| 2007 National HS Freshmen/Sophomore/Junior Championships
New York State had a phenomenal showing at the NHSCA Wrestling Championships for underclassmen at the Virginia Convention Center, Virginia Beach, VA. The Empire State won team titles in the inaugural freshmen competition, as well as dominating the sophomore division and finished as runners-ups in the juniors, which featured 705 competitors throughout the nation. In the combined three tournaments, NYS crowned an impressive ten national champions in the three day event.
In the freshmen division, which featured 314 wrestlers from 45 states, New York totaled 203.5 points to finish ahead of Ohio (197), Pennsylvania (171), New Jersey (149) and host Virginia with 92 points. New York State crowned four champions among its six finalists and were led by Hauppauge's Stephen Dutton who won five matches and defeated fellow Long Islander, Anthony Volpe (Rocky Point), 11-1, for the 125-pound title. Other titlsts included Giuseppi Lanzi (Amsterdam) at 130, Tyler Beckwith (Greene) at 152 and Angelo Malvestuto (Niagara-Wheatfield) at 160 pounds. Reaching the finals, before dropping a 5-0 decision to Louis Trujillo (New Mexico) at 119 pounds, was Walt Whitman's Adam Troy. The tournament's outstanding wrestler was Delaware's Sean Dolan who who six matches en route to the 103-pound championship.
In the sophomore tournament, which had 488 competitors, New York amassed 259.5 points to easily outdistanced runner-up PA (185.5), New Jersey (176.5), Ohio (154.5) and perennial power California who finished with 123.5 points.The Empire State contingent was impressive as they garnered five national titles and had two wrestlers meet in the championship finals. In the 112-pound title bout, Wantagh's Paul Liguori (two-time Division I state champion) squared off with Lansing's Kyle Dake (Division II state champion), both grapplers were undefeated during the regular season. In the finals, Dake scored on a takedown on the buzzer to eke out a 3-1 overtime victory. Also claiming national crowns were Ian Paddock (Warsaw) at 119, Zach Clemente (Troy LaSalle) at 135, Ryan LeBlanc (Morrisville-Eaton) at 160 and state meet qualifier Ken Altarac of Troy LaSalle Institute at 215 pounds. Ohio's two-time state champion Collin Palmer (St.Edward) was voted the tournament's outstanding wrestler as he won six bouts, including decisions over New York's Jamie Franco (14-1) and Mike Nevinger (6-2), and cruised to the 130-pound national title.
In the junior field, New York was edged by Pennsylvania 218 points to 195, rounding out the top teams were Ohio (188.5), New Jersey (156), along with California and Utah, who both finished with 133.5 points. Spencerport's Bryan Bourne claimed the lone junior championship as he won six matches and edged Steve Wilson (Ohio), 3-2, for the 160-pound crown. New York's other finalist was Robert Eskander (Webster-Thomas), who dropped a 3-2 decision to Anchorage's Andrew Wilson (Alaska), in the 215-pound final. The nation's top rated junior, Jordan Oliver (Easton, PA) won six bouts, including a 21-5 tech fall in the finals, and dominated the 119-pound class, for his efforts he was voted the tournament's OSW Award.
Congratulations to NHSCA Associate Director Joe Boardwine, along with both Robert and Jeanne Ferraro, for an excellent run tournament. During the height of the underclassmen tournaments a total of twenty mats were used during the competition. Paul Liguori (135-12 career mark) and Kyle Dake (131-13) are two of the nation's top lightweights and will probably battle over the next two years. Next year's event is scheduled for March 26th -30th, at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia Beach, VA...