NYSPHSAA WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP
By Jim & Tony Nordland
Now in its 15th year of a two-division format, a total of 480 wrestlers will participate in the 56th annual NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships at the Times Union Center on February 23rd and 24th. Among this years participants are 11 defending champions and one former state winner. Defending Division I champions include four-time champion Jacori Teemer (28-0, 216-5 career) of Long Beach-8 at 152. The Arizona State-bound Teemer is one of the Empire State's blue-chip recruits and projects as a 149-pound collegian. A pair of three-time titlists are junior Adam Busiello (42-0, 226-8) of ESM-11 at 126 and MOW Frankie Gissendanner (37-0, 266-11) of Penfield-5, a six-time sectional champ at 145.
Other reigning champions include Greg Diakomihalis (40-0) of Hilton-5, Hofstra recruit Dylan Ryder (38-2) of Hills West-11, both are in the 113-pound class, along with Wantagh's Justin Vines (46-1, 198-26) at 132 and Tyler Barnes (41-0, 163-15) of Ballston Spa-2 at 170 pounds.
Four defending champions head the field in the Division II Tournament. They are led by two-time state king Orion Anderson (35-1, 140-7) of Schuylerville-2 at 126, Anthony Noto (44-1) of Honeoye Falls-5 at 106, Trent Svingala (35-0, 116-3) of Maple Hill-2 at 120 and Hunter Schaut (51-2,189-46) of CVA-3 at 145, along with teammate Jon Charles (48-5, 191-22), a 2016 champion now at 113 pounds.
Section VIII will be led by a solid group of six state meet qualifiers from Wantagh, including state bronze medalist Jonathan Loew (46-1, 30 pins). The Cornell-prospect has an impressive career mark of 230-41, a Nassau County record for wins, he is top-ranked at 195 pounds. Loew's teammates Josiah Encarnacion (48-2) at 106 and James Langan (46-2) at 182 are podium possibles. Other standouts are: Chase Liardi (42-3) of Massapequa at 99, MOW Xavier Pommells (30-5) of Uniondale, Joe Contrastano (29-3) of CP, both at 113, Keith Cassar (120) of Oyster Bay, Jared Altan (126) of Plainedge, Joseph Simons (35-5) of Farmingdale at 138, along with three-time state placer Kyle Mosher (37-2, 182-30) of South Side at 145, John DeRidder (19-1) of CP at 160, Locust Valley's Bailey O'Brien (170) and Elijah Rodriguez (40-4) of Long Beach at 220, 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 a trio of North Babylon standouts, include OSW winner Sean Carter (38-5) at 113, and state placers Anthony Sobotker (138) and three-sport athlete David Miele-Estrella (40-2, 200 career wins) at 170. State finalists heading back to Albany include Nebraska-bound Jake Silverstein (39-2) of Hauppauge at 160 and unbeaten Deonte Wilson (27-0) of Amityville at 285 pounds. Rocky Point has two-time state placer Anthony Sciotto (52-1) at 120, along with teammate Corey Connolly (49-4) at 152. Balancing out the strong team are Jake Eckerele (28-3) of Commack at 106, WM's Rafael Lievano (41-4), Dan Mauriello (37-3) of Hauppauge at 145 and a pair of 182-pounders: state placer JG's Joe Franzese (20-1) and tough Liam McIntyre (36-1) of Westhampton Beach, along with Sayville's Nathan Bauland (39-1) at 195 pounds.
In Division II look for champion Mt. Sinai to have a strong showing, they point to state placer Matt Campo (126) and Champion of Champions Michael Zariff (138), along with Mike Sabella (182) and Jake Croston (195). Other potential champions are state finalist Jordan Titus (36-1) at 106 of Center Moriches, the Bokina twins out of Mattituck: Luke (132) and Jack (145), along with John Carl Petretti (SWR) at 152. Also to watch are MOW Joe Sparacio, an 8th-grader from Bayport Blue-Point, Vincent Miceli (126) of Port Jefferson and John O'Neill (CM) at 160.
The CHSAA has a talent-laden group with state finalist and MOW Terry Adams (39-3) of Monsignor Farrell at 106 , Connor Llewellyn (126) of Chaminade, Iona Prep's Colin Realbuto (138), Michael Marcy (152) of Holy Trinity, along with St. Anthony's teammates: Justin Crawford (145), Maguire Horl (35-8) at 220 and Nicholas Greer at 285.
The state leader in sectional team titles is Section XI with 25. Suffolk County now has 184 NYS champions followed by Section IV with 156 and Section VIII has 127 individual winners. Perhaps the toughest weight class in the Division I Tournament is the loaded 182-pound bracket with the aforementioned Franzese, Langan and McIntyre, along with Jake Logan (37-0) of New Rochelle-1, Jake Cook (41-2) of Ballston Spa-2, Stephen Demong (36-1) of Oswego-3, Charlie Mahon (25-4) of Elmira-4, Sam DePrez (50-2) of Hilton-5, Joe Yanis (43-2) of Minisink Valley-9 and Jacob Ferreira (36-4) of HG-1. In the individual team race look for state dual champion Wantagh (31-0), Section Nine power Minisink Valley (5 qualifiers) and Hilton (4 reps) to challenge for the coveted Division I team title. The sectional team race should be between favorite Section XI, II, V, VIII and IX...
Frankie Gissendanner (Penfield)
NEW YORK STATE TOURNAMENT PREVIEW
To all the competitors, Best of Luck, and enjoy the state championships, win or lose...
Adam Busiello (ESM)
OSW Jacori Teemer of Long Beach is on pace to win his fifth New York State title at this year's NYSPHSAA Tournament in Albany. There has only been one 5-Timer, Troy Nickerson from Chenango Forks.