About a week and a half ago, I asked you all to vote for who you thought should be the Westchester/Putnam wrestler of the year. It sparked a lot of debate, as there were a handful of deserving candidates – two state champs, in particular –but the Edgemont faithful came out strong for Trey Aslanian, who received 52 percent of the vote. Ossining’s Alex Delacruz finished in second with 39 percent of the vote. Now, I want you all to do the same for Rockland, where the choice doesn’t seem much easier.
Here are my top four candidates:
• Dan Breit, Nanuet (39-2, 23 pins): The senior was the only Division 2 wrestler to enter the state tournament without a loss, eventually take fourth at 220 pounds. The high point of Breit’s season came at Eastern States, where he was one of only two locals to make it to the top of the podium. He was by far the top 220-pounder in the section, pinning D1 champ John Hartnett of Tappan Zee twice, and at times looked dominant. In a loaded class of seniors that led the Golden Knights to a third straight D2 section title, Breit was the biggest standout.
• Matt Caputo, North Rockland (54-6, 26 pins): The best wrestler on the best team in the section was the only Red Raider to win a section title, getting it done to qualify for the state tournament for the third time in his career. The junior improved as the season went on, coming back after losing to Clarkstown North’s Colby Kash early in the season to beat his rival in their final four meetings. Caputo was known as one of the most explosive wrestlers in the section, but made strides when it came to his ability to maintain his strength for a full six minutes. He placed fifth in the state at 138 pounds in D1.
• Mike Manni, Tappan Zee (39-2, 21 pins): The junior won his first section title by upsetting defending champ David Varian of Yorktown in the 285-pound D1 final, outlasting the presumed favorite in a thrilling overtime match. Manni proved to be the most aggressive super in the section with his high-pin percentage, which helped him quickly make a name for himself as a top contender. He then proved that he was ready to compete on a bigger stage by taking fifth at states, which should put him on the radar for a title next season.
• John Muldoon, Pearl River (43-3, 20 pins): Of all of the 120-pounders in the most loaded weight class in Section 1, the junior might have had the most consistent season. He placed second at Eastern States –higher than any other New York state wrestler – and won a section title with a convincing 11-7 decision over eventual state champ Alex Delacruz of Ossining. Muldoon has made tremendous improvements in the past two seasons and is now recognized as one of the top wrestlers in the state. Although he lost to Delacruz in overtime of the state semis while dealing with cramps, he has proven that he can beat the best that the state has to offer.
Now go rock the vote!