With the Section 1 Dual Meet Championships having been concluded and about three weeks worth of season in the books, this seemed like a great time to release my dual meet power rankings. The early portion of the season is usually heavy with dual meet competition before teams shift their focus to tournament settings for the latter half of the season. I’ll put out my newest weight class rankings after the holidays, but the spotlight is on complete team performance for now.
I’ve ranked the top 10 teams in Division 1 and the top five in Division 2. I know a lot of people want to know where a team like Nanuet would stand in a top 10 overall, and I’d certainly put the Golden Knights in the top five, but for the purpose of this exercise, I kept the rankings separate. All of the team records listed are as I found them on nwcaonline.com, so if there are any inaccuracies, it just means that the coach of that particular team has yet to input all of his results. As you can see, some teams have been involved in dual meet tournaments that have helped them compile more wins (or losses).
Here is how I would rank these teams just a few days before Christmas…
1. North Rockland (17-0) – As the only team remaining in the section which has yet to lose a dual meet, there’s really no debating whether or not the Red Raiders deserve the top spot. They have the most lethal lineup in the section from 99-160 pounds, and enough up top to get past any team in the area. North Rockland will get even deeper when Blaise Benderoth returns from a concussion, which is a scary thought for opponents. So far, the Red Raiders have handled high expectations well and remain on track to accomplish their ultimate goal of winning a section title.
2. Clarkstown South (6-1) – The Vikings have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season thus far. After failing to make it out of the opening round of the Section 1 Dual Meet tourney in each of coach Brenden Rogers’ first four seasons, they made it all the way to the finals this year. While there may not be any section champs on this roster (Brian McLiverty is the only wrestler on the team who has still yet to lose), South’s strength lies in its depth from top-to-bottom. You’d be hard-pressed to find a weak spot in this lineup, meaning that team’s have to earn each point against the Vikings.
3. Fox Lane (11-9) – The reigning section champs don’t have an overall record that jumps off of the page, but their only two losses against Section 1 opponents came against the teams that are ranked first and second. The Foxes test themselves often against quality competition from out of the area, which is a big reason for their sustained success. Most expected Fox Lane to take a step back this season, and while that is certainly true to a degree, I think it’s fair to say that this team has exceeded expectations. From 106-160 pounds, the Foxes can do some serious damage, and there are a handful of underclassmen who continue to improve. Tom Grippi and Ben Ettlinger are both undefeated and look like legitimate section title contenders.
4. Yorktown (7-1) – While we all expect the Huskers to be a stronger contender at the end of the season in a tournament setting with its Big Four of Joe Mastro, Thomas Murray, Steven Sabella and David Varian, they’ve proven that they’re no slouch in a dual meet format. They failed to make it out of a brutal quad meet to start the Section 1 duals, but a first-place finish at its own tourney last weekend was a good indication of what Yorktown is capable of. Aside from the Big Four, Jimmy Kaishian is also unbeaten, while there are others who have stepped up to form a complete lineup.
5. Arlington (5-1) – The Admirals were eliminated by Mahopac in the quarterfinals of the Section 1 duals, but that wasn’t a true indication of how strong of a dual meet team they can be. While they were still waiting for some wrestlers to gain eligibility at the time, Arlington has been using a full lineup recently, which led to a revenge win over Mahopac on Tuesday. Alfredo Olmedo in particular is looking like the front-runner at 99 pounds, but there is plenty of depth for the Admirals.
6. Mahopac (9-8) – The Indians are similar to Clarkstown South in the sense that they probably don’t have any section title hopefuls, but they have a complete lineup of tough wrestlers. Mahopac has struggled a bit due to injuries since advancing to the semis of the Section 1 duals, but quality wins over Yorktown, Brewster and Edgemont showed that this is one of the better dual meet teams in the section. With backups for pretty much every spot in the lineup, the Indians have strength in numbers.
7. Brewster (11-6) – The Bears got off to a rough start as they waited for a few football players to fill out the top portion of their lineup, but since they have, this has been a different team. Brewster built its reputation as a strong dual meet team by winning the Section 1 tourney last year, and its fortified that rep with wins in nine of its last 10 duals. Things seem to be falling into place.
8. Clarkstown North (4-1) – Just like their crosstown rivals at South, the Rams are having a resurgent season. The lineup is filled with experienced wrestlers, particularly from 113-145 pounds, which has made North a very dangerous team. Colby Kash is the big name and he’s come up with some impressive wins already, but guys like Mike Seligson are also making their mark. Rockland county teams are on the rise.
9. Tappan Zee (5-2) – Speaking of Rockland county, the Dutchmen are another team to be reckoned with. They also made the quarters of the Section 1 duals, and are opening eyes around the section. Desmond Djekovic and Michael Manni are section-placers whose names we’ve heard, but a guy who has really stood out with a few upset wins is John Hartnett. TZ has a full lineup with a few guys that are really standing out.
10. Ketcham (6-14) – The record isn’t pretty, but similar to Fox Lane, the Indians have accumulated most of their losses at tough tourneys outside of Section 1. In fact, only two of their losses came against an in-section opponent. Ketcham made the quarters at the Section 1 duals and are very tough in the 113-152 range, led by Danny Murphy, Josh Simpfenderfer and Brad Marvin.
On the fringe: Harrison, Hen Hud, Pearl River, Sleepy Hollow, Suffern
1. Nanuet (11-3) – There’s no denying that the Golden Knights are the best D2 dual meet team after back-to-back Section 1 Dual Meet tourney titles, but I believe that you can make a case for Nanuet as the second-best team in the section after North Rockland. Their dual on Tuesday came down to the final match, which made the Red Raiders sweat more than they have had to all season. Without question, the Golden Knights are one of the top five dual meet teams in the area with a lineup that makes most large schools jealous. Nanuet has a ton of experience, putting out quality wrestler after quality wrestler. No losses so far for Anthony Calvano and Dan Breit.
2. Edgemont (10-11) – The Panthers locked down the No. 2 spot with another trip to the finals of the Section 1 duals. They have a lineup that you could argue belongs in the top 10 in D1, adding to the list of D2 teams that can compete with larger schools. Edgemont hasn’t been able to get past Nanuet due to forfeits in the upper weights, but from 99-182 pounds, the Panthers have comparable talent. Their record appears mediocre because of the strong competition that they’ve sought out, but this team is trying to prepare for late season run.
3. Putnam Valley (6-4) – The Tigers often get overlooked because of how strong Nanuet and Edgemont are, but when discussing D2, it would be unfair to leave them out. Put Valley has displayed consistency over the past few seasons, and a solid start this year has continued that trend. A fifth place finish at the Chase Media Group Duals – higher than any other D2 school – provided evidence of that. This looks like it could be a strong year for small schools.
4. Irvington (6-1) – While we had a good feeling about who the top three teams in D2 would be, the Bulldogs made their case for the fourth spot by advancing to the semifinals of the Section 1 duals. Irvington has rarely been forfeiting any weight classes, which is always a recipe for success in a dual meet setting, but there have been some pleasant surprises beyond big names such as Brett Pastore and Anthony DiNardo. This team seems to improve and get deeper each season.
5. Ardsley (4-7) – The Panthers just missed out on the fourth spot when they lost to Irvington by just two points at the Section 1 duals, but that proved that they were a top five team. They’ve knocked off other teams that I considered for this spot such as Pawling and Pleasantville, which made Ardsley an obvious choice. We all know about Drew Longo, but the Samolsky’s (Adam and Stephen) and the Kogan’s (Jeremy and Russel) have also come up big.
On the fringe: Croton-Harmon, Pawling, Pleasantville
Happy Holidays everyone! Enjoy it and be safe!