TOURNAMENT PREVIEW
By Jim & Tony Nordland 

     Now in the tenth year with the two-division format a total of seven defending champions and three former winners qualified to participate in the 51st annual NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships. The 2013 state meet is at the Times Union Center in Albany and a total of 480 grapplers will congregate for the two day competition scheduled for February 22nd and 23rd.

     Defending Division I champions include two-time titlist
Kyle Kelly (32-0, 140-9 career mark) of Chenango Forks-4, sophomore Nick Piccininni (39-0, 135-3) of Ward Melville-11, both are at 113, and could be headed for a frenetic final on Saturday night. Two-time state placer and returning champion Dylan Realbuto (33-1, 182-24) of Somers-1 and former 2010 winner Mark West (30-2, 155-15) of Hauppauge-11, who was voted the OSW Award in his section, could vie for the gold medal in the 126-pound bracket.

     Four reigning champions head the field in the Division II Tournament,
Sean Peacock (45-3) of Midlakes-5 at 120, a pair of 138-pound titlists, two-time champion Nick Tighe (44-3, 248-30) of Phoenix-3 and Connor Lapresi (27-1, 64-2) of Lansing-4, along with nationally ranked Zack Zupan (41-2, 199-23) of Canastota at 182 pounds. Other former champions that seek redemption are William Koll (38-3) of Lansing-4 at 126 and unbeaten Tristan Rifanburg (38-0, 150 career wins) of Norwich-4 at 132 pounds.

     At the 2012 NYS Championships,
Section Eleven claimed their 20th sectional team title. Suffolk County now has 152 state champions, followed by Section Four with 141 and Section Eight with 108 individual winners. All three of those sections return strong squads and Section XI is once again loaded with talent in every weight class. The navy-blue contingent return a myriad of state place-winners, including two finalists, Corey Rasheed and Tyler Grimaldi. Three-time state placer Corey Rasheed (2-5-2 ) is a junior from Longwood with a season mark of 30-0 and boasts 197 career wins, he is the favorite at 152 pounds. Tyler Grimaldi (37-1) of Hills West is also favored in the 160-pound class. Returning state medalists include Alex Tanzman (33-1) of Westhampton Beach at 106, TJ Fabian (42-1) of SWR at 126, Matt Leshinger (41-1, 151-26) of Sayville at 132, Gio Santiago (38-1) of Sachem North at 182, Nick Lupi (31-1) of Huntington at 220 and perennial pinner Mike Hughes (38-0, 29 pins) in the 285 pound class. Other top prospects include two outstanding lighweights, John Arceri (Huntington) and Jesse Dellavecchia (EI), both at 99, Travis Passaro (120) of ESM, Tommy Dutton (46-2) of Rocky Point at 138, tough Carlos Toribio (170) of Brentwood and a pair of unbeatens, Brendan Dent (37-0) of Connetquot at 145 and East Islip's Chris Chambers (41-0, 100 career wins) in the 195-pound class. Division II standouts are four-time champions Michael Menzer (35-5) of Center Moriches at 113, OSW winner Ryan Hake (33-3, 150 career wins) of Bayport-Blue Point at 145 and three-time titlist Tomasz Filipowski (34-2) of Mattitick at 170 pounds.

  Section Eight returns state medalists Rob Person (37-2) of BJFK at 120 and unbeaten Dan McDevitt (37-0, 162-25) of top-ranked Wantagh at 170 pounds, along with Warrior teammates Kyle Quinn (106), Chria Araoz (126), Vinny Turano (132) and James Corbett (32-2) at 182 pounds. The green-clad group also points to eighth-grader Vito Arujau (44-0) of Syosset at 99, the Locust Valley tandem of state finalist Nick Casella (113) and Sam Ward (132), along with MOW Owen Bachelder (126), the first county winner from Hewlett and Louis Hernandez (47-1, 101 career wins) of Mepham at 145. Others that will vie for state honors are unbeaten Chris Koo (38-0) of GNS at 152, MacArthur's Steven Schneider (44-3) at 160, Dan Choi (34-2) of Syosset at 195, Thomas Sinclair (42-4) of Island Trees at 220 and Seaford's James O'Hagan (34-1) at 285 pounds.

CHSAA has a talent-laden contingent with a quartet of St.Anthony's grapplers that could garner medals, Ben Lamantia (34-3) at 113, Joe Russ (36-2) at 120, 2011 state placer Freddie Dunau (126) and John Vrasidas (34-1) at 170. Chaminade has two quality qualifiers with Declan Gray (43-4) at 152 and Dan Fowler (32-2) at 195. Other potential placers are MOW Sam Melikian (38-1) of Fordham Prep at 132, Monsignor Farrell's duo of Andrew Psomas (160) and Matt Roberts (182), along with Chris Alianakian (285) of Kellenberg.

Mat Notes...
   Long Island
earned 29 At-Large Qualifiers (wild cards) with Suffolk getting 19 spots and Nassau with 10. Commack teammates Mike D'Angelo (120) and Dan Fiorvanti (182), along with Sachem East's Conor O'Hara (132)  are three representatives that will be in the mix in their respective weight classes. Nassau also points to finalists Chris Donnelly (106) of Island Trees and Mike Fera (126) of Manhasset, along with Lynbrook's Matt Mott (33-1) at 285 as potential placers.
    At both 160 and 170 pounds, the top two seeds went to a Nassau and Suffolk wrestler. At 160,  #1
Tyler Grimaldi could meet #2 Steven Schneider and at 170, it could be to top-rated Dan McDevitt vs #2 Carlos Toribio. We might see two intriguing Long Island finals.
   Currently there are 509 high school wrestling programs in the Empire State. There are only three states that have a single classification for their state championship; California (with 800 high schools), Indiana and New Jersey.

To all the competitors, enjoy your state championship finals, win or lose...
Kyle Kelly
Nick Piccinnini
Mark West
Corey Rasheed
Tyler Grimaldi
Rob Person
Dan McDevitt
Nick Casella
Freddie Dunau