Section 9 has a very strong group of returning wrestlers who have experience competing on the big stage in Albany. Let’s take a quick look at look at those who have made it to the state tournament and then we’ll take a more in depth look at a few wrestlers that could be flying under the radar going into this season!
Returning State Place Winners
Maxx DeCapua (NFA, senior) 6th @195 (2018), 3rd @220 (2019)
Zack Ryder (Minisink Valley, 8th grader) – 2nd @ 106 (2019)
Tommy Askey (Pine Bush, senior) – 4th @ 145
Joe McGinty (Monroe Woodbury, senior) – 4th @ 152
Adam Fenner (Minisink Valley, junior) – 5th @ 285
Jacob Chenier (Kingston, senior) – 7th/8th @ 113
Returning State Qualifiers
Justin Morales (Middletown, senior) @99 (2018), @106 (2019)
Andrew Marchese (Washingtonville, sophomore) @ 99 (2019)
Nick Picariello (Minisink Valley, senior) @ 120 (2019)
Jordan Suarez (Minisink Valley, senior) @ 126 (2019)
Sean Savacool (Minisink Valley, senior) @ 138 (2019)
Ethan Palanca (New Paltz, junior) @ 120 (2018)
Matt Romano (Valley Central, senior) @ 126 (2018)
Now let’s take a look a few Section 9 wrestlers who are looking to punch their ticket to Albany for the first time this season!!!
James Faison – Wallkill, senior
Faison has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons however he is without question the Section 9 wrestler who could make waves at the local and state level. Faison was injured approximately 30 seconds into his first match of the season last year against eventual S9 champ Jordan Suarez from Minisink Valley. In 2017-2018, Faison was having a sensational season before suffering an injury in the Section 9 Tournament. During that season Faison had only lost one wrestled match with all of his other losses coming via injury default. His season included a 19-8 major decision over 2019 state place winner Chris Cook and a 1:52 pin over 2019 state qualifier Alexis Diaz. If Faison stays healthy he will definitely turn heads this season!
Ethan Gallo – Minisink Valley, freshman
Gallo made it all the way to the Section 9 finals last season as an 8th grader wrestling at 160 pounds where he lost an 8-3 decision to Eastern States Classic place winner Steve Gazzillo. Expect to see this Minisink Valley freshman make a splash at 170 and 182 this season. A three sport athlete, Gallo is extremely athletic and has as much upside as any wrestler in Section 9. At last year’s Eastern States Classic Gallo notched wins over eventual state qualifiers Cyrus Smith (PSAL) and Zach Swyers (Section 7).
Armel Duke – Middletown, senior
Duke had a disappointing Section 9 Tournament last season but he definitely had a few noteworthy wins that make him a wrestler to watch for this season in Section 9! His biggest win of the season came early when he pinned eventual NYS place winner James Oosterom from Port Jervis at the 1:45 mark of the first period on December 5th. He also had a great January which included an 8th place finish at 220 pounds at the Eastern States Classic. Duke is a great athlete and he has worked hard in the off season setting him up for a great senior campaign!
Jackson Merli – NFA, sophomore
Merli had a great freshman season which concluded with a 3rd place finish at 99 pounds.The two wrestlers who finished ahead of him, Andrew Marchese of Washingtonville and Colby Amell of Saugerties, are both former state qualifiers (2019 and 2017 respectively). Merli put in a very busy off season and will definitely be in the hunt for a Section 9 title in February!
Jaccob Gonzalez – Minisink Valley, junior
This MV Warrior junior was having an outstanding sophomore season until it was cut short by injury after the Eastern States Classic. Gonzalez is an explosive wrestler who is will definitely be a factor at 145/152 this season. He won his first 21 matches last season and finished the season at 22-3.
Other S9 D1 Wrestlers to Watch….
Alex Greco (Warwick) – early season favorite to win 99 this year
Jordan Brown (Monroe) talented; will definitely push Greco
Josh Sam (Middletown) – S9 finalist at 132 last season
Brian Lombardi (Minisink) – very busy and successful off season
Max Wernicki (Monroe Woodbury) – 3rd at 152 last season
Joe Velazquez (Middletown) – split with Gallo last season
Stephan Monchery (Middletown) – 8th grade returner at 285