Well we went decade-by-decade in putting together our S9 All-Decade Teams so the next logical step is to put together an All Time Section 9 Wrestling Team! This was a fun project but definitely not an easy one! Some absolute hammers had to be left off including 2X state champions and 5X Section 9 champions! It just shows the incredible talent that has stepped on the mats over the past 57 years! Just a few notes about the All Time Team to avoid confusion… I have decided to use the current weight classes for the All Time team. I did my best to place wrestlers in weight classes that were closest to their actual weights in high school. Also, a few wrestlers are listed on the All-Time Team at different weights than they appeared on the All_Decade team. The goal here was to create the absolute best team possible, so in some cases it was necessary to juggle weight classes. Lastly, I decided to include 2020 graduates for consideration on the All-Time Team. As always, comments and corrections are welcomed below in the comment section or you can email me at email@example.com. Enjoy!
Rocco Mansueto (Middletown, 1998)
Picking “Mansueto” as our starting 99 pounder was a no-brainer. Deciding which “Mansueto” was not so easy, but after careful consideration we are going with 2X state champion Rocco! Rocco was the 96 pound NYS champion in 1997 and then won his 2nd state title as a senior at 112. He went on to wrestle at D1 Cleveland State where was a 3X NCAA qualifier. He biggest competition for the All Time Team was his twin brother Phillip who was a 4X Section 9 champ, a 4X NYS place winner and the 1997 NYS champ at 103. It was a close call but we gave the nod to the 2X state champ!
Lee Klepper (Suffern, 1969)
Our selection 106 pounds goes to 2X NYS champion Lee Klepper from Suffern High School. Klepper was a Section 9 finalist as a sophomore losing in the finals to Ron Lewis of Liberty. That would be the last high school match that Klepper would lose. In 1968 he avenged his loss to Lewis in the Section 9 finals and went on to win the NYS title at 98 pounds. As a senior, Klepper moved up to 103 pounds and went a perfect 26-0 claiming his 2nd NYS championship! Klepper was also an outstanding student and went on to have an extremely successful wrestling career at Princeton University where he finished with a career record of 118-20 and was selected to the All-Ivy team three times!
Joe Goldsmith (Ramapo, 1972)
One of the most dominating wrestlers in Section 9 history, Goldsmith finished his prep career with an incredible 69-1-1 record! His only loss came in the Section 9 finals of his sophomore year when he dropped a decision to Newburgh’s Jim Tiso. Goldsmith avenged his loss to Tiso in the 1971 Section 9 finals and went on to win the state title at 103 pounds. He then went on to win his second state crown as a senior at 112 pounds. After high school, Goldsmith wrestled in college at Division 1 Southern Illinois where he was a 4X Illinois Collegiate State Champion. As a senior, Goldsmith earned D1 All-American status by finishing 6th at the 1976 NCAA Championships. Upon graduation from college, he served as an assistant coach for Eastern Michigan for a season.
Lou Ruggirello, Jr (Valley Central, 2006)
In four trips to the New York State Wrestling Championships, Louie Ruggirello finished 3, 1, 1, 1! As a 3X NYS champion he was absolute “shoe-in” for a spot on the Section 9 All Time Team! As a freshman Ruggirello came in 3rd in the state with his only loss coming in a 2-1 semifinals loss to eventual 4X state champ and NCAA champ JP O’Connor. He went on to win NYS titles at 96 as a sophomore, 112 as a junior, and 119 as a senior. In those three years he was 11-0 at the state tournament with 6 pins, 4 majors, and only 1 regular decision! Ruggirello continued his wrestling career in college at D1 Hofstra where he was a 4X NCAA qualifier and earned All-American status as a senior!
Troy Bouzakis (Pine Bush, 1990)
Generally regarded as the greatest high school wrestler in Section 9 history, Troy Bouzakis was a 5X state place winner, 4X finalist, and a 3X NYS champion. Many consider him to be among the top 5 most talented wrestlers in NYS history….he was that good! Bouzakis became the first 8th grader in NYS history to win a state title when he won the 91 pound crown in 1986. He followed up with his second title as a freshman at 105 pounds by defeating defending state champion Lou Roselli. Bouzakis competed at 119 the next two seasons taking 3rd as a sophomore and 2nd as a junior. He capped off his incredible high school career by winning his 3rd state title by taking home the 126 pound crown in 1990. Troy was a 2X MOW of the NYS tournament. After high school, Bouzakis took his talents to D1 Clemson where he was undefeated until his career was cut short due to injury.
Cody Ruggirello (Valley Central, 2010)
When you talk about the great wrestling families in NYS history, the Ruggirello family is right there with the best. Louie’s younger brother Cody is our choice for the 132 pound weight class on the All Time Section 9 Wrestling Team. Cody was a 5X NYS place winner, a 3X finalist and a NYS champion. He placed 3rd as an 8th grader at 96, 1st as a freshman at 103, 2nd as a sophomore at 119, 3rd as a junior at 130, and 2nd as a senior at 135. Like his older brother Cody decided to continue his academic and athletic career ar D1 Hofstra University. While at Hofstra Cody was a 2X NCAA tournament qualifier and made it to the blood round at 149 his senior year.
Lou Ruggirello Sr. (Valley Central, 1989)
Since both of his sons are on the Section 9 Wrestling All-Time Team we might as well include the old man! Lou Ruggirello Sr. was one of the most dominating wrestlers in Section 9 in the 1980’s. Lou was a 4X Section 9 champion, a 2X NYS place winner, and the 1989 New York State champion at 138 pounds. He began his run in 1986 when he won the Section 9 title as a freshman at 132 pounds. His sophomore season he bumped up to 138 and took home his second S9 crown and then dropped back down to 132 for his junior year to win title #3. That year he lost in the quarterfinals of the state tournament but wrestled all the way back and took 3rd place in NYS. For his senior campaign Ruggirello went back up to 138 pounds and won his 4th Section 9 title as well as the elusive NYS title by defeating Bill Terry from Section 8 by the score of 7-1.
Tommy Askey (Pine Bush, 2020)
Askey is the only current wrestler to make it onto the Section 9 Wrestling All Time Team! Askey freshman and sophomore years in high school were good, but probably not what you might expect from an All Time Team member. He placed 4th in the Section as a freshman and he was a S9 finalist as a sophomore – but then flipped the switch! Askey dedicated himself to the sport and won his first Section 9 title as a junior and placed 4th in NYS at 145 pounds. His senior year, however, is what punched his ticket onto this team. Askey moved up to 152 and finished his senior year a perfect 45-0 which included a NYS championship and an Eastern States Classic title! His most impressive win came in the state finals when he defeated defending state champion AJ Kovacs 8-5 in the finals. At the time, Kovacs, an NC State commit, was ranked #5 in the nation according to InterMat Wrestling. Askey has recently decided to continue his academic and athletic career at Division 1 Appalachian State!
Ryan Ferro (Warwick, 2017)
2017 Warwick grad Ryan Ferro may be the best all around athlete on this team! Ferro was a 4X Section 9 champion, a 3X NYS place winner,and a 2X NYS champion. What makes his achievements even more impressive is that Ferro was a three sport athlete who also excelled in football and baseball and did very little off-season wrestling. Ferro won his first S9 title as a freshman at 152 and went 2-2 at states, falling in the blood round. As a sophomore he knocked off defending S9 champion Michael Raccioppi from Minisink Valley in the S9 finals at 145 and went on to take 3rd in NYS. For the next two seasons Ferro was a force to be reckoned with, winning back-to-back state titles at 152 as a junior and 160 as a senior. Ferro began his college career at the Ohio State University before transferring to LIU where he just completed his redshirt sophomore season.
Ed Banach (Port Jervis, 1978)
Was there any doubt that the name “Banach” was going to appear on this list at least once? Ed Banach was a 3X Section champion, a 3X NYS place winner, a 2X NYS finalist and the 1978 NYS champion. Banach placed 6th in his first trip to the state tournament as a sophomore wrestling at 167 pounds. The following year, Banach dropped down a weight class and took 2nd place at 155 pounds before capping off his high school career as a state champion back up at 167. Not too shabby right? Well he was just getting started. Ed went on to wrestle at Iowa where he would become a 4X NCAA All-American and a 3X NCAA champion wrestling for the legendary coach Dan Gable. As if that wasn’t enough, Ed Banach went on to win the gold medal in freestyle at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles!
Ricky Scott (Valley Central, 2005)
Valley Central dominated the Section 9 wrestling scene for a good portion of the 2000’s and one of the major contributors to the program was Ricky Scott. Scott, a cousin of Louie and Cody Ruggirello, was a 4X Section 9 champion, a 3X NYS place winner, and a 2X NYS champion. Scott burst on to the scene winning his first S9 title as a freshman at 152 pounds. The following year Ricky won sections again, this time at 160 and he went on to place 6th in NYS. For the next two seasons, Ricky Scott was perhaps the best 171 pound wrestler in the nation. As a junior he won his third S9 title and his first NYS title. As a senior he completely dominated the competition earning his second state title and he was selected to represent Team USA at the prestigious Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic. Scott was also a two time champion at the Eastern States Classic. Following his high school career, Scott went on to wrestle at Division 1 Buffalo where his career was cut short due to an injury.
Lou Banach (Port Jervis, 1978)
Was there any doubt that a second “Banach” would appear on the All Time Section 9 Team? Lou Banach, fraternal twin of Ed, is our clear choice for the 182 pound weight class. Lou was a 2X Section 9 champion, a 2X NYS place winner, and a NYS champion. As a junior, Lou Banach won the Section 9 title at 177 pounds and then went on to win the state title up in Syracuse. As a senior he notched a second Section 9 title, however lost in the state quarters but wrestled all the way back to 3rd place. Like brother Ed, Lou would go on to wrestle for Dan Gable at the University of Iowa. In college, Lou Banach was a 3X All-American and a 2X NCAA champion. He would also go on to win an Olympic gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. After retiring from wrestling, Banach earned his MBA from Penn State and has been very successful in the banking industry.
Mike Bucci (Red Hook, 1990)
Mike Bucci was one of the most dominating wrestlers in Section 9 history. As a 3X champ at 177 and a 1X champ at 215, he seemed like the logical choice to be the 195 pound selection for our All Time Team. Bucci launched himself onto the Section 9 wrestling scene by winning the 177 pound S9 title as a freshman! He would go on to place 6th in the states as a freshman and then would follow up with an identical performance as a sophomore – 177 lb. S9 champ and 6th in NYS! As a junior, Bucci would notch his 3rd Section 9 title at 177 pounds and this time he would take 3rd at the state tournament before capping off his incredible high school career with 215 pound state title as a senior! After taking a 6 year hiatus from wrestling, Mike would go on to wrestle at Division III power SUNY Cortland where he would become the program’s first ever 4X All-American! Bucci wrestled heavyweight for the Red Dragons placing 4th as a freshman, 7th as a sophomore, 6th as a junior and 2nd as a senior.
Ed Bordas (Valley Central, 2005)
Selecting a wrestler for 220 pounds was one of the tougher decisions for this project but when all was said and done it was Ed Bordas from Valley Central who received the nod. Bordas was a 3X Section 9 champion, a 2X NYSPHSAA place winner and the 2005 state champion at 215 pounds. Only a sophomore, Bordas won his first S9 title at 215 and placed 6th in NYS. He repeated as Section 9 champion as a junior however had a tough state tournament going 0-2 but rebounded as a senior when he won his 3rd Section 9 title and also won the NY state title at 215 pounds. Bordas went on to wrestle at the D1 level for Binghamton and Rider where he was a 3X NCAA tournament qualifier. He was also selected as team captain for Rider during his junior and senior seasons.
Joe Yanis (Minisink Valley, 1991)
Very few wrestlers in Section 9 history have combined the size and athleticism of Minisink Valley’s Joe Yanis. Yanis was a 3X Section 9 finalist at heavyweight suffering tough losses as both a sophomore and a junior before breaking through his senior year and punching his ticket to the state tournament in Syracuse. “Big Joe” would not let the opportunity pass him by and he ran the table in convincing fashion at the state tournament taking home the first state title in Minisink Valley school history. Yanis was a well rounded athlete and received state level accolades in both football and track and field for the Warriors. He continued his academic and athletic career at Division 1 Hofstra University where he excelled in both wrestling and football.
Phil Mansueto (Middletown, 1998)
Phil was a 4X Section 9 champion, a 4X NYS place winner, and state champion! He placed 6th as a freshman at 91, 2nd as a sophomore 98, 1st as a junior at 103, and 2nd as a senior at 119.
Phil Consiglio (North Rockland, 1985)
Consiglio won 3X Section 9 titles and then a 4th sectional title when Rockland County became part of Section 1 for his senior year. He was the NYS champ at 105 in 1984. Phil was a 4X NYS place winner taking 6th as freshman at 98, 6th as a sophomore at 105, 1st as a junior at 105,and 3rd as a senior at 112.
Mike Mormile (Monroe Woodbury, 2001)
Mormile was a 3X Section 9 champion and a 3X NYS place winner including a state title as a senior. He placed 3rd as a sophomore at 96, 2nd as a junior at 105, and was the 112 NYS champion as a senior!
Paul Paquin (Cornwall, 1997)
Paquin was a 2X NYS champion. He won titles as a junior at 112 pounds and as a senior at 125 pounds. He went to Oklahoma on a wrestling scholarship but an early injury prevented him from competing in college.
Jamie Franco (Monroe Woodbury, 2010)
Franco was a 5X Section 9 champion and a 5X NYS place winner including a state title during his junior year. He placed 4th at 96 as an 8th grader, 2nd at 112 as a freshman, 4th at 119 as a sophomore, 1st at 125 as a junior and 2nd at 125 as a senior. He wrestled at D1 Hofstra where he was an NCAA qualifier.
Pat Lloyd (Valley Central, 2003)
Lloys was a 3X Section 9 champion and a 2X NYS place winner. He finished 5th in NYS during his freshman year at 96 pounds and he was the 130 pound NYS champion as a senior. Lloyd went on to wrestle at Division 1 Buffalo in college.
Al Favata (Newburgh, 1969)
Favata was a 2X NYS place winner and a NYS champ. He took 4th in the states as a sophomore and took home the title as a junior at 138 pounds. Favata went on to become a coach in S9 taking the reigns at Rondout Valley for 7 years!
Gary Fischbein (Monroe Woodbury, 1983)
Fischbein was a 4X Section 9 champion, a 3X NYS place winner and the NYS state champion at 145 pounds in 1983. He wrestled in college at UVA where he was an NCAA Championship qualifier.
AJ Aeberli (Minisink Valley, 2016)
Aeberli was a 2X Section 9 champion and a 2X NYS place winner including winning a state title as a senior. He placed 5th in NYS at 152 as a junior and then took home the title at 160 the following year. AJ went on to wrestle for the Coast Guard Academy where he became a Division 3 All American!
Mitch Wightman (Warwick, 2011)
Wightman was a 3X Section 9 champion, a 2X NYS place winner, and the 160 pound NYS champion at 160 pounds in 2011. Wightman went on to wrestle D1 in college at Boston University and American University where he was a NCAA tournament qualifier.
Jim Horvath (Ramapo, 1972)
Horvath was a 2X Section 9 champion and a 2X NYS place winner. He placed 3rd in NYS at 155 as a junior and then in his senior year he won the NYS title at 167 pounds. Horvath went on to wrestle in college at D1 Southern Illinois.
Mike Fekishazy (Wallkill, 2017)
Fekishazy was a 2X Section 9 champion and a 2X NYS place winner. He won his first S9 title as a junior and placed 6th in the state and then as a senior notched S9 title #2 and was the state runner-up at 182. He was defeated in the state finals by Louie Deprez who was the top ranked 182 pound wrestler in the nation.
Kendall Elstrum (Monroe Woodbury, 2017)
Elfstrum moved to Monroe from Illinios as a sophomore and went on to win 3X Section 9 titles. He was also a 2X NYS place winner taking 4th in the state as a junior at 182 and then winning the state title at 195 as a senior! Kendall now wrestles for Division 1 Princeton!
Will Leonard (Cornwall, 2019)
Leonard took 6th in NYS as a junior before capping off his career with an incredible undefeated senior season which included titles at the Eastern States Classic and the NYSPHSAA Championships at 220 pounds. He is currently wrestling at the University of Buffalo.
Scott Ketchum (Clarkstown South, 1975)
Ketchum was the New York state champion at heavyweight during his senior year at Clarkstown South. He was part of the 1975 squad which remains the only Section 9 team to win the team title at the state tournament.
Coach Blaine was the head wrestling coach at Cornwall High School for 36 seasons. He is the all time wins leader for Section 9 coaches with an astonishing 529 coaching victories! The last match he ever coached was Will Leonard’s 2018 state championship victory! He has been inducted into the NYSPHSAA Wrestling Hall of Fame as well as the Upstate New York Chapter of National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Coach Gallagher sits at #2 behind Blaine on the coaching wins list with 506. He has been coaching for 30 years and is currently the head wrestling coach at Minisink Valley where he, along with his longtime assistant Scott Hendershot, has lead the Warriors to eight Section 9 Tournament titles and two NYS Dual Meet titles. Coach Gallagher has been inducted in to the NYSPHSAA Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Coach Cummings coached at Middletown High School from 1993-94 until 1997-98. He then took over as head coach at Valley Central from 2000-01 until 2005-06. In that relatively brief coaching career, Cummings an astonishing 10 New York State champions as well as another 19 New York State place winners! During those years he also coached 4 teams to Section 9 Tournament titles – 3X with VC and 1X with Middletown. Coach Cummings has been inducted into the Upstate New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.