I’ll be taking a deeper look at all of the local wrestler’s chances at states later in the week, but here are my initial reactions after taking a look at the seeds:
• The first thing that really stands out looking over the brackets from both Division 1 and Division 2 is that Section 1 is positioned to have much more success in D1. There were 19 wrestlers from Section 1 who were seeded in the top eight in D1, while only seven received top eight seeds in D2. I could see anywhere from 10-15 guys placing in D1, while I think the number will be more like 5-8 in D2. I’m thinking D1 will finish in the top five in the overall standings, while D2 may be in the 7-10 range.
• There were seven local wrestlers who were seeded No. 2, but none who come in as the top seed in their respective weight class. New Rochelle’s Nick Barbaria (106), Pearl River’s John Muldoon (120), Somers’ Dylan Realbuto (126) and Tappan Zee’s John Hartnett (220) and Mike Manni (285) each grabbed second seeds in D1, while Edgemont’s Trey Aslanian (120) and Nanuet’s Dan Breit (220) received No. 2 seeds in D2. A few of those No. 2s have some recent history against other highly seeded wrestlers in their weight class. Barbaria hasn’t wrestled the top seed at 106 (Westhampton Beach’s Alex Tanzman), but he does have wins over No. 3 Jimmy Overhiser of Corning (4-3 in OT) and No. 4 Kyle Quinn of Wantagh (3-1) at Eastern States. Realbuto lost to top-seeded TJ Fabian of Shoreham Wading River in the 126-final at Eastern States (3-2), but beat No. 3 Chris Arroaz of Wantagh (4-0) and No. 4 Mark West of Hauppauge (5-4) that same weekend. Breit beat fourth-seeded Michael Silvis of Holley in the 220-final at Eastern States (3-2).
• Of course, the guy with the most successful history against the top four seeds in his weight class is Muldoon. Incredibly, with both Ossining’s Alex Delacruz and North Rockland’s Blaise Benderoth receiving wild cards, three of the top four seeds at 120 in D1 come from Section 1. Muldoon and Delacruz are lined up to potentially meet in the semifinals, while Benderoth is on the other side of the bracket. While Muldoon took second, Benderoth took third and Delacruz made the semis at Eastern States, it’s odd that the top seed, Lancaster’s Steven Michel, didn’t even place. He didn’t see any of the Section 1 Big Three, but both of his losses that weekend came against a local wrestler. He lost a 7-5 decision to injured Nick Tolli of Arlington in the second round and then was eliminated by Nanuet’s Anthony Calvano with a 3-1 decision in wrestle backs. He looks beatable, so I’d say there’s an excellent chance that we see at least one of the three in the finals, and maybe even an all-Section 1 final. How cool would that be?
• While I’ve noted that I believe Barbaria, Muldoon, Realbuto, Aslanian and Breit represent the five Section 1 wrestlers with the best shots at capturing state titles (see the poll question on the right), I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised to see the TZ big boys also receiving No. 2 seeds. Manni was obviously helped by his undefeated record, but it also seems that each were helped by not competing at Eastern States. Perhaps each would have won there (although Hartnett has been pinned twice by ESC champ Breit), but that prevented either from being knocked off by any of the top contenders in their weight classes. Since both have very strong overall records and no losses against some of the highly seeded wrestlers in their weight class, they were each able to catapult up in the seedings. That should increase each of their chances to make a deep run because they have easier paths to the finals.
• While Hartnett and Manni have favorable draws, there are a handful of wrestlers who have very difficult paths based on the seedings—particularly in D2. Based on their draws, I have a tough time envisioning Ardsley’s Stephen Samolsky (113), Pleasantville’s Stephen Paternostro (126), Nanuet’s Matt Dillon (145), Irvington’s Brett Pastore (152), Westlake’s Edgar Solis (160), Edgemont’s Chris Kim (182), and Putnam Valley’s Chris Bruno (132) and John Messinger (170) getting out of the quarters. Out of that group, I like Messinger’s chances the most of wrestling back to place, but he got stuck with the top seed in the first round. Seems a bit unfair for a guy who is a two-time section champ, but the field at 170 is apparently very deep.
• In D1, there are a few matchups between two locals that I think we could end up seeing on Day 1. Fordham Prep’s Sam Melikian and North Rockland’s Jake DiMarsico are lined up to meet in the 132-pound quarters, as are North Rockland’s Matt Caputo and Clarkstown North’s Colby Kash at 138, and Ossining’s Trent Lofaro and Hartnett at 220. It’s always pretty neat to see two guys we know matched up on the big stage.