2nd Annual Diano Awards

Hey All,

It’s been a while since I last had the chance to sit at the old laptop and pound out an article for my loyal readers. Therefore, with graduate school set to resume next Tuesday, I knew that it might be long and far between before I had the opportunity to write. Hence, I decided that if I was going to fully commit to writing a piece, I might as well go big by bringing back the Annual Diano Awards. From what I recall, it was one of my more popular pieces from the 2009 season. Thus, I know that I need to give it my all if I am to match the warm responses that I received last year. I shall do my best. Continue reading “2nd Annual Diano Awards”

All I Want for Christmas: Wrestling Related Gifts

Hey everyone…It’s been a while since I had the opportunity to sit down and write one of these Matt’s Corner journal entries. However, now that my first semester of graduate school has officially been wrapped up (my last official class was thus past Monday, but all assignments had to be submitted by the previous Wednesday), today seemed as good a day as any to get back into the habit of sharing my personal thoughts, opinions, and suggestions about the sport that I love….With Christmas only a few days away (hopefully all of you were a lot smarter than me and did not wait until the 24th to begin your holiday shopping), it seemed appropriate that I dedicate this column to throwing out a few last minute ideas for the wrestling aficionado in your family….To my friends of the Jewish faith, I am sorry that I missed the Festival of Lights.  Had my research papers not conflicted, I certainly would have made the attempt to publish this article earlier. But alas, if any of you are looking for belated Hanukkah presents, this list might be of some assistance….In fact, several of the items that I will include are ones that came directly from the letter that I mailed to Santa this year (yes, I am just a big 27-year-old kid who still sends St. Nick a letter every year). I sincerely hope that all of you find these suggestions useful…Happiest of Holidays to all of you and your loved ones !!! Continue reading “All I Want for Christmas: Wrestling Related Gifts”

1st Annual Diano Awards

Hi Everyone.

After a much lengthier absence than anticipated I am back to officially put a cap on what proved to be a great 2008-2009 season by awarding the first set of what I hope will be a long tradition of Diano Awards….Awards will be given in the following categories: Long Island Scholastic Wrestler of the Year, Long Island Collegiate Wrestler of the Year, NYS Scholastic Wrestler of the Year, NYS Collegiate Wrestler of the Year, National Scholastic Wrestler of the Year, National Collegiate Wrestler of the Year, Long Island Collegiate Rookie of the Year, and National Collegiate Rookie of the Year.

As a friendly note, I ask that anyone who reads this remember that these awards are just for fun, are in no way intended to slight or diminish the accomplishments of non-winners, and are simply the opinion of myself….LHW and other staff members were not consulted and therefore are not to be held responsible for anything that is stated in the remainder of this column.  Continue reading “1st Annual Diano Awards”

This Week in Wrestling: National Tournament Edition

Hi Everyone.

I am back after taking a few weeks off to get some personal ducks in a row (mostly graduate school and family obligations). Anyhow, with the start of the 2009 NCAA DI National Wrestling tournament less than four hours away, I thought that now was as good a time as any to sit down and put to paper my feelings on how I foresee the next three days of non-stop, exhilarating, wrestling action going. Normally, I would do an official preview for an event of such significance and magnitude. However, out of respect for those of you who were subjected to my 3,000 word rant on the state of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), I felt that perhaps it would best to keep this entry nice and casual. In other words, I am fully aware of the fake that with March Madness kicked into high gear, you might prefer the simple, “in and out” approach. Hence, in place of all of the flowery descriptions, endless rhethoric, and whatnot, I will supply only the meat and potatoes. For each weight class, I will list all of the odds on favs, recognize any sleepers in the field, as well as make my predictions on the 10 individual titlists….Sit back and enjoy !!! Continue reading “This Week in Wrestling: National Tournament Edition”

This Week In Wrestling #15: 02/23-03/01

Hi Everyone.

Sorry, no cool foreign language greetings this week.  I am sick in bed, so the enthusiasm to be quirky simply is not there today.  I will return next week after the NYS tournament with a little “language 101” for you all.  I know the silly greetings are not the reason that you read this column.  However, anytime I can interject a little bit of flavor into my column, I try to do it. 

I hope that all of you glued to your computers last week for the Section VIII finals enjoyed my and Bill’s live text coverage.  We each have our own distinct style of coverage.  However, I’ve always felt that we each do a fantastic job in keeping everyone at home updated as to what is going on at the arena.  My sincerest apologies to Wade Schalles.  Last week, when doing the updates for the 119 finals match (won by Long Beach’s Dylan Palacio), I referred to the move he used to gain the fall as a chalice.  Honestly, I do not know if I had Sunday Mass on my mind or if it was a mere brain cramp.  While I admit to the lack of a strong technical knowledge of wrestling (having never wrestled,  I am still learning the proper names for all of the moves), I do know Mr. Schalles and am quite familiar with the move.  Hence, I own up to my moment of stupidity.  Hopefully, this damn cold that I am currently battling will show decent enough improvement tomorrow, thus enabling me to accompany the rest of the LHW team up to Albany.  This way, I will be afforded the opportunity to do live updates of the tournament and make amends for last weekend’s error….Should I be a scratch for the NYS tournament, rest assured that guys like Bill and company will be right there to step in for me and make sure that those of you unable to attend will remain in the know.  Continue reading “This Week In Wrestling #15: 02/23-03/01”

This Week in Wrestling #14: 02/16-02/22

Hola Everyone.

It’s been an interesting week for LHW.  As you may have already noticed, Cornell Coach, Rob Koll, has decided to contribute to the content published on the site.  Unbeknownst to us, Coach Koll has been a big fan of ours for a long time and was very receptive when approached about getting involved.  He does however think that everyone on Long Island is crazy (joking, of course) and has already asked me on several occasions if I’d like to relocate to Ithaca…LOL. 

In addition, we got our response from Nassau County regarding our request to broadcast the finals of the DI tournament.  Again, as you probably already know, this decision did not quite go in our favor.  However, because I admittedly have little or nothing to do with this aspect of the website (I am a much better writer than I am a negotiator), I will not sit here and pretend to know why the request was denied.  I assume the people in power had their reasons, and I will respect those reasons.  I do feel bad for the young men though.  I believe it would have been a nice treat for them to have their moment in the sun broadcast across the entire nation.  In a time where so many brothers, sisters, fathers, uncles, friends, etc remain over seas, I rejoice in knowing that the Lighthouse broadcasts may be making it possible for a soldier to see a loved one compete.  I know that if I was in that position, I would be overjoyed to know that such an option was available to me.  Continue reading “This Week in Wrestling #14: 02/16-02/22”

This Week in Wrestling #13: 02/09-02/15

Guten Abend Everyone.

Postseason is finally here, and is already off to a great start with last weekend’s Suffolk League finals, as well as the Nassau/Suffolk, NYC, and Buffalo CHSAA League tournaments.  If the intensity shown last week is any indication, the next few weeks of wrestling are sure to be action packed and full of excitement.  As wrestling fans, what more could we ask for?

While I love doing what I do, writing this weekly column, as well as contributing in any other way feasible, I must say that the last few days, I’ve found myself a little pressed for time.  A lot of you who know me in a personal capacity away from this and the LIWA board are aware that I am in the process of beginning my applications to graduate school.  Therefore, if any readers are proud alumns of either NYU or Fordham, and want to help a brother out, I am currently in the hunt for letters of recommendation. 

In addition to taking care of those academic responsibilities, I am also trying to find time to write match previews for HU’s duals against Edinboro (Saturday) and Buffalo (Sunday).  Since I will be leaving for Buffalo on Saturday morning, the plan right now (and it often changes depending on whether or not my mother needs a helping hand watching my niece and nephew), is to write the Edinboro preview tomorrow morning (which will require me to get my lazy butt up by around 7am; very unique to me nowadays), and then spend my Saturday night in a room at the Holiday Inn pounding away at the keys in an attempt to get the Buffalo preview completed sometime prior to the start of Sunday’s festivities.   Lucky for me, all hotel rooms now come equipped with wireless access.  Hence, unless I get taken in by a really good movie on HBO, finishing the article should not be much of a problem.  Continue reading “This Week in Wrestling #13: 02/09-02/15”

This Week in Wrestling #12: 02/02-02/08

Buona Sera Everyone.

The calendar has officially  hit February, which means that my favorite part of the wrestling season, the postseason, is imminent… Every year, at all of the tournaments that I attend regularly, I am amazed at all of the upsets, clutch performances, and/or amazing comebacks that I am privileged enough to be witness to.  Now, while it is true that the aforementioned do happen during the regular season as well, to me, it just seems like they occur on a much more frequent basis when all of the marbles are on the line.  Perhaps, because the stakes are so high, I take more notice of the extraordinary. 

Unlike previous seasons when I was pretty much a lock to attend the CAA tournament, the Catholic League tournament, as well as the Catholic State tournament (with the ocassional NYS or NCAA Tournament thrown in every few years), 2009 may prove to be least active year for me in quite some time.  Because of scheduling conflict between the HU/Cornell dual and the Catholic League tournment, one of my annual events will be a no go this year.  In addition, because of the recession and the fact that I am still actively pursuing a change of careers (while also getting the ball rolling on my graduate school applications—Fordham, NYU, and CW Post are atop the list in case anyone was curious—neither the money nor the time may be available to travel to Norfolk, VA for the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.  This disapoints me because attending the CAA tournament has been something that I have always done with my dad.  We don’t fish or play golf, we travel once a year to the city that is hosting and have a good time for those two or three days….Strike 2 !!!  Fortunately, unless something changes between now and a week from Saturday, my arrangements to attend the Catholic State tournament seem rather secure.   And, if there was ever a year that I wanted to make sure that I was at Cath. States, it is this one.   Whether it be Sampson/Monaghan (125), Pappas/Hartnett (140), Villaret/Randazzo (152), Fowler/Harper (215), etc. there are some real hotly contested battles this season that I would hate to misss.  Plus, by attending CHSAA States, I, at the very least, avoid getting shutout for the year.  Continue reading “This Week in Wrestling #12: 02/02-02/08”

This Week in Wrestling #11: 01/26-02/01

 Konnichiwa Everyone.

Before I get started, I admit that “hello” (or more accurately, “good afternoon”) is the only word in japanese that I know.  I took latin in high school and espanol in college…and pretty much stunk at both despite getting an A in each (big assist to Fr. Garrettt and Prof. Billy Thompson).  However, the normal greeting for this journal was getting a little bit on the stale side.  Hence, the reason for the  switch up.  Next week, I’ll probably do the intro in german, italian, or possibly farsi (if I can find a translation on yahoo).   Anyhow, this is not “This Week in Language Lab.”  Therefore, I’ll shut up and start talking about wrestling.  The HU/Ohio State dual seems like as good a place as any to begin.  Sit back and enjoy !!!

Even in defeat, I’d be lying if  did not say that Sunday’s effort against Ohio State was by far one of the proudest I have ever been of my alma mater’s wrestling team.  In fact, following the 19-13 loss, I immediately added the match to the list of my top-10 all-time Hofstra moments.  It trails only (in particular order) the win over #2 Lehigh a few years ago, watching my friend pitch the HU softball team to the CAA title our freshmen year, my commencement (although, the keynote speaker was horrible), and perhaps meeting Taryne Mowatt (ESPY Award Winning Pitcher for the University of Arizona)  at the 2008 NCAA Softball Hempstread Regional.  God, she is damn hot !!!

Continue reading “This Week in Wrestling #11: 01/26-02/01”

This Week in Wrestling #10: 01/19-01/25

Sorry it took me so long to get this week’s column out. The past few days have been on the crazy side. My older brother finally got his heat back after three days of freezing, and then the very next day, his electricity goes out. Therefore, I’ve been babysitting for my nephew a lot this week. Plus, the dreaded cold that I had around the time of the Long Island Challenge, has reemerged. Hence, as I sit down to write this journal entry, I need to stop every five minutes or so to attend to health matters. However, to borrow from a few cliche phrases, the show must go on, and it’s better late than never.

Hello again everyone.

Sorry it took me so long to get this week’s column out.  The past few days have been on the crazy side.  My older brother finally got his heat back after three days of freezing, and then the very next day, his electricity goes out.  Therefore, I’ve been babysitting for my nephew a lot this week.  Plus, the dreaded cold that I had around the time of the Long Island Challenge, has reemerged.  Hence, as I sit down to write this journal entry, I need to stop every five minutes or so to attend to health matters.  However, to borrow from a few cliche phrases, the show must go on, and it’s better late than never.  So here goes:

Continue reading “This Week in Wrestling #10: 01/19-01/25”

This Week in Wrestling #9: 01/13-01/18

Before I get too deep into my journal entry for the week, I wanted to let you all know that this column will be undergoing a bit of change. Instead of releasing all four parts in a single shot, we at LHW have decided that it will be better if we unveil each piece of the weekly blog, day-by-day for three consecutive days. That way, none of you will get burned out or lose interest by the time you reach page three. Heck, if I had to do what I was asking all of you to do, I think I’d be completely bored out of my mind by the half way mark too. My apologies for that. Hopefully, you will find the new format to be more pleasing and enjoyable to read.

  Hello again everyone.   

Before I get too deep into my journal entry for the week, I wanted to let you all know that this column will be undergoing a bit of change.  Instead of releasing all four parts in a single shot, we at LHW have decided that it will be better if we unveil each piece of the weekly blog, day-by-day for three consecutive days.  That way, none of you will get burned out or lose interest by the time you reach page three.  Heck, if I had to do what I was asking all of you to do, I think I’d be completely bored out of my mind by the half way mark too.  My apologies for that.  Hopefully, you will find the new format to be more pleasing and enjoyable to read. 

The way we will go about releasing each segment is like this: On either Monday or Tuesday, I will publish my journal entry for the week, along with the “Wrestling Recap”.  The following day, the Diano Top-10 will be unveiled.  Then, on the third and final day, I’ll put on my swammy hat and make my predictions for the week.  Continue reading “This Week in Wrestling #9: 01/13-01/18”

This Week in Wrestling #8….01/05-01/11

Happy 2009 All !!!

I hope everyone enjoyed a very safe and joyous New Year. I spent a solid portion of mine trying to recharge the old battery following an extremely busy week of wrestling action….As promised, I made it a priority to get my chubby butt to MacArthur to watch the Long Island Challenge, a decision that in hindsight, I am extremely pleased that I made. While the much anticipated dual between Glenn and Brentwood did not quite live up to expectations (albeit, to me it seemed closer than the final scored would indicate), the overall quality of the day was superb. Continue reading “This Week in Wrestling #8….01/05-01/11”

This Week in Wrestling #7….12/29-01/04

Good Morning everyone!!! I hope that you had a very blessed and joyous holiday. I spent a good portion of mine in pjs trying to kick the cold/cough bug, a battle that I continue to lose as I sit down to write this week’s column. However, it’s going to take much for than just a little tickle in my throat to keep me from attending this year’s Long Island Challenge, starting tomorrow (Tues. December 30th) at 10a.m. on the campus of General Douglas MacArthur High School in Levittown. If you are off from high school, college, and/or the regular 9-5er, be sure to get yourself into the ole car and make he trip to L’Town to see a full day of fantastic wrestling featuring some of the Island’s (and with the inclusion of Monsignor Farrell, the city’s) finest talent.

Good Morning everyone!!!  I hope that you had a very blessed and joyous holiday.  I spent a good portion of mine in pjs trying to kick the cold/cough bug, a battle that I continue to lose as I sit down to write this week’s column.  However, it’s going to take much for than just a little tickle in my throat to keep me from attending this year’s Long Island Challenge, starting tomorrow (Tues. December 30th) at 10a.m. on the campus of General Douglas MacArthur High School in Levittown.  If you are off from high school, college, and/or the regular 9-5er, be sure to get yourself into the ole car and make he trip to L’Town to see a full day of fantastic wrestling featuring some of the Island’s (and with the inclusion of Monsignor Farrell, the city’s) finest talent.  

Not too much happened last week on the college scene.  Therefore, the week in review portion of this article will in all liklihood be rather on the short side this week.  For the most part, the bulk of this week’s effort will focus on making predictions on the Southern Scuffle, Midlands, as well as the aforementioned LI Challenge.  Predictions on the tournaments will be using the pre-seeds released by the host schools.  Therefore, matchups are subject to change…Since the majority of my top-10 wrestlers at each respective weight class were not in action over the course of the past week, I won’t bother trying to pass off the rankings as “new”,  Instead, I will take the week off from that duty and come back with a fresh set of rankings at the conclusion of this heavy competition week.  Continue reading “This Week in Wrestling #7….12/29-01/04”

This Week in Wrestling #6….12/22-12/28

Happy Holidays everyone !!!  I hope that all of you have been a lot smarter than me and have managed to finish all of your shopping.  I am about 97 percent complete.  However, I still need to buy a gift for my father.  While I know what I am going to pick up, I am in no way looking forward to having to wait on the infinitely long checkout lines. 

This past week of wrestling was one of the best thus far in the still young season.  While I was never able to actually make it to the MacArthur gym to watch the much anticipated dual, I did follow the action attentively on the LHW live blog. Much thanks to Bill Miller for giving so freely of his time so that all of us unable to attend could still enjoy the festivities…On Thursday, I spent the time between 6pm-10pm clued to my laptop so listening to the semifinals and finals of the Reno Tournament of Champions.  While the overall quality of the tournament was somewhat tarnished by the decision of Boise State to send mostly backups (it certainly compromised my predictions), I still enjoyed having the opportunity to listen as wrestlers that I admire, such as Anthony Robles (Arizona State-125), and Gregor Gillespie (Edinboro-157) busted their butts in claiming titles in their respective weight classes.  Anthony’s title meant the most to me for personal reasons… Continue reading “This Week in Wrestling #6….12/22-12/28”

This Week in Wrestling #5….12/15-12/21

Happy Monday everyone,

I am back with another edition of the column I know you all love (LOL). As you can see, I have decided to change the title a little bit. While I will continue to base a large portion of this weekly blog towards the the collegiate scene (it is after all my specialty; Plus Irlo and Bill already do a great job handling the what’s what in high-school wrestling), I figured that after last week where I spent almost no time talking about college wrestling, it would be wise to remove “college” from the title so as to free myself up to deviate whenever I feel it is warranted.

Happy Monday everyone,

I am back with another edition of the column I know you all love (LOL).  As you can see, I have decided to change the title a little bit.  While I will continue to base a large portion of this weekly blog towards the the collegiate scene (it is after all my specialty; Plus Irlo and Bill already do a great job handling the what’s what in high-school wrestling), I figured that after last week where I spent almost no time talking about college wrestling, it would be wise to remove “college” from the title so as to free myself up to deviate whenever I feel it is warranted. 

With the holidays rapidly approaching, I, like the majority of you all, am completely swamped with last minutes shopping.  Perhaps one of these days, I will learn that he who procrastinates, never wins in the end.  However, despite the last minute runarounds that I have planned, I’ve already decided that regardless of what it requires, I will find time on my calendar to follow four events this week that have me excited. Continue reading “This Week in Wrestling #5….12/15-12/21”

This Week in College Wrestling #4….12/08-12/14

I am back with the fourth installment of “This Week in College Wrestling”. I must admit, the time I spend sitting down and writing this column is among the best moments of my week.

As promised, Matt’s official top-10 rankings at each weight class will debut this week. More than likely, what I will do, is sandwich the rankings in between the “weekly recap” and “featured dual” sections…That way, all of your Mattism will be contained in a single post. This is the first time I’ve ever attempted to do rankings (for any level) in my life. Therefore, if they stink, do not hesitate to offer feedback and/or suggestions as to who you want to see moved up or down.

Hey all,

I am back with the fourth installment of “This Week in College Wrestling”. I must admit, the time I spend sitting down and writing this column is among the best moments of my week.

As promised, Matt’s official top-10 rankings at each weight class will debut this week. More than likely, what I will do, is sandwich the rankings in between the “weekly recap” and “featured dual” sections…That way, all of your Mattisms will be contained in a single post. This is the first time I’ve ever attempted to do rankings (for any level) in my life. Therefore, if they stink, do not hesitate to offer feedback and/or suggestions regarding who you want to see moved up or down.

Continue reading “This Week in College Wrestling #4….12/08-12/14”

This Week in College Wrestling #3….12/01-12/07

Hola mi amigos.

With Hofstra on a break until their December 12th dual against Binghamton, I didn’t have much in the way of wrestling related entertainment this week. I did however spend a large portion of Saturday glued to the internet, trying to find updated results for the Mat Town Classic on the campus of Lock Haven University….I am happy to report that overall, the select members of the Pride team that choose to compete did represent HU well. Winning the title at 184 was true freshman, Ben Clymer. Steve Bonanno turned in another steady performance, claiming the bronze medal at 125. The only loss that the true frosh from Wantagh suffered was a 9-4 decision to 2007 NCAA Champion, Paul Donahoe, who is sitting out the first semester following a transfer from Nebraska to Edinboro….The one sour note for Hofstra at the Mat Town was Jordan Enck, who continues to be plagued by being an undersized heavyweight. The Manheim, PA native went 0-2 at the event.

Unfortunately, there are no rankings yet. I had hoped to incorporate them into this week’s edition of the column. However, because I am in the midst of working on an online interview with former US Olympic Gold Medalist, Jeff Blatnick, for another website, my time was somewhat limited. Following the conclusion of the Blatnick piece, I will be putting together a CHSAA preview for Lighthouse. But, if all goes well, I should have amble opportunity to release my first set of rankings this time next week….Your patience is as always, greatly appreciated.

Continue reading “This Week in College Wrestling #3….12/01-12/07”

This Week in College Wrestling #2….11/24-11/30

Hey people,

The Hofstra loss to Missouri on Saturday left me in a rather melancholic mood for the majority of the weekend.  In watching the replay of the dual on Missouri All-Access (which I better remember to cancel before next month), I could not help but feel that the Pride were so close to victory only to let the opportunity slip throught their fingers.  On top of that, it goes without saying that yesterday’s performance at the Missouri Open left me less than satisfied.   Put simply, too many runners-up, not enough champions.  I am also not too crazy about beating an opponent one day, then losing to them the next.  I saw too much of that in 2007/2008.

That rant having been concluded, I am in much better spirits today because in about five hours, the college season officially kicks itself into the next gear with the annual N.W.C.A All-Star classic.  While the past few weeks have witnessed quite a few of the #1 and #2 wrestlers in the nation pulling out for various reasons, the 20 wrestlers that will be competing tonight are top shelf all of the way and should put on one hell of a show for the adoring fans gathered at the St. John Arena on the campus of The Ohio State University.   In the predictions section of this article, I will make known who I’ll be rooting for when the festivties kick off at 7pm EST. 

In addition to the “week in review” and “top duals” segments of this column, in future editions, I hope to also be able to incorporate some Division I rankings into the mix.   Rankings can often times be very time consuming.  Therefore, I don’t want to make any promises.  However, if all goes well with my personal/professional life and I find that I still have sufficient time to do fair and impartial rankings, I’d love to be able to bring that to you, my faithful viewing audience. 

Continue reading “This Week in College Wrestling #2….11/24-11/30”

This Week in College Wrestling #1….11/17-11/23

After spending the past 48 hours celebrating Hofstra’s 18-15 victory over the #7 Penn State Nittany Lions, I felt the need to do some writing. Since I have not done any significant reading in the past few weeks, I promise, this blog will not be a book report. However, there will be more of those as soon as I find a piece of wrestling literature that meets my golden standard.

Hello again everyone.

After spending the past 48 hours celebrating Hofstra’s 18-15 victory over the #7 Penn State Nittany Lions, I felt the need to do some writing. Since I have not done any significant reading in the past few weeks, I promise, this blog will not be a book report. However, there will be more of those as soon as I find a piece of wrestling literature that meets my golden standard.

Instead, I wanted to introduce you to another of the feature series that I intend to work out throughout the course of the next year and beyond, “This Week in College Wrestling.” For the post part, what this weekly column will be in its most basic sense is a quick rundown of the key points from the previous week of wrestling, coupled with a breakdown of the best matches for the upcoming week. For the latter, I (the great analyst that I am, LOL) will make predictions on the outcomes of each individual bout, as well as the dual in whole. Following my not so impressive forecasting of the Hofstra/Upenn match, my confidence is not at its all time high. Therefore, if I nail 60 percent, lets call it a good week. Deal?

Continue reading “This Week in College Wrestling #1….11/17-11/23”

The Rich Get Richer: NLOI Day Expected to Favor Traditional Powerhouses

Hey everyone,

I had a few hours to kill before “House”, “Dancing With the Stars” (Yes, I watch that), and the Duke/Georgia Southern basketball game came on, so I thought I’d do a little writing to keep myself entertained.

It is approximately 6pm here in Levittown, which means that we are officially six hours away from the start of one of my favorite days of the year, National Letter of Intent day. For those of you who are not familiar with it, NLOI day is like an early Christmas for college coaches. It is the first day that an athlete is able to sign on the dotted line and formally commit to the college/university of their choice. No more verbals; tomorrow marks the beginning of the real deal.
Continue reading “The Rich Get Richer: NLOI Day Expected to Favor Traditional Powerhouses”

From On the Mat to A Book Review By Matt: “Wisdom From The Corner”

When I introduced this column, you may remember that I mentioned that I would be throwing in the occasional book review for your entertainment. Since Hofstra does not make their season debut until the weekend and the high school season is still approximately a month a way, I figured that today would be as good a day as any to present my first installment of “From On the Mat to A Book Review By Matt.” Yes, I do realize how long winded this title is. Therefore, in subsequent editions, I will refer to it simply as “FOTMTABRBM.” I am not a master of religions, but to me, my abbreviation looks like something you’d find in an untranslated version of the Tanak.

Hello again everyone.

When I introduced this column, you may remember that I mentioned that I would be throwing in the occasional book review for your entertainment. Since Hofstra does not make their season debut until the weekend and the high school season is still approximately a month a way, I figured that today would be as good a day as any to present my first installment of “From On the Mat to A Book Review By Matt.” Yes, I do realize how long winded this title is. Therefore, in subsequent editions, I will refer to it simply as “FOTMTABRBM.” I am not a master of religions, but to me, my abbreviation looks like something you’d find in an untranslated version of the Tanak.

I am sure at this point, everyone is wondering, Matt, why are you dropping references to Hebrew literature? The answer happens to be that religion, or more specifically, Christianity, is one of the core elements of my choice of books, Wisdom from the Cornerby Jose Campo.
.

If the Campo names sounds familiar to a lot of you, it should. Jose is the son of legendary NYS/Brentwood High School Wrestling Coach, Joe “the Gov” Campo. Like his father, Jose is a man who has dedicated his life toward developing and bettering the lives of so many through the utilization wrestling as his tool. Thousands of young boys have grown into successful men because they had Jose in their lives, inspiring them to seek a greater and more fulfilling lifestyle.

If you are looking for a wrestling book, there are many I’d be happy to recommend for you. However, if this is the case, then Wisdom from the Corner is not the book for you. This work of literature is not about wrestling, It’s about life–pressures, struggles, bad decisions, repentance, triumphs, etc…that encompass all of our lives at one time or another.

Part I of this work is a biographical accounting of Campo’s life. His story begins with him talking about how for as long as he can remember, all he ever wanted to do was follow in his father’s footsteps and make him proud. Unfortunately, having been born into a family where perfection was the only acceptable outcome, he spent the majority of his high school and college years feeling like he was a disappointment to his father. While Jose himself did enjoy a modicum of success, both on and off the mat, he was never able to match the resume of his older brother, Mike, a former Suffolk County Wrestling Champion. Whereas Mike was always the best at any activity that he undertook, Jose was the one who seemed to be the perennial runner-up. Hence, due in large part to the fact that he knew his father only valued winners, Jose was tormented by the believe that as an athlete, he would never be able to earn his father’s respect and admiration. Therefore, he set his sights on winning his father’s love the only other way he knew how, by enrolling at the United States Military Academy (West Point), an institution that his father held in such high regard that he served as a recruiter for the school during his time as a high school coach. Little did Jose know that entering ‘Army” would be a decision that would cause his life to fall deeper and deeper into shambles.

From the moment he stepped foot on the Military Academy campus, Jose hated it. To make matters worse, Mike, who Jose idolized as most little brothers do, was a senior at the academy and was permitted certain freedoms that “plebes” were not afforded. Therefore, with his only connection to happiness off on holiday leave, Jose, along with several of his schoolmates, began to dull his misery by indulging in heavy drinking and pot smoking. This was a lifestyle that would consume Jose well after he had been dismissed from West Point in 1976 following the most notorious cheating scandal in Academy history. It was a pattern of behavior that he took with him when he enrolled at Southern Connecticut State College, acting as a student coach, as well a habit he held onto after accepting a position on the Yale University coaching staff, and later the Head Coach position at Martin County High School in Florida.

It was only after moving to California at the urging of a friend, former Iowa State wrestler, Bob Antonacci, that Jose experienced a turning point in his life. While living with Bob and his wife, Campo discovered that he old pal had everything in life that he ever wanted. Thus, it became logical to ask the question, Bob, how have you enjoyed such good fortune? Antonacci’s response, “I just followed my Christian believes and let God do to me as he may.” It was this exchange that ultimately set Jose on his way toward towards welcoming the Lord into his life….The decision to do so, would end up making all of he difference in his life…It is Jose who now has been given everything he ever desired and more!!!

A high school teacher and coach (mostly in the state of California) for close to 30 years, Jose describes himself as having the perfect wife, as well as two lovely daughters. As a family, they live each day as messenger’s from God. They spread the good news and express the importance of living a Christian lifestyle. Jose continues to dedicate a significant portion of his time to acting as a representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. His mission is to introduce Christ into the lives of others so that they may enjoy the triumphs that he himself has and will ever enjoy.

In Part II, Coach Campo talks about the four keys to success. They are as follows:

-Dedication

-Education

-Affiliation

-Living a Good Lifestyle.

For each component, Campo provides the reader with a collection of tales from his own life which demonstrates the importance of each. In doing so, the reader is introduced to inspiring individuals such as Mike Champagne, a wrestler who through hard work overcome autism to become a state qualifier in his senior year of high school. Later, Chapagne would go on to enjoy a success career in the United State Marine Corps.

A few of the Other stories that I enjoyed included:

“Biting My Tongue” which talks about how Jose almost lost his tongue in a wrestling match because he refused to listen to his father/coach who repeatedly advised him not to compete with it sticking out of my his mouth. From this story, I learned the importance of giving my mentors/instructors the respect that they deserve. I know enough to know that I don’t know everything. Therefore, it is only in listening to the people who has gone before me that I will be able to capitalize on their experience/knowledge and maximize my level of success.

“Dad’s Heart attack At the State Meet” which is a recounting of when Joe Campo had a heart attack while visiting his son at the California State tournament. This story helped me to remember that while I may love wrestling and do tend to get caught up in it more often then I should, at the end of the day, there are more important things in this world than wrestling…Equally, it demonstrated just how passionate Joe Campo was about wrestling. Despite the ailment, the elder Campo refused much medical assistance so that he could make it back to the arena to watch the semi finals.

“Thifty Drugs”- This story talked about two seniors that Jose coached who did everything correct on the mat, but off the mat, behaved immaturely and set a poor example for their younger teammates. As a result, when it came time to compete at the county tournament, these two wrestlers failed to achieve their goals, while a pair of sophomores who did act accordingly, went on became state qualifiers—This tale was the perfection example of how in order to achieve, all areas of your life have to be in harmony and carried out with only positive intentions. In other words, what you do off the mat will without any doubt, impact your ability to perform well on it.

To close the book, Jose provides the readers with stories of how he has seen the Lord working in his life and he lives of those around him. A select few that resonated with me were:

In “A Return to West Point” Jose talks about how Christ gave him the strength to return to the scene of perhaps his greatest failure. By being afforded the opportunity to stand on those campus grounds, Jose says that he has been able to add a sense of closure to this dark period in his life. He knows that Christ has forgiven him. Now, he was able to say sorry to West Point for not being everything he promised to be. In addition, during his visit to the campus, Coach Campo was given the opportunity to preach to the cadets. In hearing his words, he is hopeful that the cadets will come to realize that even in struggle, they are never alone.

“Johnny Jones” addressed the believe that it does not matter if your opponent knows what you are going to do. As long as you place your faith in the Lord and lead the proper lifestyle, you will be blessed with success. Here, John Jones, an Iowa State wrestler, went to a warm up session a few days prior to the start of the NCAA championship and offered to show anyone who wanted to see it, his prized move. Jones had no problem sharing the move because he believed that the Lord would repay him for all of the loyalty he had shown…Jones finished as an NCAA finalist that year.

What I most enjoyed about this book, was the sense that it could be applied to anyone’s life. While Christianity may have been a central theme, I don’t think it was essential to be a Christian in order to absorb the lessons that Coach Campo is talking about. One does not need to follow a certain religion in order to lead a quality life. As long as they commit themselves to a goal, work hard to accomplish that goal, and remember to seek a higher power in times of defeat, you will be a success.

Overall grade: B+—Above I stated that being a Christian is not prerequisite for reading this book. I stand by those words. However, I must admit, that if I was not already a practicing Roman Catholic, at times this book would come across like too much of an attempt at converting me.

I much would have rather that Coach Campo let the life lessons speak for themselves without always bringing Christ into the equation. Other people (both earthly and beyond) can serve as one’s higher power. For example, to my grandfather, the spirit of my grandmother is the higher power; To a medical doctor, the higher power is the confidence that all of the years of diligent researching will enable them to heal…Put another way, the important thing is to have a higher power, not to have the same superior power as Mr. Campo.

(Not So) Super-32 For Empire State’s Top Grapplers

When the “Battle for the Belt” began at 8 a.m. on November 1st, 2008 from the Greensboro Coliseum, it was a day of hope for some of New York State’s finest wrestlers. It was going to be the day that several of them proved that they were for real. For others, it was going to be a coming out party. The event that introduced them to the nation.

When the “Battle for the Belt” began at 8 a.m. on November 1st, 2008 from the Greensboro Coliseum, it was a day of hope for some of New York State’s finest wrestlers. It was going to be the day that several of them proved that they were for real. For others, it was going to be a coming out party; the event that introduced them to the nation. The 15 hour span that was going to demonstrate once and for all that the Empire State belonged in the the conversation with perennial powerhouses such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey. Featuring a lineup that consisting of four returning State Champions, New York was primed to have a very special weekend….Unfortunately, the rest of the nation had different plans for the young men from New York.
Continue reading “(Not So) Super-32 For Empire State’s Top Grapplers”

NYS Champ Franco Commits to Wrestle For Pride

It is now being reported by InterMat that 2008 New York State Champion, Jamie Franco, gave a verbal commitment to Hofstra University over the weekend.

Franco, whose DI title last season came at 125 pounds when he defeated fellow junior Shawn Brown 2-0, becomes the second member of the class of 2009 to make Hempstead, NY his home for the next 4-5 years.  He joins Minnesota’s Luke Vaith who committed in early October.

The Monroe-Woodbury product has placed at the state tournament every year since 8th grade.  If he is successful in finishing top-6 again this year, which almost everyone expects him to do, he will join a very exclusive company of wrestlers who have earned all-state honors five times in their career.  Equally impressive is the fact that he has never suffered a loss at the NYS tournament to a wrestler who did not go on and win an eventual state crown.
Continue reading “NYS Champ Franco Commits to Wrestle For Pride”

UFC 90 Recap: Maynard Fights Like a Spartan; Alves Upsets Koscheck

Hey all,

I just got finished watching the latest pay per view fight card from the UFC. Since this particular card featured a pair of multiple time NCAA DI All-Americans, I figured I’d pop on here and provide some commentary….I preface all remarks by saying that I have no formal training in MMA and am just your typical 26-year-old wise guy…Hence, you need not agree with anything that follows.

The broadcast began with a lightweight (155lbs) contest between former UFC Champion, Sean Sherk and rising star, Tyson Griffin. Having seen both fighters compete several times during their time in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, I knew that both men were quite adept at getting takedowns and working ground and pound…Therefore, I sat back on my couch and prepared myself what I believed would be a 15 minute battle of who could amass the higher takedown count…You can imagine my surprise when a full out kick boxing match broke out.

While it is true that the “Muscle Shark” did finish a pair of nice takedown attempts in the opening round, it is safe to say that 80-85 percent of the fight took place on the feet with both men connecting on a nice array of punches and leg kicks.

Heading into the third round, I had the fight even on the scorecards, awarding Sherk the opening period and Griffin the middle stanza…Over the course of the next five minutes, I saw Sherk, who appeared to be the fresher fighter, utilize his reach advantage and connect on a higher number of attempted strikes…I did feel that Griffin may have been landing the more solid blows, but unfortunately his output had slowed slightly and he just did not seem to do enough to seize the fight.

In the end, i saw the fight as a 29-28 advantage for Sherk…Two of the official judges concurred with my assessment while the other scored all three rounds to Sherk. In reflecting on the fight, I must say that even in a losing effort, Griffin impressed the heck out of me. With a loss to Frankie Edgar on his record, I was sure the Xtreme Couture fighter, whose record fell to 12-2, would get completely controlled by his more experienced opponent…That simply did not happen….This was by far, my favorite fight of the night.

Next up on the card was the one fight that I knew all along was going to be utterly one-sided and probably not worth watching. Well, I am happy to report that I was correct in predicting a totally lopsided fight….I am equally embarrassed to say that I was dead wrong on the guy I thought would be the one doing the dominating.

I fell prey to putting too much stock in the opinions of the so called experts….All week, every article, forum post, prediction, etc all indicated the same outcome; Fabricio Werdum would take Junior Dos Santos down to the mat and then show everyone the top notch BJJ that helped him win the Abu Dahbi world title in past years….It’s a good thing that the heavy underdog, Dos Santos did not read all of the press clippings. Otherwise, he may never have had the confidence to go out there, throw one solid power punch and send the perceived title shot contender to the showers in only 1:21.

True story, I didn’t even see the actual knockout….I had run to the bathroom to grab a tissue (I hate it when head colds get into the house; I can never avoid catching them), and by the time I got back, Werdum was flat on his back.

Following upset number uno of the night, I got to see the first of the the highly regarded former DI wrestlers, Gray Maynard. For those of you not familiar with Maynard, he was a three-time All-American under Tom Minkel at Michigan State. finishing 8th in 2001, and 7th in 2002 and 2003 (all at 157 pounds)….Before his participation in season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter (Wednesdays 10pm on SpikeTV), the last time I’d seen Maynard was when he beat a very young Mike Patrovich during a dual at Hofstra Arena (now the Mack Sports Complex) between the Pride and the Spartans….If you are experiencing a senior moment, let me jog your memory with three simple words, “Flynn beats Simmons.”…But enough about the past.

Pitted against nine year MMA veteran, Rich Clementi, who entered the bout on a six fight winning streak, the former Spartan great showcased his superior takedown skills and emerged with a workman like, if not somewhat dull, victory….Now normally I am among the first people to dismiss the drunk fans in the crowd who boo anytime the fight goes to the ground. However, in this particular case, I think they had every right to vocally express their disappointment. In the simplest of terms, this fight can be described as such—Maynard with a takedown 1:00 into the period; Clementi with a failed sweep attempt; Maynard unable to pass guard….ding ding ding, round over (X 2).

All three judges scored the fight 30-27 in favor of Gray Maynard.

I take pride in never being negative, so allow me to conclude my sentiments on this bout by saying that despite the less than exciting performance, I am very high on Maynard as a fighter. His victory over Frankie Edgar a few months ago really opened my eyes and made a fan out of me. While he still may be a little raw in terms of his versatility, I truly am of the opinion that given a few more years of training with Randy Couture, “the bully” could be a viable contender for the lightweight belt….Or, in other words, he won’t be another Ed Herman who name drops Randy, but then proceeds to lose the majority of his fights in the UFC.

After grabbing a carbonated beverage to keep my lazy butt awake, I settled back into my nice warm spot on the sofa and prepared to watch wrestler extraordinaire #2, Josh Koscheck (who unbeknownst to me is regarded as the “bad boy’ of the 171-pound division) take another step towards earning himself a rematch with GSP, by dismantling Thiago Alves. And, in a perfect world, that is precisely what I would have liked to have seen….Unfortunately, we don’t live in fantasy land (or Candy land for that matter).

Instead, I was afforded the opportunity to watch a 50 inch, high definition version of the Alves coming out party….For 15 minutes, I watched as the Brazilian born fighter continually landed leg kick after leg kick, as well as the occasional shot to the head in assembling what I deemed to be an equally, if not more dominating victory over Koscheck than the one earned by St. Pierre in August of last year.

The official scorers at cageside saw it 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28 in favor of the underdog, Alves.

Perhaps the most surprising part of this fight was the fact that the former four-time All-American (National Champion in 2001 @ 174 pounds) for Edinboro University was never able to successfully maneuver his opponent to the ground….This is a rarity to see in any fight involving the AKA trained fighter.

Finally, we turn our attention to the main event of the evening, Anderson Silva vs. Patrick Cote….Before getting into the particulars of the fight, allow me to admit that I fully expected this fight to end within 30 seconds of the bell ringing; My logic, as naive as it may be, was that anyone who has a loss to Chris Leben is not going to put up much of a fight against the consensus (I know a lot of people will argue in favor of Fedor) #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world….That having been said, I learned two things tonight—One, I am a jackass for using a fight from three years ago to support my conclusion; two, if I am ever in a position to name the new age Don Cornelius, I am looking no further than “the Spider.”

For two rounds, Anderson Silva did some of the best dancing I’ve seen in a long time. And the ironic thing is that I am fairly certain he did it by choice. It sure seemed to me that whenever the champ wanted to land a knee, kick, or punch, he could do it without little hesitation.

As far as the fight itself, not much can be said. Plus, at 3:07 in the morning, my brain is telling me to shut the hell up and get some sleep before going to the Strong Island Tournament in six hours.

Therefore, I’ll summarize it like this: Cote becomes the first fighter in the UFC to last two rounds with SIlva; Cote suffers a fluke injury to his knee; Both fighters spend the next 24 hours of their lives apologizing.

Non-Televised Fights

-Local boy, Pete Sell (Serra BJJ Black Belt) wins a unanimous decision over Josh Burkman

Hermes Franca wins by unanimous decision over Marcus Aurelio

Dan Miller with the unanimous decision victory against Matt Horwich

Spencer Fisher wins submission of the night, finishing a triangle choke in the final period to get the “w” over Shannon Gugerty

Thales Leites improves his career record to 14-1 with a tapout by RNC against Drew McFedries

Okie Hokie….Pair of Top-100 Recruits Spurn Pride

On October 13th, I contacted an inside source within the Hofstra University Wrestling program to congratulate him on getting a verbal commitment from three-time Minnesota AAA State place-winner, Luke Vaith.

On October 13th, I contacted an inside source within the Hofstra University Wrestling program to congratulate him on getting a verbal commitment from three-time Minnesota AAA State place-winner, Luke Vaith.

The commitment of Vaith, a 2008 State Runner-up who also brings with him a resume that includes three All-American finishes in the international styles at the cadet and junior levels, was said to be the precursor; The first of what was shaping up to be a very promising recruiting class; An indication that the Pride were well on their way towards maintaining the stranglehold they have enjoyed in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) for the past seven seasons; An answer to Old Dominion Coach, Steve Martin, who had already secured verbals from the #44 and #53 recruits in the nation…Vaith was the beginning, but certainly not the end.

Two more elite recruits were believed to be on their way…As late as last week, each had informed the HU coaching staff that the Hempstead based campus remained their top choice. The verbals were coming “any day now”….And then, one week later, it all fell apart. There would be no blue and gold in the futures of Erik Spjut and Jake Kemerer. Both had elected to go in different directions. On October 20th, the former pledged his allegiance to Virginia Tech and Coach Kevin Dresser. Just yesterday, the latter announced that he is Norman, Oklahoma bound to wrestle for Jack Spates’ Sooners.

Spjut, the #66 recruit out of the Lone Star State is a two-time State Champion (2007-119; 2008-125) who took third as freshman, losing only to Tennessee-Chattanooga recruit in the Jeremy Sandoval 2-0 in their 112-pound quarterfinal bout. In 2006, the product from Conroe the Woodlands also displayed a knack for the international styles, finishing 7th @112 pounds under the Fargo Dome to become a Cadet National Freestyle All-American.

Projected as a 133-pounder at the collegiate level, many (myself included) envisioned Spjut as being the eventual successor to two-time defending CAA Champion/2008 NCAA Honorable Mention All-American, Lou Ruggirello….With SUNY-Binghamton having already received a verbal commitment from the #25 recruit in the country, Jimmy Chase, coupled with a third ODU recruit, 2008 Minnesota State Champion, Justin LeValle (beat Vaith 6-1 in the finals), landing a recruit the caliber of Spjut was perceived as an important step in helping the Pride remain the class of the conference.

While it is disappointing to lose Spjut, there is one silver lining that Pride enthusiasts can take solace in…Prior to his decision to continue his academic and athletic career in Blacksburg, Va., it is a known fact that Spjut was being heavily recruited by Coach Martin and the Monarchs.. Therefore, even though Hofstra failed to land their man, at least we can take some comfort in knowing that our rivals struck out in their pursuit as well.

If the loss of Spjut is equated to the discomfort one feels after suffering a paper cut on their finger, then having the rug pulled out from under us at the 11th hour by Oklahoma may best be described as the pain one might feel if that finger was amputated without warning. I did not view Jake Kemerer as just another great pickup; I saw him as the franchise…The one who might finally deliver the NCAA title that HU fanatics have been waiting for since 1977 when Nick Gallo last achieved the honor; The title that should have been ours last season if not for Mike Pucillo’s decision to follow Tom Ryan to Ohio State; The title that great HU wrestlers of yesteryear—Ed Pidgeon (4th in 1981), Peter Capone (2nd in 1985), Chris Skretkowicz (5th in 2004), Jon Masa (3rd in 2005), Charles Griffin (3rd in 2007 & 2008), etc…—were supposed to deliver…In a wrestling world dominated by Pennsylvania, where zero time state champions like Keith Gavin and Phil Davis go on to win NCAA crowns, having a likely 2xer in your back pocket is usually a sign of great things to come!!!

If the Pride had been successful in adding Kemerer, the #16 recruit in the country, he would have been the highest profile member of the class of 2009 to commit to a CAA school thus far…More importantly, locking down a commitment from the 2008 Pennsylvania State Champion would have provided Tom Shifflet with security at the 165 pound weight class.

With speculation that Ryan Patrovich will move up to 174 pounds following the graduation of 2008 NCAA All-American, Alton Lucas, the addition of W.I.N. Magazine’s #3 ranked wrestler at 160 pounds would have afforded the HU coaching staff the opportunity to breath a little easier and focus on adding depth rather than concerning themselves with plugging potential holes.

Perhaps what hurts the most about losing Kemerer is that no one saw it coming. Unlike Spjut, who in a Brandoesque way, was given an offer he could not refuse by the ACC conference member, Kemerer to Hofstra was always perceived to be a foregone conclusion; The rare money in the bank scenerio; Never in doubt. In speaking to a person with knowledge of the Keystone Stater’s recruitment, the situation was described like this, “we knew he was going out there but everything he had told us indicated that he would not like the school [Oklahoma]. [Jake] didn’t want a big school or large class sizes or a party school.” I suppose the lesson to be taken from all of this is that nothing is certain until the ink drys.

National Letter of Intent day is still several months away. Hence, there remains plenty of time for Hofstra to regroup and emerge with a few blue-chippers. However, with 47 of the top-100 recruits having already provided commitments to the colleges of their choice, the time is now for the Pride to hit the recruiting trail hard.

Welcome to Matt’s Corner!!!

Welcome to LighthouseWrestling.com. I hope you all will enjoy reading my material as much as I intend to enjoy writing it.

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to LighthouseWrestling.com. I hope you all will enjoy reading my material as much as I intend to enjoy writing it.

My name is Matthew Diano. I am a 26-year-old resident of Levittown, New York. In August of 2006, I graduated cum laude from Hofstra University with a degree in print journalism….In addition to serving as the Collegiate Editor for the Long Island Wrestling Association (LIWA) for a short time in 2006, I’ve spent the majority of the last five seasons performing live text coverage for InterMat….In 2006, I received significant praise from the national wrestling community when I penned “Jon Masa: Victory Over Life,” a two piece series that was featured on InterMat’s homepage. After taking a few years off to concentrate on a job in the private sector, I recently returned to my journalistic roots, writing “Matt Diano Enters the Recruiting Zone,” on behalf of NewYorkWrestlingOnline.com. Continue reading “Welcome to Matt’s Corner!!!”