Former Port Jervis Coach Mark Faller To Be Inducted Into Upstate New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Popolizio, Conners, Hogan, Freischlag, and Tracy Also Get the Nod; Veysman from New York Wrestling News to be Honored As Well!

Ed Banach, Steve Banach, Coach Mark Faller, and Lou Banach

Well another Section 9 alum is being inducted into the Upstate NY Chapter of the Nation Wrestling Hall of Fame!  Congratulations to former Port Jervis wrestling coach Mark Faller for being part of the 2018 induction class! The induction ceremony will take place on Sunday, September 23 in East Syracuse.

Faller graduated from Port Jervis in 3 years and attended Harvard where he would excel both on and off the mat. He was an alternate for the 1976 Olympics in Greco Roman. Faller would return to Port Jervis where he led the Red Raiders, including Ed, Lou, and Steve Banach, to an incredible 70-2-1 record from 1975-1980.  Faller left Port Jervis to take over as head wrestling coach for Division 1 Franklin & Marshall where he would finish with a 122-104-1 coaching record without the benefit of athletic scholarships! From there, Faller moved to Georgia to earn his Ph.D. and then moved to Anchorage, Alaska where he was a psychology professor at Alaska Pacific University. Coach Faller is now retired and resides in Knoxville, TN. Congratulations Mark…Section 9 is proud to call you one of our own!

Also being inducted into the 2018 HOF Class are:
Frank Popolizio – Journeymen Wrestling and Shenendehowa HS
Michael Connors – Fulton HS and Oswego State
Scott Freischlag – Wayne Central School District
Michael Hogan – Peru Central School District
Gene Tracy – Section III Wrestling Official

A few others will be receiving special recognition for their contribution to the sport of wrestling and I would be remiss if I did not give special mention to Betsy Veysman.  Betsy will receive the Stanbro Media Award for her work in promoting the sport of wrestling.  Betsy founded which has quickly become the most followed and trusted media resource for amateur wrestling in New York State…period! During her tenure at the site she worked tirelessly to post articles, results, and rankings were simply unparalleled! Congratulations my friend…very well deserved!

Congratulations to all of the 2018 inductees!!!


Vespa Commits to Penn State

Jake Varner, Cody Sanderson, Marco Vespa, Casey Cunningham, Cael Sanderson

Congratulations to Monroe Woodbury senior Marco Vespa who has made the decision to continue his academic and athletic future at Penn State University.  Vespa is already a 5X Section 9 placewinner, 4X Section 9 finalist, 3X Section 9 champion and a 2X NYS placewinner.  Marco finished 4th in the state as a sophomore at 113 and 3rd in the state at 120 last season.

Vespa will be joining the most powerful wrestling program in the nation. Penn State has won 7 on the last 8 NCAA D1 wrestling championships and they have crowned 19 individual national champions during that same span. Great job Marco…Section 9 strong, Section 9 proud!!!!

Hudson Valley Challenge – Sunday, October 21

The 2018 Hudson Valley Challenge is right around the corner! Have you registered yet???  The tournament will take place on Sunday, October 21th and will once again be held at Port Jervis High School.  This tournament is run by the Friends of Section 9 – the same organization that runs the Eastern States Classic!  Let’s spread the word and pack the gym with both wrestlers and fans!

Registration is available through TicketLeap here!

Sanction New York Girls Wrestling Update

Earlier this summer, Section 9 coordinators met with New York State Public High School Athletic Association representatives, including Executive Director Robert Zayas, to discuss the process of making girls wrestling a varsity sport sometime in the future. The first step, according to Section 9 Wrestling chairman Jeff Cuilty, would be the creation of an all-girls sectional tournament which could become a reality as early as the 2019-2020 season.  In order to have girls wrestling sanctioned by NYSPHSAA as its own sport, there will need to be at least 4 sections with 4 varsity teams.  In order for the girls to have their own state tournament, there will need to be 6 sections involved in the initiative.  Let’s continue to lead the way Section 9!!!

Check out the Poughkeepsie Journal article by Stephen Hayes about this topic!

Steps To Make Girls Wrestling A Varsity Sport
by Stephen Hayes
Poughkeepsie Journal

Division 1 Spotlight

2X NYS Placewinner Marco Vespa

Now let’s take a look at some of the Division 1 wrestlers that we need to keep an eye on during the 2018-2019 season.  This list is by no means comprehensive!  Heck, I can almost guarantee that there are a few wrestlers who I don’t even mention who will go on to win a S9 title and perhaps even place in NYS!  And that’s a great thing…it just shows the quality and depth that we have in Section 9 wrestling! This is going to be a great season!!!

Returning State Placewinners

Marco Vespa – Monroe Woodbury, senior
Vespa is without question the most decorated wrestler in Section 9.  He is already a 5X S9 placewinner, a 4X S9 finalist, a 3X S9 champion, and a 2X NYS placewinner. Marco came in 4th in the state at 113 as a sophomore and 3rd in the state at 120 as a junior last season!  Make no mistake about it, Vespa has laser focus on becoming a NYS champion in Albany this coming February!

Will Leonard – Cornwall, senior
Leonard opened some eyes in 2017 when he finished 3rd in S9 at 182 as a sophomore.  In 2018 things really started to click for him.  Will finished with a 39-6 record including a 4th place finish at the Eastern States and a 6th place finish in Albany at the state tournament!

Maxx DeCapua – Newburgh Free Academy, junior
DeCapua burst onto the scene in 2016 as an 8th grader placing 3rd in S9 at 170! He did not place in 2017 but came in 3rd at 195 last season and earned a wildcard to the state tournament where he finished in 6th place!  Maxx loves to throw and is a very dangerous match-up for any opponent!

2018 S9 Champs With at Least 1 Win at the State Tournament

Tyler Serafini – Newburgh Free Academy, senior
The NFA senior was a S9 finalist as a sophomore (lost to Barczak) and last year as a junior he claimed the title at 152 pounds defeating at large entry Joe Pushman. Serafini went 1-2 in Albany and is looking to make the medal stand this year!

Matt Romano – Valley Central, junior
Romano scored a late against MV’s Sean Savacool to notch his first S9 title.  The VC junior wrestled well in Albany going 1-2 including a close 4-2 loss to state finalist Justin McDougald. We can expect another very good season from Romano!

Returning Section 9 Champs

Justin Morales – Middletown, junior
Morales gutted out a few very tough wins in the S9 tournament. He scored late takedowns against MV’s Andrew Filip in the semis and Cornwall’s Christian Prokosch in the finals to win the title at 99 pounds.

Sam Santander – Monroe Woodbury, senior
Santander had a great S9 tournament!  He pinned NFA’s Maxx DeCapua in the semis and then won a close 3-1 decision over MV’s Anton Juncaj in the finals. He earned the second seed at 195 in the state tournament but unfortunately went 0-2.

A Few Others To Keep An Eye On….

Jordan Suarez – Minisink Valley, junior
Suarez is a 2X Section 9 finalist who is laser focused on earning his first trip to the state tournament.  The very talented MV junior came in 2nd at 99 pounds as a freshman, and last year he lost a 7-3 decision in the finals to Dylan Earl who finished 5th in NYS at 113! This could be Jordan’s year!

Tommy Askey – Pine Bush, junior
Askey is one of the hardest workers in Section 9!  He placed 2nd at 126 last year after losing in the finals to 3X S9 champ Connor Greiner and came in 4th in the sections in 2017 at 120.

Joe McGinty – Monroe Woodbury, junior
After taking 3rd at 120 in 2017 McGinty made it to the finals at 138 season before falling to 3X S9 champ Dom Vetrano this past season. McGinty is very tough! Could 2019 be his year?

Nick Picariello – Minisink Valley, junior
The Minisink Valley junior lost 6-4 in the Section 9 finals this past season to Greg Fischer who finished 6th in NYS.  He also came in third at 99 two seasons ago as a freshman.

Sean Savacool – Minisink Valley, junior
Savacool lost to VC’s Matthew Romano in the Section 9 finals at 126 this past season.  He had a 33-8 record and notched a few big wins for the Warriors.  He’s a grinder and will be looking to make his first trip to Albany this coming season.

Nick Albornoz – Minisink Valley, senior
Nick finished 4th as a sophomore at 126 and was a Section 9 finalist last season at 145 where he lost to teammate and 2X S9 champ Vinny Vetrano. Albornoz gets better every year and will definitely be in the hunt this season!

Anton Juncaj – Minisink Valley, senior
The D1 football prospect opened quite a few eyes last season when he made it all the way to the S9 finals at 195 before losing a close 3-1 match to Santander from MW.  Anton has a lot of upside and could have a huge season in 2018-2019!

Mark Crisfield – Valley Central, senior
Crisfield made it to the finals in a very competitive 220 pound weight class in which the top 4 wrestlers all return – Leonard, Crisfield, Fenner and Owen.  This will be fun to watch again!

Preston Havison – Monroe Woodbury, senior
The Crusader heavyweight was a S9 finalist last season dropping an extremely exciting 3-2 decision in the finals to Fenner from MV. Havison is a very tough match-up for any big man and will definitely be in the hunt for a trip to Albany this season!

And Let’s Not Forget About….

Colby Amell – Saugerties, senior
Amell was the 99 pound Section 9 champ in 2017 but missed all of last season due to injury.  He will definitely be one of the lightweight favorites this season!

James Faison – Wallkill, junior
Faison was the top seed at 132 last season but was injured during the semis of the Section 9 tournament and had to forfeit to 6th place.  He’s very talented and even notched a 10-5 win over S9 champ Romano last year!


Division 2 Spotlight

Even though we are a few months away from the start of the 2018 – 2019 wrestling season, let’s take a look at some of the wrestlers that we should definitely keep an eye on this winter!  This post will highlight our Division 2 (small school) wrestlers….an article focusing on the D1 kids will post in a few days.

Returning State Placewinner

Liam Dietrich – Red Hook, junior
Dietrich opened eyes in 2017 when he finished 2nd at 285 as a freshman!  This past season he won the Section 9 title at 285 and went on to finish 5th in NYS. Don’t be surprised if he is a few steps higher on the podium in Albany this year!  Dietrich is big and athletic; he’s a tough match-up for any heavyweight in NYS and he’s the only returning NYS placewinner at 285!!!

2018 Section 9 Champs With At Least 1 Victory At States

Eric Tigue – Port Jervis, freshman
Tigue made some noise at 113 in Syracuse last January at the State Dual Championships when, as an 8th grader, he picked off former state champ and senior Jon Charles by a score of 5-3.  Tigue lost in sudden victory in the blood round at the individual state tournament in Albany so he is extra motivated to step on the medal stand this coming February!

Ethan Palanca – New Paltz, sophomore
Palanca punched his ticket to Albany by knocking off a defending Section 9 champ, Pat Ross from Onteora at 120 pounds.  Up at the state tournament Ethan won his first match before running into 2X state champ Trent Svingala and then lost his first wrestleback.  The New Paltz sophomore is definitely a contender to place this year!

Nikko Walsh – Rondout Valley, sophomore
A 2X Section 9 champion at 99 pounds, Walsh went 0-2 in Albany in 2017 but was much more competitive this past season at the state championships! He pinned his opening round opponent in the first period before dropping two very competitive matches 3-1 and 6-0 (to the wrestler who placed 4th). Walsh works hard in the off season and is poised for another great season!

Other Returning 2018 Section 9 Champs

Nick Ross – Onteora, sophomore
Nick was the S9 champ at 126 this past season and was champ at 113 in 2017! Can we be looking at a future 5X S9 champ?

Mat Malherio – Highland, senior
Mat is a 2X S9 champ at 138. In Albany, he lost 5-2 in the opening round to the eventual state champion Mike Zariff.  This could be his break through season!

William Harrison – Port Jervis, senior
The PJ senior is as tough as any wrestler in Section 9, D1 or D2. Don’t be surprised if he contends for a medal in Albany in February.

Devin Dixon – New Paltz, senior
220 pound champ Dixon’s first trip to the state tournament was a learning experience that he hopes to build upon this coming season.

Matt Morris – Red Hook, junior
Morris had a tough draw at 106 in Albany…his losses came to the eventual 4th and 5th place finishers.

Some Others To Keep An Eye On

Nate Ross – Onteora, junior
Nate came in 2nd in a very tough 138 pound weight class and was the S9 champ in 2017 at 126.  Albany has not seen the last of him!

Pat Ross – Onteora, sophomore
Suffered a tough loss to Palanca at 120 in 2018 and was the champ at 106 in 2017. Like his brother Nate, he also will return to the state tournament!

Nick Curreri – Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West, senior
Nick came in 3rd in the aforementioned very tough 138 pound weight class. His only loss was a 4-3 decision to the champion Malherio.

Luke Jones – Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West, junior
Jones lost a tough 5-1 decision at 152 to Harrison.  He has put in a lot of off season work and will be looking to punch his ticket to the Times Union Center!

John Antonelli – Marlboro, junior
Antonelli finished 2nd as an 8th grader at 99, 3rd at 106 as a freshman and 2nd at 126 last season as a sophomore. Could we see him on the top of the S9 podium this season?


2018-2019 SUNY Sullivan Schedule

General’s Wrestling Schedule 

11/3/18: Brockport Open
11/9/18: Ulster CC @ Home
11/13/18: Bergen CC @ Home
11/15/18: Away @ Lackawanna CC
11/17 & 18/18: NYS Collegiates @ Cornell University
12/2/18: ‘Bob Quade’ Cyclone Open @ Centenary University
12/14/18: Springfield Tech CC @ Home
12/15/18: Long Island Open @ Nassau CC
1/9/19: Away @ USMAP
1/16/19: Away @ Columbia HS vs Castelton University & CMSV
1/22/19: Lackawanna @ Home
1/29/19: Away @ Keystone College
2/2/19: Regional Championship @ Ulster CC
2/16 & 17/19: Eastern District 1 Championships @ Niagara CC
2/27/19 – 3/2/19: JUCO Nationals in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Section 9 Well Represented in New York Wrestling News Class Rankings

New York Wrestling News ( is putting together a list of the top high school wrestlers in each graduating class and Section 9 has quite a few names on the list!  Let’s take a look at the locals kids listed thus far.  Also listed are the #1 ranked wrestler in each graduating class! This website will update the list as NYWN continues to post the rankings!

Juniors – Class of ’20 – Greg Diakomihalis (Hilton) 
#25 – Maxx DeCapua (Newburgh Free Academy)
#27 – Justin Morales (Middletown)
#33 – Liam Dietrich (Red Hook)
#36 – Matthew Romano (Valley Central)
#53 – Tommy Askey (Pine Bush)
#58 – Sean Savacool (Minisink Valley)
#64 – Joe McGinty (Monroe Woodbury)
#70 – Jordan Suarez (Minisink Valley)
#100 – Nick Picariello (Minisink Valley)

Complete Rankings for Class of 2020

Sophomores – Class of ’21 – #1 Stevo Poulin (Shenendehowa)
#31 – Nikko Walsh (Rondout Valley)
#34 – Ethan Palanca (New Paltz)
#45 – Nick Ross (Onteora)
#55 – Joey Curerri (Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West)
#62 – Pat Ross (Onteora)
#66 – Adam Fenner (Minisink Valley)
#71 – Evan Hewitt (Minisink Valley)

Complete Rankings for Class of 2021

Freshman – Class of ’22 – #1 Jayden Scott (Rush Henrietta)
#11 – Eric Tigue (Port Jervis)

Complete Rankings for Class of  2022