The final weekend of the regular season is always one of my favorites because it features two of the best tournaments that you’ll find all year. With no dual meets on the schedule for Monday, this seems like a perfect time to preview both the Super 16 and Rockland County Championships.
What’s so interesting about these two tournaments is that they always feature at least a few matchups involving highly ranked wrestlers with high section title hopes. While some might prefer to wait to see their top competitors until sectionals, many of them will get early looks at those standing in their way on the path to Albany.
I’ve arranged with the home coaches of each tourney to get my hands on the seeds shortly after they are determined. Yonkers coach Pete Vulpone told me they’ll be done with the Super 16 seeds late Wednesday night, while Tappan Zee coach Peter Dene said he’ll be able to get me the RCC seeds on Thursday night. In the meantime, I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting a few potential matches that I’m anxious to see at each tourney:
Super 16 at Yonkers HS: Carmel, Center Moriches, Croton-Harmon, Fox Lane, Harrison, Hen Hud, Irvington, Mahopac, Mount Vernon, Ossining, Pawling, Ketcham, Sleepy Hollow, Westlake, Yonkers and Yorktown.
113 – Mark Grant (Hen Hud) vs. Andrew Barsuch (Croton-Harmon)
Why it could be big: While this matchup might not have any section title implications with each wrestler coming from a different division, it will be a great gauge of where each guy is at. Grant is considered a top contender in D1, but Barsuch has been able to dispatch most of the top guys that he’s seen from large schools. This will be a chance to make another statement for the little guys.
126 – Jimmy Kaishian (Yorktown) vs. Ben Ettlinger (Fox Lane)
Why it could be big: While Somers senior Dylan Realbuto is considered the favorite in this weight class, there’s a legitimate debate to be had over who is No. 2, and it really comes down to these guys. Kaishian beat Ettlinger last season, but the Fox Lane junior has really stepped up his game this year. The winner will emerge as D-Real’s biggest threat. Of course, I’ve heard rumors that both are considering the move to 132, so that will also be something to watch.
152 – Joe Mastro (Yorktown) vs. Brett Pastore (Irvington)
Why it could be big: This match would feature a defending D2 section champ (Pastore) against the favorite in D1 (Mastro). Mastro looks like he’s taken it to another level this season, so I would certainly call him the guy to beat in this match, but I’m sure Pastore will have something to say about that.
170 – Adam Hofling (Sleepy Hollow) vs. Aaron Gallagher (Mahopac)
Why it could be big: Other than John Jay-EF’s Brett Perry, this weight class seems pretty wide open. Hofling was No. 2 in my most recent weight class rankings thanks to a few big wins, but his stock is dropping a bit after a tough showing at the Kohl. Gallagher placed in the section last year and will be looking to make a statement.
220 – Trent Lofaro (Ossining) vs. David Watkins (Mt. Vernon)
Why it could be big: This is another weight class that looks wide open, but you could argue that these are the top two contenders. I had TZ’s John Hartnett at No. 1, but Lofaro just avenged an early season loss with a big win over Hartnett in the Beacon finals. Watkins has a one-point win over Lofaro on his resume and could stake his claim to the top spot with another head-to-head win.
Rockland County Championships at Tappan Zee: Clarkstown North, Clarkstown South, East Ramapo, Nanuet, North Rockland, Nyack, Pearl River, Suffern and Tappan Zee (all teams in the county).
113 – Brian McLiverty (Clarkstown South) vs. Derek DiMarisco (North Rockland)
Why it could be big: After a very close early season match that could have went either way, McLiverty turned in a much more convincing win with a major decision in their second meeting of the year. This could be DiMarsico’s final chance to show that he belongs in the conversation in this weight class.
120 – John Muldoon (Pearl River) vs. Blaise Benderoth (North Rockland)
Why it could be big: With Arlington’s Nick Tolli out for the season, that leaves Muldoon, Benderoth and Ossining’s Alex Delacruz as the state-ranked wrestlers remaining in the most competitive class in the section. Delacruz will be at the Super 16, leaving Muldoon and Benderoth as the match that everyone will want to see. Muldoon won an early season meeting, 7-3. Of course, the wild card is Nanuet’s Anthony Calvano, who recently defeated Muldoon. If he stays at 120, it will be a three-horse race for the county title, but I’ve heard he may be bumping up to 126.
138 – Matt Caputo (North Rockland) vs. Colby Kash (Clarkstown North)
Why it could be big: This has become the “it” rivalry in the county. Caputo and Kash are the top two ranked wrestlers in this weight class and have had some epic battles throughout their careers, so there’s a lot of history between the two. They’ve split this season, with Caputo winning the most recent nailbiter at Eastern States with a 4-3 decision. He has a slight 4-3 edge all-time against Kash.
195 – Colton Charles (North Rockland) vs. Billy Madigan (Tappan Zee) vs. Austin Maurer (Clarkstown South) vs. Kevin Brundage (Nanuet)
Why it could be big: While none of these guys are considered major section title contenders (except for Brundage in D2), they should all be in the mix to place. They’ve all beaten each other up throughout the season, which makes this the most difficult weight class to pick in this tourney. I could see any of these four winning, and whoever does will likely be trending upwards in the new set of rankings coming out next week.