Well believe it or not the time has come….the Section 9 tournaments are this weekend! Within a few days we will know which wrestlers have punched their ticket to the NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships in Albany on 2/22 and 2/23. Let’s take a look at a preview of the Division 1 tournament which takes place on Friday and Saturday at Monroe Woodbury HS. Division 2 seeds and a preview of that tournament will be posted soon!
Always one of the most exciting weights to follow, the 99 pound class has a nice blend of experienced wrestlers as well as several up-and-comers. Middletown’s Justin Morales definitely the favorite here but we can expect Cornwall’s Christian Prokosch to give him all he can handle in the finals as long as he could get past Washingtonville’s Marchese in the semis. There will potentially be some great matches early on as we could see Lennon (VC) vs Toledo (MW) in the R16 and a possible MV vs MV quarterfinal pitting Evan Hewitt against teammate Andrew Filip.
Greg Fischer from NFA is a returning state qualifier and has posted wins over the #2, #3, and #4 seeds making him the clear favorite and top seed at 106. That said, his win over 2nd seed Picariello from MV was a narrow 2-0 decision so we could possibly see a great finals match-up! We should also watch for Chenier (Kingston) vs Kohrs (MW) in the quarters as that could be an entertaining bout!
Monroe Woodbury senior Dylan Earl placed 5th in NYS last season and is the top seed here. He will likely be tested by the winner of a semifinal match between MV sophomore Jordan Suarez and Warwick senior Hunter Brown. The two have yet to wrestle this season. Goshen’s Eli Weinstein and Middletown’s Moises Diaz could prove to be a very entertaining quarterfinal match-up.
All signs point to a finals match-up between Monroe Woodbury’s Marco Vespa and NFA’s Brandon DeLaRosa. As a 4th place finisher in last year’s state tournament, Vespa is clearly the favorite but we shouldn’t sleep on the very talented DeLaRosa! That said, DeLaRosa does not have a free pass into the finals as #3 seed Bryan MacDougall from Warwick is very game! As far as earlier round matches to watch, we could see a rematch of Jadin Vega (Cornwall) and Mia Macaluso (Minisink Valley) in the Round of 16.
This could be one of the most exciting weight classes in the entire tournament! You know that the weight class is stacked with talent when you have a returning state qualifier as the #4 seed! Top seeded James Faison from Wallkill has been very impressive however has spend a good portion of the second half of the season recovering from injury. Sean Savacool from Minisink Valley seems to get better with each match and recently pinned 3rd seeded Tommy Maddox from Washingtonville. Matt Romano received a wildcard into last year’s state tournament but he is actually the #4 seed here this year! This will be a great one to watch!
Connor Greiner is the top seed at 132 this season and he is wrestling like a person on a mission! Greiner won S9 titles as a freshman and sophomore however he was upset in the S9 finals of his injury plagued junior season and did not make the trip to the state tournament. Standing in his way of becoming a 3X Section 9 champ could be Pine Bush sophomore Tommy Askey who missed the beginning of the season due to injury but has looked great since his return. Askey however could have his hands full in the semis against 3rd seeded Luke Fisher from NFA. MW’s Shamar Johnson has the talent to wrestle higher than his 8th seed – keep an eye on him!
Minisink Valley senior Dominick Vetrano is a 2X Section 9 champion and he’s the clear favorite to take home title number three! His biggest challenge will likely be in the finals where he could see Monroe Woodbury’s Joe McGinty. Vetrano pinned McGinty during the Section 9 Duals but it was a very close match prior to the pin and included McGinty taking down and maintaining a lead over Vetrano in the first period. This could be one of the most exciting finals of the evening if the two top seeds make it through. Third seed Derrick Magsamen from Pine Bush is no pushover and he’ll definitely test McGinty.
Cornwall junior Steve Gazzillo earned the top seed at 145 via his head-to-head victory over Minisink Valley’s Vinny Vetrano who was a Section 9 champion at 132 last year! If the seeds hold, both Gazzillo and Vetrano can expect serious challenges in the semis as we might see Gazzillo take on Vetrano’s teammate Nick Albornoz while Vetrano will like lock horns with Nick Florin from Pine Bush.
Newburgh Free Academy junior Tyler Serafini has been dominating the competition this season posting a 42-3 record with his three losses coming at the ESC and in the finals of the Mid-Hudson. There will be some great quarterfinal and semifinals matches at this weight however. We could see Joe Velazquez (Middletown) and Joe Pushman (Wallkill) in a quarterfinal with the winner taking on Carter Stewart from Monroe Woodbury. In the top half we could see Ray Napolitano (VC) take on Dan Heffner (Cornwall) in the quarters with the winner taking on Serafini in the semis.
Pine Bush senior Shaun Burgos has been dominating S9 competition and he is the clear favorite at 160 pounds this year. Second seeded Collin Cummings from VC and Destin Morano from Midlletown should prove to be a good semi and also let’s watch for a potential quarterfinal showdown between Matt Schuyler (Cornwall) and Henry Searle (Warwick). Connor Parliman (MW) versus Douglas Doherty (Monticello) may be a fun R16 match to watch.
The 170 finals could be a rematch of one of the more exciting matches of the year pitting top-seeded Brian Mascaro from Wallkill against the #2 seed Timmy Ganuncio from Minisink Valley. Mascaro beat Ganuncio in a 7-6 barn burner in a dual meet earlier this season. Both wrestlers, however, will be tested in their semifinals as Mascaro will likely see William Notebloon from Warwick while Ganuncio will lock horns with Matt Bucci from Saugerties.
Minisink Valley senior Joey Yanis is probably the heaviest favorite of any wrestler in this year’s tournament. He has literally buzzed through the competition in Section 9 and has his sights set on a state title in 2 weeks up in Albany! Even with Yanis being a heavy favorite, 182 could prove to be a very exciting weight class to follow. The #2 through #8 seeds (Tremper, Miller, Santarpia, Wojehowski, Cassidy, Moriarty, and Knisell) are very even and could provide fans with some great drama to see who gets to stand on the podium on Saturday evening!
NFA sophomore Maxx DeCapua is one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch in Section 9 and he is the top seed at 195! He will likely be pushed in the semis by Monroe Woodbury’s Sam Santander who is very talented but has missed most of the season due to injury. On the bottom half of the bracket we will probably see a great semifinal match between MV junior Anton Juncaj and Middletown junior Elijah Babb. This is one of the most wide open weights in the tournament.
The heavy favorite here is William Leonard. The Cornwall junior placed 4th at the Eastern States Classic and is sporting an impressive 33-3 record. He has already notched an 11-2 major decision and a wbf over 2nd seeded Anthony Owen from Saugerties. There will still be some great matches to follow at 220. The possible Harrison Parrelli (Warwick) versus Adam Fenner (MV) quarterfinal match could be great, as well as the Owen versus Mark Crisfied (VC) semifinal bout!
Our heavyweights could provide us with one of the most anticipated matches of the evening if the top 2 seeds advance! Top seeded Preston Havison pinned second seeded Andrew Fenner from Minisink Valley last week at the Brawl for the Belt avenging an 3-2 utb Fenner victory at the S9 Duals. Could we see the rubber match on Saturday night? Before we get there though, the top half of the bracket could be very exciting with Max Kissack from Washingtonville taking on Caleb Williams from NFA with the winner taking on Havison. Fennr will likely see a very tough opponent in Bryce Moore from VC in his semifinal.