Since there’s no wrestling scheduled for this MLK Day, I thought I’d share the latest New York Wrestling News state rankings, which were released late last week. The changes in the rankings are largely based on what happened at Eastern States, and while no Section 1 wrestlers came in ranked No. 1, it’s quite clear that several of them earned some well-deserved respect up at Sullivan Community College.
In the last set of rankings, there were only seven locals ranked in their respective classes, but that number increased to 11 this time around. Those 11 are Arlington’s Alfredo Olmedo (seventh at 99), Ossining’s Alex Delacruz (second at 126), Pearl River’s John Muldoon (fourth at 132), North Rockland’s Matt Caputo (fourth at 138) and Blaise Benderoth (fourth at 152), Somers’ Dom Celli (fifth at 160), Brewster’s Gino Gioielli (fifth at 170), John Jay-EF’s Brett Perry (fourth at 182), Beacon’s Andrew Grella (seventh at 195), and Tappan Zee’s John Hartnett (third at 220) and Mike Manni (fourth at 285). What’s the common theme? They all placed at Easterns, which shows you how much weight that tourney carries state-wide (no pun intended).
It’s worth noting that all 11 ranked Section 1 wrestlers come from Division 1 schools, which tells you a lot about the current standing of the section in both divisions. There is a good chance that the number of local all-state wrestlers in D1 reaches double digits this year, but that number should be much smaller in D2.
No Section 1 wrestler is ranked as high as Delacruz, who lost to top-ranked Travis Passaro of Eastport South Manor with a 5-3 decision in the Eastern States quarters. That looks like the state title match that everyone is anticipating at 126. Hartnett is the next highest ranked local, making a jump from unranked to No. 3 at 220 after his run to the Eastern States finals. He’s still a big underdog for a state title, though, with top-ranked Rich Sisti of Monsignor Farrell having pinned him in the Eastern States final.
On paper, the rankings also have Muldoon, Caputo and Perry as potential state finalists. Each is ranked fourth in their respective weight classes, but there is only one D1 guy ranked higher than each of them. Of course, this won’t mean much come postseason time, but it shows you where they stand at the moment. If the rankings hold true, Section 1 would have five state finalists.
I’ve received a lot of questions about when new LoHud rankings will come out. I’ve just started working on team tournament rankings, which should be out sometime in the next week. I’ll wait on new weight class rankings until the week leading up to divisionals.
Photo by Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News