I came out with new weight class rankings yesterday, and today I’m going to release my first set of predictions. The Division 2 sectional tournament begins tomorrow at Beacon HS, so this is the time for me to make my final picks. I’ll have my Division 1 predictions coming next week.
The D2 seeds won’t be determined until tonight, but since I’ll be hosting a chat from 7:30 until 9 or so, I had to make my predictions without any brackets to work off of. That makes it a bit more difficult — the matchups that I’m predicting in the finals could come a round earlier — but it shouldn’t change which guys I’m picking to win it all. The majority of my predicted champs are currently ranked No. 1, but there’s a few classes where the rankings don’t necessarily hold true.
The perception of D2 in the preseason was that there aren’t many Section 1 wrestlers who will be contenders at states, and that’s still largely true. There are no returning All-State wrestlers from D2, but I will say that I’m beginning to feel as if the team of state qualifiers that Section 1 sends to Albany could do better than expected. Several D2 wrestlers have stepped it up this season, making for some pretty heavy favorites in certain weight classes.
Leave your own predictions in the comments section, and then be sure to stop by tonight’s chat to give me your feedback and submit questions. To log into the chat, simply visit the blog anytime from 7:15 on…
VIN’S DIVISION 2 PICKS
99 – James Bathon (Pleasantville) maj. dec. Mikey Bruno (Putnam Valley)
WHY: It’s not often that a defending section champ stays in the same weight class, but that’s what Bathon did this season. He hasn’t wrestled a ton while dealing with some nagging injuries, but he also hasn’t lost in the matches that he’s wrestled. Rust could be a factor, but it would be difficult to bet against him. Bruno took third here last year.
106 – Kyle Aslanian (Edgemont) pin Robert Dinota (Westlake)
WHY: Dinota has a bright future, but Aslanian has been the man here all season. After a heartbreaking loss to Bathon in last year’s 99-final, this is Aslanian’s time.
113 – Tyler Aslanian (Edgemont) dec. Dylan Mateo (Nanuet)
WHY: Aslanian made a wise move dropping down from 120, where he would have had a tough time in a crowded field. At 113, he’s clearly the guy to beat, having already beaten Mateo with a 6-0 decision earlier in the season. Mateo, though, is only a freshman and may have a title or two in his future.
120 – Joe Dillon (Nanuet) dec. Andrew Barsuch (Croton-Harmon)
WHY: With Dillon, Barsuch, Put Valley’s Noah Kelvas and Ardsley’s Adam Samolsky, this may be the deepest field in the tournament, but Dillon has established himself as the favorite. He’s already beaten Kelvas (3-0) and Barsuch (7-0), and looks like he could be a force at states. Barsuch and Kelvas would be a must-see match in the semis, but I’m giving the slight edge to the senior.
126 – Stephen Paternostro (Pleasantville) pin Eric Boyle (Nanuet)
WHY: Paternostro has been a pinning machine, and has still yet to lose this season. He won his first section title with an explosive 15-second pin last year, and is capable of ending it quickly again.
132 – AJ Mirabal (Putnam Valley) pin Chris Lowery (Nanuet)
WHY: It was Mirabal who was the victim of Paternostro’s quick pin last season, and it was a loss that stuck with him all offseason. He came back like a man on a mission, and has really taken his game to another level. This time around, it could be him who finishes strong by putting his opponent on his back.
138 – Christopher Santana (Pawling) dec. Cliffton Wang (Edgemont)
WHY: A very tough call here, as Wang has really come on strong in his freshman season. But Santana is probably a bit more well-rounded at this point in his career, and I see him pulling out a closely contested decision.
145 – Colin Hopkins (Edgemont) dec. Nick Jolly (Lourdes)
WHY: Injuries have set Hopkins back at times throughout his career, but all indications are that he’s ready to go for Friday. When healthy, he’s been one of the better wrestlers in D2, with a few wins over ranked D1 wrestlers. Jolly is capable of pulling off the upset, but I’m taking Hopkins to finish his senior season on a high note.
152 – Frank Paratore (Nanuet) dec. Patrick Polintan (Ardsley)
WHY: This may be the most wide open class in the tourney, so I’m taking a bit of a shot in the dark. Polintan is currently ranked No. 1, but he has yet to see Paratore this season. Ultimately, I’m banking on the tough schedule that Nanuet wrestles paying dividends here. Paratore has been tested this season and taken his lumps, and I think he may be ready to pull off the upset.
160 – Angelo Zegarelli (Putnam Valley) dec. Thomas Marrone (Pleasantville)
WHY: This should be one of the better finals of the day, as both Zegarelli and Marrone have been on a collision course all season. Marrone is a hard-nosed wrestler who has a non-stop motor, which makes him dangerous. But Zegarelli may be a bit more polished, and he has some unfinished business after losing in the 160-final last season. He’s my pick.
170 – Peter Jones (Irvington) dec. Tyler Estremera (Lourdes)
WHY: There is some intrigue in this weight class – Nanuet’s Alex Slaybaugh certainly could have something to say before it’s all said and done – but Jones has established himself as the guy to beat. He majored Estremera earlier this season, and while I think this match will be closer, he still has the decided edge.
182 – Chris Kim (Edgemont) dec. Connor Breit (Nanuet)
WHY: Breit has had a very encouraging freshman season, but Kim is a defending champ and may be too much for the youngster to overcome at this point in his career. There may be a title or two to come from Breit in coming years, but I’m taking the senior in this one.
195 – Houston Porter (Woodlands) dec. Evan Shlom (Ardsley)
WHY: This weight class was a big unknown in the beginning of the season, but Porter has been the most consistent. He’s beaten pretty much every contender so far, including a 9-6 decision over Shlom. He could give the Falcons their first champ in a few years.
220 – Alek Pavloff (Croton-Harmon) pin Adam Krieger (Irvington)
WHY: Pavloff was a finalist here last season when Nanuet’s Dan Breit was dominating the competition, and now it appears to be his time. He’s been atop the rankings all season and seems poised to finish it off with a title.
285 – Anthony DiNardo (Irvington) dec. Andreas Fell (Hastings)
WHY: Fell moved into the No. 1 ranking after beating DiNardo in two of their three meetings this season, including wins in the last two bouts. Momentum seems to be on his side, but DiNardo has wrestled well since that last loss. Call it a gut feeling, but DiNardo has placed in this weight class before and I see him getting it done.
Photo by Peter Carr/The Journal News