Long Island Wrestler of the Year
JAMEL HUDSON, St. Anthony’s, 132 lbs, Senior
Season Record: 35-1; Career Record: 110-15
Hudson became only the fourth CHSAA wrestler to win a public schools state championship and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. He was also named the National Wrestling Coaching Association’s (NWCA) New York Wrestler of the Year.
Nassau Wrestler of the Year
DAN SPURGEON, Plainedge, 170 lbs, Senior
Season Record: 50-0; Career Record: 165-18
Spurgeon won a state title and is the only Long Island wrestler to win a least 50 matches without a loss. With a 6-3 win over Carthage's Shayne Brady in the state championship, he became the first Red Devil to win states in 22 years.
NICK BELLANZA, Glenn, 182 lbs, Senior
Season Record: 43-3; Career Record: 103-22
Bellanza lost the Suffolk final via pin, so he entered the state tournament as a respected wild card rather than a serious championship contender. In the quarters, he upset second-seeded Matt Lashaway of Queensbury, riding a late-season revival to championship glory with a 9-6 win over Scarsdale's Jacob Berkowitz.
JAMES DeKRONE, Glenn, 138 lbs, Senior
Season Record: 45-4; Career Record: 170-15
DeKrone took third in Suffolk after losing to Brentwood's Alexis Blanco in the semis but was not deterred. A wild card selection at states, he beat top-seeded Dan McDevitt of Wantagh in the semis to avenge December loss. In the final, he earned the ultimate revenge on Blanco, winning the all-Suffolk tilt 6-1.
EVAN KAPPATOS; Syosset, 285 lbs, Senior
Season Record: 45-1; Career Record: 120-27
Kappatos defeated the top two seeds in the state tournament, becoming the first Long Island heavyweight to win a state title since 1997. The only blemish on his record came courtesy of Uniondale's Dante Salkey, whom he lost to in the Nassau championship.
NICK MAURIELLO, Hauppauge, 132 lbs, Senior
Season Record: 43-4; Career Record: 126-15
Mauriello not only recovered from a potentially life-threatening battle with the bacterial infection MRSA and Lemierre's syndrome last year, but also he came back to re-establish himself as one of the Island's best wrestlers. He placed fourth at 132 pounds in the state tournament, losing to Nick Kelley (45-1) of Shenendehowa in both the quarterfinal and third-place matches.
SEAN McCABE, Connetquot, 120 lbs, Senior
Season Record: 41-2; Career Record: 175-13
McCabe lost in the Suffolk quarterfinals, wrestled back to take third and never looked back. With his 3-2 win in the state final, he became the first Connetquot wrestler to win states since Joe Herrmann in 1986 (145 pounds).
DYLAN PALACIO, Long Beach, 160 lbs, Senior
Season Record: 41-0; Career Record: 205-18
Palacio won his third Nassau championship in four years, and entering the state tournament, he had built a 37-0 record with 18 pins and 11 technical falls. After a one-point win in the semis, he dominated the formidable Tyler Grimaldi of Hills West in the final, 11-4. It was a fitting end to one best careers Long Beach wrestling has seen.
MAVERICK PASSARO, Eastport-South Manor, 126 lbs, Senior
Season Record: 50-3; Career Record: 152-25
Passaro's record stood at 32-3 following a loss to Wyoming Prep's (Penn.) Dom Malone at the prestigious Eastern States meet on January 13. He would not lose another match, winning 18 in a row to finish the season with 50 wins and the first state title in ESM history.
NICK PICCININNI, Ward Melville, 106 lbs, Freshman
Season Record: 45-0; Career Record: 95-5
Piccininni has the resume of a seasoned veteran, but the freshman has three more years to tack on more championships. As an eighth-grader, he won the Suffolk title at 96 pounds before placing third at states. This season, he went untouched and mostly unchallenged, his closet match a 4-2 decision over MacArthur's Justin Cooksey in the state final.
JOSE RODRIGUEZ, Wantagh, 99 lbs, Freshman
Season Record: 44-1; Career Record: 75-6
Rodriguez did nothing but outclass the small-weight competition, building a 44-0 mark before a 6-3 state title loss to Kyle Kelly, the defending state champion from Chenango Forks. His consistent dominance helped propel the Warriors to a Nassau dual meet title.
PAT SKINNER, Kellenberg, 113 lbs, Senior
Season Record: 43-3; Career Record: 143-27
Skinner's state championship dreams were dashed in the first round, but in one of the tournament's gutsiest displays, he won five matches in the wrestlebacks to take home third place. He beat Nassau champion and top seed Mark Raghunandan of Long Beach to advance to the medal round, then toppled Bellmore JFK's Robert Person to move on to the third-place match.
Coach of the Year
PAUL GILLESPIE, Wantagh
A member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Gillespie led the Warriors to the Nassau dual meet championship and the top spot in the New York State Sportswriters Association’s end-of-season poll. Twelve of his wrestlers received All-County honors.
Alexis Blanco, Brentwood, 138, Senior
Nick Casella, Locust Valley, 99, Freshman
Justin Cooksey, MacArthur, 106, Sophomore
Nicky Hall, Longwood, 152, Junior
Tyler Grimaldi, Hills West, 160, Junior
Andrew Jones, Plainedge, 182, Senior
Matt Leshinger, Sayville, 120, Junior
Corey Rasheed, Longwood, 145, Sophomore
Malik Rasheed, Longwood, 138, Senior
Krishna Sewkumar, Long Beach, 106, Senior
Dylen Seybolt, Longwood, 170, Senior
Alex Tanzman, Westhampton Beach, 99, Junior