NEW YORK STATE PREVIEW
By Jim & Tony Nordland

      Now in the fifth year with the two-division NYS Tournament format a total of twelve defending champions and three former champions are eligible for the 46th annual New York State Intersectional Championships this season. The site for the 2008 state meet is the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester and a total of 360 grapplers will congregate for the two day competition scheduled for March 8th and 9th, 2008. Due to a scheduling conflict in the area, the tournament will begin on Saturday, with the finals slated for Sunday evening.
     Defending Division I champions include the OSW winner, blue chip senior
Hunter Meys (47-0, 207-10 career mark) of Shenedehowa-2, who will compete at 189 pounds. Two-time titlist junior Paul Liguori (47-0, 135-12) of Wantagh-8 at 119/125 and will seek his third state crown. Other state kings include junior Steven Keith (42-2, 103-14) of Shoreham-Wading River-11 at 112, sophomore Cody Ruggirello (50-2, 125-12) of Valley Central-9 at 112/119 and junior Devon Brown (100-8) of Marathon-4 at 125 pounds.
     Seven returning champions head the field in the Division II Tournament, including two NHSCA national high school champions (sophomore division);
Kyle Dake (43-0, 131-13) of Lansing-4 at 119 and Ian Paddock (44-0) of Warsaw-5 at 130 pounds. Both are ranked nationally, with Paddock placing in both Junior Freestyle & Greco-Roman this past summer at Fargo, ND, they  will be tough to defeat. Also defending their titles will be sophomore Kyle Crisafulli (68-10 career) of Phoenix-3 at 103, sophomore Tyler Marlow (112) of Palmyra-Macedon-5, teammate Alex Ekstrom, a junior at 125/130, along with juniors, Mike Levinger (135) of Letchworth-5 and Kenny Betts of Fredonia-6 at 135 pounds. Also eligible to return are 2006 Division II champions, senior Chris Conti (119) of Fredonia-6 and sophomore Nick Wilcox of Greene-4 at 125 pounds. Wilcox was defeated by the  Paddock in the finals at the 2007 state meet. Former 2005 state king junior Austin Meys (Shen-2) is at 152 pounds.
     State finalists that could return in Division I include the tandem of NHSCA national champions; junior
Zach Clemente (47-3) of LaSalle-2 at 140/145 and tough senior Bryan Bourne (41-3) of Section Five power Spencerport at 171 pounds, Clemente captured two medals at Fargo and Bourne lost in overtime to Michael Chaires last year, both will seek redemption at the 2008 state meet. Other runners-ups are the Popolizio brothers out of Shenendehowa-2, Luke (46-2)  a junior at 103 and TJ (43-5) a senior at 119 pounds, along with sophomore Nick Arujau (51-1) of Syosset-8 at 112, sensational sophomore Stephen Dutton (42-2) of Hauppauge-11 at 125/130, senior Mark Lewandowski (41-4) of Lancaster-6 at 130/135, Fargo double placer, senior Donnie Vinson (39-3) of Whitney Point-4 at either 145 or 152 pounds, Ron Majerus (45-2) of Mexico-3 at 152/160 and two-time state medalist Randy Colling (33-1) of Pioneer-6 at 275 pounds.
     Six Division II finalists should make it back for the state finals include four seniors, two-time runner-up
Derek Brenon (48-1) of Watertown IHC-3 at 160, Josh Mayville (145) of Marion-5, Mike Gresh (171) of Ripley-6 and Hank Penree of Frankfort-Schulyler-3 at either 215 or 275 pounds. Underclassmen that will be in the hunt are freshman Grant Greene (formerly CSH-8, now St. Anthony's-C) at 112 and junior Brett Sewalt (Waverly-4) at 119 pounds.
     Four bronze medalists from Division I that will vie for state crowns are two-time state placer
John-Martin Cannon (152) of Brockport-5, Jose Vasquez (103) of Huntington-11, Brandon Escobar (112/119) of Rocky Point-11 and  double state placer, Brian Benton (125) of Amsterdam-2, all are seniors and will be in contention at the 2008 state meet. Returning Division II placers to watch are Cody Dill (112) of Unatego-4, Eric Velez (125) of Medina-6, Tyler Beckwith (152) of Greene-4, Ryan LeBlanc (171) of MEaton-3 and Nate Schiedel of Caledonia-Mumford-5 at 189 pounds.

At the 2007 NYS Championships, Section Five (Rochester area) won their second consecutive sectional title and now have won five state team titles and became the first section to win both Division I and II team titles in the same year. Section Eleven (Suffolk County) is the state leader with 16 sectional team championships and has 128 NYS champions, followed by Section Four (Binghamton) with 117 individual winners and Section Eight (Nassau County) with 97 titles. Two wild card entrants won state crowns, junior Devon Brown (Marathon-4) and Lance Wade (Islip-11). MOW winner Hunter Meys (Shenedehowa-2) pinned all four of his state opponents last year and now has a remarkable 174 career falls. Currently there are ten NYS prepped wrestlers ranked amongst the best in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News, Kyle Dake (4th), Ian Paddock (5th), Donnie Vinson (6th), Paul Liguori and the Meys brothers Austin and Hunter, all rated 7th, along with Zach Clemente and Bryan Bourne, both ranked 8th, Steven Keith (10th) and Cody Ruggirello (12th). Valley Central coach Lou Ruggirello Sr. won a state title for VC in 1989 at 138 pounds and now both his sons, Cody and Lou, a three-time state king (now at Hofstra), have won state titles. Valley Central-9 will wrestle Section Eleven power Brentwood on Sunday, December 9th at 11:00 AM, followed by the dual with Harvard vs Hofstra at the David S.Mack Sports Complex at 1:00 PM.
Paul Liguori
Kyle Dake
Hunter Meys