A few of the more highly anticipated matches of the season came to fruition at the Rockland County Championships at Tappan Zee on Saturday, which Adam Berger was able to capture on video. We knew that the 120-pound weight class was going to be a three-horse race for a county title between Pearl River’s John Muldoon, North Rockland’s Blaise Benderoth and Nanuet’s Anthony Calvano, and it was Muldoon who was able to capture a championship with two huge wins.
After knocking off Benderoth for the second time this season with an 8-2 decision in the semis, Muldoon avenged a previous loss to Calvano with a 10-5 decision in the finals. After the Pearl River junior (pictured above to the left) took an early 4-0 lead, Calvano stormed back to tie it at 4-4. Muldoon escaped and notched another takedown to make it 7-4, but Calvano quickly escaped. With Muldoon leading 7-5 late in the match, a penalty point turned it into a three-point deficit for Calvano, which had to be deflating at that stage. Muldoon sealed the win with a takedown in the closing seconds.
“I definitely didn’t want to end it on a penalty point,” Muldoon said. “That would have been a little soft. It was good to get the takedown at the end to make the statement.”
The final at 138 pounds very well could have been a section final preview. While North Rockland’s Matt Caputo and Clarkstown North’s Colby Kash have had some extremely close battles over the years, Saturday’s meeting served as more of a statement from Caputo. Kash beat Caputo early in the season, but the North Rockland junior has won the the past two. His 4-3 decision at Eastern States was an extremely close match, but Caputo won convincingly with a 9-2 decision at the RCCs. He jumped out to a 5-0 lead thanks to takedown and some back points at the end of the first period, and then quickly notched another takedown to begin the second and take a commanding 7-0. A huge confidence booster for Caputo heading into the postseason. It would be difficult not to call him the favorite in D1 at 138 right now.
“Nothing feels better than beating your rival,” said Caputo, who improved to 5-3 over Kash in his varsity career. “I’ve been wrestling close matches against Colby since I was in sixth grade. So it feels good dominating him today.”
Photo from Skip Pearlman for The Journal News
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