YONKERS – Many of the celebrations at the second annual Westchester County Championships were animated, and understandably so. It’s a big deal to be the best in the county, and the 15 wrestlers who came away with titles on Sunday at Yonkers High earned the right to display their pride.
John Jay junior Evan Frank had one of the more notable wins of the day, a 3-1 decision over top-ranked Alex Melikian of Lakeland/Panas in the 182-pound final. The victory should move Frank up to No. 1 and make him the favorite heading into the Section 1 Championships, but his reaction to the statement win was fairly tamed.
That’s because Frank knows that if he doesn’t claim a section title in two weeks, Sunday’s result could easily be forgotten.
“I don’t think it really changes much,” Frank said. “I just hope I can get another win at sectionals when it matters.”
Frank’s attitude reflects that of the entire John Jay team.
The Indians cruised to their second straight first-place finish by a margin of more than 160 points, with Louie Cree (126 pounds), Ray Cotto (132), Conor Melbourne (145) and Bim Gecaj (285) joining Frank as individual champs. But their stated goal is to take home the team title at sectionals, where Rockland County champ Suffern figures to be their main competition.
“We’re really driven,” Frank said. “In practice, we’ve been peaking. Shorter practices, higher intensity. Everybody has been battling in the room. It’s silent because everybody is just grinding. It’s really in the back of everybody’s mind that it’s our time.”
While the Frank-Melikian final was a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the Lohud Wrestling Weight Class Rankings, the 113-pound final pitted No. 2 Michael DaBramo of Scarsdale against No. 3 Luca Errico of Byram Hills.
DaBramo made his ranking hold true with a 6-3 decision, and now has his sights set on top-ranked Anthony Sulla of North Rockland.
“I’ve got one more to go — one more kid to beat, and that’s Anthony Sulla,” DaBramo said. “I’ll see him in the finals, hopefully. I’ve been watching a ton of film on him, and training for Sulla. I’ve also been training for (Errico) because those are the top two.”
Perhaps the toughest road to a Westchester County title was that of Fox Lane senior Jon Clune.
He entered the tournament ranked fourth at 220 pounds, but beat top-ranked Khaled Dassan of Yonkers with a 5-2 decision in the semifinals and then third-ranked Halil Gecaj of John Jay with a 7-4 decision in the finals.
“It’s big for his confidence,” Fox Lane coach Anthony Rodrigues said. “He was out with an (elbow) injury for a couple of weeks. Since he came back, he’s had a few matches, but he hasn’t really been tested. This weekend was a perfect opportunity to wrestle against two of the best kids in the section. And it is wide open, but I think it sets him up (for sectionals).”
Clune and teammate Matt Grippi (138) each won titles to help Fox Lane finish third overall, but Horace Greeley opened some eyes by passing the Foxes for second place.
Stephen Nadler (195) was the lone individual champ for the Quakers, but they had four wrestlers reach the finals.
“It says a lot because we only took eight guys here,” Nadler said. “John Jay took like 17, so to come out of here with second place is pretty good.”
Other Westchester County champs included Pleasantville eighth-grader Len Balducci (99), Yonkers senior Justin Lopez (106), New Rochelle junior Moises Tera (120), New Rochelle freshman Jake Logan (152), New Rochelle junior Jordan Wallace (160) and Eastchester senior Nunzio Crowley (170). Tera and Eastchester senior Phil Capriglione each picked up their 100th career wins.
- 113-pound final — Michael DaBramo (Scarsdale) dec. Luca Errico (Byram Hills), 6-3
- 120-pound final — Moises Tera (New Rochelle) dec. Andrei Nesbit (Horace Greeley), 4-1
- 132-pound final — Ray Cotto (John Jay) dec. Josh Rauch (Fox Lane), 3-0
- 145-pound final — Conor Melbourne (John Jay) tech. fall George Germanakos (Hackley), 17-2
- 152-pound final — Jake Logan (New Rochelle) pin Kevin Borden (Sleepy Hollow), 5:23
- 182-pound final — Evan Frank (John Jay) dec. Alex Melikian (Lakeland/Panas), 3-1
- 220-pound final — Jon Clune (Fox Lane) dec. Halil Gecaj (John Jay), 7-4
Second annual Westchester County Championships
Team key and standings: 1. John Jay (JJ) 318.5; 2. Horace Greeley (HG) 155.5; 3. Fox Lane (FL) 147; 4. New Rochelle (NR) 138.5; 5. Scarsdale (Sc) 106; 6. Sleepy Hollow (SH) 100; 7. Ossining (Oss) 97; 8. Harrison (Har) 92; 9. Yonkers (Yo) 86.5; 10. Mount Vernon (MV) 82; 11. White Plains (WP) 81; 12. Pleasantville (Pl) 70; 13. Yorktown (Yk) 65; 14. Lakeland/Panas (LP) 58; 15. Eastchester (Ec) 57; 16. Port Chester (PC) 42; 17. Hackley (Hk) 41; 18t. Somers (Som) 26.5; 18t. Byram Hills (BH) 26.5; 20. Mamaroneck (Mk) 24; 21. Westlake (Ws) 23; 22. Kennedy (JFK) 19; 23t. Croton-Harmon (CH) 18; 23t. Rye (Rye) 18; 25. Irvington (Irv) 17; 26. Woodlands (Wd) 13; 27. Hastings (Hs) 3.
99 – Len Balducci (Pl) dec. Mathew Schreiber (HG), 7-0; Chris Cook (JJ) dec. Johnny Keltz (Sc), 9-8. 106 – Justin Lopez (Yo) tech. fall Matias Rivera (FL), 16-1; Brandon DiDomenico (LP) pin Curtis Williams (MV), 3:38. 113 – Michael DaBramo (Sc) dec. Victor Perlleshi (Pl), 8-6; Luca Errico (BH) dec. Matt Kramer (JJ), 9-7. 120 – Andrei Nesbit (HG) pin Sergio Castillo (FL), 3:28; Moises Tera (NR) tech. fall Angel Rosado (Yo), 15-0. 126 – Louie Cree (JJ) maj. dec. Crew Fullerton (Mk), 11-1; Joe Sasso (HG) dec. Najashi Sharpe (MV), 12-7. 132 – Josh Rauch (FL) dec. Jake Shore (NR), 16-9; Ray Cotto (JJ) by forfeit Josh Rubin (JJ). 138 – Matt Grippi (FL) pin Julio Cruz (WP), 5:29; Pat Patierno (Yk) dec. Michael Carnevale (Oss), 3-2. 145 – Conor Melbourne (JJ) dec. Aaron Wolk (HG), 8-2; George Germanakos (Hk) pin Sumner Kataka (Wd), 1:41. 152 – Jake Logan (NR) pin Jake Witz (FL), 1:19; Kevin Borden (SH) dec. Greg May (Pl), 9-3. 160 – Jordan Wallace (NR) maj. dec. Chris Holze (JJ), 14-0; Jacob Ferreira (HG) dec. Connor Thomas (Yk), 10-8. 170 – Nunzio Crowley (Ec) pin Eric Eberhardt (JJ), 5:35; Hearthon Sewell-Richards (Oss) dec. Mike Lopez (SH), 6-5. 182 – Evan Frank (JJ) maj. dec. Johnny Santos (FL), 13-2; Alex Melikian (LP) dec. Jasmir Black (MV), 9-5. 195 – Rob Donohue (Har) dec. Manuel Castrillo (WP), 3-1; Stephen Nadler (HG) pin Ethan Zimiles (JJ), 5:47. 220 – Halil Gecaj (JJ) pin Omar Tapia (WP), 0:38; Jon Clune (FL) dec. Khaled Dassan (Yo), 5-2. 285 – Ethan Raff (Sc) dec. Ed Longest (JFK), 7-3; Bim Gecaj (JJ) dec. Eddie Jiminez (SH), 3-2.
99 – Balducci (Pl) dec. Cook (JJ), 4-0. 106 – Lopez (Yo) pin DiDomenico (LP), 5:18. 113 – DaBramo (Sc) dec. Errico (BH), 6-3. 120 – Tera (NR) dec. Nesbit (HG), 4-1. 126 – Cree (JJ) dec. Sasso (HG), 9-2. 132 – Cotto (JJ) dec. Rauch (FL), 3-0. 138 – Grippi (FL) tech. fall Patierno (Yk), 18-3. 145 – Melbourne (JJ) tech. fall Germanakos (Hk), 17-2. 152 – Logan (NR) pin Borden (SH), 5:23. 160 – Wallace (NR) maj. dec. Ferreira (HG), 13-3. 170 – Crowley (Ec) pin Sewell-Richards (Oss), 4:59. 182 – Frank (JJ) dec. Melikian (LP), 3-1. 195 – Nadler (HG) pin Donohue (Har), 4:19. 220 – Clune (FL) dec. Gecaj (JJ), 7-4. 285 – Gecaj (JJ) dec. Raff (Sc), 3-1 OT.