|2007 NEW YORK STATE TOURNAMENT PREVIEW|
|Corey Jantzen (Shoreham Wading River) at 135 pounds will lead a strong Section XI contingent.|
|Returning State champion, Eduardo Delgado of Long Beach will lead the Nassau County squad at 152 pounds.|
NEW YORK STATE TOURNAMENT PREVIEW
By Jim & Tony Nordland
Now in the fourth year with the unpopular two-division NYS Tournament format a total of thirteen defending champions, and five former winners are entered in the 45th annual New York State Intersectional Championships. The site is the Times Union Center (Pepsi Arena) in Albany, and a total of 480 grapplers will congregate for the two day competition, on March 2nd & 3rd.
Defending Division I champions include, the top-rated 135-pounder in the nation, Corey Jantzen (30-0, 162-7 career mark) of Shoreham-Wading River-11 at 135 pounds, along with other nationally ranked matmen, Eduardo Delgado (36-0, 185-32) of Long Beach-8 at 152 and Michael Chaires (36-0) of CBA-2 at 160 pounds. That trio will be tough to beat. Other returning state kings are sophomore Paul Liguori (43-0, 130-12) of Wantagh-8 at 112, Tyler Mashkow (37-0, 151-16) of Islip-11 at 125 and wild-card entrant, Ryan Lamagra (35-2) of Webster-Thomas at 189 pounds.
Seven reigning champions head the field in the Division II Tournament including two-time titlist Colin McDonald (37-1) of Waverly-4 at 171 and former Division I winner, Jeremy Cuomo (35-1) of Schalmont-2 at 112 pounds, also at 112 is junior Chris Conti of Fredonia-6. Other winners include freshman Nick Wilcox (119) of Greene-4, sophomore Alex Ekstrom (125) of Palmyra Macedon-5, David Perrigo (38-1) of Gouverneur-10 at 140 and Mike Kampnich (29-0, 17 pins) of General Brown-3 at 145 pounds.
Four former state champions from 2005 include the Paddock brothers out of Warsaw-5, Ian, a sophomore at 119 and Paul, a senior at 160, both are nationally ranked, along with sophomore Austin Meys (140) of Shenendehowa-2 and Nick Kubinski of South Lewis-3 at 130 pounds. Senior Kyle Ingraham (16-2), of Canandaigua-5, a 2004 titlist qualified as a wild card entrant at 145 pounds.
Seven Division I state finalists that are seeking redemption include Kevin Smith (26-1, 16 pins) of Mexico at 130 pounds. Smith is the first five-time Section Three champion and has placed four times in the state tournament, including three attempts in the finals, along with a 5th place finish at the 2006 meet. He was voted the OSW Award in Section Three. Other state finalists include 8th-grader Casey LaNave (112) of Chenango Forks-4, junior Zack Ellis, also at 112, from Brighton-5, sophomore Jamie Franco (119) of Monroe-Woodbury-9, wild card entrant Lance Wade (33-4, 136-21) of Islip-11 at 152, Jake Koshinski (171) of Niagara-Wheatfield-6 and Cornell bound Maciej Jochym (40-0, 132-10) of Herricks-8 at 215. Two former finalists return, Marc Zurla (36-2) in 2005 of North Rockland-1, as a wild card entrant at 125 pounds and Matt Maricher (130) of Iroquois-6, who finished as a runner-up in 2004.
Division II runners-ups include wild card entrant, sophomore Brian Stevens (112) of Holland Patent-3, sophomore Ken Kampnich (26-1) of Watertown-3 at 119, Jared Lemke (125) of Alden-6, Rich Berkowitz (130) of Nanuet-9, Mike Kampnich (29-0, 17 pins) of General Brown-3 at 145 and junior Derek Brenon (30-0, 21 pins) of Watertown IHC-3 at 152 pounds.
Bronze medalists from Division I that will vie for state crowns are freshman Cody Ruggirello (103) of Valley Central-9, rugged Dan Mandara (125) of Canandaigua-5, three-time bronze placer senior PJ Gillespie (37-0, 210-29) of Long Beach-8 at 145, Ron Majerus (26-1, 16 pins) of Mexico-3, also at 145, two 160-pounders; Matt DeMichiel (19-1) of Whitesboro-3, and junior Bryan Bourne of Spencerport-5, along with Eric Schuth (39-1) of Brockport-5 at 189 pounds. Schuth has defeated state champion, Ryan Lamagra twice this season, and they could meet again in the championship finals.
Third-place finishers from Division II include lightweight phenom Kyle Dake (112) of Lansing-4 at 112, four-time sectional champion Mike Gomez (39-0) of Locust Valley-8, also in the tough 112-pound class, wild card entrant, Sam Damthongmivahn (130) of Pembroke-5, Joe Widrick (32-0) of Beaver River-3 at 135, Brandon Gould (152) of Windsor-4 and junior Nate Schiedel of Caledonia Mumford at 171 pounds.
In the sectional team race, Division I defending champion, Section Five (Rochester) boasts a strong squad and points to 8th grader Bob Dierna (96) of Wayne, Alex Marianetti (103) of Greece Athena, Torsten Gillespie (38-2) of Webster-Schroeder at 135, he is the younger brother of two-time state champion and All-American, Gregor, now at Edinboro, along with tough junior John-Martin Cannon (145) of Brockport and Rob Eskander of Webster Thomas at 275 pounds. Perennial power Section Eleven (Suffolk County) will seek their 17th team title and have a talented team with sophomore Steven Keith (34-2) of SWR at 96, Brandon Escobar (32-3) of Rocky Point at 103, John Reyes (36-1, 100-28) of West Babylon at 112, freshman Stephen Dutton (38-1) of Hauppauge at 119, Paul Vaeth (35-1, 161-20) of Islip at 140, OSW winner Jim Kaden (33-0) of Walt Whitman at 152, Ian MacIneirghe (31-0, 20 pins) of East Islip at 215 and Christian Wintons (22-0) of Islip at 275 pounds. Long Island's Section Eight (Nassau County) will also be in contention and look to Syosset teammates, Dan Arnel (32-2) at 96 and freshman Nick Arujau (32-0) at 103, along with the Massapequa tandem of Shane Strumwasser (25-1, 115-29) at 125, and Mike Doria (29-3, 76-24) at 130 and Tom Rispoli (36-3) of East Meadow at 135, MacArthur's Dan Mahoney (31-2) at 171 and Pat Daddino (39-0, 148-23) of Sewanhaka East at 189 pounds. Other top sections are Section Four (Binghamton), Section Two (Albany), Section Six (Buffalo) and Section Three (Syracuse), those areas have talented grapplers that will challenge for state titles. Section Four has 8th grader Derak Heyman (112) of Tioga, OSW winner, junior Andy Canale (37-5) of Tioga at 119, could reach the finals, Johnson City's Leigh Tobias (130) and Peter Capone (135) are highly touted, along with tough Donnie Vinson (140) of Whitney Point. Vinson (35-2), a junior, had finished as sectional runner-up the past three seasons and is a solid contender for state gold. Other top prospects are Tioga teammates, Josh Peters (189) and Justin Rogers at 215 pounds. Section Two has the Popolizio brothers from Shenendehowa, Luke (96) and TJ (112), along with teammate Hunter Meys at 171, others to watch are Brian Benton (119) of Amsterdam, Zach Clemente (135) of LaSalle and Matt Kaylor of Burnt Hills at 145 pounds. Section Six has Zach Lange (135) of Niagara Wheatfield, Kyle Gibas (189) of Starpoint and junior Randy Colling of Pioneer at 275 pounds. All will be in the mix for medals and will pose strong challenges. Section Three looks to junior Winky Shepard (31-1) of Central Square at 125, Matt Bogardus (22-2) of Fulton at 152 and Tyler Peter of Mexico at 275 pounds. Other outstanding individuals entered in the Division I tournament are Justice Flamio (96) of Mahopac-1, wild card entrant Matt Rich (42-2) of Plainedge-8 at 103, two-time state placer Stephen Russ (28-2) of St. Anthony's-C in the loaded 112-pound class, Jeremiah Biddle (37-6) of Minisink Valley-9, a wild card entrant at 119, state medalist Dom Oddo (125) of Mahopac-1, Mike D'Amato (135) of Valley Central-9, Anthony Piazza (28-3) of Chaminade-C at 140, state medalist Cory Lempka of Minisink Valley at 145, Kadeem Samuels (40-3), a 5th place state finisher of Fordham Prep-C at 189 and Noel Clarke of Arlington-1 at 215 pounds.
Defending Division II team champion, Section Three has many talented small school teams and has state title hopeful in freshman Kyle Crisafulli (26-0, 16 pins) of Phoenix, sophomore Justin Widrick (31-2) of Beaver River at 112, wild card entrant Justin Lister (145) of South Jefferson and Ryan LeBlanc (31-1) of Morrisville Eaton at 160 pounds, all will be in the hunt for gold medals. If Section Three falters, look for Section Four to claim the small schools team crown. The scarlet-cladded contingent has Cody Dill (103) of Unatego, junior Garrett Morabito (125) of Susquehanna Valley, Justin Davy (130) of BGA and Justin Wolcott of Waverly at 140 pounds.
Section Eleven has a state leading 16 sectional team championships and has 125 NYS champions, followed by Section Four with 110 individual winners and Section Eight with 94 titles. Both Section XI and V have 10 wild card entries, followed by IV, with 9 entries. Last year's OSW winner, Corey Jantzen is only the seventh wrestler to claim four county titles and has 82 consecutive victories,he placed seventh at the Midland Championships. The last high school wrestler to place at the Midlands was PA's Cary Kolat (3rd at 126) in 1992. Jantzen's first round opponent is JC's Peter Capone. Other tough opening bouts are CHSAA OSW winner, Taylor Golba (34-2) of St. Joe's vs the aforementioned Alex Marianetti at 103 and Vinson vs Mike Fennell (38-2) of Commack at 140 and state king LaMagra vs Daddino at 189 pounds. In both divisions, the 112-pound class has many talented athletes, possible final matchup in Div. I could be Liguori vs LaNave and in Div. II, there are two state champions,Conti in the top bracket and lodged in the lower half is Cuomo. Also in that loaded class is Gomez, Dake, and Stevens. In Div.I, in the 125-pound class, Mashkow opens up with Shepard and could face the winner of Zurla or Mark Lewandowski (Lancaster-6) in a semi-final, while in the lower bracket look for Mandara and Strumwasser to battle in another semi-final. Possible Long Island final, Mashkow vs Strumwasser. In Div.II, at 125, is four-time sectional champion Mike Castellano (34-2, 96-18) of John Glenn, he has tough opening foe with Morabito. Also in that weight is Ekstrom, Lemke and Chad Condidorio of LeRoy-5. Another tough weight class in Div. II, is the 171-pound bracket which features returning two-time champ McDonald, Adam Roberts of Beekmantown-7, whose opening opponent is Matt Griffo (21-3) of Babylon-11, along with state placers Nate Graham of Ravena-2 and tough Nate Scheidel. Arkansas now has wrestling and becomes the 49th state to have programs, only the state of Mississippi doesn't have wrestling. The Washington state wrestling tournament is known for using 24 mats concurrently at the Tacoma Dome. The 2008 NYS meet is scheduled at The Blue Cross Arena in Rochester. Now only three states have single classification for their state championships, California, Indiana and New Jersey.
Best of Luck to all the wrestlers in the NYS Championships...