February 2004

                                                        By Jim & Tony Nordland

   The Empire State's number-one ranked team is Spencerport who finished the season a perfect 16-0. The Rangers a perennial power in both Section Five (Rochester area) and the state pushed seven wrestlers into the sectional finals and emerged with two champions, as they claimed their 15th Section V team championship in the last 16 years. Winning titles were freshman Bryan Bourne (119) and unbeaten senior Alex Baxter (39-0) at 189 pounds, both posted falls in the championship finals. Finishing as runners-up were; Eric Piedmonte (103), Brett Woodward, who dropped a 3-2 decision to highly-touted Kyle Ingraham (Canandaigua) at 119, Mike Terenzi (140), Adam Snook (145) and Matt Legas at 160 pounds. Coach Bill Jacoutot's dual mark is 271-23-1 during his 23-year tenure at Spencerport and his overall coaching ledger is a remarkable 305-29-2. They boast an 111- match win streak in Section Five, with their last dual meet loss back in 1994, when they lost 27-25, to rival Canandaigua.The program has 110 kids on the junior high school level and about 55 grapplers that fill the JV and Varsity squads. Coach Jacoutot's assistant coach is his son, Bill Jr., and the school's first coach was Leo Bernabi followed by the legendary Walt Tieke.The storied program has crowned nine NYS champions, including the school's first winner, two-time state king and OSW winner Frank DeAngelis in 1974. DeAngelis went onto earn All-American status and finished his collegiate career as an NCAA runner-up at Oklahoma University. Many opposing coaches point to one reason for their continued success and that is hard work, others note that the Spencerport wrestlers expect to win. The experts are right as Spencerport has earned the season-ending top ranking four times, 1993, 2001, 2002 and 2004...Trevor Chinn and Canandaigua assistant coach Marty King, a former two-time state champion (1983-84), are the only wrestlers from Section Five to qualify for the state meet five times...Section Four (Binghamton area) has won the sectional team trophy six times and at the 2004 state meet they should have formidable squads in both Division I (large schools) and Division II (small schools). The scarlet cladded contingent boasts a total of five returning state champions, tough Tyler Mumbol, J.P. O'Connor, three-time champion Troy Nickerson, two-time king Chris Hand and Arthur Jones. Winning the tough Section Four Tournament  was Union-Endicott with 191 points, followed by Johnson City (176), Vestal (154), Chenango Forks (152) and Whitney Point (138). UE had four sectional champions, Dan Blaine (103), Scott Osman (130), Josh Jones (189) and Arthur Jones at 275 pounds...Section Six (Buffalo)  points to top prospect Kane Smith (39-0, 153-37 career) of Salamanca at 189 pounds as a potential state champion. Smith dropped a 3-2 decision to Massapequa's Mike LaBella (189) in the quarterfinals at the 2003 state meet and LaBella went onto claim the state crown...Section Eight (Nassau) power MacArthur won their fourth consecutive county team championship, as they tallied 171.5 points and finished ahead of Long Beach (153), East Meadow (143.5), Massapequa (136.5) and Plainedge (102.5). The Generals crowned two champions, sophomore Steve DeLorenzo (34-2) at 112 and former champion Bruce Popko (32-4) at 119 pounds... Section Nine's (Catskills) top team was Valley Central as they scored 209.5 points to outdistance rival Minisink Valley (186.5) and Monroe-Woodbury (143.5). VC had four titlists; Lou Ruggirello (96), Sean Bauer (112), Ricky Scott (171) and Ed Bordas at 215 pounds. Ruggirello, Scott and Bordas are 2003 state placewinners and will vie for state titles. VC head coach Paul Cummings and assistant Lou Ruggirello now have led the Vikings to their eleventh sectional title. The program has had three state champions, their first state winner was Lou Ruggirello who won the 138-pound title in 1989...Section Eleven (Suffolk) winner of 14 sectional team titles saw Huntington capture their ninth county title. The Blue Devils edged Islip, 183.5 to 170, and garnered four champions, including unbeaten Shawn Riley (3rd in NYS) at 130, Shaheim Bradshaw (145), Jack Sullivan (189) and Pierre Delva at 215 pounds. Islip had defeated Huntington in the tough League V Tournament, 273 to 243, and in their dual, 36-21. Other top teams in the county  were East Islip (123), Shoreham-Wading River (116) and League I power Brentwood (113)...In the CHSAA Championships, Chaminade amassed 366 points to easily defeat rival St. Anthony's (194) and Kellenberg (183.5). The Flyers had three champions among their nine finalists, their winnere were; Brian McMenamin (152), three-time champion Neil Franciotti (160) and James Kenny at 189 pounds. Chaminade coach George Dlugolonski has now crowned 94 Catholic State Champions and one NYS champion, Rob Murphy (1986), during his 31-year tenure. The 2004 state meet is scheduled for the Alumnia Arena in Buffalo and the 2005 meet is slated at the Pepsi Arena in Albany. Five New York prepped wrestlers are ranked by
Amateur Wrestling News, Troy Nickerson (1st at 119), Trevor Chinn (3rd at 145), Alton Lucas (5th at 152), Chris Hand (2nd at 152) and Arthur Jones (5th at 275). Also a trio of high school wrestling experts with AWN recently ranked New York State high school wrestling as the eighth best in the country. At the top of the rankings were Pennsylvania, Ohio and California...Nassau CC (10-0)  won its second consecutive NJCAA Division III (non-scholarship) title recently in Rochester, Minnesota. The Lions scored 117.5 points to finish ahead of Ridgewater, Minn. (65) and William Rainey Harper (55.5). Coach Paul Schmidt, now in his ninth season and 2003 JUCO coach of the year, had a record seven All-Americans, including two finalists. Finishing as runners-ups were East Meadow's Chris DeLuca (149) and reigning champion Freeport's Carlos Patrick (165). Other placewinners were  Brentwood's  Starlin Jimenez (5th at 125), Bay Shore's John Cummings (4th at 157), Ithaca's Hanif Abdush-Shahid (3rd at 174), Baldwin's Chris Weidman (3rd at 197) and Port Jervis' Jon Adriac who finished third at 285 pounds...
Spencerport coaches Bill Jacoutot, Sr. and Jr. help their team (below) to a 16-0 season.    Alex Baxter en route to a 5th place finish at 189 pounds.