After taking a look at the preliminary seeds for the Division 2 sectional championships, the thing that really stands out is the strategic moves made by many wrestlers to best position themselves for postseason success. Here are my initial reactions:
• After missing a good portion of the season due to injury and wrestling mostly at 113 pounds when he was active, Edgemont junior Tyler Aslanian will compete at 106 for sectionals. That certainly looks like the easier path to a section title, whereas the field at 113 has a number of contenders who all seem to have a shot. This move increases the chances that we’ll have three Aslanian’s heading to Albany.
• Nanuet senior Anthony Calvano has decided to compete at 120 pounds, which means that we’ll have arguably the two most accomplished wrestlers in D2 in the same weight class. Calvano is a four-time state qualifier, while Edgemont senior Trey Aslanian is a two-time state runner-up. Calvano choosing not to go at 126 sets up a potential final that many were hoping to see, and realistically, both still have an excellent shot of making it to states due to the wild card system. Clearly, Calvano and his coaches feel that he’ll have an opportunity to go further in Albany at 120. This should add a little juice to the sectional finals.
• Calvano’s teammates Matt and Joe Dillon also look to be in good position to return to Albany. Joe becomes the favorite at 126 with Calvano at 120, and Matt looks like the guy to beat at 145 with Edgemont’s Colin Hopkins out for the season. Hopkins was hoping to make it back in time for sectionals, but he’s nowhere to be found in the bracket. He beat Matt, 4-2, earlier this season.
• Edgemont junior Chris Kim is seeded No. 1 at 182, where it looks like he’ll have a better shot at a title than he would have at 170, which is where most expected him to be. Putnam Valley senior John Messinger is a reigning champ and top seed at 170, with second-seeded Peter Smith of Nanuet having already beaten Kim this season. At 182, Kim should have a good chance to make the finals. His top two contenders, Nanuet’s Mike Buhlmann and Pleasantville’s Pete Salzarulo, are lined up to meet in the semis.
• There has been a lot of activity in the upper weights. While Pawling’s Matt Acevedo, Lourdes’ James Maher and Hastings’ Chris Minozzi are all naturally 220-pounders, but each will wrestle at 285 for sectionals to avoid Eastern States champ Dan Breit of Nanuet. Along with Nanuet’s Jason Levine and Irvington’s Anthony DiNardo—the top two seeds at 285—it should be an extremely competitive weight class. Breit looks like the best chance for a D2 state title from Section 1.