Intermat: Top 10 Seniors in NYS

Trey Aslanian



Wrestling 49: New York10/3/2012

Betsy Veysman & Matt Diano,

Skip to section on Trey Aslanian.

With the high school wrestling season’ start approaching, InterMat will be taking fans across the United States of America on a tour of scholastic wrestling. From now until the middle of November, InterMat will introduce fans to the top high school senior wrestlers in the 49 states with scholastic wrestling. From Alaska to Florida, and Maine to California, fans will gain exposure to future college and senior level stars.?

Led by a pair of InterMat Top 100 recruits, this group of 10 representing the Empire State is unique in the fact that of those being recognized, only three have won individual NYS titles in their respective divisions, including a two-timer in both DI and DII. Therefore, if you were to look at total number of state titles earned, the number five may falsely cause you to believe that this current class is weaker than the ones that came before it. We can assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.

Unlike some of their ancestors, the “it quality” of the Class of 2013 is the breadth of success they have enjoyed outside the comforts of their own state. Combining for two NHSCA Nationals champions, 12 NHSCA All-Americans, two FloNational All-Americans, four Junior National freestyle All-Americans, and a Junior National Greco-Roman All-American, this dirty dozen knows how to get the job done when the bright lights are shined upon them.

With four of the chosen 10 having already committed to DI schools (oddly enough, they all selected Binghamton), and the six remaining all being heavily recruited by schools in respective NCAA DI power conferences, the proof is in the pudding. These kids are winners and more importantly, they all are leaders and role models for their schools.

The current senior class in New York was so deep than when you look at those who missed the cut and had to settle for honorable mention distinction, you will find a 2012 NHSCA Junior National champion, a 2012 NYS DII champion, as well as several state runners-up.Note: InterMat No. 85 recruit, Nicky Hall (formerly of Longwood; currently attending Wyoming Seminary) was originally selected to this list. As a two-time NYS DI placewinner/2012 state runner-up, who had earned multiple NHSCA All-American honors, Hall figured to be slotted in the No. 3 or No. 4 spot. Because it has since been announced that Hall will be completing two years at the Scott Green-run prep school powerhouse, the second generation stud will be included in the 2014 edition of this series.

1. Zack Zupan (Canastota/NYS DII)?
Projected 2012-2013 High School Weight Class:?182
Projected College Weight Class:?184
College Plans:?Committed to Binghamton

Zack Zupan (Photo/Boris Veysman)

Analysis:?The future Bearcat student-athlete has been an impact performer since day No. 1, placing in all three of his trips to Albany, including a state title effort last season in a loaded 170-pound bracket, which included the likes of current Edinboro freshman Nick Mitchell (who had been undefeated in 2012 before dropping the 3-2 decision to Zupan in the state finals), Burke Paddock (the InterMat No. 40-ranked junior), and fellow class of 2013 Top 10 member Troy Seymour. In his first two attempts at the brass ring, Zupan put forth strong showings, finishing fourth at 160 as a freshman and fifth at 171 as a sophomore, despite competing at weights usually controlled by upperclassmen.The No. 87-ranked wrestler in his class per InterMat, Zupan has repeatedly demonstrated that he is a force to be reckoned with, both state-wide and against the nation’s best. A two-time finalist in Virginia Beach at the NHSCA Nationals, Zupan was a national champion in 2010, falling one “w” short of the repeat as a sophomore. His success on the national scene would continue in 2012 when he upended two-time New Jersey state champion Ryan Harrington (now competing for the University of North Carolina) in leading Team New York to the upset victory over the Garden State in the second annual NY/NJ All-Star Charity Challenge. The win snapped Harrington’s 84-match winning streak. Zupan would put an emphatic cap on his junior campaign, earning his third career All-American distinction with an eighth-place finish at the 2012 FloNationals. Zupan heads into senior year as the No. 11-ranked wrestler in the land (at 170) per

Words From the Corner:?”He has been a true pleasure to coach. He is self motivated and driven. By the time he was 2 you could tell he was different than most kids. He was so focused on what he was doing at any given time that he did not go from one thing to the next like other kids. Case in point, when he was 2-years-old, I would take him bullhead fishing at my assistant coach’s house. We would be amazed at how he would focus on those poles for hours. He’d catch one after another, and when I would tell him it was time to go he would beg to stay. Such was also true of his wrestling. He would attend every varsity tournament with me and, by the age of five would ask, ‘Dad who is the best three guys in this gym?’ I would tell him who I thought were the best and he would go to the mats those kids were wrestling on and study them the entire day. That was when I knew he was going to be something special. He has meant a lot to our program since he was in seventh grade and our starting 135-pounder. He has been a team leader for years and has helped to develop other kids on the team, enabling them to reach their potential. He was pivotal in leading Canastota to an improbable section 3 team title last season, dethroning six-time champ Phoenix.” — Canastota coach (and Zack’s father) Nick Zupan, a 1985 NYS placewinner (4th at 138).

Career Highlights:

  • Three-time NYS DII placewinner (4th in ’10 at 160; 5th in ’11 at 171; 2012 NYS champion at 170)
  • Two-time NHSCA All-American (National champion in 2010 at 160; National Runner-up in 2011 at 171)
  • 2012 FloNationals All-American (8th at 170)

2. Nick Kelley (Shenendehowa/NYS DI)?
Projected 2012-2013 High School Weight Class:?132/138
Projected College Weight Class:?141
College Plans:?Committed to Binghamton

Nick Kelley (Photo/John Carl D’Annibale, Times Union)

Analysis:?The first of two Shenendehowa student-athletes profiled, Kelley, the No. 93-ranked recruit from the current class, made it two-for-two for new Binghamton head wrestling coach Matt Dernlan when he verbally committed to the CAA Conference school in late August. Despite not having an individual state crown to don his mantel, many consider Kelley to be a lock to walk through the 2013 DI tournament, due in large part to the magnitude of his accomplishments on the national stage. Considered the pound-for-pound best wrestler in the Empire State without the hardware, Kelley has been an integral and irreplaceable component in Shenendehowa’s back-to-back state team titles. A shoe-in to join the exclusive club of six-time NYS tournament qualifiers, Kelley had to endure some hardships, failing to reach the podium in his first three trips to the Times Union Center.

However, true to his fighting spirit and the passion he feels for the world’s oldest and greatest sport, Kelley would never get down on himself, combating defeat with additional hard work. The blood, sweat, and tears shed by the longtime Journeymen WC member would finally pay off in 2011 when Kelley earned his first New York state placement, taking fourth at 130 pounds with his only losses coming at the hands of a pair of eventual NCAA DI wrestlers Steven Rodrigues (the eventual state champion who is currently wrestling for the University of Illinois) and Chris Perez (who finished third in NYS in 2011 and was a NHSCA Senior National runner-up prior to becoming the starting 133-pounder for the Princeton University Tigers). As a junior, Kelley would be the victim of seeding criteria, as facts and figures won out over common sense, resulting in the two best 132-pound wrestlers in the state meeting in the semifinals. Pitted against nationally ranked Jamel Hudson (now a freshman at Hofstra University), Kelley would push the pace and be relentless in his attacks, coming just inches away from a takedown on the edge of the mat in the closing seconds, before having to accept the 8-7 loss. To his credit, the Plainsmen team captain would shake off the loss quickly, dominating his final two matches of the weekend en route to the bronze medal.

Ranked by Flo as the No. 6 132-pounder in the country heading into his swan song, if there was one wrestler who really solidified his stock after the high school season had concluded, it was Kelley. A 5-1 winner over New Jersey state champion Scott Delvecchio in the aforementioned Charity Challenge, Kelley would save his best performance to date for the FARGODOME, finishing fourth at the Junior National freestyle competition. This impressive showing marked the third time that the Section II representative would earn All-American accolades, adding it to a resume that also included a fifth-place showing at the 2011 FloNational tournament and a third-place finish as a freshman at NHSCA Nationals.

Words From the Corner:?(Speaking on what makes his wrestler effective) “Nick Kelley is an “old-school, throw-back” wrestler. In my 20 years of coaching wrestling, I have not had a wrestler as tenacious as he is. Add into that a work ethic that is off the scale, and you begin to see why Nick is an effective wrestler. Nick is a 12-month-a-year wrestler. Additionally, Nick has spent a lifetime developing a style of wrestling that is very hard to compete with. When most wrestlers concede in a scramble or situation, Nick takes everything to the next level. His style tends to “break” his opponents.” — Shenendehowa head wrestling coach Rob Weeks.

(Speaking on the leadership abilities of his wrestler) “You couldn’t ask for a better role model in your room than Nick Kelley. He truly lives the clean life. If Nick isn’t wrestling, he’s practicing wrestling. If he’s not practicing wrestling, he’s fishing or hunting or camping. Additionally, he has a strong relationship with his family. They have invested with Nick into the sport of wrestling and they have helped guide him through the process. Nick is adamantly opposed to the “party” lifestyle. He definitely lives his life above the temptations that others succumb to. The other wrestlers on the team know that and aspire to be like Nick. He is definitely a lead-by-example type of captain.” — R. Weeks

(On the overall make-up of his wrestler) “Nick Kelley has the best work ethic I have ever seen. It’s just tremendous; off the charts. And, in regards to both him and David [Almaviva], both are incredibly respectful. They are good citizens; they are good wholesome guys. And it translates on the mat; it’s great when that happens. It’s not always the case where guys have both talent and character. I think that when it does work out that way, it’s like seeing the ‘good guy’ win. Everything kind of feeds off the other and in the end, it just works.” — Shendendehowa assistant wrestling coach/Journeymen Wrestling Club founder & head coach Frank Popolizio

Career Highlights:

  • Two-time NYS DI placewinner (4th in 2011 at 130; 3rd in 2012 at 132)
  • 2010 NHSCA Freshman All-American (3rd)
  • 2011 FloNationals All-American (5th at 125)
  • 2012 Junior freestyle All-American (4th at 132)

3. Nick Tighe (Phoenix/NYS DII)?
Projected 2012-2013 High School Weight Class:?132
Projected College Weight Class:?133/141
College Plans:?Committed to Binghamton

Nick Tighe

Analysis:?The Division II 126-pound bracket was full of intrigue last February with several standouts and storylines. Tristan Rifanburg (the No. 45 ranked sophomore according to InterMat) looked for his third straight finals appearance as a freshman. Corey Dake (brother of former two-time NYS DII champion/three-time NCAA champion Kyle) was attempting to get an elusive title after placing in each of his three previous attempts in Albany. Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (rated as the No. 49 overall prospect in the junior class), fresh off of a summer that witnessed him become a Cadet freestyle All-American (fourth at 125) aimed to make his mark. But at the end of the tournament, it was Tighe topping the podium for the second straight year after pinning three of his four opponents and surviving a late charge from Rodriguez-Spencer in the finals to prevail by a score of 13-8.

This title effort made him the first wrestler in school history to win multiple state crowns. He’ll go for his fourth All-State finish (having complemented his two titles with a fifth-place showing in 2010 at 112 pounds) and a third New York state crown in 2013 for Coach “Mean” Gene Mills.

Tighe has proven time and time again that his achievements aren’t limited to the Empire State borders. Nationally, he has twice placed at the NHSCA Nationals, taking fourth at 112 as a freshman and seventh at 119 as a sophomore. Just last month, Tighe posted an unblemished 7-0 record at the inaugural National Hall of Fame Duals. He enters his senior season currently ranked 15th in the nation per Flo.

Words From the Corner:?(On what makes his wrestler successful on the mat) “Nick (Tigi Monster) puts a lot of time on the mat and wants to make sure his technique is perfect so he can’t be countered. He works hard on his setups and tries to finish almost every move taking his opponent to their backs. Nick is a high-intensity competitor and makes many of his opponents want to quit in the middle of a match due to the intense pressure he imposes on his opponents.” — Phoenix head wrestling coach, Gene Mills

(On the leadership qualified possessed by Tighe) “Nick is a great leader by example, always focusing on the task at hand and encouraging others. Nick’s leadership elevates everyone on the team, especially the ones who work out with him on the mat. After wrestling with his partners, he always tries to offer words of encouragement and help them try to be better also. Nick is one in a billion and the Phoenix Wrestling program is blessed to have such a great role model.” — G. Mills

Career Highlights:

  • Three-time NYS NYS DII placewinner/two-time state champion (5th in 2010 at 112; state champion in 2011 at 119; state champion in 2012 at 126)
  • Two-time NHSCA All-American (4th in 2010 at 112; 7th in 2011 at 119)

4. Tyler Grimaldi (Half Hollow Hills West/NYS DI)?
Projected 2012-2013 High School Weight Class:?160
Projected College Weight Class:?157/165
College Plans:?Considering Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, Penn, Hofstra, Virginia, Arizona State, Bucknell, and North Carolina State

Tyler Grimaldi

Analysis:?A wrestler with the heart of a lion and the gas tank of a Honda CR-Z, Grimaldi enjoyed a breakout season in 2012, making the most of his first NYS tournament appearance, finishing as the state runner-up at 160 pounds behind only fellow Long Islander/2012 NHSCA Senior National champion Dylan Palacio (a 2012 Top 10 senior honoree; Cornell recruit who will join the Big Red in 2014). As impressive as this showing may have been, those who have followed Grimaldi closely during his scholastic career suggested that we are only now seeing the depth of this young man’s potential. He possesses as high a ceiling as any prospect in the Empire State, regardless of grade level. Every time he steps on the mat, he seems to learn something and get just that much better. When you consider that he went 48-2 last season, the thought that he might have another gear that he has yet to show should strike fear into the hearts of all 160-pounders across New York State and beyond.

Equally outstanding is the job Grimaldi does in the classroom, making him nothing if not the true embodiment of what it means to be a student-athlete. It is this double-barreled weaponry of brains and brawn that makes Tyler such a dream recruit for interested college coaches. The lucky school that lands him will know that they are getting that .5-percent gentleman who will always handle his responsibilities and who will never fail to represent his school and sport with utter class and honor.

A force on the national scene the past few months, Grimaldi became the first member of the 2013 Top 10 to earn multiple All-American distinctions as a junior. A testament to his versatility, Grimaldi proved just how quick his learning curve was when a few months removed from placing fourth at the NHSCA Junior National tournament, he made the journey to Fargo to compete in freestyle, a discipline in which he had only recently begun serious training. However, just like Roy Hobbs took to baseball, Grimaldi would show himself to be a natural, finishing sixth in Junior freestyle in a very deep weight class consisting of the creme de la creme of upperclassmen, including the No. 3 overall prospect from the current senior class Isaiah Martinez (California) and the No. 27 ranked member of the class of 2013 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota; committed to the University of Minnesota). Grimaldi will begin his quest for the state title that escaped him as the 15th-ranked wrestler in the land at his weight.

Words From the Corner:?(On speaking about what makes his wrestler so successful) “Tyler is the whole package. He has all of the talents needed to be a successful wrestler. What he has that many kids do not is a tenacious desire to be the best at whatever he is doing. Being that Tyler only started wrestling in the eighth grade, he had a lot of catching up to do. He has put in more work over the past two years then most wrestlers do in a lifetime.” — Hills West head wrestling coach/former two-time NCAA All-American Mike Patrovich

(On what makes Tyler Grimaldi a great leader/example for the team) “I have built my program around Tyler Grimaldi. He is the best example of what every student-athlete should strive to be like. He is a natural leader and the kids flock to him. He is a great example of what a wrestler should be like both on and off the mat. Tyler is already the most accomplished wrestler in the history Hills West High School and still has one more year to go! Tyler has lifted our program from one of the worst in Suffolk County to a top ten program!” — M. Patrovich

Career Highlights:

  • 2012 NYS DI Runner-up at 160
  • 2012 NHSCA Junior National All-American (4th at 160)
  • 2012 Junior freestyle All-American (6th at 160)

5. Tim Schaefer (Warsaw/NYS DII)?
Projected 2012-2013 High School Weight Class:?182/195
Projected College Weight Class:?184/197

Tim Schaefer (Photo/Pete Rao & Pete Roetzer)

Analysis:?Question: Which member of New York’s Class of 2013 leads the race for most appearances on the podium in Albany? Answer: Tim Schaefer. The current Warsaw senior has qualified for the state tournament five times and has placed in four of them. He began his career in Division I with Lancaster in Section 6 before moving to Warsaw. As a seventh-grader, Schaefer began his medal run with a sixth-place finish in a meat grinder of a 96-pound weight bracket that saw every person who finished ahead of him either win a state title (Bob Dierna, Sean McCormick, Damon McQueen, and three-time champion Brian Realbuto) or make a state finals appearance (Matt Ross). Schaefer would equal the feat the following year at 103. He was fourth at 112 as a sophomore before taking third up several weight classes at 182 this past campaign. His junior year included several quality wins, including victories over the Division I champion and runner-up (John Glenn’s Nick Bellanza and Scarsdale’s Jacob Berkowitz, respectively). His ability to compete with the best in the state since seventh grade in a wide range of weights bodes well for his future.

Words From the Corner:?(On what makes his wrestler a winner) “Tim Schaefer is extremely humble and hard working, but what sets him apart from the rest is that his tenacity and the way that he evaluates himself after a match and constantly works to get better. Being tenacious is what makes Tim able to climb mountains and leap obstacles, and with the spirit of a champion Tim will continue to be without limits.” — Warsaw head wrestling coach, Rob Hirsch

(On the effect that Tim Schaefer’s success has on the Warsaw program) “Tim provides leadership by example during practice and on the mat working nonstop from whistle to whistle. But most of all for a team that continues to compete at the highest levels Tim brings a laidback cool and confident demeanor that relaxes the team so they can wrestle their best in intense situations.” — R. Hirsch

Career Highlights:

  • Five-time NYS tournament qualifier
  • Four-time NYS placewinner (6th in 2008 at 96; 6th in 2009 at 103; 4th in 2011 at 112; 3rd in 2012 at 182)

6. Troy Seymour (Peru/NYS DII)?
Projected 2012-2013 High School Weight Class:?170/182
Projected College Weight Class:?174
College Plans:?Considering Rider and Kent State

Troy Seymour (Photo/Keith Lodell)Analysis:?If there is one wrestler from this group of 10 that has seemingly done his best wrestling when competing on the grandest stages, it is Seymour. Similar to 2012 Top 10 list members, the previously mentioned Palacio and current Brown University freshman Anthony Finocchiaro during the duration of his scholastic career, Seymour has shown an uncanny ability to flip the switch and elevate his game to an entirely different level when opposed by foes from across the nation. A three-time NYS tournament qualifier for perennially strong Peru, Seymour got his first taste of the medal stand as a junior, finishing fourth at 170 pounds behind a plethora of current and future DI wrestlers (Zupan, Mitchell, and Paddock).

Turning the page and looking at his curricula vitae on the national stage, there might not be a more accomplished wrestler in the Top 10 than Seymour. An All-American at every grade level in Virginia Beach, Seymour will head into senior year on a bit of a hot streak, having put forth his best finish ever at the NHSCA-run event, finishing as the national runner-up at 170 pounds. In the two years that preceded this finals appearance, the Section 7 wrestler mustered a fifth place showing as a freshman at 145, followed by a sixth-place finish at 152 pounds.

Words From the Corner:?(On the passion his wrestler feels for the sport of wrestling) “Troy likes wrestling more than 99 percent of the kids I’ve ever coached. It’s all about wrestling. He’s always doing something related to wrestling. He follows Division I closely, gets magazines, follows everything online, and coaches the peewees. He’ll go to a tournament a day earlier just to coach the little kids. He just loves the sport. He’s never said no when I’ve asked him to go to a tournament. We’re at least five hours away from most events. He’s probably spent more time in a car than any New York kid his age travelling to tournaments, but he’s willing to go anywhere. He’s really competitive.” — Peru head wrestling coach Mike Hogan

(On what Troy Seymour has approved upon and how he foresees his wrestler’s success at the next level) “Whatever college Troy chooses will be getting a good one. He’s young for his grade and he’s gotten a lot more physical over the past year after weightlifting hard. He’s always been good on his feet and on bottom and he could ride. But the difference last year was that he could turn people. He became a lot more effective on top.” — M. Hogan

Career Highlights:

  • Three-time NYS DII tournament qualifier
  • 2012 NYS DII placewinner (4th at 170)
  • Three-time NHSCA All-American (5th in 2010 at 145; 6th in 2011 at 152; National runner-up in 2012 at 170)

7. David Almaviva (Shenendehowa/NYS DI)?
Projected 2012-2013 High School Weight Class:?145
Projected College Weight Class:?141/149
College Plans:?Committed to Binghamton

David Almaviva

Analysis:?Much like Grimaldi, 2012 was a coming-out party for Almaviva, as he unleashed all of the raw potential he showed as a schoolboy when he placed as the NHSCA National Middle School runner-up in 2009. A DI state qualifier as a sophomore, Almaviva just missed making All-State by a single victory, dropping a hard-fought decision to the previously referenced Hudson in the money round. However, in compliance with the lessons and virtues preached in the Plainsmen wrestling room, loss was not met by sulking, but rather by growth and development. These are characteristics centered on a sense of perseverance were ones that would aid Almaviva this past February when again he found himself in a spot that neither he, nor his team expected him to be. Upset in the first match of the 2012 DI tournament, it would have been easy for the future Bearcat (a bit of pattern is emerging here among college selections) to cash in his chips and mentally check out. But alas, that simply is not the Shen way. Instead, Almaviva would pick himself off the ground and go on finish the weekend on a five match winning streak (including a 4-1 decision win over top-seeded Dan McDevitt in the consolation semifinals) en route to a bronze medal showing at 138 pounds.

Priding himself on being more than just a folkstyle specialist, Almaviva would open a lot of eyes and turn more than his fair share of heads during the summer months, first knocking off two-time Junior National freestyle All-American/four-time DII state champion/current Indiana freshman Quinton Murphy at the NYS freestyle tournament. Almaviva’s encore would be even better as he entered the confines of the FARGODOME a relative unknown, but left it a few days later as an All-American, finishing eighth at 145 pounds (with his three losses coming at the hands of a trio of InterMat Top 100 recruits, No. 7 Brian Murphy (Illinois), No. 37 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa), and No. 65 Austin Eads (Missouri).

Words From the Corner:?(On the reasons his wrestler is so successful) “David Almaviva is a very gifted athlete. He naturally has that advantage over a lot of opponents. Add to that his commitment and work-ethic, and he becomes a very effective wrestler. David is a 12-month-a-year wrestler. He is very quick on his feet. That is, he often has his opponents reacting to his offensive movement, only to take them down with an explosive leg attack. Additionally, he has a very strong for his weight. When riding an opponent, he often takes them out of the match with an array of tilts and turns.” — Shenendehowa head wrestling coach Rob Weeks

(On the strengths that David Almaviva brings to the Shen wrestling room) “David is very focused on the ‘objective’ when he enters the wrestling room. He tends to bring other wrestlers up to a higher level when they train with him. Again, David is a very gifted wrestler and a lot of technique comes relatively easy to him. So having David in the room is like having an assistant coach in the room. He can assist in the breakdown of technique to guys on the team who may struggle with it. Additionally, David has a dry sense of humor that can break up the monotony that can build up during the season. David has been part of the varsity program since seventh grade and he has developed a level of respect that comes with the time he has spent with us.” — R. Weeks

(On what makes David Almaviva special) “David has some of the best technique I have ever seen. He is like an encyclopedia; he just picks it up; he sees it once, he’s got it, and then he can implement it. So While he and Nick [Kelley] have their different strengths, they work together all the time, and as a tandem, they bring the best out of each other.” — Frank Popolizio, Shenendehowa assistant wrestling coach/founder & head coach of the Journeymen WC

Career Highlights:

  • Two-time NYS DI qualifier/2012 DI State placewinner (3rd at 138)
  • 2012 Junior freestyle All-American (8th at 145)

8. Nick Lupi (Huntington/NYS DI)
Projected 2012-2013 High School Weight Class:?220
Projected College Weight Class:?285

Nick Lupi (Photo/Huntington Public School District)

Analysis:?A wrestler who made this list perhaps not because of his feats to date, but because of the immense potential he has shown. In speaking to Empire State wrestling aficionados, the theme that has emerged is that we are still at the tip of the iceberg in regard to Lupi’s development. To say that he is right up there with fellow Suffolk Country peer Grimaldi in terms of the depth of his potential is an understatement. Lupi still has another level that he feasibly can reach; a frightening notion when you consider that nationally he has already announced his presence with authority, winning a NHSCA National title as sophomore in 2011, before finishing in the top four as a junior last season. It is for this reason this he was a “must have” addition to this list. With co-writer Matt Diano having dropped the ball on guys like Tony Fusco, Tony Lock, and Kyle Stanton last season, there was no way we were going to allow for another ultra talented big man go unrecognized.

As the lone returning medalist at his weight class, not only is Lupi a sure-fire guarantee to improve upon last season’s fifth-place showing in his first trip to the state’s capital, he is also the frontrunner to walk away with the hardware. thought so highly of him that they ranked Lupi as 19th-ranked 220-pounder in the country.

Words From the Corner:?”Nick Lupi has what all our former champions have: Desire, discipline, and determination. Nick has set some high goals for this upcoming season and will not let up until they all are achieved. Having Nick improve each and every year for the past five years shows others that, commitment and hard work pays off. He has done this not only on the wrestling mat, but in the classroom as well.” — Huntington head wrestling coach Kieran Mock

Career Highlights:

  • 2012 NYS DI placewinner (5th at 220)
  • Two-time NHSCA All-American (National champion in 2011 at 220; 4th in 2012 at 220)

9. Kyle Kelly (Chenango Forks/NYS DI)
Projected 2012-2013 High School Weight Class:?113
Projected College Weight Class:?125
College Plans:?Considering Cornell, Binghamton, Bucknell, and Ithaca (NCAA DIII)

Kyle Kelly (Photo/Erin Kelly)

Analysis:?The most accomplished wrestler to come out of the Forks program since former five-time NYS champion/four-time NCAA All-American (Cornell) Troy Nickerson, on paper, Kelly might be the most credentialed wrestler in this year’s Top 10. A pure three-style competitor, Kelly has come, seen, and conquered in every style of the sport known to man. In fact, he is so multidimensional that if tomorrow someone told him to start practicing sambo, by year’s end, the smart money would be on him being a champion in the Russian style. Unfortunately, what has hurt Kelly and resulted in such a low placement on this list is his lack of size. A three-year All-State wrestler/the two-time defending New York state champion at the lightweight weight class (96/99), there is some concern whether or not this immensely gifted student-athlete has the frame to eventually fill out to a college-sized 125 pounds. If Kyle is indeed able to add the necessary muscle mass in the coming years, he could end of being the biggest steal of the bunch as a premier career 125-pounder is not easy to come by. With the plan being to jump two weight classes to 113 in 2013, Kelly will have every opportunity in the world to demonstrate that his unmatched level of success down low is easily replicable as he moves up.

As noted above, when it comes to the scope of one’s national resume, few, if any, wrestler in the Empire State (regardless of grade) can stand toe-to-toe with the wealth of success enjoyed by the Section 4 standout. A 2012 NHSCA Junior National All-American (fifth at 106), Kelly has no doubt proven how adept he is when competing in folkstyle. However, it is his diverse accomplishments in the international styles that set him apart from many of his colleagues. A two-time Junior Greco-Roman All-American (a pair of seventh-place finishes at 98 pounds in 2011 and 106 points in 2012 respectively, Kelly just missed being a double junior AA this past summer, coming a single victory short of the podium in Fargo.

Words From the Corner:?”Kyle is a very dedicated, intelligent, and committed three-sport student-athlete. Plus, he has earned All-American status in all three styles of wrestling, folk-style, freestyle, and Greco-Roman. This level of athleticism and versatility allows Kyle to make improvements in each and every practice. Thus, when Kyle and senior teammate Jake Green work out in our wrestling room they both model a work ethic and wrestling proficiency that all wrestlers from youth level to varsity try to emulate. The Chenango Forks wrestling community is very proud of Kyle’s accomplishments, in the classroom, and in both state and national tournaments.” — Chenango Forks head wrestling coach/2009 USA Wrestling Developmental Coach of the Year recipient Rick Gumble

Career Highlights:

  • Three-time NYS DI placewinner (4th in 2010 at 96; 1st in 2011 at 96; 1st in 2012 at 99)
  • Two-time Junior National Greco-Roman All-American (7th in 2011 at 98; 7th in 2012 at 106)
  • 2012 NHSCA Junior All-American (5th at 106)

10. John “Trey” Aslanian (Edgemont/NYS DII)?
Projected 2012-2013 High School Weight Class:?120
Projected College Weight Class:?125
College Plans:?Considering Harvard, Princeton, and Penn

John “Trey” Aslanian

Analysis:?If there was an award at the New York tournament given to the student-athlete who came the closest to winning it all, then that honor would be to Aslanian who in 2011 had eventual state champion William Koll on his back early into their 106-pound finals before losing a 50/50 position and getting?pinned. In 2012, the dual threat (smarts + athleticism) would again find himself on center stage, but for the second time in as many years would have to settle for the bridesmaid spot on the podium, dropping a 5-0 decision to a wrestler who got hot at the right time, Sean Peacock (who had defeated Koll earlier in the day in the state semifinals). In his only non-finals appearance in 2010, Aslanian would just narrowly miss making it an 3-for-3 sweep, dropping his semifinal bout by the slimmest of margins, 6-5, to eventual state runner-up Drew Longo. Aslanian would win two of his remaining three bouts to emerge with a solid fifth in his Times Union Center debut.

Nationally, Aslanian has opted to test himself against the country’s best in the international styles. A 2011 Junior freestyle All-American (eighth at 112), Aslanian would add an additional bullet point to his collective body of work, compiling a 7-1 overall record at the 2012 Junior National Duals in freestyle. While his attempt to repeat as Junior National All-American in Fargo would be an unsuccessful one, his 4-2 record under the dome more than confirms that he remains one to watch in 2013.

Words From the Corner:?”I think Trey’s biggest strength is the amount of time he puts into honing his craft. He’s very technical for a high school wrestler and he spends lots of time drilling. He watches films of himself and standout wrestlers from around the world. He figures out why some things work and others don’t. He’s a real student of the game. If you line him up against the best in the state, he won’t be the strongest kid or the best natural athlete. He’s achieved what he has by working hard to play to his strengths. Trey has a great gas tank. He just doesn’t get tired. He’s also very academically minded. He’s a great student who takes a lot of AP and honors classes.” — Edgemont head wrestling coach, Peter Jacobson

Career Highlights:

  • three-time NYS DII placewinner (5th in 2010 at 96; 2nd in 2011 at 103; 2nd in 2012 at 113)
  • 2011 Junior freestyle All-American (8th at 113)
  • Compiled a 7-1 record at the 2012 Junior Freestyle Duals.

Honorable Mention Selections (Alphabetical):

  • Chris Araoz (Wantagh/DI) — 2012 NHSCA Junior National champion at 120
  • Zack Bacon (Hornell/DII) — 2012 NYS runner-up at 220
  • Shayne Brady (Carthage/DI) — 2012 NYS runner-up at 170
  • TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading-River/DI) — 2012 NYS 4th place at 120; two-time NHSCA All-American (4th in 2011 at 112, 6th in 2012 at 120)
  • Drew Hull (Royalton-Hartland/DII) — Two-time NYS placewinner (6th in 2011 at 135; 2nd in 2012 at 145); 2011 NHSCA All-American (7th at 135)
  • Austin Keough (Warsaw/DII) — Three-time NYS placewinner (2nd in 2012 at 103, 4th in 2011 at 112, 6th in 2012 at 113)
  • Christopher Koo (Great Neck South/DI) — Two-time NHSCA All-American (6th in 2011 at 145, 7th in 2012 at 152)
  • Connor Lapresi (Lansing/DII) — 2012 NYS champion at 132; two-time NHSCA All-American (8th in 2010 at 112, 8th in 2011 at 125)
  • Matt Leshinger (Sayville/DI) — 2012 NYS placewinner (3rd at 120); defeated 2012 NYS champion, Sean McCabe in the Section 11/Suffolk County tournament
  • Drew Longo (Ardsley/DII) — Two-time NYS placewinner (2nd in 2010 at 96, 5th in 2011 at 112)
  • Bryce Mazurowski (Avon/DII) — 2012 NYS runner-up at 195
  • Dan McDevitt (Wantagh/DI) — 2012 NYS placewinner (5th at 138); two-time NHSCA All-American (8th in 2011 at 130, 5th in 2012 at 138)
  • Cheick Ndiaye (Brooklyn International/DII) — 2012 NYS runner-up at 106
  • Dylan Realbuto (Somers/DI) — Two-time NYS finalist/champion in 2012 at 113; NYS runner-up in 2011 at 96; younger brother of 2012 No. 1 ranked wrestler in NYS Brian
  • Alex Soutiere (Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk/DII) — 2012 NYS runner-up at 285
  • El Shaddai Gilmore Van Hoesen (Columbia/DI) — 2012 NYS runner-up at 285; three-time NHSCA All-American (5th in 2010, 4th in 2011, and 6th in 2012, all in the 285 weight class.

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