2020 Eastern States Classic – Tournament Preview

It’s that time of the year again! On Friday January 10th and Saturday January 11th, 570 wrestlers from 175 schools spanning 6 states will battle it out at the 18th Annual Eastern States Classic. Once again the tournament will take place in the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse on the campus of SUNY Sullivan in Loch Scheldrake, NY. Wrestling will begin at 10:40 on Friday. You can purchase tickets in advance here.

For those who cannot attend the entire tournament can be viewed live on FloWrestling

Let’s take a weight class-by-weight class look at the 2020 Eastern States Classic! This preview will be edited when and if there are changes to the field.

S32 Champ PJ Duke

99 Pounds
This is always a great weight class to watch because it is often the first time many of the young stud 99 pounders will be challenged! That is not the case, however, for one of the favorites here – PJ Duke from Carmel. The 7th grade phenom has followed-up on an incredible youth career with a stellar beginning to his varsity career. Duke is undefeated so far this season and has notched a big win earlier this season over Wyoming Seminary’s Brandon Cannon who recently won the Beast of the East at 106! One of Duke’s biggest challenges could come from another 7th grader – Vince Bouzakis from Wyoming Seminary. Sem has a second entry here in Jake Dailey who is also a hammer. Joseph Manfredi from Section 8 Herricks will definitely challenge here as will Jacob Joyce from Ponaganset, RI and Michael Adams from Monsignor Farrell. Section 11 has a few contenders here in Mickey Manta from Hauppauge, Christian Lievano from Ward Melville, and Brayden Farbach from Mt. Sinai. Section 9 has a few kids that will be vying for a medal here in Jordan Brown from Monroe Woodbury and Alex Greco from Warwick. A few others to watch at 99 are Thomas Wagner from South East Cyclones, Carlos Arango from Massapequa, and Clayton O’Connor from Mohonasen.

NYS D2 Champ Jace Schafer

106 Pounds
Beast of the East champion Brandon Cannon from Wyoming Seminary is definitely one of the favorites at 106. Cannon lost to PJ Duke in sudden victory at Wrangle on the Plains but bounced back with an incredible showing at the Beast where he picked of nationally ranked Tyler Vasquez of Delbarton in the finals. Also challenging for a title here will be Jace Schafer from Section 5 Pal-Mac. Schafer was a D2 NYS champ last year and he also placed 4th at last year’s ESC. Andrew Lucinski from Section 6 Newfane will contend here as will Middletown’s Justin Morales who is a 2X state qualifier, Josh Brault from Joel Barlow, CT, and Dan McLaughlin from Springfield Central. Sem’s other entry here, 8th grader Dom Federici is also super tough! Max Gallagher from Bayport-Bluepoint, Elijah Rivera from Bay Shore, Vincent Ziccardo from King’s Park, Isaiah Jackson from Glen Cove, John Fortugno from Byram Hills, and Cam and Zack Soda from Burlingham, MA are all wrestlers to watch here!

Stevo Poulin battles Zack Ryder in the 2019 state finals at 106

113 Pounds
Stevo Poulin from Section 2 is ranked #2 in the nation by InterMat and #3 in the nation by Flo. The Shenendehowa junior is a 2X NYS champ, a 2X Eastern States Classic champ and he just won the prestigious Beast of the East. Yes, he’s the clear favorite at 113! One of the wrestlers who could push Stevo is his opponent from last year’s ESC final Dante Geislinger from Norwich who was also a state champ in D2 last year. Angelo Centrone from Mahopac is having a great year as is Daniel Adams from Monsignor Farrell. Nassau County will be well represented at 113 with Jackson Polo from Cold Spring Harbor, Killian Foy from MacArthur, Kevin Lopez from Long Beach and his teammate Jeremiah Echevarria. A few others to keep an eye on here are Alex Constantis from Miller Place, Michael Rapuano from Xavier, CT, Andrew Marchese from Washingtonville, Nick LaMorte from Rocky Point, and Frankie Volpe from Hauppauge.

Jordan Titus from Center Moriches

120 Pounds
This weight class is absolutely loaded with talent. Do not be surprised if you see former state placers not even make it to Day 2! Based on his performance thus far this season, Center Moriches’ Jordan Titus is probably the pre-tournament favorite. Titus, who is ranked 3rd in the nation by Flo, made history in December when he became the first NY wrestler to win the Walsh Ironman which is generally considered the toughest in-season high school tournament in the country. Titus was a NYS D2 champ last season and is undefeated thus far this year. One of the wrestlers who will definitely test Titus is Anthony Noto from Honeoye Falls-Lima in Section 5. Noto and Titus are no strangers to each other! Noto has defeated Titus twice in state finals and once at the Eastern States. Titus has defeated Noto once at the Eastern States and once at the Journeymen Classic. A match between these two will NEVER be boring!Mark Botello from Wyoming Seminary is also very solid and he is also entered here at 120! As I said, this weight is loaded with hammers. The following wrestlers are former ESC place winners: Mason Bush from Central Valley Academy, Chase Liardi from Massapequa, Avery Leonard from Cooperstown, Jared Weinhaus from Sachem East, and Joe Contrastano from Wheatley. There are more – others to keep an eye on at 120 are Len Balducci from Pleasantville, Nick Picariello from Minisink Valley, Alex Booth from Indian River, Darren Ketcham from Rocky Point, Dante Rigal from Johnson City, Joe Sparacio from Bayport, Jake Eckerle from Commack, Jake Hoffman from Fox Lane, Jacob Chenier from Kingston, and Collin Coughenour from Niagara Wheatfield. This weight is deep – several more could have easily been mentioned!

#1 InterMat – Nic Bouzakis

126 Pounds
This will be the weight class that draws the most attention – and for good reason! The top seed and favorite is definitely Nic Bouzakis from Wyoming Seminary. Nic, the son of 1990 Pine Bush grad and 3X NYS champ Troy, is ranked #1 in the nation by InterMat and #3 by Flo! Can anyone challenge him??? Well there are a lot of people in the Hudson Valley who are anxious to see if one of our own can get it done – Minisink Valley 8th grader Zack Ryder! The young Warrior finished 2nd in NYS last year losing a barn-burner to Stevo Poulin at 106. Although it’s a big jump in weight, Ryder has looked awesome this year and is showing no signs of needing an “adjustment period” to the new weight. This weight has quite a few hammers so we can not assume that Bouzakis vs. Ryder will even happen! Syosset’s George Oroudjov is looking to join brother Nick and Vito Arujau as ESC champs and I am sure that state placer Ivan Garcia from Section 1 Port Chester would love bust up the bracket! Hilton’s Rocco Camillaci is definitely going to make some noise hear and Logan Patterson from Indian River cannot be taken lightly by anyone! Micah Roes from Lowville was a state finalist last year and had a great off season as did Evan Matias from Rocky Point. Plenty of others to keep an eye on here including Kai Yudelson from Brooklyn Tech, Luke Smith from Hauppauge, Davis Correa from Tottenville, and Michael Catanzaro from Williamsville North.

Ryan Jack – #2 in the nation by InterMat

132 Pounds
Always a tough weight class at ESC – this year will be no different! The two huge names are Ryan Jack and Zach Redding! Jack is a NC State bound senior from Danbury and he is ranked #2 in the nation by InterMat while Redding, an Iowa State bound senior from Eastport South Manor, is a former state champion and ESC placer who currently ranked #20 in the country! Marek Bush from Central Valley Academy is a former NYS champion and will be in the mix as will NYS finalist Jayden Scott from Section 5 Rush Henrietta who was a state finalist. Wyoming Seminary’s Nic Botello is a former ESC placer and will make some noise here and we definitely can’t look past Luke Riley from Elmira who has a win over Marek Bush this season! This weight has a lot of depth too with wrestlers such as Gage DeNatale from Locust Valley, Jayden Cardenas from Grand Street Campus, Aiden Cullen from Greenville, Jordan Suarez from Minisink Valley, Sean Peterson from Islip, Andrew Maiorini from Hauppauge, Stephen Lukas from Eastport South Manor and last but not least Jake Schneider who has wins over DeNatale and Lukas this season!

Beau Bartlett @ Who’s #1

138 Pounds
Beau Bartlett from Wyoming Seminary is ranked #1 in the nation by both InterMat and FloWrestling and he’s a 3X ESC Champion – yeah he’s the favorite at 138. Bartlett wrestles in the toughest tournaments in the nation all year long. He is battle tested and incredibly athletic – but he will not walk through this field! One of the wrestlers on the short list who could push Bartlett is Ryan Burgos from Hilton. Burgos was the 126 NYS champion last season and will definitely contend here as will Niagara Wheatfield’s Justin McDougald who is a 2X state placer. Gavin Damasco may not be a household name – but he should be based on the incredible off season he had which included a win over nationally ranked Anthony Clark from NJ at the JMen Classic! Carter Baer from Gouverneur and Caleb Burgess from Pal-Mac are two NYS studs who have a ton of game as do Dan Gibson from Port Washington, Drew Witham from Corning, Logan Sciotto from Rocky Point, Aiden Rabideau from Clarence, and Brendan Carroll from Roy C. Ketcham. Section 9 has four excellent entries here in Sean Savacool from Minisink Valley, Eric Tigue from Port Jervis, Matt Romano from Valley Central, and Gabe Galarza from Pine Bush.

Wyoming Seminary’s
Lachlan McNeil

145 Pounds
This will be another weight were a Wyoming Seminary wrestler will be the prohibitive favorite – and for good reason! Lachlan McNeil is the #1 ranked 145 pound wrestler in the nation according to both Flo and InterMat. Lachlan has won both the Ironman and the Powerade this year and is definitely favored here. That said, Willie McDougald from Niagara Falls was seconds away from upsetting Adam Busiello at last year’s ESC and had a great off season. He knows how to keep matches close and may be the guy to test McNeil. Mahari Miller from Spingfield Central placed 4th at last year’s ESC and will be in the hunt again this year as will Dennis Robin from Arlington, Marvin Lobo from Copiague, and Nick Sanko from Pittsford. Others to watch here are Kole Mulhauser from Central Square, Lincoln Heck from Sem, Alijah Seymour from Peru, Ethan Ferro from Pal-Mac, Chris Boudreau from Hauppauge, and Francis Whitehouse from Islip. Section 9’s best chances at a medal here are probably Ethan Palanca from New Paltz and Jaccob Gonzalez from Minisink Valley.

Pine Bush senior Tommy Askey

152 Pounds
This is going to be a great weight class to follow because it is wide open and because Section 9 has two legitimate contenders! Connor Kievman from Wyoming Seminary is ranked #18 in the nation by FloWrestling and may be the favorite but Pine Bush senior Tommy Askey has looked incredible this year and may be the wrestler to come out on top on Saturday! Askey finished 4th in NYS last year and is undefeated this year including a win over another contender here, Nick Ross from Onteora. Ross finished 3rd in NYS D2 last year as a sophomore and would love another chance at Askey. Others that will be in contention for a medal at 152 include Karamvir Hothi from Rush Henrietta, Jeremy Scutellaro from Massapequa, Christian Hansen from Cold Spring Harbor, Max Maquet from Long Beach, and Keagan Case from Central Valley Academy.

Jacob Null from Section 3 Dolgeville

160 Pounds
This is another wide open weight where Section 9 has a serious contender! The favorite on paper is Jacob Null from Dolgeville. Null was a D2 state finalist last season and is undefeated this season and has wins over two other contenders here – Joe McGinty and Will Carano. McGinty is a Hofstra bound senior from Monroe Woodbury who finished 4th in NYS last year at 152. Carano is a senior from Section 1 Putnam Valley and had a great off season which included a win over nationally ranked Cooper Kropman from Penfield. Nashoba Regional’s Brevin Cassella’s 5-0 win over McGinty at the Massapequa Tournament certainly makes hima contender here! Camrin Galvin from Fulton has rolled through the competition this year and we should also keep an eye on Jack Spahn from Islip, Darrien Stewart from Springfield Central, MA, Patrick Ross from Onteora, Colden Dorfman from Shenendehowa, and Aiden Poe from Indian River.

Tyler Albis – John Jay East Fishkill

170 Pounds
This is another great weight to watch unfold! No nationally ranked heavy favorites – just a bunch of hammers! Let’s Start with Mikey Squires from Norwich. Squires is a multiple time state place winner and he finished 4th at ESC last year. He is having a great season this year and only has one loss…and that loss is to another wrestler in the field, Tyler Albis from John Jay East Fishkill. Albis placed 5th at ESC last year and has been ripping through the competition this year. He has one loss and yes you guessed it, it’s to another wrestler in this bracket, James Araneo from Ward Melville. Araneo is undefeated and has a win by fall over state placer Nate Ross from Onteora who will definitely contend here. Adam Daghestani from Grand Island is undefeated this season and will be in the medal hunt as will JD Moore who placed 7th at last year’s ESC. Peter Meshkov from Ballston Spa, Andrew Donahue from Wyoming Seminary, Desmond McLaughlin from Springfield Central, and Joe Velazquez from Middletown are all ones to watch here!

NC State commit Brock Delsignore

182 Pounds
This is perhaps the most wide open weight at this year’s Eastern States Classic. A solid argument can be made for at least a half of a dozen wrestlers to take home the title. One of those in the conversation is definitely Shenendehowa’s Brock Delsignore. Brock put in a huge off season and his hard work is paying dividends. He placed 8th at the Beast of the East and 3rd at the Bethlehem Holiday Classic – all 4 of his losses were to out of state hammers! Another contender here is Fombo Azah from Carthage. Azah placed 2nd here last year and his only loss this year is to a 2X PA place winner. Matt Rogers from Wantagh and Ryan Stencel from Lancaster both placed at last year’s ESC and will be in the medal hunt again this year. Others to watch here include Michael Tyrell from Hauppauge, Ethan Cooper from Colbeskill, Tyler Pelech from Longwood and Ethan Gallo from Minisink Valley. This is a great weight class!

Iona Prep’s Matt Kelly

195 Pounds
This will be a very solid weight where once again there are several potential wrestlers who have legitimate shots at the title. Matt Kelly from Iona Prep is a returning ESC place winner and is definitely one of the favorites. Cameron Durant from Guilderland is also a returning ESC place winner and he will contend again, however he was recently beaten in the finals of the Mid-Hudson by NFA junior Joe Russell who is also in this bracket! Nate DeGroff from Warsaw has pinned or teched every opponent he’s faced this year and will definitely be in the hunt for the title here as will Matt Hegi from Section 8 Mepham. A few others to watch here include Codie Scotland from Lancaster, Nick Franco from Farmingdale, and Michael Altomer from Columbia.

Wyoming Seminary’s Kolby Franklin

220 Pounds
A solid weight with several very talented wrestlers however the clear favorite at 220 is Kolby Franklin from Wyoming Seminary. Still only a sophomore, Franklin is currently ranked #10 in the nation by InterMat and #11 by FloWrestling. Section 9 has two returning ESC place winners at this weight in Maxx DeCapua from NFA and Armel Duke from Middletown. DeCapua is also a 2X NYS place winner however he lost in the finals of the Mid-Hudson recently to Mattituck’s Colby Suglia. Ryan Stein from Shaker will be in the mix as will Ryan Hegi from Mepham, Jeremiah Funchess from Westbury, Peter Magliocci from Northport, and Louis Rocca from Pittsford.

Norwich’s Tyler Rice and Shenendehowa’s Sebastian Underwood at the Clyde Cole Finals

285 Pounds
Year after year the 285 pound weight class at the ESC provides fans with some of the most exciting matches – this year should be no different! Tyler Rice from Norwich has been nationally ranked at times during the year and he is definitely one of the favorites here. Rice finished 3rd at 285 at last year’s ESC. and he is one of four returning place winners at this weight! Also in the bracket are Collin Null from Carthage who finished 5th, Greg Harris from Springfield Central, MA who finished 7th, and Sam Khodaparest from Massapequa who took 8th. This bracket also has 3 NYS D1 place winners in Myles Norris from Freeport who took 2nd, Adam Fenner from Minisink Valley who placed 5th, and London Castillo from Brentwood who placed 6th. A few other guys to keep an eye on here are George Lebberes from Ardsley, Jeremiah Cheatham from Elmira, Ryan Bitka from Amherst, and Sebastian Underwood from Shenendehowa.

16 thoughts on “2020 Eastern States Classic – Tournament Preview”

  1. Mike — Thanks for the preview.

    I see no mention of Greg Diakomihalis. I guess he hasn’t returned from injury (or is afraid of Titus :).

    1. He can be beat. I watched him get pinned at the Journeyman Classic in Schenectady this December. To win, Dylan Rider (or someone else) will need to do the same.

  2. Mike,
    Thanks for the great read. Although there is a typo and not sure if it also matters for seeding @138 Justin placed at states more than 2x and also was champ last year at ESC.

  3. Mike, you completely slept on Hunter Adrian at 120! Should have done your homework on him! Otherwise thanks for the preview.

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