Section 9 Season Preview

A Weight-By-Weight “What To Watch For”

Please keep in mind that this analysis is based on certification weights and some speculation on where the wrestlers may go in February.  As we all know, the wrestlers and coaches will provide us with many surprises by the end of the year.  This article is just for fun and discussion…nothing more, nothing less.

section999 – This is always the most difficult weight to discuss in the preseason because many of the kids who will be contending for a title at 99 at the end of the year have yet to wrestle their first varsity match!  One kid that we can definitely expect great things from is Middletown’s Oscar Lainez.  He cannot wrestle at this weight until after the +2 is given later in December, but when he does – watch out!  Last season, Lainez posted a win over eventual S9 champ Marco Vespa and he also beat D2 NYS Champion AJ Burkhart from Waverly in a spring match! Defending D2 S9 champ Wade Harris from Red Hook should be back at 99 pounds and is hoping to step on the podium in Albany as well.  MW’s Dylan Earl has had a busy off season including competing at the Journeymen OverFlo tournament and should have a great season as well.

106 –  Monroe Woodbury freshman Marco Vespa was the Section 9 champion at 99 pounds last year and he went 1-2 in Albany.  He has put in a lot of time in the off-season and is primed to make a run for a title at 106 this season.  His biggest competition may come from Minisink Valley junior Tyler Lynch.  Lynch, a former Valley Central student, has finished 2nd and 3rd in the section over the past two seasons. Goshen’s Frank Fea kept improving all season last year and ended up finishing 3rd in S9 at 99 pounds.  Fea will definitely be in the mix this year as will NFA sophomore Greg Fischer who placed 6th last season.

Connor Greiner
MV soph Connor Greiner

113 – All signs here point towards a D1 showdown between Minisink Valley’s Connor Greiner and Monroe Woodbury’s Anthony Stramiello!  Greiner was last year’s 106 pound S9 champ at 106 and went 1-2 at the state tournament while  Stramiello was the 99 pound champ two years ago and finished 2nd at 113 last year.  The 113 pound weight class could potentially be pretty deep with guys like Patrick Owens (Monticello), Austin Brock (Goshen), , Nick Florin (Pine Bush), and Boubacar Bah (Middletown) all fighting for spots on the medal stand.   On the Division 2 side, Chester has two of the top 113 pounders in Nicholas Connetta and Justin Quiles.  Connetta placed 2nd at 99 last year while wrestling for Tuxedo while Quiles placed 4th at 106.  Highland freshman Christian Canino placed 2nd at 106 last year and will definitely be in the D2 113 title mix!

120 – Both D1 and D2 120 seem to be wide open on paper (which is why we wrestle on mats). On the D2 side we have to look at Rondout Valley’s Ian Houck as one of the favorites but he’ll definitely receive some stiff competition – and it will likely come from New Paltz.  Shane Gullickson, AJ Fazio, and Chris Massaro are all returning sectional place winners…and they all wrestle for New Paltz!  Onteora’s Joe Prusack also placed in sections last year and will be in the mix. The D1 side has no clear cut favorite at 120 but we will definitely have several very tough wrestlers fighting it out for the top step an the medal stand!  Andrew Davis (Wallkill), Robert Satriano (Valley Central), Jarred Greiner (Minisink Valley), Cameron Wernicki (Monroe Woodbury), Brad Bonner, (Wallkill), Tyler Matos (Middletown), Chris Bouton (Kingston), Devin McCormick (Washingtonville)…I could name a few others but I think you get the point!

126 – Monroe Woodbury senior Kevin Kelly is definitely the favorite to repeat as the 126 pound Section 9 champ in D1.  Actually his sights are a bit higher.  Kelly was one win away from placing in the top-6 at Albany last year but has plans on ascending much higher up the podium this year.  One wrestler who may challenge Kelly for the title is Warwick’s Paul Ginley who placed 4th in S9 last year.  The Division  2 side will be wide open as there are no returning sectional place winners certified for this weight!

132 – This weight has a solid core of Division 1 wrestlers returning.  Expect very good season’s from Minisink Valley’s Andrew Neidnig, Wallkill’s Gus Formato, Monroe Woodbury’s Anthony Eckerson,  Cornwall’s Ryan Vizethann and Warwick’s Nicholas Ferriera.  All have the potential to place very high at the S9 tournament in February.  However it is Ferriera’s new teammate, PA transfer Charlie Johnson, that makes this weight class extremely interesting.  Johnson placed 5th at 126 in PA last season and, if he wrestles at 132, is likely to be the favorite. Here again at 132 D2 has no returning place winners which will make for a wide-open and very exciting weight class at sections!

Taylor Benson
Red Hook’s Taylor Benson

138 –  In Division 2 all eyes will be on Red Hook’s Taylor Benson.  If he decided to come down to the 138 class after the +2 he will be the favorite!  Benson looked very solid at this year’s Journeymen Classic and has his sights set on the medal stand in Albany.  He will not go unchallenged though as Onteora has a very tough  Zach Chartrand who may be at 138.  On the D1 side, this weight class will likely be affected by which weight the aforementioned Charlie Johnson decides to go.  If he stays here he will clearly be the favorite but will be challenged by returning place winners Dylan Greer (Pine Bush), William Harrison (Port Jervis), and Ben Ulrich (Monticello).

Evan Barczak
Monroe’s Evan Barczak

145 – Monroe Woodbury junior Evan Barczak is the clear favorite to represent Section 9 at 145 pounds in the Division 1 state tournament in February.  Evan finished 6th in NYS at 132 and had had an awesome off-season recently capped off by an invitation to represent Team NY in the NY vs. NJ All Star Match at the Grapple at the Garden!  That said, there are a couple of very tough kids that will not lay down for Barczak.  Washingtonville junior Brandon Bobe placed 3rd at 145 last year and he’s as tough as nails!  Plus, let’s not forget about solid wrestlers like Lucas Wightman from Warwick, Dan Romano from Valley Central and Tim Ganuncio from Minisink Valley.  D2 also has a few returning placers who may be at 145 in Kyle Torre (Red Hook), Tristen Schiafo (Red Hook), and Connor Post (Burke) but the favorite will likely be Onteora’s Dillon Ross who was the champ at 120 last year.

152 – There is a chance that Section 9 makes the medal stand in Albany at D1 and D2 at 152 pounds!  In D1 will will likely see Warwick’s Ryan Ferro on the podium in Albany.  Ferro was last season’s S9 champ at 145 and he finished 3rd in NYS.  Not too shabby for a kid who plays 3 sports and only wrestles a few months out of the year!  Ferro will get pushed by kids like Brian Bucci (Saugerties) and Mike DeCapua (NFA).  Noah Curreri wrestles for Eldred and he also plans on visiting the medal stand in Albany.  He was the 145 D2 S9 champ last year and has had a great off-season including an impressive performance at the Journeymen Classic.  Dan Stachelek now wrestles for Burke.  He is a returning place winner and could potentially place high here.

AJ Aeberli
Minisink’s AJ Aeberli

160 – Minisink Valley senior AJ Aeberli is the odds-on favorite at 160 pounds in Division 1.  He was the champ at this weight last year and wound up placing 5th in NYS.  Do not be surprised if we see Aeberli towards the very top of the podium in late February!  There is plenty of other talent at 160 in D1 S9 so we shouldn’t be surprised if a some wrestlers consider taking a run at 170.  Josh Cordero from Monroe finished 3rd and Nathaniel Cohen from Port Jervis finished 5th at 160 last year.  Nijee Noble, who looked outstanding in Fargo, finished 4th at 152 while Ryan Sebesta (Wallkill) and Mark Ohanian (VC) also placed at the same weight.   On the D2 side, Red Hook has two wrestlers who have the potential to place high at this weight in Jeff Kuliba and Alex Thiry however the odds on favorite here has to be the defending D2 S9 champ Liam Hesling.  Hesling, who will be wrestling with Chester this year, went 1-2 in Albany last year and is hoping to make a run at the podium in Albany this season.

170 – Last year’s D2 152 pound champion Ben Cuppett from New Paltz is the favorite here.  Cuppett went 1-2 at the state tournament last season as a sophomore and is hoping to place in the top 6 this year. We should also look out for Chester’s Brody Harris who was runner-up to Cuppett at 152 last season.  The D1 race is very wide open.  As mentioned earlier, we shouldn’t be surprised if a few of the guys listed at 160 decide to take a shot at 170 this year – Noble from Kingston and Cordero from MW are definitely worth watching.  Cornwall’s Nick Russo placed at 160 last year and could definitely make some noise at 170 this year and we can’t look past Washingtonville’s Christopher Martin.

Elfstrum vs. Fekishazy

182 – On the Division 1 side, all signs point towards a rematch between last year’s finalists Kendall Elfstrum from Monroe Woodbury and Mike Fekishazy from Wallkill.  After falling behind by a few takedowns, Elfstrum was able to stack and pin Fekishazy back in February.  Elfstrum went on to win a match up in Albany and has had a great offseason including a good showing in Fargo and winning his weight class at the Journeymen Classic. Saugerties junior Jimmy Ball placed at 170 in the sections last year and cannot be overlooked her.  The D2 race is pretty open but we can expect section place winners  Theo Chazkel from New Paltz and Robert Lounsbury from Liberty to be two of the kids left standing when the dust settles.

Nick McShea
UMaryland bound Nick McShea

195 – This is another weight class where we could potentially see Section 9 wrestlers on the medal stand in both D1 and D2.  Monroe Woodbury senior Nick McShea is the clear cut favorite to repeat as champion in D1.  McShea finished 2nd in NYS last year, was a NHSCA AA, and also competed in the Journeymen Classic and Super 32.  He has recently committed to continue his academic and athletic career at the University of Maryland.  Washingtonville’s Justin McLee placed 4th at 170 last year and will likely place very high here.  In Division 2 we will probably see Liberty senior Kevin Morgans on the top of the medal stand at 195.  Morgans, who also plays football for Liberty, was the champ at 182 last season and went 2-2 in Albany, one win away from placing.  Eldred sophomore John Goodell placed 3rd at 170 last season as a freshman and will also be very tough if he stays here.  Eldred-Liberty-Sullivan West is a combined team so, in essence, Goodell and Morgans wrestle for the same team.

220 – With 3 returning sectional place winners likely to compete, 220 could be a very interesting weight class in Division 1! Goshen’s Ryan Ellefson finished 4th at 220 last year, while at 195 Matt Masterson (Cornwall) finished 4th and Garrett Betcher (Wallkill) finished 5th.  We also can’t rule out the possibility of Nick McShea taking a run at 220 depending on what is going on at the state level.  In D2 we may also see three returning sectional place winners competing at 220 pounds.  Darren Coon from Red Hook finished 2nd at 195 last season while Will Depaolo came in 3rd at 220.  Eric Cox from Ellenville placed 4th at 195 last year and could get into the mix as well.

285 – Red Hook senior Travis Coon is the favorite to take the D2 285 pound title this season.  He placed 3rd at this weight last year.  In Division 1 we can expect to see Middletown senior Joe Humprey compete as one of the favorites here.  Huphrey was injured late last season and was cleared at the last minute to compete for Sections finishing a disappointing 3rd.  During the season last year Humphrey notched several impressive victories including wins over the D2 state champ and a few state place winners from D1 and D2. In Section 9 we can expect Humphrey to get pushed by returning 285 S9 medalist Joe Bock from Port Jervis as well as Minisink Valley sophomore Andrew Fenner.


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