2014 NEW YORK STATE TOURNAMENT PREVIEW
By Jim and Tony Nordland
Now in the eleventh year with the two-division NYS Tournament format a total of eleven defending champions and three former state winners are eligible for the 52nd annual New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling State Championships. The 2014 state meet is at the Times Union Center in Albany and a total of 480 grapplers will congregate for the two day competition scheduled for February 28th and March 1st.
Defending Division I champions include two-time champion junior Nick Piccininni (41-0, 182-3 career) of Ward Melville-11, freshman Yianni Diakomihalis (39-0) and boasts a perfect 90- 0 career record of Hilton-5 at 106 and four-time state placer Shakur Rasheed (2-5-2-1) of Longwood-11 is 16-0 on the season and has an impressive 213-12 career mark, he is at 160 pounds. Other reigning state kings are junior Kyle Quinn (37-3, 123-14) of Wantagh-8 at 113, Alex Delacruz (29-2) of Ossining-1 at 126, Louis Hernandez (38-1, 143-11) of Mepham-8 at 152 and perennial pinner Rich Sisti (34-0,25 falls, 126-14) of Monsignor Farrell-C in the 220-pound class.
Five defending champions head the field in the Division II Tournament, William Koll (40-1,104-6) of Lansing-4, a two-time titlist at 132 pounds. He will take his mat skills to Cornell next fall and hone his repertoire under the tutelage of his dad, Rob, the head coach for the Big Red. Iowa-bound Burke Paddock (49-0, 300 career wins) of Warsaw-5 is a blue-chip prospect and will compete at 170 pounds. Other champions are Derek Spann (45-2) of Adirondack-3 at 113 and Luis Weierbach (38-5) of Hoosick Falls-2 at 120 pounds.
Former champions that seek redemption are Tony Recco (44-3) of Lyndonville-5 at 113, Sean Peacock (45-1) of Midlakes-5 at 132 and 2010 winner Tristan Rifanburg (42-1,127-6) of Norwich-4, a junior in the 138-pound class.
State finalists from 2013 that return in Division I include Vito Arujau (41-0, 90-1) of Syosset-8 at 113, Brandon Lapi (44-1) of Amsterdam-2 at 138, Vincent DePrez (42-0) of Hilton-5 at 145, Steven Schneider (44-1) of MacArthur-8 at 170 and Levi Ashley ( 33-0) of Shenendehowa-2 at 195 pounds.
Division II runners-up are; Matteo DeVincenzo (30-1) of Port Jefferson-11 at 106, Nick Casella (39-3) of Locust Valley-8 at 120, Sean Peacock (45-1) of Midlakes-5 at 132, Dakota Gardner (46-1) of Fredonia-6 at 138, Frank Garcia (42-2) of Norwich-4 at 152, Nick Gallo (182) of Schalmont-2, Christian Dietrich (35-0) of Greene-4 at 182 and unbeaten Ryan Wolcott (30-0, 22 pins) of Waverly in the 220-pound class. Mat Notes...
At the 2013 NYSPHSAA Championships, in Division I, Section XI claimed their state leading 21st sectional team title. Suffolk County now has 159 NYS champions, followed by Section Four with 144 titles and Section Eight with 111 individual winners. The last time a trio of brothers impacted the state meet was in 1977. The heralded Banach brothers of Port Jervis-9 entered the tournament with a spotless mark of 99-0 and finished 2-5-1; Ed (2nd), Steve (5th) and Lou won the gold medal at 177. In 2014, the DePrez brothers (Lou, Vincent and Anthony) of Hilton-5 have a combined mark of 119-4.
Section XI is once again loaded with talent in every weight class. The navy blue-clad contingent return state place-winners; Jesse Dellavecchia (120) of East Islip, Travis Passaro (46-0) of ESM at 126, Tommy
Dutton (200 career wins) of Rocky Point at 145 and Nick Weber (38-0) of Kings Park at 195 pounds. Other standouts include Sachem East teammates MOW Jakob Restrepo (38-0) at 145 and Mark Tracy (182), along with Matt Stallone (106) of Sachem North, Hauppauge’s Chris Mauriello (44-1) at 132, Dennis Ferro (152) of EI and unbeaten Kenny Gallagher (40-0) of Northport at 170.
Section VIII returns state medalists, Sam Ward (38-1) of Locust Valley at 138 and James O’Hagan (36-1) of Seaford at 285. The green-clad group also points to Jacori Teemer (99) of Long Beach, Peter Pappas (37-0) of Plainview at 106 and Jericho’s Jaison White (34-0) at 160, along with the Plainedge tandem of Robert Ng (42-1) at 182 and Robert Oliver (39-2) in the 195-pound class.
The CHSAA has a talent-laden group with seven champions from St. Anthony’s, including two-time state placer Fred Dunau (138), along with the trio of; John Twomey (38-1) at 113, Ben Lamantia (120) and Joe Russ (38-4) at 126. Chaminade’s Connor Watson (32-2) at 182 is another standout.
Long Island earned 28 at-large entrants to the state meet, Suffolk getting 16 spots and Nassau with 12. This will once again create some interesting LI match-ups at the championships and certainly add to the medal count.
Suffolk finalists that will be in the mix are Tommy Cox (39-4) of DP at 99, Joe Calderone (41-2) of Walt Whit at 112, state placer Mike D'Angelo (36-5) of Commack at 126, Brad Wade (34-2) of Islip at 132, Zach Lugo (42-4) of DP at 152, Matt Porello (36-3) of JG at 160, along with two-time runner-up Erik Adon (38-3) of EI at 170, and Lantze Lange (33-4) of Smithtown West at 195 pounds.
Nassau’s silver medalists include 8th-grader Jonathan Loew (36-6) of Wantagh at 99, two-time finalist Adam Smith (36-3) of EM at 126, Adrian Berry (37-7) of Uniondale at 132, 2012 state runner-up Justin Cooksey (43-5) of MacArthur at 138, Wantagh’s Nick Vines (26-7) at 152 and Julias Diaz (39-1) of Freeport at 160. Others are John Laurenti (32-4) of Seaford at 182, Hamza Ramza (32-3) of Lawrence at 195 and Vincent Manna (36-5) of ITrees in the 285-pound class.
Currently there are 509 high school wrestling programs in the Empire State. Only three states have a single classification for their state championships; California (over 800 high schools), Indiana and New
To all the competitors here this weekend, enjoy your state championship finals, win or lose…