THE MAT SLAP’S


                                                              By Jim & Tony Nordland

     Now in its 13th year of a two-division format, a total of 480 wrestlers, including 15 defending champions and six former state winners, will participate in the 54rd annual NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships at the Times Union Center on February 26th and 27th.

     Defending Division I champions include three-time champion junior and MOW Yianni Diakomihalis (50-0, 228-3) of Hilton-5 at 138, two-time titlists, sophomore Jacori Teemer (45-0, 145-4) of Long Beach-8 at 126 and Vito Arujau (43-0, 179-1) of Syosset-8 at 132. Both Arujau and Diakomihalis have verbally committed to the Big Red of Cornell. Also returning are freshman Adam Busiello (44-0, 134-7) of ESM-11 at 106, John Arceri (41-0, 178-22) of Huntington-11 at 126 and sophomore Frankie Gissendanner (45-0, 187-10) of Penfield-5 at 145 pounds. Other reigning champions include Louie DePrez (46-0, 200-29) of Hilton-5 at 170, MOW Kevin Parker (37-1, 206-5) with 31 pins of Shenendehowa-2 at 182 and Princeton-bound Christian Araneo (38-0, 170-29) of Ward Melville-11 at 195 pounds. Former winner from 2014  Chris Mauriello (41-1, 246-37) of Hauppauge-11 is in the 152 pound class.

     Six defending champions head the field in the Division II Tournament led by Holland Patent-3 teammates, Hunter Richard (43-2, 214-24) at 145 and Alex Herringshaw (42-2, 248-32) at 170. Others are A.J. Burkhart (33-3, 106-11) of Waverly-4 at 106, Jon Gomez (104-6) of Locust Valley-8 and Theo Powers (49-3, 219-46) with 30 pins of Mexico-3, both at 120 pounds, along with Kellen Devlin (45-1, 253-16) of Amherst-6 at 132. State titlists from 2014 are Dane Heberlein (54-2, 192-11) of Alexander-5 in the talented 120-pound class, Hunter Dusold (28-2) of Locust Valley-8, Matteo DeVincenzo (32-0, 144-4) of Port Jefferson-11, and 2013 winner Derek Spann (49-1, 38 pins) of Adirondack-3. The aforementioned trio are lodged in the loaded 126-pound bracket.

     State finalists from 2015 that return in Division I are Jake Silverstein (36-3) of Hauppauge-11 at 120, two-time silver medalist Peter Pappas (32-2, 144-7) of Plainview-8 at 132, Nick McShea (33-2, 143-22) of Monroe-Woodbury-9 at 220 and unbeaten Edwin Rubio (38-0, 140-11) of John Glenn-11 in the 285-pound class.

    Division II runners-ups are Orion Anderson (22-1, 89-5) of Schuylerville-2 at 106, freshman Jacob Nolan (77-6) of Saranac-7 at 120, Jake Kurzhals (138) of Pearl River-1 at 138 and Jason Hoffman (28-3, 150-27) of Hadley-Luzerne-2 at 160 pounds.



   At the 2015 NYSPHSAA Championships in Division I, Section XI claimed their state leading 23rd  sectional team title. Suffolk County now has 171 NYS champions followed by Section IV with 155 titles and Section VIII with 120 individual winners. Once again, Long Island will have a large supporting group of at-large entrants, as they earned 26 spots, including 2015 sectional champion Alex Vargas (31-2) of Syosset and runner-up Garret Gibbons (38-6) of Massapequa, both at 126, along with Rocky Point matmen; Anthony Sciotto (99), Jack Gold (132) and CJ Archer (36-1) at 138 pounds. In the Div. I team race look for Section XI as the clear favorite and top challengers should be Section VIII (Nassau), Section V (Rochester area) and Section II (Capital region). In  Div. II; Sections III (Syracuse area), IV (Binghamton) and Section V will battle for the team crown.


   Section I has a cast of state placers, Justin Lopez (40-1) of Yonkers at 106, Anthony Sulla (31-3)  of North Rockland at 113 and MOW Nunzio Crowley (36-2) of Eastchester at 170 pounds. Other top prospects include Randy Earl (49-2) of John Jay at 120, Matt Grippi (39-1) of Fox Lane at 138, Brady Robin (47-2) of Arlington at 145 and Grant Cuomo (152) of Brewster. Also to watch are Clifton Wang (170) of Edgemont, Alex Melikian (182) of Lakeland, Mike Dinardo (33-2) of Mahopac and Connor Breit (Nanuet), both at 195, along with Brewster’s Mike Larm (285) give them an ambitious team.


   Section II will be paced by Trent Svingala (34-1) of Albany Academy at 99 and a quartet of champions from Columbia; Michael Gonyea (32-2) at 106, Trent Nadeau (45-0) at 113, John Devine (31-3) at 120 and undefeated Dylan Dubuque (30-0) at 195. Other stalwarts for the Capital Region in their newly-fashioned singlets are Christian Gramuglia (41-3) of Burnt Hills at 138, Eoghan Sweeney (34-2) of Niskayuna at 160, Tyler Barnes (38-3) of Ballston Spa at 170, Joe Messare (42-2) of Burnt Hills at 220 and Ravena’s Keith Houghtaling (39-0) in the 285-pound class.


   Section III looks to lightweights Matt Griffin (33-2) of CBA at 99 and Kelan McKenna (31-2), a three-time state placer from New Hartford and Trey LaFlamme (35-3) of South Jefferson, both at 113.  Other Central NY standouts are Audey Ashkar (41-1) of Liverpool, unbeaten Ryan O’Rourke (50-0) of Adirondack, both at 132 and Sonny McPherson (42-2) of Indian River at 170. Also to watch are Max Edmond (44-1) of Central Square, Joe Hennessey (42-1, 26 pins) of Adirondack, both at 182, MOW Jack Buell (35-1) of Sherburne at 195 and General Brown’s Ricardo Dawkins (37-2) at 220 pounds.


   Section IV has returning state placers Chris Cirigliano (30-0) of BGAH at 113, Brandon Gould (43-0) of Watkins Glen at 132, Garyn Huntley (285) of Oxford, along with unbeaten Kobe Garrehy (41-0, 24 pins) of Maine-Endwell at 152 pounds. The Southern Tier also points to Isaiah Colgan (28-2) of Johnson City at 138, Nate Grubman (40-1) of Whitney Point at 145 and Watkins Glen’s rugged Ian Chedzoy (40-1) at 182 pounds.


    Section V’s best includes Hilton’s Greg Diakomihalis (44-2), an eighth-grader at 99, Austin Hertel (37-2) at 120 and Mike Spallina (38-5) at 182. Standouts include Victor teammates Mike Venosa (46-2) at 126 and Tristen Ierlan (42-1) at 160, along with Derek St. James (132) of Gates-Chili, Parker Kropman (43-3) of Penfield at 138, Brockport’s Jake Sweet (43-2) at 195, William Bolia (40-1) of Fairport at 220 and unbeaten Cameron Rohr (35-0) of Irondequoit at 285. Other top prospects are Drew Schafer (44-2) of Palmyra-Macedon at 106, Connor Wilkins (50-1) of Livonia at 113, state bronze medalist and MOW Aaron Paddock (46-2) of Warsaw at 182, along with Jacob Cupp (31-0) of Bath-Haverling at 285 pounds. 


   Section VI has bronze medalist Mitch Seaver (39-0) of Lockport at 106, along with state placers, Anthony Argentieri (20-2) of Kenmore West at 120, AJ Putt (32-4) of Maple Grove at 113, Brad Bihler (43-2) at 138, four-time state placer Dakota Gardner (45-2) of Fredonia at 152 and Jake Kubala (39-3) of Newfane at 195. Other top prospects are Ryan Hetrick (43-4) of Maple Grove at 120, MOW Zack Bierfelt (36-3) of Olean at 152, Jake Peru (41-1) of Falconer at 195 and Laith Alsous (31-1) of Lewiston Porter at 285 pounds.


   Section VII has state medalists Carson Dobozy (113) of Peru and Will Marcil (170) of Saranac. Saranac also has MOW Bryce Smith (99), along with returning state meet qualifiers Johnny Devins (132) and Colby Staley at 195. Other podium possibles are Northern Adirondack’s Roland LaPoint (126) and Austin Trombley at 145. Peru has Colin Hogan (138) and Nick Bushey at 160.


   Section VIII returns state placers Kyle Mosher (38-6) of South Side at 120 and Ricky Stamm (37-2) of Levittown Division at 160. The green-clad group also points to Justin Vines (39-0) of Wantagh at 113, OSW Josh Bourne (32 wins) of Long Beach at 120, along with teammates Tyrese Byron (37-4) at 152 and Tyreek Bromley (37-4) at 182. Others to watch are Lucas Pincus (46-3) of Hewlett the fourth-seed at 138, Chris Ponce (44-2) of Division at 145, Shawn Mosca (160) of Carle Place, Jeremy Hughes (41-4) of MacArthur at 170, Bryce Dusold (182) of Locust Valley, along with Paul Brachfeld (36-3) of Massapequa at 195, Arjuna Bello (220) of Division and Mike Curiel (46-1) of Hewlett at 285 pounds. That upperweight group should bolster a very strong squad.


   Section IX has a trio of state place-winners, Evan Barczak (41-4) of Monroe-Woodbury at 145, MOW Ryan Ferro (26-3) of Warwick the top seed at 152, AJ Aeberli (44-2) at 160, along with PA state placer Charlie Johnson (36-4) of Warwick at 138 pounds. The Monroe-Woodbury tandem of Kevin Kelly (32-3) at 126 and Kendall Elfstrum (38-5) at 182, along with Noah Curreri (37-3) at 152, Kevin Morgans (195), both from Eldred-Liberty, and Joe Humphrey (39-4) of Middletown at 285 pounds give them a formidable team.


    Section X’s Gouverner High School has 11 state meet qualifiers including state placer Joey Bush (145), Derick Stowell (138) and Austin Milone at 170. Malone, with eight champions, looks to Sam Searles (96), Thomas Trombley (113) and James Hubbard at 120. Others are the Perrine brothers, Gavin (132) and Hunter (160) of Massena and Tanner Lapiene of Ogdensburg at 132.


   Section XI is once again loaded with talent in every weight class.The navy blue-clad contingent returns state place-winners Tommy Cox (40-1) of Deer Park, Anthony Cirillo (34-2) of Rocky Point, both at 113, MOW Anthony Sparacio (32-0) of North Babylon at 120 and Jack Taddeo (38-3) of SWR at 145. Other standouts include Dylan Ryder (40-1) of Hills West the top seed at 99, the Bokina twins Luke (106) and Jack (113) from Mattituck, Brett Brice (32-1) of Longwood at 138, along with Hauppauge teammates Ben Tepperman (37-5) at 126 and Marcus Bisono (33-4) at 170. Balancing out the strong team are Huntington's Kyle Mock (39-1) at 132, John Busiello (44-2) of ESM at 145, Mattituck’s James Hoeg (39-3) at 170, Terron Robinson (40-1) of Walt Whitman and Lindenhurst’s Jon Solorzano (40-2) in the 285-pound class.


   The CHSAA has a talent-laden group and points to the Colom brothers from St. Francis; Tito (120) and Hector (132), along with Matt Seitz of Monsignor Farrell at 126. Others to watch are MOW Adam Santoro (160) of Fordham, along with St. Anthony’s teammates, Russell Kohler (195) and Maguire Horl at 220 pounds.


   The PSAL has a parade of champions from Petrides; Kevin Velez (106), Brandon Foster (113), Amir Johnson (126), Jason Fallon (145) and Joseph Arniates at 195. Eagle Academy has Daniel Bogle (138), Vance Cuffe (170) and Jayson Gomez at 285 pounds.


          Best of Luck to all the competitors. Enjoy the state championships, win or lose.