NYS Tournament Wrap Up:
                             NEW YORK STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
By Jim & Tony Nordland

     Section Eleven (Suffolk County) won the 47th annual NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships at the Times Union Center in Albany. The navy blue-clad contingent tallied 237.5 points to  outdistanced runner-up Section Two (Albany) who had 191 and Section One (Westchester) who finished with 186.5 points.The Suffolk squad crowned five champions, including two-time titlist and Harvard recruit Steven Keith (46-0, 182-15) of SWR-11, who scored on a single leg/scramble takedown, to post an exciting 6-4 overtime victory at 119 pounds. Other gold medalists were  Mike Soria (37-3) of Kings Park, Stephen Dutton (46-0, 186-11) of Rocky Point, Andy Rodriguez (44-1, 158-25) of Central Islip at 140,  and Longwood senior, Ernest James (43-1, 112-23), who used his patented cross-face cradle in the finals en route to the 215-pound crown. Other Long Islanders that captured titles were a pair of two-time champions, Nick Arujau (39-0, 140-7) of
Syosset-8, who posted a solid 4-0
decision over reigning champion Jamie
Franco of Monroe-Woodbury, at 125,
and Wantagh-8 senior John Greisheimer
(42-0, 184-14), who scored with a late
double leg takedown to edge previously
unbeaten Josh Veltre (59-1), of Greece-
Olympia, 4-3, at 152 pounds. Edinboro
bound Greisheimer concluded his
outstanding high school career with an
87-match win streak. Sophomore Grant
Greene (39-2, 104-8) of St. Anthony's,
came from an unseeded postion in the
bracket to claim the 112-pound crown.
     The  Albany area group garnered
three titles and were paced by three-time
champion and five-time state placer,
Austin Meys (1-4-5-1-1) of Shenend-
ehowa, who used his power three-quarter
nelson to register four first period falls in the tournament. Meys (45-0, 263-8) flattened Wantagh junior Matt Loew (39-1, 119-33) at the 1:59 mark in the finals to claim the 189-pound title, and was voted the tournament's outstanding wrestler award for the second consecutive year. Other host area champions were, the tandem of two-time winners and LaSalle teammates, Zach Clemente (48-2) at 145, and Ken Altarac (35-2) at 285 pounds.
     In the Division II Tournament, Section Five edged Section Four, 256 to 251.5 points.The Rochester area team produced one champion among their seven finalists and were paced by
four-time titlist, Alex Ekstrom (50-
2, 226-19) of Palmyra-Macedon.
Oklahoma bound Ekstrom scored
with a third period double leg take-
down and nipped three-time
champion and five-time state placer
Ian Paddock (1-3-1-1-2), of
Warsaw, 4-3, to claim the 135-
pound championship. Ekstrom,
who was slowed by a nagging knee
problem and Ohio State recruit
Paddock (53-1, 268-7), who was
hampered by a shoulder injury,
entertained the overflow crowd in
the first bout ever between three-time winners. It was the most anticipated match of the tournament. Ekstrom, who became Section Five's only four-time state champion, stated, "We are both unbelievable competitors and the match could have gone either way, we're both winners today." The Binghamton squad claimed six gold medals and were led by a pair of two-time titlists, including national junior champion and Cornell bound Kyle Dake (41-0, 218-14) of Lansing, who defeated defending champion Mike Nevinger (Letchworth), 2-1, at 140, and junior Nick Wilcox (42-2, 176-9) of Greene at 125 pounds. Other winners were Derak Heyman (53-2, 172-18), of Tioga at 130, Brian Sewalt (43-3, 186-23) of Waverly-4 at 145, junior Tyler Beckwith (44-0, 179-16) of Greene at 171 and Waverly's Chris Nocchi (43-4, 160-32) at 189 pounds. Other reigning champions that successfully defended their titles were sophomore Arik Robinson (37-0, 102-6) of Peru at 103, and Ryan LeBlanc (43-0, 200-18) of Morrisville Eaton at 160 pounds.

Mat Notes...
The state leader in sectional team titles is Section Eleven with 17, and at the 2009 state meet they garnered 19 place-winners. Section Eleven now has crowned 134 NYS champions, followed by Section Four with 126 titles, and Section Eight with 103 individual champions. Austin Meys became the third wrestler to win the OSW Award multiple times, (Troy Nickerson won it three times and Jesse Jantzen twice), and he would have claimed the Most Pins Award, as he flattened four opponents in 3 minutes 36 seconds. Meys became the third wrestler from Section Two to win three titles, joining Frank Fronhofer (Salem) and Jon Cardi (Burnt Hills), who was mentored by Hall-of-Fame coach Tim Koch. Meys will take his mat skills to Lehigh next season. Two sets of twins were in the state tournament,
the Sorias, Mike and Max from Kings Park-11,
and the
Sewalts, Brian and Brett from Waverly-
4. Each household took home a state champion-
ship and a place medal. Mike Soria became
Kings Park first state champion for coach Jack
Magnani. Fredonia's Carlene Sluberski (50-5,
117-36) became the first female wrestler ever to
place at the state tournamnent. Sluberski, a
senior, sustained a broken finger in the final
and finished second at 96 pounds. Wantagh's
two-time state champion and four time place-winner, Harvard bound Paul Liguori (1-1-3-3) set the record for wins in Nassau County and concluded a spectacular career with a 217 -16 mark, he surpassed the previous mark held by PJ Gillespie who had 214 victories. Speaking of Wantagh, they won the Division I team title with 78 points to finish ahead of Port Jervis (64), Fox Lane (63), Shenendehowa (60) and Longwood with 57. In Division II, the team leader was Waverly with 92.5 points, followed by Pal-Mac (75), Peru (61), Greene (56.5) and Lansing with 52.5. Grant Greene of St. Anthony's became the fourth state champion from the CHSAA section, joining Rob Murphy (Chaminade), Lucas Magnani (St.Anthony's) and Andrew Lenzi (Fordham Prep). Syosset junior Nick Arujau is already a three-time finalist and two-time champion, he could become Nassau County's first four-time finalist and has a 85-match win streak. Arujau's dad, Vougar, was a two-time World champion and a 1992 Olympic bronze medalist, he is from
Azerbaijan (Russia). Josh Veltre of Greece-Olympia
set a state record for wins in a single season with 59
victories. Fredonia two-time champion Kenny Betts
(152) is now the state record holder in wins with 269
and eclipsed the mark set by Central Square's Winky
Shepard who had 267. Betts went 57-3 on the season
and capped a brilliant career with a 269-37 mark and
186 pins. Three-time state king Ian Paddock (Warsaw)
now holds the mark for most wins in Section Five
with 268 victories against only 7 defeats. Paddock
wrestled in the final with a badly injured left shoulder
sustained in his semifinal bout with rugged Bucky
Hendrickson (48-4), a junior from Letchworth. The youngest entrant is this year's tournament was 13-year old Corey Rasheed (39-2), a 7th-grader from Longwood, who finished second at 96 pounds. Congratulations to the 2009 Hall-of-Fame inductees, Tony Mellino (West Islip), Larry Ross (Northern Adirondack)
and Joe Amuso (Fox Lane). Of the 30 NYS champions, only 9 went unscathed, they were in Division I, Keith, Arujau, Dutton, Greisheimer and Meys. In Division II, Robinson, Dake, LeBlanc and Beckwith. The combined record of the Division I champions was 637 victories and only 22 losses. Now every state in the nation has high school wrestling, as Mississippi started a program at Ocean Springs HS. There are only three states that have a single classification for their state championships, California, Indiana and New Jersey. Some points and ideas for future state championships; the concept for seeding the tournament is valid, but give all former state champions consideration in the seeding, put in a provision to separate brothers (especially twin brothers), Please do not start the exciting semifinal rounds before 10:00 AM, introduce all the state finalists (along with their season's records), and in the future, put both divisions back into one weight class, a 32-man bracket, and add additional state placings (either a top 8,10, or top 12). The 2010 NYSPHSAA State Tournament is scheduled at the Times Union Center the weekend of February 26th and 27th...
The New York State Team Champions - Wantagh HS
Josh Veltre
Mike and Max Soria
Alex Ekstrom and Ian Paddock
Nick Arujau
Steven Keith (SWR-11) holds off Justis Flamio (Mahopac-1) winning the 119 pound state crown 6-4 in overtime. It was Keith's second state crown as Suffolk County won their 17th team title.