Four Score: NYS’ Finest Break into National Rankings….

For years, it has been the shared sentiments of many New York State wrestling aficionados that our scholastic teams do not get the credit and recognition that they deserve in regard to the various national rankings services. Time after time (compliments to Cyndi Lauper), a team emerges that has the NYS populace excited, thinking that perhaps they will be the team to break the streak and get the Empire State back on the national radar. And, season after season, despite the local hype and admiration, it never seems to happen. It is with these thoughts and emotions in mind, that it is both my pleasure and my privilege to announce that our collective patience has paid off and our sometimes overly bold cries have been heard, as not one, not two, not three, but four of our top programs will find themselves amid the best this country has to offer when Amateur Wrestling News and release their updated team rankings for the week ending on February 5th…After all of the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears, the day belongs to Shenendehowa, Spencerport, Longwood, and St. Anthony’s. Continue reading “Four Score: NYS’ Finest Break into National Rankings….”

Do You Believe? CHSAA Poised For Breakout 2011 Season

“If you don’t believe, than you don’t belong.” So are the words that adorn the homepage of the St. Anthony’s High School wrestling website. The concept of belief in one’s self is a trademark in the wrestling room of the South Huntington based perennial Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) powerhouse. However, in all honesty, it is a slogan that could easily be applied to the league as a whole. Fresh off of a 2010 campaign that witnessed the Catholic boys put forth their best collective performance in my lifetime (finishing sixth in the overall team standings behind six place-winners, three finalists, and a State Champion), the CHSAA is primed and ready to not only match last season’s efforts, but surpass it on all accounts. With seven individual Catholic State Champions/NYS Qualifiers back from last season, the talent is certainly there to make this year one for the record books. And, who better to lead this charge than the young men who inspired our theme, the defending champion Friars of STA. Continue reading “Do You Believe? CHSAA Poised For Breakout 2011 Season”

Tremendous Trio: Sayville Wrestling Club Sending Three to DI Ranks….

Like any sport, wrestling is a pyramid where only the very elite are able to successfully make the jump to the next level. For this reason, it is a major honor when a school, town, or for that matter a wrestling club is able to send even one student-athlete to the NCAA Division I level. With this sentiment is mind, I ask you, just how big a smile do you think adorns the face of Sayville WC coach Mike Vetrano, who over the course of the last few weeks has witnessed not one, not two, but three of his star pupils give commitments to DI schools? My guess is that the grin is ear to ear, and rightfully so….Starting on November 6th when All-Suffolk wrestler, Steven Leshinger (a representative of Sayville High School as well as the wrestling club) gave a verbal commitment to Princeton Tigers’ Head Coach, Chris Ayres, a chain reaction was created that saw Paul Alessandrini commit to Franklin & Marshall two days later, and the third of the trio, Mt. Sinai’s Frank Abbondanza pledge his allegiance to the Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina exactly one week after Leshinger’s initial commitment…When approached from just a wrestling aspect, this accomplishment is sufficient enough. However, to look at only one side of the proverbial picture is to ignore the true essence of what this achievement means. With all three of the selected institutions of higher learning ranked in the first tier by US News and World Report, it means that not only have these native sons done us all proud on the wrestling mat, they have also been role models in the classroom for their younger teammates. Coming from my background as a guidance counselor in training, the latter is every bit as significant to me as is the former; and both are deserving of your admiration and praise. Continue reading “Tremendous Trio: Sayville Wrestling Club Sending Three to DI Ranks….”

The (Wild) Cats’ Meow: 3x NYS Finalist/’09 Champion Greene Verbals to Northwestern


Those of you who have followed my writings from local message board icon (kidding, of course) to freelance wrestling journalist know that I have always had a special place in my heart for the New York State Catholic League. It was the place of origin of my now well established affinity for the world’s oldest and greatest sport (to borrow from one of my literary heroes, Mike Chapman). Therefore, it is no understatement to say that I take immense pride and satisfaction when learning that one of its student-athletes has “done good”. For this reason, last night took on great significance to me when I was informed that the league’s brightest star, 3x NYS finalist/2009 NYS DI Champion, Grant Greene, of St. Anthony’s High School, had given a verbal commitment to compete for Coach Drew Pariano as a part of the class of 2015 at Northwestern University. Greene, who will be named to the top-10 seniors list when the New York installment of the Wrestling-49 series is released at a future date, becomes the first rising senior from the recruiting class of 2011 to formally announce his intentions to continue his academic and athletic pursuits at the Evanston, IL based institution of higher learning. Continue reading “The (Wild) Cats’ Meow: 3x NYS Finalist/’09 Champion Greene Verbals to Northwestern”