eastern States to continue solid seasons. And former Fargo All-American Chris Tangora of Bethlehem Central is unbeaten with impressive results, while Christian Shepard of Geneva, a 2013 state qualifier, has just one loss - to Schaefer in overtime.
1. James O'Hagan (Seaford - 8)
2. Connor Calkins (Alfred-Almond - 5)
3. Ian James (Greece - 5)
4. Mike Manni (Tappan Zee - 1)
5. Edwin Rubio (John Glenn - 11)
6. Kyle Fiske (Port Jefferson - 11)
7. Trevor Gibbons (Carthage - 3)
8. Dan Babcock (Deposit-Hancock - 4)
What does domination look like? How about pinning every opponent who steps on the mat with you, with only three of the 19 lasting more than one period? That's what O'Hagan has done so far. Or, how about going 35-0 with 26 falls and beating every foe at the prestigious Eastern States Classic by pin or tech? That's the season Connor Calkins has put together. We'd love to see the two of them square off.
James continues to pile up the victories and has not lost to a New York opponent a year after placing in Albany. We believe Manni and Rubio fit in next. Which one should be higher? We went back and forth on that. Rubio has won two of three against Manni this year, but the Section 1 wrestler captured the last match for the bronze at Loch Sheldrake. All of the bouts were close -- Rubio won twice in sudden victory. If they wrestled again, who would win? Great question.
Fiske and Babcock announced their presence at the Eastern States, taking fifth and sixth. Fiske was unbeaten coming into the tournament and topped returning Eastern States placer Jake Morris of Canastota on his path.
Morris is one of several wrestlers on the verge of the list, including another wrestler who made the podium at Eastern States last year, Austin DiCerbo of Colonie. DiCerbo owns a win over Babcock in December and will be someone to watch the rest of the way. Fellow Section 2 wrestler Marcus Ramundo of Schalmont defeated the Colonie grappler over the weekend and nabbed seventh at SUNY Sullivan. He had a setback earlier this season to Nick Scott of Cohoes, another grappler on the radar. (Mazen Hassan of Monsignor Farrell was eighth in Loch Sheldrake).
There are several others on the watch list, including (but not limited to) Nolan Terrance of Massena, Vincent Manna of Island Trees and Peter Strassfield of Southampton.
Thank you once again to everyone around the state who contributed to these rankings. Special thanks to Mike Carey and Matt Diano.
*Please note that some results from mid-week or those not entered in the NWCA Scorebook may not be reflected.