Now in its 14th year of a two-division format, a total of 480 wrestlers, including 14 defending champions and two former state winners, will participate in the 55th annual NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships at the Times Union Center on February 24th and 25th.
Defending Division I champions include three-time champions junior Jacori Teemer (24-1, 174-5) of Long Beach-8 at 132 and Vito Arujau (33-0, 212-1) of Syosset-8 at 138, along with sophomore Adam Busiello (31-1, 181-8) of ESM-11 at 120 and junior Frankie Gissendanner (41-1, 229-11) of Penfield-5 at 152 pounds. Four-time state winner Yianni Diakomihalis was sidelined by a season- ending injury and will finish his stellar high school career with an unbelievable 241-3 mark and a state record of 208 consecutive victories. Arujau now has a 170-match win streak and Diakomihalis finished with a state record 201 consecutive wins. They will be college teammates for the Big Red of Cornell next season. Other reigning champions include the Hilton-5 tandem of two-time titlist Louie DePrez (46-0, 256-29) at 182 and Yianni's younger brother Greg Diakomihalis (42-0) at 113, along with Ryan Ferro (34-0) of Warwick Valley-9 and thrower Terron Robinson (35-1, 122-24) of Walt Whitman-11 at 220 pounds.
Six defending champions head the field in the Division II Tournament. They are led by a a pair of two-time gold medalists Hunter Richard (43-0, 31 pins) of Holland Patent-3 at 152 and Dane Heberlein (57-1) of Alexander-5 at 132, along with Jon Charles (48-2) of Central Valley-3 at 106, Orion Anderson (34-1, 99-6) of Schuyerville-2, Matt Caccamise (33-2) of Wayne-5, both at 120, and Andrew Tanner (40-3, 29 pins) of Adirondack-3 at 285. Former state titlists are Locust Valley teammates Jon Gomez (126) and Hunter Dusold lodged in the loaded 132-pound bracket.
State finalists that return in Division I are Dylan Ryder (37-1) of Hills West-11 at 106, John Devine (38-1) of Columbia-2 at 126, Matt Grippi (Fox Lane-1), Peter Pappas (34-0) of Plainview JFK-8, both at 152 and Ryan Ellefsen (36-2) of Goshen-9 at 195 pounds.
Division II runners-up coming back to Albany are John Worthing (29-0) of Tioga-4 at 99, Phoenix-3 teammates Cahal Donovan (37-2) at 120, and Ross McFarland (40-4) at 152, along with Tanner Cook (51-1) of Central Valley-3 at 145, Shawn Mosca (170) of Carle Place/Wheatley-8 and top-seeded Joe Benedict (42-2) of Sandy Creek-3 in the 195-pound class.
At the 2016 NYSPHSAA Championships, in Division I, Section XI claimed their state leading 24th sectional team title. Suffolk County now has 180 NYS champions followed by Section IV with 156 titles and Section VIII with 122 individual winners. At the 2017 state meet Long Island wrestling will have an entourage of at-large entrants, this should keep defending sectional champion Suffolk and Nassau atop the team standings. Between the two sections, they landed seven top seeds in both divisions: Busiello, Vines, Gomez, Teemer, Arujau, Schuyler and Zagarino. Some interesting match-ups could see: Busiello vs Cirillo (2nd seed) in a final, DePalma vs Scutellaro in a quarterfinal (rematch of the Nassau final), all at 120 pounds, Ben Tepperman vs Austin Hertel (Hilton) in a 126 quarterfinal bout and a possible semi-final skirmish could see Robinson (2nd seed) vs Caffrey (3rd seed) at 220.
In the Divison I Tournament Long Beach has a parade of 9 state meet qualifiers, defending individual team champion Hilton-5 has 6 entries and Wantagh has four state participants, one of those schools should claim the team award. Division II should be a close team race between Locust Valley and Mattituck. The Falcons have the aforementioned Gomez and Dusold, along with OSW Gage DeNatale (120) and Bailey O'Brien at 160. Suffolk power Mattituck has 8 state meet qualifiers, including the Bokina twins, Luke (42-5) at 120 and Jack (44-3) at 126. The Tuckers also have state medalists James Hoeg (46-2) at 195 and top-seeded Tanner Zagarino (36-2) in 220-pound class.
Section VIII will be led by a solid group from Long Beach. State placers Matt Maquet (132) and Tyreek Bromley (33-6) at 182 return along with John Coletti (145), Tyrese Byron (38-6) at 152, Joe Giorlando (170) and unbeaten Elijah Rodriguez (40-0) at 195. Wantagh has a trio of potential finalists with Josiah Encarnacion (47-2) at 99, state medalist and top-seeded Justin Vines (33-3) at 126 and tough Jonathan Loew (48-1, 174-35) at 160. Earning wild card berths were the Simons brothers: 2016 county champion Joe (120) and older brother Darrin (45-3) at 170, along with Farmingdale teammate Kevin DePalma (47-6) at 120. Massapequa has county winner Hunter Scutellaro (34-5) at 120, along with the Gibbons brothers: Shane (145) and Garrett (152). Other podium possibles are Plainedge's Jared Altan (37-5) at 113, the Lynbrook duo of Joe Becker (106) and Matt Swanson (132), John DeRidder (CP/Wheatley) at 182, along with Uniondale's Zach-Knighton Ward at 220. Two-time placer Kyle Mosher (36-5) of South Side at 138, Lucas Pincus (42-2) of Hewlett at 145, MOW Brandon Van Cooten (Sew West) at 182 and Ryan O'Shea (31-1) of MacArthur at 285 give the green-clad group a formidable team.
Section XI is once again loaded with talent in every weight class. The navy blue-clad contingent will be paced by the Rocky Point tandem of pinner Anthony Sciotto (43-2) at 113 and two-time state placer Anthony Cirillo (21-4) at 120. Other standouts include Hauppauge teammates Ben Tepperman (36-0) at 126, 2015 state finalist Jake Silverstein (37-1) at 138 and John Munro (35-3) at 285. Also in the medal mix will be: the ESM tandem of Christian Gannone (37-4) at 99 and Zach Redding (37-4) at 106, along with Mark Matyka (99) of Riverhead, Pat-Med's Chris Gomez (45-2) at 132, state placer Phil Spadafora (145) of Hills East, the Sims twins out of Lindenhurst, Billy (152) and Max (160), along with Mt. Sinai's Jason Shlonsky at 170. Possible finalists include a pair of unbeatens Zach Ancewicz (28-0) of John Glenn at 170 and Sam Schuyler (38-0) of Kings Park at 195, along with JG's highly-touted Damien Caffrey (38-1) at 220. Balancing out the strong team are Nick Munsch (160) of Commack, Joe Eiden (35-4) of Sachem East at 170, Islip's Greg Hodulick (44-3) at 195 and rugged Deonte Wilson (33-2), a junior from Amityville, in the 285-pound class.
The CHSAA has a talent-laden group with two champions from St. Anthony’s: Dutch Schultz (152) and Nicholas Greer (285), along with Monsignor Farrell's Terry Adams, a possible finalist at 99 and Michael Lanza (160). Other top prospects are MOWs Joseph Lanciotti (138) of St. John the Baptist and Dominic Thomas (145) of St. Francis, along with Chaminade's TJ Toles (18-3) at 182 pounds.
To all the competitors, Best of Luck, and enjoy the state championships, win or lose.
Vito Arujau and Yianni Diakomihalis
NEW YORK STATE INTERSECTIONAL TOURNAMENT PREVIEW