Section 9 Tournament Previews

section9Post season is upon us so it’s time to take a look at the Section 9 Division 1 and Division 2 tournaments.  The D1 tourney takes place on Friday and Saturday at Monroe Woodbury High School while the D2 event will be held on Sunday at SUNY Ulster.  As always, both tournaments will provide some incredible action, hotly contested team races, and yes an occasional upset.  Seed will be posted here on Wednesday evening when they become official.

2016 Section 9 Tournament Schedules

Division 1 Seeds              Division 2 Seeds

99 Pounds
Division 1 – Middletown senior Oscar Lainez opened up eyes all from over the state with his 3rd place showing at this year’s Eastern States Classic.  Although definitely the favorite here, Lainez will be challenged!  MW’s Dylan Earl and VC’s Matthew Romano have had great season’s and are both legitimate title contenders.
Division 2 – Red Hook junior Wade Harris is the returning champ at this weight and has posted convincing victories this year over other contenders John Antonelli from Marlboro and Logan Linares from New Paltz.  Look for Harris to repeat.

106 Pounds
Division 1 – This is arguably the deepest weight class in the tournament!  Marco Vespa was the Section 9 champ at 99 pounds last year and has had a great year including a win over Minisink Valley’s Tyler Lynch earlier in the year while both were at 113.  Lynch has looked great since dropping to 106 including an impressive win over returning state place winner Justin Lopez from Section 1.  Wallkill’s James Faison keeps getting better and may be peeking at the right time.  He recently posted a 6-5 win over Section 11’s Kevin Meloni – a wrestler who pinned Vespa at ESC!  Let’s not forget about Goshen’s Frank Fea or NFA’s Greg Fischer; both wrestlers placed at 99 last year and have had great seasons.  This weight will be worth the price of admission!
Division 2 – Although 106 D2 doesn’t have the depth of D1 it definitely has a few hammers.  Onteora’s Nate Ross will face fellow 8th grader Luke Jones from Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West in the finals in a much anticipated showdown!

113 Pounds
Division 1 – Minisink Valley sophomore Connor Greiner has taken his game to the next level this year.  He has posted a 38-3 record with all three losses coming at ESC where Greiner finished 6th! His losses have to been to a former state champ (Kelan McKenna), a 2015 state finalist (Bennie Baker…who he beat earlier in the tournament), and to nationally ranked Tommy Cox!  One of Greiner’s closest decisions was a 4-2 win over Monroe Woodbury senior Anthony Stramiello.  Stramiello is a 2014 S9 champ at 99 and a runner up at this weight last year.
Division 2 – With his 16-3 record, Chester junior Nick Conetta is the favorite at 113 in D2.  Conetta was a runner up to Harris at 99 last year but has transitioned very nicely into his new weight class.  Conetta will likely receive his stiffest competition from New Paltz junior Chris Heisel who is 12-8 this year.

120 Pounds
Division 1 – This will be another very hotly contested weight on the D1 side with wrestlers like Jarred Greiner (MV), Robert Satriano (VC), Andrew Davis (Wallkill), Patrick Owens (Monticello) and Cameron Wernicki (MW) leading the way.  Greiner has wins over Satriano and Wernicki but has yet to face Davis.  Satriano beat Davis and Wernicki has only faced Greiner.
Division 2 – New Paltz junior Chris Massaro has to be considered the favorite here.  He is sporting a 22-9 record with nearly all of his losses coming top quality kids from both divisions.  Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West freshman Nicholas Curreri has had a good season and may see Massaro in the finals.

126 Pounds
Division 1 – Monroe Woodbury senior Kevin Kelly came within one win of finishing in the top 6 in NYS last year at this weight – he is the heavy favorite to make it to Albany again!  Expect Wallkill’s Brad Bonner, Warwick’s Paul Ginley, MV’s Vinny Vetrano, and Middletown’s Tyler Matos to all be in the hunt for a high placing here.
Division 2 – The small school division also has a heavy favorite at 126 in Ian Houck from Rondout Valley.  Houck sports a 27-7 record and has been dominating in most of his wins this year.

132 Pounds
Division 1 –  This could prove to be one of the more exciting weights on the D1 side with no real clear-cut favorite.  MW’s Anthony Eckerson has had a great season at 19-4 including a nice win over Shane Gibbons from Section 8.  Gus Formato from Wallkill is very game and we shouldn’t overlook Dominick Vetrano from MV, Warwick’s Nick Ferriera, or Eckerson’s teammate Andrew Sountis either!
Division 2 – 132 in the small schooldivision will likely end up in a showdown between Mark Castellanos from Highland and AJ Fazio from New Paltz.  These two wrestled last week with Castellanos taking the decision by a 7-5 margin.

138 Pounds
Division 1 – Warwick senior Charlie Johnson has really made his one year in Section 9 count!  The transfer finished 5th in PA last year and has every intention of finishing higher in NY this season!  To get there he’ll have to get past some tough customers from Section 9 though!  Andrew Neidnig from MV, Ben Ulrich and Michael LaRuffa from Monticello, and Tom Fini from MW have no intention of conceding the S9 title to anyone!
Division 2 – Onteora sophomore Dillon Ross is having a great season and is the odds on favorite here.  Ross is 27-9 on the season and made it to day 2 of the ESC.  He was also the S9 D2 champ at 120 last season.  Ross’s biggest challenge may come from his teammate and fellow sophomore Zach Chartrand who is 19-9 on the year.

145 Pounds
Division 1 – Monroe Woodbury junior Evan Barczak is without question the favorite at 145.  He is a 2X Section 9 champion and he placed 6th in NYS at 132 last year.  This year he is 37-4 and all 4 losses are to wrestlers who will likely place very high in Albany.  However, Barczak will not go untested at the S9 tournament!  Washingtonville junior Brandon Bobe is 28-4 and all 4 losses are to absolute studs – and they were all close matches!  We should also keep an eye on VC’s Dan Romano, Warwick’s Lucas Wightman, and MV’s Tim Ganuncio.
Division 2 – Red Hook junior Taylor Benson is no stranger to Albany.  He was the S9 champ at 126 last year and has his sights set on the podium this year.  He is 27-5 on the season and notched a great win at the Mid-Hudson over Section 8 stud Owen Bachelder.

152 Pounds
Division 1 – We can expect one of the most anticipated rematches of the season here!  Warwick junior Ryan Ferro finished 3rd in NYS at 145 last season and was considered by many to be a lock to repeat as S9 champ this year.  That all changed on December 15 when Brian Bucci from Saugerties pinned Ferro in the second period of their match at the S9 Duals!  Bucci has finished the regular season at 31-1 and has recorded 30 pins and 1 technical fall!  There are other tough kids at 152 but this is the rematch that everyone wants to see!
Division 2 – Few wrestlers worked as hard in the off season as Noah Curreri.  The Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West junior is a defending S9 champ and plans on visiting the medal stand in Albany this year.  Curreri is 34-3 this season and will likely receive his toughest challenge from Red Hook’s Tristen Schiafo.

160 Pounds
Division 1 – AJ Aeberli has separated himself as the most dominating wrestler at 160 in S9. He has a legitimate chance of winning a state title this year after placing 5th at this weight last year. 160 has several other tough customers in Ryan Sebesta (Wallkill), Nijee Noble (Kingston), Mark Ohanian (VC), and Nathaniel Cohen (PJ).
Division 2 – Chester senior Liam Heslin is the #1 seed and definite favorite here.  He was the champ at this weight last year while wrestling for Tuxedo.  Heslin is 17-5 on the year and could receive his toughest competition from New Paltz senior Tom Mihalics and Red Hook senior Kyle Torre.

170 Pounds
Division 1 – Wallkill junior Mike Fekishazy is 35 -1 this year with his lone loss coming at 182 to likely NYS placewinner Alex Melikian.  He finished 2nd at last year’s S9 tournament at 182 and is primed to bring home his 1st sectional title this weekend.  Fekishazy has some tough kids in his bracket though.  Let’s keep our eyes on Washingtonville’s Chris Martin and Middletown’s Adonis Moreno as those looking to pick-off Fekishazy.
Division 2 – New Paltz junior Ben Cuppett was the S9 D2 champ at 152 last year and is definitely the favorite to repeat in 2016.  He has a 24-7 record this year.  Cuppett will likely receive his stiffest competition from Red Hook’s Jeffrey Kiluba who finished 2nd at 145 last year.

182 Pounds
Division 1 – Monroe Woodbury junior Kendall Elfstrum is the defending champion at 182 and is the heavy favorite here.  Elfstrum has had another great season sporting a 35-5 record with all 5 losses coming to well-credentialed wrestlers.  Elfstrum’s toughest test may come from MV sophomore Joey Yanis who has been getting better every week and has notched a few impressive victories along the way.
Division 2 – New Paltz senior Theo Chazkel is the top seed here.  He has a 20-8 record this season and finished 3rd in D2 at 160 last year.  We should also keep our eye on Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West junior River Lounsbury who has put together a very nice season.

195 Pounds
Division 1 – The decision by Nick McShea to go 220 combined with the injury of ESC placer Justin McLee from Washingtonville has made the 195 pound weight class the most wide-open contest in the S9 D1 tournament.  Wallkill’s Garrett Betcher is definitely one of the favorites however there are several others in contention.  MV’s Andrew Covais, MW’s Samson Perez, Washingtonville’s Alex Leonty, and Middletown’s Horace Duke all in the running.
Division 2 – Kevin Morgans has been to the state tournament twice before and last year he was one win away from placing.  The senior from Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West is 30-5 this year and is a heavy favorite to make a third trip to our state capital.

220 Pounds
Division 1 – This is another weight that has all the makings for a much anticipated rematch!  MW senior Nick McShea was a state finalist last year at 195 and many of us expected that he would roll through the regular season this year and compete for a state title.  That all changed on December 15th when McShea was pinned by Goshen junior Ryan Ellefsen.  Both wrestlers have had great seasons and will likely meet up in the finals for one of the marquee match-ups of the evening!
Division 2 – Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West senior Will Depaolo is the top seed at D2 220 and he is the heavy favorite to win.  Depaolo came in 3rd at this weight last year and he is 21-11 this year including a win by fall over the #2 seed Angel Lemus from Onteora.

285 Pounds
Division 1 – Middletown senior Joe Humphrey is the top seed here and for good reason.  He has a 36-4 record and he avenged two of those losses later in the year; he has dominated the competition locally.  One wrestler he has yet to face is Minisink Valley sophomore Andrew Fenner who has not lost a match since the Eastern States Classic.  Saugerties Peter Lesar, who pinned Fenner earlier this season, is also one to watch for as is Washingtonville’s Max Kissak, Monticello’s Frank Smith, Middletown’s Norris Gipson, and MW freshman Preston Havison.
Division 2 –  Red Hook senior Travis Coon is having another great year! He has a 29-6 record and only one of his losses has come to a D2 wrestler.  His toughest competition from Section 9 will likely come from Ellenville senior John Avery who Coon pinned back in December.

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