It’s that time of the year again. No it’s not Thanksgiving or Christmas. Good guess. It’s Wrestling Season. Let’s get the dust off the headgear and put the singlet on. Section 8 has had some dramatic changes, and we will address them. The Pre-season rankings appear way off with wrestlers in the wrong weights, but that’s a story for another day.
The biggest surprise may be that Howie Greenblatt is retired. Have there been any sightings? With a new coach in place in Rob Paletta can the McArthur Generals take their place back at the top? How about not seeing the old familiar faces of Paul Liguori, John Greisheimer, Troy Sterling, Matt Eberline, Mike Walker, Andre Berry, Josh Maddock, Robert Grabher, Danny LoFrese to name a few … Who is going to step up? Can Section 8 make its mark in Albany? Let’s see what the Magic 8 ball says.
Let’s start off with the Wantagh Warriors. Can they repeat as Dual Meet Champions? That’s a good question. The team brings back a good cast of place winners from last year and most of the team has been competing and wrestling all year long. Joe Barbato, 6th NYS returns this year at 103 pounds. This is a strong spot for him and he should do well. The Warriors have Vincent Turano, 112 lbs followed by Danny McDevitt at 119 lbs. McDevitt was one spot away from making All County in 2009 as well as Kenny Albert who fell one match short. Additionally, the team brings back Paul Friscia who spent his summer drilling and practicing. County Champion, Nick Fitzmaurice rumored to be going anywhere from 140 to 171 lbs is back along with Joe Kavanagh, All American at the Soph. Nationals and one match away from placing at the states. After a summer abroad wrestling with the Russian National Team things look bright for Wantagh at this weight. Other key members include Matt Loew, 189, 2nd in NYS, High School All American, Thomas Hall, 2nd in Section 8, Chris Araoz, Anthony Bartilucci, James Corbett, Matt Kaufmann, Mike Sanchez and Patrick Connolly. With a monster schedule can Coach Jimmy Murphy and Paul Gillespie make it a repeat ?
Pressure??? The MacArthur Generals don’t have any. Coach Paletta inherits Thomas Manning, 103 lbs or 112 lbs, Chris Perez, 112 pounds, Mike Palermo, 125 lbs, Frank Mederios, 140 lbs, Tyler Dunne, 152 lbs and Joe Giametta, 189 lbs. The team is deep and has been working hard. The question is can they hold off Massapequa and Long Beach. The team has not finished below second for a long time.
The Massapequa Chiefs bring back a talented and hard working team. Rudy Lanzilotta will be going 119 lbs followed by James Ondris, 152 or 160 lbs, Patrick Morgan, 152 lbs and Connor Wetzel, returning All County place winner, AA in Fargo at 189 lbs. This team is on the radar and dangerous. Coach Catalanotto is doing a great job.
The Long Beach Marines under the direction of Ray Adams might be able to move up and challenge for a championship. The team returns the following grapplers: Mark Rahunandan, 96 lbs competed in Fargo, Edison Tigre, 119 lbs, Adam D’Auguste, 140 lbs, Nick Khoury, 145 lbs, Dylan Palacio, 130 or 135 lbs returning County Champion and AA in Fargo, Dequan Simmons, 171 lbs, Vincent Hall, 189 lbs or 215 lbs and Oliver Astone, 285 lbs.
Another team that will surprise the county is Syossett High School. The Braves are led by two time State Champion, Nick Arujau who will be going 125 lbs and can become part of a select group from section 8 as well as the state if he wins a third championship. Syosset will be helped this year by the addition of 215 pounder, Steve Graziano. Graziano has had a strong off season after returning form a thumb injury last year and will be a strong candidate to win a championship this year after wrestling off season with Vougar’s Russian School of Wrestling. Graziano has placed at numerous tournaments during the off season. Other wrestlers include Eric Faimon, 103 lbs, Brandon Guastafeste 152 lbs and Guy Macchia, 171 lbs.
After the top five teams it will be a battle to see where the rest of the teams will be. Uniondale always a strong team under Coach Godoy return Marvin Amazan, 119 lbs, Dante Epps, 135 lbs, Tony Montepouris, 140 lbs, Andre Davidson, 152, Naguan Miller, 171 lbs, and Anthony Sylvester 215 lbs.
The Seaford Vikings appears to have gotten stronger. The team has A.J. Muller, 103 lbs, Will Montogomery, 112 lbs or 119 lbs, Anthony LoCast, 119lbs or 125 lbs, Kevin Goldstein, 160 lbs and Nick Napoli, 189 lbs.
Another team trying to make the dance could be Calhoun High School. The team has added Anthony Abidin, 112 lbs who transferred in from Half Hollow Hills East in Suffolk County. They also have Joe Chiaffittella, 140 lbs, Mac Maldarelli, 145 / 152 lbs, Sam Gorinsky, 160 lbs who has attended a lot of the off season workouts and Carlos Navas, 17 lbs or 189 lbs.
Garden City will be returning Danny Jones who could be a factor at 96 lbs, Jack Reiner, 96 lbs, Michael LoFrese 119 lbs, Max Schmeizinger, returning All County, 130 or 135 lbs and Connor Horl, 215 lbs or 285 lbs. A very interesting question will be if Horl can defend his title after not wrestling in the off season and leading the Trojans to a undefeated Football season ?
The Farmingdale Dalers are a team that has some very good wrestlers. Luke Alber, Farmingdale, 119 lbs, had a very strong off season and wrestled in Fargo just missed making the All American round. Alber was just shy of pulling off a dramatic win in the semi finals. During the off season, Alber defeated several top All State wrestlers. This might be his year. He is joined by his teammate, Vincent Andriotti a threat at 130 lbs. and Heavyweight, John Tenney.
At 285 pounds David Agu, Freeport, HS should be helped by the addition of Coach Izzy Medina who left Wantagh to go back to his former high school. Agus should clash with Yaseen Madassar, Division HS who recently defeated the number one wrestler from Suffolk, John Wilkinson at 285 lbs at the Strong Island Tournament.
Other wrestlers that will make noise are: Nick Fera, Manhasset, 152 lbs, Jermaine John Bethpage, 160 lbs, Mike Leonard, Clarke, Daniel Cataldi, GN South, Juan Carlos Diaz, Division, Johnny Pelegrino ( wrestled in Fargo, 3 sport athlete ), HS 130 lbs, Dean Shmuely, North Shore, 130 lbs ( wrestled a lot in the off season )
The first big match of the season will be held on December 18, 2009 at Wantagh High School when the Warriors will do battle with Massapequa, MacArthur and Plainedge. This should be a standing room only crowd.