I’ll be at Beacon HS the next two days covering the Division 2 sectional championships (CLICK HERE to see my D2 predictions), but we will also be reporting on the results from all four Division 1 sectional qualifiers on Saturday. Wrestling will begin at 9 a.m. at each site, with the top four from each weight class in each tourney advancing to the D1 sectional championships next weekend.
Follow me on Twitter @vzmercogliano for updates throughout the weekend, and here are some preview capsules to get you set for each divisional:
Division 1 at Mahopac
Teams: Clarkstown South, Eastchester, John Jay-CR, Lakeland/Panas, Mahopac, North Rockland, Peekskill, RC Ketcham and Yorktown
Top-ranked wrestlers: Matt Caputo, North Rockland (138); Blaise Benderoth, North Rockland (152);
Must-see matches: 99 – Anthony Sulla (North Rockland) vs. Michael Alvarado (Clarkstown South); 132 – Conor Melbourne (John Jay) vs. Chris Cornell (Mahopac) vs. John DiDomenico (Lakeland/Panas); 138 – Jonathan Pla (Lakeland/Panas) vs. Brian Kershner (John Jay) vs. Grant McGeary (Ketcham); 145 – Danny Murphy (Ketcham) vs. Blake Cohen (Lakeland/Panas); 152 – Mike DiNardo (Mahopac) vs. Chris Carlucci (Lakeland/Panas); 170 – Nunzio Crowley (Eastchester) vs. Dave Emory (Ketcham); 182 – Hassan Auwarter (Clarkstown South) vs. Austin Hassett (Ketcham); 195 – Austin Maurer (Clarkstown South) vs. Dom Emory (Ketcham); 220 – Ryan Delahanty (Mahopac) vs. Murphy Wilson (Ketcham); 285 – Stephen Kelley (Lakeland) vs. Nick Holahan (Clarkstown South) vs. Matt St. Onge (Clarkstown South) vs. Conner Reigottie (North Rockland)
Thoughts: The most interesting weight class to watch at Mahopac will be 285 pounds, where four of the top five ranked wrestlers in the section will be competing. It’s a good bet that those are the four who will qualify for sectionals, but how they do here will have a major affect on the seeding. It was Holahan who took second the Rockland County Championships after beating Reigottie in the semis, but Kelley won his most recent match with Holahan. Along with St. Onge, these four have beat each other up all year, and it’s really anyone’s game on Saturday, with the two-seed likely on the line… 138 is another weight class with some major depth at this site. Caputo is the front-runner for a section title, while Pla, Kershner and McGeary are each guys who have proven that they deserve to compete at sectionals. But a misstep from any of them could cost them that opportunity… Another interesting class is 132, which features the wrestlers ranked 2-4 behind heavy favorite John Muldoon of Pearl River. Melbourne, Cornell and DiDomenico have all wrestled each other already this year, with Melbourne having beaten Cornell twice and split with DiDomenico (Cornell beat DiDomenico in the Super 16 final). The two-seed definitely seems to be up for grabs this weekend.
Division 2 at Pearl River
Teams: Clarkstown North, East Ramapo, Hen Hud, Mamaroneck, Nyack, Pearl River, Port Chester, Suffern and Yonkers
Top-ranked wrestlers: John Muldoon, Pearl River (132)
Must-see matches: 99 – Sean McGarvey (Pearl River) vs. Justin Lopez (Yonkers); 120 – Jake Kurzhals (Pearl River) vs. Luke Francois (East Ramapo) vs. Fredy Guevara (Yonkers); 126 – Daiton Powell (Suffern) vs. Prakash Thakur (Nyack); 138 – Jack Wagner (Hen Hud) vs. Nick Simeti (Pearl River); 152 – Elieser Maldonado (Yonkers) vs. Jordan Artope (Hen Hud); 195 – Tyrick Jackson (Suffern) vs. Joe Marji (Yonkers); 220 – Bryan Kondracki (Pearl River) vs. Youssif Hemida (Mamaroneck) vs. Khaled Dassan (Yonkers).
Thoughts: With only one top-ranked wrestler present at Pearl River, this tourney will feature the least section title favorites of them all, but there are still some weight classes to watch… 120 should be very interesting with a few guys that were right on the verge of being ranked in Kurzhals, Francois and Guevara. Guevara has been a pinning machine at times, but he hasn’t been able to see many of the top guys from the section in his class, so this will be a good test… It’s a similar story at 220, where Kondracki, Hemida and Dassan could all run into each other. Hemida just returned after missing nearly the entire regular season, but he’s got some big upside and is definitely someone to watch. He pinned Dassan about a week ago… Maldonado and Artope battled into OT in the Super 16 final, with Maldonado coming out on top. Artope will have his shot at a rematch on Saturday.
Division 3 at Harrison
Teams: Arlington, Brewster, Harrison, New Rochelle, Rye, Scarsdale, Sleepy Hollow, Tappan Zee and White Plains
Top-ranked wrestlers: Alfredo Olmedo, Arlington (99); Gino Gioielli, Brewster (170); John Hartnett, Tappan Zee (220); Mike Manni, Tappan Zee (285)
Must-see matches: 99 – Alfredo Olmedo (Arlington) vs. Jake Shore (New Rochelle); 106 – Frankie Barchella (Harrison) vs. Jordan Wallace (New Rochelle); 113 – Brady Robin (Arlington) vs. Moises Tera (New Rochelle); 120 – Lamont Wallace (New Rochelle) vs. Grant Cuomo (Brewster); 126 – Brian Gardner (Rye) vs. Tom Kozal (Brewster); 138 – Liam Erickson (Brewster) vs. Daniel Baruch (Scarsdale); 145 — Noah Hovde (Tappan Zee) vs. Mike Chiasello (Arlington); 170 – Gino Gioielli (Brewster) vs. Adam Hofling (Sleepy Hollow).
Thoughts: No matter how things shake out at 170, some good wrestlers are going to be left on the outside looking in. Gioielli and Hofling are currently ranked 1-2 at 170, so that’s the match that most will want to see, but Arlington’s Brandon Badger, New Ro’s Demetrius Rodriguez, Harrison’s Dom Schepis and White Plain’s David Jefferson will also be competing in that weight class. Each of those guys has wrestled well enough to compete at sectionals, but only four can qualify. As much as I like the divisional format, if there is one flaw, it’s that weight classes can get stacked like this on occasion and force good wrestlers out… Some other New Rochelle wrestlers will have some interesting matches in the lighter weight classes, particularly the Wallace brothers. Jordan will have a chance to shake up the seedings at 106 if he can pull an upset over Barchella, while Lamont could have a very potentially interesting match with Cuomo… If Hartnett and Manni don’t pin their way through this tournament, I’ll be shocked.
Division 4 at Horace Greeley
Teams: Beacon, Byram Hills, Carmel, Fox Lane, Horace Greeley, John Jay-EF, Mount Vernon, Ossining and Somers
Top-ranked wrestlers: Brandon Fay, Fox Lane (106); Jay Albis, John Jay-EF (113); Matt Grippi, Fox Lane (120); Alex Delacruz, Ossining (126); Ben Ettlinger, Fox Lane (145); Dom Celli, Somers (160); Brett Perry, John Jay-EF (182); Andrew Grella, Beacon (195)
Must-see matches: 106 – Brandon Fay (Fox Lane) vs. Randy Earl (John Jay-EF); 113 – Jay Albis (John Jay-EF) vs. Kevin Knox (Carmel); 120 – Matt Grippi (Fox Lane) vs. Jon Errico (Byram Hills); 138 – Scott Rodrigues (Fox Lane) vs. Grant Frederick (John Jay-EF) vs. Ben Ratner (Byram Hills); 145 – Ben Ettlinger (Fox Lane) vs. Larry Courtien (Somers); 152 – Frank Surace (Fox Lane) vs. Liam Hiene (Somers); 160 – Dom Celli (Somers) vs. Mitch Klein (Greeley); 170 – Brandon White (John Jay-EF) vs. Luke Roediger (Somers); 182 – Brett Perry (John Jay-EF) vs. Justin Ayala (Mount Vernon); 195 – Andrew Grella (Beacon) vs. Brock Cvijanovich (Greeley) vs. Jon Clune (Fox Lane); 220 – Billy Marino (Greeley) vs. Andrew Anthony (John Jay-EF).
Thoughts: After breaking down each sectional qualifier, it’s hard not to look at this one as the most intriguing. There will be a total of eight top-ranked wrestlers — by far the most of any divisional — with four potential 1 vs. 2 matches at 120, 145, 182 and 195. You can also pretty much call Celli and Klein at 160 a 1 vs. 2, even though Klein is currently ranked third behind North Rockland’s Nick Didio. This is definitely the divisional that I’m most disappointed to miss out on… I was asked in last night’s chat which has been the best rivalry in Section 1 this season, and the first one that came to mind was Grippi vs. Errico at 120. They’ve split in two meetings this season, so it’s probably safe to say that whoever wins on Saturday will have the inside track for the No. 1 seed at sectionals… Grella has beaten Cvijanovich twice already this season, but we have yet to see Ettlinger-Courtien, Celli-Klein or Perry-Ayala wrestle. The winners of those matches could also earn themselves No. 1 seeds, and will probably be considered the favorites in their respective weight classes. There’s a lot on the line here… Another match to keep your eye on is Surace and Hiene at 152. Whoever wins that could position themselves for the No. 2 seed and a path to North Rockland’s Blaise Benderoth in the section final.
Photo by Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News