After five seasons of dealing with struggles on the mat and obstacles off of it, the Yonkers wrestling program is beginning to show significant signs of progress. Six schools in the city of Yonkers — Lincoln, Gorton, Yonkers, Saunders, Roosevelt and Riverside — came together to make one team six years ago, but coming into this season, the combined program had yet to take first at any tournament.
That’s all changed this season, as tournament wins on back-to-back weekends at East Ramapo and Woodlands have optimism at an all-time high.
“We still have a long way to go,” coach Pete Vulpone said. “There are tougher tournaments out there, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. These are tournaments that we’ve been to in the past few years and didn’t win.”
After 16 seasons as head coach at Ardsley, Vulpone took over Yonkers for its first season after the merger. The logistics of dealing with student-athletes from six different schools proved to be challenging, but Vulpone found a solution using social media.
“The biggest thing that we have to help is a Facebook page,” Vulpone said. “You always hear the excuse from the kids that ‘I didn’t know,’ but I post the schedule and all of that, and that has helped.”
Senior Ibrahim Simreen has led Yonkers, and is the only wrestler on the team without a loss at 19-0. But Vulpone has also been encouraged by his sophomore class, featuring Joe Marji (18-1) and Elijah Maldonado (17-3).
Aslanian sets Edgemont record: By going 9-0 last weekend at the Center Moriches Dual Meet tournament, Trey Aslanian became Edgemont’s all-time wins leader. The 120-pound senior improved his career mark to 155-16, passing Genta Murayama’s record of 150 that was set in 2009.
“It’s one of those goals that you look at when you’re in the pee-wees,” Aslanian said. “I always knew I was within reach, but it wasn’t something that I particularly focused on. Now that I broke it, it’s pretty cool.”
According to Aslanian, his record may not last long. He says his younger brother Kyle, a freshman, “should absolutely shatter it.”
Ultimately, Trey’s goal is to win a state title. He should become the first Edgemont wrestler to win four section titles this season, but after placing second in the state for two consecutive years, he has his eyes on the prize.
“That’s what fuels you,” he said.
milestones: Two Section 1 wrestlers reached the 100-win plateau this week. Nanuet senior Dan Breit joined the century club last Saturday at the Minisink Valley Dual Meet tournament, while Fox Lane junior Ben Ettlinger won his 100th at the Wantagh Dual Meet tourney on the same day.