December 2011
By Jim & Tony Nordland

     According to the
Amateur Wrestling News the top team in the Empire State is Longwood HS, Long Island, they are currently ranked # 36th in the nation. The Lions are led by a trio of NY state place-winners; Corey Rasheed (126), Malik Rasheed (138) and Nick Hall at 160 pounds. Nassau power Wantagh HS won the Long Beach Tournament with 331 points over the host Marines. The Warriors crowned six champions among their ten finalists; Jose Rodriquez (99), Chris Araoz (126), Vinny Turano (132), Danny McDevitt (145), Chris Loew (171) and Sean Tomlinson at the newly created 195-pound class. Congratulations to the return of legendary coaches Paul Gillespie and Reggie Jones, Jr. The tandem of Gillespie-Jones will bring Wantagh to a different level, as the Warriors boast a solid line-up in all 15 weights. Perhaps, along with Longwood, are amongst the top two teams in the state. Other highly-regarded mat squads are Shenendehowa, Johnson City, St. Anthony's, Long Beach, Fox Lane, Spencerport, Hauppauge, Connetquot and Chenango Forks

     The top returning individuals are four-time state place
r Brian Realbuto (4-1-3-1) of Somers at 152 pounds. Realbuto (230-11 career) won the National Junior Freestyle championship this past summer and is cleary the blue-chipper in the state, he will take his mat skills to Cornell University in the fall. Other standouts include All-American and state champion Quinton Murphy (243-11) of Holley at 138, along with two-time champion Chris Nevinger (Letchworth) and James Kloc (Iroquois). Kloc (211-29) is a Div. I champ and Nevinger (205-24) represents Div. II, both might compete at 160 pounds. Also to watch are defending state kings; Lucas Malmberg (106) of Marathon, Kyle Kelly (106-113) of Chenango Forks, sophomore William Koll (113) of Lansing, Nick Tighe (126) of Phoenix, Connor Sutton (160) of LaSalle and Salamanca's Ben Haas at 152 pounds.

     At the
Super 32 HS Championships recently held in Greensboro, NC, two New York grapplers placed among the elite in the nation. Jamel Hudson (St. Anthony's) finished 4th at 132 and John Keck (Shoreham-Wading River) took an impressive bronze medal at 152 pounds. Both are highly-touted matmen on both Long Island and in the state this season.

     Congratulations to
Al Bevilacqua and his son Chris as being the first fathher-son inductees into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum Order of Merit in the same year. Al Bevilacqua is a former Massapequa HS and Hofstra wrestling coach, he has been involved and promoting wrestling on all levels for the past 47 years. Chris was a 1981 Nassau County champion at Berner HS and a two-time All-American at Penn State. He is the founder and CEO of the Bevilacqua Media Company. The induction ceremonies are June 1-2, 2012 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

AWN's annual  "Face of the Franchise" features Hofstra great Nick Gallo in the December issue. Gallo (Deer Park HS) was a fourth-pace finisher at the state meet and went on to claim the NCAA title along with the OSW Award in 1977 at 126 pounds. Gallo (104-14 career) later won a Silver medal for the U.S. World Team and became the Pride's  wrestling coach in 1979. During his three-year tenure at Hofstra, Gallo compiled a 34-19 mark including 10 NCAA qualifiers. Today, along with lifetime friend Neil Duncan, he is the VP at T.W. Promotions. Gallo has been an integral supporter of scholastic, collegiate and international wrestling for the past 30 years and in 2000, he received the National Wrestling Hall of Fame's Lifetime Achievement Award. Congratulations to Nick on this outstanding honor.

     In some recent NCAA dual meets,
Army upset Iowa State, 23-22, and SUNY-Binghamton (ranked #25th in the country) upended Army, 20-13. Ohio State won the Cliff Keen Invitational (Las Vegas, Nevada) with 129 points. Coach Tom Ryan (Wantagh HS) and the Buckeyes crowned three champions and former Johnson City state champion Peter Capone finished second at 285 pounds. Cornell landed in sixth place with 89.5 points and were led by NCAA two-time titlist Kyle Dake. Dake won five bouts en route to the 157-pound crown and defeated TJ Hepburn (Neb-Kearney), 4-0, in the finals. Hofstra had an impressive showing as the Pride finished in tenth place with 59.5 points and had three place-winners; Steve Bonanno (3rd at 125), Paul Gillespie (2nd at 165) and Justin Accordino (8th at 149). Gillespie, a returning All-American, dropped a close 4-2 decision to top-seeded Shane Onufer (Wyoming) in the title bout. Other former NYS wrestlers that placed were; Harvard's Steven Keith who captured the bronze medal at 133, Joe Booth (6th at 165) of Drexel and Michael Nevinger of Cornell who finished 8th at 141 pounds.
    Currently there are 17 New York prepped wrestlers ranked in the NJCAA and NCAA Divsion I rankings. The top junior college prospects are
Anthony Abidin ( 133), Mick Meinsen ( 141), Mac Malderelli (149), Kyle Wade (157), Ryan Fox (165) and David Agu at 285 pounds. Abidin, Meinsen and Wade are former New York State champions. Head coach Paul Schmidt looks to the aforementioned matmen to propel Nassau CC to a top ten finish at the NJCAA Championships this year.

     Listed below is a compilation of the top New York wrestlers currently competing on the NCAA Division I mats this season. The following is a tenative line-up of that group and are led by two-time NCAA champion
Kyle Dake (65-4 career mark). Dake is seeking his third national title and hopes to become the first NCAA Division I wrestler to win three titles at three different weights.


125- Steve Bonanno (Jr) - Wantagh HS - Hofstra
133- Steven Keith (Jr) - Shoreham Wading River HS - Harvard
141- Steve Dutton (Soph) - Rocky Point HS - Lehigh
149- Donnie Vinson (Jr) - Whitney Point HS - Binghamton
157- Kyle Dake (Jr) - Lansing HS - Cornell
165- Paul Gillespie (Sr) - Long Beach HS - Hofstra
174- Hunter Meys (Jr) - Shenendehowa HS - Boston University
184- Nate Schiedel (Jr)- Caledonia-Mumford HS - Binghamton
197- Christian Boley (Soph) - Brockport HS - Maryland
285- Peter Capone (Soph) - Johnson City HS - Ohio State
December 2011
Longwood's Corey Rasheed
Harvard's Steven Keith
Al Bevilacqua and Massapequa Alumni