I hope everyone is safe and comfortable in some place warm for this storm, as we have some time to kill while we wait for the worst to pass before we finally get to see some wrestling on Sunday. As promised, I’ve gone through each weight class and made my picks for who will win section titles in all 30 combined classes between D1 and D2. They weren’t easy (it never is), and I’m sure there will be plenty that some will disagree with, but that’s what makes this fun. Feel free to post your own picks in the comments section, and then we can compare after the weekend.
One thing that stands out is that, while there are plenty of quality guys that should do well at states, there isn’t quite as much as depth as there was last year. It was hard to find many upsets that I think will happen before the semis, and since I’m trying to give my honest picks here, I wasn’t going to throw some out there just to do it. I tried to add videos that I have of guys who could match up in the semis or finals, so you’ll find those links in my notes. Unfortunately, most of videos involving D2 guys are of them against D1 wrestlers, so I couldn’t refer to many potential matchups there.
Semis – No. 1 Brady Robin (Arlington) over No. 4 James Kelly (Pearl River); No. 2 Brandon Fay (Fox Lane) over No. 3 Alfredo Olmedo (Arlington)
Final – Fay over Robin
Notes – This class really looks pretty wide open between the top four seeds, but I like Fay because of his experience and success in big tournament settings. Robin is only a freshman who should be making noise for a few more years, but Fay cut down to 99 because he knew this was his best shot at a title.
Semis – No. 1 Nick Barbaria (New Rochelle) over No. 4 Kevin Rodriguez (Port Chester); No. 2 Jon Errico (Byram Hills) over No. 3 Matt Grippi (Fox Lane)
Final – Barbaria over Errico
Notes – Errico has come on strong in the second half of the season to show that he’s Barbaria’s top contender. I think he can keep the match close, but Barbaria is an ESC champ who looks poised for a run at a state title. Here is video of Errico’s pin of Grippi at the Super 16. And here is video of Barbaria’s 4-0 decision over Grippi at the ESC.
Semis – No. 1 Brian McLiverty (Clarkstown South) over No. 4 Derek DiMarsico (North Rockland); No. 3 Mark Grant (Hen Hud) over No. 2 Jay Albis (John Jay-EF)
Final – Grant over McLiverty
Notes – The true title match might come in the semis, where my top two ranked wrestlers in this class are lined up to meet. Albis has a win over Travis Becker, who beat Grant, but I like Grant because he seems to be peaking at the right time. Albis recently bumped up from 106, so I wonder how he’ll handle Grant’s size and athleticism. Here is video of McLiverty’s 7-4 decision over DiMarsico in the Section 1 duals.
Semis – No. 1 John Muldoon (Pearl River) over No. 5 Scott Rodrigues (Fox Lane); No. 3 Alex Delacruz (Ossining) over No. 2 Blaise Benderoth (North Rockland)
Final – Delacruz over Muldoon
Notes – The weight class that has generated the most buzz all season and should provide some of the most exciting matches of the day. I think it ultimately comes down to the match that everyone wants to see: Muldoon vs. Delacruz. And while I wouldn’t be surprised if either wins, I’m giving Delacruz a slight edge because he’s the most explosive and dynamic. When he’s on top of his game, I don’t know if anyone in the state can beat him, and he sounds like he’s been on a mission since the DQ incident at the ESC. Here’s video of how that match went.
Semis – No. 1 Dylan Realbuto (Somers) over No. 5 Joe Maida (Harrison); No. 3 Jimmy Kaishian (Yorktown) over No. 2 Alex Oliveto (Suffern)
Final – Realbuto over Kaishian
Notes – I like Kaishian to get by Oliveto because he’s more aggressive with his offense, but D-Real is a state champ. We saw a preview of this final last week at Sleepy, and Realbuto won with a 7-1 decision. Here is video of that match.
Semis – No. 1 Liam Erickson (Brewster) over No. 4 Luke Minasi (John Jay-EF); No. 3 Jake DiMarsico (North Rockland) over No. 2 Ben Ettlinger (Fox Lane)
Final – DiMarsico over Erickson
Notes – This is definitely one of the tougher calls to make. DiMarsico lost a 1-0 decision to Ettlinger earlier in the season and Erickson just beat Ettlinger 8-2, so Erickson seems like the logical choice. I picked him to win last year, but he was upset by DiMarsico in the semis. You can call it a gut feeling, but DiMarsico tends to come up big in this moments.
Semis – No. 1 Matt Caputo (North Rockland) over No. 4 Frank Surace (Fox Lane); No. 2 Colby Kash (Clarkstown North) over No. 6 Danny Murphy (Ketcham)
Final – Caputo over Kash
Notes – Caputo has separated himself from the pack a bit with wins over Kash in their last two meetings. It was a close 4-2 decision at the ESC, but not so much at the RCCs, where Caputo won with an 8-2 decision. It would be tough to pick against him after that.
Semis – No. 1 Tom Grippi (Fox Lane) over No. 4 James DeSimone (Suffern); No. 2 Brad Marvin (Ketcham) over No. 3 Mitch Klein (Horace Greeley)
Final – Grippi over Marvin
Notes – Grippi and Marvin have looked like they’ve been on a collision course all season, and they should finally run into each other in the final. Marvin has an impressive resume, but Grippi has been here and done this before. He should be in the mix to place at states.
Semis – No. 1 Joe Mastro (Yorktown) over No. 4 Josh Perlmutter (Hen Hud); No. 2 Desmond Djekovic (Tappan Zee) over No. 3 Gino Gioielli (Brewster)
Final – Mastro over Djekovic
Notes – Mastro has looked like the guy to beat here all season with wins over Gioielli (12-9) and Perlmutter (5-0). Djekovic is a bit of an unknown and his strength will be tough to deal with, but Mastro seems like the most well-rounded wrestler in the group. Here is video of Mastro’s win over Perlmutter. And here is video of Djekovic’s OT win over Perlmutter last weekend.
Semis – No. 1 Dale White (John Jay-EF) over No. 4 Joe Koshakow (Scarsdale); No. 2 Nick Didio (North Rockland) over No. 3 Ben Miller (Mamaroneck)
Final – White over Didio
Notes – White has returned to action after missing nearly the entire season, and he made a statement with an 8-2 decision over Miller last weekend. When healthy, there’s not much of a debate over who the top guy in this class is. Didio has come on strong of late, which is why I like his chances to reach the final, but White has shown enough to still be considered the guy to beat. Here is video of Koshakow’s OT win over Miller on the first weekend of the season. And here is video of Didio’s 11-5 decision over Koshakow last weekend.
Semis – No. 1 Brett Perry (John Jay-EF) over No. 4 Dion Duran (Mamaroneck); No. 2 Hassan Auwarter (Clarkstown South) over No. 3 Adam Hofling (Sleepy Hollow)
Final – Perry over Auwarter
Notes – There’s been a lot of parity in this weight class, but the most consistent guy has been Perry. He placed at the ESC and seems to have taken it to another level this season. Auwarter made his case with a 13-10 decision over Hofling last weekend, but Perry is the man to beat.
Semis – No. 1 Thomas Murray (Yorktown) over No. 4 Brock Cvijanovich (Horace Greeley); No. 2 Andrew Grella (Beacon) over No. 3 Kurt Romano (Tappan Zee)
Final – Murray over Grella
Notes – Grella has earned his place as Murray’s top contender, so I’d be very surprised if it wasn’t those two in the final. With that being said, Murray has been rolling over the competition in Section 1 all season, and looks poised for a title.
Semis – No. 1 Steven Sabella (Yorktown) over No. 4 Colton Charles (North Rockland); No. 2 Scott Wymbs (Horace Greeley) over No. 3 Austin Maurer (Clarkstown South)
Final – Sabella over Wymbs
Notes – Like Murray and Grella at 182, Sabella and Wymbs have been the top guys here all season. We got a preview of how this final may look last week at Sleepy, with Sabella prevailing in an OT nail-biter. Wymbs showed that this match could go either way, but I have to say that I’ve seen Sabella look sharper. If he wrestles like that again, Wymbs could very well take it, but if Sabella returns to form and regains his aggressiveness, I like his chances.
Semis – No. 1 Trent Lofaro (Ossining) over No. 5 Ryan Delahanty (Mahopac); No. 3 David Watkins (Mount Vernon) over No. 2 John Hartnett (Tappan Zee)
Final – Watkins over Lofaro
Notes – I’ve been going back and forth with this pick all week. Lofaro has the momentum with wins in his two most recent meetings with Watkins and Hartnett, so he seems like a very solid pick. Hartnett hasn’t seen Watkins yet, so it’s tough to tell how they’ll match up. But based on what I’ve seen from each, I believe that Watkins is the most explosive. He’s like a bull, and he’s the most capable of sticking someone out of nowhere. He’ll have to win two very tough matches in a row to get it done, but I’m going to go out on a bit of a limb with this pick. Here is video of Watkins’ pin of Delahanty at the Super 16.
Semis – No. 1 David Varian (Yorktown) over No. 4 Justin Douglas (New Rochelle); No. 2 Mike Manni (Tappan Zee) over No. 3 Brent Lobien (Horace Greeley)
Final – Varian over Manni
Notes – This is another pick that I’ve changed my mind on a few times. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the top four win (remember, Douglas nearly beat Varian in the section finals last season), but I’m sticking with the champ. We all know that at this stage supers may only get one good shot in during the course of an entire match, so while I have concerns about Varian’s offense at times, it’s not like he’s going to need to keep pace in a high-scoring affair. He’s probably the most difficult of the four to score on, and he has plenty of experience in tight matches. Here is video of Varian’s 3-1 decision over Lobien at the ESC. And here is Manni’s 3-2 decision over Lobien at the Shoreline.
Semis – No. 1 Kyle Aslanian (Edgemont) over No. 4 Mikey Bruno (Putnam Valley); No. 2 James Bathon (Pleasantville) over No. 3 Thomas Barsuch (Croton-Harmon)
Final – Aslanian over Bathon
Notes – This could be one of the closest finals of the day, with solid cases that can be made for both Aslanian and Bathon. Aslanian beat him last season, but they have yet to meet this year. The youngest of Edgemont’s three Aslanian’s is considered a threat to break his brother Trey’s school wins record, and his first section title could be the starting point for what should be a fine career.
Semis – No. 1 Tyler Aslanian (Edgemont) over No. 4 Dylan Mateo (Nanuet); No. 2 Noah Kelvas (Putnam Valley) over No. 3 Robert Levine (Westlake)
Final – Aslanian over Kelvas
Notes – Aslanian’s decision to go here gives him an easier path to a section title because the field at 113 is pretty stacked. I definitely see him getting back to Albany.
Semis – No. 1 Stephen Samolsky (Ardsley) over No. 5 Max Worobow (Edgemont); No. 2 Andrew Barsuch (Croton-Harmon) over No. 3 Mark Taino (Pleasantville)
Final – Samolsky over Barsuch
Notes – You can’t say this about many classes in D2, but I could legitimately make a case for any of the top three seeds to win here. Of the three, Samolsky has put together the most impressive season, which includes two wins over Taino and a 4-1 decision over Barsuch. That makes him the pick.
Semis – No. 1 Trey Aslanian (Edgemont) over No. 4 Justin Jimenez (Irvington); No. 2 Anthony Calvano (Nanuet) over No. 3 Eric Boyle (Nanuet)
Final – Aslanian over Calvano
Notes – This is the main event of the D2 tourney that everyone will be talking about. We have a two-time state runner-up (Aslanian) against a four-time state qualifier (Calvano); arguably the two most decorated wrestlers in D2. I think no matter what, both will get into states with the wild card system, but the match itself could go either way. Their styles are pretty similar in the sense that they’re both a bit more finesse (and I mean that in a complementary way). The guys that I’ve seen both Aslanian and Calvano have trouble with are the ones who can overpower them, but technically, they’re both about as good as it gets around here. Aslanian battled some injures during the season, but all indications are that he’s healthy. I’ll take him in what should be a thriller.
Semis – No. 1 AJ Mirabal (Putnam Valley) over No. 5 Rich Dosin (Hastings); No. 2 Joe Dillon (Nanuet) over No. 3 Stephen Paternostro (Pleasantville)
Final – Dillon over Mirabal
Notes – The assumption from most is that Dillon will win pretty handily as a two-time state qualifier, but I think Mirabal will give him a good match. With all of that being said, Dillon has looked very strong this year while making a pretty big leap from 99 pounds last season.
Semis – No. 1 Sky Korek (Edgemont) over No. 4 Nick Jolly (Lourdes); No. 2 Chris Bruno (Putnam Valley) over No. 3 Chris Santana (Pawling)
Final – Bruno over Korek
Notes – This weight class is similar to 113 in the sense that there are multiple guys you could make a case for, but this weight class is probably even deeper. Korek has a 2-0 win over Bruno early this season, but Bruno has come on strong to beat Jolly twice and Santana (5-3) since then. He seems to have the hot hand.
Semis – No. 1 Drew Longo (Ardsley) over No. 4 Will Graybeal (Edgemont); No. 2 Kyle Kelvas (Putnam Valley) over No. 3 Zach Martin (Pawling)
Final – Longo over Kelvas
Notes – This class is all about Longo, who has his eyes on making some serious noise at the state tourney. He’s one of the true big names in D2 that could compete with anyone in D1, along with Trey, Calvano and Breit.
Semis – No. 1 Matt Dillon (Nanuet) over Brandon Castro (Pleasantville); No. 2 Andrew Horan (Croton-Harmon) over No. 3 Nick O’Hallaran (Westlake)
Final – Dillon over Horan
Notes – Dillon could have cut down to 138 and had to deal with Longo, but it makes much more sense to be here. He’s a pretty clear favorite and is strong enough to deal with guys in this class.
Semis – No. 1 Brett Pastore (Irvington) over No. 4 Jazz Saraguro (Nanuet); No. 2 Jack McCormack (Edgemont) over No. 3 Teddy Fleming (North Salem)
Final – Pastore over McCormack
Notes – McCormack is a two-time runner-up who will be looking to get over the hump this year, but the stars don’t seem to be aligning for him. He missed a good portion of the season due to injury, so he doesn’t have nearly as much mat time as Pastore. As a defending champ who has hung tough with some of the best in D1, I like Pastore here. Here is video of Pastore’s pin of Saraguro at the Section 1 duals.
Semis – No. 1 Angelo Zegarelli (Putnam Valley) over No. 4 Willie Messinger (Putnam Valley); No. 2 Edgar Solis (Westlake) over No. 3 Oliver Oks (Edgemont)
Final – Solis over Zegarelli
Notes – Some may forget, but Solis was a section champ two years ago. He was in a tough weight class last season, but it looks like he has a good chance to get back to Albany for his senior year. He’s been wrestling well of late.
Semis – No. 1 John Messinger (Putnam Valley) over No. 4 Adam Rosenkranz (Dobbs Ferry); No. 2 Peter Smith (Nanuet) over No. 3 Tyler Estremera (Lourdes)
Final – Messinger over Smith
Notes – Smith is a tough wrestler, but Messinger has upped his game this year after winning a section title last season. He went to OT with D1 favorite Perry and could make some noise at Albany.
Semis – No. 1 Chris Kim (Edgemont) over No. 4 Matt Zefi (Westlake); No. 3 Peter Salzarulo (Pleasantville) over No. 2 Mike Buhlmann (Nanuet)
Final – Salzarulo over Kim
Notes – Kim bumped up to avoid Messinger and give himself the best shot at a title, but there’s competition here. Buhlmann beat Salzarulo in the beginning of the season (7-4), but Salzarulo has shown a lot of improvement since then. Call it a hunch, but I think he gets it done this weekend.
Semis – No. 1 Jacob Wiegard (Lourdes) over No. 4 Evan Shlom (Ardsley); No. 2 Kevin Brundage (Nanuet) over No. 3 Jason Worobow (Edgemont)
Final – Wiegard over Brundage
Notes – Admittedly, I haven’t seen Wiegard wrestle this season, so this is a bit of a shot in the dark. But looking at the resumes for each guy in this class, and his is the most impressive. He seems ready for the next step.
Semis – No. 1 Dan Breit (Nanuet) over No. 4 Adam Kreiger (Irvington); No. 2 Alek Pavloff (Croton-Harmon) over No. 3 Paul Sacchetti (Westlake)
Final – Breit over Pavloff
Notes – There’s a reason that so many guys who we thought would be here jumped to 285. Breit has his sights set on a state title.
Semis – No. 1 Jason Levine (Nanuet) over No. 4 James Maher (Lourdes); No. 2 Anthony DiNardo (Irvington) over No. 3 Matt Acevedo (Pawling)
Final – Levine over DiNardo
Notes – Having guys such as Acevedo, Maher and Hastings’ Chris Minozzi bumping up makes this a lot more complicated. It’s difficult to gauge how they’ll match up with more natural supers like Levine and DiNardo because each of those three wrestled most of the season at 220. That makes this weight class is a bit of an unknown, but I have a feeling that the smaller guys might have trouble with the size and strength of the top two. Levine pinned DiNardo earlier in the season, so he’s the pick.