Varsity Wrestling 2023-24 Preview

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2023 Runner-Up Mahopac Hungry to Reclaim its Past Greatness

By Tony Pinciaro
Mahopac’s Charles Przymylski, a section finalist last year at 101, hopes to take next step in 2023-24.

MAHOPAC enters the 2023-24 Varsity wrestling season as a hungry team.

Last year, coach Steve Tornambe’s team had an excellent season, but runner-up finishes in the Section 1 Dual-Meet Championship and Section 1 Division I (large school) Champ ionships left Mahopac unfulfilled.

“The team, as well as myself, believe that the 2022-23 season was nothing but exceptional,” senior Nicolas Greco said. “From battling our way up to the top from an underestimating seed in the Section 1 dual meet to putting up tons of points with only five wrestlers competing during sectionals. We can’t be anything less than proud.

“Mahopac wrestling is always hungry for that top spot and  that is something that will continue on no matter where we place. But our second place finishes at both the dual-meet tournament and at sectionals has spiked that hunger even more. And this year we are determined to finish the job on top.”

Greco, who has a runner-up and fifth-place sectional finish, is one of three sectional place finishers returning. Sophomore Sophomores Henry Ramirez (fifth in the section) and Charles Przymylski (sectional runner-up) are also back. Przymylski came within a win of placing top-six in the state championships last year.

Mahopac also returns a core group that includes senior Mike Cuozzo, juniors Rob DeMauro and Dan Walsh, and freshman Pace Zeiler.

Somers’ Ryan Ball returns in 2023-24 as sectional champ D1 at 108 pounds.

The returnees, along with the prospective varsity newcomers did not wait in preparation for this season, especially after the second-place finishes.

“Our team continued to hold practices even when we were in the postseason,” said Greco, a four-year varsity wrestler. “We also started pre-season practices as soon as the school year began. But, that does not mean our wrestlers took the summer off. We all were putting in our individual work whether that was practicing with a club team, lifting weights in the gym, or going for runs around our neighborhoods.”

As a result, Mahopac was ahead of schedule when practice began. Greco has seen the potential this team possesses.

“I have seen improvements in all corners of the room,” Greco said. “Every one of our wrestlers have improved upon the skills they had from the year prior and new wrestlers are showing massive potential to keep our program on top during the years to come. I truly think we will be able to accomplish our goals for this season.”

Sophomores Jack Clark and Preston Kirwan and freshman Justin Cabuhat are three newcomers who have established themselves as promising wrestlers.

Tornambe, in his fifth year at Mahopac, knows his team is ready to let loose and begin the season focused on their goals of winning a league title, the dual-meet (Division I) crown and sectional team championship.

“Taking second place last year in both the tournament and dual championship didn’t sit well with us all year,” said Tornambe, a two-time sectional champ and fifth-place state finisher for Ossining. “But, like the rhino, we never move backwards, only forwards.

“We develop kids here at Mahopac. Our youth program, our modified and JV all have coaches that are Mahopac graduates and they want to see the program succeed. Last year, we said our windshield is bigger than our rear-view mirror!!! We need to see what we will say this year!”

Mahopac is the ninth seed in the Section 1 Dual-Meet Division I (large school) Championship. The Indians will host a quad meet and wrestle No. 24 Clarkstown South. They will face the winner of archrival No. 8 Carmel-No. 25 Mount Vernon. These matches are scheduled for Thursday, 12/14.



Coach: Tom Looby (21st year)

League favorite: Yorktown

Section favorite, Division I: Fox Lane

Top returnees: Patrick Williams, So., 101; Thomas Looby, So., 124 (2023: Third in the section/Division I); Liam Ford, Jr., 145; Dylan Ramirez, Jr., 152;  Erik Jakobsen, Sr., 160; Ian Sutherland, Sr., 190 (third in the section); Derek Karlsson, Sr., 285; Nick Howell, Sr., 170; Ryan Brace, Jr., 215; Marco Accurso, Sr., 285; Eduardo Crisostomo, Fr., 145.

Key newcomers: Logan Karlsson, 152; Luca Borneman, 116.

Strengths: Full lineup.

Coach’s season outlook: We have a relatively young team with many returning starters. I say young because we have two seventh-graders on the team. We will have a full lineup on what looks to be a strong team.

Noteworthy: Brewster is seeded 11th in the Section 1 Division I Dual-Meet Tournament and will open against No. 22 Horace Greeley, 12/14. … Looby was an all-section wrestler for Mahopac.



Coach: Joey Grippi (ninth year)

2022-23 record: 11-7

2023 sectional results: Four All-Section wrestlers, including one section champion; Top-10 place as a team in Division I Sectional Tournament.

Graduated seniors: Seven.

League: Sleepy Hollow, Eastchester, Rye, JJCR, BBHVW

Top returnees: Nick Fortugno, So., 108 (2023 Section 1 Division I (Large-School) Champ); Neil Paulercio, Jr., 124/132 (3rd in section); Thomas Tsoi, Jr., 138/145 (4th in section).

Key newcomers: Vincenzo Mannello, 7th-grade, 101; Vince Palermiti, Fr., 124/131.

Strengths: Strong core of returning wrestlers with experience and success at the varsity level. Good youth coming up from modified through varsity. Numbers continue to grow year after year.

Question marks: Numbers in our upper weight classes are a little on the low side.

Coach’s season outlook: We have a strong team that should be able to compete in dual meets and tournaments. We are returning multiple section-placewinners and have some strong up-and-comers which makes for an exciting season for our team.

Noteworthy: 2022 Byram Hills’ graduate Justin Fortugno, a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, is ranked 14th in the nation (Division III) at 141 pounds. … Former Fox Lane wrestling standout and younger brother, Peter Grippi, is back as the varsity assistant coach. … Joey Grippi was a two-time Section 1 Division I champion for Fox Lane and was an All-American at Springfield College. … The team is the 12th seed in the Section 1 Division I Dual-Meet Tournament and wrestles White Plains in the first round, 12/14.

Seth Harrison (11th year, 20th overall at Carmel)

2022-23 record: 11-7

Sectional results, Division I: Ninth place.

Graduated seniors: Three.

League: Mahopac, Arlington, John Jay-East Fishkill, R.C. Ketcham.

Top returnees: Leo Venables, Sr. (2023: Section 1 Division I champion, fourth in the state); Ken Keltto, So. (third in the section); Alex Mangual; Nikitta Rusnak, So., Chase Alloca, So., Jack Robinson; Jai Talreja; Robbie Addonizio.

Key newcomers: Eustace Sermier, 124; Nico Ruiz, So.; Kevin Brey, 7th-grade.

Coach’s season outlook: We would look to remain competitive within our league and section and perhaps contend for championships within both. As a team we intend to peak as we enter the postseason.

Noteworthy: Carmel’s non-league schedule includes matches against Ossining, Fox Lane and CHSAA power Iona Prep. … Harrison was a Section 1 champion for Carmel and former coach Bill Twardy for whom he later became an assistant. … Carmel is seeded eighth in the Section 1 Division I Dual-Meet Tournament and will wrestle No. 25 Mount Vernon, 12/14.



Coach: Joe Bucello (third year)

2022-23 record: 4-4

2023 sectional results: Eighth (Division II-Small School).

Graduated seniors: Three.

League favorite: Pleasantville.

Section favorite, Division II: Nanuet.

Top returnees: Frederick Mekhi Smithwick, Sr., 170 (2023: Section 1 runner-up); Henry Martin, Jr., 152 (sectional runner-up); Teo Popolizio, Sr., 160; Jack Kooney, Jr., 160.

Key newcomers: Jonathan Suarez, 122; Cooper Goda, 215; Zack Khan, 190.

Strengths: Our numbers have increased dramatically so we have a lot of depth. Our middle weights are very tough.

Question marks: We are inexperienced so we will see how fast they pick up this sport.

Coach’s season outlook: We will work hard, improve daily and get some hardware.

Noteworthy: Gaberil Camalieri is wrestling for Oneonta. … Croton wrestles Irvington in an out-bracket match of the Section 1 Division II Dual-Meet Tournament, 12/12. The winner advances to the first round, 12/13.


Coach Anthony Rodrigues (11th year)

2022-23 record: 17-5

Graduated seniors: Five.

Top returnees: Antonio Cambareri, Fr.; Brandon Lee, Jr.; Jake Long, Jr.; Wilmer Navarro, Sr.; Daas Mcphee-Djan, Sr.; Luke Ryan, So.; Barron Ransom, Jr.; Alex Berisha, Jr. (2023: Section 1 champion); Kevin Salazar.

Noteworthy: Fox Lane has won the Section 1 Dual-Meet Division I Championship five consecutive years. The Foxes open defense of their title against John Jay-East Fishkill, 12/14. The winner gets top-seeded Yorktown, also, 12/14. … 2023 graduate Justin Gierum is wrestling for Sacred Heart.



Coach: Shane Turrone (eighth year)

2022-23 record: 6-11

2023 sectional results, Division II: Fourth

Graduated seniors: Three.

League favorite: Nanuet & Hen Hud

Section favorite, Division II: Nanuet & Hendrick Hudson

Top returnees: Kyle Peske, Sr. (2023: Sectional champion, lost in the blood round at States); Mason Dietz, Jr., (Sectional champion; lost in blood round at states); Giovanni Gio, Sr., (sectional runner-up); Shawn O’Mara, Jr. (sectional runner-up);

Ismael Andrade, Sr. (third at sectionals); David Perez (fifth at sectionals); Ben Kushiner.

Key newcomers: Kenneth Mora, So., Ruben Lemus-Villeda, Eighth-grade; Johnathan Scank, Sr.

Coach’s season outlook: This should be one of the best seasons in recent history for Hendrick Hudson as we look to have a solid lineup throughout the year, as long as we stay healthy. Our season goal is to capture my first sectional title as a head coach.

Noteworthy: Andrade is 37 wins away from 100. … 2020 graduate Beckett Herman is wrestling at UMASS. … Scank wrestled as an eighth-grader, stepped away and is returning this year. … Turrone was a top-three sectional finisher for Hen Hud and amassed more than 100 wins. … Hen Hud is the top seed in the Section 1 Division II Dual Meet Tournament, 12/13.



Coach: Anthony Tortora (fifth year, 13th overall)

2022-23 record: 12-8

Sectional results: 10th (Division I).

Graduated seniors: Four, including Section 1 champion Josh Hametz.

League: Ossining, Fox Lane, Port Chester, White Plains.

Section favorite, Division I: Yorktown.

Top returnees: Kai Luckerath; Chris Nocca; Corey Fitzsimmons.

Key newcomers: Nick Debellis; Anthony Stewart.

Strengths: Talented young team, with one senior.

Question marks: It’s good and bad being young. A lot of untested wrestlers.

Coach’s season outlook: Our goal is to get better every day and turn some heads as the postseason arrives.

Noteworthy: Former Horace Greeley two-time sectional finalist Jacob Ferreira graduated in May and is now an assistant coach. … Tortora was a two-time sectional champion and a top-five NYS place finisher for the Quakers. … Debellis is the son of assistant coach Mike Debellis. … The Quakers wrestle Brewster in the first round of the Section 1 Division I Dual-Meet Tournament, 12/14.



Coach: Dave Bergen (seventh year)

2022-23 record: 16-8

2023 sectional results: One state qualifier – Stephen Carroll.

Graduated seniors: Six.

League favorite: Defending league champs, Yorktown.

Section favorite, Division I: Not sure yet

Top returnees: Alex Ryzy, Sr., 190 (2023 stats: 27 wins, All-League); Tim Mooney, Sr., 160; Dan Hurley, Jr., 285 (24 wins, All-League); Matt Sanchez, Jr., 138; Alex Macias, Jr., 131; Matt Clyman, So., 138; Thomas Mekuto, So., 152; Steven Sommovigo, Fr., 124; Dan Horowitz, 8th-grade, 101 (22 wins)/

Key newcomers: Bryan DePascale, Jr., 131; Ethan Tavel, Jr., 116; Brandon Muniz, Jr., 145; Joe DeSantis, Jr., 190; Zach Morey, Jr., 170; Owen McManus, Fr., 108; Mike Santoiemma, Fr., 145; Martin Ryzy, 8th-grade, 160.

Strengths: Increased numbers. We have more wrestlers than ever before and we are 3-4 wrestlers deep in each weight class. This creates a lot of competition in the room which makes everyone better.

Question marks: We have many wrestlers stepping into the varsity lineup for the first time. They have been wrestling for a few years but making the step up to varsity is big. I am excited to see how they do.

Coach’s season outlook: My goal is to be as competitive as possible every year. We have had a solid dual-meet team for the past several years and we would like to continue that success. We came in second in our league last season and it would be great to win it this year. We aren’t returning any all-section wrestlers, but I am confident that we will have some by the end of this year.

Noteworthy: 2023 graduate Stephen Carroll is wrestling at Elmhurst University in Chicago. … Lakeland/Panas has two sectional champions in program history: Craig Glenn and Joe Hauser. … Prior to coaching Lakeland /Panas, Bergen was the White Plains’ varsity wrestling coach. … Lakeland/Panas will wrestle Clarkstown North in the first round of the Section 1 Division I Dual-Meet Championship, 12/14.


Tom Larm (fifth year, 12th overall)

2022-23 record: 13-7

2023 sectional results: Third (Division I).

Graduated seniors: Two.

Top returnees: Anthony Lofaro (2023: all-section, NYS qualifier); Marlon Wheatley (fifth place in the section); Colin Liebertz (fifth-place in the section); Matt Keneally; Kayvon Ray; Matty Cascione.

Key newcomers: Sal DiSenso; Nicky Lofaro; Angel Ibarra;  Jonathan Abzun; Ayden Moore; Abass Mansour.

Strengths: We are pretty experienced throughout our lineup and have some experienced back-up wrestlers at certain weights to lean on as well.

Question marks: It’s a long season with many competitions so health is always a question mark.

Coach’s season outlook: We’re excited to get back on the mat and improve on last year. We lost two accomplished starters to graduation, but returned a lot of experienced wrestlers. We also have a few middle-schoolers with experience that will compete for starting spots and some wrestlers returning from injuries that kept them out last year.  It is a long season with many peaks and valleys, but we’re working to peak at the right time and make some noise in February.

Noteworthy: 2023 graduates Tristan Robinson-July and Devin Almodovar are wrestling at Cortland and SUNY-Ulster, respectively. Robinson-July was a sectional champion last year. … Ossining is the second seed in the Section 1 Division I Dual-Meet Tournament and opens with Harrison, 12/14. … Prior to becoming the head coach, Larm was the assistant coach. … Ibarra is the son of three-time Ossining sectional champ, Manny Ibarra. … Ossining opened the season going 4-1 and finishing second in its annual Michael Nardone Tournament. Anthony Lofaro and Wheatley each went 5-0, including Lofaro’s 100th varsity win. Kenneally, Ibarra and DiSenso were 4-1 apiece.



Coach: Raul Ortiz (eighth year)

Top returnees: Martin Palomeque, Sr., 160 (2023 record: 23-7); Naseer Johnson, Sr., 190 (2023 record: 26-8, fifth in the section); Ruben Gray, Sr., 285 (2023 record: 23-10, third in the section).
Coach’s season outlook: Peekskill’s goal for the season is to continue to build the program from the bottom up. All coaches at Peekskill have the same common goal of making Peekskill a powerhouse, and a respectful program amongst Section 1 and the state level.

Noteworthy: Ortiz was a two-time sectional champion at Sleepy Hollow. … Palomeque is off to an 8-0 start this season and Gray is 7-1. … Peekskill wrestles Eastchester/Tuckahoe, 12/14, in the first round of the Section 1 Division I Dual-Meet Tournament.



Coach: Bob Bernarducci (33rd year)

2022-23 record: 13-7

2023 sectional results: Fifth in Division II (small school).

Graduated seniors: Christian Perlleshi, Luke LaMagna.

League favorite: Putnam Valley.

Section favorite, Division II: Nanuet, Hen Hud, Sleepy Hollow.

Top returnees: Alex Wish, So., 108 (2023: Sectional runner-up), Fredy Mejia, Sr., (Sixth in sectionals); Jesse Straus, So., 116, (Fourth in sectionals); Ciaran Egan, So., 124 (sectional runner-up); Vincent Shahinillari, Jr., 138 (Fourth in sectionals); Liam Keating, Jr., 138 (Fifth in sectionals); Grant Kelly, Sr., 145 (Third in sectionals); Adriana Palumbo, Jr., 152; Asa Nunberg, Sr., 170 (Fourth in sectionals); Sasha McGaffey, Jr., 160.

Key newcomers: Kobe Rodriguez, Jr., 101; Ben Balazs, So., 131; Taj Lichti, Jr., 131; Ojiah Algiere, So., 145; Gjin Zeka, Jr., 152; Jamie Bove, So., 190; Michael Taylor, Fr., 215; Mathew Kwek, Jr., 215.

Strengths: Light and middleweights, depth in the middle weights.

Coach’s season outlook: I hope to be competitive in every match. We want to challenge Putnam Valley for the league championship and peak for sectionals.

Noteworthy: Last year, Bernarducci became the winningest coach in Section 1 history, surpassing former Somers and Mahopac coach, Dennis DiSanto. … Bernarducci is the second longest-tenured wrestling coach in Section 1 behind Sleepy Hollow’s Brian Tompkins.. … The Perlleshi brothers – Victor, senior, and Christian, freshman, both wrestle for Johnson and Wales. … Pleasantville is seeded fourth in the Section 1 Division II Dual-Meet Tournament and will wrestle No. 4 Pearl River in a quarterfinal, 12/13. Pearl River beat Pleasantville last year for the title.



Coach: Will Carano (25th year)

2023 sectional results: Third in Division II.

Top returnees: Nick Paonessa, 118 (2023: sectional runner-up); Esuar Ordonez, 126 (Section 1 champion and most outstanding wrestler, eighth in NYS); Nick DiMichele, 145; Alex Gecaj, 189 (Sectional runner-up); Jaden Tesher, 285 (Sectional runner-up).

Key newcomers: Many new athletes this year that bring a lot of great new energy and zeal to the room.

Strengths: This is a very close team that works hard to focus on what we have control over … our schoolwork, behavior and wrestling preparation in the room.

Coach’s season outlook: My goal is always the same. We use the season, as a whole, to kill our weaknesses and be ready to compete for sectionals/states, but we will not overlook anyone at any time. We need to live right and train right to be the most prepared we can be at each weight and to have the best chance possible because nothing is guaranteed. That’s all we have control over.

Noteworthy: Ordonez enters the season with 85 varsity wins. 2021 Graduate and three-time Section champion Will Carano wrestles at the University of Iowa. … Carano, a Section 1 champion for Mahopac, created the Putnam Valley wrestling program and has been varsity’s only head coach. … Putnam Valley’s modified program is coached by former Mahopac varsity wrestling head man and Putnam Valley H.S. Math teacher Joe Mahoney. Mahoney is also a Mahopac graduate and former Indian wrestler. … Putnam Valley is the third seed in the Section 1 Division II Dual-Meet Tournament. The Tigers wrestle in a quarterfinal, 12/13, against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.



Coach: Ron DiSanto, Jr. (10th year)

2022-23 record: 18-7

2023 sectional results: 14th – Division I.

Graduated seniors: Four.

Top returnees Ryan Ball, So., 116 (2023: section champ, went 3-2 at states); Liam Dwyer, Sr., 131 (fifth at sectionals); Dalton Baloy, Sr., 131; Ethan Steuber, So., 108; Derek Kuchinsky, Fr., 138; Robert Vrabel, Sr., 152; Justin Daniyan, Sr., 190.

Key newcomers: Cal Ehrmann, So., 126.

Strengths: Experience and depth in certain weight classes.

Question marks: We will have some lineup battles at weight classes with non-returners.

Coach’s season outlook and goals: We plan to show improvement and peak by the postseason.

Noteworthy: Matt Kelly, who started at Somers and finished at Iona Prep, is wrestling at Rhode Island College and ranked 10th in the country for Division III. … Somers/North Salem will host the annual Eric D’Agnese Memorial (43rd annual) Wrestling Tournament. … The Tuskers are the fifth seed in the Section 1 Division I Dual-Meet Tournament. They wrestle Mamaroneck, 12/14, in a first-round match.


Coach: Benjamin Karol (second year)

2022-23 record: 3-9

Graduated seniors: Seven.

League: White Plains, Ossining, Fox Lane, Port Chester, Horace Greeley.

Top returnees: Marcelino Chico, Jr., 116 (2023: sectional qualifier).

Strengths: We have a large team with a lot of youth and hard workers.

Coach’s season outlook: We have a large freshman and sophomore class. There are a lot of newcomers that are working really hard in the room and could find their way into the starting line up at some point during the season. We want to continue to improve from last season as individuals and a team.


Noteworthy: White Plains wrestles Byram Hills/Briarcliff/Valhalla/Westlake in the first round of the Section 1 Division I Dual-Meet Tournament, 12/14.



Coach: Jimmy Kaishian (third year)

2022-23 record:16-5

2023 sectional team: Fourth – Division I.

Graduated seniors: One.

League: Somers/North Salem, Lakeland/Panas, Peekskill, Brewster.

Top returnees: Joe Tornambe, Sr., 145/138 (2-time section champ, seventh in NYS in 2022); George Gjergi, Sr., 285 (2023: sixth at sectionals); Ronan Forde, Sr., 170-190 (injured midseason); Nick Bucello, Sr., 138/145 (third in the section); Gio Tornambe, Fr.; Tyler Caricati, Fr., 160; Anthony Muscolino, Jr., 152; Rowan Larsen, 131.

Key newcomers: Rocco Lore, So., 215; Frank Scalera, So., 116; Cooper Constantine, 101 (2023: JV section champ).

Strengths: Full Lineup; returning depth.

Question marks: Can we make it over the hump against top teams?

Coach’s season outlook: We have a talented and invested team. The average age of our team last year was 14. This year we have some big talent in our senior class, but we also have young guys I expect to step up in a major way. We have high goals and are looking to set a tradition of success in Yorktown for years to come.

Noteworthy: Dillon Carter is wrestling at Rhode Island College, Jason Glicksman is wrestling for Roger Williams University and Andrew Finateri is wrestling at Stevens Institute of Technology. … Joe and Gio Tornambe’s father, John, coached Kaishian and his teammates to a league title for Yorktown. … Kaishian was an All-American for Ithaca. … Yorktown is the top seed in the Section 1 Division I Dual-Meet Tournament. The Cornhuskers open with Port Chester, 12/14.






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