This Saturday we will see who are the best dual meet teams in NYS! For the 2nd year in a row the NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Championships will take place at the SRC Arena & Events Center in Syracuse. Let’s break down the tournament, pool by pool, and also talk about some potential highlight matches we could be treated to on Saturday.
Before we get into the tournament analysis, let’s clarify a few things because there has been a lot of “discussion” about the seeding and pools. First and foremost, rankings are not the same as seeding. Rankings are just the opinion of the person who posts them – they have absolutely nothing to do with how a tournament is seeded. Seeding is usually done by using measurable data. For this tournament, the seeding was done by a point-based system. Teams received points for having active wrestlers on their roster who placed in last year’s state qualifying tournament and state tournament. Points were also awarded for wrestlers who are having exceptional seasons this year. Please keep in mind that this is only the 2nd year of this tournament and the system for selecting wildcards and seeding will be improved each year – just as it was for the individual state tournament. That said, let’s just be happy that we finally have a sanctioned dual meet championship tournament, let’s enjoy the event, and may the best team win!
Mat 1 Pool – Massapequa, Minisink Valley, Sachem East
This has been without question the most “discussed” pool in the tournament. Some have even gone as far to say that 3 of the top 5 teams in the state are in this pool. Massapequa is loaded! They have both top-level talent and depth. The Section 8 champs have several wrestlers who could potentially place in the state tournament including Chase Liardi (2nd NYS last season), Anthony Connetta, Mike Blando, Garrett Gibbons, Angelo Petrakis, and Thomas Greenblatt. They have a very solid wrestler at every single weight plus they have depth that allows them to move wrestlers around to get favorable match-ups. They are the team to beat but they will not go untested! Minisink Valley has surprised many teams in NYS this season. The Warriors graduated six Section 9 champs so some believed it would be a “rebuilding”season. Instead of rebuilding, Minisink has decided to go 23-0 thus far and repeat as S9 Duals Meet champions. Might we see a rematch of MV 7th grader Zack Ryder and Massapequa’s state finalist Chase Liardi? Liardi defeated Ryder 2-1 at the Eastern States Classic a few weeks ago! Sachem East is the third team in this pool and both Massapequa and MV are making a huge mistake if they are looking past them. Any team that knocks off Rocky Point and Eastport South Manor and wins the Section 11 Dual meet tournament must be taken seriously! Their 99 pounder Jared Weinhaus is as good as any lightweight in the state and we may be treated to a rematch between him and Connetta from Massapequa. Connetta won the their first bout 3-1 at ESC.
Mat 2 Pool – Spencerport, Fulton, Olean
No disrespect to Section 6 champ Olean but this pool will likely be determined by the winner of the Spencerport vs. Fulton dual. Olean is a solid team but probably doesn’t have the depth to hang with the other teams in this pool. Section 5 wildcard Spencerport has a nice, solid lineup with a good wrestler at every weight and one absolute hammer in Mason Wersinger who is 33-0 at 138/145 this season. It will be interesting to see how they match-up against Section 3 champ Fulton who has a similar type of lineup. Fulton puts out a tough wrestler at every weight and has a few state-placing caliber wrestlers in Thomas Hughes (120) and Camrin Galvin (160).
Mat 3 Pool – Hilton, Horseheads, Shenendehowa
Section 5 champs Hilton are the favorites to come out of this pool and could do very well in this tournament but could possibly get pushed by teams that match up well against them . Hilton has a few absolute studs however they are a little inexperienced at some other weights! Gregor McNeil was an ESC finalist at 99 and Rocco Camillici placed 5th at 106! Greg Diakomihalis is a 3X NYS champ and currently ranked #1 in the nation at 113 by FloWrestling. Ryan Burgos placed 6th at ESC at 126 and Sammy DePrez was ESC champ at 195 and is currently ranked 16th in the nation by Flo! Hilton also has Collin Burns at 285 who placed 4th at ESC. Section 2 champs Shenendehowa have a solid lineup and may be able to test Hilton. Shen’s 106 pounder is Stevo Poulin who is a NYS champion and a 2X ESC champ. He is currently ranked 3rd in the nation at 106 by FloWrestling. If nothing else we could possibly see a rematch between Stevo and Camillaci. Stevo won their first match 6-1 at ESC. Section 4 Horseheads is a wildcard entry. They have a solid lineup with a few studs but they probably don’t have the “horse-power” (yes, terrible pun) to challenge in this pool.
Mat 4 Pool – Niagara Wheatfield, Chenango Forks, Fox Lane
This pool could be fun to watch because there is no clear cut favorite. Niagara Wheatfield gained entry via wildcard however they are the #2 seed in the entire tournament based on the points system. With two state place winners in Justin and Warren McDougald, they have a lineup with star-power and depth. Section 1 champs Fox Lane also has a very solid lineup with a few hammers namely Amos Rivera at 120 and Jake Hoffman at 99 and we can’t discount them. Section 4 champs Chenango Forks who may surprise people this weekend but will probably have a tough time advancing out of this pool.
Mat 5 Pool – Tioga, Seaford, Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West
Section 4 champions Tioga are the top seeded team in the Division 2 tournament and for good reason. They are undefeated in duals and have a well balanced lineup including a few hammers in Brady Worthing, John Worthing and Austin Lamb. Section 8 dual meet champions Seaford may not have the star power of Tioga but they do have a very solid lineup with a tough wrestler at every weight. Section 9’s entry to the dual meet championship was a bit of surprise in Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West. E/L/SW picked off Highland in a very exciting finals match at the S9 Duals – the match ended in a tie score and was determined by criteria! This tournament will be a great experience for the team however they will probably have a very tough time advancing out of this pool.
Mat 6 Pool – Pleasantville, Mt. Sinai, Cold Spring Harbor
This should be a great pool to follow! All three squads have very balanced lineups with a handful of studs! Section 1 champs Pleasantville have hammers at 120 and 132! Len Balducci is a 2X state place winner while 132 pounder Victor Perlleshi made it to the finals of the Eastern States Classic! Mt. Sinai was the D2 champion last year at this tournament and has a solid team returning this year led by Mike O’Brein (132), Joe O’Brein (138), Matt Campo (152), and Mike Sabella (195). Section 8 earned a wildcard into the tournament in Cold Spring Harbor. This is another team with a solid lineup and a couple of absolute hammers namely Gavin Bell (170), Raymond Costa (152), and Jackson Polo (99). This pool will have great duals and great individual match-ups!
Mat 7 Pool – Peru, Central Valley Academy, Canisteo-Greenwood
Mat #7 is another pool that will provide us with some great action on Saturday! Section 7 Peru is a perennial D2 power led by 126 pounder Logan Dubuque and will definitely have a chance to advance out of the pool, however most people are probably considering Central Valley Academy the team to beat! The Section 3 champs boast a balanced lineup with more than enough star power including Marek Bush (state champ), Hunter Shaut (state champ), and Mason Bush (state placer). The final team in this pool is Canisteo Greenwood from Section 5. Like Peru and CVA, they have a solid lineup with a few studs sprinkled in namely former state finalist Bradley Cheek (126) and Braiden Woodward (99). The 126 pound weight class in this pool will be worth the price of admission – Logan Dubuque, Bradley Cheek, and Marek Bush!
Mat 8 Pool – Saranac, Warrensburg, Falconer
Yeah – starting to sound like a broken record! This is another awesome pool on the D2 side of the tournament! Saranac won the Section 7 championship by edging Peru 40-36. They have solid wrestlers at every weight and an absolute hammer at 170 in Jacob Nolan! Warrensburg won the Section 2 title in D2 and will be competitive in Syracuse. They have a well-balanced lineup and usually get bonus points from Dylan Winchell (113), Hunter McKenna (145), and Nolan McNeil (195). Falconer from Section 6 is technically the unseeded “drop-in” team in this pool but many may consider them the favorite to advance to the semifinal round! Like the other teams in this pool, Falconer is well balanced. If we had to select one hammer from their lineup it would definitely be Robbie Penhollow at 182 who is sporting a 35-1 record with his only loss coming to an out-of-state opponent! Could we see Saranac’s Nolan bump up and face Penhollow? Or possibly see Penhollow bump up to 195 and take on McNeil? This will be a great pool to follow!