by Jim and Tony Nordland

     Section Five won their second consecutive Division I team title as they edged Section Eleven, 274.5 points to 264.5. The Rochester area crowned four champions, including Brockport's Eric Schuth (40-1) who decisioned defending champion Ryan Lamagra (39-3), 1-0, for the 189-pound crown. Other titlists include Dan Mandara (38-4) of Canandaigua at 125, Desi Green (140) of Rush Henrietta and Matthew Hodge of Webster-Thomas at 275 pounds. Rounding out the team scores were Section Two (225), Section Eight (203) and Section Six with 147 points. Of the six returning Division I state champions, only three were able to successfully defend their titles. Sophomore Paul Liguori (47-0, 135-12 career mark) of Wantagh dominated four opponents en route to the 112-pound crown and now has won 86 consecutive matches.Liguori was relentless with his single leg takedowns and his tight bar-arm tilts. Others included the top-rated 135-pounder in the nation, four-time state medalist Corey Jantzen (35-0, 179-7) of SWR, was impressive in claiming his second state championship at 135, and Michael Chaires (50-0, 221-19) of CBA-2, who needed overtime to captured his second state title. Reigning champions Tyler Mashkow (42-1, 156-17) of Islip dropped his opening bout and won five consecutive matches to finished in third place. at 125 pounds and Long Beach's Eduardo Delgado (39-1, 188-32) was defeated by Lance Wade (38-4, 141-28) of Islip. Wade used his strong single leg takedowns and tight ride to defeat Delgado, 5-3, and claimed his state crown at 152 pounds. Long Island wrestlers that captured state titles were sophomore Steven Keith (42-2, 103-14) of SWR, at 96, four-time state placer, PJ Gillespie (41-0, 214-29) of Long Beach at 145 and Cornell bound Maciej Jochym (43-0, 136-16) of Herricks, who posted three falls to claim his title at  215 pounds.Three LI grapplers finished as runners-up, the aforementioned Delgado, and a pair of freshmen, Nick Arujau (35-1) of Syossset at 103 and Stephen Dutton (42-2, 93-10) of Hauppauge. Arujau opened a 2-0 lead but Valley Central's Cody Ruggirello (50-2, 125-15) applied his bar arm ride and secured a fall at the 5:01 mark. Dutton worked for the initial takedown and was then caught in a cement mixer/stepover and flattened in the second period by Marathon sophomore Devon Brown (28-2, 100-8) for the 119-pound crown. In one of the more exciting and entertaining bouts in the finals, Iroquois' Matt Mariacher (48-0, 192-31) squared off with Leigh Tobias (36-4) of Johnson City in the 130-pound final. Mariacher used his quickness and single/double change over takedowns  to narrowly defeat Tobias, 7-6, as time expired in their hard fought bout. Shenendehowa junior Hunter Meys (47-0, 207-10) dominated the 171-pound bracket as he pinned all four opponents, and used his overhead cradle to record a first period fall in the finals. Meys had three first period pins and his aggregate time was four falls in 6:55, for his efforts he was voted the tournament's outstanding wrestler award.
     In the Division Two Tournament, Section Five dominated all other sections and amassed 472.5 points to easily outdistanced defending team champion, Section Three (286) and Section Six with 214. The purple-cladded contingent crowned five champions, including the Paddock brothers, Ian (44-0), a sophomore at 119 and Paul (47-0) a senior at 160, along with teammate Billy Romasser at 215 pounds. Ian Paddock scored a 15-0, 5:00 tech.fall over reigning champion Nick Wilcox of Greene. Defending champions that successfully defended their titles were sophomore Alex Ekstrom (125) of Palmyra Macedon, Gouverneur's David Perrigo (44-2, 172-33) at 140 and tough Mike Kampnich (40-0, 183-28) of General Brown at 145 pounds. Two-time winner Colin McDonald (43-2. 193-27) of Waverly was defeated by Ravena's Nate Graham, 8-5 overtime, for the 171-pound title. In the marquee match of the Division II finals, sophomore Kyle Dake (43-0, 131-13) of Lansing controlled the match with previously unbeaten Mike Gomez (42-1, 145-12) of Locust Valley. Dake opened  the bout with a fireman's carry takedown and added back points for a 5-0 lead. In the third period he used a pancake and flattened Gomez at the 5:25 mark for the 112-pound crown,and was voted the outstanding wrestler in the tournament.
Four-time state place finisher, P.J. Gillespie of Long Beach-8  finally won his state title this year at 145 pounds.
Marcia Haise became the first female to officiate in the NYS Championships.
Section Eleven has a state leading 16 sectional team championships and has 128 NYS champions, followed by Section Four with 117 individual winners and Section Eight with 97 titles. Section Five became the first section to win both Division I and II team titles in the same year, they now have claimed five sectional team crowns and have 69 state champions. Two wild card entrants won state titles, Devon Brown and Lance Wade. Marcia Haise (Babylon) became the first female to officiate in the NYS Championships, she represented Section Eight, and is the wife of former NYS Hall of Fame coach, Terry, who is the Section Eight chairman. Corey Jantzen is only the seventh wrestler to claim four county titles and finished with 86 consecutive victories. He is the only high school wrestler from New York to compete in the Midlands and placed seventh at the prestigous Championships The last high school wrestler to place at the Midlands was PA's Cary Kolat (3rd at 126) in 1992. He is one of two high school wrestlers on Long Island  that won a state title whose father is a wrestling coach, his Dad, Don is the SWR coach and former 1972 county champion from Comsewogue HS. Jantzen won the Junior Nationals last year in Pittsburgh and he defeated Matt Mariacher, 7-2, in the finals. PJ Gillespie, the winningest wrestler in Nassau County history (214 victories) will attend Hofstra University in the fall. His father Paul was  the legendary Long Beach HS caoch and was an NCAA All-American at West Chester State in 1974. Valley Central coach Lou Ruggirello Sr was a state champion in 1989 and now both his sons, Lou, a three-timer, now a freshman at Hofstra and Cody have won state titles. Kevin Smith (245-19 career mark) of Mexico HS is tied for the all-time wins in New York State with Lowville's Taylor Malone. Smith, a five-time state place-winner is the first ever five-time Section Three champion, he will wrestle at the University of Buffalo next year. His state record could be broken next year by Hunter Meys (207 wins) who also has a remarkable 174 career pins.In Division I individual team honors went to Shenendehowa with 82 points, followed by Islip (71), Webster Thomas (71), Shoreham-Wading River (52.5) and Long Beach with 48.5 points. In Divsion II, the top team was Warsaw with 94 points, then Palmyra Macedon (88), Watertown IHC (60), Fredonia (59) and Waverly with 55 points. Congratulaions to the 2007 NYS Hall of Fame inductees, George Dlugolonski (Chaminade HS), Larry Mulvaney (Mt. Pleasant HS) and Vincent Ruggiero (Franklin Academy). Many former NYS Hall of Fame members were in attendance, such as Section Two coaches, Jack LaBomabard (Queensbury) and Tim Koch (Burnt Hills), along with Nassau's Reggie Jones Jr. The combined record of the 15 Division I champions was 606 victories and only 18 losses. Just think of the match ups if the Div. I and Div. II champions wrestled for a true state champion. Possible match-ups; Dake vs Liguori, Perrigo vs Brown, Gillespie vs Kampnich and Chaires vs Paul Paddock. 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 (over 800 high school programs) Indiana and New Jersey...                  
Congratulaions to the 2007 NYS Hall of Fame inductees,  Larry Mulvaney (Mt. Pleasant HS), Vincent Ruggiero (Franklin Academy) and George Dlugolonski (Chaminade HS),
Former Burnt Hills Coach Tim Koch (on left) with Mat Slap editor Jim Nordland. Koch came in from Arizona to watch the 2007 state tournament.
Paul Gillespie, legendary coach and NCAA All-American has a congratulatory hug for his son P.J. after the finals.
Click here for Final Results and Action Photos...
Herrick's coaches Frank Seckler and Cliff Forziat flank their state champ Maciej Jochym.
Lance Wade came through as the wild card for coach Joe Patrovich.