• In the first all-Section 1 matchup that I got on video, Ketcham’s Danny Murphy defeated Fox Lane’s Frank Surace with a 7-3 decision in the round of 32 at 145 pounds. The win shows that Murphy should be considered a contender for a section title, although Fox Lane’s Ben Ettlinger went the deepest in the tourney of any local 145-pounder.
• In a matchup of the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked wrestlers in Section 1 at 138, Brewster’s Liam Erickson majored Fox Lane’s Scott Rodrigues in the round of 32. Erickson would get teched in the next round by fifth-seeded Kevin Parker of Shenendehowa, who was later beaten by North Rockland’s Matt Caputo.
• Arlington’s Alfredo Olmedo ended up taking fourth at 99 pounds, but he had a scare in the round of 16 against North Rockland’s Anthony Sulla. Olmedo won with a 2-1 decision, but Sulla nearly scored in the final seconds. With Olmedo on top, Sulla appears to slip out, but rather than pull away to get one escape point and tie the score, he tries to scramble to Olmedo’s back for the two-point reversal and couldn’t get there in time. Very exiting match between the top two ranked wrestlers in their weight class.
• No local was seeded as high as Edgemont’s Kyle Aslanian at 106 (fifth), and he lost a 2-1 heartbreaker to Deposit’s Stephen McKee in the round of 16. As it turned out, Suffern’s Peter Oliveto went the furthest of any local at 106, reaching the quarters.
• When my new rankings came out last week, I wrote about how deep the 160-pound class was becoming now that a few 170-pounders have dropped down. I had Somers’ Dom Celli at No. 4, mainly because there were three All-Section wrestlers ahead of him who he has yet to wrestle, but he showed that he may deserve to be higher. Granted, Greeley’s Mitch Klein had to drop out with a hip injury after winning his first match and North Rockland’s Nick Didio ran into the top-seed in the quarters, but Celli was the only local to place. On his way to taking fourth, Celli beat Newark Valley’s Derek Holcomb with a 5-3 decision in the round of 16.
• I also wrote when the new rankings came out that 120 pounds was the deepest weight class in Division 2, and Croton-Harmon’s Andrew Barsuch proved it. Currently unranked behind three former section champs, Barsuch came through with a late pin of North Rockland’s Marlon Borge in the round of 32.
• Mahopac’s Ryan Delahanty had been undefeated coming into the weekend, but his 9-3 loss to Monroe-Woodbury’s Rob Kelly in the round of 16 at 220 pounds changed that.
• One of the most pleasant surprises of the tournament was Brewster’s Gino Gioielli, who came in as the 12-seed but went onto take fourth at 170 pounds. Along the way, he won this 8-4 decision over Newburgh’s Kyle McGuire in the round of 16. Gioielli is considered the favorite for a section title, but he proved that he could also be a guy to watch at states. “He had that one takedown, but I was able to get up,” Gioielli said of his match with McGuire. “I’ve been down in situations like that before, and I just knew that I was going to be able to reverse him. Once I did, I hit a quick navy for a two-count, and once I got that, I knew I was going to win the match. I just wrestled hard the whole time.”
• Five locals made it to the round of 16 at 120—Barsuch, Fox Lane’s Matt Grippi, Byram Hills’ Jon Errico, North Rockland’s Derek DiMarsico and Nanuet’s Joe Dillon—but none advanced to the quarters. Grippi got majored by eventual finalist Nick Casella of Locust Valley. That was the only weight class in which no one from Section 1 reached the quarters.
• Before Eastern States began, I wrote that Ossining’s Alex Delacruz was going to have a meat-grinder of a tournament from the quarters on, and that’s exactly what happened. To start the second day, he ran into sixth-seeded Travis Passaro of Eastport South Manor, who is currently the top-ranked ranked wrestler in the state at 126 pounds. Delacruz is ranked second, and that’s where he’ll remain after a 5-3 loss to Passaro in the quarters. If you watch the video, you’ll see that the score is tied at 3-3 going into the third period, in which Delacruz was supposed to begin on top. Rather than try to turn him, Delacruz opted to concede an escape point to Passaro and begin the period in neutral. It might not seem wise to allow your opponent to take the lead that late in the match, but Delacruz is best on his feet, and he was obviously going for the win. Unfortunately for him, the takedown never came. “It was a good look now,” Delacruz said. “It showed me where I was at right now, and what I need to work on. I broke down his film a little earlier with my coach, and it’s just the beginning. I’m going to wrestle until I beat that kid, because I need to beat him. I’ve lost to him twice already.”
• Ettlinger ran into second-seeded Joey Butler of Burnt Hills in the 145-quarters, who pinned him in the second period.
• Didio almost pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tourney in the 160-quarters against top-seeded Daniel DeCarlo of Port Jervis, taking a 6-6 tie late into the third period. With the clock running out, Didio took a shot that he couldn’t finish, and DeCarlo made him pay by sticking a pin with just one second remaining. A tough loss, but there were also some positives to take away from it for Didio.
• Greeley’s Brock Cvijanovich kept it close in his 195-quarterfinal against Colonie’s Wayne Burt, eventually losing a 4-2 decision. He ran into Beacon’s Andrew Grella in wrestlebacks and lost a 9-5 decision, keeping the pecking order in Section 1 intact for now.
• There were some highs and lows in this tourney for Tappan Zee’s Mike Manni, who lost in overtime for the second time in a week to John Glenn’s Edwin Rubio in the 285 quarters. But later in the tournament, Manni got his revenge, beating Rubio when they met for third place in another overtime bout.
• After reaching the finals last season, Pearl River’s John Muldoon lost a tough 5-4 decision in the 132 semis to Hauppauge’s Chris Mauriello. If you watch the match, Muldoon took more shots and looks like the aggressor, but Mauriello scored the winning takedown on a counter in the final minute. Those are currently the top two ranked Division 1 wrestlers in the state, and Muldoon sounded confident if he gets another shot at him. “I’d like to think that I lost it, and he didn’t win it,” he said. “Now, I’m more hungry. The whole undefeated thing, that would have been great, but it’s not the main goal. It’s a state championship. It probably takes a lot of pressure off, not being undefeated, but all in all, it doesn’t matter. I think I got better. I know what I have to do, and I just have to execute.”
• After getting a bit of a gift when defending state champ Louis Hernandez of Mepham was DQ’d in the round of the 16, giving North Rockland’s Blaise Benderoth a win by forfeit in the quarters, he took advantage in the semis. Benderoth went down 2-0 to Shenendehowa’s Jesse Porter early, but picked up a takedown late in the match to take a 3-2 lead, holding on for a 4-3 decision.
• As the tournament went on, you could just see the momentum building for Tappan Zee’s John Hartnett. By the time he reached the 220-semis, he was wrestling the best that I’ve ever seen him, beating second-seeded Cortes Morales of Clovis West by major decision. He really seemed to turn it up a notch in this tournament, also knocking off the three-seed in the quarters.
• How often do you see two state champions wrestling for third place? That’s how deep the field at 126 was. Delacruz wrestled back tough and ran into two-time Connecticut state champ Kevin Jack of Danbury in the third place bout, losing a 3-1 decision to the guy who was considered the favorite coming in. In fairness, the three best guys at that weight were all on the same side of the bracket, with Delacruz, Jack and Passaro. Passaro ended up winning the whole thing after beating Jack in the semis. “I take a lot away from this experience,” Delacruz said. “It just shows me that I have to work harder. Every time I lose, I just get hungrier. This is just the beginning. States is what matters, and I’m going to work hard until I win another state title.”
• Benderoth ran into Springfield Central’s Richard Viruet in the finals, who beat him with a 3-0 decision. If you look at Viruet, he looks like a full 152-pounder, while Benderoth is still adjusting after wrestling at 120 last season. Viruet was able to overpower him with his strength at times, and Benderoth spoke about overcoming that in the future. All in all, this was a very encouraging tournament for him. “I couldn’t really work anything. He was just keeping me down the whole time. I couldn’t even touch his legs; he was just outmuscling me,” Benderoth said. “I know I’m a lot quicker than most of them, but a lot of them are stronger than me, so that’s what I have to adapt to further on.”
• Speaking of muscles, check out the guy who pinned Hartnett in the 220-final. Defending state champ Rich Sisti of Monsignor Farrell is an all-around beast, and he showed that while Hartnett made some big strides this weekend, there is still work to be done. “I think I let the fact that he was a state champ get to me a little bit,” Hartnett said. “The way that my finals match ended makes me think that I have to work harder still. No matter what, you always have stay hungry because there’s always someone on top.”
NOTE: I’ll be hosting another live LoHud Wrestling Chat this Wednesday night at 7:30!