The seeds for the 14th annual Eastern States Classic wrestling tournament were released early Thursday morning, and while no local wrestlers came away with top seeds, many fell somewhere in the mix. In order to give you an idea of what to expect in each weight class, I’ve listed the top four seeds and any other locals who met the standards to earn a seed. I’ve also provided some background on the main contenders, many of whom are nationally ranked.
I’ll be at Sullivan Community College on Friday and Saturday to bring you full coverage of the prestigious tournament. You know what that means — follow me on Twitter @vzmercogliano to stay on top of the action. I’ll be writing, producing videos, tweeting live updates and analysis, and I’ll be joined by photographer Frank Becerra Jr. We’ll be tracking all 87 locals who are competing, so yeah, the coverage will be extensive.
Here is a breakdown of each weight class: (And trust me, they’re all stacked.)
Top four seeds — 1. Preston Maucere, Fr., Deer Park; 2. Tony Negron, So., North Babylon; 3. Greg Diakomihalis, 8th, Hilton; 4. Anthony Sciotto, So., Rocky Point
Local seeds — 9. Mikey Bruno, So., Putnam Valley; 13. Garrett Semenetz, Jr., Mahopac
Outlook — This is the only weight class with no returners who placed last year, so consider this one of the most wide open. Bruno is a two-time state qualifier who has been on big stages before while Semenetz is the clear front-runner for a Section 1 title in Division 1 (large schools).
Top four seeds — 1. Adam Busiello, Fr., Eastport-South Manor; 2. AJ Burkhart, So., Waverly; 3. Orion Anderson, So., Schuylerville; 4. Michael Gonyea, So., Columbia
Local seeds — 5. Justin Lopez, Sr., Yonkers; 10. Sean McGarvey, Jr., Pearl River; 13. Tyler Albis, 8th, John Jay-EF; 16. Trey Wardlaw, Sr., East Ramapo; 25. Brandon DiDomenico, Jr., Lakeland/Panas
Outlook — Busiello is ranked No. 1 in the country by InterMatWrestle.com and Flowrestling.org, so he’s undoubtedly the guy to beat. You also have a defending New York state champ from Division 2 (small schools) in Burkhart and the runner-up in Anderson. Lopez lost to Busiello by technical fall in last year’s Division 1 state semis.
Top four seeds — 1. Tommy Cox, Sr., Deer Park; 2. Kelan McKenna, Sr., New Hartford; 3. Beau Bartlett, 8th, Wyoming Seminary; 4. Benny Baker, Fr., Wyoming Seminary
Local seeds — 8. Anthony Sulla, Sr., North Rockland; 15. Kyle Sams, So., Putnam Valley; 17. Michael DaBramo, Sr., Scarsdale; 22. Dylan Urban, Fr., Pearl River; 24. Ulises Olmedo, Jr., Arlington
Outlook — Here we have an NHSCA Junior Nationals champion and N.C. State commit in Cox, a runner-up from last year in McKenna and last year’s 99-pound champion in Bartlett. But don’t sleep on Sulla. He lost tight matches to Cox (6-4) and McKenna (1-0) in last year’s state championships.
Top four seeds — 1. Matteo DeVincenzo, Sr., Port Jefferson; 2. Jake Silverstein, So., Hauppauge; 3. Jack Davis, So., Wyoming Seminary; 4. Jonathan Gomez, Jr., Locust Valley
Local seeds — 11. Randy Earl, Jr., John Jay-EF; 13. Satoshi Abe, Jr., Putnam Valley; 29. Moises Tera, Jr., New Rochelle
Outlook — DeVincenzo is a defending Eastern States champ, while Silverstein took second in New York state. Those are the two front-runners, but Davis represents a sleeper candidate. It would be a major upset for any of the locals to get past those three.
Top four seeds — 1. Jacori Teemer, So., Long Beach; 2. Peter Pappas, Jr., Plainview Old Bethpage JFK; 3. Jake Riegel, Jr., Wyoming Seminary; 4. Mathew Seitz, Sr., Monsignor Farrell
Local seeds — 10. Jake Shore, Sr., New Rochelle; 15. Louie Cree, Jr., John Jay; 19. Anthony Alexandrou, Sr., Byram Hills; 20. Mike Muldoon, Jr., Mahopac
Outlook — Teemer had a brilliant 2015 campaign, winning titles at Eastern States and the New York State Championships, which makes him the man here. Pappas is no slouch, either, having placed second at states. The best any local can hope for is making it to the podium.
Top four seeds — 1. Vito Arujau, Jr., Syosset; 2. Trent Olson, Sr., Wyoming Seminary; 3. Kellen Devlin, Sr., Amherst; 4. Hector Colom, So., St. Francis
Local seeds — 5. Kevin Knox, Sr., Carmel; 13. Peter Oliveto, Jr., Suffern; 20. Kyle Aslanian, Sr., Edgemont
Outlook — In Arujau, you have a defending state champ who also won at Eastern States. He’s currently ranked second in the country and committed to Cornell, so good luck. Knox, Oliveto and Aslanian are capable of placing, but winning it all is an extreme long shot.
Top four seeds — 1. Yianni Diakomihalis, Jr., Hilton; 2. Parker Kropman, Sr., Penfield; 3. Matt Grippi, So., Fox Lane; 4. Mike Berkowitz, Sr., Long Island Lutheran
Local seeds — Grippi; 8. Jake Kurzhals, Sr., Pearl River; 18. Maksim Kutsepau, Sr., Clarkstown North; 22. Romello Bradley, Sr., East Ramapo; 28. Brice Artrip, Jr., Suffern
Outlook — Diakomihalis is also a future Cornell star and gives Eastern States yet another wrestler who is ranked as the best in the country. He beat Grippi with a major decision in the offseason, but with the way that Grippi has been wrestling, a rematch against Diakomihalis in the finals is a distinct possibility. Kurzhals was a state finalist last year, but he’s lined up to see Diakomihalis in the quarterfinals. Ouch.
Top four seeds — 1. Frankie Gissendanner, So., Penfield; 2. Hunter Richard, Jr., Holand Patent; 3. Lenny Merkin, Sr., Poly Prep; 4. Brady Robin, Sr., Arlington
Local seeds — Robin; 6. Conor Melbourne, Jr., John Jay; 18. Jack Chesman, Fr., Pearl River
Outlook — Like several others in this tournament, Gissendanner pulled off the double-dip last year – winning titles at Eastern States and then in New York state. It would be a surprise if he doesn’t win here, but both Robin and Melbourne are strong contenders to place in the top eight. Melbourne did it last year, taking sixth place.
Top four seeds — 1. Chris Mauriello, Sr., Hauppauge; 2. Ryan Ferro, Jr., Warwick; 3. Jake Barry, Sr., Poly Prep; 4. Tristan Almeter, Sr., Iroquois
Local seeds — 10. Jordan Wallace, Jr., New Rochelle; 15. Anthony Malfitano, Jr., Pearl River
Outlook — While every weight from 106-145 has a fairly obvious favorite, the field at 152 is more unpredictable. Mauriello took sixth in the state last season at 160 pounds and Ferro placed third at 145, but neither is considered unbeatable. It’s worth noting that Ferro pinned Wallace in the Shoreline finals last weekend.
Top four seeds — 1. Alex Herringshaw, Sr., Holand Patent; 2. Will Verallis, Sr., Wyoming Seminary; 3. AJ Aeberli, Sr., Minisink Valley; 4. Jason Hoffman, Jr., Hadley Luzerne/Lake George
Local seeds — 7. Adam Santoro, Sr., Fordham Prep; 10. Alex Leone, Sr., Carmel; 20. Kyle Davis, Jr., Beacon
Outlook — As a defending New York state champ in Division 2, Herringshaw is the man here, but Verallis is coming in from out-of-state and could cause havoc. Leone placed eighth last season and will be looking to get back on the podium.
Top four seeds — 1. Louie Deprez, Jr., Hilton; 2. Nunzio Crowley, Sr., Eastchester; 3. Sonny McPherson, Sr., Indian River; 4. Stephen Lauro, Sr., Suffern
Local seeds — Crowley; Lauro; 9. Evan Frank, Jr., John Jay; 11. Cliffton Wang, Jr., Edgemont
Outlook — No local is seeded as high as Crowley, who has a legitimate shot to win it all after placing fifth in New York state last season. His biggest competition figures to be Deprez, who squeaked past North Rockland’s Blaise Benderoth in last year’s Division 1 state title match. Lauro, Frank and Wang make it four Section 1 wrestlers who have a serious shot to place.
Top four seeds — 1. Christian Dietrich, Sr., Wyoming Seminary; 2. Kevin Parker, Sr., Shenendehowa; 3. Alex Melikian, Sr., Lakeland/Panas; 4. Aaron Paddock, Sr., Warsaw
Local seeds — Melikian
Outlook — Now that Crowley, Lauro and Frank have dropped down to 170, Melikian represents Section 1’s best shot here. He placed fifth at this same weight last season, but he’d likely have to get through Dietrich to win it all. Dietrich is committed to Pittsburgh and won an Eastern States title last season.
Top four seeds — 1. Nick Reenan, Sr., Wyoming Seminary; 2. Christian Araneo, Sr., Ward Melville; 3. Mike DiNardo, Sr., Mahopac; 4. Jack Buell, Sr., Sherburne-Earlville
Local seeds — DiNardo; 6. Jake Spreckman, Sr., Clarkstown South; 7. Tanner Nielsen, Sr., Arlington; 8. Connor Breit, Jr., Nanuet
Outlook — DiNardo has been as impressive as any local wrestler so far this season, pinning virtually every opponent to remain unbeaten. Unfortunately for him, this weight class is very top-heavy. Reenan, a Northwestern commit, is the top-ranked wrestler in the country and Araneo, a Princeton commit, is No. 7.
Top four seeds — 1. Will Hillard, Sr., Wyoming Seminary; 2. Nick McShea, Sr., Monroe-Woodbury; 3. Joe Messare, Sr., Burnt Hills; 4. Ricardo Dawkins, Sr., General Brown
Local seeds — 10. Andrew Anthony, Sr., John Jay-EF; 11. Justin Warner, Sr., Beacon; 12. Halil Gecaj, So., John Jay; 15. Khaled Dassan, Sr., Yonkers
Outlook — That Wyoming Seminary team ain’t bad, huh? Hillard, an Old Dominion commit, gives the Pennsylvania powerhouse yet another wrestler seeded No. 1. And McShea shouldn’t be overlooked, either. He took second in New York state last season.
Top four seeds — 1. Edwin Rubio, Sr., John Glenn; 2. Hakim Fleming, Sr., Notre Dame; 3. Michael Gaboardi, Jr., Danbury; 4. Joe Humphrey, Sr., Middletown
Local seeds — 9. Mike Larm, Sr., Brewster; 12. Benji Gecaj, Jr., John Jay
Outlook — Rubio is a defending Eastern States champ who took second in New York state, so he’s deserving of the top seed. But super heavyweight matches tend to be low-scoring and come down to the wire, so don’t be surprised if Larm – who has had a strong campaign so far this season – makes a run.
REMINDER: I’ll be hosting a live chat tonight at 7:30 to discuss all things Eastern States. Just visit the Lohud Wrestling Blog to join the conversation! (I’ll also tweet out links to the chat.)