By Jim and Tony Nordland

Four returning  LI state champions lead the field at the 61st annual NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships

at the MVP Arena in Albany, on Feb. 23rd-24th. There are a total of 560 wrestlers that will compete in the prestigious two-day event.

Nassau County has sophomore Dunia Sibomana (39-2-0, 105-11 career) of Long Beach at 108 pounds. Looming in the bottom bracket is reigning state king Cooper Merli (46-4) of Newburgh-9.

Suffolk County boasts three returning state kings; two-time champion Matt Marlow (38-3, 159-13) of Northport at 124 pounds, along with Division Two titlists junior Tommy Aiello (30-5, 106-13 ) of John Glenn at 108 and Brayden Fahrbach (35-0, 195-19) of Mt. Sinai at 138 pounds. Both Marlow and Fahrbach are top-seeded at the NYS Championships in their respective weight classes.

Long Island has a large contingency of county champions as well, including Wantagh twins, the Clem brothersAnthony (43-3,156-12) at 124 and Joseph (53-3, 160-18) at 131 pounds, both are returning state finalists and will seek their elusive state gold medal in their senior campaigns. Other Nassau champions are Long Beach eighth-grader Ethan Andreula (35-2) at 101, he could meet top-ranked William Soto (47-0) of Newburgh-9 in an epic quarterfinal bout, MOW Jesse Vanorden (42-2, 182-17 career) of Wantagh at 152 and gridiron standout Vincent Petzold (48-2) of Plainedge at 285, both drew the second seed. The Section VIII green-group also has county finalist Will Russell (38-3) of Manhasset at 108, #2-ranked freshman Carlos Salazar (23-6) of Hewlett at 116 and a quartet of Plainedge matmen; Shane Dobbins (29-6) at 124, top-seeded junior Luke Nieto (47-1) at 138, Kyle Carter (42-5) at 145, along with sophomore Devin Downes (50-1) at 170 pounds. Lodged in the top tier of the 145-pound bracket is returning state runner-up Liam Carlin (40-3) of Burnt Hills-2.

Nassau Division Two county winners include; Island Trees junior MOW Joseph Filocamo (28-8) at 138, along with the Cold Spring Harbor tandem of Raymond McNulty (28-3) at 145 and junior Greyson Meak (37-1, 132-27), a returning state finalist at 190 pounds. Meak is ranked #2 and could face nemesis and ESC and reigning state champ Tavio Hoose (43-1) of Southwestern-6, in a potential gold medal match .Other titlists to watch are Locust Valley teammates eighth-grader Finnegan O'Brien (33-1) at 124 and Charles Kelly (29-6) in the 215 pound class. O'Brien could square off against top-rated ChristopherNoto (37-0) of HFL-5 in the quarterfinals.

Suffolk stalwarts in Division I are returning state runner-up junior Connor Sheridan (29-4, 94-14) of Hauppauge at 108, MOW Anthony Severino (34-1), a junior from Lindenhurst, he could meet eighth-grader Matthew McDermott (38-2) of Smithtown East in a bottom bracket prelim at 116. Top-seeded Evan Gursoy (23-0) of Midwood-P. is an ESC champion and a possible finalist. Others are Miller Place's Michael Giugliano (44-4, 199 career wins) at 131, along with eighth-grade phenom Camryn Howard (41-0) of Bellport at 138 pounds. Howard could be pitted against Sayville junior Leo Mongiello (36-5) in a quarterfinal skirmish. The Section XI blue-cladded contingent also points to returning state placer Anthony Lagala-Ryan (43-2) of Longwood at 108, and a trio of county titlists; Tyler Viscardi (33-3) of Smithtown East at 131, EI's Anthony Avitabile (43-1) at 145, Brentwood junior and #4 rated  JasonKwaak (30-1), unbeaten Christopher Reddy (38-0) of Bay Shore at 160 and rugged Zach Miller (37-1) of Islip in the loaded 190-pound bracket.

Division Two reigning county champions are the tandem of SWR freshman Gavin Mangano, (47-1) a state finalist, now top-seeded at 131, tough Chris Colon (41-4) at 124 and highly-touted Kyle Barber (33-5) of Bayport-Blue Point at 145 pounds.

The CHSAA points to Lucas Griffin (29-9) of Chaminade at 101 and St. Anthony's Justin Castillo (42-5) in the loaded 124-pound class.


The Empire State boasts blue-chippers; the aforementioned Matt Marlow, a University of Pitt commit and Brayden Fahrbach, who will head south to Appalachian State, along with Cameron Catrabone (40-1) of Williamsville North-6 at 152, a pair of juniors PJ Duke (35-0) of Minisink Valley-9 and Yianni's younger brother Elijah Diakomihalis (42-0) of Hilton-5 at 190 pounds. Catrabone will take his mat skills to the University of Michigan next season, Duke will attend Penn State and Diakomihalis will stay close to home, and join the Big Red of Cornell.

Congratulations to the Class of 2024 NYS Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame inductees; Patrick Conners, Jason Bovenzi and the late Vincent Altebrando from Walt Whitman.

NYS dual meet champion Plainedge-8 has seven state meet qualifiers and will battle perennial power Minisink Valley-9 (8 qualfiers) for the Division I individual team title. In Division II, powerhouse Tioga-4 with six sectional champions, is the solid favorite for the team trophy. In the Division I sectional team race,

defending champions, Section Nine (Catskills) are the favorite, but both Long Island sections with a total of 133 wrestlers in the tournament have formidable squads that will challenge for the title.



Herrick's 2022 state titlist Joseph Manfredi was unbeaten on the season. He was injured in the first period of his his second round match at the Nassau County Championships. He was a solid favorite in the state at 145 pounds.

Returning state champion Matt Marlow (38-5, 159-13 career) from Northport works for a takedown on Brentwood's Kendrick Pellici to win 21-6 in the semi-finals. Marlow went on to capture the 118 pound title and was voted the OSW Award . Marlow won his second NYS Championship and recently placed 5th at the NHSCA Nationals.

Junior Tommy Aiello (30-5,106-13 career) led John Glenn to the Division II Suffolk County Championship. Aiello, now at 108 pounds, went on to to win the 2023 New York State Championship.

Long Beach's sophomore standout Dunia Sibomana (39-2, 105-11 career) is the favorite in NYS at 108 pounds.

New York State Champion  Brayden Fahrbach ( 35-0,  195-19 career) of Mt. Sinai now is top-seeded at 138 pounds.