• One-third of the Rockland county champs came from North Rockland, with Anthony Sulla (99), Alex D’Angelo (106), Matt Caputo (138), Blaise Benderoth (152) and Nick Didio (160) each winning titles to help the Red Raiders cruise to their sixth straight county championship. Caputo, Benderoth and Didio were heavy favorites, but Sulla and D’Angelo had to overcome the odds to win their titles. Sulla got them off to a good start with his 10-6 decision over Pearl River’s Sean McGarvey, whom he had lost to less than two weeks ago. That win probably establishes him as the No. 2 guy in the section at 99 pounds, behind Arlington’s Alfredo Olmedo.
• D’Angelo had also previously lost to his finals opponent, Suffern’s Peter Oliveto, but he showed some grit after going down early in the finals bout. The match was tied at 4-4 going into the third period, but D’Angelo locked up a 9-4 decision with a late takedown and three crucial back points on a tilt. With recent wins over Oliveto and Harrison’s Frankie Barchella, you could certainly make the case for D’Angelo as the No. 2 wrestler behind Fox Lane’s Brandon Fay at 106 pounds. “He’s a tough competitor, and it was a great match,” D’Angelo said. “I feel like I’m in a good position for sectionals, but it doesn’t mean anything – it’s all about how I wrestle that day.”
• Didio finished off his final against Clarkstown North’s Dave Crispino with a pin to earn the title at 160 pounds. I have confirmed that Didio has enough weigh-ins to go either 160 or 170 for sectionals, but his choice to go 160 this weekend could be telling. Either way, he’s a serious threat for a section title.
• No current Rockland wrestler has won as many county titles as Caputo, who earned his fourth yesterday by pinning teammate Justin Duboff in the 138-final. In the semis, Caputo picked up his 100th career pin, so he’s now sitting on a total of 101. I also confirmed a very noteworthy bit of information yesterday: Caputo is now the winningest wrestler in Rockland county history, with his total up to 209 career wins.
• The most thrilling match of the finals involved another North Rockland wrestler at 120 pounds. Derek DiMarsico had a two-point lead on Nanuet’s Joe Dillon late in the match, but Dillon picked up a dramatic takedown with 13 seconds remaining to tie the score. From there, Dillon stole momentum and was able to pull out a 6-5 decision in OT on his way to being named tournament MOW. It was the loudest that the crowd got all day, creating a great atmosphere for a really exciting match. “I try to block it out, but you can’t ignore it,” said Dillon after winning his second career county title. “It was really loud towards the end.”
• After North Rockland’s five champs, Pearl River was next in line with three, but the Pirates still finished behind Suffern in the overall standings. The Mounties placed second with two county champs in Daiton Powell (126) and Peter Pjetri (182), as Powell dominated throughout the day. He pinned North Rockland’s Marlon Borge in the finals, and looks like the obvious No. 2 in his weight class behind defending state champ Alex Delacruz of Ossining.
• Pjetri had a tighter match in the finals with Clarkstown South’s Hassan Auwarter, as those two have had some battles in the last two years. Auwarter beat him in their first two meetings last season, but Pjetri has won the last three times that they’ve wrestled—including yesterday’s 3-2 decision in the finals. It was a pretty defensive match, with Pjetri picking up the only takedown. Currently, Pjetri is ranked No. 3 at 182 and Auwarter is No. 4, but new rankings will be coming out this week. “He hasn’t taken me down the whole year, so I kind of know what his shots are,” Pjetri said. “I just closed him off, and he couldn’t get through.”
• James Kelly (113), John Muldoon (132) and Rob Gullo (170) each won titles for Pearl River, with both Kelly and Muldoon cruising for the most part. Muldoon pinned East Ramapo’s Romello Bradley in the finals, who has been making some strides recently. He expressed his disappointment to me that Arlington’s Nick Tolli —who certainly would have been Muldoon’s best competition at sectionals—is out for the year, but he still sounds focused and ready for sectionals. “I was a little beat up for a couple of weeks and I had to take some time off, but I’m feeling good,” Muldoon said. “Divisionals is at home, so that’s kind of a cool thing because my friends and family will be there. Come sectionals time, I guess Tolli is out now, but it’s still business as usual.”
• Gullo was involved in the second overtime match of the finals, winning a 3-1 decision over Nanuet’s Alex Slaybaugh with a takedown in the opening OT period. After wrestling at 160 earlier in the season, it appears that Gullo is planning on going 170 for sectionals. He placed third in the section last year, so he has to be considered a threat.
• Tappan Zee was the only other team to have multiple champs, with John Hartnett (220) and Mike Manni (285) playing the “anything you can do, I can do better” game. Both of them won their finals matches with pins that came in less than a minute, and it’s difficult to see either one of them really being challenged at sectionals. Manni got a good look at his top competition, as each of the top four ranked 285-pounders come from Rockland—Clarkstown South’s Nick Holahan and Matt St. Onge, and North Rockland’s Conner Reigottie. Manni pinned St. Onge in the semis, and then did the same to Holahan in the finals. Interestingly, both Holahan and St. Onge beat Reigottie on Saturday, which should shake up the rankings a bit. But despite handling his opponents with relative ease, Manni isn’t the type to pound his chest. He’s one of the more humble wrestlers that you’ll meet, and he answers questions as if he’s running for mayor. “Winning never gets old,” Manni said. “It’s always a great feeling to know that you represented your school well. You represent your coaches, your family, your friends, your teammates, and you set a good example for the younger guys to see how they can be successful in the future.”
• Austin Maurer was the only champ from Clarkstown South, as he won his second county title with a 7-3 decision over Suffern’s Tyrick Jackson in the 195-pound final. Jackson has been red-hot since winning the Kohl tourney, but Maurer is probably still the top contender to Beacon’s Andrew Grella at 195.
• Nyack’s James Giraldez was the 145-pound county champ after pinning Suffern’s Mike Koodin in the finals, but his toughest match came in the semis. Giraldez had a battle with TZ’s Noah Hovde at the O’Connell tourney earlier this season, and their second meeting on Saturday was much of the same. In the end, Giraldez won again with a 3-1 decision in OT.
• Elsewhere, Hackley placed second at the Ivy Championships with four champs in George Germanakos (120), Gregg Chung (126), Elijah Ngbokoli (160) and Xavier Carmona (195), with Carmona being named tourney MOW. Poly Prep edged Hackley out for first place by just three points (202 to 199). CLICK HERE to see full brackets.
• The inaugural Peter Caruso Tournament was held at Mahopac yesterday, with Middletown taking the title. The highest that a local team finished was Mahopac in third place, with Fox Lane right behind in fourth. Byram Hills’ Jon Errico was named junior MOW. Here are the results:
Team standings and key: 1. Middletown (Mid) 264.5; 2. North Babylon (NB) 206.5; 3. Mahopac (Mah) 185; 4. Fox Lane (FL) 149.5; 5. Washingtonville (Wash) 138.5; 6. Guilderland (Guid) 129; 7. Kingston (Kg) 100.5; 8. Byram Hills (BH) 97.5; 9. Kellenberg Memorial (KM) 88; 10. Greenville (Gv) 81; 11. Yonkers (Yo) 78; 12. Rondout Valley (RV) 68.5; 13. Iona Prep (IP) 67; 14. Irvington (Irv) 54; 15. Yorktown (Yk) 42.
99 – Ian Houck (RV) tech. fall Abby Bunyea (Mah), 15-0; Anthony Sparacio (NB) maj. dec. Oscar Lainez (Mid), 18-6. 106 – Josh LoGiudice (Guid) pin Jason Javier (KM), 5:07; Brandon Fay (FL) dec. Isaiah Gutierrez-Vera (Mid), 5-2. 113 – Pedro Rosales (Mid) pin Mike Muldoon (Mah), 0:12; Anthony Sobotker (NB) maj. dec. David Estrella (NB), 14-3. 120 – Jon Errico (BH) tech. fall Joe Colucci (IP), 15-0; Mike Lainhart (Guid) maj. dec. Antony Alexandrou (BH), 12-0. 126 – Matt Grippi (FL) maj. dec. Joe Frezza (Mah), 15-2; Brandon Bobe (Wash) pin Jake Derechin (IP), 3:53. 132 – Chris Cornell (Mah) dec. Tyler Rodriguez (Mid), 3-1; Jake Colonna (NB) pin Isaiah Papol (Gv), 3:26. 138 – Ben Ratner (BH) dec. Paul Brohan (KM), 3-0; Bayley Kuykendall (Gv) dec. Josh Santiago (RV), 6-5. 145 – Ben Ettlinger (FL) pin Brian Knodler (Guid), 3:22; Mohamed Shidid (Wash) dec. Mike Tartaglia (Mah), 11-6. 152 – Frank Surace (FL) dec. Johnny Grandson (Mid), 11-5; Elieser Maldonado (Yo) dec. Elijah Clemente (Guid), 13-9. 160 – No locals. 170 – Andy Cummings (Guid) dec. Bruce McLee (Wash), 5-2; Rodney Green (NB) pin Brandon Gunderson (BH), 0:22. 182 – Liridon Hasanramaj (Mah) dec. Colton White (Guid), 6-4; Bryan Beyers (Wash) dec. Eliot Marzano (Kg), 4-1. 195 – Jake Wood (Kg) dec. Jon Clune (FL), 6-1; Matt Grassa (NB) dec. Joe Marji (Yo), 7-3. 220 – Ryan Delahanty (Mah) pin Fabian Powell (NB), 1:28; Joe Humphrey (Mid) tech. fall Adam Krieger (Irv), 17-2. 285 – Sam Weinger (Wash) pin Khaled Dassan (Yo), 4:56; Anthony DiNardo (Irv) dec. Andre Davidson (Kg), 3-1.
99 – Sparacio (NB) pin Houck (RV), 3:52. 106 – LoGiudice (Giud) maj. dec. Fay (FL), 8-0. 113 – Sobotker (NB) maj. dec. Rosales (Mid), 19-8. 120 – Errico (BH) maj. dec. Lainhart (Guid), 11-0. 126 – Grippi (FL) pin Bobe (Wash), 5:05. 132 – Colonna (NB) dec. Cornell (Mah), 6-4 OT. 138 – Kuykendall (Gv) dec. Ratner (BH), 9-6. 145 – Ettlinger (FL) pin Shidid (Wash), 2:50. 152 – Surace (FL) pin Maldonado (Yo), 3:45. 160 – Eric Morse (RV) dec. Christian Matos (Mid), 13-6. 170 – Green (NB) pin Cummings (Guid), 2:48. 182 – Beyers (Wash) pin Hasanramaj (Mah), 1:22. 195 – Grassa (NB) pin Wood (Kg), 3:46 (Clune beat Marji 6-1 for third). 220 – Delahanty (Mah) dec. Humphrey (Mid), 12-10. 285 – Weinger (Wash) dec. DiNardo (Irv), 3-0.
Videos by Vincent Z. Mercogliano/Photos by Peter Carr