By Jim & Tony Nordland

     Now in its 12th year of a two-division format, a total of 480 wrestlers, including 14 defending champions and three former state winners, will participate in the 53rd annual NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships at the Times Union Center on February 27th and 28th.

     Defending Division I champions include three-time champion and Oklahoma State bound Nick Piccininni (222-5 career) of Ward Melville-11 at 126, two-time winner sophomore Yianni Diakomihalis (44-0, 173-3) of Hilton-5 at 120, eighth-grader Jacori Teemer (37-2, 96-4) of Long Beach-8 at 106 and Vito Arujau (41-0, 131-1) of Syosset-8 at 132, along with Chris Mauriello (39-3, 201-20) of Hauppauge-11, now in the 160-pound class. Kyle Quinn (34-1, 156-16) of Wantagh-8 was a 2013 champion and will seek redemption at 113 pounds.

     Nine defending champions head the field in the Division II Tournament led by Norwich-4 teammates Tristan Rifanburg ( 42-1, 176-7) at 145 and Frank Garcia (42-1, 24 pins) at 152. Others are Dane Heberlein (49-2) of Alexander-5 at 113, Hunter Dusold (28-2, 116-28) of Locust Valley-8, Matteo DeVincenzo (37-0, 108-3) of Port Jefferson-11, former champions Tony Recco (45-2) of Lyndonville-5 and unbeaten Derek Spann (54-0) with 39 pins of Adirondack-3, in the loaded 120-pound class. Others are Kellen Devlin (126) of Amherst-6, Alex Herringshaw (37-3) of Holland Patent-3 at 160, Trevor Allard (45-1, 219-53) of Mexico-3 at 170 and Nathanael Rose (30-0) of Eagle Academy-P at 195 pounds.

     State finalists from 2014 that return in Division I include Adam Busiello (40-1) of ESM-11 at 99, Peter Pappas (37-3) of Plainview-8 at 120, Jesse Dellavecchia (41-0) of East Islip-11 at 132, Jakob Restrepo (47-0) of Sachem East-11 at 152 and Vin Feola (38-3) of Walt Whitman-11 at 220 pounds.


   At the 2014 NYSPHSAA Championships, in Division I, Section XI claimed their state leading 22nd sectional team title. Suffolk County now has 164 NYS champions followed by Section IV with 150 titles and Section VIII with 116 individual winners. Long Island earned 31 at-large entrants to the state meet, Suffolk getting 21 spots and Nassau with 10. This again will create some interesting LI match-ups at the Intersectionals and certainly add to the medal count.

   Section VIII returns state medalists Nick Casella (36-2, 152-28) at 132 and Sam Ward (12-1, 178-34) at 138, both hail from Locust Valley, along with Jake Einbinder (40-2) of Bethpage at 145. The green-clad group also points to Kyle Mosher (32-4) of South Side at 99, OSW Alex Vargas (36-4) of Syosset at 120, a pair of unbeatens, Ricky Stamm (42-0) of Levittown Division at 138 and Anthony Fitzsimmons (36-0) of Calhoun at 170, along with pinner Tom Lane (38-2) of Garden City at 182. Port Washington has two state entries: Sam Goldman (39-2) at 126 and Elmer Mendez (31-2) at 220.The Nassau group also looks at Elias Kokalis (34-1) of GNS at 152, two-195 pounders: Andrew Rakitzis (36-2) of Plainedge and tough Deny Tavarez (40-1) of Freeport, along with Roosevelt’s Monair McDonald at 285 pounds.

   Section XI is once again loaded with talent in every weight class. The navy blue-clad contingent returns state place-winners Anthony Sparacio (106) of North Babylon,Tristin DeVincenzo (175 wins) at 132 of Port Jefferson, Mike D’Angelo (45-1) of Commack, Brad Wade (35-3) of Islip, both at 138, Harvard-bound and LIs winningest wrestler Thomas Dutton (44-0, 257-28) of Rocky Point at 145 and David Hamil (42-1) of Deer Park at 182. Other standouts include Hauppauge teammates Jake Silverstein (39-3) at 106 and the Bisono boys; Francisco (37-4) at 170 and his cousin Marcus (35-6) at 182, along with three-time Suffolk champion John Arceri (38-1) at 113. The Blue Devils also have state meet qualifiers; Brandon Mendez (160) and JP Puca (170). Balancing out the strong team are Deer Park’s Tommy Cox (43-3) at 106, MOW Ed Matyka (120) of Riverhead, along with the John Glenn trio of Matt Porrello (152), Brandon Aviles (45-1) at 160 and Edwin Rubio (37-1) at 285.Top-seeded Christian Araneo (39-1) of Ward Melville at 195, Anthony DiMatteo (220) of Sachem North and Sean Dee (45-3) of Sachem East in the 285-pound class, once again make the Suffolk squad the pre-tournament favorite.

   The CHSAA has a talent-laden group with four champions from St. Anthony’s including state bronze medalist and Michigan-bound Ben Lamantia (39-1, 158-22 ) at 126, other Friar champions are Justin Crawford (106), Kyle Buser (170) and Nick Fortini (26-12) at 285. The section also points to state placer Tito Colom (47-4, 125-21) of St. Francis at 113 and Richie Jones (44-4, 213-60) of St. Joseph’s at 182. OSWs Ronaldo Rodriguez (138) of Xaverian and Jake Braunscheidel (195) of St. Francis, along with Monsignor Farrell’s Mike Newman (30-2, 90-20) give them an ambitious team.

Best of Luck to all the wrestlers, enjoy your State Championships.


Chris Mauriello

Nick Piccinnini



Hunter Dusold

Yianni Diakomihalis

Kyle Quinn

Jacori Teemer

Vito Arujau