LONG ISLAND RETURNS 5 STATE CHAMPIONS & 3 FINALISTS
                                     
By Jim & Tony Nordland
                         
   Long Island has five returning state champions;
Mike Soria (33-0, 102-25) of Kings Park-11 at 103, Grant Greene (32-2, 135-9) of St.Anthony's-C at 119, Nick Arujau (36-0, 181-7) of Syosset-8 at 125, Stephen Duttton (45-0, 223-12) of Rocky Point-11 at 140 and Andy Rodriguez (31-0, 189-25) of Central Islip-11 at 145 pounds. Arujau is a two-time winner and a three-time placer (2-1-1) and Dutton is a three-time medalist (2-3-1). Both are "blue chip seniors", Arujau is headed for American University, and Dutton will take his mat skills to Lehigh next year.
   Three LI finalists will seek state crowns, two-time state palce-winner
Damon McQueen (38-1, 112-9) of Huntington-11 at 119, Nick Terdick (36-0, 134-11) of John Glenn-11 at 152 and highly-touted Matt Loew (39-1, 158-34, 85 pins) of Wantagh-8 at 189 pounds.

   Section XI will be led by state kings, Soria, Dutton and  Rodriguez, along with runners-ups, McQueen and Terdick.
Max Soria (34-2, 104-18) is Mike's twin brother, was a Fargo finalist, and received a forfeit win in the sectional finals from his brother Mike, both hope to meet in the 103-pound finals. Dutton has eclipsed Jesse Jantzen's (SWR) wins record on Long Island. Jantzen (221-3) won six county titles, four state crowns and an NCAA championship, along with the OSW Award in 2004, while competing at Harvard. Dutton, a four-time state meet qualifier, now stands with an incredible mark of 223-12. Dutton, along with his Rocky Point teammates, Anthony Volpe (40-1, 218-19) and Billy Coggins (42-1, 215-21) at 171, are solid contenders for state gold. Huntington HS the state leader with 23 individual champions has two-time placer McQueen (3-2) and unbeaten Nigel McNeil (34-0, 119-15) at 112. Three unbeaten grapplers will contend for titles; Hauppauge freshman Mark West (39-0) at 96, John Glenn's Nick Meinsen (37-0, 138-7) at 130 and John Wilkinson (30-0) of West Babylon at 285 pounds.
   Section V points to Dierna,
CJ Howard (38-0), of Pittsford at 135, Letchworth's Bucky Hendrickson (140), three quality 145-pounders; Digravio, Spencerport's Paul Morabito, and Chris Nevinger (38-0) of Letchworth, along with Angelo Dinottia (285) of Olympia. Section VIII has Arujau and Loew to pace the green-clad squad, along with Wantagh's tandem of Joe Barbato (35-3) at 103 and Joe Kavanagh (34-1) at 171. Other standouts include OSW winner Daniel Cataldi (26-1) of Great Neck South at 140, James Ondris (38-3) of Massapequa at 152 and David Ng (44-0) of Plainedge at 215. Two-time champion Arujau is seeking his third state crown and hopes to become only the fifth wrestler from Long Island to capture three state titles. He has a 120-match win streak and is on the verge of breaking the Nassau record of 122 straight wins, set by Wantagh's Paul Liguori. Section II boasts a strong upperweight trio of state placers; Gallo, Nick Gwiazdowski (215) of Duanesburg and Zeal McGrew (215) of Burnt Hills, along with Noah Valastro (45-2) of Hudson Falls at 112, Curt Thompson (45-3) of Whitehall at 125, Shenendehowa's John Belanger (135) and state medalist Giuseppi Lenzi of Amsterdam at 152. Section III has Crisafulli, along with unbeaten Sean Hanson (37-0) of South Jefferson at 125, OSW winner Derek Pfluger (38-0, 30 pins) of Sandy Creek at 135, Austin Hayes (35-0) of Phoenix at 171, and DJ Ingham (39-2, 28 pins) of Fulton at 215. Section IV looks to two-time state placer Sean McCormick (112) of Johnson City, teammate Lance Moore (285), along with lightweights Tristan Rifanburg (96) of Norwich, and Corey Dake (112) of Lansing. Corey is the younger brother of high school national champion Kyle (now at Cornell), who is currently the top-ranked 141-pounder in the nation. Other key matmen are Windsor's Colton Perry (119), Justin Hyde (130) of Union-Endicott, and the Chenango Forks' trio of Casey LaNave (a wild card entry at 130), Rickey Bronson (145) and Jordan Barnett at 152. Section VI points to returning champion Colling, Steve Michel (96) of Lancaster, along with Niagara-Wheatfield teammates, bronze medalist Angelo Malvestuto (43-0) at 189 and state placer Jim Donner at 285 pounds. Look for the CHSAA to have a strong showing at the state meet. St. Anthony's returns three All-State performers; Greene, Chris Brienza (42-1) at 103 and Jimmy Morris (38-3) at 112. Other top grapplers are Lenzi, Monsignor Farrell teammates, Tony Carlo (58-3) at 145 and Ben Villaret (58-2) at 152, along with the Chaminade duo of Troy Sampson (37-6) at 140, and Brendan Fowler (32-0) at 215 pounds.
    Congratulations to the Empire State's #1 ranked mat squad, John Glenn HS (21-0), the Knights also have a 57-match win streak.
LONG ISLAND RETURNS
FIVE CHAMPS
TO NYS TOURNAMENT
                            
Mat Notes...
    Now in the seventh year with the two-division NYS format a total of 13 defending champions and five former winners are eligible for the 48th annual New York State Public High School Athletic Association State tournament this season. The 2010 state meet is at the Times Union Center in Albany and a total of 480 grappplers will congregate for the two-day competition on February 26th and 27th.

     Defending Division I champions are sophomore
Brian Realbuto (174-11)of Somers-1 at 112 and Vinnie Digravio (37-3, 194-34) of Section Five power Wayne at 145 pounds. Oklahoma bound Kyle Colling (44-0, 156-34) of Pioneer-6, won the Div. II state crown last year, and has moved into Div. I this season, he will be at 215 pounds.
      Former Division I titlists that will seek redemption at 2010 state meet are unbeaten
Bob Dierna (37-0, 163-9) of Wayne-5 at 130, three-time medalist Cody Ruggirello (1-2-3) of Valley Central-9 at  135 and Andrew Lenzi (35-0, 162-15)of Fordham Prep-C, also at 135 pounds.

     Five returning champions head the field in the Division II Tournament, including Fargo double placer unbeaten
Tyler Beckwith (232-10) at 171, of Greene-4, and teammate Nick Wilcox (212-9) at 130 pounds. A pair of Peru-7 lightweights will defend their titles; sophomore Jacob Goddeau (103) and two-time champion junior Arik Robinson (118-8) at 112 pounds. The other reigning state champion is junior Derak Heyman (196-19) of Tioga-4 at 140. Previous winners include sophomore Quinton Murphy (125) of Holley-5 and three-time finalist Kyle Crisafulli (1-2-2) who is 39-1 on the season, and boasts a career mark of 204-20 of Phoenix-3 at 119 pounds.

     State finalists that return in Division I include junior
Stephen Rodrigues (125) of Fox Lane-1, two-time silver medalist Justis Flamio (125) of Mahopac-1, and the aforementioned Lenzi.

     Division II runners-up that will vie for championships ar
e Colton Dalberth (112) of Marion-5, previously mentioned Crisafulli and Murphy, junior Craig Scott (39-1, 189-17) of Palmyra-Macedon-5 at 160, along with Vinny Gallo of Schalmont-2 at 189 pounds.

   Both Beckwith and Colling won NHSCA national junior titles last year. Only three states in the nation have single classification for their state championships; California, Indiana and New Jersey.
  
At the 2009 State Tournament, Section XI (Suffolk County) won their state leading 17th sectional team title and garnered 19 place-winners. The navy blue-clad contingent has crowned 134 NYSPHSAA champions, followed by Section Four (Binghamton) with 126 titles and Section Eight (Nassau County) with 103 individual champions.
   The NYSPHSAA Championships will be held at the Times Union Center in Albany through 2012.
 
To all the Wrestlers, enjoy your state championships, win or lose.
Nick Arujau
(Clockwise from top left): Andy Rodriquez, Stephen Dutton, Grant Greene, and Mike Soria.