Now that I’ve had a chance to take a good look at the seeds for both D1 and D2, I’m ready to start making some predictions. I’ll start with my predictions for how the team standings will shake out in each division, and then come back tomorrow with my predictions for individual champs in each weight class.
I’ve listed all of the qualifiers that each team will be sending to sectionals, along with the guys who I believe have a good shot of placing and those who have a good shot of winning. You could certainly make cases for some sleeper picks in each weight class that I didn’t list as being potential winners, but I tried to keep it reasonable. To be listed as a potential champ, you have to be seeded in the top four AND have been competitive with the other top guys in your weight class. Some guys that I left out might be seeded second or third, but if there’s a clear favorite who has beat them handily in that class, I did not list them.
Without further ado, here are my best educated guesses on what the team standings will look like by the end of the weekend in each division:
1. NORTH ROCKLAND
Total qualifiers: 11 – Anthony Sulla (99), Marlon Borge (106), Derek DiMarisco (113), Blaise Benderoth (120), Jake DiMarsico (132), Matt Caputo (138), Mike D’Agostino (145), Victor Delgado (152), Nick Didio (160), Colton Charles (195), Conner Reigottie (285)
Wrestlers who could place: 8 – Borge, D. DiMarsico, Benderoth, J. DiMarsico, Caputo, Didio, Charles and Reigottie
Wrestlers who could win: 2 – J. DiMarsico (pictured to the right) and Caputo
Thoughts – I’ve been going back and forth with this for a few weeks now, but I’ve settled on sticking with my initial instinct. The debate between North Rockland and Yorktown for a section title comes down to this: Do you like the team that has the most depth top-to-bottom? Or the team that will have the most champs? There’s little doubt in my mind that the Huskers will have more individual champions than the Red Raiders, but every wrestler that North Rockland is sending to sectionals has a chance to win a match or two. Caputo looks like a good bet to win a title and Jake DiMarsico should be right there, but it’s the damage that the Red Raiders can do in wrestle backs that will ultimately be the difference. I see them with more wrestlers who will place than any other team, which could lock up the first section title in school history.
Total qualifiers: 10 – Kyle Montesano (106), David Guerrero-Suarez (113), Jimmy Kaishian (126), Alec Tapia (138), Kyle Santucci (145), Joe Mastro (152), Thomas Murray (182), Steven Sabella (195), Avik Mohan (220), David Varian (285)
Wrestlers who could place: 6 – Kaishian, Santucci, Mastro, Murray, Sabella and Varian
Wrestlers who could win: 4 – Mastro, Murray, Sabella and Varian
Thoughts – We’ll start with the positives. With their Big Four, the Huskers have a quartet that each has an excellent shot to win a section title. No other team can match that. And with Mohan receiving a wild card at 220, Yorktown only has one less qualifier than North Rockland. But what the Huskers can’t match is the quality throughout that the Red Raiders have. Four champs would give them some serious points, but will they receive enough contributions from the rest of the team to keep pace? It’ll be close.
3. FOX LANE
Total qualifiers: 8 – Brandon Fay (99), Matt Grippi (106), Scott Rodrigues (120), Ben Ettlinger (132), Frank Surace (138), Ari Faust (138), Tom Grippi (145), Nick Cerutti (195)
Wrestlers who could place: 6 – Fay, M. Grippi, Rodrigues, Ettlinger, Surace and T. Grippi
Wrestlers who could win: 3 – Fay, Ettlinger and T. Grippi (pictured to the left)
Thoughts – Who said this was going to be a rebuilding year for the Foxes? Not to toot my own horn (well, maybe a little), but I predicted that Fox Lane would finish third shortly after states last year and I’m sticking to it. The Foxes aren’t bringing as many wrestlers as some other teams, but they’re bringing a lot of quality guys. Other than North Rockland and Yorktown, I don’t see any other team with as many guys who should place. A top five finish for the two-time defending champs seems reasonable, and the top three is within reach.
4. JOHN JAY-EAST FISHKILL
Total qualifiers: 10 – Randy Earl (99), Jay Albis (113), Paul Bernasconi (120), Grant Frederick (126), Luke Minasi (132), Ron McCabe (145), Dale White (160), Brandon White (160), Brett Perry (170), Eric Wakefield (182)
Wrestlers who could place: 4 – Albis, Minasi, D. White and Perry
Wrestlers who could win: 4 – Albis, Minasi, D. White and Perry
Thoughts – The Patriots look like they will certainly challenge Fox Lane for third thanks to a quartet that could very well find themselves in the finals. Albis, White and Perry will each be considered the favorites in their respective weight classes, and Minasi wrestled top-seeded Liam Erickson of Brewster very tough last weekend with a one-point loss. The key to moving into the top three will be how the rest of the team performs.
5. CLARKSTOWN SOUTH
Total qualifiers: 11 – Michael Alvarado (99), Brian McLiverty (113), Reid Orlando (132), Sean Maloney (152), Drew Breyfogle (160), Hassan Auwarter (170), Jason Fortugno (182), Austin Maurer (195), Paul Okeke (220), Matt St. Onge (285), Nick Holahan (285)
Wrestlers who could place: 5 – McLiverty, Maloney, Auwarter, Maurer and Okeke
Wrestlers who could win: 1 – McLiverty
Thoughts – Realistically, I don’t think I see any Vikings winning individual section titles. I listed McLiverty as a guy who could win because he’s the top seed at 113, but I don’t know if I see him matching up well with either Albis or Hen Hud’s Mark Grant, the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively. Auwarter should also be right there as the No. 2 seed at 170, but he would have to get past Perry to win the whole thing. With all of that being said, a top five finish is certainly within reach because of the tremendous depth that South has developed. The Vikings have quite a few guys who will make some noise.
6. HORACE GREELEY
Total qualifiers: 10 – Mathew Kaufman (106), Nesbit Andrei (113), Kirby Atlas (120), Bing Bing Xie (126), Mitch Klein (145), Mercer (160), Brock Cvijanovich (182), Scott Wymbs (195), Billy Marino (220), Brent Lobien (285)
Wrestlers who could place: 5 – Atlas, Klein, Cvijanovich, Wymbs and Lobien (pictured to the right)
Wrestlers who could win: 1 – Wymbs
Thoughts – What a year it’s been for the Quakers. They’ve been outside of the top 20 at times in recent seasons, but now look like they could challenge for the top five. Their strength is in the upper weights, but there are guys that should win matches up-and-down this lineup. Wymbs would be my only bet to reach the finals, and he showed that he’s right there with an overtime bout against Sabella last weekend. Greeley is not to be taken lightly.
Total qualifiers: 11 – Brady Robin (99), Alfredo Olmedo (99), Dillon Sforza (120), Michael Chirasello (126), Jon Silveri (132), Zeppetelli (145), Borchert (145), Brandon Badger (152), Michael Peterson (160), Robert Hanaburgh (182), Tanner Nielsen (220)
Wrestlers who could place: 4 – Robin, Olmedo, Peterson and Hanaburgh
Wrestlers who could win: 1 – Robin or Olmedo
Thoughts – The Admirals have a lot of depth, but losing Nick Tolli to injury strips them of their best overall wrestler. With Robin and Olmedo competing in the same weight class, it looks like Arlington will only be in the mix for one individual title. A top 10 finish is within reach because Arlington is sending as many wrestlers as any other team, but I have a tough time seeing them crack the top five.
Total qualifiers: 9 – Grant Cuomo (99), Tyler Gonska (113), Tom Kozal (113), Nick McGill (126), Liam Erickson (132), Petrogallo (145), Gino Gioielli (152), Ryan Ford (160), Mike Larm (182)
Wrestlers who could place: 5 – Cuomo, Gonska, McGill, Erickson and Gioielli
Wrestlers who could win: 2 – Erickson and Gioielli
Thoughts – Erickson is seeded No. 1 for the second consecutive year and looks like the favorite at 132 after his performance last weekend, but that’s not a given in such a competitive weight class. The Bears have a handful of others who I believe will place, which bodes well. Brewster has really come on as the season has progressed with some young guys who have shown tremendous improvement.
9. HEN HUD
Total qualifiers: 9 – Mike DiPietro (99), Joe Ledwin (106), Mark Grant (113), Jack Wagner (120), Kevin McDermott (145), Josh Perlmutter (152), Lance Perlmutter (160), Kyle Mallory (170), Dareen Belvu (220)
Wrestlers who could place: 5 – Grant, Wagner, McDermott, J. Perlmutter and L. Perlmutter
Wrestlers who could win: 1 – Grant (pictured to the left)
Thoughts – You could make the argument that both of the Perlmutter twins will be in the mix for section titles, but if you look at the guys seeded at the top of their respective weight classes, I don’t know if I see it. Grant looks like the Sailors’ best shot for a title in a pretty wide open field at 113. Like most of the teams in the 5-10 range, Hen Hud seems to have the firepower to put in a solid collective effort.
10. CLARKSTOWN NORTH
Total qualifiers: 10 – Brian Hong (106), Maxim Kutsepau (106), Justin Hong (113), Louis DeLucia (113), Mike Seligson (126), Andrew Seid (132), Colby Kash (138), Rob Namme (145), David Crispino (160), Jake Salesky (170)
Wrestlers who could place: 4 – B. Hong, J. Hong, Seligson and Kash
Wrestlers who could win: 1 – Kash
Thoughts – The Rams’ best shot for a title is Kash, but his stock is dropping a bit after two recent losses to Caputo. If North doesn’t have any champs it’s difficult to see them finishing higher than this, but it’s clear that this program has developed quality depth. When you send 10 or more wrestlers to sectionals, you have a very good chance of finishing in the top 10.
ON THE FRINGE: Ketcham, Ossining, Pearl River, Somers and Tappan Zee
Total qualifiers: 17 – Dylan Mateo (106), Anthony Calvano (120), Eric Boyle (120), Joe Dillon (126), Chris Lowery (126), Billy Thompson (132), Jon Spiegel (138), Matt Dillon (145), Jazz Saraguro (152), Frank Paratore (152), Alex Johns (160), Alex Slaybaugh (160), Peter Smith (170), Mike Buhlmann (182), Kevin Brundage (195), Dan Breit (220), Jason Levine (285)
Wrestlers who could place: 14 – Mateo, Calvano, Boyle, J. Dillon, Thompson, Spiegel, M. Dillon, Saraguro, Johns, Smith, Buhlmann, Brundage, Breit (pictured to the right) and Levine
Wrestlers who could win: 7 – Calvano, J. Dillon, M. Dillon, Buhlmann, Brundage, Breit and Levine
Thoughts – While some may feel that the D2 tourney is watered down because wrestlers don’t have to qualify, it’s quite clear that the Golden Knights aren’t sending many slouches. Of the 17 who Nanuet entered in the tournament, 14 look like they have legitimate chances to place. Of those 14, I could see half of them winning an individual title. You know what all of that adds up to? A third straight section title.
Total qualifiers: 17 – Kyle Aslanian (99), Tyler Aslanian (106), Max Worobow (113), Jonathan Fleischmann (113), Trey Aslanian (120), Rikesh Mistry (126), Sam Klein (126), Sky Korek (132), Will Graybeal (138), Clifton Wang (138), Marc Ficuciello (145), Jack McCormack (152), Fayssal Saleh (152), Oliver Oks (160), Ross Kantor (160), Chris Kim (182), Jason Worobow (195)
Wrestlers who could place: 11 – K. Aslanian, Ty. Aslanian, M. Worobow, Tr. Aslanian, Korek, Graybeal, McCormack, Oks, Kantor, Kim and J. Worobow
Wrestlers who could win: 7 – K. Aslanian, Ty. Aslanian, Tr. Aslanian, Korek, McCormack, Oks and Kim
Thoughts – As it has been for the past few seasons, it should once again be a close race between Nanuet and Edgemont. But for the third consecutive year, I see the Panthers coming up on the short end. I see just as many potential champs for Edgemont, but I believe that the Golden Knights will ultimately end up with more. I also see Nanuet with more guys who place, but these are two excellent programs that represent small schools with tremendous commitment; probably two of the better D2 teams that we’ve seen since the separation.
3. PUTNAM VALLEY
Total qualifiers: 14 – Mikey Bruno (99), Noah Kelvas (106), Jared Eliopoulous (106), AJ Mirabal (126), Matt Liscia (126), Chris Bruno (132), Christian Gonzales (132), Kyle Kelvas (138), Sam Honors (145), Kelmend Muriqi (152), Angelo Zegarelli (160), Willie Messinger (160), John Messinger (170), Denis Kelly (182)
Wrestlers who could place: 8 – M. Bruno, N. Kelvas, Mirabal, C. Bruno, K. Kelvas, Zegarelli, W. Messinger and J. Messinger
Wrestlers who could win: 5 – N. Kelvas, Mirabal, C. Bruno, Zegarelli and J. Messinger
Thoughts – Like Nanuet and Edgemont, the Tigers are a team that seems to improve each season. They’ve finished third for the past two years, and I see a repeat of that finish again this season. The only guy who looks like a good bet for a title is John Messinger, which will keep them out of the top two. Put Valley might not have quite the depth of Nanuet or Edgemont, but the Tigers aren’t very far off.
Total qualifiers: 17 – Gideon Bernstein (106), Tyler Wexler (113), Trevor Rudolph (113), Justin Jimenez (120), Sam Kimak (120), Coleman Deanda (126), Mariano Ring (126), Matthew Montarulli (132), Mitchell Toolan (138), Espen Varrone (145), Brett Pastore (152), Peter Jones (160), Joe Ciccio (160), Zachary Silverhardt (170), Michael Minieri (182), Adam Kreiger (220), Anthony DiNardo (285)
Wrestlers who could place: 6 – Bernstein, Jimenez, Pastore, Jones, Kreiger and DiNardo
Wrestlers who could win: 2 – Pastore (pictured to the left) and DiNardo
Thoughts – There are a few teams that you could consider in this spot, but I like the Bulldogs for a couple of reasons. They are one of the only teams besides Nanuet and Edgemont that is sending 17 wrestlers, and I see six who look like they should place. Other teams may have more section title contenders, but I believe that Irvington will do well enough in wrestle backs to lock up a fourth place finish.
Total qualifiers: 14 – James Bathon (99), Mark Taino (113), Steven Montes (120), Liam Marmo (120), Stephen Paternostro (126), Dan Gottlieb (138), Jose Nieves (138), Brandon Castro (145), Jeremy Onuma (145), Thomas Marrone (152), Lou Quintanilla (160), Omeed Ansari (170), Pete Salzarulo (182), Frank Tirri (182)
Wrestlers who could place: 4 – Bathon, Taino, Paternostro and Salzarulo
Wrestlers who could win: 3 – Bathon, Taino and Salzarulo
Thoughts – The Panthers are the last team outside of Nanuet to win a D2 title, and they seem to be getting back on track. I could easily see them with three or four finalists, and the rest of the lineup has filled in nicely as the season has gone on. I think it will be very close with Irvington and Pleasantville, but the Panthers will need guys like Bathon and Salzarulo to pull off minor upsets to leapfrog the Bulldogs.
ON THE FRINGE: Ardsley, Croton-Harmon and Pawling
File photos from The Journal News