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Editor: This page and all our college news reported on by Matthew Diano.  To reach Matthew you can email him at hofpride19@optonline.net


December 20, 2006

With several of his Long Island brethren choosing rest as their preferred method of gearing up for the Southern Scuffle, Duke University sophomore 174-pounder, John Barone (William Floyd) was in the biggest little city in the world to compete in the annual Reno Open.  Unfortunately for the former Colonial, lady luck turned her wicked back on him, leaving him to finish out of the money with a 1-2 record.  The tournament started out with a bang for the Blue Devil as he narrowly missed scoring bonus points, defeating his first round opponent, Montana State Northern’s Dan Waters 8-1.  A 3-1 loss to Purdue Boilermaker, Nick Corpe in the second round put the two-time NYS runner-up in the consolation bracket.  Certainly disappointed by such a close defeat, Barone never seemed to recover, as he dropped his first and only wrestle-back match 16-6 to Cal-Bakersfield’s Garth Wara…Barone and the Durham Devils will look to put their 23rd place finish at Reno behind them and close out ‘06 with an impressive showing at the Southern Scuffle on the campus of UNC-Greensboro.                        

Note: For those of you who did not know, the Southern Scuffle was founded by current Hofstra University Head Coach, Tom Shifflet.  While the Pride will not be competing in Greensboro this year, it would come as no surprise if the gems of the CAA made competing at the Scuffle a holiday tradition starting in 2007.

December 19, 2006

While today may have been a very rough day for the first nine men in the Kings College lineup, the tenth, Monarch heavyweight Jim Bishop had one of the best days of his collegiate career, as the Valley Stream South product went 3-1, with his only loss coming at the hands of the nation’s top-ranked heavyweight, Wartburg’s Blake Gillis.  Unfortunately, the junior’s tremendous effort was in vain as the Monarchs finished the quintet-match with a 1-3 record, with their only win, a 35-6 victory over Pacific, being sandwiched among 29-15, 42-8, and 31-9 losses to Loras, Wartburg, and Buena Vista respectively.  The disappointing performance means that one of the last memories that the majority of Ned McGinley’s team will have of ’06 is a 1-6 dual record…The exception to this rule is of course, Mr. Bishop, who will welcome the New Year in high spirits following his aforementioned three win day.  In his bout against Loras’s Trevor Kauffman, Bishop was a 5-4 winner.  Next would come his lone loss, as Gillis showed why he is the best in the business with a fall at 1:08.  In the third bout of the afternoon, it was the Monarch’s turn to stick someone, and that is precisely what he did, showing Pacific’s Mike Weir the lights with 1:11 remaining in the opening period to add to his team’s one-sided triumph.  However, like any great showman, Bishop saved his best performance for last, knocking off the nation’s #6 wrestler, Wade Hammen, 4-3 to put the golden seal on his magnificent Tuesday performance…Kings College and their star heavyweight will take to the mats one more time before the dropping of the ball, participating in the Wilkes Open on the 28th

Even though it will not count on his official record, former Chaminade Flyer, John Brunetti, has reason to feel immense pride tonight, as the junior at the Merchant Marines Academy made short work of his teammate, George Foster, pinning him in the first period of Kings Point’s annual Blue-Gray match.  The Locust Valley resident will look to add a few official pins to his record when Tim Alger’s team returns from their winter leave to take part in the Long Island Open on January 6th.  

December 17, 2006

Journeying to the Sunshine State, SUNY-Cortland went 2-1 at the annual Gator Dual.  The Red Dragons began the event on a high note, dismantling UNC-Pembroke 31-9. Then, in what proved to be the main event of the entire weekend, the #7 Cortland squad was edged out by #4 Luther (IA) 25-19. The winning ways would soon return for Brad Bruhn’s team, as the DIII powerhouse cruised past Central Florida’s club team, 36-6.  Wrestling in all three matches were a pair of former Section XI stars, Jack Holmgren (Patchogue-Medford) and Phil Archer (William Floyd).  The senior 149-pounder, Holmgren, went 1-1 officially, knocking off his opponent from Pembroke Willie Wilton 6-4, before dropping an overtime decision of the identical score to Central Florida’s Paul Rothenburg.  The former Raider was also defeated by fall in an exhibition bout against Luther’s Zach Walrod.  The slap of the mat came with 42 seconds remaining in the second period…The Gator swamp was not very kind to Archer either, as the former Colonial great came up short in the first two bouts of the weekend before finally getting his hand raised in the finale.  With the match long decided, the Cortland junior lost a three point decision at 197 pounds, 10-7 to North Carolina-Pembroke’s Derek Brunson.  The results would get worse before they got better, as Archer was majored 13-5 by Alec Bonander in the featured dual against the two top-10 teams.  That elusive “W” was a 5-3 decision over Jimmy Meyers…The Red Dragons finish the year with a 4-1 dual record.  They will look to feed off of the momentum created by their impressive start when they travel up to the Bay State for a tri-meet with Williams College and Springfield on January 9th.     

December 16, 2006

The Nassau Community College Lions went 1-2 in a quad-meet with Glouchester, Johnson & Wales, and Delaware Valley.  Paul Schmidt’s squad opened the day against DVC and fell 24-13, before bouncing back to defeat Glouchester, the #2 ranked junior college, 25-12.  In the finale, the Lions were defeated 33-6….Going 3-0 on the day for Nassau CC was Chris Notte.  The frosh from the Garden State bested Justin Shorts 10-1 to start the day, won a 3-1 nail biter over Paul Schliep in the middle frame, and just missed bonus point in a 10-3 decision over Mike Bastante…Going 2-1 were the Long Island duo of Chris Wade (Islip) and James Guerin (Long Beach).  Wade began the day on fire, pinning his first two opponents, Vincent Laselva and Tim Taylor. In the nightcap, Wade was locked up in a 2-2 tie for most of the match, but saw the match get blown open after a five point move by Steve Martell put him in a 7-2 hole.  The score will finish out that way.  Guerin was a slow starter, but a very strong finisher.  Losing the bout to his opponent from DVC, the Lion big man rebounded with 10-5, and 7-3 (OT) decision victories over Shane Tobin and Marquise Johnson respectively…Completing the  quad with a 1-2 record was former Whitman grappler, Frank Meringolo.  Unlike his teammate Guerin, Meringolo did his best wrestling at the onset of the day, defeating Ryan Herwig 6-2.  The Lion 157-pounder would find himself on the wrong end of his final two bouts, getting pinned in 42 seconds by Glouchester’s Randy Moore, before dropping a 7-4 decision to Pete Reilly…Posting a .500 record for the afternoon was the transfer from Hofstra University, Chris Booth.  Following a 6-0 loss at the hands of Delaware Valley’s Jaryd Steinbacher, the ex-LUHI wrestler evened his record with an 11-6 win over Darrin Guerrero of Glouchester….Also going 1-1 was the talented freshman from Freeport, Andre Harrison. Harrison came into his opening bout against #4 ranked Ricky LaForge, as a huge underdog.  However, he demonstrated amazing skill and determination in keeping the bout to a very honorable 4-2 decision loss.  Harrison would proceed to defeat Clint Collins7-3 in the Lion’s victory over GCC…Other victors in the dual against the higher ranked Glouchester team, included Dan Daddino (Sewanhaka) who absolutely owned his opponent Frank Perkoski to the tune of  10-1 major decision win, and Martino Sottile (Brentwood) who was equally impressive in an 8-2 triumph over Joe Gamble.  Like Harrison and Booth, Sottile broke even, losing 15-8 to William Esposito in the dual against J&W…Losing in their only bouts were Bruce Popko (Levittown-MacArthur), Tom Delesia (East Islip), and Rich Brown (East Islip). The ex-General was pinned at 4:04 by Johnson & Wales Brandon McDonough.  Delesia was also a pin victim, getting stuck in the third period by Johnson & Wales’ Jerome Owens.  Brown came up one takedown shy in his 3-2 loss to Bryan Lenhardt…2006 junior college All-American, Aplekin Ozkilic went 0-2, losing 3-0, and 4-3 in the first duals of the day to Josh Proctor and Derek Sharp…Schmidt’s Lions will look to end the year on a high note, traveling to Pennsylvania to participate in the Wilkes Open on December 29th.

In his only match of the quad, Johnson & Wales’ Tom Cucciniello (Smithtown) pinned Nassau CC’s Mark Taylor in 6:12.  The Wildcats, ranked 15th in the latest poll, finished the quad with a perfect 3-0 record… Lonnie Morris’s team will return to the mat on January 6th for a dual against Norwich.

December 14, 2006

Less than a week after playing hero and securing Ithaca’s win over Lycoming in his debut, Joe Goetz (New Hyde Park) got his first taste of collegiate adversity, losing by fall to Micah Vore at the 3:50 mark.  However, the true frosh’s loss had little effect on the dual outcome, as the Bombers coasted to a 31-12 victory over the Rochester Institute of Technology.  This was a landmark win for Ithaca coach, Marty Nichols, as the victory was the 100th of his career.   Nichols will have to wait a bit, but will begin the quest for 200 on January 9th at a tri-meet on the SUNY-Cortland campus…R.I.T., whose heavyweight, Scott Morrison (Bethpage), did not see action tonight, will kick off 2007 by participating in the New York/Pennsylvania duals on January 6th

December 13, 2006

Led by a Levittown-MacArthur double team, the Hunter College Hawks improved to 4-2 with the 28-16 victory over Kings Point.  Winning their matches were 157-pounder Bill Calvacca and 197-pounder Brian Scher, both sophomores at the Manhattan based institution.  With the Hawks in the midst of a dogfight, leading 12-9 at the time, Calvacca recorded a 9-6 decision over Danridge Glitz to provide his team with a little breathing room.  With the margin holding at six, Brian Scher put the kibosh on the Merchant Marine Academy’s thoughts of a comeback with a 6-2 decision over Kenderick Jordan.  Two other Island wrestlers saw action, but were defeated.  Kristopher Kellam (Island Trees) lost the 149-pound bout 10-4 to Seth Ching.  At 184, it was Matt Jones recording a 5-0 decision over James Sykes (Sachem)…John Brunetti (Chaminade) lost a 10-1 major decision to the #4 ranked wrestler in the nation, Arkadiy Levitin in the final bout of the evening…Former Long Beach wrestler, Zach Astone, representing Hunter, lost 7-5 in an exhibition bout to Dean Ebdon…The Hawks make their return to the mat at the John Reese Duals on January 4th.  Kings Point will hold an intrasquad match on December 19th, but will not officially compete until the first Saturday of the new year at the Long Island Open. 

December 12, 2006

In the only action of the night, Princeton was unable to get much going, falling by a score of 40-3 to Rutgers University. The loss tonight means that the Tigers will enter the second half of the season winless.  And, with perennially strong programs such as Lehigh, Cornell, and UPenn awaiting them in the new year, the season may prove to be a very difficult and frustrating one for first year coach, Chris Ayres.  In the loss to the Scarlet Knights, senior Stephen Savin (Levittown-MacArthur) suffered a 15-0 technical fall loss to Kyle Milanese in the 141-pound bout.  The Tigers will be off until January 6th when they travel to tobacco road for a dual against the Duke University Blue Devils. 

December 10, 2006

And the big wins keep on coming for #5 Hofstra University.  Today, in the comforts of the Mack Sports Complex, the Pride won seven of the 10 bouts, including wins over the #1 and #2 ranked wrestlers at 197 and 174 respectively, in cruising to a 24-10 victory the #8 ranked team in the Country, the Pennsylvania State Nittany Lions.  HU jumped out to a 17-0 lead at the break behind gutsy performances by James Strouse (Levittown-MacArthur), Alton Lucas (West Babylon) and Chris Weidman (Baldwin).  The senior 157-pounder, Strouse, fought back from a 5-0 deficit to score 10 of the next 11 points to defeat Nathan Galloway 10-6.  Strouse was nearly pinned in the opening minute of the match when Galloway connected on his break and butter move, the cement mixer.  However, to his credit, Strouse demonstrated great heart in fighting off of his back.  At 174 points, #17 Lucas rebounded from a poor showing in Vegas to hand James Yonushonis his first dual meet loss of the season.  With the score knotted at 1-1 with less than a  minute to go, Lucas converted his shot into a body lock and drove the #2 ranked Nittany Lion to the mat to take the 3-1 lead.  Lucas would hold off a determined Yonushonis to complete the 3-2 upset.  Two matches later, it was the returning All-American, Weidman’s turn to topple a top-5 wrestler.  Ranked 6th entering the bout, Weidman hit a quick low single to go ahead 2-0.  An escape and controversial fleeing the mat call left the match tied at two after the first three minutes.  A second period escape would give Phil Davis, the nation’s top ranked wrestler, a 3-2 lead heading into the final period.  That lead was short lived however, as Weidman worked for and earned a reversal to go back on top.  A second stalling call on Weidman tied the match at four. However, due to his superior skills on top, Weidman was able to compile one minute + of riding advantage.  This one point would make all of the difference, as the former NYS Champ defeated the heavily favored Davis, 5-4.  The Nittany Lions would win the first three bouts after the intermission to cut the lead to 17-10.  #12 Aaron Anspach recorded a 18-6 major decision over Matt Pollock at 285, with the #3 and #7 wrestlers in nation, Mark Mcknight and Jake Strayer earning 5-2 and 6-0 decisions over Dave Tomasette and “King” Lou Ruggirello.  Charles Griffin clinched the match for HU with a 9-5 comeback victory over Bryan Heller.  Redshirt frosh, Mitch Smith added a little fluff to the final tally, scoring repeatedly to earn a 15-5 major decision over the red hot Dan Vallimont.  Joe Rovelli and team captain, Mike Patrovich, were also victorious, lighting up the scoreboard against their overmatched opponents, Phil Bomber and Jason Lapham.  Rovelli defeated the former 13-6, while “Patch” teched the later 18-2...Hofstra will now rest up for a tough second half of the season that begins January 6th against the University of Michigan.

The Princeton University Tigers remained winless on the season, falling 42-3 to the Terrapins of the University of Maryland.  Former Levittown-MacArthur wrestler, Stephen Savin was pinned by UM’s Alex Krom in the closing seconds of the first period.  The Tigers will look to end the year right on Tuesday, as they travel to Piscataway for a dual against instate rival, Rutgers University. 

The Yellow Jackets of American International dropped a pair of duals to a couple of the Keystone State’s finest institutions, Clarion and Duquesne University.  AIC’s misfortune seemed to be infectious for their freshman 165-pounder, Nick Laurino (Merrick).  He too went 0-2 for the day, falling 14-9 to Dominic Ross in Clarion’s 36-6 win, and 17-5 to Duquesne’s Ryan Sula in the Dukes’ 29-15 win.  The losses dropped Chaz Siebert’s team to 1-5 on the season. The ‘Jackets’ now have a very long period of inactivity, not returning to the mat until January 20th for the East Coast Duals. 

December 9, 2006

American International freshman 165-pounder, Nick Laurino (Merrick) was the victim of an 18-3 technical fall loss at the hands of Jim Celi, as Kutztown University was in control all night of the Yellow Jackets, emerging with the 35-6 dual victory.  Laurino and company will be back in action 24 hours from now, traveling to the Duquesne University campus for a double dip with Clarion and the host school.

The Bears of Binghamton University went .500 on the day, dropping their opening bout 34-6 to DIII powerhouse Delaware Valley, before edging out Millersville 22-20.  Individually, a trio of Long Island’s finest was not as fortunate.  Combining for an 0-3 afternoon were Corey Sullivan (Sayville), Mike Kleeman (Mount Sinai), and Brandon Toro-Segarra (Brentwood).  Sullivan, the only LI wrestler to see action in the first dual, was pinned with 56 seconds remaining in the opening period by Josh Proctor.  In the back-half of the tri-meet, Kleeman and Toro-Segarra both were major decision losers.  Kleeman was defeated 14-3 by Mike Acedo-Malaney, while Toro-Segarra fell 12-1 to Cody Becker.  Like many schools, BU will now take a short break.  The Bears next competition will come on December 29th-30th at the Southern Scuffle on the campus of UNC-Greensboro. 

The struggles continued for John Brunetti (Chaminade) and his Kings Point teammates, as the Merchant Marine Academy dropped all three of their duals, 31-16 to New York University, 39-12 to York College (PA), and 34-17 to Centenary.  The former NYSCHSAA runner-up also went winless, dropping a trio of close decisions, 3-1 to James Layman, 5-2 to Sean Griffin, and 3-2 to Warren Haubois.  Kings Point will look to pull an Alan Dershowitz and reverse their fortune on December 13th against Hunter College. 

At the same tri-dual, the New York University Violets had much better luck, posting a 2-1 record with victories over the Merchant Marine Academy and Centenary, with their only loss coming to York College.  Despite having a contingent of Nassau and Suffolk wrestlers on roster, the only Violet to see action was junior Mark Arpaia (Mattituck), who dropped his first two bouts, before ending the day on a high note.  In NYU’s aforementioned 31-16 victory over Kings Point, Arpaia dropped a 6-3 decision to Danridge Giltz.  A 9-2 loss to John Niedrich had no effect on the team’s 25-9 loss to York.  To close the day, Arpaia received a forfeit victory in the Greenwich Village school’s 34-6 win over Centenary. 

Springfield College and their prized upperclassman, Jamie Sgaglione (Plainedge) both had a pleasant Saturday night, following their demolition of Norwich on Saturday afternoon.  The senior 133-pounder scored often and early, piling up the points against an overmatched Justin Perry to the tune of a 17-2 technical fall victory.  The Nassau resident was not the only one who scored bonus points for the Pride, as Springfield remained undefeated (4-0) on the season with the 44-6 triumph.

SUNY-Oneonta saw their first dual action of the season this afternoon, going 1-1 at a tri-meet with WPI and Johnson & Wales.  In the team’s 39-10 win over WPI, Long Island wrestlers posted a 1-1 record.  With the match already well in hand for the Red Dragons’, Michael Hamilton (Longwood) added a little extra padding to the lead with a  pin of Michael Kennedy at the 6:38 mark.  In the following bout, former William Floyd grappler, Wala Canario, suffered a 10-4 loss to Adam Kreitman…While the second dual was marked by stronger LI participation, the results were not to the liking of third-year head coach Duane Ritter.  Going 1-3 to close out the day, a quartet of Nassau/Suffolk wrestlers watched with disgust as they fell 29-9 to J&W.  Despite the loss, not all was bad for Oneonta.  At 125, Scott Gorman (Seaford) got his team off to a strong start, missing a major decision by a single point in his 7-0 shutout of Dave Baumgarten.  However, it would be a while before the Dragons tasted victory again, as the SUNY school came up short in the next four bouts.  Two of these losses were sustained by grapplers from the Island, as Mike Gregg (Islip) was pinned in 1:36 by Matthew Smith at 141-pounds, and Ryan Higgins (Bethpage) lost a heartbreaking 3-1 sudden victory decision to Pete Riley.  A bumped up (184) Michael Hamilton was pinned in 1:27 by Ryan Lenhardt to officially end any chance of a late comeback for the Red Dragons…SUNY-Oneonta will travel to the Citrus Duals at the end of December.

December 8, 2006

A pair of Binghamton Bears split their matches today, as first year coach Pat Popolizio had to watch his young team struggle in a 30-15 loss to conference rival, Drexel University.  At 125, former Mount Sinai wrestler, Mike Kleeman,  dropped a 14-4 major decision to the #20 ranked wrestle in the nation, sophomore Steve Mytych, to put the Bears in an immediate 0-4 hole.  However, the upstate New York school would rebound incredibly well, winning the  next three bouts (two by fall) to pull ahead 15-4.  Included in this mini winning streak was Brandon Toro-Segarra’s (Brentwood) pin at 3:26 over Greg Jensen.  The pin gave Popolizio’s team the early 9-4 lead.  Drexel would go on to win the last five bouts of the night to emerge with the win in conference play.  BU will return to action tomorrow, traveling to Delaware Valley for a tri-meet with Millersville and the host school. 

The college career of 2006 NYS runner-up, Joe Goetz (New Hyde Park) got off to an ideal start, as the true freshman’s 7-5 OT victory over Troy Hansen was the deciding factor in the Bombers 21-17 victory over Lycoming.  The Bombers next match will be six days from now, as they host the Rochester Institute of Technology. 

In the final action of the day, Rhode Island College lost its first dual of the season, falling 24-16 to Wesleyan.  During this dual, Ray Hanley (Wantagh) was pinned by Josh Wildes with 37 seconds remaining in the bout at 133 pounds.  The Anchormen will now take a few weeks off, resuming their season December 29-30 at the Citrus Duals.

December 7, 2006

Led by a pack of Strong Island grapplers, the Hunter College Hawks went 2-0-1 on the day, defeating Yeshiva 57-0 and Middlesex 35-21, with a 25-25 tie with Centenary sandwiched in between.  Winning for Hunter in the first match of the day were Zach Astone (Long Beach) with a fall at 5:25 over Ben Benson, Paul Denaga (Levittown-MacArthur), with a pin at 4:35 against Gil Simchi, and James Sykes (Sachem), who received a walkover in his bout…In the second dual of the afternoon, a pair of former MacArthur Generals accounted for 12 of the teams 25 points. Winning their bouts by fall were Bill Calvacca and Brian Scher.  Calvacca’s pin of Francisco Lopez in 0:27 gave the Hawks a 15-10 lead.  However, that lead would not hold up, as Bob Gaudenzi’s squad needed every point they could muster at the end.  Trailing by 10 points with only two bouts to go, Scher came up big for his team, sticking Robert Reinhart at the 2:30 mark to keep the Hawks in the match. A major decision victory at 285 by #4 ranked Arkadiy Levitin completed the comeback.  Former Island Trees wrestler, Kris Kellam was pinned at 4:22 by Kyle Nasdeo…In the finale, it was Sykes, Scher, and Matt Myers (Levittown-MacArthur) all scoring six for the Hawks.  Myers pinned Rahman Furquan at 5:33 in the first bout of the dual.  At 184, Sykes won by forfeit. And, at 197, Scher showed Stas Zalinski the lights at 2:10.  Paul Denaga was pinned at 4:30 by Justin McCocheon. The Hawks will return to action on December 13th to dual Kings Point.

December 6, 2006

History was made tonight.  For the first time since the 1994-1995 season, the SUNY-Cortland Red Dragons were successful in defeating the Golden Eagles of SUNY-Brockport, 31-6.  At the forefront of the accomplishment was 197-pounder Phil Archer (William Floyd) who pinned fellow Long Islanger, Steve Spiegeleire (Sachem North) at 6:09 to pad the already insurmountable lead.  Also aiding the victors were a pair of major upsets at 125 and 165 pounds respectively. At one and a quarter, true freshman Dave Colagiovanni pulled out a victory by the slimmest of margins, 5-4 over the #4 ranked wrestler in the nation, Rob Vaccaro.  If the name of the Red Dragon sounds familiar, it should.  Colagiovanni was the wrestler that Shoreham Wading-River High School senior, Corey Jantzen, majored in the 2006 NYS finals.  At 165, it was the #3 ranked wrestler Shaheim Bradshaw’s (Huntington) turn to fall. The culprit this time was Zack Bogardus, who nipped the Golden Eagle star 6-4.  Pat Flynn (Huntington) and Deone Williams (Long Beach) also came up short in their attempts to preserve the Brockport winning steak.  In the second match of the night, Flynn suffered a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Eddie Ortiz.  Williams followed later in the night with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to #7 ranked Paul LeBlanc.  Dropping one of the two bouts on the night for Cortland was Jack Holmgren (Patchogue-Medford), a 5-3 loser to the nation’s #6 grappler Donny Ooton…Both teams will now take prolonged breaks, with the Red Dragons not returning to action until December 17 when they travel to the Sunshine State to take part in the Gator Duals.  The Golden Eagles have wrestled their last match of the year.  They resume their quest for a DIII title on January 12-13 at annual Virginia Duals.

In another dual pertaining to the athletic prowess of the State University system, three former Nassau and one former Suffolk wrestler representing Oswego came up short against their opponents from Ithaca College, as the Bombers prevailed 26-15 over the Lakers.  At 125 pounds, Jon Gregory defeated Mike Daly (Levittown-MacArthur) 7-3 to give IC the early 3-0 lead.  One bout later, that lead grew to an even 7-0, as former Island Trees wrestler, Joe Cusker, suffered a 10-2 major decision loss to Chad Winowich.  Dropping a 7-4 decision at 149-pounds was Mike Bahrenburg (Commack), who met his match in the person of Bombers’ sophomore Mike McCormick.  In the closest bout of the night, it was another Ithaca sophomore who emerged with the “w”.  At 157-pounds, Scott Edwards won a 3-1 overtime decision over the Lakers’ Eric DiCapua…The “Big Bomber,” freshman heavyweight, Joe Goetz, sat out the match as he is working his way back into wrestling shape after completing his first year as a defensive lineman for the IC football team.      

Springfield College’s 174-pound junior, Scott Heinze (Stony Brook) helped the Pride improved to 3-0 on the year with a hard fought 4-2 decision over Adam Kreitman of the Worchester Poly Institute.  The victory gave the Pride their first lead of the night at 19-17.  Daryl Arroyo’s team kept the momentum going, winning the final two bouts of the evening by fall and forfeit to prevail 31-17.  Springfield will remain at home this weekend, hosting Norwich University on Saturday afternoon. 

Not as fortunate were Erik Heithaus (Wantagh) and his U.S. Coast Guard Academy teammates.   The former Warrior was defeated 9-3 by Robbie Crothers, as the USCGA dropped its opening match of the ’06-’07 to Roger Williams University, 31-3.  Steve Eldridge, now in his 41st season at the helm of the Academy, will have plenty of time to get his team regrouped.  Heithaus and company do not return to competition until January 6th against Kings Point.

In the last action of the night, Johnson and Wales freshman, Tom Cucciniello was pinned at 1:52 by Bridgewater State’s John Marsh.  While discouraging to the young Wildcat, the loss proved not to be damaging to J&W, as they improved their record to 2-0 with a 26-21 win.  The Wildcats will be looking to keep that record unblemished this Saturday, traveling to WPI to participate in a Quad with SUNY-Oneonta and SUNY-Morrisville. 

December 3, 2006

Following what was an extremely active day for former Long Island wrestlers, today was rather on the quiet side.  With only two major tournaments scheduled for the day, the majority of wrestlers in action could be found in Happy Valley, competing at the annual Pennsylvania State open.  Unfortunately, the venue proved to be very unfriendly for our native sons, as no Island wrestler was able to earn a placement finish.  Having the best day of the bunch was a pair of freshmen, Nassau Community College’s Chris Notte and the United State’s Naval Academy’s David Ingram.  Wrestling at 133-pounds, the Garden State native, Notte, started the day off right, defeating Tyler Nauman 4-2 in the opening round.  However, the bracket makers were none too kind to the talented frosh.  Awaiting him in the next round was the #7 grappler in the nation, Penn State’s Jake Strayer.  And, as could have been predicted, the Nittany Lion showed why he is considered a strong candidate to make All-American, pinning Notte in 3:41.  The Nassau CC Lion would win his next three bouts in the consolation bracket before eventually bowing out with a 3-2 loss to Shippensburg freshman Steve Fittery.  Strayer would go on to finish as the runner-up, while Fittery earned himself a 7th place finish…At 149, the plebe, Ingram, went 3-2 with his first loss coming to the eventual titlist, Penn State redshirt freshman, Dan Vallimont, 4-2 in the quarterfinals.  The 2006 NYS champ from East Islip was knocked out in his first consolation bout by teammate Joel Ahern, 3-1 in sudden victory…Other wrestlers who posted wins in the tournament included Binghamton’s Brandon Toro-Segarra (Brentwood) who went 1-2 at 141, and Nassau Community’s  James Guerin (Long Beach), and Stephen Perez who went 1-2 and 2-2 in their respective weight classes.

On the campus of Northern Iowa, Iowa senior, Lucas Magnani (St. Anthonys), took the first step toward winning his starting spot at 125-pounds by finishing fourth at the UNI Open.  Seeded fifth to start the event, Magnani advanced to the semis by scoring major decision, pin, and decision victories over his first three opponents.  It was here that the  former NYS finalist’s quest for the title came to an end.  Pitted against the top-seeded Gabe Flores from the University of Illinois, Magnani was defeated 6-4 in sudden victory.  Magnani would win his first consolation bout, before being stuck in the bronze medal match by highly touted Nebraska true freshman, Matt Vacanti at 6:28.  Magnani will hope to see action next Thursday, as the Hawkeyes have back-to-back duals against Coe and North Carolina State.

December 2, 2006

If last week was the one that the Hofstra University Pride could do no wrong, this weekend may have been the one where at times, Shifflet’s boy could not catch any breaks.  Entering the Cliff Keen Vegas Invitational as the nation’s #5 team, the Pride were forced to settle for a ninth-place team finish.  At 133 pounds, fab frosh Lou Ruggirello failed to place, but demonstrated a warrior’s heart, winning five straight bouts in the consolation bracket to finish 5-2 for the tournament.  At 141 and 149, the Pride came up a little below expectation.  Seeded fourth and sixth respectively, junior Charles Griffin and senior Mike Parziale both failed to wrestle to their seeds.  After dropping a 5-4 decision in the quarterfinals to Nebraska’s Dominic Moyer, Griffin won his first wrestle back, before getting pinned in the consolation quarterfinals to Mike Keefe (Tennessee-Chattanooga).  The Reading, PA native bounced back with a major decision in the 7th/8th match.   Parziale went 2-2 and did not advance past day one.  Former MacArthur General, senior 157-pounder, James Strouse, demonstrated why he is deserving of his #8 national ranking, finishing fifth in a very strong weight class.  Despite coming into the tournament as the four seed, Strouse proved that he can go with anyone, losing a pair of one point decisions to the #9 and #4 wrestlers, Matt Kocher (Pitt) and Craig Henning (Wisconsin).  Strouse defeated #13 Mike Chandler 6-3 in his placement match.  Alton Lucas went 0-2.   At 184 and 197, Hofstra emerged with a pair of third place finishes.  Seeded fourth in Vegas, Joe Rovelli was the only Pride grappler to advance to the semi final round.  While he did drop a disappointing 10-1 major decision to the eventual runner-up, Tyrel Todd (Michigan), he showed great resilence, defeating a pair of top-10 wrestlers, #8 Marc Bennett (Indiana) and #9 Louis Caputo (Harvard) to claim the bronze.  Chris Weidman followed a similar path.  After dropping a controversial 4-2 decision to Michigan’s Nick Roy in the Quarterfinals, the senior from Baldwin proceeded to best the #15 and #11 wrestlers in the country, Jared Villers (West Virginia) and Dallas Herbst (Wisconsin), before pinning CAA rival Harry Zander in the consolation final.  “Big” Matt Pollock went 1-2.  Veterans Dave Tomasette and Mike Patrovich sat out in order to get healthy for the December 10th dual against Penn State.

One wrestler who hopes that what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas is Columbia University senior, Matt DeLorenzo (Levittown-MacArthur).  Seeded 11th to start the tournament, the veteran Lion went 3-3 to finish 8th at 133 pounds.  In the midst of his unexpected run to the quarterfinals was a 4-1 victory over the six-seed, Brett Allgood (Nebraska-Kearny), the #1 ranked wrestler on the DII level.  Following a 7-2 loss to the eventual champion, Tennessee-Chattanooga’s Matt Keller, The former General won Empire State bragging rights, beating Ruggirello 2-1 in his first bout of day two.  Back-to-back loses to Big-XII foes, second-seeded Tyler McCormick (Missouri) and eighth-seeded Mike Rowe (Nebraska) accounted for his final placement.

Leading the charge of wrestlers who did not place but put in solid showings was Matt’s younger brother, Steve.  The Brown University frosh went 3-2 in Vegas, including a 5-1 first round upset of seventh-seeded Armond Prater (Missouri).  John Sullivan (Huntington) and Ben Reiter (Smithtown), both of the University of Pennsylvania, each won two bouts in helping Zeke Jones’s Quakers place third in the team standings.

On the Messiah College campus, nine grapplers who call ‘Strong Island’ home places at the annual Petrofes Invitational.  Winning titles were SUNY-Brockport’s 125 and 165-pounders, Rob Vaccaro (East Islip) and Sheheim Bradshaw (Huntington).  The former two-time NYS champ, Vaccaro survived a scare in the semis, needing overtime to defeat the fourth-seeded wrestler, Clemens Artman (Heidelburg) 4-2.  Vaccaro claimed the title by beating former Seaford star, Scott Gorman (SUNY-Oneonta), 3-2.  For Bradshaw, the path to the gold was a much smoother ride.  Earning bonus points in his first four bouts, the Golden Eagle put the finishing touches on his gold medal performance with a 7-3 decision over Springfield College’s Jake Tyler…In addition to Gorman and the aforementioned champions, SUNY-Oneonta’s Ryan Higgins (Bethpage) also medaled, capping off a four match win streak in the consolation bracket by besting teammate Geoff Rosa 1-0 in the bronze medal match.  The Red Dragon entered the tournament as the eighth-seed at 157-pounds…Losing in the 3rd place match at 141-pounds was Deone Williams (Long Beach).  Despite coming up a little short of a medal, the Golden Eagle senior had a great weekend, rallying from his spot as the eighth-seed.  Unfortunately, he ran into Bridgewater State’s John Marsh, and found himself on the wrong end of a 12-4 major decision….Completing the weekend with fifth-place finishes was King’s College’s Jim Bishop. Seeded fifth, the Valley Stream South alum used a 5-2 record to live up to his seed.  The Monarch junior looked well on his way to the title, pinning his second round opponent in 0:44, before running into eventual champion, Ryan Bowers (Heidelburg).  Bowers got the win with a 9-4 decision.  Bishop took fifth when Oneonta’s top-seeded Trevor Hiffa was unable to wrestle in their placement bout….Accepting sixth-place honors were Brockport teammates Peppy Cabrera (Brentwood) and Pat Flynn (Huntington).  Seeded third at 125-pounds, Cabrera went 3-3, missing out on fifth when he was pinned by Kings Point’s Phil Greene at 5:44.  Flynn, the former two-time NYS champion, entered the tournament as the second-seed, but saw his title hopes dash away when he dropped a 9-7 decision to sixth-seeded Billy Hall (Muhlenburg) in the semifinals.  Hall, who would go on to win the title, also defeated Springfield’s third-seeded Jamie Sgaglione (Plainedge) 6-2 in the quarterfinals. Following the heartbreaking loss, Flynn defaulted the remainder of his bouts….Former Longwood stud, Michael Hamilton was the final LI place-winner, losing 5-0 decision to Brockport’s Eric Van Patten in the 7th/8th bout at 174-pounds…Sgaglione, along with Brockport’s Omi Ortiz (Brentwood) and Johns Hopkins’s Kyle Keane (West Islip) each won two bouts for their respective institutions.

In upstate New York, SUNY-Cortland’s Phil Archer (William Floyd) finished with a silver medal at the Rochester Institute of Technology Invitational in the 197-pound weight class.  While full brackets were not readily available at the time of this publication, we know that Archer joined teammates Paul and Trevor LeBlanc, as well as Corey Barber and Zach Bogardus as Red Dragon medal winners.  The latter four all won titles, while the former section XI phenom came one victory short of a title of his own, dropping his finals bout to the top-seed from Wilkes College, Brandon Kelly, 8-3….While neither placed, Cortland’s Jack Holmgrun (Patchogue-Medford) won bragging rights when he defeated Oswego’s Mike Bahrenburg (Commack) 4-1 in the consolation rounds.

Wrapping up the long list of weekend tournament success were Plymouth State’s Fred Wilkerson (Riverhead) and American International’s Nick Laurino (Merrick).  Each competing at the Southern Maine tournament, Wilkerson was the runner-up at 125-pounds, while Laurino ended his day with a fourth-place finish.  The Panther freshman, Wilkerson, made the most of a four-man bracket, winning his opening bout before getting edged out 4-3 by teammate Chris Greenwood in the title bout.  Laurino managed to beat everyone that stood in his way minus one Shane Stephenson from the host school.  After dropping a 9-4 decision in the first round to the Southern Maine grappler, Laurino showed the kind of poise not common in freshman, working his way back into contention for a medal.  However, when he got there, Stephenson proved again to be a worthy nemesis, beating the Yellow Jacket by an identical score. 

Turning to dual action, it was a 1-1 kind of day for two Binghamton Bear wrestlers.  Mike Kleeman (Mount Sinai) and Brandon Toro-Segarra (Brentwood) both went .500 for the day in helping the CAA school post a 1-1 record in a tri-match with Bucknell and Princeton.  In the opening match of the day, both former Section XI wrestlers dropped decisions to their Bucknell opponents.  Kleeman was defeated 7-3 by Greg Hart, and Toro-Segarra 9-4 by Zach Galligan, as the Bison pulled away with the 27-8 victory…In the second match of the afternoon, their fate drastically shifted.  Kleeman pinned Nikhil Pereira in 1:13, before the former Brentwood wrestler pinned a former MacArthur General, Stephen Savin at the 1:31 mark of the first period. This set the mood for the match as Pat Popolizio’s squad evened their record for the day with the 36-6 sound defeat of the Tigers.

In addition to his loss to his long island brethren, Savin was also pinned by Bucknell’s Jack Conroy in 2:26 as the Tigers went winless for the day, losing 46-0…Bucknell’s Adam Starr (Mepham) and Sean LoCurto (Garden City) did not see action in either dual.

Participating in the Roger Williams Classic, the New York University Violets posted a 4-0 record, defeating Western New England, Trinity, and split squads from the host school.  The only Island wrestler to see action in all four matches, Chris Darrow (Riverhead) went 3-1 on the day, winning two matches by forfeit.  In the Violets 36-6 victory over Western New England, Darrow received the first of his forfeit victories.  Mark Shirian (Great Neck North) contributed a 4-2 win over Nick Rankin to the winning effort….Against the RMU “A” squad, Darrow dropped a 7-3 decision to Andrew Lacroix.  However, Mark Arpaia picked up the slack, pinning Kyle Rodgers in 4:43 to lead his team to the 23-15 win…Avenging himself against his hosts, Darrow won an 8-6 OT nail biter against Eliot Gibbs to pace the Violets to the 45-6 victory.  Darrow’s second forfeit victory came in NYU’s 33-14 triumph over Trinity College.

Wrestling at the same event, SUNY-Maritime continued to struggle, dropping 43-9, 49-6, 31-22, and 41-6 matches to both Roger Williams teams, Trinity College, and Western New England respectively.  Nore Habib (Sachem East) and Adam Miller (Oceanside) each went 1-3 on the day.  John Nolan (Shoreham Wading-River) wrestled tough, but was unable to break into the win column.  Habib’s victory was a one-sided 9-2 decision against David Kroha, representing Roger Williams “Royal.”  Miller got his hand raised with a 12-2 major decision victory over Trinity College’s Jarret Matlock.

December 1, 2006

Four Hunter College grapplers with Long Island ties combined to score 21 points on Friday to help the Hawks cruise to a 54-0 dual victory over SUNY-Maritime.  The win was the first of the season for Bob Gaudenzi’s team.  Striking first for the LI quartet was 149-pounder, Kris Kellam (Island Trees) who pinned Ryan Boor at 2:33 to propel the lead to 12-0.  One match later, it was sophomore Bill Calvacca (Levittown-MacArthur) emerging in the battle of section XIII, defeating Maritime’s junior captain, Adam Miller (Oceanside), 8-4.  At 184 and 197, freshman James Sykes (Sachem) and sophomore Brian Scher (Levittown-MacArthur) received walkover victories….In addition to Miller, fellow captain, senior John Nolan (Shoreham Wading-River), found himself on the losing end, dropping a 19-3 major decision (no nearfall points awarded) to Robert Klotz.  The Hawks will now enjoy some downtime, off until next Thursday.  SUNY-Maritime will have to bounce back quickly, as they are scheduled to participate in the Roger Williams Quad tomorrow. 

November 29, 2006

King’s College junior heavyweight, Jim Bishop’s (Valley Stream South) 2-1 decision victory of the College of New Jersey’s Shawn Vanwingerden was one of only four that the Monarchs earned today, as Ned McGinley’s team fell 26-15 to the Lions.  The dual win was a historic one, as it marked the 450th of Dave Icenhower’s coaching career.  Bishop and the Monarchs return to action on Friday, traveling to the Messiah College campus to take part in the Petrofes Invitational.

Struggling on the night were the Engineers of the Massachusetts institute of Technology (M.I.T.) who were shutout 39-0 by Johnson and Wales University.  In this dual, sophomore David Butler (Shoreham Wading-River) found himself the victim of a 13-5 major decision loss to the Wildcats’ Jerome Owens at 174-pounds.  Freshman, Tom Cucciniello (Smithtown), who has seen some action earlier in the year for J&W did not wrestle.  These teams will see each other again this weekend, as both as scheduled to participate in the RIT Invitational.

Improving to 2-0 on the season was Rhode Island College.  The Anchormen, which have two Long Islanders on their roster, relied on bonus points tonight, etching out a 21-20 victory over Plymouth State despite only winning four of the 10 contested bouts.  Unfortunately, one of those six loses was suffered by former Wantagh Warrior, Ray Hanley, who found himself on the wrong end of a 14-5 major decision against Panthers’ senior 133-pounder Matt Friend.  The second half of the “LI connection”, freshman Dan Guevara (Islip) did not get the start.  First year 125-pounder, Fred Wilkinson (Riverhead) was not in the lineup for Plymouth State.  RIC next competes on Saturday at the aforementioned RIT Invitational.  The Panthers will also be heading north this weekend, journeying to the Pine State to compete in the Southern Maine Open.

Award/Accomplishments: Yesterday, the University Athletic Association (UAA) announced that New York University’s Arpaia (Mattituck) had been named the Wrestling Athlete of the Week.  The Violet junior, who has been the consummate team player, wrestling at times two classes above his natural weight, was credited with this honor after his pin of fellow Long Island product, Hunter College’s Kris Kellam (Island Trees), ignited the four bout winning streak that put NYU ahead for good in the Violet’ 26-12 dual win over Hawks on November 22nd.  Arpaia became Bruce Haberli’s third straight grappler to win the award.  Gene Kobilansky (Rochester, NY) garnered conference honors the previous two weeks.  Arpaia will be looking to add to his resume this weekend, as the Violets travel to Bristol, RI to take part in the Roger Williams University duals.

November 26, 2006

In the lone dual involving a Strong Island grappler, Johns Hopkins University freshman, Kyle Keane (West Islip) was overmatched by his D-I opponent, James Madison’s Jeff Jacobs, 14-0, in the Blue Jays’ 31-9 loss to the CAA conference member. 

In other news, former Hofstra University Head Coach, Tom Ryan, won his first dual as the lead banana at The Ohio State University, defeating the Cornell Big Red, 18-17 in Ithaca, NY.  Ryan’s Buckeye squad split the ten matches, but came out on the winning end following a hard fought 5-3 decision by junior 141-pounder T.J. Enright over Cornell’s Nick Bridge in the last bout of the dual.  In the victory, a pair of former Pride members combined to break even.  At 165-pounds, 2006 CAA champion Chris Vondruska, lost an 11-2 major decision to #11 ranked Steve Anceravage.  Two bouts later, it was 184-pound redshirt freshman, Mike Pucillo, snapping the team’s two bout losing streak with an 11-4 win over Luke Hogle.  Former HU recruit, Will Livingston, was the victim of an 8-0 major decision loss to Big Red reserve, Mike Rodriguez, at 125 pounds.  Rodriguez was filling in for former five-time NYS champion, #2 ranked Troy Nickerson, who is taking some time out to recharge his battery and get healthy.   Ryan’s team will return to the mats next week, participating in the Keen Vegas invitational.  The event has the potential to pit Ryan’s new wrestlers against his former ones.      

November 25, 2006

Never mind those victories over Wagner and West Point; forget the four champions crowned at the East Stroudsburg Open.  Today marked the official beginning of the Tom Shifflet era; and what a beginning it was.  Today in the opening match of the Northeast Collegiate Duals, the #11 Hofstra Pride did what many said would be impossible, they beat the number one team in the land, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 18-17.  The five-time CAA champs jumped out to an early 6-0 lead behind victories by junior Dave Tomasette and freshman Lou Ruggirello.  The former bested Minnesota’s #19 ranked frosh, Jayson Ness 12-9 to strike first.  The latter fed off of that momentum and utilized his superior skills on the mat to defeat fellow true freshman, Mike Thorn 5-3.  The next two bouts went the way of J Robinson’s boys, as Manny Rivera and NCAA champ Dustin Schlatter posted 5-1 and 17-0 victories over Charles Griffin and Michael Parziale to take their first and only lead of the morning, 8-6. Next, like the senior captain that he is, former NY state champion, James Strouse (Levittown-MacArthur) responded to his team’s back-to-back loses with a 4-2 2OT upset victory over #6 C.P. Schlatter.  Following an 8-5 Mike Patrovich (Islip) victory against Jeremy Larson, it was Alton Lucas’s turn to introduce himself to the nation.  Pitted against the #12 ranked wrestler, Gabriel Dretsch, the West Babylon native scored the only two takedowns of the bout to knock off the reigning Big-10 conference Wrestler of the Week, 5-3 and increase the team lead to 15-8.  A strong effort on his feet by #2 Roger Kish propelled Minnesota back into the match, as he won the battle of top-5 wrestlers 4-1 over #5 Joe Rovelli.  Then, when Gopher 197-pounder, Yura Malamura jumped out to a 7-2 advantage over returning All-American Chris Weidman (Baldwin), it looked as if the Evil Empire was on its way to avoiding the upset.  Too bad for the Gophers, no one told Weidman he was dead in the water.  Gaining the quick escape to begin the third period, the former NYS champ finished a quick takedown to decrease the lead to 7-5. Following the neutral start, Weidman hit his money shot, the low single to put the UM sophomore on his back to take control of the bout, 10-8. The riding time advantage accounted for the 11-8 final.  Weidman’s heroic feat put the nail in the Twin City coffin, giving Shifflet’s squad an insurmountable 18-11 lead.  Nothing, including #1 ranked heavyweight Cole Konrad’s pin of Matt Pollock, could spoil the celebration that erupted on the Pride Bench.  The day was far from being over, but yet it already belonged to them.

Fresh off of their victory over Minnesota, the Pride remained focused, dismantling the American University Eagles (33-12), the Princeton Tigers (45-6), and the Bloomsburg Huskies (27-15).  Going 4-0 for the day were Ruggirello, Strouse, Patrovich, Lucas, and Weidman.  Griffin went 3-0, with Parziale and redshirt freshman Mitch Smith each going 2-0 in sharing the duties at 149-pounds.  Joe Rovelli broke even with a 2-2 effort.  Matt Pollock had a tough day, going 1-3 against very steep competition.  The Pride return to action next Friday, traveling to Sin City to take part in the Cliff Keen Vegas Invitational.  A solid showing at this event will go a long way in solidifying a top-10 national ranking in the next poll. 

Other wrestlers representing their respective team at the Northeast Collegiate Duals this weekend were Binghamton’s Mike Kleeman (Mount Sinai), Princeton’s Steve Savin (Levittown-MacArthur) and a pair of University of Pennsylvania Quakers, Jack Sullivan (Huntington) and Ben Reiter (Smithtown).  Kleeman, the BU freshman, went 1-2 on the day, with his lone win coming in his team’s first dual win under new coach, Pat Popolizio.  In his first match against UPenn’s Matt Eveleth, Kleeman wrestled tough, but came up a little short, dropping a 7-3 decision. The former Suffolk wrestler rebounded well, scoring a 19-3 technical fall victory over the Princeton frosh Nikhil Pereira-Kamath in a 36-5 Bear win.  In his last bout of the afternoon, Kleeman was defeated by former Pennsylvania State champion, Jason Guffey, 3-0…For the former MacArthur General, the results remain an enigma, as conflicting accounts have led to confusion.  According to the Tigers’ athletic website, Savin went 1-2, winning a 5-2 decision over Binghamton’s Pat Sandberg in the second round of duals, after losing an 11-3 major decision to American’s Jasen Borshoff, and before getting pinned by Hofstra’s Charles Griffin.  Hofstra head of Athletic Communications, Jim Sheehan reported that Ryan Brown pinned Danny Scotten at Savin’s weight class.  No information was available on the home of American University Athletics….Zeke Jones’s Suffolk duo combined to go 3-5 on the day, as the University of Pennsylvania wrestled to a 2-2 record in Albany.   After scoring bonus points in his two morning bouts of the day (13-5 over Binghamton’s Ed Backus; 12-2 over Bloomsburg’s Peter Distefano, Sullivan dropped both ends of the afternoon session, getting pinned by #7 ranked Wynn Michalak (Central Michigan) at 4:57, and losing an 8-1 decision to 2005 Junior College National Champion, Yura Malamura (Minnesota).  Reiter’s day was even rougher.  Receiving a forfeit in his opening bout against the BU Bears, the former Bull was defeated in his next three bouts versus nationally ranked grapplers.  Pitted in the second round of duals against Bloomsburg’s #18 ranked Mike Spaid, the UPenn sophomore put up an amazing effort, dropping a close 2-0 decision.   In his final two bouts, the Ivy-leaguer was not able to keep it as close against his much larger opponents, getting pinned by #15 Bubba Gritter (Central Michigan) at 4:59, and defending National Champion, Cole Konrad (Minnesota) at 5:43.

Wrestling at the Hoosier Duals for the upstart Bucknell University Bison was Garden City freshman, Sean LoCurto.  Starting in three of the team’s four matches, the former Trojan posted a 2-1 record, with his only loss coming up a weight against Indiana’s Maurice Gunn.  Sandwitched around Gunn’s 0:37 pin was a fall and major decision of his own.  In the Bison’s opening match of the day, the former Nassau County star, stuck Oregon’s Chris Robertson in 0:34 to help keep the result at a respectable 23-19 team loss.  LoCurto and his teammates concluded the event on a high note.  The undeclared student-athlete recorded an 11-3 major decision win over Appalachian State’s Derrick Calloway in a 32-12 team victory. 

In the only tournament action of the day, Franklin & Marshall freshman, Christian Refakis went 1-2 at the Mat Town Open in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.  The Diplomat heavyweight started the event by dropping a 13-1 major decision to the host school’s Michael Cook.  However, he showed great heart and determination, responding with a 15-2 major decision win over Buffalo’s Mark German in the first round of consolation bouts.  The Cold Spring Harbor product’s day would come to a conclusion the following round, as he suffered his second defeat of the afternoon to an LHU wrestler, a pin at 2:44 by sophomore Branden Bowden.  Cook and Bowden would go on to finish fourth and sixth respectively.  Refakis will be looking to rebound when the Diplomats face Wagner College seven days from now.

November 22, 2006

In a battle between two of Long Island wrestlers’ favorite places of higher learning, the New York University Violets defeated the Hunter College Hawks, 22-12.  In this contest, four former Nassau and three former Suffolk grapplers combined to go 3-4 on the evening.  Winning his bout for the victorious Violets was junior 149-pounder, Mark Arpaia (Mattituck), who pinned Kristofer Kellam (Island Trees) in the first period to put NYU ahead for good 13-12.   Emerging with wins for Bob Gaudenzi’s Hawks was Brian Scher (Levittown-MacArthur) at 197-pounds, and 184-pounder, James Sykes, a freshman from Sachem.  The former General was in control from the opening whistle, defeating Nick Coleman 4-1 in the second match of the night.  In the opening match, it was Sykes who got his hand raised following a 3-1 decision win over NYU senior Sam Thorner.  Tasting defeat for Bruce Haberli’s team was Riverhead junior, Chris Darrow, who fell by the slightest of margins 5-3 to Collin Lewis at 141-pounds.  Getting off not as easily were a pair Scher’s high school teammates, junior 133-pounder Matt Myers and sophomore 157-pounder Bill Calvacca.     Myers was major decisioned 8-0 by Hilton, NY product, Joseph Ranzenbach to cut the Hawk lead to 9-7.  Calvacca’s 14-3 major decision loss to senior Eugene Kobilanansky increased the Violet lead to 17-12. Both teams are inactive until the first week of December.

November 19, 2006

Today, on the University of Pennsylvania campus, three wrestlers with Long Island roots placed at the prestige Keystone Classic.  Leading the charge for the Strong Island contingent was UPenn Sophomore 197-pounder, Jack Sullivan (Huntington).  The former two-time NYS Runner-up advanced to the finals by flouting the spirits of teammate Matt Dwyer, in a 10-1 major decision victory.  Despite a very game effort, Sullivan would have to settle for the silver medal, dropping a very respectable 8-4 decision to Rider’s 18th-ranked T.J. Morrison.  The impressive showing helped the Quakers to second place team finish…Standing one step lower on the awards stand was another Suffolk super soph, Duke University’s 174-pounder, John Barone.  The pride of William Floyd High school went 4-1 on the afternoon to take home the bronze.  Barone, whose suffered his only loss of the tournament in the semifinals to eventual champion, Doug Umbehauer (Rider), earned the his third place finish by way of a 13-5 major decision win over Appalachian State’s Neal Martin….Getting Nassau into the mix were the Delorenzo brothers from Levittown-MacArthur.  At 133-pounds, older brother and top-seeded Matt (Columbia) rallied from an opening round loss to win five straight matches and match Barone’s bronze medal effort.  The senior Lion defeated Blue Devil, Bryan Gibson, 8-7 in the 3rd place bout.  Matt’s grit was later rewarded, as the Columbia squad emerged from the Palestra as the team champions…The second half of the brothers Delorenzo, Brown University freshman, Steve, was not able to emulate his sibling’s success.  However, a 2-2 record is a solid accomplishment for a wrestler so early into his collegiate career.

Only a few hours away in Manhattan, Northern Michigan freshman, Chris Iorio, was well on his way to adding to an already mighty impressive Greco-Roman resume.  The 2006 NYS Runner-up from Sachem, currently ranked #10 in the USA Wrestling Senior Greco rankings, finished 4th at the annual NYAC Tournament.  In his medal match, the former two-time Junior National Greco All-American (3rd in 2005; 4th in ’06) dropped a two period decision to New York Athletic Club teammate and poised veteran, Joe Betterman, 6-0, 4-1.  To put this accomplishment in perspective, it is important to point out that a top-10 senior ranking was an achievement that alluded even four-time NYS Champion and 2004 NCAA titlist, Shoreham’s Jesse Jantzen.

Note: Speaking of the Jantzen’s, SWR senior, Corey, who recently announced his intention to attend Harvard in the fall of 2007, pulled off the upset of the tournament.  Competing in freestyle at 60kg, the 2006 NYS Champion shocked those in attendance when he upset former two-time NCAA finalist, Chris Fleeger, 0-6, 2-0, 5-4 in the opening round of the NYAC tourney.  While the future Crimson grappler failed to place, the victory over the country’s #4 ranked competitor demonstrated that this remarkable youngster’s abilities are without limits.  In fact, this weekend’s performance have many saying that Corey might be on track to surpass his brother’s lofty collegiate accolades. 

November 18, 2006

Hofstra picked up where it left on Wednesday, crowing four champions, two runners-up,  a sixth place finisher, and an 8th place finisher at today’s East Stroudsburg Open. Winning titles for the Pride were, Mike Parziale who defeated teammate Mitch Smith in the finals 3-2, James Strouse who bested #9 ranked Travis Piccard from the Citadel 4-3, Alton Lucas, a 3-2 victor over the host school’s Dave Sullivan, and Joe Rovelli, who scored bonus points in every one of his bouts, including a 14-5 major decision against #10 Louis Caputo from Harvard in the finals….Smith and junior Charles Griffin took home silvers.  Before losing to Parziale for the gold, Smith opened the tournament with four straight “w”, including a 4-1 overtime decision against highly regarded Penn State freshman, Jesse “Bubba” Jenkins.  Griffin, ranked 14th by Wrestling International Newsmagazine (WIN), did not record anything less than a major decision in advancing to the 141-pound final.  With the season still young and a couple of big matches a week away, the former NHSCA Senior National champion defaulted the match to Harvard’s Robbie Preston, in order to nurse a lacerated lip.  Fab frosh, Lou Ruggirello went 4-3 on the day, defaulting to Nassau Community College’s Chris Notte in the placement round.   Matt Pollock finished 8th at 285.  Former Sachem star, John Manarte, started the tournament out by winning his first two bouts.  However, following a 13-1 major decision loss to Lehigh senior, Matt Ciasulli, Manarte defaulted in his only consolation bout….At the same event, Nassau CC ended up with a pair of place-winners.  In addition to Notte’s 5th place finish, former Division Avenue (Levittown) Dragon, Mauricio Benitez posted a 5-2 record to finish 7th.  In a battle of Lions, Notte defeated his teammate 8-1 in the consolation rounds. Andrew Harrison (3) and Long Beach’s James Guerin (2) each won multiple bouts for the junior college powerhouse.  All of them are expected return to action on December 3rd, when Paul Schmidt’s team ventures to Happy Valley to compete in the Penn State Open….Penn State freshman, Eric Burnett (Uniondale) went 2-2 at the event.

In the Buckeye State, seven member of the SUNY-Brockport Golden Eagles earned placement finishes at the Ashland Open/Harris Auto Center Open.  From this group, the highest finish for a Long Islander was Shaheim Bradshaw’s bronze medal efforts at 165-pounds.  The former Huntington phenom was a winner by default over Cleveland State’s Marcus Effner in the 3rd place match.  This is the third bronze medal on the year for Bradshaw.  Placing 5th was former two-time NYS Champion, Pat Flynn.  The Golden Eagles’ senior 133-pounder upended Kent State’s Brett Freeman 9-5 in the placement round.   Joining the aforementioned was another former Suffolk great, Peppy Cabrera.  Competing in the 125-pound weight class, Cabrera (Brentwood), dropped a 5-4 decision to settle for a 6th place finish.  Other place-winners for the DIII school included: Andrew Grillo (3rd @ 157), Josh Bellinger (4th @ 125), John Bonaldi (4th @ 141), and Dan Ooton (6th @ 149-A).  Next up for Brockport is the Messiah Open on December 1st.

Several wrestlers with Long Island ties did themselves proud today at the Doug Parker Invitational, on the campus of Springfield College.  Bringing the lone title back to “Strong Island” was the host school’s senior133-pounder, Jamie Sgaglione (Plainedge).   The former Red Devil posted a 5-0 record overall, taking the title by default over teammate, James Squires…SUNY-Oswego senior, Mike Bahrenburg (Commack), compiled a solid 5-2 record on the afternoon, just barely failing to place…Former Shoreham-Wading River grappler, David Butler, tallied a 4-2 mark, coming up one round short of a top-6 finish. Among his four victories, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sophomore outmaneuvered Oswego’s Chuck Guttilla (Huntington) to the tune of a 10-2 major decision win….Sayville’s Sean Michel (representing SUNY-Oswego) and Merrick’s Nick Laurino (American International College) each exited the Bay State as the winners of three bouts…Going .500 on the day were, Gettysburg College freshman, Pat Doherty (Garden City-Chaminade HS), Wesleyan University frosh, David Bachy (Sayville), and SUNY-Oswego senior, Eric DiCapua (Plainedge).  Each went 2-2 at the event.

2006 DII NYS Runner-up, Jared Rueda (Mt. Sinai) went 2-2 for Northern Illinois University in the Freshmen/Sophomore division of the perennially competitive Kaufman-Brand Open.  After losing his opening bout of the tournament, the Husky wrestler showed great heart, winning his next two matches in the consolation bracket before being eliminated by Northern Iowa’s Grant Ruge, 11-4.

A pair of Navy Midshipmen, Sean Knapp and David Ingram each recorded a .600 winning percentage at the Navy Classic in Annapolis, Maryland.  Knapp, a senior from Bay Shore, was bounced into the out bracket in the second record, following a hard fought 9-7 loss to second-seeded Tony Curto (Bloomsburg).  Demonstrating the heart of a champion, Knapp rebounded with three straight victories before knocked out by another Bloomsburg wrestler, sophomore Darren Kurn, 10-2.  One of Mr. Knapp’s wins came against fellow Suffolk native son, Binghamton’s Brandon Toro-Segarra (Brentwood), 5-1.  Ingram, in his plebe year at the Naval Academy, followed a similar path.  After dropping a first round decision to fifth-seeded Jack Barnett (Rutgers), the 2006 NYS Champion reigned victories in his next three matches.  The conclusion to his day came, after he was pinned by his teammate, Joel Ahern, one minute into the second period of their consolation bout.

In what was easily the busiest tournament of the day for LI wrestlers, three Nassau and one Suffolk grappler earned a placement finish at the Red Dragon Open, hosted by SUNY-Oneonta.  Posting the top finish of the tournament was Cortland’s Jack Holmgren.  Entering the tournament unseeded, the former Patchogue-Medford team member, put together a memorable run to the finals before an injury default to NYU’s Gene Kobilansky shattered the glass slipper…Bringing a bronze back to Levittown was former  MacArthur General Brian Scher (Hunter College), who utilized a 4-0 decision over Alex Chianurashvili (NYU) to lock up the top-3 finish.  Seeded third, Scher lived up to his rep…Representing the host school, third-seeded Scott Gorman (Seaford) came up a little short of expectations.  Completing the day with a 4-2 record, the Red Dragon senior was defeated in the bronze medal match 8-0 by Wilkes University’s Shaun Farnham…Rounding out the Long Island place-winners was another former Howie Greenblatt disciple, Bill Calvacca. Competing at 157-pounds, the Hawk sophomore went 3-3 to finish 6th.  Wrestlers who did not place but won two or more bouts include: NYU’s Chris Darrow and Plymouth State’s Fred Wilkerson (both from Riverhead), and Oneonta’s Ryan Higgins (Bethpage) and Mike Losito (Sachem North) who all went 3-2 for the tournament; Doubling up on their “w’s” were Cortland’s Nick Tonini (Mineola),   Joe Murphy (Smithtown), and Robert Daly (also of Smithtown).  Mike Gregg also won two matches on behalf of the host school.

November 15, 2006

American International freshman, Nick Laurino (Merrick) suffered the first dual loss of his collegiate career.  The Yellow Jacket youngster dropped a close 12-8 decision to Springfield College sophomore, Luke Gabordi.  All in all, it was a forgettable day for Chaz Siebert’s  team, losing nine of the ten bouts contested to drop to 1-1 on the season with a  47-4 loss.  AIC will be back in action on Saturday at the Doug Parker Invitational.

When it came to Hofstra, not a lot changed from one day to the next.  24 hours after kicking off the ’06-’07 season with a lopsided shutout of Wagner, the Pride were at it again, making their home debut against the Cadets of the United States Military Academy (Army).  And, like last night, Tom Shifflet’s boys were successful in coming out on top in all ten individual bouts, beating West Point 41-0.  Getting the team going early was Alton Lucas (West Babylon), who used his superior quickness and athleticism to double-up Ryan Mergen 10-5.  At 184, Joe Rovelli (Wilkes Barre, PA) did what he does best; He got on top and tilted his way to a 14-3 major decision victory over Scott Ferguson to increase the lead to 7-0 after two bouts.  Former Baldwin great, Chris Weidman, showed why he some pollsters have him ranked as high as 6th in the nation at the 197-pound weight class. Up by a four point margin, the former two-time JUCO All-American came out on top of a scramble and threw in a half to stick Army’s Connor Sanders at the 4:30 mark.  This was a major improvement over their bout last year, which Weidman settled for a 8-3 decision.  At 285, “Big” Matt Pollock introduced himself to the HU fans in dynamic fashion.  Down 2-1 to begin the second period, the former fullback for the Cornell University football team, got on top and used a combination of a suck back and reverse half to pin USMA sophomore, Mike Sprigg, at 3:26.  This was a complete reversal of fortune from last season, which witnessed Sprigg record an 11-1 major decision over John Andriac.  At 125, Dave Tomasette was in control for the entire seven minutes, majoring Whitt Dunning 9-1 to boast the Pride’s lead to 23-0.  In the most anticipated bout of the night, two heralded true freshmen, Hofstra’s Lou Ruggirello and Army’s Matt Kyler squared off.  Exchanging takedowns in the second and third periods, this one was decided by Ruggirello’s 1:00 minute plus of riding advantage.  At 141, Charles Griffin pitched an 11-0 shutout against Lief Gilsdorf. At 149, Mike Parziale jumped out to a 6-1 advantage, before fighting off a late rally by Brian Rowan to hang on, 6-4.  The #11 Pride closed the show with James Strouse (Levittown-MacArthur) and Mike Patrovich (Islip).  This was a fitting ending, since these two remarkable seniors were honored as the co-winners of the Ray Downey Memorial Scholarship.  At 157-pounds, Strouse utilized three takedowns, a tilt and the riding time advantage to cruise to an 11-3 major decision over Christopher Grill.  In the night’s final bout, the third ranked Patrovich scored so often that I had a hard time keeping track of the score while doing the archived play-by-play.  Leading 13-4 after two, Patch showed no mercy, tacking on four third period takedowns and the riding point to demolish the clearly overmatched John Drew, 22-8.  The Pride return to action over the weekend, traveling to the Keystone State to compete at the East Stroudsburg Open.

Former Levittown-MacArthur General, Nick Monaco (Norwich) started his collegiate career on a high note, recording a fall at the 4:28 mark over Plymouth State’s Rob Ludwig.  The freshman Cadet’s pin broke a then 3-3 tie, and started the tank rolling in a 28-9 Norwich victory.  Monaco and the Cadets will be in Springfield this weekend to compete at the Doug Parker Invitational. 

Over in the Ocean State (Rhode Island), the home fans were treated to a Ray Hanley (Wantagh) pin with :11 seconds remaining in the second period over the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (M.I.T) Greg Wellman.  The former Warrior’s pin broke a deadlock at 12 and ignited a winning streak that saw Coach Jay Jones’s team rally from a 12-8 deficit to take the first dual of the season, 32-12. RIC will also be among the teams competing at the Springfield College Parker Invitational.

And speaking of Springfield, Pride senior 133-pounder, Jamie Sgaglione (Plainedge), utilized a pair of 3-2 victories over opponents from Western New England and American International College to pace his team to 45-0 and 47-4 wins respectively.  In his first bout of the day, Sgaglione followed a WNEC forfeit by getting the best of Golden Bear freshman, Scott Rowen.  In the latter bout,  Sgaglione experienced a case of déjà vu.  Following yet another walkover at the 125 weight class, the Pride team member relied on his veteran status to emerge with the one point victory over AIC sophomore, Jeff Haddad.  As is the seeming trend this weekend, Sgaglione will be spending Saturday at the Parker.

November 14, 2006

If Sunday was Nassau Community College’s day, then today was owned by the school a little further down the turnpike.  Hofstra University, #11 in the latest NWCA rankings, kicked off the Shifflet era in impressive fashion.  In a dual that lasted only 45 minutes, the Pride took all ten matches from CAA foe Wagner College, coasting to a 56-0 victory.  The win extended HU’s conference undefeated streak to 48 matches (47-0-1), currently the longest in the nation.  Hofstra University junior, Dave Tomasette got the party started early for the Hempstead based school, dominating the Seahawks’ Nicholas Keshecki in all facets of the game to post a 17-2 technical fall victory and give the Pride an early 5-0 team lead. Next up, was the highly anticipated collegiate debut of former three-time NYS Champion, Lou Ruggirello.  Unfortunately for his opponent, Joe Cipriano, Lou was in no mood to play around.  Coming out aggressive, the true frosh got a quick takedown and then went to work from his favorite position, ending the match super quick with a 0:41 second pin.  Former Reading, PA standout, Charles Griffin did his best to win the game of one’s up, but was unsuccessful and had to settle for the pin at 1:02 over Joe Eurell.  In the only match that went the distance, senior Mike Parziale recorded a 14-5 major decision victory over Justin Ensign.  The next three matches features three of the Island’s favorite sons, James Strouse (Levittown-MacArthur), Mike Patrovich (Islip), and Alton Lucas (West Babylon).  The trio, who combined for four NYS titles during their scholastic days, did not disappoint, defeating their overmatched Seahawk opponents by fall, tech fall, and forfeit respectively.  Following the second consecutive forfeit (awarded to junior Joe Rovelli), another of LI finest, 2006 All-American Chris Weidman (Baldwin) stuck Wagner freshman, Robert Rivera in 2:07.  In the finale,  the big boy, Cornell transfer, Matt Pollock, secured the shutout,  showing the arena lights to another of coach Doug Jesse’s freshman, John Graeffe, in 2:06.  As a side note, Wagner sophomore Richard Englehardt (Deer Park), slated to start at 125, missed the match so he could nurse an injury.    

In other action, Phil Archer (William Floyd), had a 10-2 major decision win against  Oswego’s Matt Gough at 197-pounds. The SUNY-Cortland junior’s victory put his team up 31-3, as Brad Bruhn’s squad sailed to a 34-3 win in the season opener.  In this dual, three long Islander’s, Mike Daly, Sean Michel, and Eric DiCapua were defeated.  In the first mach of the night, Daly, the former MacArthur General, was defeated by 2006 NYS finalist, Michael Colagiovanni 8-2.  In the next bout (133), Michel (Sayville) found himself on the short end of a 7-2 decision to Cortland senior, Eddie Ortiz.  Red Dragon sophomore, Paul LeBlanc, had the most decisive victory of the night, a 14-4 major decision victory over DiCapua (Plainedge).

November 13, 2006

In the only action of the night, American International wrestler, Nick Laurino (Merrick) defeated the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Matt Clement 8-4 to in the 165-pound bout to tie the team score at six. This “w” was the first dual win in the collegiate career of the former J.F.K grappler. The Yellow Jackets would cruise to a 22-15 victory in their opening dual.  Laurino and his teammates will return to action on Thursday, as they travel to the Bay State to take on Springfield College. 

November 12, 2006

Sunday belonged to the wrestlers at Nassau Community College.  Competing at the annual College of New Jersey tournament, the junior college perennial power placed 14 grapplers (13 in the freshmen/sophomore division) in the top six.  Leading the charge for Coach Paul Schmidt’s squad was a trio of champions in the persons of Chris Notte (133), Andre Harrison (141), and Chris Wade (165).  Notte, a freshman from the Garden State, went 3-0 for the day, taking the first title of the season for Lions by defeating Gloucester CC’s Paul Schliep in a tiebreaker by a score of 3-2…Nassau did not have to wait long to claim their second gold.  One weight class later, Harrison, who won a 2006 Nassau title for Freeport, won his fourth decision of the afternoon, defeating Delaware Valley’s Brandon Earlston, 7-3 in the finals.  Wade, the transfer from SUNY-Binghamton, made his presence felt immediately.  The former NYS Champion out of Islip decimated his three opponents, earning bonus points in every one of his bouts.  In taking the last  of the Lions’ titles, Wade scored early and often, posting a 16-1 tech fall victory over Springfield College’s Luke Gabordi…Earning bronze medals for NCC were, Martino Sottile (184-Brentwood), 2006 Junior-College All-American   Apltekin Ozkilic (133-Westbury), and Stephen Perez (133).  Sottile defeated teammate, Rich Brown (East Islip) 4-2 in a tiebreaker to advance to the consolation finals.  Ozkilic, who was the only Lion wrestler competing in the JR/SR division, clinched his bronze when he received an injury default victory from Ray Sarinelli of the host school.  In earning his third place finish, Perez got the best of Delaware Valley’s Justin Shorts, 9-8…Walt Whitman’s Frank Meringolo took fourth at 157 pounds, losing in his bronze medal bout 10-8 to Navy JV’s Dustin Packard…Other place winners for the Garden City based school were, Joshua Hillard (4th@174 ) East Islip’s Brown (5th), Sewanhaka’s Dan Daddino (5th@174), Jorgo Lialangas (5th@165), John Hillard (6th@184), Mark Taylor (6th@141), and East Islip’s Tom Delesia (6th@174).  In an interesting note, Delesia suffered two of his three loses on the day to Daddino.  He fell 2-0 in the quarterfinals, before losing the 5th/6th match 5-0.

In other news, Ohio State’s Ryan Patrovich (Islip) made his much anticipated collegiate debut for Tom Ryan and the Buckeyes.  After winning his first two bouts at the Michigan State Open, the former two-time NYS Champion, was tech falled in the quarterfinals by eventual silver medalist, Keegan Mueller, from the University of North Carolina.  Patrovich defaulted his next bout, to break even at his first college event.

Former Huntington star, Jack Sullivan compiled a 4-2 record at the same event to finish 7th at 197 pounds for the University of Pennsylvania. He arose victorious over Purdue frosh, Logan Brown, 5-4 in his placement bout.

November 11, 2006

Today was another big Saturday for SUNY-Brockport’s Shaheim Bradshaw (Huntington) and Duke University’s John Barone (William Floyd).  Just one week removed from their respective third and first place tournament finishes, the Suffolk duo were at it again.  The Golden Eagles’ junior, Bradshaw earned his second bronze medal in as many weeks, compiling a 4-1 record in his home gym at the Annual Brockport/Oklahoma Gold Classic.  Bradshaw’s lone loss game to the eventual champion, Oklahoma University’s Shane Seibert, a former Fresno State Bulldog, who transferred to the Sooners after his former university discontinued their wrestling program.  The former Lou Giani disciple defeated SUNY-Buffalo’s Mike Ragusa by an 8-1 in the third place match….Also of note at Brockport, were a pair of all Long Island first round match-ups.  At 125, it was East Islip’s former two-time NYS champion, Rob Vaccaro (representing Brockport) who upended talented Brown University frosh, Mike Piccirillo (Commack), by a score of 8-3.  The win was Vacarro’s only ‘w” on the day.  Two weight classes later, the Ivy League stuck back, as fellow Brown freshman, Steve DeLorenzo (Levittown-MacArthur) bested Brockport’s Deone Williams (Long Beach), 8-2.  The former General would add an additional win in the consolation rounds to break even for the event with a 2-2 record.

The two-time Suffolk champ, Barone, demonstrated that he is not only a solid tournament wrestler, but a dual specialist as well.   The super sophomore utilized a perfect 3-0 record on the day to pace his Blue Devil team to their first two wins of the year.   After watching his 12-3 major decision win over Newberry College’s Quinn Tolbert go to waste in a 20-17 dual loss, Barone displayed immense maturity and anchored the ACC-Conference member’s sound victories over Wagner College and Gardner-Webb. In his bout against the latter, Barone came away with a goose egg, defeating the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ Charles Davis, 5-0.  The former forfeited the 174-pound bout contest to the still undefeated former two-time NYS runner-up. 

While the aforementioned certainly demonstrated the merits of finding one’s self on the medal stand, it is equally important to remember that sometimes, it is equally valuable to come together as a team and patch together a solid effort, absent of any one star.  This is a lesson that the SUNY-Oneonta team depicted perfectly this weekend, earning themselves a third place finish at the King’s College Monarch Invitational.  At the heart of this accomplishment were four wrestlers who call the Island their home.  While none of them were fortunate enough to earn individual  placement, the nine total victories earned by Wala Canario (William Floyd), Scott Gorman (Seaford), Mike Gregg (Islip), and Michael Hamilton (Longwood) were just what the team needed to leave the state of Pennsylvania with their heads held high.

The new day brought with it better results for NYU’s Mark Arpaia.  Less than 24 hours after the Mattituck resident’s loss to his College of New Jersey opponent, the junior 141-pounder bounced back with a solid 10-4 triumph over Franklin & Marshall’s Andrew Smith.  Unfortunately, neither his team, nor his teammate, Chris Darrow was as lucky.  For the second consecutive night, Darrow (Riverhead) found himself on the wrong end of a decision.  This time the culprit was Albert Gianforti, who handled the Violets’ junior, 9-4.  The loss was one of six suffered by Bruce Haberli’s squad, as the Metropolitan Conference member was edged out 22-16. 

November 10, 2006:

The second weekend of the season started out on a sour note for a quartet of Hunter College wrestlers.  Pitted against foes from The College of New Jersey,  Bill Calvacca (Levittown-MacArthur), Kristofer Kellam (Island Trees), Paul Denaga (Levittown-MacArthur), and James Sykes (Sachem) were all defeated as the Hawks fell in the season opener, 34-9.  One bright spot for coach Bob Gaudenzi’s squad was former MacArthur General, Brian Scher, who came away with a 3-0 decision over TCNJ’s Shawn Vanwingerden to get his team on the board.

The results were not much better for New York University’s Chris Darrow and Mark Arpaia, who also got bested by a pair of TCNJ opponents.  Darrow (Riverhead) dropped a 2-0 decision to Lions’ freshman Tyler Branham.  Mattituck’s Arpaia was dealt an 11-4 loss by Dan DiColo (who also major decisioned Hunter’s Calvacca, 11-1).

November 9, 2006:

Plainedge’s Eric DiCapua  and Sayville’s Sean Michel each recorded bonus points for SUNY-Oswego, which opened the dual season with a 31-16 victory over the Rochester Institute of Technology.  Michel (133) got his team on the board with a pin at 4:03 over Brian Eisenmann.  Three matches later, it was DiCapua’s turn to dominate. And dominate he did, to the tune of an 18-1 technical fall over RIT’s Josh Schneider…125-pounder, Mike Daly (Levittown-MacArthur) also saw action.  The former General was pinned in 4:49 by Mike McInally. 

November 5, 2006:

The Long Island hot streak continued on Sunday, as two former William Floyd wrestlers, Duke University’s John Barone  and SUNY-Cortland’s Phil Archer won titles at The Citadel and Ithaca tournaments respectively.  Barone, in his second year in Durham, cruised to the 174-pound title, scoring bonus points in all four of his bouts, including a pin in the finals at 4:54 over Belmont Abbey freshman, David Hoggard.

Archer was equally dominant, outscoring his four opponents 34-9 to claim the hardware in the 197-pound class.  The Red Dragons finished 3rd behind the junior’s efforts, missing a share of second by a point and a half. 

Joining his Suffolk brethren was Johnson and Wales’ Thomas Cucciniello (Smithtown), who announced his presence on the collegiate scene with authority, finishing third at the upstate New York tournament with a 5-1 record.   The Wild Cat frosh secured himself a medal by disposing of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Jullian Nicholas 9-4 in the third place match.

Suffolk weren’t the only ones celebrating however .  Nassau County got into the mix as well, when Hunter College’s Brian Scher (Levittown-MacArthur)  parlayed a 4-2 record into a fourth-place finish in Ithaca. 

November 4, 2006:

The first day of the season brought with it success for a pair of Long Island wrestlers.  King’s College heavyweight, Jim Bishop (Valley Stream South), took the silver medal at the Messiah Open.  The Monarch junior went 3-1 in the competition, tallying two falls before eventually being defeated in the finals by Case Western’s Bob Gavlak, 4-1.

SUNY-Brockport junior, Shaheim Bradshaw (Huntington) led his team to a 9th place finish at the Eastern Michigan Open, going 5-1 to leave town with the bronze medal in the 165-pound weight class.  Bradshaw earned his top-3 finish by disposing of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Jesse Feinsod, 11-6 in his final bout of the tournament. 

Bradshaw’s teammate, Deone Williams (Long Beach), also had an impressive showing, finishing 4-2 on the day, just barely short of placing.

2006 state champion, David Ingram (East Islip) began his collegiate career on a positive note, posting a 3-2 record for the Naval Academy.  One of these wins, a 16-3 major decision, came at the expense of fellow Suffolk country wrestler,  John Perez (Sachem East), a freshman for the Brockport Golden Eagles.