Section 9 Division 1 Championship Preview

Now that the wrestlers have declared their weight class and the tournament is seeded, let’s take a deeper look into this weekend’s Division 1 tournament!

99 Pounds
The clear favorite here is top seeded Jordan Brown from Monroe Woodbury. Brown, a freshman who has been wrestling for less than two years, has beaten every other contender in the field – most of them soundly! His closest match from a local wrestler was his 5-1 win back in late November over 2nd seeded Alex Greco from Warwick who placed 5th at this weight last year. Pine Bush’s Rey Ortiz has looked great at 99 and will definitely contend for a medal here as will Washingtonville’s Mason Ketcham. This is a deep weight with several quality wrestlers at 99 who will be fighting for a step on the podium including Minisink’s Anthony Tresch, VC’s Nick Weeden, Cornwall’s Marco Giumarra, Wallkill’s Rocco Futia, and NFA’s Kevin Segali.

106 Pounds
The top seed here is 2X state qualifier Justin Morales from Middletown. Morales was the champ at 99 in 2018 and was runner-up to eventual state finalist Zack Ryder last year at 106. Morales has looked tough this year going 32-2 and his only two losses came at the Eastern States Classic. One local wrestler he has not faced yet is NFA sophomore Jackson Merli who is the #2 seed here. Merli placed 3rd at 99 last season and is having a great year. He is 31-4 and his only local loss was to Brown who is now at 99. A Morales vs Merli final could be a tournament highlight! Other wrestlers to keep an eye on at 106 include Valley Central’s Sebastian Vidacovich, Minisink Valley’s Zak McKernan, Middletown’s Jacob Roger, MW’s Dan Connelly, Middletown’s Jacob Roger, and New Paltz’s Cole Cuppett.

113 Pounds
The top seed here is Washingtonville sophomore Drew Marchese who was the S9 champ at 99 last year. Marchese is having a great year! He is 31-3 and two of his three losses have been to the #2 ranked 113 pounder in the nation, Stevo Poulin. His other loss was at the Eastern States Classic to a wrestler from CT. Marchese is the favorite however he will not go untested as NFA junior Jaden Hansen in looking sharp. Hansen is 39-4 and has not lost to a local wrestler this year. He will definitely contend for the top spot here. A few other to keep an eye on at 113 are Minisink Valley’s Luke Greiner, Valley Central’s Nic Ricciuto, Cornwall’s Tyler Reed and Gabe Giumarra, MW’s Maxim Javorsky, and Middletown’s Kenny Santiago!

120 Pounds
Wow did this weight class get interesting over the last few weeks of the regular season! Minisink’s Nick Picariello is the returning champ at this weight and was considered the favorite to repeat by most. That was until last week however when Picariello was upended 2-1 by Kingston’s Jacob Chenier, last year’s 113 pound S9 champ. So those are the top two seeds right? Nope! Chenier lost a few weeks ago to Monroe Woodbury’s Santos Ocasio who is the #1 seed here! And the depth at 120 doesn’t stop there because we can’t forget about Matthew Davis from Wallkill and Austin Maddox from Washingtonville. We should also keep an eye on MW’s Grant Barczak, Cornwall’s Gabe Giumarra and Middletown’s Ivan Colon and Jayden Norris.

126 Pounds
Perhaps the biggest favorite to win his weight class this year is Minisink Valley’s Zack Ryder who is 40-3 this season. Ryder, only an 8th grader, was a state finalist last year as a 7th grader losing a 4-3 decision to nationally ranked Stevo Poulin in the finals. None of Ryder’s losses this year have been to local wrestlers. The others in this bracket who are looking to upend Ryder are Drew Greco from Warwick, Jacob Poppe from Washingtonville, and Steven Amendariz from Newburgh Free Academy. Kingston’s Joe Ferro and Middletown’s Moises Diaz are medal contenders here as well!

132 Pounds
This weight class could be a battle! Minisink Valley senior Jordan Suarez is a returning Section 9 champion and the top seed here. He has a 38-4 record this season and has wins over two of the other top contenders here, Matt Romano from Valley Central and Josh Sam from Middletown. Romano, who took Suarez into sudden victory at the MV vs VC dual, is a 2X state qualifier. One of Romano’s other losses is to Sam at ESC. Suarez has beated Sam 1-0 and 5-0 this season. While Suarez, Romano, and Sam are the favorites at 132, Goshen’s Eli Weinstein, VC’s Travis Phillips, and Pine Bush freshman Braydon Pennell are definitely going to add depth here as all three are having great seasons.

138 Pounds
This weight will be another one that’s going to be great to follow! Minisink Valley’s Sean Savacool is the returning champ here and is the top seed. He is having a great year at 27-3 with two of his losses coming at ESC and the other at The Clash. His closest match against a Section 9 opponent was a 6-2 win over his teammate Brian Lombardi in the finals of the Gene Brigham. Lombardi will definitely contend here as will Monroe Woodbury’s Dan Downs who will make some noise here as will Kingston’s Christian Francisco-Agostin and Warwick’s Liam Eberlein.

145 Pounds
The 145 pound weight class has some talented wrestlers and many felt it would come down to a showdown between New Paltz junior Ethan Palanca and Minisink Valley junior Jaccob Gonzalez. All that changed however when Pine Bush senior Gabe Galarza decided to bump up and take his chances at 145. Galarza defeated Palanca 4-2 earlier this year. Palanca’s teammate Aiden Cuppett is tough and will definitely contend here as will Pine Bush’s Dylan Burgos. Goshen’s Isaiah Price and Kingston’s Gavin Richter add depth and will definitely contend for a medal at 145.

152 Pounds
Pine Bush senior Tommy Askey is the top seed here. Askey finished 4th in NYS at 145 last year, he won the Eastern States Classic this year, and he is currently a perfect 34-0 on the season. Yeah he’s a pretty heavy favorite. The wrestlers who will be battling it out to get a chance to upend Askey are Goshen’s Chris Fini, New Paltz’s Levi Wynn, Monroe Woodbury’s Mike Zrelak, and freshman Andrew Filip from Minisink Valley. All four are having great seasons and would love the chance to pick off the top dog Askey here.

160 Pounds
Monroe Woodbury senior Joey McGinty is one of the biggest favorites to win his weight at this tournament. McGinty, who is heading to D1 Hofstra in the Fall, finished 4th in NYS last season. His season record is 30-4 and he has not lost a match to NYS D1 wrestler all season. The wrestlers who are looking to make some noise by picking off McGinty on Saturday are Evan Gibbons from Warwick, Jace Hirsch from Minisink Valley, and Elijah Price from Goshen, all of whom are having great years! Elijah Timbrouck from Kingston, Luis Paulino from MW, and Anthony Manzi from NFA have some nice wins this season and should not be overlooked.

170 Pounds
This is going to be a great weight class to follow! On paper the favorite is top seeded Joe Velazquez from Middletown. He is currently 38-6 and placed 6th at this year’s ESC. Velazquez also placed 3rd in S9 at 160 last season. Although he is this favorite, 170 is not a one horse race. Marcus Brown from Monroe Woodbury has put together a great season as have Alden Hathaway from Wallkill and Nick Patterson from NFA. Discounting Minisink Valley’s Chris McLaughlin would be a bad idea and Max Wernicki from Monroe can wrestle with anyone in this bracket. We should also keep an eye on Mejias Tanner from Kingston, and Max Winkler and Ionnis Karystinakis from Goshen.

182 Pounds
Minisink Valley freshman Ethan Gallo is the top seed and the favorite to win 182 and take his first trip to Albany. Gallo is 37-4; one of his losses came at The Clash and the other three at the ESC where he placed 8th. The only Section 9 wrestler to keep it close with Gallo was Jeremy Mazzella from Warwick who is the second seed here. Gallo defeated Mazzella 13-6 in an early season dual meet and 5-1 at the ESC. Will he continue to close the gap? The other contenders at this weight are Logan Michael from New Paltz, Steven Felice and Mike Paravati from Monroe Woodbury, Darwin Banegas from NFA, and Justin Lyle from Wallkill.

195 Pounds
The #1 seed here is NFA junior Joe Russell. Without question, Russell is one of the most improved wrestlers in Section 9, and perhaps NYS. Russell, who finished 4th in S9 last year, is currently sitting on a 41-2 record and he placed 5th at this year’s ESC. The two wrestlers with the best chance of pushing Russell on Saturday are Scott Geysen from Minisink Valley and Brian Giacchi from Middletown. Geysen was majored by Russell last month but he does have a win by fall over Giacchi. Giacchi, however, just lost a 6-4 nail biter to Russell last week. Others to watch at this weight include Zavier Bennett from Kingston, David Burgoa from NFA, and Justin Callahan from Washingtonville.

220 Pounds
NFA senior Maxx DeCapua is a 2X NYS place winner – but he has never won a Section 9 title. DeCapua placed 6th at 195 in 2018 and 3rd at 220 last year but both of his trips to Albany have been via wildcard. Will this be the year that DeCapua adds a Section 9 title to his trophy case? He’s the #1 seed at 220 and is definitely the favorite however he will not go untested. Minisink Valley junior Carson Henry is a 195 pounder who is bumping up to 220 for the Sections. Henry dropped a hard fought 6-3 decision to DeCapua at the S9 Duals and is primed for a rematch. Minisink has a second entry at 220 who can make some noise, JC Cabrera. The MV senior is having a great season and has a win over another contender here, Armel Duke from Middletown. Kingston’s Stephon Holmes is also having a solid season at 220 and should not be overlooked!

285 Pounds
The heavy favorite to take home his second Section 9 title at this weight is Minisink Valley junior Adam Fenner. Last year Fenner placed 5th in NYS at this weight and this season he is currently 40-1 with 33 pins which ranks him 2nd in NYS to Hilton’s Ryan Burgos. Although Fenner has pinned every Section 9 wrestler he has faced this season, there are a few locals who we should not overlook. Middletown 8th grader Stephan Monchery is extremely talented and was having a good match with Fenner before being pinned in the final seconds of their match. Washingtonville’s Freddy Garcia is strong and athletic and shouldn’t be overlooked and we can’t discount Monroe Woodbury’s Frank Hernandez, Warwick’s Logan Hickey or Middletown’s Bruce French.

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