Minisink Valley Crowns 5 Champs and Runs Away With Section 9 Division 1 Title

Congratulations to the Minisink Valley wrestling program for their dominating performance in capturing the 2019 Section 9 Tournament Championship! The Warriors had 8 finalists, crowned 5 champions, and had 15 wrestlers place in the top 6! Minisink finished with 292 team points outdistancing 2nd place Monroe Woodbury by 65 points. The Crusader crowned 2 champions and finished with 227 team points. Newburgh, Middletown, and Cornwall rounded out the top 5 in the team race.

Coach Blaine Coaches in His Last S9 Championship
The finals ceremony began with Section 9 chairman Jeff Cuilty taking the microphone and paying respects to retiring Cornwall coach Don Blaine. Coach Blaine has coached for 36 years – he has 36 winning season! Blaine will be retiring as the all-time wins leader in Section 9 history and he is a NYS and Nation Wrestling Hall of Fame member. Congratulations Coach Blaine and thank you for your tremendous contribution to the sport of wrestling. You are a Section 9 icon.

Picariello Upsets Vespa for Title at 120
In one of the biggest upsets in Section 9 Tournament history, Minisink Valley junior Nick Picariello defeated Marco Vespa for the title at 120. Vespa, who has committed to wrestle at Penn State, is a 2X NYS placewinner! He finished 4th in the state in 2017 and took 3rd in Albany last year at 120 pounds! Picariello gave up an opening period takedown and then rattled off 6 unanswered points to take the 6-2 victory in front of the stunned home crowd. The match was voted as the Michael DeCapua Most Exciting Match of the evening and Picariello was selected as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. Vespa in a lock for a wildcard bid to the state tournament.

Sofia Mac and Zack Ryder Makes Section 9 History
Congratulations to Minisink Valley teammates and close friends Sofia Macaluso and Zack Ryder for making some history! Macaluso became the first girl in history to place in the Section 9 Championship tournament. She took 3rd at 120 with her only loss coming in the quarter finals to her teammate and aforementioned Nick Picariello. Macaluso was the 7th seed in the tournament and notched wins over the #3, #4, and #6 seeds on her way to the podium. Congratulations Sofia Mac! Zack Ryder became the first ever 7th grader to win a Section 9 D1 title. (Kevin Dommries from Millbrook won the S9 D2 title in 2005.) Ryder was crowned champion at 106 pounds after defeating Middletown’s Justin Morales by pin at 4:54 in the finals. Ryder also notched pins at :31 and 1:16 in his other two wins. Could Section 9 have their first ever 6X champ???

Leonard and DeCapua Battle at 220
It’s not every day that Section 9 wrestling fans have the pleasure of watching 2 returning state placewinners ballet it out for a Section 9 title. At 220 pounds, we were treated with a finals showdown between Will Leonard and Maxx DeCapua. The match was won by Leonard who defeated DeCapua 5-0. Leonard finished 6th in NYS last season at 220 and was this year’s Eastern States Classic champion. DeCapua took 6th in Albany last year at 195 and is a lock to receive a wildcard birth to the state tournament again this year.

Finals Summary
The finals began with Washingtonville’s Andrew Marchese avenging his recent loss to Saugerties senior Colby Amell to capture the title at 99. The match ended in injury default with Marchese up 6-2 at the time of the injury. At 106 we saw Zack Ryder from MV pin Justin Morales from Middletown in a match that was razor close prior to the pinfall. At 113 pounds Kingston junior Jacob Chenier put on a workman like performance in defeating Minisink Valley’s Joe Habert by major decision 8-0. The 120 pound final between Nick Picariello and Marco Vespa was described above. Minisink Valley junior Jordan Suarez made his 3rd trip to the Section 9 finals a triumphant one! Suarez, a finalist at 99 as a freshman and at 113 last year, became the 2019 Section champion at 126 pounds by defeating NFA’s Brandon Delarosa 9-4! Washingtonville senior Tommy Maddox capped off an injury riddled season in style by winning the Section 9 title with a convincing 11-0 major over Middletown’s Josh Sam. Minisink Valley’s fourth individual title of the night came at 138 where Sean Savacool notched a 6-0 win over 2018 D2 champ Ethan Palanca from New Paltz. The MV junior scored 3 first period pins going into the final! In a battle of returning Section 9 finalists, Tommy Askey defeated MV’s Nick Albornoz 3-1 to take the title at 145. Askey was a finalist at 132 last season and Albornoz was runner up at 145. Monroe Woodbury junior Joe McGinty capped off a great season by winning the 152 pound title via a 6-0 win over Pine Bush senior Nick Florin. At 160 we saw a battle between two great athletes. In the end, Cornwall senior Steve Gazzillo had too much horsepower for MV 8th grader Ethan Gallo and took home the crown with an 8-3 win. In a battle of attrition at 170, Saugerties senior Matt Bucci scored a late takedown and defeated Pasquale Satriano by a score of 8-6. NFA senior Tyler Serafini is now a 2X Section 9 champion after recording a 2nd period pin over Cornwall’s Luke Wojehowski. Serafini was the 2018 S9 champion at 152. Speaking of back to back, Monroe Woodbury senior Sam Santander made it two in a row by pinning Kingston’s Hayden Barley and winning the title at 195 for the second year in a row! Cornwall’s Will Leonard defeated NFA’s Maxx DeCapua 5-0 at 220 in battle between two returning NYS placewinners. Adam Fenner capped off the night by making it 5 champions for Minisink Valley when he topped rival Preston Havison 4-3 in the finals at 285!

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