Big 10 Invitational will be good tuneup for wrestling sectionals
The last chance to establish seeding criteria for the postseason comes today for Section II wrestlers.
A preview of some of the possible finals at next weekend’s Division I, Class 2 (formerly Class B) tournament could be in store at the Big 10 Invitational, where Shenendehowa, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Amsterdam, Queensbury, Guilderland, Schalmont and Shaker are among the other entries at the event, hosted by Albany High School.
“We’re bringing most of our experienced kids,” said Ken Benton of his Big 10 champion Amsterdam Rams, who will be grouped with Burnt Hills and Queensbury next weekend. “It should be a very good tournament, with a lot of top wrestlers.”
Included in that group are his own Brandon Lapi (132 pounds), a two-time state top-four place finisher who went over the 200-win mark last weekend, James Marquez (30-7 at 160), Dal Orengo (26-9 at 138), Ken Garcia (27-9 at 195) and Rob Santiago (170).
Burnt Hills, 8-0 in the Suburban Council and 27-4 overall, is led by state-qualifier Joey Butler (138), who placed eighth at the Eastern States, 152-pounder Jake Ashcraft, 29-2 Jack Hatton (170), Anthony Papa (182), Race Viedt (195) and Nico Fragale (220).
Shenendehowa will be making its first appearance at the event, using it as a makeup for its own canceled early-season dual meet.
“A lot of times, there’s not a lot of criteria for the [state qualifier] seeding meeting, especially since there is no more North/South Duals,” said Plainsmen coach Rob Weeks, whose team won its own invy last weekend. “This should help, because some of the top kids could face each other.”
State bronze medalists Nick Kelley (30-1, 24 pins at 138) and David Almaviva (31-3 at 145) lead a strong Shen team that also features Levi Ashley (21-4 at 182/195), Zack Joseph (23-6 at 152), Corey Ali (22-4 at 113), Kevin Parker (23-5 at 120) and Ali Hashimee (22-2 at 160/170).
Shaker brings two-time Section II champ Blake Retell (33-3 at 120), who recently earned his 200th win, and Nick Dodd (28-4 at 160).
Guilderland is led by its lightweight tandem of Mike Lainhart and Josh Loguidice.
Two-time state qualifier Nick Gallo (31-3 at 160), Anthony Paturso (152, 28-4), and Paul Lambert (25-4 at 120) lead Schalmont, while Colonial Council champ Cobleskill-Richmondville shows 170-pounder Mike Green at 30-1 and Derrick Knight at 28-3 at 182 pounds.
The top out-of-section entries include state fifth-place finisher Mike Lupi (220) and Anthony Puca (285) of Huntington, 170-pounder Brad Perry of John Jay-East Fishkill, Eastern States champ Chris Cuccolo (99) and James Stramiello (113) of Pine Bush, Pablo Rosales and Alex Ortiz (220) of Middletown and 25-1 James Kellett (160) of Northern Adirondack.
Some of the best small-school wrestlers will be at the Ken Baker Classic (formerly known as the Wasaren League invy) at Cambridge.
Sectional champs Carter Merecki (22-2 at 120) and Tyler Morris (17-0 at 182) of Salem, John Diekel (31-51 at 132/138) of Whitehall, Luis Weierbach (27-0 at 106) and Brad Burns (180, 18-2) and Joe Sprung (22-0 at 220) of Berne-Knox-Westerlo are expected to compete.