States: Championship thoughts

38

While I can’t say for sure, I’d have to guess that it’s probably been a pretty good morning for Edgemont senior Trey Aslanian (pictured above) and Ossining junior Alex Delacruz. The first time that you wake up and realize you’re a state champ has to be an awesome feeling. What happened last night is slowly starting to sink in, and now each will forever be known as a state champ.

The only two Section 1 wrestlers to the reach the state finals on Saturday at the Times Union Center each pulled out a win despite trailing at one point in each match. Their titles capped another great weekend  in Albany, in which 20 locals placed — 13 in D1, and 7 in D2. Section 1 took fifth in D1 (trailing Section 5 by half of a point), and sixth in D2.

• In each of the three seasons that I’ve been on the wrestling beat, I’ve seen Aslanian compete in the state finals. When he lost as a sophomore two years ago, it seemed inevitable that he would eventually get his title, but coming into this weekend, I wasn’t quite as sure. After losing again in the finals last season, he was lined up to wrestle the same guy who beat him in that match on Saturday — Midlakes’ Sean Peacock. Mentally, it has to be incredibly tough to go up against someone who has denied you of the title once already, but the Princeton-bound senior showed his toughness and ability to adjust. Peacock took him down early in the first period, which had to evoke bad memories of years past, but Aslanian executed his strategy of slowing down the pace and limiting Peacock’s scoring opportunities for the rest of the match. Peacock rode him for the rest of the first period, working extremely hard to turn Trey. But Aslanian kept the deficit manageable, not allowing Peacock to score again and coming back for the 4-2 decision. “He got that takedown and for a split second you go, ‘This might happen again,’ ” Aslanian said. “I’m happy I didn’t dig myself into too much of a hole in that first period. You can overcome a two-point deficit, but against a kid like Sean Peacock, you can’t overcome a five-point deficit. He came pretty close – he was in good position on top, and you get a little nervous you might get turned – but as the match went on, and I felt more and more confident.”

• The momentum swung strongly in Aslanian’s favor early in the second period, when he was able to turn Peacock for two quick back points, which tied the score at 2-2. With the way the match started, Aslanian could have easily begun sensing impending doom, but once he tied it, it felt like a new match. “To be honest with you, I wasn’t even looking to turn him,” he said. “I threw that half in, and rolled with it. I got that turn, and it turned the entire match around. It went from, ‘I need a takedown,’ to, ‘Now I’m going to try to ride him out for the win.’ Very, very different circumstances.”

• Trey has always been a pretty even-keeled kid, at least from the conversations that I’ve had with him. He never shows too much emotion, and really comes off as a very focused and stoic individual, but at the conclusion of the finals, he had a smile from ear-to-ear. He was both ecstatic and relieved at the same time, which is completely understandable. I’m sure deep down he feared that this moment might never come, and he talked about how he’d “dreamed about it so many times.” Winning this title in his senior season makes the pain from those previous two losses vanish (or at least significantly subside), and he kept expressing his thanks to all of those who have helped him get to this point. His coach, Pete Jacobson (pictured above) was overcome with joy for the wrestler who has helped take his program to new heights, while Trey’s brother Tyler Aslanian and good friend Dylan Realbuto of Somers came down to give him some big bear hugs. Trey wanted everyone to feel like they were apart of his success. “So much sacrifice goes into it, and the reason I’m so excited is because it’s not just about me,” he said. “That’s how I approached this match. It’s for all of the coaches who spent all of that time with me, my family, Tyler. He lost in the section finals, but he was training with all week. That’s not fun for him, but people really invested the time in me. I feel like I had to give something back, which makes this really special for me.”

• While Trey has been building up to this moment for years, Delacruz seized his moment a bit more unexpectedly. It’s been a very up-and-down season for him, and after losing to Pearl River’s John Muldoon in the section finals two weeks ago, he wasn’t even considered the wrestler with the best shot at a title from his own section. But that loss fueled him, and now for the third straight year, we have a wrestler that went from wild card entry to state champ from Section 1 (D-Real came in as a wild card when he won his title last season, and New Rochelle’s Malcolm Allen the year before). “It’s pretty much the greatest feeling I’ve ever had, to be honest,” Delacruz said. “Just going out there as a wild card, the third seed, after losing to Muldoon in the section finals and then beating him here, it’s a complete turnaround. It gave me more motivation to win and gave me a reason in my head that I should be here. Actually coming out on top, it just feels amazing. It shows all of my hard work has paid off.”

• In order to get to the state finals, Delacruz had to get through Muldoon (pictured to the left). It really seems to get better each time that those two wrestle — they match up so evenly, and it always seems like a toss-up. Muldoon got the first takedown, but Delacruz tied it with a reversal. Muldoon then started the second period with a reversal of his own to go up 4-2, but Delacruz escaped. Down 4-3 going into the third, Delacruz was on bottom and picked up the escape point that he needed to force overtime. Earlier in the season, I probably would have said that the longer the match goes, the more of an advantage it is for Muldoon, but Delacruz showed how much he’s improved on his conditioning and ability to maintain stamina deep into matches. Muldoon seemed to be cramping up a bit, and Delacruz took advantage by catching him with a throw in the first OT period for the winning takedown in his 6-4 decision. “During the whole year, I wasn’t really good wrestling six minutes, but since sectionals, I haven’t had an off day,” Delacruz said. “I’ve been running every day, having two practices a day, going to state practices and just working my butt off. Going home and going to the gym, or running sprints back and forth up my street – I just didn’t stop working.”

• While avenging his loss to Muldoon had to be especially gratifying, Delacruz said, “I had to stay focused; I couldn’t just be satisfied with that win. It meant a lot – don’t get me wrong – it just didn’t mean as much as a state title.” He would have to get through top-seeded Steven Michel of Lancaster to win his title, and it didn’t come easy. Earlier in the season (the Shoreline tourney stands out in my mind), Delacruz seemed to explode out of the gate and pick up a takedown to start nearly every match. I haven’t seem him do that as often recently (opponents have obviously caught on), but he caught Michel’s ankle within the opening 10 seconds of the final to take an early 2-0 lead. To Michel’s credit, he battled back and had a 7-6 lead going into the final period, but Delacruz won it with an 11-7 decision thanks to a five-point move in the closing minute. Once again, he wrestled his best at the end of the match, proving that he’s more than just a home-run hitter. “That was a move that I practice a lot, actually,” he said. “I do it in the wrestling room with my teammates. Just in case I’m down, I have something to look forward to. He shot on my leg, and I kind of kicked back a little bit. I had a little tilt, and it’s something that I’ve seen before, so I wasn’t too scared hitting it.”

• Delacruz (Division 1) and Aslanian (Division 2) both winning titles at 120 pounds was an appropriate way to end the season after all of the hype about the talent in Section 1 in that weight class. Not only did both champs at 120 come from the same section, but three others placed in that class. Muldoon took fourth and North Rockland sophomore Blaise Benderoth took sixth (he actually placed seventh, but will go down as sixth because a private school kid was ahead of him) in D1, while Nanuet senior Anthony Calvano took fifth in D2. It would be fair to say that five of the top 12 wrestlers in New York state at 120 reside in Section 1.

• While Aslanian and Delacruz were the only local finalists, Realbuto (126), Fordham Prep senior Sam Melikian (132; pictured to the right) and Yorktown senior Joe Mastro (152) each took third in Division 1. Realbuto, who came into the weekend as the only defending state champ from Section 1, bounced back with a strong performance on the second day of the tournament after getting pinned and upset in the quarterfinals on Friday. A lot of times, you see guys pack it after a disappointing loss, but D-Real showed his resiliency. I’m sure he wanted to end his career with a repeat, but he was able to walk out with his head held high. “It was really important,” Realbuto said of wrestling back well. “I wanted to prove to everybody that me losing that quarterfinals match was just a fluke. It had a lot to do with pride. I just wanted to come back and win.”

• One of the best stories of the weekend was Mastro. He placed higher than any of the four state qualifiers from Yorktown, and he had to work extremely hard to do it. He was knocked out in the first round after giving up five quick points and digging himself in a hole, admitting, “I was nervous. I was thinking too much and had way too much going through my head. I was tight and tense, and I didn’t wrestle the way that I normally do.” Like Realbuto, he showed tremendous character by staying focused and not losing again. Mastro had to win five straight matches to wrestle back and take third, and incredibly, he was able to get it done. In my three years covering Section 1 at Albany, I can’t recall any other local losing in the first round and then coming back to take third. “It was a long, long two days, but it felt good that I was able to finish with a win and end my career with five straight wins to come back and take third,” Mastro said. “It took a lot. Everyone, all of my coaches, said, ‘Listen, you have to come back and take third now.’ I had a lot of time in between my first and second match to kind of rest and recover. I talked with (Steven) Sabella, I talked with (David) Varian, and we all just kind of loosened up. After that first win, I felt like a lot of weight came off my shoulders.”

• All three of the D2 wrestlers who made it to the third place finals came up a bit short, with Ardsley senior Drew Longo (138), Putnam Valley senior John Messinger (170) and Nanuet senior Dan Breit (220; pictured to the left) each taking fourth. Nanuet senior Matt Dillon (145) took fifth in D2, while Irvington senior Brett Pastore (152) took sixth. All seven of the D2 wrestlers to place from Section 1 were seniors, which tells you that the small school guys will have a lot of work to do next year. They’re taking some big hits to graduation.

• Along with Muldoon, John Jay-EF senior Dale White (160) and Yorktown senior Thomas Murray (182) also took fourth in D1. White was forced to medically default his semifinal match because his back was acting up again, but he still gutted his way through wrestle backs. You can’t help but wonder how he would have done had he been healthy all season.

• All five Section 1 wrestlers to compete for fifth in D1 won their matches — New Rochelle junior Nick Barbaria (106), North Rockland junior Matt Caputo (138), Fox Lane senior Tom Grippi (145), John Jay-EF junior Brett Perry (170) and Tappan Zee junior Mike Manni (285). Grippi’s win in the fifth place match was the 200th in his career, which is a nice round number to end with. Barbaria, Caputo, Grippi and Perry each lost to the eventual champs in their semifinals matches.

• We took about 20 videos this weekend between the quarters, semis and finals, which you can find here. Although the season is over, the coverage isn’t stopping. We’ll have poll questions coming at you in the coming weeks leading up to our all-star announcements (there are a lot of really tough calls this year), as well as a look ahead to next season in which I’ll examine which teams and wrestlers are best positioned for success in 2013-14. Thanks for following along all season! Once again, it’s been a blast!

Photos by Matthew Brown/The Journal News

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38 Comments

  1. Actually, this is the third wild card entry to win states in a row. Malcolm Allen won as a wild card the year before Dylan.

  2. Pingback: Edgemont Panthers Wrestling | LoHud Wrestling Blog: States: Championship thoughts

  3. Unfortunatly the best wrestler doesn’t always win the match and that was the case in the Muldoon/Delacruz . Muldoon was the aggressor and in control of most of the match. He was the victim of two horrific calls, one in the 3rd period (missed back points) and the other in OT (a mind boggling stalemate call) add in his legit injury (not water break) at the end of regulation were reasons why Muldoon lost the match. Muldoon showed why he is so respected by the PR wrestling community by wrestling back for 4th place basically on one good leg. Pearl River’s wrestling team future is bright with Muldoon and Kelly leading the way and hopefully we will be sending more wrestlers to states next year.

  4. yes I’m sure the PR wrestling future is very bright with classless posts like these….

    Congrats to Alex on being the STATE CHAMPION!!!! talk all you want that title isn’t going anywhere

    and Vin love the respect you gave to Joe Mastro. It wouldn’t matter to me if it had been done before (sure it has, believe someone out of section did it at another weight) to wrestle back from a first round loss and take 3rd at states has to be as prideful as anything short of a state championship. You work all year, you make weight, you step out to a packed house (much different than practice the day before, much different than watching from the crowd, Mastro a first time qualifier) and you drop your first match. The fear of ‘two and done’ creeps its way into your mind. So with Mastro you don’t have the experience of being there. You enter into these first couple of elimination matches if you even want to place. One bad match and you aren’t all-state. To come all the way back and not lose another match and finish your HS career with a win. Tell me what could be a more impressive feat up there other than winning it all ? Had he made a final and took 2nd would you be more impressed ? I wouldn’t be.

  5. Delacruz state champ on

    Prwa, get lost! In controll of the match…maybe at sectionals but not yesterday! Delacruz has had a bum ankle all season and has asthma and is the NY STATE CHAMPION! Get over it! Last year concussion this year one leg. Delacruz has won when it has counted give the kid his day in the spotlight…he earned it and deserves it!

  6. Delacruz state champ on

    Speaking of Duckham…another kid Delacruz beat that won a state championship!i. In fact Delacruz beat him twice that year! No excuses, from this side of the river, that Delacruz was better or that Duckham didn’t deserve it!

  7. Unfortunately the better wrestler doesn’t always win….that’s the best part of this sport. Who’s better they are 2-2 vs each other the last 2 years. Scary but of those 4 matches were only 2 were clean finishes. Can’t wait till next year all 3 kids return, and tolli comes back from injury (beat the state finalist this year). Hopefully they all don’t go same weight again so all 4 can go states.

  8. ChiefWildEagle on

    To PR wrestling alum AKA Sour Grapes Across the Water,

    When Alex lost to Muldoon under questionable circumstances at Eastern States no one here derided Muldoon’s win. When Muldoon beat Alex in the Section final again no one on this side of the river questioned Muldoon’s championship.
    Alex beat Muldoon yesterday. PERIOD.
    IT IS NOT WHERE YOU START A SEASON THAT COUNTS ONLY WHERE YOU FINISH.
    That said, Alex Delacruz is THE NEW YORK STATE CHAMPION!!!!!
    Muldoon had a good tournament as did Benderoth. I know these kids are probably disappointed with where they finished but both had great seasons and will be back for more next year.
    Instead of making childish comments you should be celebrating the fact that Section One has 5 of the best wrestlers in NYS at 120#.

    Bye, Bye CryBaby.

  9. The Booch in Boots on

    Murray and Joe are the first two Wrestlers to places at States for Yorktown. You made this HUSKER a very proud man!!

  10. A little post-states letdown so I’ll do a little recap

    99: Bathon & Kelly both wrestled tough, the placers in that weight class were just at a different level. Watch the D1 final with Arujua and section 5 kid – Really Awesome match
    106: Barbaria lost 7-1 to the champ Kyle Quinn in the semi’s. Didn’t look great in wrestlebacks but finished strong with a tough 5th. Kelvas had a tough draw, lost to the 3rd place kid in first round, won a wrestleback match and then lost to the 5th place kid (Section 5 & 6)
    113: Grant lost a close match to Stramiello who took 6th and then got pinned by the 4th placer. Samolsky really didn’t look good, heard he didn’t practice all week
    120: This has been discussed a lot already. Blaise got thrown in the final seconds to lose his placing match otherwise would have faced Muldoon in the Consi-Semis. Can’t wait to see these kids next year including Toli. Calvano lost to Peacock in the semi’s and then lost a 1pt match consi-semis and then won the 5th place match — Always impressed when kids win that match at the end of 2 long days
    126: D1 Incredibly competitive weight class. Devastating loss by Dylan in a cradle. That PSAL kid got absolutely abused in the finals by Fabian. Fans weren’t sure how Dylan would wrestleback but he hung in there and won a couple of really close matches. Paternostro had a good first match and then got run over in the next but he wrestled tough for a first trip to states by a kid no one expected to be there. Another really competitive weight with Koll and Gardner
    132: Erickson wasn’t really competitive against the state competition but he could do some damage next year. Dimarsico had a couple of close matches but he looked a little banged up. Bruno ran into a stud from section 3 and then had a tough wrestleback match. Great final at this weight.
    138:Yet another Kash/Caputo re-match, Caputo won another close one and then lost to the champ Kelley who has 250 wins. He wrestled back hard for 5th– Only a Junior, will definitely improve next years placing. Longo looked great except for 1 match when he got beat by the section 6 kid, wrestled back really hard and lost a closer re-match to the same kid. 4th place great cap to a great career. Don’t think anyone would have beaten Tighe
    145: Grippi had a great start then couldn’t get past the champ Hernandez. Lost in double OT Consi-Semis, took a hard 5th and 200 wins for a great career. Marvin had a good first match but in his loss to Lewandowski looks like he got hurt while he was on bottom and couldn’t really wrestle in the WB’s. Dillon looked very good. Lost to the 3rd & 4th placers to take 5th. Another very good career
    152:Mastro got thrown, came back and lost a bit of a stunner to a PSAL kid first round then wrestled back for 3rd with a tech/major/2 dec’s. Don’t usually see kids lost first round and come back for 3rd–Really Impressive. No one was going to touch Rasheed, would have liked to see Mastro on the other side of the bracket and make the finals. Pastore lost in double OT to 4th placer from section 3. Wrestled back for 6th. He’s one of those guys that definitely looked better on the 2nd trip to Albany
    160: Dale White was obviously hurting and gutted his way to 4th. Lots of injury time, amazing he finished it out. No way he was beating Grimaldi unless he was 100%. D2 160 had a bunch of top ranked guys in the state, no one could touch Paddock. Solis had a tough draw lost to the Beckwith 4th placer from section 4, won a wrestleback against a section 5 kid and lost to the 5th placer from section 3. Another very good D2 career.
    170: Perry was really impressive, he should do great things next year. Lost to an awesome champ in Toribio in the semi’s. Had to wrestle the top seed who got upset in the wrestleback and took 5th. Messinger had an amazing tournament. Horrible draw, lost to the first seed first round won 4 1 point wrestlebacks, all in the closing seconds and lost a 1 pointer for 4th.
    182: Murray had another great tournament, lost to a monster Gio from section 11 twice, once in the quarters and again in the 3rd place match. Chris Kim, only a junior, tough first round loss, then section 5 kid (who all seem to be D2 killers)
    195: Strange weight class – All 4 top seeds knocked out of the championship round. Reggie Williams didn’t place. Sabella just didn’t look good with his 2 close losses. Wymbs ran into the 2 seed in WB’s. Lourdes’ first champ Wiegard just couldn’t compete at this level.
    220: Lofaro, lost 1-0 to the 2nd place Mills from Section 11 and then had a tough WB match, he looked good. Hartnett first round loss to Mills then got smoked by the 4th place kid from Minisink, another potential returner next year. A little surprised by Breit, predictive favorite for a state title pinned in semis, wrestled back for 4th though didn’t look as good as other times this year
    285: Don’t think anyone surprised by Varian losing 1-0, winning 2 1 point matches, then losing a 1 piont match to the first seed in the placing round. Manni looked better, lost to the 2nd placer in the semi’s, then lost to the same section 2 kid that beat Varian and then got 5th. Can definitely improve next year. Acevedo wrestled tough, lost a 1 point match in the quarters, won a match then lost a 1 point match in WB’s. He’s another junior.
    285:

  11. Dale White gutsy performance?? Not sure what Dale’s injury was, Vince mentioned his back. Obviously is seriouss since he missed almost the whole year but he did get cleared. He looked like he was incredible pain every time on the mat. He is a great athlete, tougher than me and I wish he had been healthy but you do have to question if he should have been out there, hope he didnt do any permanent damage.

  12. 120 e.states vs ny states

    Delacruz d1 states 1st, e.states 6th
    Micheal. D1 states 2nd, e. states Dnp
    Passaro d1 states 3rd, e.states 4th
    Muldoon d1 states 4th, e. states 2nd
    Culato d1 states 6th, e.states 8th
    Benderoth d1 states 7th, e. states 3rd
    Ratell d1 states 8th, e. states 8th

    Aslanian d2 states 1st, e.states Dnp
    Peacock d2 states 2nd, e. states Dnp
    Calavano d2 states 5th, e.states Dnp

    Eastern states is such a sick tournament, you could argue better than state tournament.

    On different note, why is section 10 aloud to compete in the d1 tournament?? 14 of their 15 kids went 0-2 at states. It’s a joke that those kids get to states, and great wrestlers sit at home. If you don’t have more than 5 teams in your section you shouldn’t an automatic invite.

  13. Pearl River Fans

    I’m tired of hearing all the B.S. about Rockland County 2 State Champs both from Westchester! As far as you saying Muldoon should of won SHUT UP HE DIDN”T! Tell him not to soot big bird next time and he won’t get tossed. Your future is bright with Muldoon and Kelly keep quite and get ready for next year. SHUT UP AND TRAIN HARDER!
    ALEX DELACRUZ STATE CHAMPION!!!!!!!!

  14. Delacruz state champ on

    Hollow hit,

    a sleepy fan sticking up for an Ossining kid? You know it’s the truth when that happens!
    Cradle,

    As far as the stalemate call, I’d say the ref was saving time hoping Delacruz would bite Muldoon so Muldoon could win!
    Enough already, you could look at a thousand calls/non calls against a hundred kids that you could question! It’s not going to change anything! You’re assuming that Muldoon would have scored? Alex has showed throughout the last three years tht he can score from any position! Just ask Duckham and Realbuto!

  15. Must 10 degrees in hell today. HollowHit and myself on the same side of an arguement. Thanx HollowHit!!!!
    @Cradle, great name for a CryBaby. Go lie down in that cradle and suck your thumb.

  16. mulddon would have scored, u know it. Can alex ever finish a match without taking a cardio timeout . please

  17. wall chart says on

    craddle,

    believe he finished the state championship match without a cardio timeout. Think just a quick stop when he got poked in the eye

  18. DELACRUZ STATE CHAMP on

    Cradle, when are you Rockland boys going to section 9?
    Can’t happen soon enough!!!

  19. D1 State team without rockland (not too bad)

    99 Fay or robin. Both only lost to champ
    106 barbaria
    113 grant
    120 Delacruz
    126 realbuto
    132 erickson
    138 courtien (crap shoot between 5-6 guys)
    145 grippi
    152 mastro
    160 white
    170 perry
    182 Murray
    195 sabella
    220 lafaro
    285 varian

    Wc. Marvin, Wymbs.

    Lost 3 all state kids. Muldoon, caputo, manni

    D2

    99 bathon
    106 kelvas
    113 samolsky
    120 aslanian
    126 paternostro
    132 Bruno
    138 longo
    145 ohollaran
    152 pastore
    160 solis
    170 messinger
    182 Kim
    195 weingard
    220 Acevedo
    285 maher

    No wild cards

    Lose 2 all state in dillon and breit

  20. Losing rockland meant 5 d1 champs, and 2 wc. Wouldn’t hurt that much at states

    Kelly 0 pts scored
    Muldoon 0 pts scored (only highest kid per section scores)
    Benderoth 0 pts scored (refer to Muldoon)
    Caputo 9 pts scored
    Cash 0 pts scored ( refer to Muldoon)
    Hartnett 0 pts scored
    Manni 9 pts scored (varian scored 2pts so that’s 7 pts lost)

    16 total team pts lost. Finish with 119pts rather than 135, still finish 5th.

    If we lost dutchess it would have been 25 pts lost. White 14, perry 11, Marvin wouldn’t count

  21. Top 10 wrestlers next yr

    1. Delacruz
    2. Muldoon
    3. Perry
    4. Barbaria
    5. Caputo
    6. Manni
    7. Benderoth
    8. Tolli
    9. Marvin
    10. Erickson

    Hm hartnett, Kelly, Acevedo, kelvas…Acevedo and kelvas are only returning d2 kids who won a match at states.

  22. Old Skool,
    You gotta learn the rules if you’re going to write stuff. Everyone scores in a tournament, not just your highest finisher. Ignorance written as arrogance drives me crazy.

  23. alot of talent coming back from states in section one
    99 kelly returning
    106 barbaria returning
    113 grant returning
    120 benderoth, muldoon, delacruz returning
    132 erickson returning
    138 caputo
    145 marvin
    170 perry
    220 hartnett
    285 manni

  24. Get it right, your wrong but you decide to come on here and bad mouth me without doing your homework. Stupid people think arrogance is being right.

    Section 1 team score at states 135pts. Here we go

    Barbaria 9
    Grant 1
    Delacruz 23
    Realbuto 15
    Caputo 9
    Grippi 10.5
    Mastro 16.5
    White 14
    Perry 11
    Murray 12
    Wymbs 3
    Lafaro 3
    Manni 9

    What’s that equal 135 :)

    Muldoon 12
    Benderoth 3
    Cash 2
    Marvin 2
    Varian 2
    They don’t count as they weren’t the highest scorer from our section

    If they scored everyone we finish with 156pts. Glad I could help bud