Daiton Powell of Suffern defeated Fredy Guevara of Yonkers 7-0 in a 132 pound final match at the Kohl Invitational wrestling tournament at Suffern High School Jan. 17, 2015. Suffern was the overall team winner at the tournament.
SUFFERN – Since East Ramapo’s Trey Wardlaw lost to Yonkers’ Justin Lopez at sectionals last year, the general consensus has been that Lopez is the guy to beat at 99 pounds this season.
Wardlaw sat at No. 2 in the Lohud Wrestling Weight Class Rankings behind his rival coming into Saturday’s Kohl Invitational, but that won’t be the case for much longer. The junior beat Lopez emphatically in the finals with a 10-2 major decision, firmly establishing himself as the favorite for next month’s Section 1 Championships.
“I’ve been under the radar for the whole year, and I felt like this chance that I had to get the win could move me to No. 1,” Wardlaw said. “We have a great rivalry, but we also have a great friendship off of the mat.”
Wardlaw imposed his will early in the match, taking Lopez down and tilting him to his back for a commanding 5-0 lead.
He never looked back.
“I felt like I caught him with different moves,” Wardlaw said. “I like to practice taking him down and putting him right to his back, so I wasn’t surprised about that. But he’s definitely still a tough challenge.”
While Wardlaw’s match likely had the biggest individual postseason implications, host Suffern continues to look like the front-runner for a section title as a team. The Mounties claimed the Kohl title by a margin of more than 40 points, with Peter Oliveto (126 pounds), Daiton Powell (132), Stephen Lauro (152) and Peter Pjetri (195) each taking first place.
Oliveto knocked off two of his potential opponents in the upcoming Rockland County Championships, beating East Ramapo’s Anthony Romero in the semis and Nanuet’s Dylan Mateo in the finals.
“This is our home tournament, and all of our fans, family and friends come out,” Oliveto said. “I got to the finals last year but I didn’t win, so I was really motivated today to get my first title.”
Both Lauro and Pjetri eked out close matches in the finals, with Lauro defeating Huntington’s Hunter Curreri with a 4-2 decision and Pjetri outlasting Nanuet’s Connor Breit with a 3-2 decision.
“I think this year our depth has helped us win a lot of matches,” Lauro said. “That’s what makes us a lot different from last year. This year, we have more seasoned guys and depth to fill in behind them. If someone goes down, we have another guy that’s good to step up.”
An up-and-coming Yonkers team took third overall behind Suffern and Huntington, with Christian Zaccaro (145) and Khaled Dassan (285) each winning titles.
Zaccaro was wrestling with a painful rib injury, but he was able to gut out three tough wins.
“I took second last weekend (at the Chris Hernandez Memorial) and it’s been bothering me the whole week,” Zaccaro said. “I’m just looking forward to the (Westchester) County Championships. I’m going to get some rest and let my ribs heal so that I can be 100 percent for the tournament.”
The only other local champ was East Ramapo’s Romello Bradley, who defeated Suffern’s Brian Nicpon with a 15-3 major decision in the 138-pound final.