Earlier this summer, Section 9 coordinators met with New York State Public High School Athletic Association representatives, including Executive Director Robert Zayas, to discuss the process of making girls wrestling a varsity sport sometime in the future. The first step, according to Section 9 Wrestling chairman Jeff Cuilty, would be the creation of an all-girls sectional tournament which could become a reality as early as the 2019-2020 season. In order to have girls wrestling sanctioned by NYSPHSAA as its own sport, there will need to be at least 4 sections with 4 varsity teams. In order for the girls to have their own state tournament, there will need to be 6 sections involved in the initiative. Let’s continue to lead the way Section 9!!!
Check out the Poughkeepsie Journal article by Stephen Hayes about this topic!
Now let’s take a look at some of the Division 1 wrestlers that we need to keep an eye on during the 2018-2019 season. This list is by no means comprehensive! Heck, I can almost guarantee that there are a few wrestlers who I don’t even mention who will go on to win a S9 title and perhaps even place in NYS! And that’s a great thing…it just shows the quality and depth that we have in Section 9 wrestling! This is going to be a great season!!!
Returning State Placewinners
Marco Vespa – Monroe Woodbury, senior
Vespa is without question the most decorated wrestler in Section 9. He is already a 5X S9 placewinner, a 4X S9 finalist, a 3X S9 champion, and a 2X NYS placewinner. Marco came in 4th in the state at 113 as a sophomore and 3rd in the state at 120 as a junior last season! Make no mistake about it, Vespa has laser focus on becoming a NYS champion in Albany this coming February!
Will Leonard – Cornwall, senior
Leonard opened some eyes in 2017 when he finished 3rd in S9 at 182 as a sophomore. In 2018 things really started to click for him. Will finished with a 39-6 record including a 4th place finish at the Eastern States and a 6th place finish in Albany at the state tournament!
Maxx DeCapua – Newburgh Free Academy, junior
DeCapua burst onto the scene in 2016 as an 8th grader placing 3rd in S9 at 170! He did not place in 2017 but came in 3rd at 195 last season and earned a wildcard to the state tournament where he finished in 6th place! Maxx loves to throw and is a very dangerous match-up for any opponent!
2018 S9 Champs With at Least 1 Win at the State Tournament
Tyler Serafini – Newburgh Free Academy, senior
The NFA senior was a S9 finalist as a sophomore (lost to Barczak) and last year as a junior he claimed the title at 152 pounds defeating at large entry Joe Pushman. Serafini went 1-2 in Albany and is looking to make the medal stand this year!
Matt Romano – Valley Central, junior
Romano scored a late against MV’s Sean Savacool to notch his first S9 title. The VC junior wrestled well in Albany going 1-2 including a close 4-2 loss to state finalist Justin McDougald. We can expect another very good season from Romano!
Returning Section 9 Champs
Justin Morales – Middletown, junior
Morales gutted out a few very tough wins in the S9 tournament. He scored late takedowns against MV’s Andrew Filip in the semis and Cornwall’s Christian Prokosch in the finals to win the title at 99 pounds.
Sam Santander – Monroe Woodbury, senior
Santander had a great S9 tournament! He pinned NFA’s Maxx DeCapua in the semis and then won a close 3-1 decision over MV’s Anton Juncaj in the finals. He earned the second seed at 195 in the state tournament but unfortunately went 0-2.
A Few Others To Keep An Eye On….
Jordan Suarez – Minisink Valley, junior
Suarez is a 2X Section 9 finalist who is laser focused on earning his first trip to the state tournament. The very talented MV junior came in 2nd at 99 pounds as a freshman, and last year he lost a 7-3 decision in the finals to Dylan Earl who finished 5th in NYS at 113! This could be Jordan’s year!
Tommy Askey – Pine Bush, junior
Askey is one of the hardest workers in Section 9! He placed 2nd at 126 last year after losing in the finals to 3X S9 champ Connor Greiner and came in 4th in the sections in 2017 at 120.
Joe McGinty – Monroe Woodbury, junior
After taking 3rd at 120 in 2017 McGinty made it to the finals at 138 season before falling to 3X S9 champ Dom Vetrano this past season. McGinty is very tough! Could 2019 be his year?
Nick Picariello – Minisink Valley, junior
The Minisink Valley junior lost 6-4 in the Section 9 finals this past season to Greg Fischer who finished 6th in NYS. He also came in third at 99 two seasons ago as a freshman.
Sean Savacool – Minisink Valley, junior
Savacool lost to VC’s Matthew Romano in the Section 9 finals at 126 this past season. He had a 33-8 record and notched a few big wins for the Warriors. He’s a grinder and will be looking to make his first trip to Albany this coming season.
Nick Albornoz – Minisink Valley, senior
Nick finished 4th as a sophomore at 126 and was a Section 9 finalist last season at 145 where he lost to teammate and 2X S9 champ Vinny Vetrano. Albornoz gets better every year and will definitely be in the hunt this season!
Anton Juncaj – Minisink Valley, senior
The D1 football prospect opened quite a few eyes last season when he made it all the way to the S9 finals at 195 before losing a close 3-1 match to Santander from MW. Anton has a lot of upside and could have a huge season in 2018-2019!
Mark Crisfield – Valley Central, senior
Crisfield made it to the finals in a very competitive 220 pound weight class in which the top 4 wrestlers all return – Leonard, Crisfield, Fenner and Owen. This will be fun to watch again!
Preston Havison – Monroe Woodbury, senior
The Crusader heavyweight was a S9 finalist last season dropping an extremely exciting 3-2 decision in the finals to Fenner from MV. Havison is a very tough match-up for any big man and will definitely be in the hunt for a trip to Albany this season!
And Let’s Not Forget About….
Colby Amell – Saugerties, senior
Amell was the 99 pound Section 9 champ in 2017 but missed all of last season due to injury. He will definitely be one of the lightweight favorites this season!
James Faison – Wallkill, junior
Faison was the top seed at 132 last season but was injured during the semis of the Section 9 tournament and had to forfeit to 6th place. He’s very talented and even notched a 10-5 win over S9 champ Romano last year!
Even though we are a few months away from the start of the 2018 – 2019 wrestling season, let’s take a look at some of the wrestlers that we should definitely keep an eye on this winter! This post will highlight our Division 2 (small school) wrestlers….an article focusing on the D1 kids will post in a few days.
Returning State Placewinner
Liam Dietrich – Red Hook, junior
Dietrich opened eyes in 2017 when he finished 2nd at 285 as a freshman! This past season he won the Section 9 title at 285 and went on to finish 5th in NYS. Don’t be surprised if he is a few steps higher on the podium in Albany this year! Dietrich is big and athletic; he’s a tough match-up for any heavyweight in NYS and he’s the only returning NYS placewinner at 285!!!
2018 Section 9 Champs With At Least 1 Victory At States
Eric Tigue – Port Jervis, freshman
Tigue made some noise at 113 in Syracuse last January at the State Dual Championships when, as an 8th grader, he picked off former state champ and senior Jon Charles by a score of 5-3. Tigue lost in sudden victory in the blood round at the individual state tournament in Albany so he is extra motivated to step on the medal stand this coming February!
Ethan Palanca – New Paltz, sophomore
Palanca punched his ticket to Albany by knocking off a defending Section 9 champ, Pat Ross from Onteora at 120 pounds. Up at the state tournament Ethan won his first match before running into 2X state champ Trent Svingala and then lost his first wrestleback. The New Paltz sophomore is definitely a contender to place this year!
Nikko Walsh – Rondout Valley, sophomore
A 2X Section 9 champion at 99 pounds, Walsh went 0-2 in Albany in 2017 but was much more competitive this past season at the state championships! He pinned his opening round opponent in the first period before dropping two very competitive matches 3-1 and 6-0 (to the wrestler who placed 4th). Walsh works hard in the off season and is poised for another great season!
Other Returning 2018 Section 9 Champs
Nick Ross – Onteora, sophomore
Nick was the S9 champ at 126 this past season and was champ at 113 in 2017! Can we be looking at a future 5X S9 champ?
Mat Malherio – Highland, senior
Mat is a 2X S9 champ at 138. In Albany, he lost 5-2 in the opening round to the eventual state champion Mike Zariff. This could be his break through season!
William Harrison – Port Jervis, senior
The PJ senior is as tough as any wrestler in Section 9, D1 or D2. Don’t be surprised if he contends for a medal in Albany in February.
Devin Dixon – New Paltz, senior
220 pound champ Dixon’s first trip to the state tournament was a learning experience that he hopes to build upon this coming season.
Matt Morris – Red Hook, junior
Morris had a tough draw at 106 in Albany…his losses came to the eventual 4th and 5th place finishers.
Some Others To Keep An Eye On
Nate Ross – Onteora, junior
Nate came in 2nd in a very tough 138 pound weight class and was the S9 champ in 2017 at 126. Albany has not seen the last of him!
Pat Ross – Onteora, sophomore
Suffered a tough loss to Palanca at 120 in 2018 and was the champ at 106 in 2017. Like his brother Nate, he also will return to the state tournament!
Nick Curreri – Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West, senior
Nick came in 3rd in the aforementioned very tough 138 pound weight class. His only loss was a 4-3 decision to the champion Malherio.
Luke Jones – Eldred/Liberty/Sullivan West, junior
Jones lost a tough 5-1 decision at 152 to Harrison. He has put in a lot of off season work and will be looking to punch his ticket to the Times Union Center!
John Antonelli – Marlboro, junior
Antonelli finished 2nd as an 8th grader at 99, 3rd at 106 as a freshman and 2nd at 126 last season as a sophomore. Could we see him on the top of the S9 podium this season?
11/3/18: Brockport Open
11/9/18: Ulster CC @ Home
11/13/18: Bergen CC @ Home
11/15/18: Away @ Lackawanna CC
11/17 & 18/18: NYS Collegiates @ Cornell University
12/2/18: ‘Bob Quade’ Cyclone Open @ Centenary University
12/14/18: Springfield Tech CC @ Home
12/15/18: Long Island Open @ Nassau CC
1/9/19: Away @ USMAP
1/16/19: Away @ Columbia HS vs Castelton University & CMSV
1/22/19: Lackawanna @ Home
1/29/19: Away @ Keystone College
2/2/19: Regional Championship @ Ulster CC
2/16 & 17/19: Eastern District 1 Championships @ Niagara CC
2/27/19 – 3/2/19: JUCO Nationals in Council Bluffs, Iowa
New York Wrestling News (www.newyorkwrestlingnews.com) is putting together a list of the top high school wrestlers in each graduating class and Section 9 has quite a few names on the list! Let’s take a look at the locals kids listed thus far. Also listed are the #1 ranked wrestler in each graduating class! This website will update the list as NYWN continues to post the rankings!
Juniors – Class of ’20 – Greg Diakomihalis (Hilton)
#25 – Maxx DeCapua (Newburgh Free Academy)
#27 – Justin Morales (Middletown)
#33 – Liam Dietrich (Red Hook)
#36 – Matthew Romano (Valley Central)
#53 – Tommy Askey (Pine Bush)
#58 – Sean Savacool (Minisink Valley)
#64 – Joe McGinty (Monroe Woodbury)
#70 – Jordan Suarez (Minisink Valley)
#100 – Nick Picariello (Minisink Valley)
The Open Mat has released their updated national rankings and a handful of NYS student-athletes have made the list including top-ranked Greg Diakomihalis and Adam Busiello. Take a look at all of the NYS wrestlers who have been recognized! Who is going to be the first Section 9 wrestler to crack the national rankings this year???
The Open Mat National Rankings (updated September 5th) NYS Wrestlers in the Top 20
106 – #15 Stevo Poulin (Shenendehowa, sophomore)
Stevo absolutely dominated the competition in NYS last season winning the D1 state title at 99 pounds. He posted a 45-1 record with his only loss coming at 106 via a 4-2 decision to Tim Levine from Wyoming Seminary. Stevo won the Eastern States Classic last year pinning D2 stud Mason Bush in the finals. Poulin is set to compete in the Journeymen Fall Classic at Union College in Schenectady on October 7th.
113 – #1 Greg Diakomihalis (Hilton, junior)
Greg is already a 3X NYS D1 champion and has verbally committed to continue his wrestling career at Cornell where he will join his brother Yianni (4X NYS champ, 2018 NCAA champ at 141). Greg posted a perfect 43-0 record last season en route to winning the title at 113 where he defeated Hofstra commit Dylan Ryder 3-2 in the utb. Greg will be competing at FloWrestling’s Who’s Number One event on October 7th and at the Super 32 Challenge on October 27-28.
113 – #14 Anthony Noto (Lima, junior)
Noto is a 2X NYS D2 champion. He recorded a 37-1 record last season with his only loss being an overtime loss in the semis of the Eastern States Classic to Jordan Titus from Section 11. Noto would avenge the loss to Titus defeating him 3-1 in the state finals in February. Noto and Titus also met in the state finals in 2017 where Noto pinned Titus in sudden victory! Noto will be looking to climb up the rankings when he takes the mat on October 7th at the Journeymen Fall Classic at Union College in Schenectady and then again at the Super 32 Challenge on October 27-28.
126 – #1 Adam Busiello (Eastport South Manor, senior)
The Penn State commit is a 4X NYS champion and is poised to join Troy Nickerson and Jacori Teemer as the only 5X champions in NYS history. Busiello was a perfect 35-0 last season including another title at the Eastern States Classic! On October 27th and 28th Busiello will be trying to notch another title at the Super 32 Challenge – a tournament he has won an unprecedented 6 times (3X in HS and 3X in MS).
182 – #5 Jake Logan (New Rochelle, senior)
Logan was the 2018 NYS D1 champion at 182 and finished 4th in the state at 160 in 2017. Logan has recently committed to continue his academic and wrestling career at Lehigh University. The New Rochelle senior was 41-0 last season including a title at the Eastern States Classic where he defeated fellow Section 1 hammer Jacob Ferreira 5-4. Logan and Ferreira also met in the NYS finals where Logan notched a 5-3 victory.
182 – #17 Sammy Deprez (Hilton, senior)
Deprez posted an impressive 53-3 record last season and finished 3rd at both the Eastern States Classic and the D1 NYS Championships. His loss in both tournaments was to Jacob Ferreira. Deprez’s only other loss last season was to nationally ranked Franie Gissendanner from Section 5 Penfield. Deprez has notched a few impressive victories in the off season and is looking forward to raising his national ranking at the Journeymen Fall Classic on October 7th and at the Super 32 Challenge on October 27-28.
285 – #15 Joey Slackman (Commack, senior)
Slackman put together a very impressive 2017-2018 campaign recording a 38-3 record! He finished 1st at the Eastern States Classic and 2nd in NYS. Slackman will be continuing is academic and athletic career in the Ivy League at Penn. Two of Slackman’s three losses last season came to fellow Section 11 stud and state champ Deonte Wilson.
Congratulations to Minisink Valley juniors Mia Macaluso and Grace Pauls for adding to the national accolades which are filling their resumes! The Open Mat has released their list of the top 50 girl wrestlers for the class of 2020 and both Mia and Grace have made the list!!!! Macaluso has come in at #8 while Pauls is listed at #36! This is a huge honor and Section 9 is lucky to have them as part of our wrestling community! Great job girls and keep working hard!