*** See the entire Section 1 Championships Friday February 17 at 4pm ***
PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Matt Pasqualini wasn’t completely sure that the team title was in his hands heading into his 160-pound Section 1 championship match on Sunday at Pace University. He kind of figured it out after he saw his teammates in the crowd cheering a bit louder than normal during the match, however.
A win would give Fox Lane the team title for the fourth time in five seasons. If he lost, North Rockland would win the team championship.
No pressure, right?
Pasqualini came through in the clutch, delivering a 7-4 win over Hendrick Hudson’s Phil Siegel to help propel the Foxes to another Section 1 Division 1 title. Fox Lane netted 172 team points, while North Rockland totaled 168.5 points.
“I wasn’t 100 percent sure it was for the team title because my coaches didn’t tell me, they were probably trying to keep me calm,” Pasqualini said. “I kind of had an idea because everyone from Fox Lane was going nuts (in the crowd). It means a lot that I helped win it for the team, everyone was extra happy for me. It’s kind of like I won two titles.”
The Foxes had three other champions in Sam Speno, Danny Ventura and Tommy Grippi.
“I’m really proud of our coaches, they’ve been working us hard,” Grippi said. “Everyone really contributed for us today. [Pasqualini] is really good with pressure and he’s a really good wrestler. He’s been working hard and he came through in the clutch.”
Pasqualini, a senior, fell behind early, but was confident he would come back against Siegel, who he had defeated in the semifinals of the Shoreline Classic. It was his first Section 1 title.
“I’ve been trying to get this title for a long time now,” said Pasqualini, who placed second at 145 pounds last year. “It means a lot to get it my senior year. I just didn’t stop my intensity, I kept going at it. Going in I was confident, but I knew that nothing was sure because he’s a great wrestler and anything can happen out there.”
Grippi, a junior, defeated Mahopac’s Jake Srednicki, 8-0, in the 138-pound championship match. The two had split this season with Srednicki winning the more recent match, but the No. 2-seeded Grippi dominated the top seed in the finals.
“I was really confident coming in,” Grippi said. “I’ve been watching his tape. Two weeks ago he beat me by seven (at Super 16), but I got caught on my back. I just came out really fired up and pulled it out."
Grippi, who won his first Section 1 crown, is confident heading into the state tournament in Albany in two weeks.
“I want to win it,” he said. “I think I can if I wrestle up to my ability.”
Speno won his third Section 1 crown by defeating North Rockland’s Matt Caputo, 6-2.
Ventura, who placed second in the state last year after receiving a wild card, pinned Scarsdale’s John Tambunting in 1:24 in the 132-pound final. It was his first Section 1 title.
Outside of the team title, the biggest story of the day was Ossining’s Alex Delacruz, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. Delacruz pinned Pearl River’s John Muldoon in the 113-pound final in just 24 seconds.
“My plan was just to stay low and push the pace,” said Delacruz, a sophomore. “That’s pretty much what I did. I pushed the pace and it worked out, I pinned him early. It’s a great feeling.”
In the semifinals, Delacruz was trailing Somers’ Dylan Realbuto 11-6, but scored a third-period pin. Delacruz had never defeated Realbuto before. Realbuto placed second in the state at 96 pounds last season.
“I had a cradle locked in and I was just kind of waiting for the perfect time to roll him over,” Delacruz said. “It was a really exciting win and I’m looking forward to seeing him again at states hopefully. My goal at states is definitely to win it and surprise a lot of people. I want to show that Ossining wrestling is back.”
North Rockland crowned two first-time champions in Mike Caputo (145 pounds) and Jake DiMarsico (120 pounds). Caputo, a senior, bested Yorktown’s Joe Mastro, 7-2. DiMarsico came through with a takedown in overtime to defeated Nyack’s Adit Thakur, 3-1.
The Red Raiders also had another second-place finisher in Blaise Benderoth, who fell to Brewster’s Mike Parise, 3-2, at 106 pounds.
Yorktown set two school records as they sent four grapplers to the finals and came away with two champions in juniors Steven Sabella and David Varian. Both grapplers won in dramatic fashion.
“I couldn’t be prouder,” Yorktown coach John Tornambe said. “They’ve worked so hard all year. Stephen’s been wrestling since he was a little kid. It’s good for our program and our school. This program has come a long way.”
In the 170-pound final, No. 5-seeded Sabella took down Scarsdale’s Jack Braun (No. 2 seed) in overtime to earn a 4-2 win.
“I wanted that so badly,” Sabella said. “When it went to overtime, I knew I wasn’t giving up anything. Once I saw the opportunity with his legs a little off balanced, that’s when I knew I had to attack. This means everything to me. It’s what I’ve been working for day in and day out.”
Varian, the No. 2 seed, defeated New Rochelle’s Justin Douglas, 3-2, in overtime. The junior scored a reversal in overtime. Douglas then escaped, but Varian was able to hold him off.
“I know there was going to be one opportunity in the match and I knew if I could take that opportunity I’d win,” Varian said. “It’s just amazing how you work for four months, the off-season and during the summer when it’s 100 degrees, and it all comes out right now in six minutes and change.”
Varian, who placed sixth at 285 last year, was the only Husker to place last season. This season they had five grapplers place and took fifth place.
“We’re focused on our goals this year,” Sabella said. “Last year we had a good squad, but we needed things to be worked on. In the off-season, we really stuck to it. We had our eyes set on our goals. And we still have another year, we're juniors.”
“It’s experience,” Tornambe said of the difference this year. “Last year we could have done more, but we had a lot of kids in that position for the first time. This time they had more experience.”
Douglas, the No. 8 seed, had an incredible run to the finals. He defeated Hen Hud’s Sean Barry, the top seed, in the quarterfinals in overtime and then won in overtime again in the semifinals, defeating Ketcham’s Tyler Vanderlinde.
Scarsdale’s Jacob Berkowitz won his second Section 1 title by defeating Yorktown’s Thomas Murray, 7-2, in the 182-pound final.
New Rochelle, which finished in third place, had one champion in Nick Barbaria (99 pounds), who bested Port Chester’s Kevin Rodriguez, 14-3.
Somers senior Brian Realbuto won his fifth Section 1 title by pinning Brewster’s Kyle McAlpin in 1:18.
“I’m really happy I got to finish my sectional career at a high by getting my fifth title,” said Realbuto, who is a two-time state champion. “I took [McAlpin] down a couple times then I was working on top. He’s kind of strong and my normal stuff wasn’t working, so I just went for my bread and butter. I went to the high crotch and cracked down and went for his head.”
Somers’ Dom DeVita earned his first Section 1 title by defeating New Rochelle’s Tyler Lilly, 3-2.
The Tuskers finished fourth as a team.
“Overall as a team I think we could have done a little better, but I’m happy,” Realbuto said. “Dom wrestled a great match in the finals and I was really happy for him. He’s really been working hard and he deserves it.”
Mahopac’s Mike Spinelli defeated Horace Greeley’s Scott Wymbs, 12-2, in the 195-pound championship match.
1.Fox Lane, 172 points; 2. North Rockland, 168.5; 3. New Rochelle, 119; 4. Somers, 115; 5. Yorktown, 104; 6. Mahopac, 99.5; 7. Brewster, 94.5; 8. Arlington, 81; 9. Scarsdale, 76.5; 10T. Hen Hud, 70; 10T. Suffern, 70
99: Nick Barbaria (New Rochelle) maj. dec. Kevin Rodriguez (Port Chester), 14-3
106: Brewster’s Mike Parise (Brewster) dec. Blaise Benderoth (North Rockland), 3-2
113: Alex Delacruz (Ossining) pin John Muldoon (Pearl River), :24
120: Jake DiMarsico (North Rockland) dec. Adit Thakur (Nyack), 3-1 (OT)
126: Sam Speno (Fox Lane) dec. Matt Caputo (North Rockland), 6-2
132: Danny Ventura (Fox Lane) pin John Tambunting (Scarsdale), 1:24
138: Tommy Grippi (Fox Lane) maj. dec. Jake Srednicki (Mahopac), 8-0
145: Mike Caputo (North Rockland) dec. Joe Mastro (Yorktown), 7-2
152: Brian Realbuto (Somers) pin Kyle McAlpin (Brewster), 1:18
160: Matt Pasqualini (Fox Lane) dec. Phil Siegel (Hendrick Hudson), 7-4
170: Steve Sabella (Yorktown) dec. Jack Braun (Scarsdale), 4-2 (OT)
182: Jacob Berkowitz (Scarsdale) dec. Thomas Murray (Yorktown), 7-2
195: Mike Spinelli (Mahopac) maj. dec. Scott Wymbs (Greeley), 12-2
220: Dom DeVita (Somers) dec. Tyler Lilly (New Rochelle), 3-2
285: David Varian (Yorktown) dec. Justin Douglas (New Rochelle), 3-2 (OT)
99: Jon Errico (Byram Hills) dec. Derek DiMarsico (North Rockland), 7-0
106: Nick Tolli (Arlington) dec. Alex Oliveto (Suffern), 12-5
113: Dylan Realbuto (Somers) maj. dec. Troy Feniger (North Rockland), 9-0
120: Liam Erickson (Brewster) maj. dec. Mark Settembrino (Ketcham), 9-1
126: Juan Pablo Loja (Sleepy Hollow) dec. Tommy Gonska (Brewster), 4-1
132: Colby Kash (Clarkstown North) dec. Luke Minasi (John Jay-EF), 3-1
138: Charlie Garcia (Tappan Zee) dec. Max Bachmeier (Mahopac), 4-3
145: Dale White (John Jay-EF) pin Giancarlo Morreale (Fox Lane), 4:23
152: Brad Marvin (Ketcham) dec. Ben Miller (Mamaroneck), 1-0
160: Nick Giella (Suffern) pin Dion Duran (Mamaroneck), 2:07
170: Aaron Butler (New Rochelle) inj. def. Brenden Nunziata (Arlington)
182: Ryan Boyle (North Rockland) dec. Tome Marku (Clarkstown South), 6-2
195: Deondre Pierce (Beacon) dec. Trent Lofaro (Ossining), 3-1
220: Danny Clune (Fox Lane) dec. Bryan Burger (Suffern), 5-0
285: Sean Barry (Hen Hud) maj. dec. Conner Reigotti (North Rockland), 10-0
99: Alfredo Almedo (Arlington) dec. Brandon Fay (Fox Lane), 6-2
106: Bryan Ferrandi (New Rochelle) dec. Jack Wagner (Hen Hud), 5-1
113: Zack Boker (Mahopac) dec. Travis Becker (Arlington), 2-0 (OT)
120: Jimmy Kaishian (Yorktown) dec. Ben Ettlinger (Fox Lane), 8-6 (OT)
126: Danny Murphy (Ketcham) dec. Jon Russo (Greeley), 4-1
132: Kevin McDermott (Hen Hud) maj. dec. Kyle Turchick (Somers), 9-0
138: Christian Wassweiler (Beacon) pin Joe Koshakow (Scarsdale), 4:33
145: Ryan Becker (Clarkstown North) dec. Andrew Artrip (Suffern), 7-0
152: Desmond Djekovic (Tappan Zee) dec. Aaron Johnson (John Jay-EF), 7-0
160: Aaron Gallagher (Mahopac) inj. def. Anthony Scott (Arlington)
170: Brett Perry (John Jay-EF) dec. Declan Mayer (John Jay-CR), 7-1
182: Jonathan Stokes (New Rochelle) dec. Jason DiBenedetto (Somers), 6-2
195: Paul Okeke (Clarkstown South) dec. Nick Giancaspro (Somers), 6-3
220: Jason Dorsainville (East Ramapo) pin Chris McGann (Tappan Zee), 4:27
285: Mike Manni (Tappan Zee) by forfeit over Tyler Vanderlinde (Ketcham)
Follow Rob DiAntonio on Twitter @MSGV_RJD