Our 2012-13 wrestling preview ran in today’s edition of The Journal News with feature stories on both North Rockland and Yorktown, top teams and players to watch, and three questions for the season. I’ll be posting more material to get you all ready for the season in the next few days leading up to the season, including a look at the top returning wrestlers in each weight class and a breakdown of how I see the season shaking out from a team standpoint.
I’ve expressed before that I believe North Rockland looks like the strongest team on paper going into the season, and my story was focused on managing – but not hiding from – those expectations. Under new head coach Jeff Swick, the Red Raiders are embracing an idea of winning a section title after coming so close last season. Jake DiMarsico (pictured above to the right) and Matt Caputo (on the left) are leading the charge as two returning state qualifiers, but what could truly make this team special is the quality of its depth. Click here to read my story in its entirety.
With section finalists Joe Mastro, Thomas Murray, David Varian and Steven Sabella (pictured from left to right) all back, Yorktown might have the best senior class in Section 1. As I’ve been breaking down weight classes in the past week or so, it’s very conceivable that each of those four win section titles this season. If they do, the Huskers will be in prime position to win the first section title in school history. My feature story focuses on the obstacles that these guys have had to overcome to put this program on the map, and how they’re hoping a few other wrestlers will step up to make winning a title into a reality. Click here to read my story in its entirety.
Here is the rest of the preview with a look at other teams and wrestlers to watch:
Teams to watch
Brewster: The Bears shocked the section last season by upsetting defending champ Fox Lane in the Dual Meet Championships, proving that they had one of the most complete lineups in the section. Duplicating that success will be difficult after the loss of a strong senior class, but this program is built to last.
Fox Lane: For the first time in 42 years, the Foxes are entering a season without coach Joe Amuso. It has been a smooth transition to longtime assistant Anthony Rodrigues, but Fox Lane will have to chase its fifth section title in six years after losing three wrestlers who placed at the state level.
Mahopac: In their second season under coach Dennis DiSanto, the Indians continue to develop depth. After placing sixth at sectionals last year, Mahopac will be looking to move into the top five as some of its youth takes the next step.
New Rochelle: After placing in the top three in each of the past two seasons, the Huguenots will look much different this year. Only six of their 15 sectional qualifiers return, which leaves a lot of work to be done for first-year coach Eddie Ortiz after taking over for the retired Jim Guccione.
North Rockland: The Red Raiders enter the season as the favorites on paper with six returning wrestlers who placed in the section last year. Longtime JV coach Jeff Swick has taken over for Section 1 coach of the year Andy Guccione, who is the new athletic director at Suffern.
Somers: A stellar senior class that helped the Tuskers place higher than any other Section 1 team at states last season is gone, most notably three-time state champ Brian Realbuto. Realbuto’s younger brother Dylan will now lead Somers into a new era.
Tappan Zee: The Dutchmen shocked their Rockland counterparts by placing second overall at the county championships last season. Some key pieces have been lost, but Desmond Djekovic and Michael Manni will look to continue that upward trend.
Yorktown: There’s a new buzz surrounding the Huskers, who return all four of their section finalists from last season. If they can develop enough depth to compliment those four, Yorktown should be right in the mix for the first section title in school history.
Others to watch: Hen Hud, Scarsdale, Suffern
Edgemont: The Panthers are stacked with two returning section champions in the Aslanian brothers, Trey and Tyler, plus four other section finalists. They’re hoping this is the year in which they finally breakthrough to capture that elusive team title.
Nanuet: If any team in Division 2 has more coming back than Edgemont, it’s the two-time defending champion Golden Knights. All five of Nanuet’s state qualifiers – Vinny Skokos, Anthony Calvano, Dan Breit and the Dillon brothers, Joe and Matt – are back, along with nine other sectional qualifiers.
Others to watch: Croton-Harmon, Irvington, Putnam Valley
Wrestlers to watch
Nick Barbaria, New Rochelle: After placing at the state level last season, the junior is hoping to compete for a state title this season. He’s expected to wrestle at 106 pounds.
Alex Delacruz, Ossining: The junior pulled off the biggest upset at sectionals last season, pinning eventual state champ Dylan Realbuto in the semis on his way to a title. He’s expected to wrestle at 120 or 126 pounds.
Tom Grippi, Fox Lane: The senior is the only returning section champ for the Foxes as they embark on a new era. He’s expected to wrestle at 145 pounds.
John Muldoon, Pearl River: The junior will be looking for his first section title after placing second last season. He’s expected to wrestle at 126 pounds.
Dylan Realbuto, Somers: After winning his first state title with a dramatic last second takedown, the senior is the only returning state champ in Section 1. He’s expected to wrestle at 126 or 132 pounds.
Scott Wymbs, Horace Greeley: The senior placed second in the section last season and has been knocking on the door for a title. He’s expected to wrestle at 195 pounds.
Trey Aslanian, Edgemont: The senior has been a state finalist for two years in a row and will look to get over the hump this season. He’s expected to wrestle at 120 pounds.
Dan Breit, Nanuet: After winning a section title, the senior was one win away from placing at states last season. He’s expected to wrestle at 220 pounds.
Anthony Calvano, Nanuet: The four-time state qualifier is coming off of a season plagued by illness, yet he still managed to win a section title. Now healthy, the senior expected to wrestle at 120 or 126 pounds.
Drew Longo, Ardsley: After placing at state as a sophomore, Longo finished one win away from doing so last season. The senior is expected to wrestle at 132 or 138 pounds.
Three questions for the season
With three-time champ Brian Realbuto of Somers gone, who is Section 1’s best shot for a state title? Brian’s younger brother Dylan is the only returning state champ from the section, so he’ll be a front-runner to repeat in Division 1. Edgemont’s Trey Aslanian represents the section’s best bet in Division 2 after reaching the state finals in back-to-back seasons.
Which weight classes are most up for grabs? As is usually the case, the heavier weights were hit harder by graduation than the lighter weight classes. In Division 1, 170 and 220 should be weight classes to watch, while 182 and 195 will be interesting in Division 2.
Who are the favorites for team titles? This has the potential to be a big year for Rockland county. North Rockland looks like the favorite in Division 1, while Nanuet is in prime position for a third straight championship in Division 2. The biggest challengers should be Yorktown and Edgemont, respectively.