Yesterday wrestlers from all over New York State competed in the 2011 New York State Championships. The New York State tournament has a different qualification system than in New Jersey. There are 2 size classifications in New York, Large School and Small School.  Programs with 606 or more students enrolled are classified as large school.  The state from there is then divided into regions called sections. Only those who win their sectional championship are guaranteed to advance to states. Then 4 wildcards for each weight class are picked from around the state based on merit and record.  There are 11 sections in total, with section 7 having no large school programs.  The Public School League (New York City Schools) and the Catholic State Champions are treated as sections as well, giving large school 12 automatic qualifiers and 4 additional wildcards for a 16 man bracket.

Apex wrestling had 6 wrestlers qualify for the  Large School Championships this past weekend: Section 9 Champion John Stramiello, Section 1 Runner-up and Wildcard Matt Caputo, PSAL Champion Paul Schoenberg, PSAL Champion Jorge Jiminez, CHSAA Champion Section Rrok Ndokaj, 1 Champion Mike Caputo, and Section 9 Champion Colin Casey.

The 106lb. weight class saw John Stramiello break through onto the podium. The sophomore from Pine Bush, NY, is a 3X Section 9 Champion and this was his first year placing in the tournament! Johnny was in one of the most loaded weights in the entire state and drew the eventual state champion in the quarter finals. Never one to give up Johnny rattled back three straight wins before eventually falling, in a back and forth match, to the eventual 3rd place finisher. Johnny finished 6th in what will surely be a break out tournament for him.

Senior, Mike Caputo, from North Rockland, NY battled through many familiar opponents at the 145lb weight class where he made the semi-finals. Wrestling with an injured knee Mike was unable to pull out the victory against Corey Rasheed of Longwood, who he had defeated earlier in the year. Mike wrestled back hard dominating another long island wrestler in the consolation-semi finals. For 3rd and 4th Mike lost a heartbreaking match that was competitive right until the end, 4-3. This was Mike’s first trip to the state tournament, congratulations on taking 4th Mike!

At 170 Rrok Ndookaj, from Monsignor Farrell High School earned the number 2 seed. A New York Catholic School State Champion, Rrok dominated his first opponent before falling to Dylen Seybolt from Section 11 in Long Island. Rrok came storming through the wrestle backs like a man on a mission rattling off three straight wins and only giving up 4 points to reach the 3rd and 4th place match. Rrok’s comeback was cut short when he once again wrestled Dylen Seybolt. A much closer back and forth match Rrok was unable to overcome the seasoned Seybolt and lost 6-4. Congratulations on a great season Rrok!