LoHud Power Rankings: Tournament edition

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reigottie

About a month ago, I released dual meet rankings in which I identified the teams that have the strongest lineups from top-to-bottom. The early portion of the season is primarily based on dual meets, but as we sit just two weeks away from the start of the postseason, the focus has shifted to the sectional tournament. To give you my best guess at what the final standings might look like, I’ve ranked the top 10 tournament teams in Division 1 and the top five in Division 2 (with some fringe teams listed for each).

These rankings are based on which teams are the strongest in tournament settings, as I tried to look at each and project how many of its wrestlers will qualify for sectionals, and how far they’ll go. Of course, the order is sure to be off in some ways, but I feel pretty confident that the teams listed in each division will be the top contenders. The D1 rankings seem fairly obvious at the top, but D2 looks to be as wide open as it has been in five years.

And before you ask, I’ll have new weight class rankings coming next week…

DIVISION 1

1. North Rockland – I know I’m not exciting breaking any news here, but the Red Raiders are – and will continue to be – a heavy favorite to repeat as section champs. They have about 10 guys who could place at sectionals, and three who will be legitimate section title contenders in Matt Caputo (138), Blaise Benderoth (152) and Nick Didio (160/170), with Caputo and Benderoth going in as pretty heavy favorites. How they do at the state level remains to be seen, but no Section 1 team can match the depth of North Rockland. Dual meet ranking: 1

2. Fox Lane – Not only have the Foxes established themselves as the No. 2 dual meet team in the section with their recent win over Arlington, but they also look like a pretty clear runner-up for the sectional tournament. They have six who should place in Brandon Fay (106), Matt Grippi (120), Scott Rodrigues (138), Ben Ettlinger (145), Frank Surace (152) and Jon Clune (195), with Fay, Grippi and Ettlinger each being section title hopefuls. Fox Lane could have more section champs than North Rockland if all three come through, but not enough depth top-to-bottom to make a bid at first overall. DMR: 3

3. Arlington – After the top two, there’s about four or five teams that you could make a case for, but I’m going with the Admirals. Had Nick Tolli not been lost to a fractured wrist, Arlington may have challenged Fox Lane for the No. 2 spot, but that’s difficult to envision now. Still, with a heavy title favorite in Alfredo Olmedo (99) to go along with potential finalists in Brady Robin (113) and Jon Silveri (182), the Admirals have some wrestlers who should go deep into sectionals. Couple that with depth that may be unmatched outside of North Rockland, and I like Arlington’s chances for a top three finish. DMR: 2

4. Pearl River – The Pirates are my pick to finish second to North Rockland in this weekend’s Rockland County Championships, and they should be a top five contender at sectionals. John Muldoon (132) is the face of the program, but there is notable depth behind the senior. By my count, Pearl River has seven wrestlers who should be in the mix to place, with Sean McGarvey (99) and James Kelly (113) as guys who could end up as finalists with Muldoon. After placing sixth last year and bringing back the vast majority of their lineup, there’s little reason to think that the Pirates can’t move up a few spots this season. DMR: 7

5. John Jay-East Fishkill – The Patriots may not have the depth that the rest of the teams in the top five possess, but they have two strong section title contenders in Jay Albis (113) and Brett Perry (182), which is something not many teams can match. They’ll need a few others such as Randy Earl (106), Grant Frederick (138), Brandon White (170) and Andrew Anthony (220) to step up to solidify the top five ranking, but JJEF has proven to be a strong tournament team in recent years. DMR: 9

6. Brewster – The Bears have been considered a better dual meet team than they are in tournament settings for quite some time, but this could be the year that perception changes. They currently have seven ranked wrestlers, which indicates that they’ll have about that many in the mix to place. Gino Gioielli (170) has emerged as the favorite in his weight class, while Liam Erickson (138) should, at worst, be a section finalist. If the rest of the crew does their part and picks up some crucial wrestleback points, Brewster could easily catapult into the top five. DMR: 5

7. Roy C. Ketcham – The Indians have made some big strides this season, and they’re looking like a solid bet to make some noise at sectionals. Danny Murphy (145) and Brad Marvin (160) will each be in the section title mix, and they’ve also got three or four guys in the upper weights who could place. Ketcham is often overshadowed by Dutchess county rivals Arlington and JJEF, but I like all three to finish in the top 10 this season. DMR: Not ranked

8. Somers – Some may have thought that the Tuskers were due for a down year now that no one named Realbuto is in their lineup, but a strong senior class has them well-positioned for the postseason. Larry Courtien (145) and Dom Celli (160) are candidates to go to states, while Anthony DiMauro (126), Liam Hiene (152) and Luke Roediger (170) each look like guys who could very well place. Somers may not have as many sectional qualifiers as some other top 10 teams, but the group that does compete will make some waves. DMR: NR

9. Tappan Zee – The Dutchmen are a difficult team to rank for a couple of reasons. The biggest positive for TZ is that no team in Section 1 is more likely to have multiple section champs. John Hartnett (220) and Mike Manni (285) will each be heavy favorites to defend their crowns. But what will really determine how high the Dutchmen finish will be the rest of the team. Outside of Noah Hovde (145), it’s difficult to pinpoint any others who look like they should place. DMR: NR

10. Suffern – There are other teams that I could have rounded out the top 10 with, such as Clarkstown South, Yonkers or Greeley, but the Mounties are my choice for a few reasons. For starters, I believe that Suffern will have more sectional qualifiers than any of the other teams that I considered, as we’ve seen their depth based on their strong dual meet record. The Mounties also have a good combination of youth and experience, with guys such as Peter Oliveto (106), Daiton Powell (126), Peter Pjetri (182) and Tyrick Jackson (195) representing wrestlers who could go on nice runs and place. Suffern always seems to find its way into the top 10, and this year should be no different. DMR: 4

On the fringe – Clarkstown South, Horace Greeley, Lakeland/Panas, Mahopac, Yonkers

kelvas

DIVISION 2

1. Putnam Valley – Let me preface this by saying that this was the most difficult decision that I had to make in either set of rankings. I could easily make a case for Nanuet as the favorite in D2, or even Edgemont, but I’m giving the ever-so-slight edge to Put Valley. In terms of the total number of wrestlers who should place, the Tigers and Nanuet look to be almost dead even. But what may separate Put Valley is the fact that it may have more potential champs. AJ Mirabal (132) looks like a pretty heavy favorite, with Angelo Zegarelli (160) as a strong contender and Noah Kelvas (120) coming off of his first title last season. A match that could swing the pendulum either way is the 120-final, which possibly could be Kelvas vs. Nanuet’s Joe Dillon (Dillon beat him 3-0 early in the season). DMR: 2

2. Nanuet – As I wrote above, this should be about as a close as it gets. The three-time defending champs have reloaded in a quicker fashion than most anticipated, and that has them on the cusp of a fourth straight title. I could see as many as nine Golden Knights finishing in the top three or four in their respective weight classes, but the only one who looks like a good bet to go to Albany is Dillon. It would take an upset or two for Nanuet to have multiple champs – Dylan Mateo (113), Eric Boyle (126) and Connor Breit (182) look like possible finalists – and that may be what separates it from Put Valley. Of course, it’s probably foolish to bet against the Golden Knights based on their recent history, but the Tigers have been closing the gap in recent years. DMR: 1

3. Edgemont – While the Panthers are unlikely to match Nanuet or Putnam Valley in terms of depth, there’s a strong argument to be made that no team will have as many champs. Tyler Aslanian (113) and Chris Kim (182) are past champions and look like favorites, while Kyle Aslanian (106) and Colin Hopkins (145) are ranked No. 1 in their respective classes. If all four get it done, it’s not out of the question that Edgemont could challenge for a title, but they’ll need others to step up and place. DMR: 4

4. Pleasantville – The Panthers are on the rise once again, with a few possible champs leading the way. James Bathon (99) and Stephen Paternostro (126) are each coming off of titles last season, while Thomas Marrone (160) looks like a finalist – at the very least. They should have a couple of guys competing for individual titles, but Pleasantville may be a year or two away from having the overall depth to leapfrog Nanuet or Putnam Valley. DMR: NR

5. Woodlands – The most improved team in D2 rounds out the top five after capturing its first league title since 1997. The Falcons have developed a cast of wrestlers that made them into one of the toughest dual meet teams among small schools, and they should have a handful of wrestlers make a little noise at sectionals. Guys to keep an eye on include Daniel Kraemer (138), Elder Calim (152) and Houston Porter (195). DMR: 3

On the fringe: Irvington, Lourdes, Pawling

File photos from The Journal News

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6 Comments

  1. Curious George on

    Vin – How do you put RCK at #7 when Yonkers, Mahopac & Horace Greeley finished ahead of them at the Super 16 ?

  2. Vincent Mercogliano on

    Curious George,
    Because RCK had a few guys out, including Brad Marvin, and he’s a possible section champ. That’s major points that they were missing. Also, you have to consider the depth in each weight class at the Super 16, which certainly varied. While Yonkers had three champs there, it’s difficult to see them having anyone who will reach the finals at sectionals. I believe that RCK will have more guys place.

  3. D2 is all about the low level guys placing. Pleansantville does well enough there to compete with the big dogs. Nanuet and put Valley do better than Edgemont. Woodlands has a couple finalists, same with Irvington, maybe croton gets a 2nd in the finals, but if you can get a handful of guys to place and 2-3 in the finals you’re in pretty good shape in D2